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he rarely obtains the entry except at the cost of dignity and sound principles. Given equal conditions, the British trader can beat his German rival anywhere. It is only by giving an undue extension of credit, by 'cutting prices, by selling in any quantities, and generally by descending to the petty ways and details of a shop, that the Teuton can insinuate himself into markets at all, his advent in any numbers being, as a rule, a signal for the subversion of sound commercial principles. The British merchant refuses to depart from the system which his experience has taught him to be the only one on which to conduct his business at a profit and without undue risk. The Germans disregard this system, and acquire a huge business in consequence. Statistics tell us that their exports are increasing by leaps and bounds. It would be interesting to know if the profits of German trade are increasing in the same ratio. Every one connected with trade knows how very easy it is to sell, but how very difficult to sell at a reasonable profit and with reasonable security.
It must be conceded that in one respect the Germans are superior to the British, and that is in the way they train their youths who are destined for a commercial career. I must regretfully confess that in the average young Englishman who is sent abroad nowadays to assist in conducting the nation's commerce I have failed to observe that diligence and attention to business which is so noticeable in the sons of Germany. Sports and pastimes engage far too much of an Englishman's time and attention. Time and conversation which should be devoted to business are taken up by reference to some horse race or some past or impending cricket match. young Englishman abroad seems incapable of thinking or speaking on any subject unconnected with sport. Mental attainments go with him for nothing, and any one who cannot handle a gun, ride a horse, or knock a ball about is considered unfit for his society. God forbid that I should say anything to curb or restrict the sporting training of an Englishman, but I do say he should be taught to regard sport rather as a pastime than a pursuit, and that there are higher aims and ideals in life than the making of records' or the performance of feats of endurance. If the instructors of our British youth do not watch it, they will one day awake and find that German zeal, industry, and discipline are more calculated to win the great race of life than any amount of British pluck and muscle. A German youth intended for a commercial career is taught to read, write, and speak modern languages, and this knowledge has beyond all doubt been of incalculable advantage to Germany in gaining and retaining foreign or neutral markets. It is said that the necessity for an Englishman to learn languages does not exist in the same degree, as the greatest emporia of trade are English-speaking countries. If we desire to confine our operations to British colonies and America, this is true; but if we desire to
The average retain our hold on foreign markets, then is it an absolute necessity that our travellers or representatives should be masters of a language other than their own. I firmly believe that the best part of the trade of Sumatra might to-day be in English hands, if Englishmen would imitate their German rivals and take the trouble to learn the language of the country. This is a respect in which Germans are immeasurably our superiors, and it behoves us to rectify the balance. If, instead of wasting time and money on the smattering of German and French to be obtained in our schools, parents were to send their boys for a twelvemonth to Germany or France, in a very few years Germans would have no cause to boast their linguistic attainments at our expense.
To recapitulate the results of my experience : The expansion of German trade is due to the adaptability of German wares to certain cheap and inferior markets in which it would be unwise for British manufacturers with any regard for their reputation to attempt to compete; to the employment of methods so at variance with all sound commercial principles that it would be unadvisable to adopt them; and to the superior diligence and knowledge of their commercial classes, in which respect we may one day hope to be at all events their equals. Therefore, as far as my experience goes, we need have no fear with regard to retaining our commercial supremacy, as the causes which to-day appear to retard our progress and advance our rivals are either temporary or removable.
THE QUAINT SIDE OF PARLIAMENT
Every human institution probably has an element of the quaint or ridiculous in its composition. Certainly, Parliament, with all its solemnity and majesty, as befits the greatest and most powerful legislature in the world, has its quaint side, without which, indeed, the business of law-making at Westminster would often be dull and prosaic.
The rules of procedure which have for centuries regulated the proceedings of the House of Commons are a fruitful source of embarrassment and confusion to new members. Some members, indeed, never thoroughly master the usages of the House, and they go through their Parliamentary life with a perpetually reproving cry of Order, order !'from Mr. Speaker ringing in their ears.
Even old official members frequently betray their ignorance of the rules of procedure. Lord Palmerston was in the House many years before he became its Leader on his appointment as Prime Minister; but he then made the embarrassing discovery that he was inadequately acquainted with the customs of the House; and with a grim determination to at once master the rules, he stuck for weeks to the Treasury bench, from the opening of each sitting till its close, with only an hour's interval for dinner, eagerly on the watch for incidents illustrative of Parliamentary procedure. Again, the late Mr. W. H. Smith was not aware, on being appointed Lord Warden of Walmer, at a time when he was Leader of the House, that it was necessary for him to vacate his seat, having accepted an office of profit under the Crown; and as he actually entered the House and spoke after his appointment, without having first gone to his constituents for a renewal of their trust, he incurred penalties amounting to 1,5001, if any one chose—and the choice was open to every citizen of the Kingdom-to bring an action against him in the Courts of Law. Mr. Smith did subsequently resign, and was returned again without delay as member for the Strand Division of Westminster.
How can I learn the rules of the House?' asked a newly elected Irish member of the late Mr. Parnell. By breaking them,' was the prompt reply of the Irish leader, who, as is well known, spoke from experience on the point. But few members would care to adopt that heroic method of obtaining the desired knowledge, and their task in mastering the rules is rendered all the more difficult by the curious fact that many of these regulations are unwritten. Some will be found in the Standing Orders, or permanent rules passed from time to time by the House to regulate its own procedure; but those that deal with etiquette and decorum bave not been officially recorded anywhere, save in a few quaint and obsolete regulations to be found in the old issues of the Journals of the House, or the minutes of proceedings taken by the Clerk and published daily during the Session. For instance, a strange rule for the guidance of the Speaker is set down under the 15th of February 1620 : 'The Speaker not to move his hat until the third congee.' Propriety of carriage in leaving the Chamber is thus enforced : “Those who go out of the House in a confused manner before the Speaker to forfeit 108.' This rule is dated the 12th of November 1640. Again, we find that on the 23rd of March 1693 it was ordered : 'No member to take tobacco into the Gallery, or to the Table, sitting at Committees.'
But though most of the rules which regulate decorum in the House of Commons are unwritten, every member is, nevertheless, expected to make himself thoroughly acquainted with them; and every breach of etiquette, however slight—even if it be due solely to ignorancemeets with a stern rebuke not only from the Speaker but from the House generally.
Every sitting of the House of Commons opens with prayers which are recited by the Chaplain. It is a curious circumstance that the two front benches are always deserted at these devotions. Now, it is on the Treasury bench and on the front Opposition bench that the men who control the destinies of the Empire sit, and surely they stand more in need of divine light and guidance in the discharge of their duties than the unofficial members of the House. Nevertheless, a Minister or an ex-Minister is rarely, if ever, seen in the Chamber at prayers.
It must not be inferred, however, that the great, wise, and eminent occupants of the front benches of the House of Commons in thus absenting themselves from devotions deem themselves so exalted abore ordinary mortals that they stand not in need of prayers. Nor is it, even, that they think themselves past praying for. On the other hand, the regular attendants at devotions must not be regarded on that account as men of deep piety. Probably some members who may be seen every evening devoutly listening to the invocations of the Chaplain never attend service elsewhere.
What then is the explanation ? Well, the House consists of 670 members, but only about half that number can be accommodated with seats in the Chamber. Consequently, on important and interesting
nights there is always a lively competition for places. The scramble for seats on such occasions is regulated by certain rules. A member present at prayers has a right to the place he then occupies until the rising of the House. Each evening stands absolutely independent and by itself; and therefore the title to a seat secured by attendance at prayers lapses at the termination of the sitting.
On the table, in a little box, is a supply of small white cards with the words ' At prayers ’ in large old English letters. Obtaining one of these cards and writing his name on it under the words "At prayers,' the member slips it into a receptacle in the bench at the back of the seat, and thus secures the place for the night against all
He may immediately leave the House, and remain away as long as he pleases. The place may be occupied by another member in the meantime, but whenever the master of the seat—the gentleman whose autograph is written on the card in the little brass slitreturns to the Chamber, the temporary occupant of the seat must give place to him.
Thus does piety in the House of Commons meet immediately with the substantial reward of a seat in which to listen in comfort to a long debate. The consequence is that at times of great excitement in the House there is a most edifying display of devotion on the part of members; but in the dull seasons the attendance at prayers is deplorably lax. And as the occupants of the front benches have their seats secured to them by custom-a custom which now possesses all the force of a law-they never lend the éclat of their superior presence to the daily devotions of the House. Old and respected unofficial members of the House, who are in the habit of using certain seats, are, by courtesy, also allowed to occupy these places without dispute or question.
No unoccupied seat can after prayers be retained, as a matter of right, by a member absent from devotions placing a card or a hat or gloves thereon; but it may be so secured as a matter of courtesy. But how is a member to retain a seat until he absolutely secures it for the evening by being present at prayers ? Must he enter the Chamber early and sit in the seat until the Speaker takes the Chair? No; he may leave his hat on the seat, and then betake himself to the reading-room, or the dining-room, or to any other part of the Palace of Westminster he pleases. But the hat must be his own workaday headgear. If it is discovered that he has brought with him a second hat and leaves the precincts of the House wearing that hat, he forfeits all right to the seat.
These two regulations have recently been the subject of definite and specific rulings by the Speaker. After the split in the Irish party in 1891, and when the personal relations between the rival sections were very strained, one Irish member took possession of a