The drawback to this table is that it is one of values. Consequently the increase of values in the later years may in part be one of values only without corresponding increase of quantities. But the general course of prices in the period in question was not such as to cause a great change of values apart from a change in quantities. The inference seems undeniable, then, that the Continental countries named, especially Germany, have largely increased their imports of food and raw materials of recent years—that is, have become increasingly dependent on foreign and over-sea supplies. The position of Germany, with its enormous increase of food imports—from 907 to 1,819 million Marks, or from 45 to over 90 million sterling, and its corresponding increase of raw material imports—from 1,507 to 2,247 million Marks, or from 75 to 112 million sterling—is especially remarkable.
An examination in detail of the quantities imported of particular articles would fully confirm the impression given by the summary 5gures. But it may be enough to refer to the 'Statistical Abstract' from which I have been quoting, as well as to Mr. Crawford's paper. The figures are not out of the way in any respect, and it is the idea we have now to get hold of.
The inference is that the difference between the United Kingdom and Continental countries, especially Germany, as regards dependence on foreign supplies of food and raw materials, is only one of degree, and that as regards Germany at least, the conditions are already remarkably like those of the United Kingdom, while the more rapidly Germany increases its manufacturing and industrial population, the more like it will become to this country. In other words, in the future there will be two great countries, and not one only, dependent largely for their food and raw materials on supplies from abroad. What their position is to be economically and otherwise relatively to the United States, which is at once the main source of supply and a competitor with European countries in manufactures, is obviously a matter of no little interest. As a believer in free trade, I am sure that nothing but good will come to all the countries concerned if trade is interfered with as little as possible by tariffs and government regulations. I believe, moreover, that the practice of free trade, whatever their theories may be, will unavoidably be accepted by all three countries before long. Obviously, however, as the new tariff in Germany indicates, there is to be a great struggle in that country before the situation is accepted; and if some people in this country had their way, notwithstanding our long experience of free trade and its blessings, we should even have a struggle here.
There is another point of view from which the facts should be studied. We are accustomed, and rightly so, I think, to consider naval