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administrative gain in such uniformity, for in any case cargoes arriving at Bombay or Calcutta from Europe would have to be subjected to customs examination. A sea-divided Empire cannot in fact hope to gain those administrative advantages which the United States and Germany have gained by preventing the erection of, or by sweeping away, internal customs barriers. It is worthy of note that both the United States and Germany have failed to establish fiscal unity between their oversea possessions and the metropolitan State. The sea divides as well as unites.
Beyond these material considerations is the obstacle created by the sentiment of the peoples concerned. The people of Canada do not regard the Dominion merely as an administrative division of the British Empire ; they have a Canadian as well as a British loyalty, and steps taken in disregard of the former might easily result in the destruction of the latter. The same consideration applies to the other self-governing Dominions. It even applies, though in a different sense, to India. The conception of India as a nation is not of course of native growth. It is an exotic conception imported from Europe, and so far has only affected the handful of Indians who have received an English education. But this handful is growing in numbers and in influence, and though they may never be strong enough to overcome the internal differences which divide the inhabitants of India from one another, they may be able to combine the mutually warring elements in that enormous population for the purpose of opposing external measures which can be represented as anti-Indian. At any rate, the self-governing Dominions would never consent to such a derogation from their conception of nationhood as would be implied in the surrender of their present powers of self-taxation to some new central government for the whole Empire.
For these reasons the fiscal unity which the United States and Germany enjoy throughout their continuous land territories must be pronounced unattainable by the British Empire.
Therefore if we are to avoid the danger of fiscal conflicts within the Empire our only hope lies in discouraging the spirit of protection which breeds these controversies. Unfortunately during the past twenty years or so a considerable party within these islands has devoted itself to preaching in the name of Imperial unity principles which cut at the very root of that unity, and to demanding in the name of progress that we should
hark back to the disastrous colonial policy of past centuries. To bolster up their campaign the spokesmen of this party have persistently depreciated the achievements of their own country during the era of free trade. They have dinned it into the ears of the world that England was in a state of decadence; part of the world has believed them, and England has suffered direct injury from that groundless belief. Surely the time has come when all Englishmen, whatever their fiscal creed, should be able to recognise how wonderfully their country has grown in riches and in strength during the past seventy years. That she needs to be watchful lest her economic prosperity and her defensive powers should be undermined by the insidious commercial methods of some ambitious rival everyone admits. But that admission involves no necessary acceptance of protectionist doctrines. France and Italy before the war, in spite of-perhaps even in consequence of-their protectionist tariffs, suffered at least as much from German methods of commercial penetration as Great Britain.
Here again the eighteenth century furnishes a warning. Of all the achievements of Great Britain since the beginning of the free trade era none has been more remarkable than the expansion of our mercantile marine. Whether we compare ourselves with the United States or with Germany our progress in this prime element of our commercial prosperity and national strength has been immense and continuous right down to the outbreak of the present war. That progress has been achieved without any preferential favours for British shipping in British or colonial ports. Yet for nearly two centuries it was assumed that the Act of Navigation, passed in the reign of Charles II., was necessary for the maintenance of our mercantile marine. Even Adam Smith was so impressed with the apparent necessity of that piece of restrictive legislation as a weapon against the 'naval power of Holland, the only naval power which could ‘endanger the security of England,' that he made it the text for his oft-quoted aphorism that 'defence is of much more 'importance than opulence.'
That aphorism needs no justification, but England has had the peculiar good fortune that while seeking opulence she has also found defence. She has found it along the path of freedom. In the eighteenth century her restrictive commercial policy not only led up to the loss of the North American Colonies, but it also provoked the jealousy and the hostility of other nations.
As Professor Seeley well says : Commerce in itself may 'favour peace, but when commerce is artificially shut out by a 'decree of government from some promising territory, then * commerce just as naturally favours war.' He goes on to point out how the conquests which England achieved in the first half of the eighteenth century excited the jealousy of the rest of Europe :
In this culminating phase England becomes an object of jealousy and dread to all Europe, as Spain and afterwards France had been in the seventeenth century. It was about the time when she won her first victories in the colonial duel with France, that an outcry began to be raised against her as the tyrant of the seas. In 1745, just after the capture of Louisburg, the French Ambassador at St. Petersburg handed in a note, in which he complained of the maritime despotism of the English, and their purpose of destroying the trade and navigation of all other nations. . . . From this time till 1815 jealousy of England is one of the great motive forces of European politics.'
It is true that to some extent all success provokes jealousy ; but the jealousy is less when the success is used for other than selfish ends. It is also true that no nation can afford to be entirely unselfish ; self-preservation comes first, and nations which neglect the duty of defending their own interests sink into oblivion. But if it be possible to build up a great Empire, and secure its safety, without restricting the liberty of other nations, surely it would be a wanton thing to provoke the hostility of the rest of mankind by segregating for our own exclusive use the vast territories covered by the British flag, territories that will be vaster still when the present war is ended. Equally would it be a wanton thing to imperil the unity of the Empire by destroying, under the pretence of imperial preference, the wide imperial freedom of trade that now exists. Upon the policy of freedom we have reared a gigantic empire, prosperous, powerful, united, and tolerant. We have done this less as the result of reason than as the result of instinct. From the earliest days of our history the spirit of freedom has been the pride of our race. It is the instinct thus bred in our bones that has taught us to seek the greatness of Empire by following the path of freedom.
No. 461 will be published in July.
Titles of Articles are printed in heavy type.
Agricultural Production, 343 ; change Asquith, Rt. Hon. H., quoted, 229
in the national view of the im- Austria and Europe, 1; maintenance
to Prussia, 5; its bearing upon
capital, 351-2 ; 13; Slav influence grows, 14;
Banking, English, 104. See English
66, 67; causes of depopulation,
influence of Christianity, 68 et
seq.; improved sanitation and
operation with Dominions, 82
Paraguay, 269. Sce Democracy
Hubris, 288. See Hubris
Cambon, M., 48
la Guerre, 45, 50 et seq.
ing, 196. See Food; The Two
371 ; loss of ships in attempting
pendant la grande Guerre, 45, 46
standing of Paraguay and her
119; tendency of discharged
Dardanelles Report, The, 364; report
of Lord Cromer's Commission,