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Vicar of Mochdre.

Dr. Samuel Davies v. Caerws…

The Vicar of Mochdre on Disestablishment.

A Farmer's Fiscal Fever.


A Farmer's Fiscal Fever. Sir,—I think it is about time that Liber- als should reconsider their position. 1 am a farmer, and have been on the land the whole of my life. It's not about the Budget, that I trespass on your valuable space, but the fiscal alternative, which is known as tariff reform. When this was first mooted I was strenu- ously opposed to it, having been imbued with Liberal principles since my earliest days, and still adhere to them in the main. But records of our trade returns have made me convinced that something must be done for Britain to maintain her supremacy as an export trader. True, she still tops the list, but other countries are gradually creeping nearer and nearer, and there is little satisfaction to be gained by trading upon a past reputation. Our imports still are enormous, and -this, to my untutored I mind, appears more serious still. Shoals of manufactured goods come into this coun- try from America and Germany. Things which we could with ease manufacture in this old country of ours, and which would reclaim some thousands of our unemployed. I could cite many instances-take, for in- stance, such a small item as glass bottles. These come from abroad, principally from Germany, whilst men have been thrown out of employment in our own glass manu- facturing districts, notably at St. Helen's and in Swansea. Clap a slight duty upon imported glass ware, and it would operate in one of two ways-either the price to the consumer would be the same or the price of foreign wares would have to be raised. In the first instance the English producer would not be benefited, but the revenue would derive a considerable sum from the duties upon the manu- factured goods, the duty on which in this case must be paid by the foreigner. In the second instance the British manufacturer would not be prevented from selling at his own price, as the cost of production would not be raised, and would allow just that amount of preference to the British manufacturer which would enable him to greatly increase his sales at the expense of the foreigner, and would also lead to increased em- ployment, higher profits, and possibly higher wages. I for one, sir, have sufficient radical sense left me not to imagine capitalist employers are going to distribute all the spoils of increased prosperity amongst their operatives. Bat we can rest assured that Trades Unions will take care of the interests of their members. I followed the corres- pondence between Col. Pryce-Jones and Mr Luke Sharpe with great interest, and that correspond- ence has baen the cause of my reading more upon political economy within the last few weeks than I had read in my lifetime. I find that there is a theory that all exports are p,.id for by imports, and vice versa. It such is the case then, according to your figures in this week's issue, Great Britain has received £ 513,000,000 where we have only spent ■ £ 377,01)0,000, whilst on the other hand the United StateS has exported £ 360,000,000 worth of commodities to receive in return only £ 233,000,000. All I can say, if that be so, is that these cousins of ours across the Atlantic must be very poor at a bargain. I find that not many years ago there was another economic belief called the Wage Fund Theory. The theory which was universally be- lieved by economists has since been pricked and has burst like a bubble. It seems ludicrous in our days to think that such an idea that only a certain specified sum could be devoted to wage earners, but-still such was the prevailing idea, just as people thought the globe was flit. t:> Take again agricultural machinery. I am told that a ten per cent duty on the manufactured im- ports from abroad would enable our own manufac- turets to supply the total requirements of agricul- turists in our country. I <t.m also told by Free Traders that if a tax was levied upon imports the price of foreign goods would go up. and in the second place our own products would be quick in following. I am told that this is the rule in protected countries, but I cannot believe that our manufac- turers would thus do themselves a bad turn. Supposing, for instance, one British-made and one foreign-made machine costs a farmer £ 10. An import duty raises the price of the foreign-made implement to .£10 10s. As long as the home manufacturer can make a profit by selling at .£10 be would surely be committing a gross blunder to raise his price to a level with the imported 1Jup e- ments. If he keeps it at the ordinary price £ 10 —he will probably be able to sell a great many more and would gain an extra profit from having a larger output. For what reasoning farmer would think of buying a foreign-made machine when he might obtain one British-made at a smaller cost. Of course, I am reminded that the crucial point of the whole matter comes in when prefer- ence must be given to the farmer as well as to the manufacturer, for in justice one cannot be done without the other. This is where the principles of Tariff Reformers are most bitterly assailed. To do justice to the agriculturist he must have some protection upon his cereal products, and despite all that is said about the Colonies supp.ying our needs as far as grain is concerned. I am not blind to the fact that the cost of flour and in consequence, bread must inevitably rise- probably to more than the extent of the tax. I consider it sheer wickedness on the part of Tory spouters who declare that the price of bread will not rise and that the staff of life will ultimately be- come cheaper. However, when all is said and done. some sacrifice must be made, and it is this dearer bread which will constitute the sacrifice. I, how- ever, believe that compensation will surely come in the fcrm of revived and recreated industries, and that the agricultural interests of this country will receive a great and lasting stimulus. Know- ing your fairness and courtesy, I trust that you will insert this in your valuable columns.—Yours, etc., WUXS-A-RAD. p.S.—The question may be asked why, when corn admittedly will rise in price, will not our home manufactures leap up when imported ones pay a small tariff. The answer is simple. Under no circumstances can we grow sufficient corn to meet the needs of consumers here, but in the manufacturing line we have thousands of men and machines standing idle in every trade, and we can do without a single imported German bottle or American mowing machine, as there are factories in this country which can overtake all the work. ["This letter is dealt with in our Editorial columns.]


£80 a Year.

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"Unhealthy Excitement."I

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