The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 56
Less Free Trade, or More. Which shall it be? — Leaflet No. XXII
Less Free Trade, or More. Which shall it be?
Leaflet No. XXII.
We are told that England is suffering from too much Free Trade, and some of our Squires and Landlords want to tax the Corn and Sugar and Bacon coming from abroad—the cheap food of our Working Classes.
Let us see whether that is the right way of going about the improvement of our Trade and our Manufacturing Industries.
In 1831—1839 we reduced duties on 700 foreign articles, and in the next ten years the Commerce of this Country increased a full fourth in Annual Value!
In 1842 we further lowered the tariff on 750 articles from abroad, and again in ten years our Business multiplied by more than one-half!
In 1860 we abolished every duty on foreign manufactured goods and many upon raw materials. In the next twenty years our Trade about doubled!
Thus we see prosperity follows the Extension of Free Trade, and Not the Diminution of Free Trade! What is Wanted, Therefore, in 1885, Is not Less But More Free Trade!
Let us, therefore, see where it may be applied, before resorting to the desperate expedient of taxing the food of the Poor.
First, then: We want Free Trade in Land. The, fetters that bind up millions of acres by settlements (so that their very owners are powerless to sell or page break Improve them in some cases) must be broken, as they have been in other countries, and by a cheapened system of Transfer (and other means) we must enable English, Scotch, and Irish Labourers to purchase their own little plots of ground at the cost of a few years' thrift.
And next: We want a Free Breakfast Table, that is to say, untaxed Tea and. Coffee and Cocoa for the people. Such a reform would cheapen housekeeping (and that would be equivalent to a rise in both wages and profits), whilst it would add many millions to the total of our annual trade, improving freights, stimulating manufactures, and benefiting not only this country, but India and every British Possession.
Last, but not Least: We want to cut down the Excise restrictions upon industry, to liberate the commerce of our merchants from all Customs interference, and to raise taxes by some method more reasonable and just, less wasteful and wicked, than by multiplying the cost of what our working people eat and drink and smoke.
Yes, we want More Free Trade, and we must have it! The Barriers that still limit and stint our intercourse with other nations must be broken down, and fresh guarantees thus acquired for Peace and Prosperity. Increase of International Commerce is better a thousand times than the increase of Armies and Navies, and neither men nor nations will quarrel long or seriously with those who are their best Customers.
Which, then, will you have?
Chaplin's Plan, or Cobden's?
A Tax upon your Food, or
Perfect and Entire Free Trade?
J. Hampden Jackson.
Messrs, Cassell Company, Limited, La Belle Sauvage Yard, London, E.C., supply the Cobden Club leaflets in packets of 100, price 1s.