Obstructed Rivers Pleading For The Prohibitionists
Some years since, being at Madrid, I went to the meeting of the Cortes.
The subject in discussion was a proposed treaty with Portugal, for
improving the channel of the Douro. A member rose and said: If the Douro
is made navigable, transportation must become cheaper, and Portuguese
grain will come into formidable competition with our national labor. I
vote against the project, unless ministers will agree to increase our
tariff so as to re-establish the equilibrium.
Three months after, I was in Lisbon, and the same question came before
the Senate. A noble Hidalgo said: Mr. President, the project is absurd.
You guard at great expense the banks of the Douro, to prevent the influx
into Portugal of Spanish grain, and at the same time you now propose, at
great expense, to facilitate such an event. There is in this a want of
consistency in which I can have no part. Let the Douro descend to our
Sons as we have received it from our Fathers.