The Imperialist eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 394 pages of information about The Imperialist.
blown it off like a feather—­yet they found themselves much of his mind.  Most of them were manufacturing men of the Conservative party, whose factories had been nursed by high duties upon the goods of outsiders, and few even of the Liberals among them felt inclined to abandon this immediate safeguard for a benefit more or less remote, and more or less disputable.  John Murchison thought otherwise, and put it in few words as usual.  He said he was more concerned to see big prices in British markets for Canadian crops than he was to put big prices on ironware he couldn’t sell.  He was more afraid of hard times among the farmers of Canada than he was of competition by the manufacturers of England.  That is what he said when he was asked if it didn’t go against the grain a little to have to support a son who advocated low duties on British ranges; and when he was not asked he said nothing, disliking the discount that was naturally put upon his opinion.  Parsons, of the Blanket Mills, bolted at the first hint of the new policy and justified it by reminding people that he always said he would if it ever looked like business.

“We give their woollen goods a pull of a third as it is,” he said, “which is just a third more than I approve of.  I don’t propose to vote to make it any bigger—­can’t afford it.”

He had some followers, but there were also some, like Young, of the Plough Works, and Windle, who made bicycles, who announced that there was no need to change their politics to defeat a measure that had no existence, and never would have.  What sickened them, they declared, was to see young Murchison allowed to give it so much prominence as Liberal doctrine.  The party had been strong enough to hold South Fox for the best part of the last twenty years on the old principles, and this British boot-licking feature wasn’t going to do it any good.  It was fool politics in the opinion of Mr Young and Mr Windle.

Then remained the retail trades, the professions, and the farmers.  Both sides could leave out of their counsels the interests of the leisured class, since the leisured class in Elgin consisted almost entirely of persons who were too old to work, and therefore not influential.  The landed proprietors were the farmers, when they weren’t, alas! the banks.  As to the retail men, the prosperity of the stores of Main Street and Market Street was bound up about equally with that of Fox County and the Elgin factories.  The lawyers and doctors, the odd surveyors and engineers, were inclined, by their greater detachment, to theories and prejudices, delightful luxuries where a certain rigidity of opinion is dictated by considerations of bread and butter.  They made a factor debatable, but small.  The farmers had everything to win, nothing to lose.  The prospect offered them more for what they had to sell, and less for what they had to buy, and most of them were Liberals already; but the rest had to be convinced, and a political change of heart in a bosom of South Fox was as difficult as any other.  Industrial, commercial, professional, agricultural, Lorne Murchison scanned them all hopefully, but Walter Winter felt them his garnered sheaves.

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The Imperialist from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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