26 MARCH 1892, Page 3

The population of the United States is about to experience

the full benefits of one of those wealth-producing Trusts on the merits of which our correspondent, Mr. Horace Smith, was recently so eloquent. The sugar-refining business of the Union passed on March 22nd into the hands of one great Cor- poration, with a capital of £17,000,000 sterling, held in share certificates by the heads of all existing refining businesses. They will monopolise the purchase of the raw material, and sell it at their own price, killing out any competitors who may offer themselves, by selling within their special locality at leas than cost-price. They will probably, for prudential reasons, not advance the price of sugar very far ; but they will prevent declines in price, and as sole purchasers they will keep down the value of raw material to " living " rates, and prevent any improvement either in the position of the growers or their modes of cultivation. As sugar is nearly as necessary as food, their market cannot be limited, and the monopolists will, in fact, levy a tax from the entire population of the Union. Such a Trust would, of course, be throttled by Free-trade; but under the Protective system we do not see how it is to be defeated, or why every manufactured article of necessity or luxury should not pass into the hands of a similar organisation, all-powerful until its greed at last compels consumers to decide that the benefit the foreigner may derive from trade is a less injury than the tax levied by the home monopoly. Wheat is the only thing which cannot be monopolised in this way; and the transaction is a curious evidence both of the use of a peasant-proprietary and of the economic wisdom of our forefathers, whose prejudice against " regraters " is now accounted so foolish. If a syndicate could. secure the crops of the world, we might be compelled to subject that syndicate to a very strict form of State supervision, with death or confiscation as its penalties.