“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.