Economic Sophisms/215

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"PAUL and JOHN {leaving): Upon my word, that is a clever fellow.

SCENE II.Council Chamber.

PAUL: Mes chers collégues, Every day there are brought to Paris great masses of firewood, which drain away large sums of money. At this rate, we shall all be ruined in three years, and what will become of the poorer classes? (Cheers) We must prohibit foreign timber. I don't speak for myself, for all the wood I possess would not make a tooth-pick. In what I mean to say, then, I am entirely free from any personal interest or bias. (Hear, hear) But here is my friend Peter, who possesses a park, and he will guarantee an adequate supply of fuel to our fellow-citizens, who will no longer be dependent on the charcoal-burners of the Yonne. Have you ever turned your attention to the risk which we run of dying of cold, if the proprietors of forests abroad should take it into their heads to send no more fire- wood to Paris? Let us put a prohibition, then, on bringing in wood. By this means we shall put a stop to the draining away of our money, create an independent interest charged with supplying the city with firewood, and open up to workmen a new source of employment and remuneration. (Cheers)

JOHN: I support the proposal of my honourable friend, the preceding speaker, which is at once so philanthropic, and, as he himself has explained, so entirely disinterested. It is indeed high time that we should put an end to this insolent laissez passer, which has brought immoderate competition into our markets, and to such an extent that there is no province which possesses any special facility for providing us with a product, be it what it may, which does not immediately inundate us, undersell us, and bring ruin on the Parisian workman. It is the duty of Government to equalize the conditions of production by duties wisely adapted to each case, so as not to allow to enter from without anything which is not dearer than in Paris, and so relieve us from an unequal struggle. How, for example, can we possibly produce milk and butter in Paris, with Brittany and Normandy at our door? Remember, gentlemen, that the agriculturists of Brittany have cheaper land, a more abundant

supply of hay, and manual labour on more advantageous terms.