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the last ten years an average of £24,350,000 of home produce. Their population is nearly 60,000,000, and, therefore, they have taken of our home produce at the rate of about 8s. per head.
Now Canada, which, as you know, is coterminous with the United States, and which remains to us, has taken from us on an average £7,300,000 during the past ten years.
Take their population at 5,000,000, and that gives nearly 30s. per head, or nearly four times what the United States takes from us.
Well, but, gentlemen, you may say that the United States have a more hostile tariff against us than Canada has; but, if you think for a moment, you will remember that, if Canada were to leave us she would be pretty certain to adopt the tariff of the United States, and we should not be materially benefited by that proceeding. But let us consider the case of Australia. Australia takes from us on an average £24,250,000, or about the same as the whole of the United States, although its population is only about 3,250,000, or at the rate of £7 per head, being more than seventeen times more than the United States with its population of 60,000,000. Now, gentlemen, I wish to say that, on that ground of commercial interest alone, the question is worthy of the consideration of our great commercial communities.”
If, therefore, the effect of a duty on corn did slightly increase the cost of bread, the artisans of this country would, in my opinion, find abundant compensation in the increased employment resulting from this policy. But while my critics have challenged the accuracy of my assertion that the small duty suggested on foreign corn would not
increase the price in the loaf, none of them have condescended to refute the evidence I submitted in support of that opinion. I took the prices of corn at Mark Lane for two years, and showed that an increase of 5s. per quarter did not raise the cost of bread; in fact, it was only when the increase reached nos. that a halfpenny was added to the four-pound loaf. I have not seen any refutation of the clear and concise statements of Lord Dunraven on this question in this Review for March, 1891. He said:
The duty on wheat in France in 1882 was only 2-8d. per cwt. ; in 1885 it was raised to 15d. per cwt., or 536 per cent. According to some economists, the price of wheat should have gone up
in like proportion, and the masses have had to pay dearer for their bread. But what are the facts ? The price of wheat actually fell from an average of 10'08s. per cwt. in 1883, the year following the low duty, to 9:29s. in 1886, the year following the increased duty, or 8 per cent. Instead of the poor man in France having to pay dearer for his bread, he paid less in 1886 than in 1883, as the following table shows : Bread
1883 1884 1885 1886
d. d. d. d. First quality :
I.39 Second quality
I.17 Third quality.
I.17 I•13 1.04 1.09 “In Germany, too, I find the same results follow from increased duties. Wheat went down from 10'30s. per cwt. in 1882, when the duty was 6d. per cwt., to 9.39s. per cwt. in 1889, or 9 per cent., when the duty was 25. 6d. per cwt., or 500 per
cent. higher, while bread remained at about the same price. Internal development appears in both these cases to have more than compensated for any restriction of foreign imports, and it is only fair to remember that the resources of the British Empire in respect of food supply are immeasurably greater than those of France or Germany.
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, I am aware, said a short time ago in the House of Commons :
Supposing a duty is imposed upon these articles coming from foreign countries here, what would be the natural effect ? The price would be raised by something more than the duty. If the price was not raised, what good would it be to the colonies ? I do not despair of convincing the President of the Board of Trade that the price would not be increased, and that the result would be an immense advantage to both Great Britain and her colonies. I respectfully submit that the price of corn is controlled not by the cost of production, of freight or insurance, or of the duty, but by the question of demand and supply. I have already given the testimony of a gentleman well acquainted with both Canada and the United States, Sir Lyon Playfair, that in a few years the United States will have no corn for export, and that Canada will be able to supply all that now comes from that country. Mr. Staveley Hill, M.P., who has an intimate personal knowledge of the great Canadian North-West, said at a conference of the Midland Union of Conservative Associations last July :
“He knew Canada and Manitoba well, and he believed that during the next ten years they would be able to supply all that amount of grain which