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Farmers Under Free Trade And Protection

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The American farmer, though not bo prosperous as be ought to be, nor so prosperotó as ho will be when he has learned to diversify bis industries and to make beet root and flax take the place of niuch land devoted to grain, vet is the most prosperoua farmer upon the face of the earth, and is far more prosperous than the American farmer of half a century ago was. The free traders teil the American farmer that protection is crushing the life out of bim. Is this true? Does free trade benefit the farmer of any country? Universal history proves that where free trade rules thereagriculture is depressed. Fifty years ago the British farmer was the ideal of the well-fed, wcll-clothed, well-living man, free from serious care and baving a pleasant bank account. Britain then adhered to a protective policy. But about forty-two ycars ago Great Britain adopted free trade, and the ruin of the British farmer now is wellnigh complete. Lcstitshould be thought that we overstale the case, we offer in proof the petition of British farm laborera and the dellberately written opinión of Mr. C. E. Howard Vincent, a member of the British Parllament. Here is the petition: Fkhbuary, 1890.- Notice to the farmers of Norfolk in tbe eraploy of Mr. : We, tbe farm laborera in your employ, beg very respectfully to reralnd you tnat we flnd it lmposslbie to maintaln our homes for the very low wages we are now recelving, 9s. (2.25) and lOs. (Í2.50) per week. Whlle we are anxlons to remain in your employ, and without any hostlle feellng toward you, we glve you notice that it is our attention to ask you kindlyto raise our wages at least to 123. ($:; per week, and unless this be done in a reasonable time we sliull be compelled to appeal to the country to support us in our reasonable demand. Trusting yon wlll meet us in the same frlendly way as wc appeal, and obllgc by glvlngus au answer by the 28lh of March, 18Í0. We Bhould bo wil ling to meet you with our friends in friendly councll. We have the honor to be, yours fnlthfully. (llore íollow the ñames of the men.) Tlilnk of American farm hands earning no more than from $2.2o to $2.50 for six lay's work, without bourd ! Think of reduction to such a state of depression as would make $3 per week appenr a reasonable income! But it Is doubtful if the moderate demands of the Norfolk farm laborers can be complied with. The British farmer has no money to spare nowadays. Mr. Vincent says: Frora Charlng Cross to Dover the beautlful county of Kent shows that it beurs lts lot 1 the decline oí lirltlsh agricultura. It shows hundreds of acres ofgrass land sparsely tenanted by cattle and sliecp. The comparativelyllttle arable land shows tbat there Is Imt scant y rural employrnent, and that the youugmen must compete with thelrconntrymen lu the towns 1Í Ihey would earu a decent Uvellhood. Tliis is what free trade bas dono for tlie British farmer. The farmers of free trade Spain and free trade Portugal are in even worse condition. But tbere is one country of Europe in which the farmer is remarkauly prosperous. That country is France. Fifty years ago the condition of the French farmer was far f rom enviable ; to-day it is the envy of all European agriculturists. Mr. Frederick Harrison - a free trader, il we mistake not - writing in the current number of the Forum, quotes Arthur Young's summary, made at the close of the century : "In an English village more meat is caten in a week than in a a French village in a year; the clothing, food and iutelligence of the Kngliah laborer are far above those of the French laborer." That was when England had protection. Since Uien France has become largely protectivein policy, and just now is mnking her policy more protectlve than ever. What s the result ? Mr. Frederic Harrison shallspeak: "The contrast to-day is reversed. It is the Engllsh laborer who is worse housed, worse fec!, worse clothed, worse taught; who has nothing ofhis own, who nevercan save; to whotn the purchase oL an acre of land is as irapossible as the purchase of a diamond necklace." The great secret of agricultural prosperity in France is tliat the country has a protective policy, and the farmers do not depend chiefly upon grain, but grow beets, grapes, and other crops in large variety. The main cause of agricultural depresdon in Great Britain is the policy of f ree trade. At Bay City the Electric Light Coraraissioners met a few days since and resolved to sell the works the city own and let the contract of lighling the city to a private which method they save $30 a light to the tax payers. It is only a short time since that Bay City was pointed out to our council as the paragon of municipal ownershíp perfection, claiming that the city saved great sums annually by running its own plant. Our council certainly did wcll in not going iuto business for itself. They also publUh a warning to other cities not to be caught in a )lke trap. We noticed recently an item questionIng the republicanlsm of "Ken" Barker, the live editor of the Reed City Clarion. That is a point on which Mr. Barker is not assailable. Ile is one of the old time stalwarts dating away back to the Jackson oaks. Ilis loyalty to the republican party has been unswerving, and hls energetic support of the principies of Lincoln, Seward, örant and other republican fathers, has been given in a Zacli Chandler senso, and we in Michigan all know what that nieans. The Detroit Evening News has tiominated Henry A. llobinson, of Detroit for governor upon the democratie ticket. Let's see! Didn't Henry run for some important oflice on the republican ticket a short time since? And didn't he get roundly abused by the demócrata and left by the people ? The Patrons of Industry not only propose to control the markets for farm products but also 10 control the retail trade in all its departments from sugar and salt to silks aud satins. It also propose to üx its clutches upon the affairs of state and control the selectlon of all our officials. It lias laid out Tor itself a big job.


Old News
Ann Arbor Courier