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Protection v. Free Trade.I


Protection v. Free Trade. I INTERESTING LOCAL DEBATE. The all-important question of Protection or Free Trade was debated with considerable warmth at the weekly meeting, on Monday night, of the Rhyl English Presbyterian Literary and Debating Society. The Rev. J. Verrier Jones presided over a good attendance in the Princes Street Schoolroom. The Protectionists were led by Mr E. Parker Davies, and the Free Traders by Mr R. LI. Jones, C.C. After a few introductory remarks by the Chairman the debate was opened by Mr Davies, who at the ontset of his arguments in favour of a policy of Protection, said that no question since the Home Rule Bill days had excited such dis- oassion and zeal as that which bad attracted his hearers together that evening. His opponent even, like his (the speaker's) own revered leader, had left a sick bed in order to advocate that night the cause he had at heart (applause). Launching into his subject, Mr Davies dwelt chiefly upon the agricultural question, and called attention to the decay which bad set in in that sphere of industry, attributable, he maintained, to the want of Protection. In support of his contention he quoted the following from the report of the Welsh Land Commission appointed by the last Liberal Government: — "Nothing short of measures striking at foreign competition in the interest of the classes directly concerned with agriculture can sensibly raise the profits of the agricultural industry in other words, nothing but Protection can be an effectual remedy." Mr R. LI. Jones: May I ask if that is the minority report you are quoting from? Mr Davies: Nn, the majority report (laughter and applause). As illustrating the decay in the milling industry in tbe immediate district, re referred to the mills now closed at Mold, Alun, Bag-illt, Abergele, Dyserth, St. Asaph, Pont- newydd, and Pentre, each of which, though .^niail, afforded employment tor from half a dozen to a score of men, who with their families made up quite a community. But since the United States began sending over to this country the white flour which decayed the teeth of the people —(laughter)—these communities had been dis persed, and the homes of the families broken up. If they could only go back to Protection he maintained they would soon see Wales again nourishing, its valleys joyful with ripening corn, and cattl" lowing on its tbousai d hills (cheers nnd laughter). He next touched upen the serious effect year by year upon the exports of this country's manufactured goods, wilich were dr- essing, while the exports of raw material were increa"in; also upon tht; increasing importation of manufactured goods as against a dtCreasins; importation of raw materials. The re-ult of all this was that the working men of the country were leaving the factories and flocking for work to the collieries. If this sort of thing W:18 to continue, the physique of the nation could not but suffer. Before sitting: down he moved That this society considers that tbe commercial supr. rraiT "f this country can only be retained by Protection." Mr It LI. Jone, in opening on behalf of Free Trade, said the previous speaker bad not gme so far as to say whether be was in favour of Retaliation or not, but be himself was of opinion there was n. distinction between Retaliation and Protection. Piotection was a term tb twas liable to mislead people. Taking up the argument of Protectionists that fireiguers should pay a contribution, by way of taxes, to the Imperial Exchequer, he asked-wby not call upon the foreigner to pay all the taxes? There was as much reason in the one as in the other (applause) Referring to the days of Cebden, he stated that in those days agricultural labourers were ka-ewn to be workirg for only 7s 6d per week, whereas at the preteut time, under Free Trade, they were getting as much as lfis per week, which was only one instance of clear proof of the advantages 01 Free Trade (applause). Mr Davies had main- tained that there absolutely no necessity to pliice a large impost duty upon corn. but he (the speaker) warned his hearers against the insidious southing syrup offered by his friend in that shape, for it was only a quack medicine (laughter). He could hardly understand why people bed the hardihood to come forward with such a remedy for an imaginary evil. Continuing, Mr Jore- uiad .> quotations from speeches byMrChamber- L,i" some years ago in support of the policy which he was now aitaoking. In one of speeches he staied that Protection would be the means of diminishing the rate of wages, lessening the productions of the country, and raising the price of every necessary of life. Continuing, Mr Jones gave voluminous figures in support of bis arguments, and in conclusion he pointed out that one of the important indusiries of the country—the shipping trade-had enormously increased under Free Tradclaiming (iO per cent or more than half of the world's shipping (applause). There were, ho said, evidences throughout the country of continuing and increasing prosperity—thanks to the poroyof Free Trade—and he contended that so far as Rhyl itself was concerned they had notl ing t) gain but everything to lose by Protection (applause). Mr H. Milliard spoke in support of Fren Trade, as also did Mr Robert J aHoy; whole Mr K Bromhv (Clerk of the Peace for Flintshire) and Mr LI. Evans (a New Zealander) spoke up for protection after which Mr McLennan moved the adjournment of the debate until next Monday, which was agreed to

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