Wilfrid Richmond.

The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 online

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of India, — is none too large, and if opera-
tions of magnitude ever take place on
the Northwestern frontier, the forces which
can be spared from the obligatory garri-
sons will merely be able to hold on for a
limited period until reinforcements arrive from
over sea. The Army of India is composed
of British and native troops. Experience de-
mands that the proportion shall be one British
soldier to two Indian sepoys, and that the artil-
lery shall be entirely British. The British soldier
in India is expensive, the Indian sepoy cheap,
perhaps the cheapest and for his pay the best
and most efficient soldier in the world. Life in
the army has hitherto appealed to the manly
tribes. It was an honorable career, it was pos-
sible to save, and there is a pension at the end
of the service. But the general rise in wages
throughout India, the comparatively speaking
lucrative employment which is offered in various
directions, and the certain chances presented by
agriculture in the canal colonies have somewhat
changed the prospects of service in the Army.
Simultaneously the great efforts which have
been made of late to obtain a high standard of
efficiency have diminished the amenities of the
sepoy's existence, and it is possible that the
difficulties of recruiting which beset the authori-
ties in England will ere long appear in a modi-
tied form in India. At any* rate, in spite of the
fact that India is still, notwithstanding the
changes wrought by civilization, and the Pax
Britanica, rich in man power, the sepoy will
become more expensive, and however menacing
the situation on the frontiers may be, it will be
difficult on India's present financial basis to
increase the standing army. There are, however,
other forces than those of the Regular Army in
India. On the frontier Lord Curzon, chiefly
from political reasons, — the policy of concilia-
tion instead of exasperation, — ha9 offered to the
wild youth of the frontier service in Militia
Regiments, while many of the greater Princes
have voluntarily contributed highly trained
troops for the defence of the Empire. These
forces are trained by British officers, and have
won high praise on service. They are known as
the Imperial Service Troops, and are quite as
efficient as the regiments of the Regular Army.
But in spite of India's resources in man power,
in spite of the loyal co-operation of the great
Feudatories the Indian Government cannot be
expected, single-handed, to provide for the de-
fence of what has been truly called the 'strate-
gical frontier* of the British Empire. India



must look to Great Britain in times of supreme
danger, and in the matter of foreign policy
India is merely an agent of the British Gov-
ernment The Viceroy and his Government
are responsible as local agents for Indian ter-
ritory where it marches with Turkey, Russia,
China and France, for the Persian Gulf, and
for relations with Afghanistan. The ideal is
that the glacis of the fortress should be steril-
ized or neutralized, but with European powers
pushing East, and with decaying and moribund
Asiatic States as our neighbors, this ideal wili
not be realized save by armed preparation and
a resolute front Opinions differ as to the pol-
icy on the Northwestern frontier. The scien-
tific soldier is in favor of daring measures and
would occupy advanced posts in Afghanistan
to check a Russian invasion, and apart from
military consideration there is an obligation
to defend the Amir of Kabul from attack, and
there is the belief that the advance of Russia
to the near neighborhood of India would in-
jure the prestige of Government in the eyes of
the Indians. Against this policy is the awk-
ward fact that as things are at present the ad-
vance of British troops into Afghanistan would
be regarded with hostility by the subjects of
our ally, the Amir, and that it would be the
signal for the rising of the independent tribes
who hold the hills between India and Afghan-
istan. But above all is the question whether
the Army of India is fitted, either by its size
or its nature, to undertake protracted cam-
paigns at great distances from the present fron-
tier. It is always difficult for men who have
been brought up in a school of great tradition
to abandon the faith, and among the traditions
which have made this splendid Indian Empire
have been courage, a belief in the British mis-
sion in the East, and undaunted advance. For
generations Afghanistan has been a will-o'-the-
wisp, and for the purpose of keeping that mis-
erable abode of robbers from extinction, we
have spent blood and money and are still spend-
ing money with very little return. Few would
like to throw up the Afghan policy, yet few
are satisfied with it. The abandonment of our
relations with the Amir of Kabul would mean
the absorption of Afghanistan by Russia. Her
railways have reached the Afghan frontiers and
she can penetrate more easily than England
can. But the policy of sterilizing the glacis
does not end with Afghanistan, or Thibet, where
the policy was recently applied. We have
to consider Persia and Seistan, and later there
may be a dangerous glacis to be provided for
at the head of the Persian Gulf. Where is it
all to end? Nature has indicated a very re-
spectable frontier — our present frontier. No
frontier is now impregnable, but with railways
and ample supplies, with military works, and
an army well fed and unexhausted by marches
through hostile country, the existing Indian
frontier would serve. While there is no ques-
tion of the enormous importance of prestige hi
India, the advance of a European force to the
frontiers of India would perhaps not weaken
our prestige as much as a protracted and un-
certain campaign out in the treacherous moun-
tains of Afghanistan.

Bibliography.— Of the two important sec-
tions of the Indian frontier we hear less of the



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GREAT BRITAIN— THE PREE TRADE MOVEMENT



Burman borders than we do of the Northwest-
ern frontier. India marches with China (Yun-
nan) on the Northeast, with Siara on the
Southeast. For about 100 miles between the
point where the Anglo-China boundary ends,
and the Anglo-Siamese boundary begins, the
British border along the Mekong river touches
French Indo-China. The Government of India
has relations with the local authorities of these
three Governments.

The boundary with China was settled by the
conventions of 1894 and 1897 from the Mekong
river in the South to latitude 25-40 n„ and
the greater part has since been demarcated.
The Mekong boundary with French Indo-
China was settled by the Anglo-French conven-
tion of 1896. North of latitude 25-40 we have
always claimed that the basins of the Irrawaddy
belongs to Burma and that the boundary with
China up to the confines of Thibet should be
the watershed between the Irrawaddy and the
Salween. And this northern part of Burma
from the watershed to the borders of Assam
is inhabited by wild Kachin tribes, British re-
lations with whom, outside of administrative
territory* is managed by the Indian Government
through the local government. So also with
the semi-independent tribes — Chins and Lushais,
who inhabit the hilly tracks between Burma
and Assam, and Chittagong. Among works
which contain information regarding the fron-
tiers of Burma may be mentioned: John Nis-
bet, < Burma Under British Rule and Before * ;
Shway Yoe (Sir G. Scott), < Burma as It Was,
as It Is, and as It Will Be,* and <The Burnum,
His Life and Notions ) ; Sir Arthur Phayre,
history of Burma* ; A. R. Cokjuhun, < Among
the Shans* ; E. G. Harmer, ( The Story of Bur-
ma > (Stories of the Empire Series*).

The literature on the Northwestern frontier
of India is large and increasing. The follow-
ing books may be consulted : R. I. Bruce, <The
Forward Policy and Its Results* ; Valentine
Chirol, <The Middle Eastern Question*; Lord
Curzon, * Russia in Central Asia,* * Persia and
the Persian Question,* < The Pamirs and the
Sources of the Oxus* ; Wm. K. Daly, < Eight
Years Among the Afghans* ; Sir Herbert Ed-
wardes, ( A Year on the Punjab Frontier* ; Dr.
Gray, <My Residence at the Court of the
Amir*; Colonel Sir T. Holdich, <The Indian
Border-land* ; A. H. Keane, <Asia* ; H. Lans-
dell, € Russia in Central Asia* ; O. Olafsen,
^Through the Unknown Pamirs* ; Sir Henry
Rawlinson, < England and Russia in the East* ;
F. M. Lord Roberts, < Forty-One Years in In-
dia* ; Earl of Ronaldshay, K Sport and Politics
Under an Eastern Sky,' and ( On the Outskirts
of Empire in Asia* ; M. M. Shoemaker, ( The
Heart of the Orient* ; F. H. Skrine and E. D.
Ross, c The Heart of Asia* ; Sultan Mahomed
Khan, <Laws and Constitution of Afghanistan,*
and c The Life of Abdul Rahman, Amir of
Afghanistan* ; A. C. Yate, <England and Rus-
sia Face to Face* ; C. E. Yate, <Kurasan and
Scistan,* and < Northern Afghanistan.*

Walter Roper Lawrence,
Formerly Private Secretary to Lord Curzon of
Kedleston, Viceroy of India; and Head of
the Staff of the Prince of Wales during
his Indian Tour.



40% Great Britain-* The Free Trade
Movement. Introduction. — I desire to put
shortly before the American people why the
British are Free Traders, and why they hold
it vital to their interests to maintain Free
Trade. Before considering their reasons for
favoring such a policy, it is necessary to ask
what an Englishman means by Free Trade. He
does not, of course, mean that the government
ought never to take any toll from traders or lay
any taxation whatever upon imported goods.
In a modern state it would be absolutely im-
possible to support any such contention. The
enormous revenues which have to be raised to
carry on the work of government make indirect
taxation an absolute necessity. The principle
upon which the British Free Trader insists is
that any tariff imposed upon goods entering
his country shall be imposed for revenue pur-
poses only. That he holds is the sole object
which the Government must entertain in levy-
ing its customs. But it follows from this that
duties ought not to be levied at the ports oh
goods produced abroad which axe also pro*
duced in England. To levy such duties en-
courages the consumer to buy the home and un-
taxed goods rather* than the foreign and taxed
goods, and so diminishes the yield of the tax.
Needless to say, this principle is not adopted
out of any hostility to home-made products, or
from any desire to favor the foreigner. If he
thought he could do so without injury to him-
self, without loss of revenue or without dimin-
ishing trade generally, the Englishman would of
course prefer that the goods made by his fellow
citizens should sell better .than those made by
foreigners. One of his objections to protective
duties (that is, to import duties on articles
which are also made at home) is that such
duties are not good "drawing** taxes. Unless
the State levies excise duties equal in amount to
the customs duties, and such excise duties can
only be levied profitably in a few instances, the
home manufactured goods which escape taxa-
tion are, speaking in a strictly fiscal sense, de-
frauding the revenue. In other words, what
ought to go into the public purse is going into
the pockets of the protected manufacturers.
The more efficiently a tax protects, the worse
tax it is for the purpose of filling the treasury
— the true purpose of all taxation. It is then,
in the opinion of English Free Traders, neither
wise nor in the true interests of the State to
interfere with the course of trade on any other
ground than that of producing revenue.

The Economic Argument. — It must next be
explained that the Englishman objects to inter-
ference with the course of trade, not out of any
pedantic feeling in regard to the abstract
"rights** of the trading part of the community,
but because he believes that such interference
must involve economic waste and so cause ma-
terial loss to the nation. He believes that to
forbid or interfere with exchanges between man
and man always results in a diminution of
national wealth. The Englishman adopts, and
has adopted during the past 50 years and more,
the principle that all exchanges are and must
be a mutual benefit. They are transactions
which are twice blest. They bless him that
buys as well as him that sells, and benefit the
man who exchanges gold for corn as much as



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GREAT BRITAIN — THE FREE TRADE MOVEMENT



the man who gives corn for gold. Hence it has
become an essential, nay, an almost instinctive,
belief on the part of the great majority of Eng-
lishmen that it is to their interest to stimulate
and encourage exchanges in every possible way.
They hold that to reduce the volume of ex-
changes must necessarily cause waste. But
Government interference with trade by means
of customs duties is bound to reduce the num-j
ber of exchanges. Therefore they will only
allow that interference in obedience to the im-
perative needs of the treasury. They realize
that foreign exchanges benefit the individuals of
a nation, and so the nation, quite as much as
home exchanges, and feel that as long as ex-
changes are being made freely and are increas-
ing, that there can be nothing wrong, at any
rate in the commercial condition of a nation.
Only allow free commercial intercourse, free
buying and free selling and free access to the
ports -of a country, and its trade, and so its
prosperity, will take care of itself. To allow
the maximum of exchanges is to increase the
wealth of a nation. To prevent or lessen ex-
changes is to waste its wealth.

The a Bleedinfr to Death 9 Hypothesis.—
Further, English Free Traders hold that there
is no necessity to be anxious as to whether the
imports into a country are greater in value than
the exports out of it. They hold that the rela-
tions between the imports and exports must
necessarily adjust and equalize themselves.
Human nature, they contend, has passed an or-
dinance to the effect that <( he that will not buy,
neither shall he sell.* Thus, instead of fearing
that imports, even of goods which can be made
in England, will reduce the amount of labor,
and so injure home trade, they regard all im-
ports into Britain as orders for British goods to
be produced and paid in exchange for those im-
ports. Imports are physical orders for goods,
and so for the labor that is employed to make
the goods. And they have this advantage: the
payment arrives with the order.

At one time the British public, it must be
admitted, was not so confident as it is now in
regard to the propositions just set forth. The
opponents of Free Trade declared that English-
men were living in a fool's paradise when they
supposed that trade could look after itself, and
that imports and exports must really be balanc-
ing though the statistics seemed to show that
many millions' worth more goods came into
England every year than went out of it. No-
body, they argued, will give something for
nothing, and therefore if your imports exceed
your exports by, say, a hundred millions a year,
you must be paying the difference in some way
i or other. *There is only one way in which you
can be paying it,* ran the argument, ff and that
is by sending away the capital accumulated in
years of better trade. In fact you are living on
your capital and bleeding to death. Because you
have been very rich in the past, the process may
take a long time to work out, but some day you
will find that you have no more blood left in
your veins, and that you have reached the point
of economic extinction.* That line of argument
was first used in the ff Fair Trade* agitation in
the years 1882-1885, and was revived some three
years apo. The simplest answer is found in the
fact that if exchanges do not balance and if
the British people have been in truth living



on their capital and bleeding to death, they
ought by now to be a trebly ruined nation. In
the course of the last 25 years imports have
apparently been so much in excess of exports
that the loss in that period must have been
nearly i2,ooo,ooo,ooo of capital. But it is notori-
ous that we have suffered no such loss. Though
statistics as regards the accumulation of capital,
both in home and foreign investments, are by no
means complete or satisfactory, it is manifest
that instead of bleeding to death the nation has
become more, not less, full blooded from the
capitalist point of view and that the total capital,
instead of diminishing, has vastly increased in
the course of the last quarter of a century.
Instead of having £2,000,000,000 less capital, we
have many hundreds of millions more and are
a very much richer people. In other words,
experience has shown that the bleeding to death
theory will not bear examination, and that
whether on other grounds or not protection
may be a good thing, free trade is certainly not
driving Britain to bankruptcy or reducing her
capital resources. In fact, regarded as a means
for increasing and maintaining the material
wealth of the nation, Free Trade must be ad-
mitted to hold the field.

The Imperial Argument. — Though there is
no doubt a great deal of difference of opinion
in regard to the best way in which to maintain
and develop the British Empire, the nation is
virtually unanimous on one point. It is for the
benefit — moral, political and economic — of the
peoples who compose it that the British Empire
shall be maintained. It is asserted on the Pro-
tectionist side, however, that the Empire cannot
be maintained under a Free Trade system, and
that unless that system is changed the Empire
will fall. That argument has hitherto not made
any impression upon the masses of the British
people. Instead of accepting the formula «No
Preference, no Empire* they are much more
inclined to accept the opposite dictum, tt No Free
Trade, no Empire* and to hold the opinion that
the Empire as it exists to-day is the gift of
Free Trade. Up to 60 years ago there was a
system of preferential trade within the Empire
almost exactly like that which it is now pro-
posed to re-establish. On the one hand the
British Colonies were required to give a pref-
erence to British manufactured goods and to
supply their needs in the British market, and
on the other, the British people gave a very
large advantage to the products of the various
parts of the British Empire in their markets.
Yet, strange as it may seem, the result of these
attempts to interfere with exchanges on political
grounds did not produce a sense of loyalty
in the inhabitants of the Colonies or of good
feeling toward the scattered parts of the
Empire in the United Kingdom. The epoch of
Colonial preference was the epoch in which
there grew up in England a school of thought
and a political party which believed that the
connection between the outlying parts of the
Empire and the United Kingdom was injurious
to both and that it would be to her advantage
if Britain got rid of her Colonies and depen-
dencies as rapidly as possible. Even so im-
perialistic a statesman as Lord Beaconsfield was
affected by these views in middle life. He
actually described the Colonies as ^millstones
round our neck* and looked forward to the time



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GREAT BRITAIN-* THE FREE TRADE MOVEMENT



when they would all be independent The
abolition of Colonial preference and the adoption
of the principle of a tariff for revenue only* may
be said to have been accomplished by the end of
the first half of the 19th century. It was after
1850 and so in the Free Trade epoch that the
strong sentiment in regard to the Empire now
existing, both in the Colonies and at home grew
up. No one now looks forward, as men con-
stantly looked forward during the preferential
epoch, to the time when the Colonies would
one by one leave the Empire. This being so,
many of the most far-seeing and the most
steadfast Imperialists in England regard Free
Trade as essential to the maintenance of the
Empire.

A further argument for Free Trade as an
essential condition of empire is to be found in
the fact that from the strategic and military
point of view the Empire rests upon sea power,
and that sea power in the true sense cannot be
possessed by a nation which does not also pos-
sess supremacy or something approaching
supremacy in the matter of its mercantile
marine. A great national navy depends upon a
great commercial navy. But a commercial navy
cannot exist without Free Trade. It is the
nations which encourage all who have anything
to sell to come freely to their ports and sell it
there without let or hindrance, which most
easily develop a large mercantile marine.
Britain stands first in the world of shipping,
not because she has better resources for ship-
building, and not because her population is by
nature more inclined to sea- faring than others,
but because she is a Free Trade nation. English-
men feel that if they are to keep their empire
they must remain a great shipping power, and
to be a great shipping power they must main-
tain Free Trade.

Monopoly and Corruption. — There are two
other factors which operate to make Englishmen
maintain their present fiscal system. The first
is the dread of monopoly which is to be found
in the British democracy. They are intensely
suspicious of anything in the nature of Trusts
or Combines, or of allowing any body of com-
mercial men to be in a position in which they
can say a You must either buy the goods we
make, or accept the services which we offer, or
go without.® Dreading intensely the creation of
monopolies, they cling to Free Trade, for they
realize that it is almost impossible to establish
a complete monopoly under their present sys-
tem. As long as the doors are open, and the
traders of every nation in the world are allowed
to send what they will to Britain and dispose
of it there freely, the task of creating a monop-
oly in any of the essential needs of mankind is
almost impossible of accomplishment. Another
reason which weighs not less strongly with the
British nation is the dread of political corrup-
tion. Rightly or wrongly they believe that there
is always a danger under Protection of corrup-
tion entering political life. If vast fortunes
can be made by the addition of a word or two
to the schedule of a tariff bill, they argue that
people will take too fierce an interest in politics
and that the desire to get those words inserted
or to keep them there after insertion will de-
flect men's minds from what should be their
true concern in dealing with public affairs, —



the good of the nation as a whole. Politics, in
a word, under Protection, become too personal.
The British people do not want any man to
find himself in the position of saying ft I can't
listen to what you say about the interests of the
people. All I know is that if the words in the
tariff Act which protect the industry in which
I work, or in which my money is invested, do
not remain in that Act, my wife and children
may come to starvation. Therefore I mean to
work with anybody or any party which will
give me the assurance that my livelihood shall
not be placed in danger. I am a man and the
father of a family first of all.® It must not be
inferred that the British people consider that a
proper regard for national interests can never
be found in protectionist states. The history of
America shows that in spite of the dangers to
which I have alluded, plenty of unselfish
patriotism is to be found in countries where
protection prevails. The fact, however, remains
that the British people do dread very greatly
the introduction of protectionist conditions into
their political life. Further, they dread the
direct corruption of the Legislature by the great
commercial interests. They may trust their
Members of Parliament in the abstract but they
do not wish to see them exposed to the tempta-
tions which unquestionably exist when enor-
mous pecuniary interests depend upon the main-
tenance of a Protectionist tariff. If once a
Legislature becomes corrupt, the chief safe-
guards of liberty are destroyed. Hence, the
British democracy feel that with the mainte-
nance of Free Trade is bound up a great deal
of what they value most in the political system
under which they live. See Great Britain —
The British Tariff Movement.

General Conclusions. — To sum up, the Brit-
ish people have established the policy of Free
Trade and wish to maintain it on the following
grounds: (1) They believe that the abandon-
ment of Free Trade would cause economic waste
and so tend to national impoverishment. (2)



Online LibraryWilfrid RichmondThe Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 → online text (page 50 of 185)