Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung January 1849

Protectionist Agitation. — Recruiting into the Neapolitan Army

Source: MECW Volume 8, p. 251;
Written: by Engels on January 12, 1849;
First published: in Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 197, January 17, 1849.

Berne, January 12. The protective tariff agitation in Switzerland is growing more and more lively, and so, in the same proportion, is the movement in the interest of preserving the free trade system which has existed up to now. The arguments of both sides are equally excellent and it is very hard to see how Switzerland will extricate itself from the dilemma. The protectionist party points to the yearly increasing pressure of foreign competition on home industry and the proportionately vanishing prospects for providing work for the growing unemployed population. As against this the free traders stress the price increases of industrial products, affecting the agricultural majority of the people, and the impossibility for a nation of two million people to protect a border as extended, and as suitable for smuggling, as the Swiss border, without ruinous expense. Both parties are perfectly right; without protective tariffs one branch of Swiss industry after another is ruined; with protective tariffs the federal finances are ruined. To unite both, the Berner Verfassungs-Freund proposes a juste-milieu tariff which would ruin both together. In March the Federal Councils will have to break their teeth on the impossible solution of this problem.

In Geneva for some time past, Neapolitan recruiting officers were seen going around trying to raise recruits for the service of His Bombarding Majesty. [239] Ferdinand must need the sturdy Swiss very badly if he even allows recruiting in cantons with which he has no enlistment agreement. But the Geneva Government soon put an end to these activities. It declared all engagements already entered into as null and void, forbade all recruiting, and threatened the recruiting officers with harsh punishment. The mercenaries of the Neapolitan hyena thereupon withdrew in all haste from the Geneva area.