Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/235

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ASQUITH

TRADE AND THE EMPIRE*

(1903)

Born in 1852 ; Secretary of State for the Home Department, 1893-95; Ecclesiastical Commission, 1893-95; ChancelloroftheExchequer,1906.

A little less than six months ago, the then Colonial Secretary startled the world by the an- nouncement that the British Empire was in dan- ger; that its unity could only be preserved by preferential tariffs, and preferential tariffs in- volving a tax upon the necessary food of the people of the United Kingdom. These opinions the speaker has during the present week further developed and defended, and with them it will be my duty in a few minutes to come to close quarters.

It is all very well to use this vague rhetorical language about negotiation and standing up to the foreigner, and not taking his insults lying down. I want to know from Mr. Chamberlain upon what is he going to retaliate. Here we come to the very crux, and, indeed, the very heart, of the whole matter. You can not retaliate effect-

1 From a speech at Cinderford, October 8. 1903. By kind per- mission of Mr. Asquith and Messrs. Meihuen & Co.

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