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ERIAL PARLIAMENT.

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.THE COBDEN CLUB.

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THE COBDEN CLUB. The annual dinner of the Cobden Club was held on Saturday evening, at the "Ship "Hotel, Greenwich. Mr. Milner Gibson occupied the chair, and among the company were Mr. G 'scben, M.P., Mr. Ayrton, M.P., Mr. W. C. Cartwright, M.P., Mr. Thomas B. Potter, M.P., Sir C. Dilke, MP., Mr. Rylands, M.P., Mr. Mitchell Henry, M.P., Mr. Osborne Morgan, M.P., Lord Arthur J. E. Russell, M.P.. Mr. Andrew Johnston, M.P., Mr. W. 0. Fowler, M P., the BonG n. Brodiick, M. Emile de Lanvelaye, Sir L. Malet, C.B., Mr. Hugh M'Cullocb, S-fior Moret y Prender- gast, and the Hon. David A. Wells. After the health of Her Majesty the Queen had been drank with the heartiest enthusiasm, The Chairman proposed, in a very appropriate peecb, the toast of the evening—" Their remembrance if Richard Cobden by joining in a sincere wish for the >rosperity of the Cobden Club "-which toast W:}IJ Lruuk with great enthusiasm. Mr Goschen, in proposing The health of the Strangers" jrese'ct at the banquet, said they were strangers in so far is they came from foreign countries, but no strangers, inas- nnch as they were brother political economists from their vritmps and the position they had always occupied. (Hear) 'erhaps some of their visitors would be able to tell them vbat foreign countries were thinking at this moment of be position and prospect* of the great docrines of politi- :al eeooot. ists in England. They were there as representa- ,ives of the policy inaugurated by Richard Cobden and ¡h. Chairman had told them of the triumphs of Free Trade, u d had spoken of the duties they had at present to per- orm as the sentinels of that policy, indicating, at the same iime his view of the modern questions connected -ith that policy He withed In a few words to expand that idea in connexion with the toast be had to propose. He desired to know whether foreign countries, looking at this moment to England a3 an example, were quite satisfied that we were sufficiently tenacious of those great doctrines of political economy to which most of those present were so distinctly ittached. Mr. Milner Gibion had spoken of the purchase of the telegraphs. That was an isolated measure; but it was an isolated instance of a policy which was now being con- tinually forced upon public attention and upon public opinion, and he be ieved there was some danger unless poli- ticul economists came to the front that whenever the neces- eity arose we might find furselves drifting into a pol'cy which all political economists must condemn. (Hear, hear) They wero not simply, he hoped, a club to celebrate the past; they wt re a club which intended to advocate the genuine doctrines of political economy for the future. (Hear, hfar.) Foreigners might say that Cobtien had one great advantage on bis side—he had the masses of the people on his side against the class interests which were opposed to him; but the time might come. as it has come in other countries, when political economists must face the masses (cheers), and'he hoped that, in an association where men who looked with pride on the past were gatherad together, they would nerve their courage to fight a fight which assuredly wculd come, If it had not already, upon political economists in this country, as it had come upon the political economists ot other countries of Europe. Let them ask the di»tinguishf-a strangers there to- nUht who had fought the battle of individual energy abroad against the doctrine of centralization and Commu- nism, whether they still found us as s'anch as we used to be in the principle that we should rely on individual fnergy rather than upon their interference of the Stat«. He hoped th- friend on his right (M. Moret), who bad in Spain so ably fought the doctrine that individualism was stronger than the action of the State, would be able to state that he was able still to follow the example of England. The chair- man had said that it was by example far more than by pre- cept that we might hope to influence foreign nations. Were we yet an example to foreign nations with regard to upholding these principles? He trusted that we were, and that political economists would at least be firm in this re- spect. Free traders here had always been on the popular side but political economists must be content to be un- popular in certain emergencies. We must be prepared to miet doctrines where we.should by no means be carried along by the current of public opinion which had helped us along in the great struggle for Fr«e Trade. In this matter each country had its own difficulties. In America they bad not to Etruggle against the oiffic ilty of those tendencies to Communism which were Duzzline the nolitical economists OIL the Continent. They had had to fight the battle against Pro- tectionism, and they were still figutlng a battle wnii-h had been fought out in othtr countries. In Austria, in Russia, and in many-countries on the Continent of Europe, great progress waf- now being made by Free-traders. In Russ a he had bad the honour of bein-, present at gatherings of Poli- tical Economy Clubs like this, and it was most gratifying to see the great progress which Free-trade principles were making there. He trusted, therefore, that Free-tracers in other countries would find th*ir task becoming easitr every day and it was to be noped tnat the at fusion which Mr. Pr* EF'rfsK wiiwa they were harking back, and that tney intended to follow ™iicv of the great man after whom they had named «P?ond Province. Further, he thought that when they had named a second Province after John Bright (cheers), we might hope soon to see great improvements iu their per- formance, and that we should n, t have much lonirer to lament that so great a branch of the Anglo-Sllxon community were not such ardent disciples of our economists as we could wish. That his friend Mr. Wells had fought a great battle in the United States would he felt sure, be the opinion of every one present. (Hear, hear) He need say nothing more with reference to the individual merits and claims upon their sympathies and regard of their distinguished visitors. He hop"d they would be able not only to give a good account of the progress of Free Trade and political economy In thidr own countries, but that they would be able to state that the example of England still assisted them in the degree that might be expected from a country which had produced Richard Cobden, John BrUht, and the other distinguished pclitical economists who had so greatly contributed to tne prosperity and greatness of their country. (Cheers.) Mr. David Wells replied at great leng th for the United States. He said there was yet so much of the old, selttsn. Paean principle accepted on the other aide of the Atlantic —namely, that no one nation or individual could prosper except at the cetriment or expense of some other- that that very coming toother to celebrate the con- tlnued progress of commercial and was sure to ba interpreted by not a few of his countrymen. Including some who claimed the title of economists and philanthropists, as constituting in itself sufficient evidence of a conspiracy and a reward for the betrayal of their in- dustrial intprestl-a sentiment and conclusion that found Its almost exact counterpart in the action of the Chinese, who some years ago murdered the French sisters of the assumption that the establishment of asylums of fritndle s and orphan children could find nation in the practice of magic and the appetite for canni- balism. He took thto opportunity to report what, notwitn- standit g the opposition growing out of such sentiments, naa been the recent progress of trie United State, in the direc- tion of greater commercial and Indus rial freedom, ine department in which the United States was at present great, in a sense more interesting especially to the foreign observer than almost any other, was that of economic ex- perimentation, which was now being carried on on a scale of tuch magnitude, and with such an utter disregard of eithT past expedience or future Influences, as to invest its progress and issue with a degree of importance which ocuitt hardly be over-estimated. Confining his remaiks to the matter* more intimately connected with the principles for which Richard Cobden lived and laboured, he would first make a few remarks on that greatest attempt of modern times to restrict the frtedom of commercial and indus- trial movement through what was termed Projection, or high tariff legislation. This legislation bad ifs origin in what were conceived to be the necessities of the country crowing out of the existence of the civil war; and, though not so understood at the time, it was undoubtedly a fact that these very necessities were taken advantage of, under the guise of patriotism, by the advocates, of Protection, for the furtherance of their policy in respect to certain special interests for if revenue, as pretended, was the main ooject for the increase of the tariff, it was almost impcssible to conceive a reason, setting aside the hypothesis of profound ignorance, why the duties upon many articles should have been fixed during the war at rates far above the point at which the maximum revenue was attainable. It could rot be denied that the adjastment ef the fiscal system tf the United States for the last teu yeats had b en fully in accord wIth the wishes d the most fanatical and extremo uf the Protectionisms, that the average rate of duties on all dutiable imports during tbis period had ap- proximated 5) per cent., eni that, as an essential adjunct of Protection, the United States had been persuaded to maintain an issue of irredeemable paDer-money or more than three dollars for every one of redeemable paper that was considered adequate to the necessities of the country prior to 1860. In short, the whole aim aud object of this school of economists had been to engraft upon the country a sort of Cliinese policy of pro- hibition and exclusion and their leader, Henry C. Carey, of Philadelphia, had Dot hesitated to express his opinion that the best thing which could happen to the United States wou;d be to have the ocean which rolled between the two continents converted into a sea of fire so impassable that if Dives was in Europe aud Laza- rus in Pennsylvania they could not under any circum- stances enter into commercial correspondence. (Laughter.) Moreover, Mr. Carey had expressed the opinion that the death of Richard Cobden was one of the crowning mercies for which the United States hid cause for g atltude, for the reason that if Mr. Cohden bad lived, It was his pur- fn have sgnin visited America, and tnat such was the P rfomect of the people for h's name aud his ser- universal r P ld h ye floeked in crowds to his speak- vices that they wouia uavo dreaded, lest they ing—a contingency to principles. Aud that should have become converted V perpetuated this same mf^ni y o! a ^memwa^ one the re- was evident from the paction bore upon its title-page cent tracts advocating Prot. lul0 tlie moutn of as a motto the worus which Gothe put lmcrs Mephutopheles, to the ;fleet that trade A were in all respects equivalent to war ani theory of Protection had for the last ten y United an' t ssentlal feature of the fiscal poll^cy i j U«uea states. The trial had been full and complete a result had been nothing but fa'lure and d'aas.er. (tUar; I; >he Protectionist pointed to the recent great luorbase in tbe wages of the industrial classes of the U. ited fetutes he wtuld reply that, measured by ihe purchasing power o money, there had been a much smaller P^rcel}ta8e lu" crease in wages during the last ttn years than had be*n experienced in Europe, and that the purchasing power of the dollar, or the unit which the labourer of the United States received now in exenange fl r his labour, was less I 11an at any former peiiod of American history, and > less than ij was now in any other country which could compare with it In wealth and eivilizatiolu. Some time previous t leaving Ne* York, with a view of being abJe to speak i; t'. i' i» on the subject, he requested a former assiota :t, Mr. Moore, to make an investigation of the com pnrative economic condition of the United States in 1860 ano 187a. selecting labour as the standard of comparison and estimating the oomparative purchasing power at the two periods indicated. The result constituted one of the most t ) tmterOtMng investigations ever entered upon in the United States. They proved hat, in respect to the ordinary neces- sities of life, the purchasing power of labour had decreased 191 per cent In the United States sini?el860, while in respect to whj^Jnight be termed luxuries—wiues, precious stones, perfuuBp, articles of ornamention, Cashmere shawls, &c. —the purchasing power of labour had actually increased, thus indi- eating that the results of the last 12 years in the United States had been to increase both the means of enjoyment on the partof the rich and the poverty of the poor. If he were referred to the great absolute increase which the late cenms showed to have arisen in production from I860 to 1870, his answer was that tne percentage increase was less than that experienced in the corresponding period from 1850 to 1860 or 62 per oent. in the protective against 86 per cent. in the decade of low tariffs while if the comparison were made from a strictly Protectionist point of view, the showing was in- finitely worse. F,)r the first and avowed object of Pro- tection was to effect national industrial independence, or emancipation from national dependence on foreign skilled labour. But, in place of becoming industrially independent, there had never been a time when the people of the United States were consuming so much of the products of the skilled labour of ot'¡er countries, exporting so little of their own, and paying so largely for what they did import with pro- mises rather than products. Indeed the facts were en- tirely without a parallel in commercial history. Thus, the total value of the exports of the United States in- creased in the 12 years from 1860 to 1S72 inclusive 176,COO,000 dols., or from 373,000,000 dols. to 649 000,000 dols but of this increase all but about 6,000,000 dols. was referable to six ttems-breadstuff, coin and bullion, provisions, leaf to- bacco, petroleum, and lumber, products three-fourths of the value of which represented the gifts of God, and the other one- fourth labour of the most unskilled and poorest paid descrip- tion. Of the other six millions increase of exports, which might be supposed to repres' nt the products of high wages and skilled industry, fully one-fourth stood to the credit of the single Article of sewing machines. During this period of protective paper-money influence, moreover, the flag of the American commercial marine has baen almost swept from the ocean, as was shown by the fact that while in 1860 71 per cent. of the total foreign trade of the United States was carried in American bottoms, in 1838 the proportion had fallen to 44 per cent., and for 1873 would not be in excess of 28 per cent. The increasing deposits In the savings banks of the United States were frequently appealed to as evidence of the success of the protective policy in increasing tne sur- plus means at the disposal of the labourine classes, but the very first attempt to collect and analyze data had been suffl- t>;ØTlt. tn thnw that this claim was wholly destitute of founda- tion. osits in the savings banks of the United States had increased in a ratio far in excess of the general increase of wealth in the whole country was in itself a good and sufficient proof that the causes operating had been abnormal and wholly independent of the agencies affecting national development; but in addition to this, an examination recently instituted showed that out of the whole number of depositors the representatives of "wage-labour" owned only about 30 per cent. of the deposits, and that the increase of deposits was derived from the well to-do classes. But it might be asked, if these statements were true, why had reform been so long delayed ? To this question it was not easy to give a succinct answer. But in general it might be said that the natural resources of the United States were Iyet so great and the facilities for earning a living so aoundant, that evils and grievances which in an older and more densely-populated State would long ago have created a revolution were there borne almost without remonstrance. It ought not, however,-to be overlooked, furthermore, para- doxical as it might seem, that free trade itself was one of the agencies which had thus far occasioned Indifference in thr United States to the unrestricted ttfplication of its prin- ciples for one of the prime causes of the prosperity of the United States, past and present was referable to the fact that free trade in its fullf st signification, had been extended over the area of a continent and embrace 47 widely separated and Industrially different States and territories, Knd that so well satisfied, moreover, were the whole people of the truth of tnis, that upon no one point were they better determined in their own minds than that they would not permit the creation or maintenance by any of the States throughout the whole of this broad territory of ttie slightest artificial obstruction to the freest exchange of products and the freest commercial intercourse. The time was drawing near when the judgment of the American people, long delayed, w.{s likely to be so manifested in opposition to the doctrioe of protection as to cause it to disappear for ever as an element from the fiscal policy of their Government. But this result would not be due so much to argument or individual <Sort as to the force of circumstances, which were compelling thought and conviction among the masses. The manufacturing interest was at last beginning to find out that, In the long run, the indirect losses and burthens incident to protection, far more than counterbalinced any direct advantages supposed to accrue from it. One of the most remark ible illustrations of this has been afforded by the experience under the high duties imposed upon the importation of wool an I woollens, which ranged from 50 to 150 per cent. ad valorem. The main argument made use of by the Protectionists was that these high rates of duty were necessary to compensate the American manufacturer for the advantage in wages enj oyed by his foreign competitor. The doctrine of protection in the United States had been carried to such an extreme, and had so raised the prices of every constituent of manufacturing industry, that protection ceased to protect, and the tariff, in fact, in place of being protective, had become fearfully destructive so much so indeed, that by depriving the American woollen manufac- turer of the free choice of raw material, it had made it almost impossible for him to make good and cheap cloth Another circumstance that was contributing powerfully In the United States to expose the fallacies of the protec- tive system was the heavy burden imposed on the m ce- ment of the agricultural product of the interior States through tho unna ural cost of transportation, which had become so grtat an obstacle in the way of the producer and hit. seaboard maikets that during the past winter grain in very larne quantities has been used for fuel. It could Dot be wondered at that "Free trade and farmers rights was beginning to be the political rallying cry of the great West. The late Treaty between the United States and Great Britain was not only a long step In the way of settling international difficulties without the n .¡ .1- nc.a1oQQ ATnpnrlttllre of intervention of arms ana tne useless v. money, but it was also a great advance in the direction of Free Trade, for among the various articles of tnat Treaty there was none which gave more satisfaction to the American people as a whole, or which is more likely to be productive of more important consequences than the article whijh admitted fish the product of British Colonial waters frei of duty into the United Slates. For not only was this admission certain to be a great boon to the Hb cur- ing classes in the way of affording a supply of cheaper food, but it was sure to be the entering wedge for other commer- cial reforms, inasmuch as it would not be long before the representatives of the great fishing interests of the United States, who had been to leng deceived into sustaining pro- tection, would come to the conclusion that if there were no longer to be IIVY protection on what the hook caught, it was not for their interest to keep it up on the hook Itself-on the line attached to the hook—upon their boatf, food, clothing, and upon all other articies whicn. entered hto their production and consumption. Co-equal and co-extensive with the mischievous influence of the tariff had been also the influence of the system of irre- deemable paper money, which had been the almost sole iecogU'zel national Instrumentality for affecting exchanges in the United SORtes since 1862, and had brought to bear demoralizing influences upon the characttr of the people of the United States and the nature of their business tiansactlons. He was satisfied from hisown lnvtsti- gations that it the entire annual product of the United states were divided equally,.th-i average incime of each in- dividual would not be iu excels of 175 dois., or &S5 per annum, out of which food, clothing, shelter, education, travelling expenses, and means o' enjoyment were to be pro- vided, all taxes paid, all waste, loss and deprecia- tion made good, and any surplus available as new capital added to former accumulations. But the annual product was not divided equally, and as long as men were endowed with different natural capacities, it would never be so divided: some would receive m .re than their share multiplied by hundreds and even by thousands, which of course necessitated that multitudes of others would receive proportionably less, and how much less was indicatei by the circumstance that the most recent returns of the Labour Bureau of Massaehussetts showed that in this, the wealthiest portion of the United States, where the labourer was nominally better piid than in almost any other section, the eirnings of the head of an average family engaged in manufacturing Industry were net sum- cient for its support, and that the deficiency must be supplied by the industry of femal-s or minor children. Now if this were the condition of affairs in a region of the globe whete there was conjoined with large wealth a great equality in the distribution of wealth, was it not clear that the conditions of economic progress are either iden- tical with the conditions of intellectual and moral pro- gress, or so closely connected as to be mutually inter- dependent? But what, some might ask, had all this to do with Free Trade 7 Simply this, that Free Trade in its largest sense dealt most effectively with those elements of this great problem which admitted of being brought most readily undtr human influence; inasmuch as by removing obstructions, it provided that production should be carried on under those conditions which induced the maxi- mum of abundance and promoted equality of distrlhutinr. by preventing all unnecessary interference and waste in the ex- change of products. Protection, on the other hand, had for its esteuce obstruction, for its object scarcity, and by the enactment of prohibitive or restrictive imposts, virtually declared that there was no brotherhood in man, and that the interests of nations were naturally antagonistic. The motto of this society was, therefore, something more than a mHr. form of words, and he proposed as a sentiment "Free Trade in its highest aense-ttle essential condition of abundance, of a larger and higher life, of peace, goodwill, and amity between the nations. (Hear, hoar ) M. Emile de Laveleye responded for Belgium, and Sefi Ir Moret for Spain, The health of the Chair- man," proposed bj Mr. T. B. Potter, M.P., brought the proceedings to a close.

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