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direct. The belligerent states would not be able to interrupt her commercial intercourse with other powers; nor, indeed, either directly or indirectly, with their own subjects. On the other hand, if England could not maintain her maritime preeminence, and keep the seas open to her vessels, she would be unable to carry on her trade with her remote possessions, such as Canada, the West Indies, the Cape, Australia, and Hindostan. A large country, such as France, or an extensive confederacy of contiguous states, as Germany, may, to a certain extent, render itself independent of foreign trade, by the variety of its native products, and the power of preserving its internal communications during war. But what is the worth of that commercial independence which assumes the power of maintaining, in time of war, an unbroken intercourse with the most distant regions of the globe? Of what avail is it, that we are exempt from the bondage of European timber and wine, if we are to fetch the one from Canada, and the other from the Cape? The panacea for the evils of commercial slavery turns out, on examination, to be no remedy at all, but rather an aggravation of the calamity.
But while we are attempting, by a system of discriminating duties, to provide against the interruption of commerce consequent upon war, do we not forget, that by this very system we are sowing the seeds of hostilities, and multiplying the chances of the occurrence of the evil,which we seek to counteract? By establishing differential duties in favour of our colonies, we exclude from our ports the produce of foreign countries, or admit it on less favourable terms. Regulations of this sort, tending to the discouragement of the industry and trade of foreign countries, are naturally considered by them as unjust and unfriendly. Such distinctions, therefore, engender feelings towards us of no amicable nature, and must rank among the causes which lead to war. At all events, a system of exclusion and discrimination, directed against foreign countries, cannot fail to prevent the formation of that community of interest and feeling, which naturally springs from unfettered commercial intercourse, conducted upon equal terms.
It will, however, be said, that even if it should be apparent that colonial protection is detrimental to the mother country, yet it ought to be maintained for the sake of the colony. The colony, it will be argued, is an integral part of the empire; it is a possession of the Britisu crown, its inhabitants are our fellowsubjects; and it is our duty, not less than our policy, to show favour to its interests, and to strengthen its allegiance, by according preferences to its trade. The parental relation of the
* Is it wise for you to set tip (?) this line of distinction be
mother country to the colony, furnishes, according to this view, a ground why the more powerful state should make sacrifices of a commercial nature, for promoting the interests of the dependent community. This reasoning, however, obviously proceeds in a vicious circle, and returns upon itself. It is first proved, that the possession of colonies is advantageous to a country on account of the encouragement and extension which they give to its trade. The expenses of civil government, and of military and naval protection, and the increased chances of war, are admitted to be evils; but it is said that a compensation for them is found in the commercial facilities which the colony affords to the parent state. When, however, it is objected, that the mother country is a loser in regard to its trade, and that it sacrifices its commercial interests to the colony; then it is answered, that in order to preserve the allegiance of a valuable colony, and to cultivate the affections of our colonial subjects, we must submit to disadvantages by which their trade and industry are benefited. This species of logie reminds us of the reasoning which is sometimes used to justify the common practice of throwing good money after bad.' A person is advised to engage in some speculation on the ground that it will yield him a large profit. He makes the attemptinvests his money in buildings and machinery, and, instead of gaining, finds a large deficit. His impulse is to sell all his stock at the best price he can obtain, to escape from the enterprise as speedily as possible, and thus to avoid all additional loss. But his advisers represent to him the value of his fixed capital, and the large sacrifices which he has made in order to engage in the undertaking; and they therefore urge him to raise more money in order to make a further attempt. He builds in order to gain; but when the enterprise has been attended with loss, he proceeds to spend more money upon an unpromising concern, because he has built expensive works. So we obtain colonies for the sake of their trade; and then make sacrifices in colonial trade in order to retain our colonies.
If the preceding views are correct, it follows that a system of colonial protection, by means of discriminating duties and concealed bounties, is unsound and impolitic; and that the notion of a colonial custom's union is thoroughly impracticable.
Supposing protection to be afforded with respect to an article of colonial produce, not grown in the mother country, (for example, sugar or coffee ;) then, as we have shown, the mother
tween yourselves and your fellow-countrymen in Canada ? Lord Stanley, Speech on Canada Corn-law, 19th May 1843, (69 Hansard, p. 598.)
country is almost necessarily a loser. No, real reciprocity exists, even if the system of excluding foreign produce is adopted on both sides; for one market is larger than the other. The advantages which the monopoly of the market of the mother country offers to the colony, are far greater than those which the monopoly of the colonial market offers to the mother country. present, however, even this semblance of reciprocity does not exist, so far as this country is concerned; for England no longer limits her colonies to her own produce. She has abandoned her restrictions on the colonies, though she upholds the privileges to colonial goods by which she suffers. If there is no reciprocity, neither is there any community of interests. Wherever the article is exclusively of colonial growth, the colony and the mother country have avowedly separate interests. The colony. sells and the mother country buys. It is the interest of the mother country to buy in the cheapest market, but she is excluded from the cheapest market by her own discriminating duties, and confined to the produce of her own colony.
If the article is produced both in the mother country and the colony, and protecting duties common to the produce of both countries are imposed, (as in the case of Canada corn,) then the protection rests on a different ground. An attempt is made to bring the producers of both countries within the same circle of protection, and to consider them, for this purpose, as members of one community. It is, to a certain extent, an endeavour to create a colonial Zollverein. If, however, any body will consider the principles of the German Zollverein, and apply them consistently. to our Colonial Empire, he will speedily discover the dissimilarity. of the cases, and the impossibility of success; he will, we think, soon convince himself that it is necessary to regard the colonies as separate, though not independent communities, for customhouse purposes; and to abandon the idea of bringing them within a system of import duties common to themselves and the mother country. For fiscal purposes, the colonies ought to be as foreign, countries, with which a perfectly free trade prevails. Each colony has its own tariff, and raises its own revenue of customs, which it applies to the exigencies of its own service. The mother country can watch over these various tariffs; it can prevent the exclusion of its own commodities by prohibitions and discriminating duties, and can secure an uninterrupted free-trade with its colonies. On the other hand, it ought to permit its colonies to trade freely with all the world, and to open its own ports at fair revenue duties to all colonial products; but without giving them an undue preference, detrimental to its own interests, by discriminating duties.
If the attempt to establish a colonial customs' union were made
per lb. upon colonial anchovies.
consistently, it would lead to far more extensive consequences than those which our present legislation has sanctioned; and would inflict upon the people of England far more serious privations and losses than the system of colonial protection has hitherto produced. The principle of colonial protection has been applied capriciously and irregularly. There are several important articles which we might obtain from our colonies, but which are not subject to discriminating duties. For example, there is a protection for colonial sugar and coffee, but not for colonial tobacco or cotton. There is, moreover, the utmost variety in the amount of protection afforded; the duties vary from an approach to equality up to ten and twelve times the amount. At times no object seems too small for the microscopic vision of the colonial protector. Thus, there is a protection of 2d. Upon oranges there is no discrimination; but colonial marmalade enjoys a protection of 5d. per lb. The importer of colonial tapioca and sago is left by our tariff to bear the full brunt of the foreign competition in these articles; but we have not been regardless of colonial interests in the item of arrow-root, which is protected by a discrimination of 4s. per lb. Our differential duties have in some cases been fixed with a minuteness of adaptation to circumstances, which would, no doubt, command our admiration, if we understood the grounds of the distinction; but which does not at once explain itself to the casual observer. For example, there is no protection for colonial dried apples; but colonial raw apples are favoured by a discrimination of 4d. per bushel. The duty on colonial tin-ore is half the duty on foreign tin-ore; but for tin manufactures there is no discrimina-tion. Cattle and meat are, under the tariff of this Session, to be imported without duty; but colonial poultry, alive or dead, still retains over foreign poultry the advantage of a double differential duty. The same measure likewise extends this benefit to colonial cucumbers preserved in salt.' We regret, however, to be unable to discover that fresh cucumbers, or even melons, the produce of our colonies, have any preference in our tariff; certainly fruit, raw, and not otherwise enumerated,' is subject to the same duty of five per cent ad valorem, whether imported from a foreign country or a British possession.
Fortunately, it has never been attempted to apply the prinsciple of colonial protection systematically to our tariff; or to confine the consumption of these islands to the produce of our colonies for all articles which can be grown in them. Almost all the discriminations have been established with a view to the interests of some particular colony. Even in last Session, when Mr Hutt moved in the House of Commons a resolution for extending the Canadian scale of corn-duties to the Australian colonies, the
motion was resisted by Ministers, upon the ground that the concession had been made with reference to the special circumstances of Canada.* It may be added, too, that the rule of the customs' law with respect to manufactures, destroys to a great extent the principle of excluding foreign produce under a discriminating duty. Thus, American wheat imported into Canada cannot be imported into England as Canadian wheat. But American wheat imported into Canada, and there ground into flour, can be imported into England as Canadian flour, and thus obtain the advantage of the low duty. The truth is, that if the corn-law of 1842 had been maintained, a principle had already been introduced, which, if consistently pursued, ought to have permitted all the corn of Danzig and Odessa to have been ground into flour in Heligoland and Gibraltar, and imported into England at a nominal duty..
It is fortunate for this country that the system of colonial protection has not been driven to its utmost possible limits; and that the consumer in the mother country has not been consistently sacrificed to the colonial producer. But, although the principle has not been applied universally, it has been established in many extensive branches of import, and under the existing protection vested interests have been created which would suffer by a change of law. For example, the wine establishments of the Cape, and the sawmills of Canada, would, to a great extent, be abandoned if the inequality of duties on which their artificial life depends was removed. And however little advantage it may have been to Canada, for example, that its capital should be diverted from the cultivation and improvement of the soil, to cutting timber, and the lumber-trade; yet as the investment has been made, and the buildings and machinery erected, the owners of that property would undoubtedly now endure a loss, if the protection was suddenly withdrawn. Accordingly, the legislative assembly of Canada, in their recent address to the crown, speak of the happiness and prosperity of the people of this colony, advancing in steady and successful progression under that moderate system of protection of her staple productions, grain and lumber, which Her Majesty and the Imperial Parliament have hitherto graciously secured them; and they intimate a loyal fear, that should the inhabitants of Canada, from the withdrawal of all protection to their staple products, find that they cannot successfully compete with their neighbours of the
On the inconsistency of not extending the same principle to other colonies, see Lord Howick's speech in the debate on Mr Hutt's motion, 8th May 1845.—Hansard, vol. 80, p. 333..,