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French M'kinleyism

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A year ago we were in the midst of the tariff excitement growing out of the McKinley bilí. Committees of manufacturera were rtishing back and forth in Washington, some pleading for duties to protect them from ruin, others pleading against proposed duties, likewise to avoid ruin. France is now going through precisely the same experience, a commission having been appointed last year to revise the tariff. The French had caught the tarilï grippe from us, and with them also to revise means to revise upward. This commission has been at work for months, and only recently it has brought in its reporta. Discussion has begrcn in the chamber of deputies and will continue till next fall. The tariff is to be ready to go into operation next February. The chairman of the tariff commission is M. Meline, who may be called the Frencb. McKinley. He honors the ideas of our McKinley and parades them before the chamber of deputies in the garb of patriotism, much af ter the manner of our lord high tariff maker. He appeals to the example set by the United States as a sufficient reason why France should revise her tariff upward. When om exporte to France, therefore, are cut down by the new French dnties, our farmers must thank William McKinley, of Ohio, for having narrowed their foreign market. This M. Meline is thoroughly saturated with McKinley ideas. Here is a sentence f rom his report: "The best system for a country is that which secures for it the greatest amonnt of labor. " Most people of ordinary cotnijion sense think that the best system is 'hat which secures the greatest amount of commodities, are quite content to save their labor, and will even inven t curious and cunning machinery to save labor. But McKinley and Meline think that it is labor that we need - more and inore labor! But McKinleyism is stirring np a storm of opposition in France. Last year,when we were about to pass the McKinley bill with very heavy duties on French producís, the French made haste to put a duty of fifteen cents a bushei on our corn. The result of this, along with the rise in the price of corn, has been to close up a number of large distilleries in Bordeaux, Marseilles and other places, which were running mainly on corn imported from the United States. The great distillery at Marseilles bas been closed up, and the stockholders decided to put it into liquidation. It used about 3,000 bushels of corn per day. It is pointed out by a French journal that the distilleries of that country using corn had a capital of $8,000,000, that they were in a most fiourishing condition a year ago, but that after eight months of duties on foreign corn the distilleries are ruined. In view of these facts what a piece of grim humor for M. Meline to say in his report, "The producer does not ask for any privilege, he asks for cnly one thing, and that is jnstice!" But the distillers are not the only people in France who have been stirred up by the tariff builders. In Calais, just across the Strait of Dover from England, the principal industry is the making of cotton laces and nettings, the annual production of which amounts to $14,000,000. The industry gives employment to 27,000 persons. Now, these laces are inade of a kind of thread produced only in Nottingham, England. The spinners of France do not produce the thread at all, but M. Meline wants to make them spin that grade in order to make "more labor." Accordingly he puts a duty of from thirty-seven to forty-six cents a pound on it. But this is not all; the lace industry must bear a still greater burden. Ite lace looms are not made in France at all, but M. Meline wants to créate "more labor'' for the French people. He does not want the French lace makers to use English looms, and so he performs a great feat of McKinleyism and raises the dnty on lace looms, now $160 each, to $480. Of course the lace makers protest vigorously against these burdens npon their indnstry. They point out that the existing duties on cotton thread have crippled the industry, 2,000 of the weavers having emigrated to foreign countries to carry with them the secrets of their trade. Besides these cases the silk industries of Lyons, Saint Etienne and other places have protested against the proposed duty on raw silk, and the commission abandoned the proposal. But when the commission wanted to vote a duty upon silk goods, and when the great silk manufacturers of Lyons objected, the commiseion went ahead and voted the duty - thus protecting the manufactnrers in spite of themselves. A meeting of the paper, book and printing trade of Paris, too, was held to protest against the duties which .wonld prove burdensome to their industry. The manufacturera of linen nnderwear, with au annual production of $40,000,000, protested against the "nnons duties on their material. which would thns be made to cost from five to seven times more than in Germany and Austria-. Thus goes the tariff war. in France. It is bnt a repetition of what hae been seen over and over again in our own country. So called statesmen, fancying that they know befcter than the people themselves what ia best for them to do, step in with their nostrnm of protection in order to give the people more work to do to meet their wants. It is the same oíd story everywhere. The liberty of the individual to bny and sell where he choses is ruthlessly infringed, the many are taxed for the few, the powerful, the rich, get the lion's share, and the many weak are fleeced. Such is protection.