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Lord George Hamilton on American…

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Lord George Hamilton on American Competition. The average man learns by his own experience wiser men seek to learn by the experience of others, and by instruction. The former policy has been frequently that of the British nation, as we have seen, for example, in the case of the present war. Many people, who had a right to be heard, told us that our military arrangements were not satisfactory, but they spoke to deaf ears, and it was only by the experience of actual war that we became convinced of that which we might have i learned from the experience of the Crimea. Happily, we have been able, but with no small expenditure of money, to repair our faults, and whilst the results have not been so disastrous as they were in 1854-5, at the same time we have learned a useful le.«sou, which may be of incalculable value if ever we should have the misfortune to be involved in an European War. There is another matter, equally important, with regard to which a good many prescient people are anxious that we shall not wait to learn by experience-the DANGER TJ OUR INDUSTRIES AND COMMERCE, which is threatened by the competition of Germany and the United States. In Germany the Government co-operates with the manufacturers to an extant which is not observable in any other country, and it is sufficiently obvious that the result is one which we cannot afford to ignore. When Britain goes to Germany for Field Guns, and when Germans propose to establish an arsenal in England for the purpose of supplying our Government with weapons, surely then it is time for us to recognise that German competition is something more than the dream ot a pessimist. Lord George Hamilton, in his letter to Sir Alfred Hickman, M.P., has sought to impress manufacturers, and the nation, with the gravity of the question of American competition. Sir A. Hickmau, speaking in the House of Commons, had complained of the execution of certain contracts placed by the Indian Railway Companies with American ifrms. The speaker considered that these contracts need not have been placed in the United States, and he contended that the way in which they were being executed was not satisfactory. Lord George Hamilton traverses the statements of Sir A. Hickmau on all the points raised by him, but he goes further, and raises a much larger question. The COMPETITION OF THE AMERICAN WORKSHOPS, he says, is dangerous, but it is because they are yearly improving their products both in quality and price." That American locomotives obtained a footing in India was, he adds, due to the great engineering strike, but if British locomotives are to regain their monopoly in India it will be necessary for our firms to ensure that in price and time of delivery the advantage shall be on the side of British production. As Secretary of State for Indit, he promise that, unless the difference in price, quality, and delivery, be very substantial, the preference shall always be given to British firms, but he says, as emphatically as he can, that the competition of the United States is based upon a greater advance iu chemical research, concentra- tion of capital, thorough technical education, and improved industrial organisation. If he is right in his facts, these statements on the part of a man in the position of Lord George Hamilton, are a matter of grave moment. If it is true that British engineers are unable to hold their own in India, where every possible preference is extended to them, how, in that case, could it be possible for them to compete against the foreigner in those countries where patriotism and sentiment combine to favour the foreigner ?

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