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" THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING."

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THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING." THE interest of our correspondence col- umns has lately been enhanced by contri- butions from Mr Sydney R. Heap, of Mellington Hall. In to-day's issue he has a couple of letters. In the one he answers A Borough Elector that the Tory alterna- tives to the Budget proposals consist of Tariff Reform; in the other he essays a criticism of the manner in which we dealt last week with "A Landlord's Poser" concerning the tak on unearned increment. It will be in- structive to examine his remarkable reason- ing. j." J1 m L'> By way of attempting to justify the Tariff Reform alternative he simply informs us of the great growth of American manufacturers between the years 1850 and 1905, and also the stupendous increase of exports from 6.6 per cent. to 8.2 per cent., while the imports fell during that period from 21.8 to 5.3 per cent. And so he triumphantly concludes that facts are stronger than words." This, then, is the case for Tariff Reform. How can we really answer so overwhelming an argument? We might well resign the task to "A Borough Elector.' Yet to leave Mr Heap in economic darkness even for a week seems unfair. In the first place it occurs to us to tell him that America is one of the largest Free Trade areas in the world. Why should he marvel at the increase of America's trade if he knows anything of her vast agricultural and mineral resources, the enormous growth of her population, the zealous devotion of her people to trade and commerce, and her possession of the best brains in the world? The thing to be mar- velled at is that, on his own showing, during the last fifty years America's exported manu- factures increased only by two per cent. He should also know that America grows most of the food her people require. But what are the effects of Protection? It makes her people pay more tor every other neces- sary of life. It creates those cruelly scandalous trusts and monopolies impossible in a Free Trade country. Mr Heap may wish to answer that if the worker in America is paying high prices for what he requires, he is quite able to do so owing to the high wages received. Is he? Recently the United States Government carried out an investi- gation into the wages paid and the money spent by some 334,000 persons employed in 4,000 different commercial establishments. It was found that the weekly wages of these people were 19.1 per cent. higher in 1906 than in 1896, but that the cost of all com- modities was 35 per cent. higher. Mr Heap, as a Tariff Reformer, finds it most advan- tageous to quote from America, because the special economic conditions, such as no other country enjoys, give a semblance of conviction to his arguments. For our part, we are not particularly anxious that America should adopt Free Trade, which is the Tariff Reform towards which her working people are striving. And why? Because she would by that means become Britain's great rival in neutral markets, and also recover much of her shipping, the loss of which was largely due to Protection. Now, since Mr Heap seemingly rejoices with us over the industrial progress of the United States, he will perhaps accompany us in a review of Britain's industrial ad. vancement during a like period-poor little Britain, the dumping ground for foreign food and most other essentials of existence, the dependant little island into whose ports the ships of the detestable foreigner, or rather British ships which serve him, enter free. In the early part of the 19th century we had taxes on more than 1,200 articles. In 1801 our exports were worth £ 42,000,000. By 1831 they had fallen to £ 37,000,000. Be- tween that* year and 1839 duties were reduced on several hundred foreign articles coming into this country. What was the effect of those reductions ? The commerce of the country increased a full fourth in annual value. Our exports in 1841 were of the value of £ 52,000,000. The following year we further lowered the tariff on 750 articles coming from abroad, and during the next twenty years our trade had more than doubled. Our commerce grew with the abolition of restrictions under Protec- tion our trade would not increase. Now our trade is the largest of any nation in the world. In 1907 it had reached the enormous figure of 426 millions. And how did we stand last year as compared with Protectionist countries ? The following Board of Trade returns, which we have printed before, will show at a glance:— Imports. Exports. Total. United Kingdom. 513 377 890 Germany 409 332 741 France 243 211 454 United States 233 360 593 The British figures are exclusive of 80 mil- lions of imports subsequently exported. All countries suffered owing to a prevailing slump, and the depression was most se- verely felt in America, where the shrinkage was fully 16 per cent. the decline in this country being 10 per cent. Mr Heap might well marvel at the remarkable fact that through all vicissitudes little Britain con- tinues to hold the lead in the world's trad- ing, and outstrips the great and vast America by no fewer than 297 millions. Nor should we omit to inform him that this little Free Trade country owns more than half of the sea-going ships possessed by the world at large. In truth, Britain rules the waves. Rightly Mr Heap philo- sophically declares that, "facts are stronger than words" and that the proof of the pudding is in the eating."

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