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. No Drink at Llanfyllin Show.




-----------"That's all the…



STOP! LOOK! THINK! SONS OF THE SOIL,— Under existing circumstances I should be among the least sufferers from Protection. From the purely selfish point of view I could afford to smile upon this fiscal fight and make gay with its personalities, careless as to which side may win. But what of you-the farmers-with whom, according to Colonel Pryce-Jones, Protection is to begin with a 2s duty on the quarter of foreign wheat ? I want you to STOP, LOOK, and THINK for a few moments, at the end of which I shall leave you to your own sericus reflections. I am addressing myself particularly to those farmers who have a vote in the Boroughs election, and most particularly of all to those of them who profess Toryism. Many of my best and truest friends are Tories. Some of these are among my most intellectual friends Do not imagine at the outset that this epistle is directed against your Tory principles. It has nothing to do with Toryism; nor is it intended as a laudation of Liberalism. My sole purpose is to hold your attention for a few minutes in order calmly and reasonably to discuss what you stand to gain or lose by Protection. Now Protection to you farmers, as to most other folk, is a matter of POUNDS, SHILLINGS, and PENCE. It will either put in or take out of your pocket. Do not make a mistake in thinking it is a purely party question and in voting according to your party leanings. To you there is no differ- ence between adopting or rejecting it and that of accepting or refusing a certain market price for a bunch of your sheep exposed at the monthly fair. But while you know best whether to sell or retain your sheep, methinks you have no such clear notion as to how Protection would work out So we will sit down together and try to reason the thing out, not as politicians, but as business men, always remembering that this is an affair of the pocket. Very well, let us begin, and chat in language that we can understand. Colonel Pryce-Jones: I muet mention his name merely because he is our protectionist advocate— has now definitely pledged himself to a small tax on foreign wheat, and promises-only promises, mark you-to reduce the present duty on tea and sugar. That, in fact, is the pledge of the Pro- tectionist party. If Protection went no further than that, then farmers might vote for it straight- way with little risk of loss. But, unfortunately for you, it is not going to end there if that Protectionist party gets into power. It is my business to tell you where it will end, and be assured I wont trespass an inch upon imagination. Protection can easily be answered by facts, and what I state as facts here you may submit to the utmost examination. Take them to the most ardent Protectionist you know, and let me learn what he says of them. Well, this small tax on wheat" is to be, as I have said, 28 a quarter. That is to say, you will likely get 2s more for every quarter of wheat you grow. Of course, Protectionists do not tell that to the consumer of the loaf. The consumer, they say, will not pay. If he dees not pay, where is your extra 2s to come from ? Just STOP, LOOK, and THINK at that question ere we proceed. Having done this, you will now accompany me to the farm of John Davies. John farms 150 acres, 100 of which is pasture. Encouraged by 2s more for every quarter of wheat, he resolves to lay down 20 more acres in that crop. His land has hitherto yielded 4 quarters per acve. So at the rate of 2s more John derives from these acres 100 shillings, or £ 8 more than he is now getting for his wheat. So far, so good. But in order to set these 20 additional acres apart for wheat, John must reduce by that amount the extent of his grass land. He cannot, therefore, keep so many sheep or cattle. Besides that, he must count the cost of tilling these 20 acres for wheat, the cost of manures and seed, the cost of the subsequent labour right up to the harvest, the stacking and the threshing. Now comes the question, how much will John make by the transaction? You are able to an- swer better than I am. Will you sit down and try to work it out on paper ? It is but a simple piece of oaloulation and arithmetic, and you will find it beth interesting and instructive before the polling day. Yes," but you say, please remember that John Davies is going to have his tea and his sugar cheaper." That. at any rate, is the Pro- tectionists' promise, and we will suppose the promise is fulfilled. What then? John's wife pays less for her sugar and tea, but she comes home from market to say that the price of her kitchen utensils is up, and so is clothing, and so is beef, and other things she had wanted, and shs blames the trades- men for combining to raise the prices. John himself goes to town next day. He wants a new plough, a new turnip cutter, and a drill machine-the same manufacture as the old ones. He knows what he paid for them, and puts the necessary cash in his pocket. They are ten per cent, more now, sir," says the tradesman, and John demands to know the reason why. Well/* replies the tradesman, "aren't you having ten per cent. more for your wheat ? You, surely, do not think that we tradesmen and all others should pay more for our bread, and get no benefit ourselves out of Protection ? John is silenced by the unanswerable reason- ableness of the argument, and goes home either without his plough, turnip cutter and drill machine, or with less in his pocket than he hoped. Stowing over the situation at home he readily comes to the conclusion that cms arrangement wont do. He must have more than 2s extra for his wheat, or Protection will fleece him. And if he brings back thepe 20 acres to grass he will still have to pay the Protection price for all the farm implements, while his wife also is called upon to give more for her household requisites. So John Davies and all other farmers in Mont- gomeryshire begin to cry out for something like a 10a duty on wheat. They are answered by the bread consumers in the town that they will revolt against dearer bread. Then they may go to Colonel Pryce-Jones. But the Colonel says, I cannot really go beyond my pledge of I a small duty' on wheat. The great majority of my constituents would not stand it. and I am sure that my party would be drummed out of office at next election if they yielded to your demand." Mr F. E. Smith, the great champion of Pro- tection, has just said that he would uncere- moniously leave his party did they go beyond the 2s duty. He knows that the power of his party would not be worth a minute's purchase if they did anything of the kind. John Davies's position will inevitably be the position of every farmer in Montgomeryshire under Protection. Can you show me that I have argued wrongly ? If you cannot, will you yet vote for Protection simply because it is recommended by the party to which you have always belonged ? You certainly will not unless your ordinary common- sense ideas of business have taken temporary leave of you. Again, let me remind you that this to you is wholly a matter of £ s. d. If, despite all my warning you still think a 2s daty on wheat, against all the other protective tariffs that will have to be paid, is to profit you, then vote for Tariff Reform. It is you who will reap the result, not me. Yours faithfully, LUKE SHAitric.