The then Premier, Mr Reid, was rather lukewarm, as he considered that the free-trade policy of New South Wales would be overridden by its protectionist neighbours and its metropolitan position Attitude interfered with.
The probability of the conclusion of a new Franco-Italian treaty was small, both on account of the protectionist spirit of France and of French resentment at the renewal of the triple alliance, but even such slight probability vanished after a visit paid to Bismarck by Crispi (October 1887) within three months of his appointment to the premiership. Crispi entertained no a priori animosity towards France, but was strongly convinced that Italy must emancipate herself from the position of political dependence on her powerful neighbor which had vitiated the foreign policy of the Left.
A country which is so devoted to free trade that it not only practises free trade itself but endeavours to convert others by nullifying their protectionist measures as far as it can, even with immediate loss to itself, departs from the guidance of selfinterest so far; hut its political action may be justifiable in the long run by other considerations.
In spite of certain prejudices against the import of luxuries and the export of gold, there is little indication of the influence of mercantilist or protectionist ideas.
The spinning and weaving of wool, cotton and silk are the principal industries, but the enterprising spirit of the Catalans has compelled them to try almost every industry in which native capital could attempt to compete with foreign, especially since the institution of the protectionist tariffs of 1892.
In 1880 he came to the front as the leading spokesman of the party which favoured the protection of French industries, and he had a considerable share in fashioning the protectionist legislation of the years 1890-1902.
The speech was enthusiastically received by the National Union of Conservative Associations, who had year by year flirted with protectionist resolutions, and who were known to be predominantly in sympathy with Mr Chamberlain.
By his casting vote at a critical period during the debate in the Senate on the tariff bill of 1846, he irretrievably lost his influence with the protectionist element of his native state, to whom he had given assurances of his support of the Tyler tariff of 1842.
During the Riksdag of the same year, however, the premier, Themptauder, emphatically declared himself against the protectionist party, and while the parties in the Second Chamber were equal in number, the proposed tax on corn was rejected in the First Chamber.
These speeches appeal more to admiration than to sympathy, even where the limitations of Disraeli's protectionist beliefs are understood and where his perception of the later consequences of free trade is most cordially acknowledged.