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The Case Against Free Trade (1914)

The Case Against Free Trade (1914)

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Text extracted from opening pages of book: THE CASE AGAINST FREE TRADE BY W. CUNNINGHAM, D. D., F. B. A. ARCHDEACON OF ELY, AND FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE WITH A PREFACE BY THE RIGHT HON. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN, M. P. REVISED EDITION, WITH A SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTEB LONDON JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, I9H FIRST EDITION . . . August Reprinted , , September 1911 SECOND EDITION . . April 1914 RIGHTS RttSBuvEt> PREFACE THE opening years of the present century saw the end of one chapter in the history of the British Empire. With the Peace of Vereeniging the era of expansion was defi nitely closed. Henceforth no extension of territory is either to be expected or desired. When the American Colonies were lost, not from lack of good intentions, but from failure to appreciate and sympathise with colonial sentiment and aspirations, it was still open to our forefathers to create a new empire in Canada, Africa, and Australia. To-day no such opportunity exists, or can ever exist again. The world is occupied. The vast blanks on the maps of our youth have been explored and opened up to civilisation. The territory comprised in them has been ap portioned among the Great Powers. There are no ownerless lands to which we or others can look as the sphere of future activity, or as cbmpensation for the loss of & pro vince or a dominion. The future of the Empire lies henceforward, not in its power a* vi PREFACE to annex new territories, but in its capacity to unite existing dominions and develop existing resources. This is a more humdrum, but not a less difficult task. To it all our efforts should be directed whilst the nations that compose the Empire are still plastic, and before the growth of distinct national characteristics and divergent national in terests has proceeded to such a point that what is now possible has for ever become impossible, and opportunities which are still within our grasp have finally passed away. It is a commonplace of political study that the territorial expansion of the Empire was in the main a haphazard affair. British Governments, in spite of the perhaps not unnatural suspicions of foreign powers, have pursued no settled or reasoned policy of expansion. More often than not, when pro claiming an annexation or a protectorate, they have been the unwilling agents of forces stronger than themselves. Again and again they have surrendered what British soldiers have conquered ; again and again they have refused to take what British explorers have offered. But the genius of the race has brooked no denial, and in spite of definite refusals or reluctant acquiescence on the part of its rulers, the Empire has grown to be the vast accumulation of dominions and dependencies whose representatives* are now assembled in London for the coronation of the Sovereign. PREFACE vii JVe have been, on the whole, wonderfully fortunate, but we cannot trust for ever to good luck. Success breeds envy ; jealous eyes watch our progress, measure our strength or weakness, and seek out the joints of our armour. We are great in territory, strong in numbers, and rich in vast but undeveloped resources. But our union is of the slightest, and our develop ment has scarcely begun. Are they also to be left to chance ? Are they also to be the blind sport of forces which we but dimly understand and do not seek to control ? Or is an effort to be made to find, and having found to pursue, a common policy by which the development of each may be made to serve the interests of the whole, and the strength of the whole to safeguard and pro mote the development of each ? This is the imperial problem of to-day. Conference after Conference meets to discuss* it, yet how little real progress is made ! Is it not worth while to pause and ask ourselves why ? We call our kinsmen to our councils, but when we get them there we refuse to listen to their advice. On one subject and on one subject only they have throughout spoken with a single voice* Common interests are the pledge o