The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 60
Intimately connected with the tariff question is one referred to in the report which, but for the reason that it is pressed upon us by the London Chamber, we would probably have considered to be beyond our scope. But courtesy demands that we should unite with our London brethren in promoting a great work, if on mature consideration we can adopt their views. In this position is the question of Imperial federation, the uniting of the future five millions of Australasians—the number predicted within ten years hence—in a federal bond of union with every portion of the greatest empire that the world has ever seen. After hearing the favourable opinions of leading statesmen from all sides of politics, the philosophic reasoning of such a man as Professor Seeley, of Cambridge, and the support which the question has received from Colonial politicians as regards a federal defence, we need have no hesitation in throwing in our lot with them. But Mr. John Bright says the whole thing is "childish and absurd," for, says he, "these colonies have adopted protective tariffs." There is just a suspicion that the London Chamber has carefully considered the question from a tariff point of view also, and as they "look into the future," they see visions of the Royal assent being withheld from a purely protective Customs Tariff Act, or from that species of Reciprocity Act which denies to the mother country privileges conferred on nearer neighbours.