Page:The Bank of England and the State, 1905.djvu/45

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
Foreign Trade and the Money Market.

what I have been looking for in the many speeches on both sides which I have read during the last few months. Others I feel must be in the same position as I am. I should like to have a whole year's study; I should like to go fully into the history of every one of our great industries, and judge them each, not separately, but as component parts of a great whole, to compare them with similar industries in foreign countries, and to give full consideration to all the surrounding circumstances, and the probabilities of the future. I feel, moreover, that the time is singularly inopportune for such an enquiry, because the effects of a great war are, and must be, still an active force in our trade as it is in our money market. The disturbance, the dislocation which that war has produced has not yet passed away, and what may be called a normal course has not been attained.

As to Necessity for Enquiry.

We are told that there has been an enquiry. The only official evidence produced by that enquiry has been presented in a most admirable Blue Book, which is deserving of the closest study, but which is confined mainly to statistics, most valuable, no doubt, but which, like all statistics, are open to various interpretations, unless they are considered in conjunction with all the causes and conditions of which the figures are the outcome. Beyond this we know nothing of an official enquiry; we have had pamphlets and speeches innumerable, some of them of great ability, and containing much valuable information. These have, however, for the most part, to be regarded as the pleadings of advocates; and not as the summing up by an impartial judge; yet the jury are to be asked for their verdict. Who is to be that impartial judge; and is there one to be found? Do you think that this is a question which ought to be made the battle-cry between various political parties! Is it too late even now for men of business to make an endeavour to have this question removed from the political arena, and without reference to party. To have this problem decided at the hustings without further