Page:The Bank of England and the State, 1905.djvu/43

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[Read before the Institute of Bankers on Wednesday, December 16th, 1903, and reprinted by kind permission of the Council.][2]


In bringing the subject of Foreign Trade and the Money Market before the Institute of Bankers at the present juncture, I am fully conscious of the responsibility such a course involves. For it is quite impossible to separate this subject from the great question which is now agitating the country. It is not, however, my object tonight to go fully into the fiscal problem; and even if I felt competent to do so time would not admit of it; neither can I pretend to be deeply versed in all the doctrines of political economy, either old or new, but there is one thing which experience has taught me, and that is that there are certain economic laws which act with inexorable force, like any of the laws of nature; their action is sometimes delayed, sometimes obscured by other factors which, for the time being, may be more immediately effective, but ultimately these laws do make themselves felt; they govern the action of individuals, although they may be unconscious of the fact, and it behoves us to study these laws closely when endeavouring to forecast the developments of the future. Not being, then, prepared to

  1. The term "Foreign Trade" is used as applying to trade between the United Kingdom and all other countries, including the Colonies; the word "abroad " throughout is also used in a similar sense
  2. The substance of the paper was also published in the "Monthly Review" for January, 1904.