the Christian era, immediately before its dissolution. The tendency to which I have alluded has been assisted by a policy which has been based upon the interests of the consumer, and absolute neglect of the interests of the producer.
Imperial Preferences.To turn to the question in its Imperial aspect. The policy of Imperial preferences was instituted by Canada in 1897, and the example of Canada had been followed by South Africa and New Zealand, and it is idle to assert that the Colonies are against the proposal. It is obvious to every one who knows anything of the Colonies and of their products that it is impossible to give the Colonies a preference unless we are prepared to put a duty upon food stuffs and raw materials. Mr. Chamberlain declares that he is not prepared to put a duty on raw materials, and, therefore, if the policy of Imperial Preferences is to be carried out, we are bound to put a duty on imported food stuffs. What Mr. Chamberlain proposes is not to put additional duties which would increase the cost of living to the people, but to transfer the duties from things we cannot produce to those which we can produce at home.Imperial Defence.I have in previous speeches given my reasons for believing that it is necessary for us to adopt the policy advocated by Mr. Chamberlain before the Colonies will contribute seriously to the cost of maintaining the Imperial Army and Navy at sufficient strength in times of peace. We have many rivals in the command of the sea, where we previously had only one. When I first became the editor of the Naval Annual, thirteen years ago, there was only one Power, France, whose navy offered any serious comparison to our own. Now, however, the navies of not only France, but Russia,