§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [16th February], "That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth: Most Gracious Sovereign,—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament"—[Mr. Rogers.]
§ Question again proposed.
§ Amendment proposed, at the end of the Question, to add the words:—
§ "But humbly represent to Your Majesty that this House views with anxiety the state of trade and employment in this Country, and the failure of Your Majesty's Ministers to recognise the nature and gravity of the situation, and regrets that there is no mention in Your Majesty's Gracious Speech of any proposals for enlarging the market for British and Irish produce, and increasing the demand for labour by a reform of our fiscal system, which would promote the growth and stability of our Home trade, provide means for negotiating for the mitigation of Foreign tariffs, and develop our oversea trade, through the establishment of a system of mutual preference between the different portions of the Empire."—[Mr. Austen Chamberlain.]
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
We listened yesterday to many notable speeches upon a subject which is exercising the mind and absorbing the interests of the country. When stripped of its necessarily controversial form the question before us is this—is it possible by a change in our fiscal system to assist British trade and 337 employment, and by assisting British trade and employment to do something to cope with the evil of unemployment now so widespread throughout this country and now, what it has not been in the past, apparently, to our regret, a permanent feature with the social life of this country? We who believe that by a fiscal change it is possible to achieve with some measure, perhaps with some great measure, the object which we have at heart welcome discussion in this House. We have gained a great deal by discussion in the country, and when this House has turned its attention to this matter as often as public meetings have turned their attention to it in the country then I think that the opinion of this House, even as at present constituted, will approximate more closely to what is now the preponderating opinion in the country at large. Since I welcome discussion the House will understand that I hope to avoid any note of any unnecessary acrimony.
§ I wish the House to look at certain facts which, when presented together, have led us to the conclusion at which we have arrived. But I must be allowed to repudiate a suggestion which has underlain some speeches from hon. Gentlemen opposite, and which I think was certainly made by the Under-Secretary to the Local Government Board—I mean the suggestion that we are exploiting the hardships of many of our fellow countrymen for the purpose of gaining a political victory. That is not so. In the main, those who advocate Tariff Reform have been most careful and guarded in the presentation of their case. [An HON. MEMBER: "Very guarded."] It is not we who say that large classes in this country are more miserable than any class in any other country in any epoch of history; that is said not by us, but by the President of the Board of Trade, in order to induce the country to accept changes which in fact, though not in name, may prove to be more revolutionary than the changes that we advocate. We are asked to be moderate in our statements, and not to raise hopes which cannot be realised; and at the same time we are asked to be very explicit in our statements. Well, Sir, it is impossible to be explicit without raising hopes; indeed, we entertain those hopes, and it is impossible to be moderate, as we are asked to be, without laying ourselves open to the charge of vagueness. It is very easy for those who propose to do nothing to arrive at this blend of moderation and candour. The hon. Member for Preston advocates a policy of doing nothing, and such a policy 338 can be advocated without exciting any hopes and without leaving any ground of misunderstanding. We, in common with all other sections of opinion in this House, believe that something drastic must be done to remedy a growing and permanent evil. I think it would be very easy for us, if it were worth our while, to point out that the policy of the Labour party is calculated to raise hopes which will not be realised, and is couched in terms which leave a great deal to be explained. The same might be said of the policy of the Government in so far as it has been unfolded by the President of the Board of Trade.
§ Leaving these controversial aspects on one side, we are prepared to meet the challenge of those who say that something must be done to remedy this great evil. We are bound to show imperative ground for taking drastic action, and we are bound to show cause for believing that the particular action which we advocate is likely to achieve the objects we have at heart. I do not think it will be necessary for me to elaborate the magnitude of the evil of unemployment, or the legitimacy of the deep concern which is felt throughout this country for the present condition of British trade. I have referred to the picture painted in gloomy hues the other day by the President of the Board of Trade. He has no doubt in his own mind as to the extent of this evil. Last night we heard from the Under-Secretary to the Local Government Board passages read with approval by him from the Report of the Poor Law Commission conceived in a somewhat lyrical tone. He quoted the song, "Land of Hope and Glory." He, speaking for the Government, made himself responsible for the opinion that there is no hope, no prospect of glory under present conditions for large numbers of our countrymen.
§ From the figures of official publications we do find that the evil is great, and that it is growing. We cannot accept the view put forward by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last night that, after all, other people are as badly off as we are—that it is temporary and inevitable. Nothing of the kind. It is a permanent feature in the life of our country. That is revealed by the official publication for which the Government are responsible. If, for example, you compare the census of ten years ago with the last census, you do find that relatively to the population of this country there is a diminution of employment in nearly all the principal trades of this country. We have not, I make 339 that admission, got the figures for machinery and shipbuilding. They are not given in the census. If we do take the trades dealt with in the census we find that in our nine leading industries there has been a diminution of 89 for every 10,000 of the population. That is not what most people thought was going on even a short time ago. The people of this country were confident that in our great leading industries—cotton, iron, steel, wool—we were making absolute progress with more employment for our countrymen than in the past. Official publications show that that is not the case. I do not dwell on agriculture. We know its loss is very much greater. Taking for agriculture the two periods of comparison there are 158 less persons per 10,000 of the population employed. As a set off, I suppose, to that we were always told in the past that agriculture was past praying for, and that we had our solace in the vast expansion of our great industries. That solace is no longer there. Then again, take the official publications and Statistical Abstract published for the year. For my own part I have always thought that the statistics for emigration should never be overlooked. I utterly repudiate the idea that emigration from this country during the last five or even ten years is a proof of superabundance and energy. On the contrary, it is a proof that the energetic and daring among our fellow countrymen, who are artizans, found it better to go abroad than stay at home. My figures in the main have reference to British and Irish emigration in recent years, and during years of what used to be called prosperity and vast oversea trade the increase in the amount of such emigration is a fact which this House has got to consider. In 1889, if we take the net emigration of British and Irish, deducting those who came back, the number who left this country in that year was 50,000; but in 1906 it was 194,000; in 1907 it was 235,000; yet those two years were the years which showed the greatest volume of oversea trade. Whenever the oversea trade was great the President of the Board of Trade flourished the figures all over the country, and said, "What is this talk about unemployment and distress? Here we have this immense over-sea trade." Whilst with that oversea trade so large, we suffered this great loss of our energetic manhood from out of this country, and the figures for unemploy- 340 ment tell precisely the same tale. In these years of prosperity the amount of unemployment amongst our Trade Unionists was great, and was greater than it was in preceding years, when our oversea trade was less than it was during those years. Surely these cold facts presented from year to year by the Board of Trade and other public Departments shows that there is imperative ground for doing something. I would next say that we cannot associate ourselves with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and accept the view that people are worse off in other countries than they are here.
§ If you take these two tests—and I think they are crucial testy in this matter of unemployment and emigration—you find that our competitors who have deliberately adopted a policy of making it hard for our countrymen to earn adequate wages under existing methods, are not suffering as we are suffering from these two evils of unemployment and emigration. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, who last night accepted readily some figures given about Berlin by another hon. Member who took part in the debate, made himself responsible only a little more than two years ago for the statement that any man who wants work in Germany can get it. Those were his words. He has since said that this was two years ago; but he maintained that there has been a great change in the condition of social life in Germany since 1906. It is not so. We had the other day the opportunity of reading the opinion of a member of the textile industry, who did not find in Germany as great gloom as there undoubtedly is in Great, Britain. He found little or no unemployment, and no destitution in the textile districts in spite of general trade depression that has existed this year in Germany and elsewhere. He agrees with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in saying that depression is widespread; but he differs from him in this, that in Germany the consequences of that widespread depression are not what they are in Great Britain. If you take the test of emigration, last year we were emigrating 50 in 10,000; indeed, it is rather high a figure, but I put it in round figures. Emigration from Germany is only at the rate of 4 in 10,000. How long can you have, I will not say antagonism, but general emulation, with another great country if you are using your best manhood at the rate of 50 in 10,000, while Germany is only sending oversea her surplus energy at the rate of 4 in 10,000? We were told by the Chancellor of the 341 Exchequer there is more unemployment there than in this country. There was great distress in America owing to the stringency of the currency in that country, but I am told, and I believe in its accuracy, since the last general election, when the people in America were convinced that there was to be no departure from the policy which they believed, and I think rightly so to a great extent, though they go further in this matter than I should, but since the people of America found that their policy affecting production was not to be interfered with, unemployment has ceased. But, suppose that there were in America what I may call a surplusage of people ready to work, would it be surprising, considering that America has received from this country and, indeed, from all the poorer parts of Europe, all the surplus manhood of those countries. [An HON. MEMBER: "How many did they send back last year?"] I will meet that very point. Is it surprising that a receptacle you have for filling should, at a moment of stress, because of currency stringency, overflow. America has been able to absorb the manhood of Europe to such a degree that, on the authority of Mr. Shadwell's book on Industrial Efficiency which may be accepted, as it is now used in the Universities, one-third of the working-men employed in manufactures in America were born, not in America, but out of America.
§ You look at America and Germany, and they differ in almost all their conditions. One is what is called an old country and the other a new country. Germany is not largely endowed with natural resources; America is largely endowed. The Germans are a painstaking, methodical people; the Americans a smart, business, enterprising people. They differ in almost everything excepting one, and that is they agree in believing that the Government of a country ought to be concerned in the amount of production, in the kind of production, and in the stability of production. Sir, that also is our view, and we do not believe you go to the root of this matter or attempt to go to the root of this matter if you approach it as the Government propose to approach it. What is the Government plan? I am not going to criticise it. It does not attempt to do that which is done in other countries, and which we think ought to be done in this country. The Government plan—I quote the words of the President of the Board of Trade—is "to relieve the consequences of fluctuations and disturbances." That proves my case. They are not trying to avoid 342 fluctuations and disturbance. They are not going so far as that, but only to relieve the consequences of those fluctuations and disturbances. How are they going to do it? Judging from the language which has been used, they are going to do it by a method which would involve great changes in what I may call the routine of Budget-making in this country. I said a moment ago that it was rash to prophesy, but I shall not be surprised if it is within our power when their proposals are produced to show that they are more likely to dislocate conditions of employment in this country than are the proposals which we are urging upon the consideration of the House. It is no use merely to help men to avoid the shock of attacks on the industry in which they are engaged, or to minister to their hardships when they have been defeated. Really, the campaign of the Government against unemployment is almost ludicrous. It consists in showing men how they can run away from danger, and in having hospitals for those who are overwhelmed. What is necessary is that the Government should lead the manhood of the country in a campaign in the friendly field of international contest. We hold that we must approach this question more directly, that we must go to the root of it, and that our plan, which is of a more direct character, is far less risky than that either of the Government or of the party below the Gangway.
§ I have said that we ought to consider, and to be deeply concerned, over the amount of our production, the nature of the articles we produce, and the stability and security of the employment of those engaged in such manufactures. Are there grounds for that concern? There are. I have given figures showing the extent of unemployment in our large staple industries; let me now show that the amount of those industries is not of a satisfactory character, and requires the attention of the Government and of this House. Our three leading manufacturing industries are the cotton, iron and steel, and woollen and worsted industries. Of our manufactured exports those three industries account for more than one-half in value, while cotton alone accounts for more than one-third. If we are to defend, as hon. Members opposite wish us to do, almost exclusively upon this oversea trade, surely it is matter for concern if we find that there is no real expansion in those three leading industries. I know how easy it is to be misled ones self, and so unconsciously to mislead others, by taking a year here and a year there; and, although the President 343 of the Board of Trade sometimes scoffs at the mere mention of the word "averages," I believe it is only by looking at averages over a period of years that you can discover what is really going on.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
The right hon. Gentleman does not like percentages, but he accepts averages. Therefore I should not come into collision with him, because I am going to deal with averages. My authority is Mr. John Holt Scholing. I mention the name, because it will excite derision on the part of hon. Members below the Gangway; but, after all, his great book has been reviewed by financial experts for all the newspapers in the country, and has been commended for its impartiality and industry by all the leading Free Trade journals; and I prefer the opinion of men who are studying these matters to that of men who, having got certain economic doctrines into their heads, apply those doctrines and ignore facts. The averages which I wish to put before the House are for the ten years from 1888 to 1897, and for the decade from 1898 to 1907. If we do that I think we get over any cause of error which may be found in the variation of prices. There are two methods of avoiding that. One is to go by index numbers, and the other is to take an average over a sufficient number -of years. Taking the averages over these years in the first decade I have named, the value of cotton exports was £203 for every 100 of the population, and in the latter one £191. For iron and steel it was £74 for every 100 of the population; for woollens and worsteds £6, and for cotton £62. Putting them together, the total value of our export trade in these three departments, which cover more than half of it, was £346 per 100 of the population in the first decade, and only £327 in the other.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
That is why I have ventured to put the argument in this way by taking an average for ten years, and then taking another average of ten years. I think if the hon. Gentleman will look into the matter he will find that prices do not vary in such a way as to destroy the validity of that species of investigation. At any rate, that is the contention. It is the method which has been taken by impartial as well as industrious Free Trade 344 critics who are economic experts, but if I took the years between the case would be stronger, and we must not leave that altogether out of account. There was a far greater drop if you take the middle period than you find by taking the last decade down to 1907, which contained the two great boom years.
§ Therefore, when considering the question of unemployment, we have to reflect on the number of men who must have lost their employment in that way, and who are a charge upon their fellows or upon the country. I do not wish to detain the House at any undue length, and I think I have said enough to show that there is ground for concern over the amount of our export trade. I think there is greater ground for concern also over the articles which we produce. There has been an increase shown by the same method in certain forms of production. In the making of machinery and in coal mining there has been a notable increase. But I would point out that great as these industries are they are not comparable to the three I have named, which amount to more than half of the manufactured articles we export, whereas the exports of machinery are a thirteenth, and the export of coal a tenth, so that they are not such important elements, and I think it must be obvious that they are not such welcome elements, at any rate, from our point of view. We export coal and we export machinery in largely growing amounts to assist the countries which are competing with us in the three great staple industries in which there has been a loss.
§ I am not one of those who wish to speak of coal mining as if it did not give employment. It gives a great deal of employment, but in view of the present condition of British trade, and in view of the deliberate policy of a growing number of countries to alter the kind of goods which go from us to them, and which come from their factories to our markets, I cannot rejoice at an expansion which is only to be found in exports which assist them in competing against us, and which is accompanied by a substantial contraction in the manufactured articles we produce in order to give employment to our countrymen. I also said that the Government of this country should be concerned over the stability of employment. A man who is a cotton operative has a hereditary aptitude for that occupation. He has no hereditary occupation for another trade; but instead of an aptitude, he has a strong and natural disinclination to set to work on odd jobs financed by municipal loans. The amount 345 of instability can, I think, be indicated by these figures. I hope the House will allow me to quote them, for we are asked to be explicit.
§ I think we can trace the amount of the change as well as its nature by considering how we are paying for our imports by our exports. Still taking the same decades, I find this—that we paid for every £1,000 worth of imports in the first decade £609 of manufactured exports. In the second decade the amount had fallen. The rate was then only £512 of our manufactured exports of every £1,000 of imports. I want to deal with so much of the balance as is paid by our exports under the classes of raw material, food, miscellaneous, and partially manufactured goods. In the first period the amount per £1,000 of imports to be paid by these articles in the production of which little labour was employed was £86, and in the second period it had risen to £125. That shows the instability of labour in this country. The men who were earning the £609 were working at exports of an interesting character, and they must have suffered when the amount had shrunk. They may have found employment in other trades, but they could not be to them of so interesting a character; and I doubt whether they did find employment. If that be so, both with respect to the amount and kind of our production and stability, there is a case of saying that the State in this country, as it ought in other countries, must go to the root of the matter, and have some regard to these three points.
§ What shape should the action of the State take? We hold that the action of the State, if it is to be effective in these three respects, must give to our produce greater security for its sale in foreign markets and in our Imperial markets, and in our home markets. Let us for a moment leave the abstractions of political economy on one side.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
Let us face the facts. And I will, if I may, first deal with our Imperial markets within the British Empire. In these markets, it is not denied by Members of the Government that we have derived advantage of the kind we need by preference which has been already given; that is not a theory; it is based on experience; we know that in the markets of Canada, and, in a lesser degree, in the markets of South Africa, we have derived important benefits by preferential trade. We are 346 told, and we believe, that we will gain greater advantage in these markets if we imitate the example of every other State in the British Empire, and adopt a policy of preferential trade; we therefore think it ought to be adopted. That is a part of the plan, and I think I have stated it sufficiently explicitly to bring it home to the mind of the hon. Member, who thinks my earlier remarks are not of a practical nature. One argument we advance is this: I take the trade supposed by Free Traders to benefit most from our fiscal tradition, and to be exposed to the greatest risk, if we depart from this tradition—I mean the cotton trade. It is generally stated that the prosperity of our cotton trade—which I have shown is not so prosperous as many suppose—depends entirely upon sticking to the practice of free imports, and, obviously, you cannot have a preference trade with the Colonies unless you make a departure, great or small, from the practice of the last forty or fifty years. But is the prosperity such as claimed? There has been no extension of the cotton trade. I could give you figures. You have years of great boom and years of depression. I do not want to rest my argument upon that, but if any validity is to be attached to the facts I have presented, not in any controversial manner, there has been no expansion—
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
Such prosperity is not dependent upon any general practice of ours; it is dependent upon the action of the State. The Lancashire cotton industry does not buy in the cheapest and sell in the dearest markets; it sells in the cheapest markets. And how has it got these markets? Not by the mere play of the blessed fruits of free imports. It has got cheap markets, in China, India, Turkey, and Egypt—all four—owing to the action of the State, and not to the free play of political economy. It has the market of China by virtue of the Treaty made after the war with China and confirmed in recent years. It has the market in Turkey by virtue of the general Convention of the Powers, in which we should have played no part had we not acted as a strong State. It has the market of India, as India is a part of the Empire, and when India wished to start mills of her own the influence of Lancashire was so strong that they forced upon India countervailing duties. It has the market in Egypt because, when the Egyptians 347 started mills of their own, we were able, in consequence of our preponderating interest in Egypt, to impose a countervailing duty there.
§ Therefore this supposed advantage to trade does not accrue, as they would have us believe, from the inaction of the State; it has not been built up because of the views which are entertained by the hon. Member for Preston; it has been built up because the State saw that it had to help production, it had to care for the amount and stability of production, and was prepared, if need be, to fight. One other word in respect of our Imperial advantages. These advantages may continue, but he would be a bold man who would say that with the changes in the East they are certain to continue. We have to look elsewhere—we have to look nearer home; we have to look to our great, growing sister States. And there comes in the question of urgency. No one who has studied the facts of this question can doubt that if we are to act in the direction in which I think we may we cannot indefinitely postpone our action. The tariffs of all the Great Powers which are brought into contact with Canada are being deliberately designed to bring pressure upon Canada to join with them before we are in a position to let Canada join with us. There is a case, therefore, for joining in this preferential policy.
§ Of course, there is a case against it; there are two sides to every question. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may say this may be necessary, but it is too risky. What is the risk? I have never disguised my opinion on this matter. I have always believed that to join effectively in what is the policy of the Empire it will be necessary for us to put a low duty upon wheat and a low duty upon meat. I believe that you can have preference without it; but you will not have preference to the amount and degree which is necessary if you flinch from that necessity, and therefore it is appropriate to this argument of considering whether the risk is a great one. You can do nothing in this world without some risk, but is it a risk which should deter a fairly brave and fairly sane person from advancing? What is the objection against our joining effectively in the trade policy of the Empire? The Prime Minister has always tried to make his countrymen believe that the risk is enormous. He says, what are you going to do about wheat, about meat, and wool, and wood! 348 He says that because he wishes the people of this country to believe that you cannot join effectively in this policy of Imperial preference unless you tax considerably all these four articles. His argument is that you cannot do distributive justice to all the sister States unless you tax all these four articles, and he says he has had no reply to that. I have attempted to reply once or twice. Let me do it once more. No sister State has asked this country to put a tax either upon wool or upon wood, and no sister State has asked any other sister State for distributive justice. That is my answer.
§ There is, therefore, no necessity for the purpose of preferential trade to put a penny tax on wool or wood; but, in my opinion, there is a necessity for the sake of effective preferential trade to put a low tax upon meat and a low tax upon wheat. But is the risk of that great? Would a tax of 2s. a quarter on corn really make the condition of the worker in this county harder than it now is? I think not. I am going to anticipate an interruption. I am going to mention France, and I know some hon. Member will say: "Yes; but France grows almost enough corn for her own consumption." But still, let us consider what does happen. In the case of France, growing I agree now, though she did not always in the past, practically enough corn for her own home consumption, bread is not dearer than it is in England. You may have the penny or half-penny one way or the other, but substantially the same amount of wheat or bread can be bought in France as in England for the same price. I said this is true of France because France can practically grow all she needs, importing only a few thousand quarters last year. That is not, of course, true of this country, where we only grow one quarter of the wheat which we eat. What, then, are the proportions in which we do get our wheat?
§ Roughly speaking, for every seven bushels which we import from foreign countries we import four from the rest of the Empire, and we raise three here. That is about the proportion. Will anybody say that a tax of 2s. per quarter on the seven bushels which come in will make any rise in the price of bread which the baker can put on it? I find it utterly impossible to believe that a tax of that character would increase the price of bread, but if it did by a halfpenny I should still urge upon my countrymen to insist on adopting this policy of preferential trade if they mean to mitigate the evils 349 the amount and the nature of which I have indicated.
Let us take the case of the foreign markets. Is there any need for the Government of the day to consider what is going on in foreign markets? Take the case of the proposed tax with France. I believe that the President of the Board of Trade recently received a letter from the Leeds Chamber of Commerce. That Chamber, in a discussion which took place there the other day, pointed out that the export from their neighbourhood of machinery, woollens and leather went in large quantities to France, though not in such large quantities as they did before the Treaty of Commerce arranged by Mr. Cobden expired in the year 1882. We therefore have it that Mr. Cobden's treaty enabled those in the neighbourhood of Leeds to export more machinery, woollens, and leather to France than they have been able to do since 1882. That being the case, the persons engaged in these manufactures find themselves confronted with the proposed French tax. After discussion, a letter was sent to the President of the Board of Trade, which contains this passage:—
The minimum duties proposed would practically prohibit English manufacturers, and especially those such as employ much labour in their production, from going into France. Indeed, the duties appear to be framed with that object.
It is not only Germany and America. Here we have France. And there are others. There are 14 countries in the world all acting deliberately on the same lines of closing their markets to our goods, and thereby of dislocating employment in this country. The case, therefore, for having some power of speaking in a manner that will be listened to is so overwhelming that it cannot be imagined that this country will for long continue to watch its operation with folded hands But then there is the home market. I believe it is considered a venial sin to adopt fiscal measures in order to prevent our goods from being shut out from foreign markets, but it is a sin with no absolution from the Pope to go a step further as I do and say we should also have regard to the home market in this country. The views we have heard in the course of this debate are based on assumptions, for which there is no ground in fact. I need not quote the ordinary Free Trade views—we hear them so often —but I think that they are based on the assumption that all the capital available for giving employment—to use the phrase of the hon. Member for Preston—is used for that purpose in this country, and that all the available labour which
could be employed is also used, and that all surplus capital remaining after you have done all that can naturally be done here goes abroad, and that nothing but the surplus of labour goes abroad. That is not true at this moment in our home market. Because of the attacks which are being made on it there are large sums of capital which are not being employed, and there are large numbers of artisans who are not being employed. Why, we heard there were 13 per cent. in the cabinet-maker's trade union alone.
§ Lord Cromer, an eminent Free Trader, the other day pointed out that there were enormous sums of money lying on deposit in a bank. I know that that capital is employed to a certain extent, but he does not venture to say that they employ that capital in promoting manufacturing industries which are being threatened from day to day. He uses it for another purpose—if you had a greater measure of security in this country then the owners of that capital would be prepared to use it for the purposes which must be achieved if you are to deal with this evil of unemployment. A large amount of capital is lying on deposit in the banks in this country, and there is also a large amount of capital going abroad. The Prime Minister rejoices in that fact and says, "The more the better." Our capital goes to Argentina and in its train go our industries. I have read this morning a letter in the "Morning Post" by Sir Joseph Lawrence, and he states that in Argentina we have been beaten in this very matter of making rails; and he says that America has captured the South American market everywhere except where the British flag flies. I think it is the duty of the British Government to see that British producers get fair play in this matter.
§ The amount of capital going abroad is alarming. Lord Rothschild put it at £150,000,000 in one year, and he was dealing only with identified profits from abroad. I will not elaborate that, but I think we ought to reflect when we find such a sudden jump in the amount of capital going abroad. The interest coming back as identified profits from abroad —and it should be remembered that only a small portion of it can be traced in that way—has been commented upon in the Blue Books for two years in succession by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. They say that it is remarkable, and they call attention to it; and we think the attention of the country ought to be given to this matter. In the year 1905 the amount of these identified profits from abroad was 351 £66,000,000—that is the interest. This amount was increased in the next year to £73,000,000, or an increase of £7,000,000 in interest. The next year it increased to £79,000,000, which shows a further increase of £6,000,000. How much capital must have gone out to have caused this marked increase in the amount of interest coming back that can be traced by the Income Tax Commissioners! Of course, an enormous amount of capital must have gone abroad in the course of the last few years. The Prime Minister says it does not go abroad in paper. I think it has been proved to mathematical demonstration that a comparatively small amount of money is going out of the country in gold—I think the amount is about £37,000,000 a year. [Cries of "No, no."] I will not dwell upon that subject.
§ Mr. WYNDHAM
When we are talking of an oversea trade, I agree that the amount is so small that I need not mention it. When the Prime Minister says that all this does not go abroad in the shape of paper I think he is using an argument which may be misunderstood. Now what really happens if a man is really fortunate enough to have at his bankers a balance of £4,000? He generally goes to the family solicitor and the broker who advises him, and in recent years their unanimous advice has been not to invest money in British industries. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh."] The very frequent advice which has been given has been to invest money in foreign countries and in South America.
§ What is the first thing a man does? He makes use of paper in one form or another—I am talking of the first stage of the operation. It goes out to the foreign country, and it is there what is called "a power of demand." The person who gets it is in a position to dispose of £4,000 of wealth power. What happens then? The £4,000 is used to make or buy an industry. The operation of tariff walls is this: that it is hard for that country to buy a British engine; that it is easier for them to buy an engine from any other country with whom they have some preferential arrangement; that it is easiest of all for them to make the engine themselves. And there is the object and policy which is being pursued by every other country in the world! Ultimately, if we pass from what happened in the first case, ultimately, al- 352 most the whole of these transactions take place in goods.
§ But I have shown, at any rate, I have indicated, the reasons which convince us that the uniform operation of tariff walls, as now prosecuted by the other leading nations of the world, is to make it easier for goods which go out of this country to be low-grade, unmanufactured articles, and easier for them to put into this country their high-grade manufactured articles. There is the intentional policy. That this is operating on such a huge system of trade going backwards and forwards only makes it more effective. It does not alter the tendency of the current of this great oversea trade. The aim, and the great extent to that purpose is achieved, and the result of that purpose is to be found in the permanent evil of unemployment in this country. You will not touch that evil, and we think it must be touched, by helping the men whose employment is attacked. You will not touch it by suggesting that he should adopt another walk in life, or by ministering to his hardships when he has been beaten in his trade. If he has been beaten he will be little likely to train his son in the same occupation. We hold that much can be done—not everything—if the Government intervenes at the earlier stage; if the Government, being concerned for the amount and the stability of employment, uses its fiscal system to, obtain better terms in foreign markets, enters into fairer terms with the other States around us, and sees that our markets are protected and our trades are not ruined by dumping and unfair competition.
§ We believe that much can be done. We think ourselves the trial of such a change—the magnitude of which I do not disguise—is in itself a small risk and incomparably smaller than the risk attaching to any of the alterations which are offered by those who think that something, and something drastic, must be done. It has a great deal less risk than the Socialist plan. It has a great deal less risk—and one might say the safest plan—than that urged by the hon. Member for Preston—of doing nothing and encouraging capital by words. It is safer than the plan of those who say what they are going to do, and saying it in language that is only calculated to alarm capital.
§ Mr. S. O. BUCKMASTER
The right hon. Gentleman feels confident, notwithstanding the course of previous debates in this House, that if only the matter be suffi- 353 ciently discussed, he may be able to effect the conversion of hon. Members on these benches. That has been effected, he thinks, in a wider area of the country. I have never known so wide a hope built on so slight a foundation. During the past three years this question has been discussed in many forms, and we have listened to many arguments, but I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to point to a single convert on these benches who will follow him into the Lobby who has not followed his predecessors in this forlorn hope. He still trusts that by a little further explanation he may be able to effect the conversion of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House. There I do not agree with him, but I do agree with him when he says that he thinks the course which he advocates has made some progress in this country. The reasons are not very far to seek. I never could see any reason for shutting one's eyes to facts, even if disagreeable.
§ The first reason is this: The kaleidoscopic character of the policy itself, which enables people to invite every class to look at the particular picture on which it is most desired that they should gaze—which will offer to the landed class the advantage of a tax on corn, which will offer to the propertied classes the advantage of lighter taxation, and which will offer to the people engaged in industries the inestimable benefits of constant work, of cheaper provisions, of lighter taxation, and of higher wages. That is one reason. There is another. At the present moment the heart of the people is sick through lack of work and through fear that the shadow of unemployment may set into deep and perpetual gloom.
§ The people, whose minds are irritated by distress or distempered by pain and want, are people who lend a ready and credulous ear to any remedies that are offered for their application. It seems to me that a very grave and serious responsibility rests upon anyone who under these circumstances recommends a cure unless they are not only guided to its adoption by the light of reason, but driven to it by uniform and irresistible logic. I do not think anyone can suggest that there is any uniformity in the arguments that are put before the country on this question. They are not even uniform in this House.
§ The right hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment in a speech from which it is difficult to extract any guiding principle, did most undoubtedly suggest that Protection was the real object of this Amendment. He suggested that because 354 he pointed out that it was only by Protection that the agricultural classes in Germany enjoyed prosperity. The hon. Member for Dover advocated black, undisguised, naked Protection. The hon. Member for, I think, the Aston Division of Birmingham did carefully exclude from his scheme anything that would effect a tax on raw materials. But the speech to which we have just listened would cast with unflinching hand taxes upon raw materials coming, as I gather, from any source, provided only that wool and timber were to be specially favoured. They were to be exempted. I say with arguments so varied there is lack of one essential quality which ought to be found in arguing a case of this kind, the lack of a common agreement in order to show not only the point from which you start, but the point at which you desire to end.
§ This Amendment itself contains, so far as I can see, two or three contradictory principles. You are first of all to steady your industries by a tax which must be in the nature of a protective tax. About that there is no doubt. You are then to use your powers of taxation to retaliate against foreign countries. Let me see what the effect of that is. You tax their industry, and the foreign country is complaining that the foreign goods cannot come in. The answer is, "We will remove the tax if you remove the tax on corresponding goods that go to you." But what about your protected industry that has grown up behind the barrier of your duty? It must be a large industry, because it is no use whatever putting a protective tax on something that is hardly ever desired. It must be a big industry which is protected and fostered into an unnatural growth; and then you are going to suddenly abandon it to the keen winds of foreign competition because it is desired. You should use their position as a stake in some game. You are going to play in commercial bargaining with another country.
§ One thing has struck me in this debate with unusual force, and that is the apparent unwillingness of hon. and right hon. Members opposite to examine closely into the real causes of unemployment, and, indeed, their apparent fear of comparing figures of unemployment in this country with the figures in Germany and the United States. That is the more marked because there is hardly a platform on which this matter is discussed in which we do not find the figures of Germany, with the misleading figures 355 of their trade unions, used in comparison with the returns that our trade unions furnish here. The hon. Member for Dulwich is eloquent on the matter outside this House. He says again and again that whereas the returns for our trade unions show a lack of employment from 8 to 9 per cent., the returns from German trade unions show from 2 to 8 per cent., although he must know perfectly well the conditions attaching to the returns of the German trade union figures cause them to be utterly untrustworthy and misleading.
§ A very excellent report has just been produced with regard to that particular matter in Germany, showing that the real figure in reference to German trade union unemployment at the present moment should be taken as between 9 and 10 per cent., while the last figures we have of this country are 8.7.
§ That is not all. I would call the attention of the House to the way in which the figures vary in Germany and here. Again I am dealing only with trade union returns, and subject to the statement that you must not take them as representing the actual amount of unemployment. According to the trade union returns, in October the figures for unemployment in Germany were 2.9, in England 9.5. In November they had risen in Germany to 3.2, and they had dropped in England to 8.7. Finally, in December, the month in which seasonal unemployment occurs everywhere, they had risen in Germany to 4.4, but in England they had only risen to 9.1. These figures show that while unemployment is, and must be, common to both countries, our elasticity is greater than that of Germany, our power of recovery is quicker, and we can look for a return to better times with greater confidence than they can. If the causes of unemployment are going to be inquired into, and if hon. Members opposite are going to establish—as they are bound to do—that our unemployment is the direct result of our fiscal system, it surprises me that they do not go further and examine America. The hon. Member for Dulwich avoids the examination of America, as I gather from recent speeches, because the conditions are not comparable. I agree. No one can reasonably compare the industrial opportunities in America with the industrial opportunities here. The fertility of her soil, the infinite variety of her climate, the richness of her minerals, the indefatigable energy of her people—these are qualities that place America by 356 herself in the history of industry, and I agree that you must discount whatever you find in America by these facts. When with these opportunities and these facts you find that the record of unemployment there has been greater than in this country, it appears to me to be utterly impossible for people to reason from that, and say that it is our fiscal system which has produced the unemployment here, while what has produced it in America apparently is past their power to define.
§ If we go a little further into the history of unemployment I think the explanation can be found. I agree with the statement that at the bottom the real question of unemployment is associated with the unfortunate distribution of wealth. I believe that if you could by some fair and just means secure a better distribution of the products of the world you would do more to stop unemployment than by any other means; and if Fiscal Reform would accomplish that, I would support it tomorrow. How does unemployment begin, and how does it grow? It nearly always begins by some hitch, not necessarily in production, but in distribution. You may have a ship loaded with goods at Liverpool and a ship loaded with grain in the United States, and yet some hindrance in your machinery of credit, some interference with your process of exchange, will prevent one cargo being exchanged against the other, and unemployment will instantly flow in both countries. When it has begun, what happens? Directly unemployment begins in one industry it follows that the unemployed are unable to buy to the same extent, having to use such means as they have to attend to the necessities of life. They have to economise, and the demand in our industries begins to dwindle, and so unemployment shoots like, an arrow from trade to trade. In the last history of unemployment how did it begin? Anyone who looks back will see at once that the first sign of unemployment was in the shipbuilding trade.
§ Mr. BUCKMASTER
I say it did begin in the shipbuilding trade. The change in the rate of unemployment in the shipbuilding trade from 1907, when trade was good, to 1908, when it began to be bad, showed a leap from 7 per cent. to 22 to 25 357 per cent. in the trade unions. Does anybody contend that Tariff Reform will stop that? Among its many virtues is it going to encourage our shipbuilding?
§ Mr. BUCKMASTER
Then perhaps the hon. Member, who appears to be an expert in this matter, will tell us why Germany has opened her ports in order to stimulate her shipbuilding trade. We will hear that explanation with others possibly later on. If you look back you will find that the beginning of our distress here was in the shipbuilding trade, which no Tariff Reform would have prevented, and which no protective duty, however high, would possibly have saved us from. I submit that it does not matter where the dislocation of trade begins. Once it begins under our present industrial system it is bound to spread, and when you consider what is the cause of unemployment, you will find of what little avail your Fiscal Reform would have been in averting the disaster.
§ There is another matter. Does anybody doubt, call it by whatever name you like, that one of the prime objects of this tax is to exclude or to hinder the entrance of foreign goods for the benefit of the English trade? It means that your English goods are to be capable of being sold at a better price than they are sold to-day. Then things are to cost more. If unemployment is due, as I believe it is, largely to lack of demand on the part of the wage-earners for the necessities of life, how are you going to cure it by making it less possible to purchase? Of course I know it is suggested that their wages will rise. I think that is a matter of doubt. At any rate, it is a problematical question. One thing is certain even if you impose a duty on foreign goods. If industry prospers by the imposition of a duty, wages will not instantly rise. Everyone knows that it is a long time after trade becomes prosperous before wages are affected. We know also that no sooner does trade begin to be adversely affected than wages fall. You would, therefore, be faced with a difficulty which this scheme, as I understand it, is designed to obviate.
§ The matter does not end there. As I understand it this new policy is going to do—if I gather rightly from the right hon. Gentleman what it is going to do —a number of things for us. It is going to assist bankers in the investment of their deposit accounts.
§ I do not know what inner information the right hon. Gentleman has got as to the 358 working of banks. My experience has been professional and casual, but the way in which banks use their deposits is by large investments on mortgages. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] No! I say "Yes." It is within the experience of any man of business that if you want to get money quickly the best thing is to send your deeds to the bank. It is impossible in the short time at my disposal to deal in any way in detail with the innumerable ways in which this case can be presented. I submit that it is essential that all this discussion on non-employment should be kept carefully in mind. I feel certain that at the present time we are apt to exaggerate the distress in our own country. Minimise it I certainly would not. We are always apt to weigh our own misfortunes against the woes of the world. Trouble next door to us is always much more real than when far away. Distress at home affects us more than millions of people dying from starvation in China. I do not believe that the present condition is going to be chronic.
§ Of course, some people think that Free Trade is in the nature of some fixed and immutable law. I frankly say that I do not. It is not a shibboleth with me. It is not to me like the law of gravity which will apply with equal force under all conditions. I regard it as an economical arrangement best suited beyond all other arrangements for the industries of this country. This country has a limited supply of raw material. It is bound to obtain the products on which it exercises its labour from all quarters. If we desire to maintain our industrial supremacy we can only do it by not only availing ourselves of every opportunity of cultivating and stimulating the intelligence of the people of this country but by using products due to the fertility of every clime and the industry of every race.
§ Mr. GOULDING
I desire to make some reference to the speech delivered last night by the Parliamentary Secretary of the Local Government Board. I do not complain of the hon. Gentleman making merry over the unfortunate differences which may exist between some Members on this side and the great majority of the party. He may try to conceal the skeleton in his own cupboard by making merry over differences that may arise here. I am not aware that I ever heard, or read, a single protest raised on the other side of the House when, at the last General Election, Unionist Free Traders adopted the exact same policy in urging their sup- 359 porters and asking their influence to return Home Rulers to this House because they considered the issue at stake was one that justified it. The hon. Member went on, unfortunately, to impute motives to those who advocated the policy of Tariff Reform. He said we were bidding for the votes of the Irish Members, that in speaking to our constituencies we exploited the miseries of the poor in order to benefit the cause of Tariff Reform. I venture to say, respectfully, "those in glass houses should not throw stones." It was only a short time ago since the "Right to Work Bill" was introduced.
§ If ever there was a Bill that held out hope of the millenium to the working classes and of wages for the aristocracy of the workers it was that Bill. The Secretary of the Local Government Board was then sitting below the Gangway. He voted for the measure, which was opposed by the Government root and branch. It was since then the hon. Member received the King's shilling and esconced himself on the Treasury Bench, and it will be interesting to see what attitude he will adopt when this Bill again comes before the House and the Government again oppose it as they did last year. I listened to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone—and no one regrets more than I do, and I am sure I express the feeling of all my colleagues—that there should be any difference arising between him and the hon. Member for Norwood and us in regard to this question. In reference to the noble Lord, not only is my regret personal to him, but it is personal to the name he bears—a name honoured in our party and a name to which, in his own person, the noble Lord has added distinction. My noble Friend and the hon. Member for Norwood will give us credit for our motives just as we give them credit for theirs. I am perfectly certain they will attribute the same honourable motives to us that we attribute to them. My noble Friend, in one of his observations in regard to Tariff Reform, said it would inevitably lead to trusts and combinations in this country. Why, combinations have been the common characteristic of industrialism for many a long day, and owing to the forces which have been let loose by Free Trade in recent years these combinations have now become cosmopolitan and international. The severity of this competition in our ports bas led the great firms of industry in this country not only to enter into international combinations, 360 but also to lay out amongst themselves the markets with which trade should be allowed. If the noble Lord wants an example of that he has only to enquire what the hon. Member the Treasurer of the Free Trade Union, who is a Member of this House, and who himself in the firm with which he is connected barred shipment from certain ports, and when his attention is called to the matter the hon. Gentleman says the interest of his 8,000 shareholders is of more concern to him than his political consistency.
§ I was returned to this House for a great industrial Constituency to support the proposals contained in the Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman. No one will deny, in any part of the House, that there are thousands of men idle to-day through no fault of their own. The distress existing has been admitted by speakers on both sides of the House, not merely as exceptional or temporary, but as chronic and almost permanent. Surely the position calls for a little more attention than we have from the Government benches. I am perfectly certain both sides of the House are in agreement in recognising the magnitude of this problem of unemployment. I hope also they are in agreement that the system which at present exists for trying to deal with unemployment is costly, useless as a remedy, and even damaging to the recipients. The Return of the Distress Committee of Manchester was only issued last week. What does it show? A sum of £4,112 was expended by the Distress Committee in wages given in relief to those out of work. The Surveyor reported after that work was finished that the value of it could not exceed £630. That kind of proceeding is going on in every centre in which unemployment exists. You cannot, whether it be the nation or the municipality, raise this money and waste this money on unproductive labour without adding to the burden and increasing the taxes which those in ordinary work have to pay.
§ It has been suggested that perhaps the difficulty of unemployment might be met by extending the age to which boys are kept at school. Why, only this week it has been reported on the floor of this House that one-tenth of the whole body of the Trades Unionists of this country are out of work to-day. I absolutely fail to see how, in turning navvies and unskilled workmen into skilled labourers, you are going to meet the difficulties of this question when you are simply increasing the number of skilled mechanics—carpenters, engineers, and what not. My right hon. 361 Friend the Member for Dover dealt very clearly with the position of unemployment in this country. That it is acute we all agree; there are certain returns we can not ignore. There is, for example, the emigration return. From this country, with a population 50 per cent. less than Germany, we emigrate eight times as many people each year.
§ It is idle for any man to suppose that all these emigrants leave these shores simply from the spirit of adventure. Are we to believe that the 240,000 people last year that left these shores did so for that purpose? We know the contrary is the case. These men left these shores in search of work, in search of employment, and they went to those places where they were led to believe by their friends that, if they got there they could get employment and improve their position.
§ I shall not labour the statistics of unemployment. I am perfectly satisfied to rest my claim and rest my assertion on the statement of the President of the Board of Trade on the floor of this House last Session, when he stated that unemployment in Germany was less acute than it was in this country. We had, moreover, a further explanation of this from the Chancellor of the Exchequer last night when he informed us that not only does Germany supply work for its own workmen but also that the people living in the neighbouring countries flock in day by day. Germany has security for both its capital and its labour. They are not going to change their fiscal policy, because they have got the experience of the benefits of the policy they have adopted. Germany in a comparatively few years has changed from a country of comparative, poverty to a country abounding with areas of industry and wealth. What has happened throughout Europe since this question of tariffs was raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham in 1903? At that time you asserted that all was well with this country, and you felt confirmed in your view, because we had record returns of foreign trade. Yet at that time work did not go round in this country; we had unemployment in our midst. But what has happened since? During two years, continuously and steadily, that unemployment has grown, until now it is a problem which is engaging the anxious attention of all men in several parts of the country. Free importers assert that tariffs must hurt the country imposing those tariffs. Germany, the country above all 362 other countries which works its tariff out on the most scientific basis, during the last three years has materially raised her tariffs, and employment is better there than it is in this country. You yourselves are making no progress in winning converts from other countries. You had a Congress of Free Traders here in London last year. It was honoured by the presence and patronage of both the Prime Minister and the President of the Board of Trade. What was the tale stated by every single Member there?—and they were supposed to be composed of the most enlightened fiscal individuals on the face of the earth—what was the one cry raised by every representative there from every foreign country in the Conference: "We make no progress with the policy of Free Trade in our country, but "—disinterested men—"we beg of you to keep the standard of Free Trade flying." It is not surprising they do not change their system when they find their prosperity is so much greater than yours under the system which prevails.
Is it denied that our export trade, and as a consequence our industries, are injured by foreign tariffs? Why, during this last month the cry has been universal throughout England by Chambers of Commerce as regards these tariffs they are imposing, and I see an individual no less distinguished than the hon. Baronet the Member for Rotherham feels the difficulty so acutely, and feels that these tariffs are going to play havoc with our industries, that in an interview he said:—
I have spoken to many, very many and well-known individuals and Free Traders on this matter, and many of them are agreed with me that we can never allow our adherence to the principles of Free Trade to throw away or neglect the weapon of retaliation. The tariffs proposed would be prohibitive ones in many instances, and, of course, we are bound to do what we can against them.
Another Member, the Liberal Member for North-West Lancashire, also said that the particular industries with which he is concerned will be so hit by these tariffs that he also will be forced to look for some policy of retaliation in order that he may save some of the trade that they are now doing with that country.
§ The Government themselves now recognise that these tariffs which are set up by different countries are tariffs which they may still hold hurt the country imposing them, but also do distinct damage to the countries against which they are imposed, otherwise how can they justify their action with regard to Bulgaria and Servia, where they have entered into negotiations, and where they have done their very best to negotiate and to try and get 363 these tariffs reduced. They made no progress, little or no progress, because they went into the negotiations without any weapon in their hands by which they could negotiate. France does not stand alone. Every single country in Europe since 1903 has raised their tariffs and done so with severity against this country in particular. I am aware that the Prime Minister in a recent speech has said it is perfectly true that tariffs are an injury, but we, according to our ability and our Free Trade, are able to jump over the wall of tariffs. I have had a Return prepared by Professor Hewins, of the Tariff Reform League, which is of figures gathered out of the Board of Trade returns dealing with what has actually occurred in these different countries during two periods. The reason why they are selected I will explain. We took the year 1895 because it was before any idea of Preference was in the wind, and we took the last year that we have the Return for, 1907; it is just published. But even if you take other years where the policy of Preference has come in the tale is the same. We purposely took the year before Preference was talked of so that it could be shown that we have not jumped over hostile tariffs. Here are the figures of exports and manufactures for the year 1895 and the year 1907; that is the year before Preference was mooted and the last year available. The exports to protected markets in 1895 were £78,000,000 of manufactures. They have gone up in 1907 to £107,000,000, an increase of £29,000,000. To the neutral markets the export of manufactures in 1895 was £52,000,000. They have gone up in 1907 to £104,000,000, or an increase of £52,000,000. Then we come to British possessions. Our export of manufactures in 1895 was £62,000,000. In 1907 they have gone up to £121,000,000, or an increase of £59,000,000. Where, then, have you any example that you are able to jump over the tariff walls in these other countries? We have certainly increased, but so has the trade of the country increased, and we have in no way increased in the same proportion as other countries have increased their trade, or as we have increased our trade in neutral markets where we have fair play, or in our British possessions, where we have an advantage.
§ Let me take two great industries which are entirely different, the china and the woollen manufactures. I am dealing entirely with manufactures. To protected markets the exports were in 1905 £1,300,000, and in 1907 £1,100,000, or a de- 364 crease of £200,000, in spite of the increase of population and the enterprise of trade. To the neutral markets in 1895 it was £300,000, and in 1907 they have gone up to £800,000, an increase of half a million, and to British possessions in 1895 £600,000, and in 1907 £1,100.000, or again an increase of half a million. In these cases we have failed to jump the wall. We have lost trade, and the only places we have succeeded in increasing our exports are in the neutral markets and in our British possessions.
§ But the woollen manufacture is more extraordinary still. In 1895 to the foreign protected markets our exports were £11,900,000. In 1907 they had fallen to £6,900,000, or an absolute fall of £5,000,000. How can the Prime Minister possibly say in regard to the woollen manufacture that we have managed to leap the wall? We have not leapt it, but have lost our trade. What is the case as regards neutral markets? It is not that we are less competent, or turn out less stuff, otherwise the same failure would be noticeable in our neutral markets and in our British possessions. In the neutral markets in 1895 we exported 3½ millions of woollen goods. In 1907 we exported £6,700,000, again an increase of £3,000,000. When we come to the British possessions the tale is the same. There our increase has been from 4¼ millions to 8½, or again an increase of 4¼ millions. In every one of these cases of exports of manufactures upon which we give employment to our people, the Prime Minister's statement that we have been able to leap the walls is not true, and the only places where we have been able to maintain our trade are in those neutral markets where we compete on fair terms or in British possessions. It can also be shown why, as regards the new tariffs which are raised to-day, they are all being put up so as to hit and hurt the country against whom they are set up. Take Portuguese East Africa. There, in regard to the mineral water trade, they are also revising their tariff. On Apollinaris water there used to be a duty of 7d. per 20s. worth. It is now put up to £1 11s. 9d., and we have no single weapon by which we could ask them to reduce those tariffs or come to terms giving us, an advantage for some other trade.
§ Mr. GOULDING
It is a British company. The hon. Member makes an interruption which is not apropos at all. The very claim of the hon. Member is that our people here should do as much over-sea 365 trade as they can, and if the trade is carried on by a British company it must be the over-sea trade which they are boasting of having. But, at all events, in every one of these cases I have shown, and I challenge contradiction, that we have been unable to jump over these tariff walls and that they have prevented us getting our goods into the market. Free importers say it is one of two things. If we adopt tariffs either we will raise revenue, or, if we do not, we may make the goods, but it is certain that we shall damage our export trade. I prefer facts to theories, and, fortunately, we have a return made by the present Government in answer to the hon. Member for Dulwich which will prove the contrary case. Germany, about 30 years ago. altered her fiscal system, and a return has been given in regard to her exports as compared with ours in the two cycles for '83 to '86, and from '93 to '96.
§ Comparing these two cycles, we have only increased our excess of export, of manufactures by £2,000,000, while Germany has increased by no less than £60,000,000. I have never seen any single Member attempt to answer or deal with these facts, which blow to the winds all their statements that if you impose a tariff you damage your export trade, because it is conclusively proved that Germany, having erected that tariff, has not damaged her export trade, but has increased it by £60,000,000 against our £2,000,000. What Tariff Reformers want is such a change in our system of tariffs as will secure in our home markets at all events equal treatment for the manufactures of our own people with the manufactures of foreigners. At the present time it is the lowest estimate that 12 per cent. must, be added to the cost of the goods we produce to meet the charge for rates and taxes which are levied. That is to say, in simpler language, over 2s. in the pound is burdening all the goods raised in this country by British workmen.
§ Is not it only fair and reasonable that we should ask the goods of foreigners coming into our markets and using our ports to share that burden and pay an equal share of the rates and taxes that handicap the people at home. I support Tariff Reform because I believe it will safeguard the industries of this country upon which the vast majority of our people depend. I do not believe that this country can ever sustain its present population by being merely the Carter Patersons, the patchers and menders and repairers; of other people's goods. If we are to main- 366 tain our people in this country we must maintain them as they have lived in the past, as men engaged, in earning their livelihood in manufacturing articles which they are able to produce. I also maintain, and I have never seen reason to alter my opinion, that under fair conditions and with fair terms the British workman of to-day is able to do his work as well as any workman on the face of the earth. Lastly, I support Tariff Reform because I believe that free imports leads to Little-Englandism and Tariff Reform leads to a great Empire, and I have never hesitated on the platform and in the Constituency which I represent, in which 90 per cent. of the people are working-class people, to put clearly and unmistakably before them what we mean by Tariff Reform. I know full well that the masses of our country are as keen and earnest in their desire for the British Empire as those who are possessed of riches, and I have the absolute and confident belief that no craven fears that a small expenditure may be put on this article or that article is going to deter them from securing to themselves and their descendants a united and confederated Empire.
§ Sir W. BRAMPTON GURDON
The agricultural side of this question has not yet been put before the House. When the matter of Tariff Reform was first brought forward by the right hon. the Member for West Birmingham he issued a leaflet, which told us that his plan of solution by Colonial preference would so stimulate the growth of agricultural produce that prices would fall in every direction. Since then we have had the Member for Grimsby, the Member for Dulwich and other Members of that type pointing out that agricultural produce would be made cheaper by this plan of Tariff Reform. The right hon. Member for Dover made one observation which I do not like to pass over without comment as to the difference between emigration from this country and emigration from Germany. I am not sure that his life has permitted him to see much of the Colonies, but I think anyone who has seen a great deal of the British Colonies and how well they are governed, and has also had an opportunity of visiting the German colonies and seeing how they are governed will not be in the least at a loss to understand why our enterprising young men are ready to go out to our Colonies—which after all are a portion of the British Empire—and the young men from Germany are not at all anxious to go out to the German colonies.
§ We farmers have lately hoped that we saw the dawn of a better day. We had a very bad time for a lengthened period. We have lately been getting what cannot be called more than a fair price, certainly not an excessive price. Prices have fluctuated greatly. Sometimes one thing is up and something else is down. At the present moment beef is a very good trade and mutton is shockingly bad, but pork is improving. On the whole, in the last two or three years we have made a living, but the consequence is the Tariff Reform League has been crying out against us, and has been pointing out that if we had adopted Colonial preference, then instead of the price of wheat having gone up it would have fallen. It just touched 30 shillings a quarter last week. Nobody can say that that is an excessive price. There is no complaint by the working man and no complaint by the agricultural labourer. We have never asked for Protection, and I do not think that the best class of British farmers ever would ask for Protection They do not wish to have dear food, dear bread and meat. If restrictive legislation were introduced to make the produce of the farmers higher in price artificially, I think we should feel really that we were sucking the life-blood out of the people. If I were a Protectionist I should be rather inclined to back up the farmers of Dorset, who passed a resolution that if we are to be protected, then the people we want to be protected from are our own Colonies. But, on the other hand, as we do not ask for any legislation which will make the prices of agricultural produce dearer, I think we are entitled to ask that legislation should not be passed to make it cheaper, and that we should be allowed to take advantage of any casual chance of fortune which arises from the natural laws of supply and demand.
§ If the prices of food became cheaper by the natural laws of supply and demand we should have no right to complain, and we should not complain; but if legislation is introduced to make what we produce artificially cheaper—and that is the whole point of the thing—then we should have the very worst form of Socialism. If these plans were so carried out that they were able to keep corn at a lower price than 30s. a quarter it would be perfectly impossible to pay for labour and rates and taxes—to say nothing about rent—and to keep the land in good heart, and in that condition of things a vast area of land would be thrown out of cultiva- 368 tion, and a vast number of agricultural labourers would be thrown out of employment. That is a prospect that I cannot view without the greatest alarm. Perhaps I agree more with the right hon. Member for Preston than most other Members of the House do, but I feel that there are different forms of Socialism, and that there are some forms of Socialism which are too daring, and some which are impracticable, and as to which one cannot at the same time help feeling that they are, at all events, brought forward with good intentions. But Tariff Reform means a Socialism which is agitated for by those who imagine that their own particular industry requires protection, and who lose sight of the fact that if it is fairly imposed, all other goods will be made dearer in the same way. That is a form of Socialism which I shall oppose as long as I am in this House, and I shall oppose it in the country as long as I am there.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I have listened practically to the whole of the debate on this most interesting question, and I think the Under-Secretary to the Local Government Board must by this time have recognised that this debate was not a question of humour or fun, but that it is a serious debate of the utmost importance to the country. I was very pleased to hear from the hon. Member opposite that he placed no reliance upon the statistics of unemployment in foreign countries and in America. My only regret is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not in his place to hear that remark, because he said last night that there were 50 per cent. of unemployed in the United States.
§ Mr. C. E. PRICE
He did not say that. The Chancellor of the Exchequer quoted from a speech which stated that capital was leaving the country, and the statement he made was something that was said by a banker.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I heard the speech made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and as he is not in his place to contradict what I say, I do not think I need to treat the hon. Member's interruption very seriously.
§ Mr. C. E. PRICE
The speech from which the Chancellor of the Exchequer quoted was one made by the Chairman of Lloyd's Bank. I sent the report of that meeting to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who simply quoted from it.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I do not think the Chairman of Lloyd's Bank made such a statement. However, I have here some- 369 thing that is reliable, and I will call the attention of the House to it. I have here a letter from Mr. Whitelaw Reid, the United States Ambassador in this country, which is dated December 8th, 1908, in which he replies to the statements made about unemployment in America. Ho writes:—All our recent news tends to confirm the belief that the unemployed now is far less than it was six months ago, but I had no idea that, even at the worst, it approached those figures. It is also certain that the suffering whilst unemployment lasted was less than under similar circumstances elsewhere, since the prevailing rate of wages were so high that practically every workman who desired to lay up something for an emergency had had ample facilities for doing so.That letter was published in the "Daily Telegraph." As a rule I do not pay much attention to the statistics of other countries. I am not one of those hon. Members who have visited Germany and the United States, and with a microscope endeavoured to find an unemployed man and then gloat over the fact. The question we have to consider is not the state of unemployment in other countries, but in this country. We are told by hon. Members sitting on the opposite benches that unemployment is not of a temporary character, but that it is chronic.
§ The late Prime Minister told us about 13 millions of people who were on the verge of starvation, and we have heard of the state of unemployment since. It is because the remedies which have been put forward by Radical speakers on the other side have been found to be utterly delusive, and not in any way whatever leading to a remedy for this state of unemployment, that Tariff Reform is making the progress which it is undoubtedly making in the country at the present time. Notwithstanding the fact that hon. Members opposite are continually ridiculing Tariff Reform and the remedies we propose in this House, when they appeal to the country we invariably find that the Tariff Reformer wins and the Free Trader goes to the wall. And can we be surprised at that. The Liberal mountain has been in labour, and what has it brought forward for this state of affairs. Simply a mouse in the shape of labour exchanges. Is that proposal going to find work for one man who is out of employment? Is it going to bring a single order for a ship to any of our dockyards, or a single order for any other manufactures of this country?
§ Mr. RENWICK
May I call the attention of the President of the Board of Trade to a few extracts I have with me? 370 I have heard the right hon. Gentleman call our proposals quack remedies, but find he calls his own remedies pills. Let me give some of the ingredients of one of his pills. I am going to quote from one of the speeches he has made since he sat on the other side of the House. [An OPPOSITION MEMBER: "He has changed all his opinions."] The right hon. Gentleman said that the ingredients of his pill were thrift, a greater development of the land, and a more scientific organisation of industry. He suggested the lacing the world with telegraphs and railways, carrying the water in tunnels under the land, and the raising on every hand of the monuments of industry. That speech was made on the 27th January, 1905. The Government has been three years in office, and what has it done to carry out or to give effect to the ingredients of that pill.
§ Is it not a fact, instead of lacing the country with telegraphs and carrying the water in the tunnels—[MINISTERIAL laughter]—that we still have more unemployment than in the year 1905? Only recently the President of the Board of Trade visited my Constituency, and he used some very strong language. He referred to Tariff Reformers as idiotic, and only a night or two ago from the Treasury Bench he referred to our proposals for Tariff Reform and Preference as impertinent. I think it is extremely strong language. But is it justified, is it right to refer to Tariff Reformers and those representatives of our Colonies who came over here and advocated a similar policy as idiotic? Is it statesmanlike to refer to those gentlemen as idiotic and impertinent because they made similar proposals to those which we are now putting forward?
I venture to say that it is not statesmanship. I go further, and say it is not forwarding the cause which the right hon. Gentleman is so very ready to go down to various Constituencies and to condemn upon our side and to offer his own pills. We lament the unemployed, and we believe the cause of unemployment is very largely due to the operation of foreign tariffs. I want to put it to the right hon. Gentleman, and I believe it is the crux of the whole question: Do these tariffs put against our goods by foreign countries and by our Colonies — do they do us harm or not? If they do us harm, then I maintain it is our duty to try and get rid of that which does us harm. Will the new French tariff do us harm or not? If the right hon. Gentleman believes that it is not going to do us harm let him rise in his place and say so.
If he thinks so, then his belief will be at variance with the opinions of the great commercial classes as represented by the Chambers of Commerce. Let me first refer to one or two opinions of the right hon. Gentleman himself in regard to this matter. He wrote a letter to the "Daily Telegraph," and said:
There is no doubt that the tariff walls which foreign nations put up against our goods do a very great deal of harm.
Those are the words of the right hon. Gentleman:—
And if they would pull their walls down, and do unto us freely and fairly as we do unto them, our trade would become much better, and so would their trade.
§ There is a direct admission by the right hon. Gentleman that these tariffs do us harm.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I have not anything further. But the date of the letter is 17th August, 1903. I am sure I have given a very considerable extract from it. Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer last night accused us of going down into the Constituencies—he said, for instance, that when we go into Wales, where the slate trade is bad, we tell the people that for the benefit of the trade we are going to put a tax upon slates, and that if we go into a part of the country where the building trade is bad we have nothing to say about slates. Some of our Friends may advocate a duty upon slates when in Wales. In doing that they are not very different to the leaders on the other side. The Foreign Secretary went into Wales to the Carnarvon district. There is a tinplate trade there. [Cries of "No, no," and "It is a day's journey."] It is not very far from Carnarvon. He said:—The tin plate trade no doubt was injured by the M'Kinley Tariff, but since then it had been partly revived by the opening of new markets, and partly by increased consumption due to the expansion of the jam trade.
A responsible statesman tells us when we find one-half of our trade gone that we have to look for expansion in other directions, and especially in the jam trade. Another Member, who is an honoured neighbour of mine in Northumberland, said:—
He was aware that the customs barriers of other countries were an impediment to free exchange, and that these high duties to some extent closed the front door to trade; but it was wonderful how many side and back doors there were for things to go in and out when the front door was closed.
It is extremely humiliating for this great country, after 60 years' practice of Free Trade, and admitting the products of other countries into this country free, to be told that we have to go into markets
by the back door. I would rather demand and endeavour to force myself in at the front door by Tariff Reform. But I will give you a more modern quotation from one of our leading statesmen. The Under-Secretary for the Home Department was addressing very recently a Chamber of Commerce, and I find that in speaking to such a body hon. Gentlemen speak in a rather different tone to that which they adopt when addressing a political audience. They have to be rather more cautious, because they know they are talking to business men. He said at Middlesburgh Chamber of Commerce:—
No free trader would seek for a moment to deny that the protective tariffs of other countries were a serious hindrance to our trade in this country, but probably they were of advantage on the whole to our trade in neutral markets.
There you have another statement from a leading statesman that these tariffs do us harm. Surely, in face of statements like these, we are justified in saying that if these tariffs do us harm that we should do something to get rid of them as soon as possible. We have heard in this House about the relative progress of the export trade of this country and of Germany and the United States. Speaking upon that subject, the same gentleman acknowledged that in some branches our trade had declined, and that our progress as a whole compared unfavourably with the export trade of our chief industrial rivals, Germany and the United States. There is the important admission that Germany and the united States, in spite of their Protection, are making more progress in their export trade than we are. Yet I have been told that it was only a question of time when these countries would be ruined, and that they could not compete with us in the neutral markets. I have seen that that statement was not true. The late Lord Goschen told the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce in calling attention to the enormous progress Germany had made as a manufacturing nation, that Germany only started her career as a manufacturing nation with the money she received as the war indemnity from France in 1872. That progress had enabled her to produce at the present time more pig-iron and steel than we do. That has enabled her to employ practically the whole of her people, and not only the whole of her people but the people from the neighbouring province Poland and contiguous countries. I travelled through Germany last year in a motor-car so that I might see the country. I spent 30
days on the journey, which enabled me to see something of the land and people. At one place I saw men working in brick-yards, and I was told that they were Poles and not Germans, that Germans would not work in the brick-yards. I asked why, and was informed that they had better employment for the German people on the land.
During the course of this debate we have heard something about paying taxes on corn. We heard a good deal about that formerly, but it has no terrors for us now. The House will remember that during the career of the late Unionist Government there was a tax of a shilling a quarter upon corn imported into this country. Who advocated a policy of that description? The right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Trade, who supported this tax. I have his remarks here, taken from the Official Report. He explained why he supported it, and he recommended the people to adopt the tax. He said:—
I shall support it because I believe that there is a general concensus of opinion that it is the best financial expedient that could be adopted, because it is a brave and honest act of policy, having regard to the permanent welfare of the nation and not merely to the transient popularity of a political party, and also because it is a tax which is efficient, economical, and highly productive.
There we have the reason why the right hon. Gentleman advocated and supported that tax. I cannot see, if that was so then, why it should be extremely wrong, as right hon. and hon. Members tell us it would be, if it were imposed now.
I have something to say to Members of the Labour party here. I should have no fear in saying it on any platform in this country, and I have said it over and over again many times, as hon. Members are aware, in the great industrial centres of the North of England, it is that I believe it is utterly inconsistent in the Labour party, the North of England, that I believe It is utterly inconsistent in the Labour party, who are all advocates of Trade Unionism, and who arbitrarily fix the hours of work and the amount of wages, that they should admit goods free into this country to come into competition with labour here, which goods they tell us are made by men working longer hours for less wages. I believe it will be found that as trade unions endeavour to raise the rate of wages to a higher level, so that there will be greater ratio between the wages paid here and the wages paid in Germany. instead of having a decrease of unemployed, we will have an increase. Formerly we had Protection in this country against foreign manufacturers in the cost of
freight; but owing to the advance that has been made in navigation, we no longer have that protection, and now goods are carried from Germany, and from France, and from Belgium into the Port of London and other principal ports of this country at the low rate of 3s., 4s., and 5s. a ton. Only last week I got half a ton of anthracite coal from Swansea sent to my place, and I had to pay the railway company £1 0s. 6d. for carriage; at the same time a ton of coal from the Tyne to Hamburg, cost 3s. 3d. freight. Therefore, I commend specially to Labour Members the point that they no longer have the protection arising from the cost of freights. Then as to imports paying for exports. To a certain extent they do, but I maintain that in a manufacturing country we want to have our exports as far as possible consisting of manufactured goods. I know from experience that every man who has served his apprenticeship to be a fitter, a joiner, carpenter, riveter, or plater, or blacksmith, expects to be employed only in the trade in which he served his apprenticeship. He goes further: he will not condescend to seek work in any other trade, and if any other man not of his trade attempts to find work in his particular industry he looks upon him as a blackleg and usurper. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we should increase the trade in our manufactures. We have heard some political economists quote from standard works on this matter. I give one quotation from Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations." He treated upon this very subject, and he said:—
It would, indeed, be more advantageous for England that it could purchase the wines of France with its own hardware and broadcloth, than with either the tobacco of Virginia or the gold and silver of Brazil and Peru. A direct foreign trade of consumption is always more advantageous than a roundabout one.
§ I think that shows that even political economists like Adam Smith recognise the importance to a manufacturing country of sending as many manufactures as possible out of it, and it is because we believe that by a system such as we Tariff Reformers advocate by putting import duties upon those manufactures that are sent into this country from foreign countries, not as right hon. Gentlemen think with a view to keeping them out altogether; no, we do not want to keep them out altogether, we want them to come in under fair conditions; and we want to be able to say to them, "if you put taxes on our goods with the avowed intention of preventing them going into your country, we are going to retaliate." There is no more popular point that can be put before an audi- 375 ence at the present time than that. Men are smarting from the unfairness. We suffer at a time when we have this great mass of unemployment and when we recognise that those tariff walls are doing us harm and preventing the expansion of trade. I am not surprised that Tariff Reform is making progress, not only making progress, but also on the still greater question of preferential trade with our Colonies.
§ I believe if we could only carry out that great policy as it ought to be, and will be, carried out, then we will see such an expansion of the shipping trade as we have never seen in the past. I was asked by an hon. Member who did not wait for the reply how I thought our policy would benefit shipping as a whole. I believe it would benefit our shipping in this way. The trading between this country and near Continental countries is carried on by very small steamers, many of them 20, 30 and 40 years old, still carrying on that trade. Our Colonies are nearly all situated at great distances from the Mother Country, and all the trade with them and the neutral markets of South America, Japan, China, and India are carried on in large vessels. The problem set to the shipbuilder was how to carry the goods long distances at the same rate as the smaller vessels carried the goods short distances. The shipbuilder solved the problem by building a larger ship, as we have seen our long distance trades expand, shipbuilding increased, and I believe if we could carry out this policy it would still further increase the shipbuilding trade.
§ Mr. J. M. ROBERTSON
If I understood aright the closing passage of the hon. Member for Newcastle he looks for an expansion of our trade by abandoning that with the near countries, and to a great expansion between this country and the far-off countries. I am not surprised at that, as it is part of the theory of the maximum production. The old theory used to be that if you made two blades of grass grow where one grew formerly you were a benefactor of mankind. The new theory seems to be, if you cause two hands to do what one hand used to do, you will also be a benefactor of mankind. The only other relevant point is that with retaliation we can force other countries to lower their tariffs, but the hon. Member for Worcester and the hon. Member for Newcastle also agree that all the tariff countries in the world are constantly increasing the tariffs. They make two admissions, for 376 they know the countries go on raising the tariffs and refuse to yield at the pressure of the rest. If Tariff Reformers impose tariffs to protect, they have failed in other countries to do what they were adopted for. That is the case in France. They began there with two shillings on wheat; they always begin with two shillings, and in a short time they raised it in France to twelve shillings per quarter. Hon. Members say a great deal of expansion, but what has happened to the trade of France. They have tariffs on nearly everything and now they have two or three or four manufactures demanding higher tariffs, because the existing tariff does not even protect the home market. Leather and other important trades have gained nothing from tariffs.
§ It is perfectly true that there has never been in the whole history a case of successful retaliation which would come strictly within the definition. There was the apparent case between Brazil and Germany, but as coffee is not produced in Germany the principle does not arise. Then there was the tariff war between France and Italy, which lasted from 1890 to 1988. The two countries went on increasing their tariffs and the total loss of trade during the time is estimated, under-estimated, I think, at one hundred and twenty millions, while the trade remains at a lower figure than when they started, so that they are no better off than at the start. That is the true history of tariffs, and a sufficient answer to what has been said in this debate as to the value of retaliation. The fact is that those who talk in the country never think out the question of the policy of retaliation. They simply gratify their tempers.
§ As the hon. Member for Newcastle has said, it is extremely popular to go and say to an audience, "They are hitting you, won't you hit back." It is painfully popular, but that is not the fashion in which the destinies of a great and successful nation are to be conducted. We want a little sense and a little science. We have had some appeals to higher feeling. The right hon. the Member for Dover, in his very admirable speech, to which I am a little reluctant to refer in this respect, denied that there was any attempt to exploit the hardships of the people; I do not want to press it against such an advocate, but I would like to remind him that when one right hon. Gentleman avowed in the country that all they wanted for success is two bad winters you can scarcely wonder if people engaged in politics do say they are trading on the 377 hardships of the people. When this Tariff Reform movement was started I can remember nothing whatever being said about its being doing anything for unemployment. Many Members on this side were recognising unemployment as a standing evil, and were proposing to do something in regard to it, but it is only when other modes of appeal have comparatively failed that unemployment has come to the front on the other side.
§ The proposed tariff has been advocated successively on at least six different grounds. First of all, it was to knit the Empire together; then it was to increase our export trade; then to broaden the basis of taxation; then to make food cheaper; then retaliation, frequently; then to stop emigration; and then last year, when there was no net emigration, we must still have a tariff to cure unemployment. When the ground has shifted from year to year, from season to season, almost from speech to speech, hon. Members must expect to have it suggested that the whole movement is one of exploitation, and not one expressing any fixed conviction.
§ I wish to deal briefly with some of the suggestions of the right hon. Member for Dover as to the economic theory of the matter. The right hon. Gentleman, like many others, laid great stress on emigration as a proof that we are in a bad way. He will grant, I suppose, that last year, when there was practically no net emigration, we were not in a better way then we were the year before, when there was a great deal. So that emigration is a bad test from the first. But assuming that it is not, why does he not apply it in the case of Italy or Norway? The percentage of emigration from Italy has gone as high as 20 per cent. Is an emigration of 750 000 from protected Italy a proof of the failure of Protection?
§ Mr. J. M. ROBERTSON
I am glad to hear it. Take the case of Norway, where there is 12 per cent., also under Protection. Is that also an indication of the failure of Protection? As for the people going back, I believe they come back here, and a large part of our percentage of unemployment last year was due to the numbers that came back. But if they had to come back, it does not seem that there is any great advantage in living in a protected country anywhere. I suggest, therefore, that the emigration test breaks down.
§ The right hon. Gentleman put it to us, as 378 a criticism of the Free Trade idea that the proposals of the Government for dealing with unemployment are only to mitigate the evil after it arises, and that they would do nothing to check the fluctuations of trade. Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that the Protectionist policy of the United States does anything to check those fluctuations? It is precisely from the United States the present wave of depression set in. In three successive decades most desperate and deplorable waves of depression set in from the United States—in the eighties, in the nineties, and now in the new century#x2014;much bigger than were known anywhere else, and set the wave of depression going over the face of Europe. When the right hon. Gentleman urges us to adopt a Protectionist policy, does he imply that Protectionist countries do something to evade depression? Is Germany any better able to evade the wave of depression than we are? A year ago the streets of Berlin were filled with unemployed men, largely returned from the United States. We all want to-bring some principle of scientific control to bear gradually on the industries of the country, but the right hon. Gentleman has not given us the slightest reason for believing that that principle is to be found in Protection and tariffs.
§ I come now to the right hon. Gentleman's averages, which he frankly told us were by Mr. Holt Scholing. I will only say that Mr. Holt Scholing's averages are drawn for the express purpose of obscuring the whole facts. He draws cross-section averages, which no statistician has ever thought of doing before, which reveal nothing as to the history of trade, and the whole purpose is to confuse. But while on the question of figures, let me deal with a point where the right hon. Gentleman did seem for once to approach the fundamental issue as to the nature of trade. He made some such remark as this: "What happens when a man in this country invests money abroad?" I positively ached for the information. But his, argument was the most shameful nullity, in which the whole proposition was absolutely evaded. He said that the money would go in the form of a piece of paper which gave a claim to wealth to the people out there. But how is this claim to be realised? If it is done on a large scale and represents millions, how is it to be cashed; how is it to be utilised; how is it to be brought to bear?
§ The right hon. Gentleman said that if they want locomotives, this is the country they find it hardest to deal with 379 What a monstrous proposition! Any country in the world can buy a locomotive from this country at least as well as anywere else. Free Trade has never put any obstacle in the way of any country buying locomotives from us. The right hon. Gentleman, a little ashamed of the nullity of his own argument, relapsed into something like this: "Ultimately goods go." Yes, ultimately; but, why only ultimately Why not ad hoc? If the right hon. Gentleman had stated plainly what does happen, he would have dealt a smashing blow at all the argumentation of his own side as to the export of capital. The capital must go as goods. But with regard to this exportation of capital, the right hon. Member for East Worcestershire yesterday made what I understood to be an allegation that Germany is doing the same thing, that we no longer finance the Continent, but that Germany does. Does that mean that Germany is exporting capital, or does it not? I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman meant that, but it is the fact that, according to German statistics, she is exporting capital in large quantities. So that here the argument directed against Free Trade recoils against Protection. We have been told, and are still told, that a sign of our downward course is our large quantity of imports#x2014;the more your imports exceed your exports the worse the state of your trade. But it has been discovered lately that Germany is increasing her import's, so that the principle urged against Free Trade is the principle by which Protection is supported.
§ The right hon. Gentleman dealt with a fairly serious issue when he dealt with our cotton export trade, pointing out how large a portion of our exports it constituted, and suggesting that that export trade may one day be put in a bad case by changes in the East. Let us suppose that developments arise in the East as a result of which the present great market for cotton is affected. What is the right hon. Gentleman's remedy? Colonial preference. Has he seriously considered whether our cotton exports can go to the Colonies? Are the Canadians going to clothe themselves in cotton? Is he going to find a market in Australia? Therefore, you cannot get a market for your cottons in your Colonies, and that is one of the important points in the greatly-boomed Protectionist policy.
§ The right hon. Gentleman's remarks in regard to the price of French bread dealt 380 with a matter of detail, and they are only worth answering for the purpose of showing how misleading they are. French bread is as cheap as English bread only when there is such a large harvest as to enable them to feed the people of the country from that harvest. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman has ever kept house in France. I have, and I have had good reason to come into close contact with the question of economics in that way. French bread is yearly growing more dear as the result of this Protectionist policy. Very little has been said on that point in the debate, but it is worth noticing. In every Protectionist country the price of food is now becoming more and more intolerable and oppressive. It was stated in one of the Canadian journals not long ago that the increase had been 50 per cent. in ten years. There has been a vast increase in Germany, and the officials there admit that they will have to raise the salaries of the civil servants in order to enable them to meet the increase in the cost of living. To pay the higher salaries they will have to tax still higher those civil servants in respect of articles they consume. It was a common remark in Germany a few years ago that any man who dared to tax tobacco could say good-bye to public life. They are now going to tax the poor man's beer and tobacco. They are adding 27 millions to their taxation, and while they are doing all this with the view of adding to the stability of the country, not a word is said of the increasingly worse conditions of life in Germany. But really the Protectionist policy is practically bankrupt from the start. It is well to keep some of these economic theories in mind which are put forward by those highly important personages known as "the Confederates."
§ The hon. Member for Durham has the distinction of bringing an exceptional amount of candour to bear on these questions. On this point he was in agreement with his hon. Friends, and he had elaborated an argument to the effect that our industry is going from production to distribution, the whole basis for that being, as I think the right hon. Gentleman the member for Dover pointed out, that the number of persons employed in certain staple industries is not increasing. These are two totally different propositions, unless you are going to talk of that by applying the maxim that it is a good thing to make two hands do what one did before. It is said that while the increase in production in the cotton industry is gone, the increase in distribution is 381 always on the expansion. That the number of hands is not always increasing is a national gain, or a state of things that should be turned to national gain. Hon. Members want to revert perhaps to the old doctrine expressed in the advice, "Smash the machines."
§ On the other hand, the increase in employment given in matters of distribution is not the evil which hon. Members opposite seem to think. The fact is that there is a fundamental confusion here. As to the use of the term production, one would have thought that the fallacy with respect to productive and unproductive industry had been got rid of by McCulloch a hundred years ago. It was held at one time by some economists that the man who carried goods from here to there is not as truly producing the goods as the man who manufactures them. The word "produce" has unhappily tended to have a use by economists different from the real meaning. The word produce means to bring a thing forth here or there. Let me take as an illustration the case of coal production. According to the hon. Member for Durham the man who hacks coal out of the ground is a producer, and I suppose he would say that the process of production stops there. The pushers who bring it along the mine and those who raise it to the surface are not producers; they are only distributors.
§ If I am told that they are not carrying out the process of production, I reply that at the pit-mouth coal is worth very little. Coal is not produced until it is brought to the people who want to use it. The railway companies, the carters, and the whole service engaged in its distribution are as truly producers as the men who dig it in the mine. The increase in the kind of employment which is required for distribution is the result of the development of the civilisation under which you have great numbers of people living in towns throughout the country. The increase of the number engaged in distribution is not an evil. The object for which society exists is distribution. I suppose that all parties in the House claim to be in favour of an improvement in the distribution of wealth. I was glad to hear suggestions made from the Front Opposition Bench to the effect that some drastic Land Reform system will be part of their policy. One hon. Gentleman talked of the reform system of Stein and Hardenburg; but does he think that they would have approved of the land transactions in Ireland by which the people were put in possession of land at an enormous advantage to those 382 disposing of it? That was not the way Stein and Hardenburg put the people on the land in their country.
§ The Tariff Reformers appeal for proofs in favour of their policy to the cases of Germany and the United States. Why not cite evidence from all the protected countries? Why not cite Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Russia, where there are large populations, a large birth-rate, and all the rest of it? Why cite only Germany and the United States? Is it for the reason that these countries beat us in the iron supply, and that one of them beats us in coal? It is the possession of these factors which determine the expansion of these countries. The whole Tariff Reform case is throwing dust in the eyes of the people. They ought to be able to prove it without reference to the United States at all. [A laugh.] The hon. Member for Dulwich laughs. He knows something of economic facts. He has more knowledge of them than any of his colleagues, and more capacity for understanding them. I do not say that his capacity has been intelligently employed. He knows that it is the power to produce coal and iron that gives industrial advantage to Germany and the United States. The right hon Gentleman opposite spoke of the export of coal as deplorable—as regrettable in some fashion.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I do not wish to inrupt the hon. Member, but I have over and over again stated that coal is a good thing to export; but it is not so good when it is employed in manufactures which we ourselves can produce.
§ Mr. ROBERTSON
Then comes the question of iron. The hon. Member has expressly deplored the fact that we have exported iron. We were formerly in the front rank of exporters of iron, but are so no longer. The prosperity of one nation is dependent on the prosperity of other nations. We have been exporting machinery for 150 years. So far as it means the expansion of the wealth it has never been a source of injury to England. England will continue to prosper as long as the other nations prosper and as long as her destinies are conducted on sound economic lines.
I am bound to say that the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has not improved his speech by the epithets which he has hurled at his political opponents. I have heard him speak before on this and other subjects. He does not make the House generally more sympathetic with his arguments 383 when he thinks that everybody who differs from him is either an ignoramus or a fool.
§ The Amendment which we are now discussing has been called a fiscal Amendment, but the House must recollect that distinctly and avowedly it touches only a portion of that large question. The hon. Member seems to think that those interested in Fiscal Reform have only one argument. He says: "You are always changing your ground;" but is it not possible to have more than one argument in favour of Fiscal Reform? I should be extremely surprised if in a very complex problem the arguments for it should be embraced in the four corners of one single formula. To exclude ourselves from the sources of revenue seems to me to be absolutely defenceless; and that is an aspect of the question which will have to be considered when the Government produces their own scheme. We are not discussing now the Imperial aspects of the question, on the one hand, or the revenue aspects on the other.
§ The Amendment deals with the question of trade and employment. It will be admitted that every speech delivered on this side or the other has been occupied with the question of trade employment and the markets. The Amendment raises the question of trade, markets, and employment, and that is only one object in the controversy. It is the one to which I will confine my attention this afternoon.
§ I think we must approach this question having clearly in our minds the view that if this country is to grow in population, in wealth, and in prosperity, as I hope it will for many generations, the greater part of that growth must, from mere questions of area and size, be a growth of manufactures. Agriculture is in a depressed condition. I hope much may be done for agriculture in the years to come, but whatever you do for agriculture—if every particle of land in the three kingdoms was cultivated up to the highest capacity, it nevertheless remains true that the land capable of cultivation is a limited area, and therefore, if we look forward to growth and expansion it must be a manufacturing growth and expansion, and it will also, I think, be admitted that if it is to be an expansion of that character an outlet for our products in foreign markets from which, from necessity, so much of what we depend upon is imported is an absolute necessity. It is from that point of view that we must approach this question, and not merely from the point of view of unemployment. Never- 384 theless, unemployment stands in the forefront of the problem as presented this afternoon. In connection with that let me say that in my opinion economists have been wrong, or, at all events, have been misleading, when they derided, as they used at one time to deride, the idea that you ought to approach these economic problems of foreign trade from the point of view of the consumer and never from the point of the producer.
§ It used to be thought, and it is still thought by platform economists, that the man who even suggests that we ought to look at the problems of trade and market as a problem of finding employment for the population of this country is a man who is merely in darkness, and is a man who does not really understand the problems of national wellbeing at all, and that what he ought to be considering is not whether the population of this country ought to be in a position to earn anything, but whether when they have earned something they can buy what they desire at the cheapest possible rate. I quite admit that the two problems are indissolubly associated. I admit that you cannot forget the consumer, and it is folly to forget the producer and the need of the population in a national workshop like ours. We cannot treat the inhabitants of that national workshop as if the necessity for getting work is not one of the main necessities they have to consider. Of course, it is one of the main necessities, and I think economists have done a very ill service to the real consideration of this problem when they have thrown that aspect of the question too much into the background.
§ There is one other complaint I have to make against—not the modern economists who, whether they belong to the Free Trade section, or any other section of political feeling, are not guilty of the crime which I charge to some predecessors, the older economists, who always illustrated their Free Trade doctrines by examples drawn from the case in which a country through the aid of heavy protective duties was induced or driven to produce things for which it was naturally ill-fitted, with the result, of course, that those who had to consume them had to pay for them an excessive price. If anybody will take the trouble to look at the old literature on the subject they will find that almost all the illustrations are of that kind. I do not think that these are really instructive illustrations. I do not at all deny that there may have been such cases and that perhaps there are such cases even now—I 385 suspect there are—in which countries put on preposterous duties to keep out goods which can be much better produced else-where, not merely because the industry of the other country where the goods have been produced has always produced them, but because climatic and other considerations make the production much easier in that country.
§ Of course, it is great folly to try and make a country produce artificially that which it cannot produce so well as another country, instead of producing that in which it appears it has an advantage. What are the conditions of modern industry? They are far more now than perhaps they ever were before a condition of relative equality between nations, and even where there is an inequality it is very often an inequality merely the result of habit and practice, of custom and trade routes, and so forth. All the modern economists, at any rate Professor Marshall, in a paper which the Government might study with advantage and which they have laid on the Table of the House—Professor Marshall throws over the old school of economists and praises far more highly than I should be disposed to do the practice of stimulating industries by the imposition of tariffs.
§ I do not say that is wrong, but I think the unqualified praise given to it by Professor Marshall goes rather further than my old-fashioned orthodoxy would suggest to be sound or desirable. It certainly would have given a fit to the economists of thirty or forty years ago, and, as Professor Marshall himself, I think, observed in an article I saw in the "Economic Journal" many years ago—he points out, and I think quite truly, that the difference between the professional economists, whether they be Tariff Reformers or Free Traders, is far less than the difference between the Free Trade economist and his Free Trade followers and the difference between the Tariff Reform economist and his followers, though the Tariff Reformers differ far less among themselves as to the question we are discussing than some of us do across the floor of this House. Just consider the consequences of the state of things which I have endeavoured to describe to the House. If you have a series of countries, many countries, two countries if you will, equally equipped, equally suitable for a particular industry, it is a mere balance—almost an accidental balance—as to which country will produce and as to which country will obtain the advantage of production.
§ I understand the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down sees no advantage in 386 one country producing it rather than another—for instance, in British capital being used to produce foods for British consumption in Argentina or Kamschatka than in its being used in England to produce the same goods. That is an amazing doctrine. I said something on the first night of the Debate with regard to the evils that happen to the community in my opinion by the export of capital which may be used in this country. The Prime Minister replied to me by saying that the more capital that was exported the better he liked it, and long might the process continue. Of course, no one denies that when you have found occupation for the population of your own soil it is a very great advantage to have capital, and if it cannot be usefully used within the limits of your own country to export it to other countries which will benefit, and I am not one of those who believe—I do not think anyone does believe—that the advantage which another country enjoys is necessarily a disadvantage to your own country, though I think the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down spent a considerable time in refuting it. The error is one which I do not think anyone holds. But surely while these admissions, if they be admissions, may readily be made by anyone holding my opinions on Fiscal Reform, surely to say it is just as well that capital should be exported as that it should remain at home, because if it is exported it will mean a demand for British goods precisely the same, as I understand the Prime Minister, as if it remained at home, is a paradox which is absolutely contrary to theory, to common sense, and to the universal belief of mankind.
§ I am sure the Prime Minister when he comes to think it over will not agree with that. If that view be really correct, the war indemnity paid by France to Germany was just as good for France when it went to found and then to stimulate the great growth of Germany as an industrial nation as if it had remained at home. That is really a preposterous doctrine. I can put no other interpretation upon the right hon. Gentleman's reply to me, when I conveyed that the Government, partly by what they have said and partly by what they have refused to do, have helped to unwholesomely swell the flood of British capital which is now leaving these shores, some of which, at all events, might, I should have thought, be advantageously used in this country. That it will be observed brings me directly to the point of unemployment.
It is admitted, on all hands, that there
are skilled workers in this country—and I do not necessarily mean by that Trades Unionists: I mean that there are branches of skilled labour in what are described as the lower branches of labour that also deserve the name of skilled, and I do not wish to draw any distinction of that kind—but it is admitted that there is a large amount of skilled labour which is not finding any employment. They ask for wages and they do not get it. They ask for employment and they do not receive it. The question really before us is this: Is there in our present fiscal system, especially taken in relation with the fiscal system of other countries, anything which aggravates that undoubted evil? I say clearly that there is. Take two countries near each other, equally united for a particular manufacture, equally producing for themselves a particular class of goods. Changes arise; a period of depression comes; the production has to be diminished when there is not the same demand at the moment, in the trough of the wave, for the particular commodity that there was when times were more prosperous. One of these countries, we will say, has a tariff, and the other has Free Trade. When times were prosperous, both countries have been supposed to be equally capable of producing the article, and the tariff is a matter of indifference. When the bad time comes, when production has to be diminished, which country is likely to suffer more? It seems to me clear as a matter of theory that the advantage in that case will be on the side of the country which has the tariff, and not on the side of the country which has not the tariff. In the country which has the tariff the manufacturers look forward as well as they can to the kind of demand which is to be made on them and to their markets, and they say to themselves:—
We will build our mills upon a scale that will supply our country adequately in good times, and in bad times we shall, no doubt, suffer, but we shall be able to put our surplus produce in the neighbouring Free Trade market at a price, it may be, that will not pay interest on our capital, but that will enable us to keep our hands and not dissipate the staff, and to keep our machinery running on the whole and to pour out our surplus produce in bad times upon this open market.
§ But how about the manufacturer in the other country when bad times come? What is he going to do? He has got no open market into which he can pour under like conditions his surplus produce. On the contrary, just when things are going worst with him, he finds himself subjected to the competition of those who under the system of tariffs have made their whole 388 scheme of production on the ground that they have a method of dealing with their surplus products when the inevitable moment—a passing moment perhaps, but inevitable—comes, and their market will not take all the goods that they produce. It may be said that that is a very abstract way of putting it.
§ I have not joined, and I do not propose to join, in the battle over facts and figures, because I think they are inevitable. I think this state of things is singularly unsatisfactory, because we all admit the complexity and number of causes which produce any single economic effect; it is always possible and usually right to say that so-and-so says such an effect is due to such-and-such a cause, but you will always find that there is this and that other contributory cause which must be taken into account. The hon. Member who has just sat down thinks the German workman's lot is getting worse under Protection.
§ Mr. J. M. ROBERTSON
I said it had been worse for the last few years. I do not mean it was always worse. What I do say is that the cost of living in Germany has risen within the last few years.
I thought the hon. Member was trying to show that the lot of the German workman was worse under Protection than it was before. Every book I have ever read and every statement of authority which I have ever read takes exactly the opposite view.
§ Mr. ROBERTSON
It is solely a question of years. In former years the cost was less, but during the last five years the cost of living in Germany has been increasing.
I mention that fact not with a view of entering into a conflict, but because I think it is desirable to put this argument into a form which does not depend upon quarrelling over the statistics of this or that particular year or average or country. If I have been obliged to put a rather dry or abstract argument, I am convinced it will not have been lost if the House appreciates the point I am putting, which is that we have not got to consider now any system by which this or other countries force themselves artificially to produce things which they can produce, but a system under which a great family of communities are all competing with each other for their own market, or for mutual markets, some of them equally well equipped for the task. It is indisputable that those countries which have put on a 389 tariff have given a stability to their industries which our industries do not possess. That is not Protection in the sense in which it used to be taught in the old books of political economy, in which the idea was that Protection stimulated an industry which ought not to grow in a place unsuited for its purpose.
§ I have now dealt with certain aspects of the Question in which I think Fiscal Reform will help unemployment and trade in the Home market. And now I come to the external markets. The old economic theory used to be that a country which was foolish enough to put import duties upon its goods which had to compete with goods coming from Free Trade sources in neutral markets would put itself at a hopeless disadvantage. I do not think any economist takes that view. I think that has gone with many of the other doctrines in the natural process of the growth of knowledge on economic theory. Everybody now knows—some manufacturers to their cost—that in the neutral markets, many countries, many even in the very goods in which they are protected, are the most formidable, and sometimes the most successful, competitors with which we have to deal. I do not think that broad proposition will be denied, and that is all I want to put before the House. We have to absolutely abandon the view that the mere fact that a foreign exporting country because is has put on a protective duty on a particular commodity is therefore at any disadvantage in the neutral market.
§ I come to the neutral markets to sell. I think that my right hon. Friend the Member for Dover made a very important point when he told us to-day how much the actual neutral markets in which our goods now have free access are due simply and solely to Governmental Executive action in this country. But there are large areas over which, of course, we have no authority. Our Colonies are among them. Our Colonies are our sister States, claiming, and rightly claiming, exercising, and rightly exercising, as absolute freedom on fiscal regulations as that which we claim for ourselves. Yet there is not a man in this House, no matter what his views on Fiscal Reform may be, who, if he were told that in the future these Colonies, in the exercise of their undoubted rights, were giving preference to other nations against the Mother Country, and that instead of finding in our Colonies the best of our markets in proportion to the population, fiscal regulations were modifying the flow of 390 our trade, there is not a man who would not say that it was the biggest disaster that could happen.
§ On this subject of Colonial preference I am bound to say that the critics have not shown themselves in possession of anything like so good a case. I was an advocate of Colonial Preference, and would have liked to see a 2s. duty on imported corn, before the fiscal controversy arose at all in this country. But surely since that time events have occurred which must have brought home to every human being who has studied the question; firstly, the immense advantage we have derived from preference; secondly, the immense advantage we may derive; and, thirdly, the danger that all these advantages may be lost by the folly of delay. My noble Friend, the Member for Marylebone, in the most interesting speech which he made yesterday, explained to us that while he was, up to a certain point a Fiscal Reformer, he could not see his way, and never had been able to persuade himself, or be persuaded by others, that colonial preference can help the stability of the Empire, or could be of any general advantage to the Empire, commercially or otherwise. I confess I listened to that statement of my noble Friend with the greatest surprise. Really it can be put into a nutshell.
§ I say the Colonies desire to give us the benefit of their trade, and that is not a mere paper expression; it is their wish, their practical desire, as they have shown. Nobody will deny that. The second proposition, which nobody will deny, is that the result of this preference has been of great advantage to British trade. That certainly will not be denied by any Fiscal Reformer on this side of the House, and it is not denied by the Government, who have vehemently opposed the whole policy of Colonial preference. The third proposition is that the Colonies are ardently desirous that we should imitate their example, and that not with any minute sub-divisions of our preference between the different Colonies, but that, with a broad spirit of Imperial good fellowship, we should join with them in this policy of preference for our mutual advantage. For the life of me I cannot see what the danger of that policy may be. I have no more power of predicating the future than any member of the House; we may be mistaken; the future may have a development for us that we do not susepct and do not know of; but surely of all possible courses the course of joining in co-operation and in harmony with the Colonies, in 391 doing that which the Colonies desire, unless there be strong reason to the contrary, will be best for the Empire as a whole. Some hon. Gentleman referred to the fact that we lost the American Colonies through our fiscal policy 150 years ago. We lost the American Colonies because we did not do what they wanted us to do. But I cannot conceive how it would be endangering the Colonies to do what they want us to do. The Colonies are not so unreasonable as to ask us to do that which we think contrary to our interests. What is pertinent to this debate is that undoubtedly Colonial preference will do that which I set out by saying is an imperious necessity of our existing situation—a necessity which is becoming more imperious as we grow in population.
§ I now come to our external markets. Colonial preference is going to help us in these external markets. At all events, if it will not give us Free Trade with the Colonies, it will give us freer trade. How anyone can look otherwise than with sympathy upon a plan which from the point of view of Free Trade and from the Imperial point of view is a step in the direction of Free Trade, giving effect to the desire for markets for employment, I am utterly unable to conceive. There is only one other point which has perhaps more to do with charges against the party to which I belong than with the actual merits of the policy which I desire to see carried out, and which I must touch upon before I sit down. My noble Friend in the speech to which I have referred told us in language which was admirably chosen, moderate in character, and I think most impressive, that it was dangerous for the party of which he and I are both members that promises should be made and expectations held out which events will show cannot be fulfilled, or may not be fulfilled.
§ I do not deny for a moment that on this, like on other occasions, honest expectations may have been raised by ardent Fiscal Reformers which will act in excess. Why do I say that? I have never known a case in my whole life in which a great cause has been advocated ardently and passionately in which some of its advocates have not seen occurrences which the cold and critical hand of time has proved to be illusive. I think that is true. I myself dislike exaggeration. I think, considering the training in which I have spent all the best years of my life, I dislike exaggeration 392 too much. I envy sometimes the President of the Board of Trade, who is going to follow me, and perhaps to reply to me, I envy the President of the Board of Trade for that happy, happy facility for violent and extreme language, partly the result, I dare say, of his assiduous education, but for which I think he must have some natural aptitude. I can only say upon this subject of exaggeration that I do not believe that any responsible Gentleman of the party has ever suggested that the whole problem of unemployment could be solved by Fiscal Reform. I certainly have never given countenance to that at all.
I happened to be in Bournemouth in the spring, and I was reading an important Radical journal called the "Morning Leader," which day by day put in as a warning against Tariff Reform this kind of advertisement:—
Professor Hewins, Secretary to the Tarriff Commission, speaking at Eastbourne, denied that any responsible Tariff Reformer ever said Tariff Reform would provide work for all.
Mr. Chaplin, speaking at Hastings, said he had never said Tariff Reform would mean work for all.
Mr. Austen Chamberlain, speaking in the House of Commons, made no claim that Fiscal Reform would prove a cure for all the evils, becoming year by year more serious.
§ That, mark you, is an advertisement by a Radical journal to convince earnest Radicals that, after all, they had better not have Tariff Reform. And to those wise and cautious statements the Radical journal in question I understand has given the widest currency in the West and South or England. I am very glad it has, because no such expectations have been held out, in my opinion, by any party, as far as I know.
§ Neither this particular question of unemployment, nor any other question in our complex social system, is going to be wholly solved by any arrangement or rearrangement of our fiscal system. No doubt there have been exaggerations, but it does not lie in the mouth of hon. Gentlemen opposite to speak of them. They may be, and doubtless are, honest advocates of the various causes which from time to time they have brought before their fellow countrymen, but certainly no body of men have ever more recklessly indulged in gross exaggeration and misrepresentation than some irresponsible members of the party opposite—possibly none of the Gentlemen now sitting there; probably only unsuccessful candidates—but it does not lie in their mouths, even if there has been exaggeraton, to complain. I do not doubt there has been exaggeration. You must take human nature as you find it.393
§ You will never find a great body of men ardently pressing a given cause in which some members of the body will not use language which probably goes beyond the accurate, well-weighed, closely measured verities of the case. I firmly believe that in the interests of employment and of the workmen of this country, in the interests of the future of this country, which, if it is to be anything, is to be a great manufacturing workshop, markets for our produce abroad and security for our manufacturers at home are an absolute necessity, and Fiscal Reform is, I believe, one of the main instruments by which these two great ends may be attained.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Churchill)
I hope the right hon. Gentleman is thoroughly satisfied with the debate. After the exertion and the sacrifices which he has no doubt made to secure to us the advantages of a discussion of this important subject on one of the first Amendments to the Address it would be a great pity if the result had in any way fallen short of his expectations. The right hon. Gentleman has even consented to postpone the privilege of discussing Irish crime and to allow the fiscal debate to take precedence of the debate upon what we shall no doubt hear is the lamentable state of affairs in Ireland. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman considers it more urgent and more important to blame the Government for not imposing a tariff upon England than for not imposing coercion upon Ireland. If the right hon. Gentleman is satisfied, we are satisfied, too. This is an issue which upon our side unites everyone. It is an issue which enables the Government to command the support and confidence of a larger number of the electors than it can depend upon for almost any other possible proposition in politics.
§ It is an issue upon which we can be precise and definite. It is an issue upon which we do not require to equivocate or to use vague and general language. It is an issue which does not divide us as it divides our opponents. I can assure them that whenever they are anxious to discuss this question we shall show ourselves very ready to afford them every facility, and we shall welcome every occasion on which the zeal of the right hon. Gentleman leads him to test the opinion of the House of Commons upon the great issue involved. I think, after all, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said last night, this is the right place where the subject should be 394 raised. Hon. Gentlemen who believe very earnestly in the value of the propositions they advance must realise that it would never do to confine themselves to mere uncontradicted or unchallenged arguments in the country, and there is no question which claims ardent supporters, whether it be Socialism, Bimetallism, or Tariff Reform, or pure beer, which can really be effectively commended to the people of this country, unless it is not only discussed on platforms before the electorate, but is brought to the test of debate, examination, and division in this House.
In one respect I think the debate has been a little disappointing. So far as the argument is concerned I think we must all admit, without making any reproach in any quarter, that it has not been distinguished by the charm of novelty. We have only had two surprises—the speech of the hon. Member for Durham and the speech of the right hon. Member for Dover. The hon. Member for Durham certainly supplied the most eloquent incident in this debate. We have long been wanting to know where are the unseen springs of public action. We have long sought the power behind the Throne—the power that leads a Leader and whips a Whip. Where is this Machiavelli? Where is this arch and powerful wire-puller? Is it not with emotion, surprise, and relief that we see this great and mysterious force personified and embodied in the agreeable personality of the hon. Member for Durham? He is
The mildest manner'd man That ever scuttled ship or cut a throat.
The other surprise was supplied by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover. It is a delight for everyone to hear the right hon. Gentleman's speeches on Tariff Reform. At the beginning the right hon. Gentleman's enthusiasm was not great on this subject, but as the months have gone by it has grown steadily greater, and as his enthusiasm has grown his facts have kept full pace with it. I like the martial and commanding air with which the right hon. Gentleman treats facts. He stands no nonsense from them. Whether they are tons or hundredweights they have got to do his work. When he says that our greatest industries are declining he omits altogether their price. He shows us that they have declined, per head of the population, from £346 in 1880–87 to 327 in 1898 to 1907. He declines to apply the ordinary index numbers of price variations. When this is done, the exports at the prices ruling in the later
period show an increase from £297 to £327. So that the whole decrease on which he forms his argument is really a positive increase. As to gold, the right hon. Gentleman said that £37,000,000 a year goes out of this country.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I do not mind what it goes out in. None of the returns show in the slightest degree any foundation for such a statement. Then the right hon. Gentleman turned his attention to wheat prices. He said that the average price of wheat in France was not in excess of the price in this country. The price in the United Kingdom in 1908 was 32s.; in France it was 38s. 5d. But I must call the attention of the House to the price in Germany. In 1908 it was in the United Kingdom 32s.; in Germany it was 43s. 8d. What is the difference? Eleven shillings and eightpence. The duty in Germany is lls. 10d., or twopence more than the difference in the average prices during the year. Many of us envy the wonderful world in which the right hon. Gentleman dwells on this subject, But he carried us no further in the direction of showing us what is the plan of the party opposite for a new system, and what is their case against the old. Hon. Gentlemen opposite tell us much about their object, but as to their plan not one definite word or one sound, positive statement is made.
§ The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken referred to matters which have been much discussed and debated in this House. He referred to the necessity of protecting this country by Fiscal Reform, not Tariff Reform, from the effects of dumping or unfair competition. He showed us how, in foreign countries, the manufacturer systematically over-produced because he was quite certain he could afford to do so, having got as much money as he could get out of the people of his own country.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
No; but the right hon. Gentleman says that when the local demand was slack the manufacturer, instead of shutting down his mills, would continue to produce at the average rate, and rely upon his power to throw the surplus product into this country. That is what I call systematic over-production. Do not let us quarrel about words when we are agreed on the fact. Assuming that to be true, and I think it is a part of the subject which is grossly exaggerated, but 396 assuming it is true, and that our neighbours do conduct a portion of their business at a loss, recouping themselves by their domestic prices for the temporary loss on foreign trade, what relevance has it to this debate or to the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman. It has absolutely no relevance, unless the right hon. Gentleman contemplates putting up such a tariff round this country, so high that it will prevent dumping and unfair competition, and secondly, that it will secure to our people in this country that stability which the foreign manufacturer is allowed to enjoy from the advantage of being able to over-produce at particular periods.
§ Therefore, if this argument has any real relevance, he should be prepared to support a tariff high enough to prevent unfairly produced goods being admitted to, this country, and these would be the cheapest, of all goods: that is, those produced below the cost of production; he must be prepared to put up a tariff so high that it will not only shut out these goods, but a fortiori so high that it will encourage our manufacturers, in their turn, to adopt the same system and to conduct their business on the basis of chronic over-production, and rely upon throwing their surplus on foreign or neutral markets. Then the right hon. Gentleman approached the question of Colonial preference.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The right hon. Gentleman began by saying it was not part of the discussion, but he proceeded to discuss it nevertheless. The right hon. Gentleman said the advantage had been made clear as the time passed, and the dangers of delay had also been made clear, and hon. Gentlemen behind him cheered. I have listened to the debate, and I have certainly not heard any argument adduced which touched the political, economic, commercial arguments, and reasons which have been often put forward as preventing the extension of Imperial Preference.
§ Not a single argument has been shown to relieve us from the grave political dangers which would necessarily follow the association of the idea of Imperial unity with the taxation of bread and meat. Not a single argument has been put forward to show how we would be justified in sacrificing our far greater trade with foreign countries, or hampering our trade with them by putting on duties in order to get rebates on the much smaller trade we do with our Colonies. When the right hon. Gentleman says that we lost the American Colonies 100 years 397 ago because we did not do what they wanted, and infers, I suppose, that we are likely to lose our other Colonies to-day if we do not do what they want, I may remind him of what has often been said, that we lost the American Colonies because we tried to tax them, and we shall grievously imperil the union which exists and grows stronger between us and our Colonies when we lend ourselves to a policy which enables them to tax us.
§ Then the right hon. Gentleman touched upon the subject of foreign investments. It is a very interesting subject. Are our foreign investments increasing or decreasing? Are they beneficial or injurious? The party opposite since this controversy was first started have used both arguments in all their respective converse combination. We used to be told we were living on our capital, that we were paying for the excess of imports with it, we were selling our securities, our securities were leaving us. The first speech I ever heard the right hon. Gentleman make on this subject, on the memorable 28th of May, 1903, dwelt upon the evil consequences of this drain of securities from the country to the United States, which was converting us from being the great creditor of the United States into their debtor. At the beginning of this controversy the argument was that we were diminishing our investments abroad, because we were living on our capital. A few years have passed, and the argument to-day is that we are increasing our investments abroad because under Free Trade the opportunities for capital are so unattractive that people chose rather to invest in other countries than in their own country. We must remember, however, that the right hon. Gentleman, in answer to the hon. Member for Tyneside, said very candidly and very frankly that it is possible to have more than one argument in favour of the same proposal.
§ It only remains to be said that on this subject of foreign investments we have been told they are decreasing, "Vote for Tariff Reform," and we have been told they are increasing, and an exactly similar course is advocated; and observe that when the investments were believed to be decreasing the investments themselves were highly beneficial, but now that it is believed they are increasing they are said to be shockingly injurious. I am afraid we shall not find much guidance there upon the difficult question of foreign investments. I should like to look at that subject a little bit closely before I sit down. The data upon which we may 398 judge the position in regard to foreign investments are imperfect. The returns of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue afford one set of data and the fresh capital issued in London from year to year affords another, and you may to some extent check the one by the other. Both are subject to considerable inaccuracy and looseness. Not all foreign investments come under the scope, unhappily, of the Commissioners of Income Tax. Again, the increase may mean a shrewder collection, or even larger profits, on existing investments, and not necessarily an increase in the capital sum. Similar loosenesses qualify the second source. I observe that there have been in this country in the last 60 years only two periods in which the British public has evinced a marked reluctance to invest abroad. Both these periods have not been unconnected with great and memorable public catastrophes. One was the period after the Franco-German war, and the disturbance that followed upon that, and which attended the payment of the indemnity to Germany. The other was during and after the period of the Boer war, when war loans and other changes absorbed the great part of the floating and available British capital, and there was a marked falling off in investments abroad. I observe also two periods of exceptional activity. In the late eighties, when we were investing abroad at the rate of £70,000,000 a year, and since 1905, when we have been investing abroad, judging from these data, at a somewhat similar rate. Both these periods have coincided with great and active industrial production in this country. We are often told that all this investment abroad arises from the want of confidence which is felt in the country in this wicked Radical Government. But let hon. Gentlemen opposite be very careful. The first period of maximum investment abroad was in the late eighties, when hon. Gentlemen opposite were responsible for the direction of affairs. In the last six years the sharpest increase which has taken place in investment abroad, judging from the Returns of the Income Tax Commissioners and the other Returns, was in the year 1905–06, when the amount rose by £7,800,000 in a single year.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Nine months of that period were when this country had the enormous advantage of having its financial business managed by the right hon. 399 Gentleman. But, more than that, the returns of the Income Tax Commissioners do not operate on the investments of the year, but of the year before. So we come back to the year 1904-5, and we see that the great increase in foreign investments, which we are now told—I do not share the opinion myself—indicates a marked want of confidence in the Government of the country, and is a sign of the fear of the country at the predatory intentions of the Government, is shown to have been operative in its maximum at the period when the new fiscal proposals were first placed before the country and when Tariff Reform was held to be walking along the main street of victory. I recognise that the rate of investment abroad is increasing at the present time. I assert also that investment abroad is beneficial. It is a very good thing for British capital that it should be able to secure for itself a share in the new wealth and the new opportunities and the great resources of the whole world. Such a system of investment develops our trade connections with many countries. It develops the British Empire, for which hon. Gentlemen opposite are so ready to speak in terms of unrestrained panegyric and enthusiasm. It can only leave this country, as the Prime Minister told us, in the form of exports, the produce of British labour, and while it goes in these exports it returns a handsome and profitable return not only in the interest, but very often in a marked increase of the capital sum to those who have made the investments.
§ But when the right hon. Gentleman, long a Leader on one side or the other of this House and long responsible for these complicated and grave affairs of State, contributes to a discussion of this kind, the argument which he used about the Franco-German indemnity and attempts to compare with this process of beneficial investment for high and profitable return the mere brutish payment of a fine by one country to another without the slightest hope of increment or advantage of any kind—when he is reduced to making a parallel like that, it only shows how earnestly he is desirous of co-operating with those Members of his party who have pushed to the front by every method and by every road proposals for which he is at last forced to become responsible.
§ I have only one word to say on the main topic, brought before us in this debate—the question of commercial diplo- 400 macy. The right hon. Member for Dover said that foreign countries have closed their markets to our goods, but the fact remains that we have no difficulty whatever in placing the exports of this country in foreign markets that is not experienced by the manufacturers of any other country. It is quite true that we have not got any regular bargain system; but, at any rate, we do not get worse, and we have not got worse terms from other countries than any other country which is protected would have been able to secure. I had a much more elaborate argument on this subject with facts and figures which time does not permit me to enter into. But take the most simple instance—Germany and the United States. The United States have all the advantages, as they are painted to us, of an elaborate tariff, devised with all the scientific information at their command, and the United States have been endeavouring to secure for their goods the best terms in the German market from the German Government which all the resources of the tariff enable them to do. As a result, we have to-day got better terms from the German Government, than the United States, which, in reference to several articles, is not so satisfactorily treated as this Free Trade country. Then the right hon. Member for Dover asked what about future increases of tariff? Is this House going to sit with folded hands? I see no reason why we should assume that a Free Trade Government is obliged to sit still with folded hands. In discussing this matter, I have always been careful to say that retaliation as an occasional weapon may possibly be used. I have made that statement at intervals during the last three or four years.
§ But, I say, first prove that the remedy which you would apply would be effective. Prove that it would not do more harm than good to your own people and that it would effect the object you have in view. Since the days of the negotiations of Mr. Cobden that principle of commercial negotiations has always been retained, and while I am responsible for the Board of Trade, I am certainly not going to deny to the British Government the most absolute freedom in the using of all revenue duties, as they are perfectly entitled to make use of them, as they please, for the maintenance of the general trade and industry of the country, and none of the effects of protective tariffs and none of the abuses which creep in as a result of protective tariffs could possibly follow.
§ I was very glad to hear the right hon. 401 Gentleman repudiate the statement which had been made by his party on the subject of Tariff Reform as a cure for unemployment. The right hon. Gentleman tells us that he knows nothing of these things; he has never seen the Tory vans going out with "Tariff Reform means work for all." [An HON. MEMBER: "What about Chinese labour?"] The right hon. Gentleman and some of his principal colleagues have, in the last year or two, been endeavouring to "hedge" upon the subject of Tariff Reform as a cure for unemployment. To-day he tells us he thinks it will have a considerable effect, and be the main instrument in alleviating the evil, and the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment spoke of it as a palliative. No evidence has been adduced —no evidence exists in the conditions of unemployment that prevail in highly protective countries—to show that there is any relation between the institution of a tariff and the dislocation of trade which is felt in all parts of a country.
§ I am quite sure of this: that the right hon. Gentleman is right to try and dissociate himself from those propositions as early as he can, because those who are402
§ using them in every town and village, promising the poor people employment for all, and high wages, if they will vote for Tariff Reform, those Gentlemen—and there are many of them on the Benches opposite—are preparing for themselves and their followers, whom they will have encouraged and deluded, a cruel and bitter disappontment after preparing for themselves a day of shameful exposure. I am very glad this Amendment has been brought forward. In bad times or good times, here or at the polls in the country, in office or in Oppositon, our part in this controversy is plain. We believe if you restrict the free option of the British manufacturer and trader to buy and barter as he wills freely in the markets of the whole world, you will vitally hamper the conditions under which the business of this country is conducted, and if duties are imposed upon bread and meat they will he found to increase sensibly the privations of the poor; and those who are responsible for that will have conspired to sell the birthright of their children.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 107; Noes, 276.404
|Division No. 3.]||AYES.||[4.59 P. m.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Du Cros, Arthur||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Faber, George Denison (York)||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hon. Hugh O.||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Fardell, Sir T. George||Newdegate, F. A. Newdigate|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fell. Arthur||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Featherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Fletcher, J. S.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Forster, Henry William||Percy, Earl|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Gardner, Ernest||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry. N.)||Gibbs, G. A. ( Bristol, West)||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Gretton, John||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bull, Sir William James||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Renwick, George|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hamilton, Marquess of||Roberts, S. (Sheffield. Ecclesall)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Heaton, John Henniker||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Helmsley, Viscount||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Cave, George||Hill, Sir Clement||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool. Walton)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hills, J. W.||Stanier, Beville|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stanley. Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Houston, Robert Paterson||Starkey, John R.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hunt, Rowland||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Kerry, Earl of||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Keswick, William||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thomson. W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down. E.)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craig, Sir Henry||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Younger, George|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Lyttelton, Rt Hon. Alfred|
|Doughty, Sir George||M'Arthur, Charles||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir A.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury. E.)|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Ashton, Thomas Gair||Balfour, Robert (Lanark)|
|Agnew, George William||Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Astbury, John Meir||Barnard, E. B.|
|Alden, Percy||Atherley-Jones, L.||Barnes, G. N.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-sh)||Perks, Sir Robert William|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Hart-Davies, T.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Bell, Richard||Harvey. W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Harwood, George||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Hedges, A. Paget||Radford, G. H.|
|Bertram, Julius||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Henry, Charles S.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Herbert. T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')|
|Black, Arthur W.||Higham, John Sharp||Rees, J. D.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Brace, William||Hodge, John||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Branch, James||Holt, Richard Durning||Robinson, S.|
|Brigg, John||Hooper, A. G.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Bright, J. A.||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Brooke, Stopford||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rose, Charles Day|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Rowlands, J.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Illingworth, Percy H.||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jackson, R. S.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Burnyeat. W. J. D.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Jenkins, J.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Cameron, Robert||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Sears, J. E.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Jowett, F. W.||Seely, Colonel|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Kekewich, Sir George||Shackleton, David James|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Lamont, Norman||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Clough, William||Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Collins. Stephen (Lambeth)||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Snowden, P.|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Lehmann, R. C.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex. E. Grinstead)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lewis, John Herbert||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Steadman, W. C.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lupton, Arnold||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Crooks, William||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Stewart-Smith. D. (Kendal)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Lyell, Charles Henry||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Lynch, H. B.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Mackarness. Frederic C.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Dilke, Rt Hon. Sir Charles||Maclean, Donald||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset. E.)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macpherson, J. T.||Tomkinson, James|
|Duncan. J. Hastings (York, Otley)||M'Crae, Sir George||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Ure, Alexander|
|Edwards, A. Clement (Denbigh)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Verney, F. W.|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||M'Micking, Major G.||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Mallet, Charles E.||Vivian, Henry|
|Erskine, David C.||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Essex, R. W.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Marnham, F. J.||Walton, Joseph|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Mason. A. E. W. (Coventry)||Waring, Walter|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Massie, J.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Fenwick, Charles||Masterman, C. F. G.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Menzies, Walter||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Micklem, Nathaniel||Weir, James Galloway|
|Findlay, Alexander||Molteno, Percy Alport||Whitbread, S. Howard|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Mond, A.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Money, L. G. Chiozza||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Montgomery. H. G.||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Gill. A. H.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Morrell, Philip||Wiles, Thomas|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Myer, Horatio||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Napier, T. B.||Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Williams, A. Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)||Williamson, A.|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Gulland, John W.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Brampton||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||O'Grady, J.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Partington, Oswald||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Hardy. George A. (Suffolk)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Joseph Pease and the Master of|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Elibank|
§ The House adjourned ten minutes after Five o'clock.