Portrait of William Johnson Fox

William Fox on the hypocrisy of those who do not want to be dependent on foreign trade (1844)

Found in: Free Trade and Other Fundamental Doctrines of the Manchester School

The English M.P. and free trade orator William Johnson Fox (1786-1864) points out the hypocrisy of the protectionists who urge the nation to put “England First” by only buying things made there:

Free Trade

What is the career of the man whose possessions are in broad acres (the protectionist land owners)? Why, a French cook dresses his dinner for him, and a Swiss valet dresses him for dinner; he hands down his lady, decked with pearls that never grew in the shell of a British oyster; and her waving plume of ostrich-feathers certainly never formed the tail of a barn-door fowl. The viands of his table are from all countries of the world; his wines are from the banks of the Rhine and the Rhone. In his conservatory, he regales his sight with the blossoms of South American flowers. In his smoking-room, he [185] gratifies his scent with the weed of North America. His favourite horse is of Arabian blood; his pet dog, of the St. Bernard’s breed. His gallery is rich with pictures from the Flemish school, and statues from Greece. For his amusements, he goes to hear Italian singers warble German music, followed by a French ballet. If he rises to judicial honours, the ermine that decorates his shoulders is a production that was never before on the back of a British beast. His very mind is not English in its attainments; it is a mere picnic of foreign contributions. His poetry and philosophy are from Greece and Rome; his geometry is from Alexandria; his arithmetic is from Arabia; and his religion from Palestine. In his cradle, in his infancy, he rubbed his gums with coral from Oriental oceans; and when he dies, his monument will be sculptured in marble from the quarries of Carrara.