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The Ashburton Guardian. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1881. The Great Berry.

TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 4 p.m.]

As a politician, Mr. Graham Berry’s may not be the greatest name that has yet been inscribed on “ the blazing scroll of fame,” but the owner of it, when he touts for Victoria, is certainly as impudent in his demands as any demagogue that ever mounted the political" stump. In that fluent and oily style of his, he addressed the magnates who assembled at the recent Intercolonial Conference banquet. Warmed with champagne and patriotic zeal, and carried away by tae intensity of the situation, which found him standing there, the representative of the great Victoria, amongst the inferior ones who reflected the lessi r lights of the Auatralasian colonial group —a Triton among the minnows—the great Berry delivered himself of his opinion on colonial federation. It was difficult to fancy what good would not flow from federation. It was the be all and end all of the colonies. Fervently be breathed out his aspirations alter this great good thing, and we. feel as we read his oration that we have got into the flowery periods of some oraior who would fain imitate the gush of the author of “ David Alroy.” “Nothing he could conceive would enable him to go to that bourne from whence no traveller returns with greater satisfaction than the accomplishment of that object, and if the conference approached that consummation in the smallest degree, its labors would not have been in vain.” This is beautiful indeed, but the beautiful is sometimes a little aside from the true, and so in this instance is the oratorical outburst of Mr. Graham Berry. At the conference itself, this very great man had urged a system of intercolonial free trade that astonished all that heard him—the astonishment taking its rise in the fact that the system he indicated was so apparently wide of the policy of protection which is the heart’s blood of the Berry Government. But it wanted only the banquet speech to show' how, though apparently inconsistent with his general profession of protection, his free trade idea was not altogether inconsistent. It w'as a free trade only in name, for behind it he held a reservation of protection that he would never yield. Victoria (he said in effect) the other colonies may look upon as a sister, but they must treat her as such. In no federation that can ever happen will she permit herself to be looked upon as other than the great Australasian centre of manufacturing industry, and for the more distant portions of the Australasian continent she must become the Manchester, the Liverpool, or the Yorkshire. Having become so, she must receive in return all those products which the fertility of soil and geniality of climate of her sister colonies raise in abundance, and an excellent market for which the teeming population of Victoria would certainly supply. The picture was a beautiful one. The foreground was brilliant with warm color, and the nearer sky w'as sunny and bright, while the whole was set in a frame lavishly carved with an eruption of horns of plenty. But away in the background of the picture there was the little cloud, no bigger than a man’s hand, that was to do all the mischief. That little cloud was the rigid barrier of protection that each colony was expected to set up against the manufactures of the outer world. Victoria would open a free market to all the products of the neighboring colonies ; but in relurn those colonies must “realise and remember” that if she is a sister they must treat her as a sister. Her manufactures and hers alone must have a free entree into their ports, and all others must be excluded by a ruinously prohibitory tariff. Unless this “ claw me thee, and thee claw me ” system were conceded —a system by which Victoria would be made the workshop for our Southern Hemisphere, and every Northern competitor would be barred out of the markets which she would thus look upon as her own —Victoria would close her ports against every product of those colonies which Mr. Berry is so anxious to call the sisters of Victoria. We do not know, at the moment, where to lay hands on a piece of greater impudence than this extraordinary enunciation of a commercial policy. For a long period Mr. Berry has been doing his best, aided by a few tinkering manufacturers and interested cliques to emasculate the commerce of the colony whose destinies are unfortunately in his hands. But Victoria is not Australasia, let us thank our stars, and Mr. Berry is not the leader of Australasian politics. It will be a long time before federation is an accomplished fact in the direction Mr. Berry would wish to see it; and when federation does come, as come no doubt it will, it will be on a far different basis than that of exchanging the manufacturing markets of the whole world for such markets as are available within the circumscribed limits of Victoria. We have yet to learn that she is so very far in advance of New South Wales that that plucky little colony is to be left out in the cold, and her manufacturing position ignored; and we have yet to reckon up the loss we would suffer were we to wave off the manufactures of England and Amercia, and open the door for the less known and almost untried ones of Victoria. If only on Mr. Berry’s stringent conditions will Victoria’s ports open to other colonies’ products, then we fancy Mr. Berry’s vision of Manchester and Liverpools rising up in his little Elysjum is very far off realisation. We admire Victoria for many things,

but we do not admire her Berry ; and while he holds the reins of her Gc eminent the time is yet far off .vheher fleets of merchantmen will th'ckly find those southern waters. We fear acre istoo great a love for freedom unpl itsd in the bosoms of the free mt n v are raising in New Zealand, to expect that they will ever barter the privile e of buying in whatever market their own judgment may direct, and B'lrys arbitrary conditions once cono ;led, this privilege would be for c r er ; one. If we are to enter upon a commr. cial arrangement with Victoria it will be one that will be eq ially balanced, article for article, and ;i we cannot take our produce to the selling markets of Victoria without -.hutting ourselves out from the baying markets of the world where the b- st of everything may be obtained, and confining ourselves to the purchase of her not yet triumphant manufactures, -hen, we fear, we will remain co ’-tent with the markets we have, and we will live to see the protecti nists of Victoria rudely awakened Jom the Berry nightmare that has held ’.heir commerce in its paralysing grip, and hear them bewailing the time d: ring which they ignorantly worshipped this god with face of brass and feet of clay, that must assu edly fall prone before the surges of public opinion that cannot fail to rise ( at of the vortex of his fast sinking notions.

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Bibliographic details

The Ashburton Guardian. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1881. The Great Berry., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 273, 19 February 1881

Word Count
1,212

The Ashburton Guardian. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1881. The Great Berry. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 273, 19 February 1881

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