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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/68

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58
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The early history of the colonies furnishes, we think, a remarkable illustration of what can be done without the fostering care and protection of a paternal government. In 1606 there was not a single English-speaking person in this country. A century later a colony had sprung up numbering one million souls, with industries established that bid fair to outrival those of England. In 1700 the population exceeded one quarter the entire population of England and Wales. Ships were being built and sent to England. The ship-carpenters of Great Britain petitioned Parliament to suppress an industry that threatened to supplant their own. The wool manufacturers became alarmed as they found the colonists rapidly acquiring their trade. Bar iron was manufactured and shipped to England cheaper than that from Sweden. The hat industry developed in the face of English rivalry. In 1700 the total exports amounted to $1,919,700, in 1730 it was $2,789,640, and in 1760 it had grown to be $3,698,460. And all this was in spite of acts of Parliament designed to cripple the colonial trade and ruin its industries. Act after act was passed, forbidding any one engaging in various manufactures under severe penalties. At this time England was, as Mr. Blaine says, not only severely but cruelly protective. Notwithstanding all this, the colonial trade grew and prospered, and England felt that she had a keen competitor in many of the manufactures in which she had hitherto considered herself supreme. Surely we have here an answer to those who ask "what industries would to-day be existing but for the great system of protection?" We present this period, commencing from the arrival of the first colonist and extending to the outbreak of the Revolution, and leave our high-tariff friends to reconcile its teachings with their remarkable theories—if they can. One advantage, it will be noticed, has accrued to the free-trade party by the recent controversy. It appears in the form of an admission. Mr. Blaine admits—with a certain degree of caution—that an insistence on the application of protection to all countries as the wisest policy would be erroneous. He says: Were I to assume that protection is in all countries and under all circumstances, the wisest policy, I should be guilty of an error. This will play sad havoc with our friends, the protectionist optimists, who hold their system, as Mr. Gladstone says, "to be an economical good"—good for all lands, all ages, and all people. But why does Mr. Blaine not insist on the universal application of his theory? On what reasonable grounds does he restrict its field of operation? Science teaches us that the more applicable a theory becomes, the nearer it approaches universality, the more certain may we be of its truth; and, conversely, the less applicable it becomes as its territory enlarges, the more its incorrectness is exposed. The free-trader recognizes this law and refuses to restrict