13 JANUARY 1906, Page 15



SIE,—As a regular subscriber to your paper for more than thirty-five years, and still a. believer in Tariff Reform, may I claim the hospitality of your columns for the setting forth of a condition of things in my own constituency (Hyde Division, Cheshire) which I can vouch for, and which, in my opinion, is a fair example (one of many) where wages are being paid abroad for work which could and should be done in England, thereby, increasing the number of unemployed P I give the facts, and perhaps you will help me to a solution. At Romily there is a large hat manufactory. A gentleman was being shown round it, and seemed pleased with all he saw, but asked what meant the crowd of anxious, eager, disappointed girls standing on the landing. The master replied : " They are some of our hat-trimmers ; we have no jobs for them now that we are mi'French hate " Hovi is that ? You seem busy enough." "Dolon see those piles of hat-bodies ? They are for France: They want trimming, but if we allowed these girls to trim them we should have to pay 12s. a dozen duty to France before they would admit them ; but they will take them as they are at 6s. per dozen duty, so that French girls can do the work, while our trimmers are short of work. Our girls can do the work just as well, if not better." The visitor was surprised and.sympathetic, lamenting such a condition of this foreign trade. " Well ! what is the remedy ? " said the master. Visitor (hesitatingly): " I don't know ! " Will the Spectator give me a hint P—I am, Sir, &c., [Possibly there is no Free-trade remedy in this particular case; but even if there is none, Protection and Retaliation will certainly afford none. If the English girls trimmed the hats more tastefully than the French, the trimmed hats would, we expect, climb the tariff wall, just as do the beautiful fabrics Of Bradford. These are wanted by the people of France, and so no duties are able to keep them out. Very probably British trimmed hats are not wanted in France, though well-made British hat-bodies are. In other words, it is in reality the want of taste in the trimmers, and not the tariff, which keeps out the British-trimmed hat.—En. Spectator.]