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Monday, May 15, 2006

More Cobden Quotes

No one is more quotable on issues that plague us today than Richard Cobden, the great nineteenth-century British free-trade, anti-imperialist, and anti-war activist. He was a true middle-class radical. Here are two quotations I just came across:
Depend upon it, peace must ever be insecure so long as you have armed ships and armed men, prowling about parts of the globe many thousands of miles away from the immediate control of the Government, and from those who pay taxes to support them.
And:

Like the Romans at the Amphitheater, or the French populace in the first Revolution, we acquire the habit of enjoying scenes of carnage, the only difference being that we look at them through the columns of the newspaper. And hence "our own correspondent" is sent to the seat of war to deck out in pictorial phrase, for the amusement of the reader, the scenes of slaughter and wounds and agony which we peruse with precisely the same zest as if we were witnessing a mimic battlefield at Astley's [Royal Amphitheater]. Observe the eager levity with which The Times correspondent at Hong Kong is urging on the fray, calling for "the opening of the ball", and threatening Lord Elgin with recall if he does not execute his behests.

From Oliver MacDonagh, "The Anti-Imperialism of Free Trade," The Economic History Review, 2nd series, vol. 14, no. 3, 1962 (489-501)

Hat tip: Kevin Carson for bringing this article to my attention.

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