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present average, while the cost of production can be reduced by 50 per cent. by the use of some inexpensive machinery, to say nothing of costly machines, like the steam digger, or the pulverizers which make the soil required for each special culture.”

The Prince is right. Agriculture has been neglected because all the mechanical and chemical skill, and all the capital and energy of man, have been thrown into the struggle for trade profits and manufacturing pre-eminence. We want a few Faradays, Watts, Stephensons, and Cobdens to devote their genius and industry to the great food question. Once let the public interest and the public genius be concentrated upon the agriculture of England, and we shall soon get silenced the croakers who talk about the impossibility of the country feeding her people.

But, again, Prince Krapotkin says:

“Mr. Hallett, by a simple selection of grains, will obtain in a few years a wheat which bears 10,840 grains on each stem grown from a single seed; so that from seven to eight hundred of his stems of wheat (which could be grown upon a score of square yards) would give the yearly supply of bread for a full-grown person.”

Twenty square yards tò feed one person. Then one acre would feed 242 persons; so that to find bread for our entire population of 36,000,000 we need only 148,763 acres.

When I add that Devonshire contains 1,665,208 acres, that Surrey contains 485,129 acres, and Kent 995,392 acres, I think you will see that we need not depend upon America for our wheat.

Nor is that all. The Review of Reviews, in its notice on this valuable paper of Prince Krapotkin's, says:

“Prince Krapotkin's chief illustrations, however, as to the possibility of intensive agriculture are taken from the Channel Islands, and notably from Guernsey. . Guernsey has 1,300 persons to the square miles, and has more unproductive soil than Jersey; but Guernsey leads the world in the matter of advanced agriculture, because Guernsey is being practically roofed in. The Guernsey kitchen garden is all under glass. Prince Krapotkin found in one place three-fourths of an acre covered with glass; in another, in Jersey, he found vineries under glass covering thirteen acres, and yielding more money return than that which can be taken from an ordinary English farm of 1,300 acres. Each acre of greenhouse employs three men. The cost of erecting them is about ten shillings per square yard, excluding the cost of the heating pipes. The thirteen acres are warmed by consuming a thousand cartloads of coke and coal. Prince Krapotkin sees that before long immense vineries will

grow up round the coal pits of Northumberland, where artificial heat can be obtained from coals selling at the cost of three shillings the ton.”

Depend upon it, what I have told you is true, and that England can feed her people as she has fed them in times gone by, with never a factory flue to vomit foulness into the air, and never a greedy money-grasper to poison her streams with filth, or wither her woods and glades with soot and sulphur.

We will next proceed to consider my fourth objection to the factory system, when I think I shall be able to show you, beyond all question, that besides being hideous, unpleasant, unhealthy, and unnecessary, the factories are a serious danger to the existence of the empire.

Granting that the factory system is an evil, is it a necessary evil?

Why do we weave cloth and cotton ? For two purposes: 1. To clothe ourselves. 2. To exchange for foreign produce.

To provide for our own needs we must make cotton or linen fabrics. True. But we need not make them by steam power. We could make them by water power, and so abolish the smoke nuisance.

Will you have the goodness, Mr. Smith, to cast your eyes over the following statements, made, a few years ago, by Prof. Thompson:

“The average rise and fall of the tide at the city of Bristol, five miles from its mouth, is 23 feet. According to the calculations I have made from the average volume of water displaced up and down each tide, there are no fewer than 20,000,000,000 foot-pounds of energy wasted each year, or enough to charge 10,000,000 Faure cells. At the mouth of the river the total annual energy thus running to utter waste cannot be less than 50,000,000,000 foot-pounds, and in the rapid currents of the river Severn, with their enormous tides of great volume, the tidal energy must be practically unlimited. A tenth part of the tidal energy in the gorge of the Avon would light the city of Bristol; a tenth part of the tidal energy in the channel of the Severn would light every city; and another tenth part would turn every loom and spindle and axle in Great Britain."

The power of water is tremendous; the beauty of water is sublime. Perhaps, when our practical men learn a little commonsense, we shall be able to grind an ax or throw a shuttle without blackening the sky above or choking the unhappy creatures who crawl upon the earth beneath. Besides, the less coal needed, the fewer colliers needed, and in the Clarion Tito has told us that ninety thousand men and boys are killed and injured every year in the mines.

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Now, Mr. Smith, why should we make cotton goods for foreign countries? The Manchester school will tell you that we must do it to buy

In 1885 we exported cotton goods to the value of £66,000,000; and we imported corn and flour, in the same year, to the value of £53,000,000.

Why? The Manchester school will tell you that we cannot grow our own corn. That is not true.

They will tell you that as foreigners can grow corn more cheaply than we can, and as we can make cotton goods more cheaply than they can, it is to the interest of both parties to exchange.

I do not believe that any nation can sell corn more cheaply than we could produce it; and I am sure that even if it costs a little more to grow our corn than to buy it, yet it would be to our interest to grow it. First as to the cost of growing corn. In the Industrial History of England I find the question of why the English farmer is undersold answered in this way:

"The answer is simple. His capital has been filched from him, surely, but not always slowly, by a tremendous increase in his rent. The landlords of the eighteenth century made the English farmer the foremost agriculturist in the world, but their successors of the nineteenth have ruined him by their extortions.

In 1799 we find land paying nearly 20s. an By 1850 it had risen to 38s. 6d.

£2 an acre was not an uncommon rent for land a few years ago, the average increase of English rent being no less than 26} per cent. between 1854 and 1879.

The result has been that the average capital per acre now employed in agriculture is only about £4 or £5 instead of at least £10, as it ought to be.”

I know it has been said, and is said, that an English farmer owning his land cannot compete with foreign dealers; but I think that is doubtful, and I am sure that if the land were owned by the state, and farmed systematically by the best methods, we might grow our corn more cheaply than we could buy it.

But suppose we could not. The logical result of the free-trade argument would be that British agriculture must perish.' The case was very clearly put by Mr. Cobden in the house of commons:

“To buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest, what is the meaning of the maxim ? It means that you take the article which you have in the greatest abundance, and with it obtain from others that of which they have the most to spare; so giving to mankind the means of enjoying the fullest abundance of earth's goods.”

Yes, it means that, but it means much more than that. However, let us reduce these fine phrases to figures.' Suppose



America can sell us wheat at 30s, a quarter, and suppose ours costs 328. 6d. a quarter. That is a gain of one-fifteenth in the cost of wheat. We get a loaf for 3d. instead of having to pay 31d. That is all the fine phrases mean.

What do we lose ? We lose the beauty and health of our factory towns; we lose annually some twenty thousand lives in Lancashire alone; we are in constant danger of great strikes, like that which recently so crushed our cotton-operatives; we are reduced to the meanest shifts and the most violent acts of piracy and slaughter to “open markets” for our goods; we lose the stamina of our people; and—we lose our agriculture.

Did you ever consider what it involves, this ruin of British agriculture ? Do you know how rapidly the ruin is being wrought? Here is a list, from the Quarterly Review of 1873, of the relative proportions of home-grown and foreign-grown wheat used in this country. The population dependent on home-grown and on foreign wheat is given under their respective headings:

Home-grown wheat. Foreign wheat.







22,352,000 The 1880 figures are Mr. Sketchley's estimate.

Now, suppose we get at last to a state of things under which thirty-six millions live on foreign-grown wheat and none on wheat of home growth! Suppose our agriculture is dead; and we depend entirely upon foreigners for our daily bread! What will be our position then?

Our position will be this. We shall be unable to produce our own food, and can only get it by selling to foreign countries our manufactured goods. We must buy wheat from America with cotton goods; but first of all we must buy raw cotton with which to make those goods. We are, therefore, entirely dependent up. on foreigners for our existence.

Very well. Suppose we go to war with America ! What happens ? Do you remember the cotton famine? That was bad, but a mere trifle to what an Anglo-American war would be. We should, in fact, be beaten without firing a shot. America need only close her ports to corn and cotton and we should be starved into surrender, and acceptance of her terms.

Or suppose a European war; say with France or Russia. All our goods and all our food have to be brought over sea. What would it cost us to keep command of the seas ? What would the effect of the panic be here? And suppose we found

our communications cut. We should be starved into surrender at once. Or suppose France at war with America. Our sufferings would be something terrible.

Tory orators and jingo poets are fond of shouting the glories of the empire and the safety of our possessions; and reams of paper have beeu covered with patriotic songs about our "silver streak" and our tight little island." But don't you see, Mr. Smith, that if we lose our power to feed ourselves we destroy the advantages of our insular position? Don't you see that if we destroy our agriculture we destroy our independence at a blow, and become a defenseless nation? Don't you see that the people who depend on foreigners for their food are at the mercy of any ambitious statesman who chooses to make war upon them? And don't you

think that is a rather stiff price to pay to get a farthing off the loaf ?

Well, Mr. Smith, thanks to the Manchester school, to the factory system, and to the grasping landlord-who is generally a tory and fond of bragging about the security of the empire--we are almost helpless now. Another twenty years of prosperous trade and cheap bread, and we are done for.

Again, how shall we look if, after we have killed our agriculture, we lose our trade? Do you think that impossible? Your cotton-lords seem to think it is possible enough, and are now telling you that the only means of keeping the trade which is to kill your agriculture and destroy your national independence is to lower your wages. That farthing off the loaf is going to cost you dear, John Smith, before you have done with it.

Your trade-union leaders tell you that you have beaten all foreign competition except that of India.

Do you think that you can fight India, John? I don't. Because in India labor is so cheap, and because your cottonlords, John, some of whom are liberals, and friends of the people, John, and others of whom are tories, who would die for the safety of the empire, John, will take precious good care to use that cheap Indian labor to bring down your wages, John, by means of competition. Oh, John, you silly fellow, have you no eyes?

These are some of the reasons why I don't love the factory system. Consider them; and read the history of that system, and how its first successes were bought by the murder and torture of little children, and spent in buying the freedom of West Indian slaves and in waging war against the French republic.

The thing is evil. It is evil in its origin, in its progress, in its methods, in its motives, and in its effects. No nation can be sound whose motive power is greed. No nation can be secure unless it is independent; no nation can be independent unless it is based upon agriculture.

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