across one case of drunkenness. This state of temperance must,
I am convinced, be an important factor in the prosperity of the
Mr. Brown stated —
" The German workman seems to be more sober and steady than
our own work-people, and he dresses well.
When he gets employment,
he seems to like to stop where he is, instead of always changing."
Mr. Mann wrote —
" I went to Germany with an open mind with regard to tariff
reform, but had not gone far before I found that something would
have to be done to protect our industry at home. It is reasonable
to suppose that when the people of England get thoroughly awakened
to the losses naturally incurred by them in consequence of the high
tariffs imposed by foreign countries, they will ultimately come to the
conclusion that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,
and will ask that foreigners shall pay for the use of the British
market just as foreigners make British manufacturers, through their
high tariffs, pay for the use of their markets."
Mr. Calvert said —
No Lack of Employment in Gekmany
" It cannot be asserted with any degree of truth that the social
conditions of the German workman, taken generally, suffer by com-
parison with our own, nor can we say that at present there is a lack
" In the elementary schools there is no raggedness, nor sign of
starvation, as we were led to suppose we should see. This is not to
be wondered at, wlien we remember that the Empire is at present
subject to a wave of general prosperity."
Mr. Mottershall said —
" A citizen of the German Empire is accepted by the State as a
responsibility, and is taken in hand frorn childhood, with a view of
WHAT ONLOOKERS THINK OF FREE-TRADE 63
obtaining from such citizen the best results possible for the benefit
of the Empire as a whole,
" It is reasonable to suppose that when the English people awake
to tiie losses actually incurred by them in consequence of the high
tariffs imposed by Germany and other foreign countries, that it is
necessary for the protection of the English workmen, that the
foreigners should pay for the use of the English market."
Some extracts from the general body of the Eeport bear
with singular significance on the case we are considering.
Comparative Poverty of England and Germany
Crefeld, the seat of the German velvet and silk industry,
was the first great town visited by the Commission, and what
the delegates found there may be taken as the keynote of the
entire question respecting the Comparative Poverty of Great
Britain and Germany.
" There is no penury to be seen in the streets of Crefeld," said
the delegates on visiting that place, and they saw no reason to
change this note during their extended tour through industrial
" The general condition of the working classes in the industrial
town of Crefeld impressed us. Wherever we came into contact with
them we were struck by their genial character, general physical
health, cheerfulness of demeanour and freshness about their work.
No sign of extreme poverty meets the eye ; the problem of the
unemployed obviously does not weigh upon the municipal authorities
at the present juncture."
In Rheinliausen and Essen, Bechum, Dortmund ; in Selingen,
Dusseldorf, Cologne, Fraukfort-on-Maine ; in Bavaria and
Saxony; in Leipzig, Hamburg, Berlin, the same experiences
are met with.
Widespread Poverty does not exist in Germany
" Widespread, pinching poverty, in the worst sense of the word,
does not exist under the present conditions of the labour market.
There is a demand for labour, not a scarcity ; the working classes
here are receiving wages which, even if not quite up to our British
standard, are not illiberal, and are certainly above the standard we
were led to expect they were before we left England."
" The (piestion of the unemployed docs not exist here."
" The men in this neighbourhood earn good wages, so that it is
not necessary for the women to go out to work."
" We could, however, see no trace of want. There is no lack of
employment, and all the works here are fully occupied."
64 BRITAIN FOR THE BRITON
*' It cannot be said tliat the municipality is troubled here with an
' Unemployed ' question on a large scale."
These few extracts sufficiently emphasise the startling fact
that poverty, as we know it in this country, is practically
unknown in the German Empire.
Another phase of the question whicli this very practical and
intensely interesting Report invests with remarkable significance
— the prosperity of the German working classes, as evidenced
by the State Savings Banks — is dealt with in an extract from
the Eeport, showing what the German work-people have been
able to do towards making provision for the future —
Enormous Savings of German Work-people
" The statistics of the Prussian Savings Banks, just published,
bear out all that we have been able to notice concerning the
improvement in the condition of the working classes. The amount
of deposits almost doubled between 1894 and 1004. In 1894 they
amounted to 4,000.67 milHons of marks (£196,111,275), in 1905, to
7,761.93 millions (£380,485,300). The total amount in the whole
of the German Empire of the deposits lying in the savings banks, is
said to be about £598,000,000."
Similar statistics for the United Kingdom provide the
following figures : —
Post Office Savings Banks*. . . £89,266,006 £148,339,354
Trustee Savings Bank .... 43,474,904 52,280,861
These figures show that for every head of the population in
Germany there is a sum of £10 12,s'. 2d. in the savings banks
while for the United Kingdom there is but £4 15s. 7(^., or less
than one- half.
While in Germany also the deposits of the working-classes
had about doubled in the ten years endiny 1904, tlicij had only
increased in tJiis country hy fifty-one jper cent, in the same 'period.
In this commercial world we generally measure a man's
prosperity by his bank balance, and if we apply this practical
standard to the working-classes of Great Britain and Germany,
we shall find that our own people suffer consideraldy by the
contrast. It supplies a scathing condemnation of the economic
and fiscal system, for it proves its utter unsuitability to the
present needs of the country, while it serves no purpose but to
* Savings Banks only have been taken in both countries.
WHAT ONLOOKERS THINK OF FREE-TRADE 65
spread wealth and prosperity amont^ foreign nations at the
expense of our own countrymen. We do not grudge foreign
peoples that measure of success and prosperity which the wiser
fiscal laws of their country enable them to enjoy, but we bitterly
resent the continuance of inept fiscal laws in our own country,
which serve only to limit the success of the British people and
deprive them of that prosperity in which it is their right to
The consideration of this part of the question might be
suitably closed by the following extract from the Report : —
Germany's Prosperity synchronises with Protection
" Whilst proceeding from town to town in this busy and pros-
perous district of the G-erman Empire, we liave been forced to face
the fact that it has been during the period following upon the
introduction of protection duties by Prince Bismarck, in 1879, that
Germany has ceased to be poor and has become well-to-do ; that her
work-people have received a large increase in wages ; that the general
social condition of the latter has improved ; that Germany's industry
has developed ; that she has succeeded in extending her foreign trade
and in acquiring ready markets for her continuously developing
" We showed in our report about Essen, that in that district
wages had increased by 61 per cent, since 1<S71, and by 267 per
cent, as compared with what they were seventy years ago."
It is, of course, impossible to do justice in this brief chapter
to so vast a question as is involved in the consideration of
international fiscal laws, but this one example will at least
serve to show that widespread pauperism, with vast masses on
the verge of poverty, general unemployment and the necessity
for constant emigration, do not obtain in Germany.
On the contrary, it conclusively proves that poverty — as we
know it — is unknown there, that labourers are scarce, work
plentiful, and wages good, while there is general prosperity
among the working-classes and no need for emigration.
Whatever else this may indicate, one fact stands out with
remarkable clearness, and that is — if our political parties had
not sacrificed the commonweal to their own narrow, sordid
interests, the people of England would to-day be in the same
enviable condition as their German confreres.
THE PAUPER QUESTION IN ENGLAND AND IN GERMANY :
A COMPARISON FREE-TRADE ECONOMISTS FAIL TO
EXPLAIN CAUSE OF INCREASING DESTITUTION
Other evidence of the failure of the Free-trade system may be
found in comparing the nature and extent of our pauper
establishments with those of Germany, for example.
This is what the " Gainsborough Commission " says about
the German poorhouses and their inmates —
"As regards the workhouse, we have in vain looked for one ; aud
in very deed the ' House ' plays no great role in these parts."
" In this connection it may be briefly noted that the workhouse
in Germany is an institution of a penal nature under the supervision
of the police, to be distinguished from the poorhouse or the shelter
for the homeless."
"The poorhouse, too, is intended for old and infirm persons,
rather than for those that are able-bodied."
" Fm'ther, there are no over-filled workhouses here, for there are
uot even any workhouses to fill with able-bodied men and women.
The poorhouses and homes for the sick and aged poor in Germany
are for those that are disabled and unfit for work ; the workhouse,
or German Arbeitshaus, is for the vagrant and the outcast, who will
not work, and is, therefore, condemned to a life of correction."
Speaking of the Berlin night refuges, which are distinct
from our workhouses, the Commission says —
" The inmates of these refuges are divided into two classes. One
class consists of those w^ho constantly make use of them ; the other
of those who are forced to do so by temporary circumstances. The
former consists of individuals who never seem to care to look out
for regular occupation.
" If it is discovered that they have no inclination to work, they
are handed over to the police and sent to a house of correction."
PAUPER QUESTION IN ENGLAND AND GERMANY G7
No Pauperism in Germany
These extracts, although brief, are really a summary of tlie
impressions of the six members of the Commission iu respect to
the German " Pauper " question. There is admittedly a certain
number of destitute people in Germany who have to be provided
for by the various municipal bodies, and there are poor in every
country in tlie world ; but pauperism, as we have it, legalised
into a State institution, exacting from the pockets of the tax-
payers the enormous sum of upwards of £34,000,000 annually
in Poor Eates, £16,000,000 of which are actually spent each
year in maintaining the most aggressive forms of pauperism, is
nothing but a monstrous growtli on the civilisation of a great
country and a standing reproach to our legislature.
Anti-Free-traders call attention to these evils, and many
others from which the body politic are suffering, as remedial,
but add —
" If the people of this country really want to rid themselves
of this incubus and establish those conditions which would
enable them to make the most of their trades, industries, and
internal resources and ensure a fair amount of collective
prosperity instead of vast individual wealth, they must take a
more intelligent interest in the question."
It is declared by many writers and speakers that wide-
spread pauperism is unnecessary, that poverty is avoidable, and
reasonable prosperity is within reach of all ; but if a thing is
worth having it is worth working for, worth fighting for even,
and the people of this country must really arouse themselves to
the necessities of the situation.
By their a})athy and indifference, but chiefly through their
ignorance, they have, in truth, divested themselves of all real
political power and have handed it over to almost any smart
politician, who, for the time being, caught their fancy with
some attractive political catchword ; but this happy-go-lucky
method of dealing with grave political questions, which affect
their individual lives and incomes, must be abandoned if they
are really desirous of getting the best results for themselves out
of the commonwealth.
Politics, like most other things in this world, are capable
of being used to one's own advantage or disadvantage, according
to the way we look at the matter, and if we are foolish enough
to hand over our chances to the first unscrupulous speculator
who happens to come along, and we lose all our political capital,
we must accept the results of our folly and indifference.
68 BRITAIN FOR THE BRITON
Dissipation of Valuable Political Power
The British people have nil the political power necessary to
ensure work for all as well as national 'prosiierity, but they have
hitherto regarded that power so lightly as to hand it over to
a host of tricky politicians who have utterly wasted it in the
senseless strife of party warfare, instead of conserving and
using it for the public good.
A more forcible illustration of this fact could not possibly
be found than in the Keport of this self-constituted Commission
of working-men —
" As regards the ivorkhouse, we ham in vain looked for one ; and
in very deed the ' House'' jd ays no great role in these ;?«/•/.§," said this
small band of working-men who travelled through many parts of the
German Empire with their eyes very widely open to evidences of
poverty and unemployment.
" Widespread, pinching poverty, in the worst sense of the icord, does
not exist under the present conditions of the tadour market^ *
" llie question of the unemployed does not exist here.''^ f
" We could, however, see no trace of want. There is no lack of
employment, and all the ivorks here are fully occupied.'''' X
Indeed, the Eeport shows that there is in Germany no such
poverty as we know it ; no workhouses as we have them,
scattered over the length and breadth of the land ; no such un-
employment as we have it, causing demonstrations, discontent,
political unrest, loss to the commonwealth, and standing forth
as a menace to the peace of the nation : and yet all this is easily
avoidable, as the evidence of the times conclusively proves.
" Poverty and pauperism, my dear sir," say some people,
" are the necessary outcome of human life, and there's no use
trying to get away from the fact."
Then, in regard to the land, they say, " Everybody knows
that agriculture doesn't pay, and you'll be an uncommonly
clever man if you can make people believe otherwise."
" Do you mean to tell me, if there is money in the land,
that it wouldn't have been worked for all it's worth Ions a^o,
or that Government wouldn't have made the mcist of it ? "
" Don't you believe it, my dear fellov/. Agriculture's as
dead as a kippered herring, and, take my word for it, there's
nothing in it."
* " Life and Labour in Germany," Report III. pp. 23, 24.
t Ibid., p. 29.
i Ibid., p. 31.
PAUPER QUESTION IN ENGLAND AND GERMANY 69
TiiH Platitudes of the Public
These are the sort of platitudes one hears constantly in the
mouths of men who really believe what they say because they
have been born and bred in a country which encourages poverty
and institutes a huge system of pauperism, and which, two
generations ago, threw overboard its agriculture and became
entirely dependent upon its trades and manufactures. Briefly,
the people of England are so accustomed to rub shoulders with
paupers that they see nothing anomalous in their existence.
They are also so accustomed to look to foreign countries for
four-fifths of their wheat and flour, and a vast quantity of their
other food-stuffs besides, that they hardly regard their own
land as a factor in the situation at all ; and, therefore, when a
man comes along and tells them this land of theirs is a factor,
by far the mo.^t important one in the entire social and economic
conditions of their country, and that it is more intimately
woven into the very fibres of their own lives than any other
factor in this world, they can hardly be brought to realise the
truth. When, however, the people of this country can grasp
these living truths, the destruction of that insensate party
warfare and political trickery, which has brought incalculable
harm to tbe country, will commence.
It is pointed out nowadays by many writers who prefer to
determine such matters, as we are considering, by the aid of the
practical manifestations afforded by the actual conditions under
which the people live rather than by the light of " economic
science," that some professors of economics seem to be more
jealous of the dogmas of their particular beliefs than mindful of
the people's real interests.
One writer, in defending the present fiscal system of the
country, pointed to " the enormous advantage of fifty years of
Eree-trade imports, as manifested in the prosperity of the
country and in our high standard of living," in order to prove
that it is the best for the people. The people, on the other
hand, who rightly prefer to reduce this question to concrete
examples and apply them to their individual lives, take quite
a different view. They very naturally point, in the first place,
to ever-present unemployment, to increasing destitution and
growing pauperism ; to the pressing necessity of enormous
State and private charity ; to social unrest and political agita-
tion ; to the growth of Socialism and of revolutionary doctrines
70 BRITAIN FOR THE BRITON
which threaten to uproot and destroy all existing social and
economic conditions, as a res^ilt of the present fiscal or econo-
Then they absolutely deny that "the prosperity of the
country " and " our high standard of living " applies to them.
They admit enormous national wealth, but they say it is
individual rather than collective ; it is in the hands of the few
and not of the many, and, this being so, it becomes startlingly
obvious that the present system under which the business of
the country is carried on, while yielding golden results to a few
favoured individuals, keeps the great masses of the people in
a mean condition of semi-destitution, out of which grows all
that is undesirable in the national life and all that is dangerous
to national interests.
Whatever else may be deduced from this reasoning, one
supreme fact stands out prominently, and that is. Economics is
not an Exact science, and, therefore, it has no well-defined,
immutable laws by which you can shape and guide the econo-
mical requirements of a people. In economics you may
theorise and deal in mighty abstract problems to your heart's
content, but once you split the science up into a number of
concrete examples, and attempt to apply them to the individual
needs of the people, you find they are totally unsuited to each
man's domestic requirements.
Economics fail to explain the Situation
This country is full of paupers, with almshouses, unions,
relieving officers, and a multitude of State and private institu-
tions to deal with the heavy and ever-growing burden of
poverty, and Germany is not — nor is any country in Europe in
such an unenviable condition. Why is this ? Economists, in
dealing with the matter, generally touch with a light hand all
those parts of the vast question which impinge on increasing
unemployment, growing destitution, and phenomenal pauperism,
because they find that economic science offers no solution of the
problem. How can it ? How can the cold dicta of science
satisfy a people when they deprive them of employment and, as
a result, of the first necessary of life — food. Bread will fill a
man's stomach and satisfy his hunger, but science will not ; and
it is here that political economy fails. The people ask for
employment ; for a reasonable measure of prosperity ; for
immunity from that terrible precariousness of life which treads
on the heels of so many millions of our fellow-countrymen,
constantly whispering into their ears the message of Poverty
which is following close in their wake. They ask that they
PAUPER QUESTION IN ENGLAND AND GERMANY 71
should be relieved from this hauntinj:^ shape; and "economists"
reply by pointing' to trade expansion and the wealth of the
country as vindicating the truth of political science and in proof
of the unreasonableness of the people's demand. The people
ask for bread, and they got a stone.
All this, and much more besides, is, as anti-Free-traders
insist, ever in evidence in favour of sharp drastic reforms in the
system which has produced results so disastrous to the people,
and of bringing every available acre in the United Kingdom
under the highest possible form of cultivation. It is pointed out
that instead of progress we get reaction, while the reactionists
are ever ready with numerous plausible arguments showing that
the unfortunate position which the country has drifted into is
due to every conceivable cause other than those which are
known to be responsible for it. There are, however, signs of a
great awakening, and it is to be earnestly hoped tliat the people
will be aroused to the dangers which threaten them, and to a
realisation of their own wrongs, sooner than the reactionaries
PROBLEM FOR THE BRITISH TAX-PAYERS — PAUPERISM
UNNECESSARY — WILL THEY CONTINUE TO SUPPORT
IT ? — HOW TO DEAL WITH VAGABONDAGE
While the social and economic troubles of the British people
offer overwhelming evidence of social and economic maladminis-
tration resulting more from the unsuitableness of the Free-
trade system than anything else, anti-Free-traders contend
that one of the most practical, up-to-date ways of dealing with
this big question of the poverty of the British people, among
others, is to ask the British tax-payer whether he would prefer
his money being wasted in bolstering up national pauperism or
usefully spent in developing national industries ?
This, at first sight, seems a ridiculous question to ask, but
there is more in it than meets the eye.
The British tax-payer has really a choice betw^een pauperism
and prosperity, but he must look at the whole question from
quite a different standpoint from that from which he has
hitherto been in the habit of viewing it.
So long as he regards the poverty of the people, as he knows
it to-day, and the host of paupers bred therefrom, as a necessary
outcome of economic " laivs," so long will the civil administra-
tion of the day call upon him to hand over the £35,000,000
annually, which it costs to support and maintain this belief;
but the moment he realises that he has been throwing his
money away on false ideas, and that he has really done more
harm than good by his misplaced lavishness, the necessity for
raising this colossal sum, at least for that purpose, will cease.
Eeduced to its proper denomination, all this poor relief,
whether by State aid or from public or private sources, is
nothing but a Stupendous CHAKixy, and the moment we begin
dispensing charities we must " go slow," or we shall do more
harm than good
PROBLEM FOR THE BRITISH TAX-PAYERS
In private life the common experience is, the moment you
establish a reputation for philanthropy, you are " got at " by
men and women of all sorts and conditions, and, despite every
possible precaution, you arc deceived in hundreds of cases.
There is a veritable host of people, of both sexes, always on the
look-out for a " soft job," and this is certain, that so long as
widespread, misplaced State and private philanthropy exist, so
long will this array of loafers, tramps, and ne'er-do-weels, this
human scum, that battens on the poor-rates like leeches, and
waxes fat on the silly credulity of the charitably disposed, grow
There is no getting away from this fact, and it applies
equally to all charities, whether private, public, or State.
Before we finally decide what we, as tax-payers, are to do in
this matter, let us see if our millions have really done any good
to the cause to which we have so liberally contributed for the