ENGLAND, in her maintenance of free trade, has stood in contrast to most of the leading nations of Europe. She has stood in still more

Though the American colonies may have suffered little under the old colonial system, it is still fair to describe their rising as a revolt against that system. Its articles were not-could not be-consistently enforced, they were easily evaded, England gained little from her possession of the colonies, whilst it would seem that their industrial development proceeded on very much the same lines as they would have done if they had enjoyed economic independence. But it was the belief on all hands that colonies, duly subordinated, were a source of wealth and strength to the colonizing power. The American colonies had been able to appeal to this mercantilist sentiment in England in asking for protection against the encroachment of the French at the time of the Seven Years War. The relief which they secured as the result of that war

largely helped to produce the spirit of independence. They now resented the idea of colonial subordination which was expressed in the system, but in accordance with the tenets of Mercantilism they believed themselves invaluable to England, and after the failure of their attempts to break down the system by their own devices, they made skilful use of the idea of their value to England in appealing for the assistance of powers that envied the strength which England was supposed to derive from her colonies. The liberation of the American trade for their benefit was a strong inducement to their support of the American cause. But the result of the war proved the falsity of the basis on which the Americans had proceeded in this connexion. It did not alter the natural commercial relations of England and America, and the fact that England, though she had lost her political control over the colonies, was able to do an increasing trade with them, did much, as we have seen, to discredit the old mercantile colonial system, and to give a vogue to the teachings of the Physiocrats and Adam Smith.