Free Trade v. Protection by Garnet Walch

Yes, they were boys together in the grand old Fatherland,
They fubbed at taw together, played truant hand-in-hand,
They sucked each other's toffy, they cribbed each other's tops,
They pledged eternal friendship in an ounce of acid drops.
With no tie of blood between them, a greater bond was theirs,
Cemented by the constant swop of apples, nuts, and pears;
And when to manhood they had grown, with manhood's hispid chins,
They held as close together still as Siam's famous twins.
And Dobbins swore by Jobbins, and Jobbins vowed that he
Would never break with Dobbins, whate'er their fate might be,
So Jobbins came with Dobbins across the restless main,
And they traded as D., J. & Co., and gained much worldly gain.
Each gave the other dinners, each drank the other's health,
Each looked upon the other as a "mine of mental wealth,"
And Dobbins swore by Jobbins, and Jobbins vowed that he
Would never break with Dobbins, whate'er their fate might be.
But ah! for human nature—alas for human kind—
There came a cloud between them, with a lot more clouds behind.
The Tariff was the demon fell which sad disruption made,
For our Dobbins loved Protection, while our Jobbins loved Free Trade.
As partners now in business, they could no more agree,
So they forthwith dissoluted and halved the £ s. d.
And the fiercest opposition in every sort of way,
Was carried on by Dobbins versus Jobbins day by day.
Then Dobbins entered Parliament, and so did Jobbins too,
And each upheld his principles amidst that motley crew—
And the side that Dobbins voted with were victors of the hour.
And Dobbins was made Treasurer while Jobbins' grapes were sour.
Then Dobbins went to work with glee, protecting everything,
And gave his pet proclivities the very fullest swing,
Set all the manger-loving dogs a-barking in his praise,
And raised the Tariff up kite-high, a real four-aces' raise.
He taxed the pots, he taxed the pans, he taxed the children's mugs,
He taxed the brooms, he taxed the mops, He taxed the jars and jugs;
In soft and hardware every line was smothered by his dues,
Except the national tin tax—the Ministerial screws.
He taxed each article of food, each article of wear,
He even taxed fresh water, and he tried to tax fresh air;
He improvised new duties, new taxes by the score,
And when he stopped awhile to think he taxed his brain for more.
And not one blessed class of goods was entered at the port,
But what he advaloremed till he made importers snort;
Till even old Protectionists, grown hoary in the cause,
Began to change to fidgets what had started as applause.
Poor Jobbins suffered hugely by his whilom partner's tricks,
But found it rather dangerous to kick against the pricks;
He had to grin and bear it, as many a worthy man
Has grinned and borne it in his turn since this mad world began.
Now Dobbins, flushed with Fortune's smiles, his high ambition fed,
Bethought him that the time had come when he might safely wed.
So by the wire electrical, as he had nicely planned,
He sent this loving message to the grand old Fatherland.
"Matilda, I am ready, with five thousand pounds a-year;
Come out unto your Dobbins, love, and be his bride so dear;"
To which there sped the answer back that very self-same day,
"As soon as I have packed my things, I'm coming straight away."
Matilda was an heiress of the old blue Bobbins' blood,
Her ancestors owned land and beeves long years before the flood;
One relative, 'tis said, indeed—a chemist, I'll engage—
Sold bottled Protoplasm in the prehistoric age.
Our Dobbins and our Jobbins, too, had loved the maid of old,
But Bobbins père had snubbed them both for lack of needful gold;
Though when the telegram arrived, "Five thousand pounds a-year!"
Pa winked a playful little wink—and said, "Be off, my dear."
The packing of her luggage was a most stupendous job,
She'd the miscellaneous wardrobe of the highest sort of nob,
New trousseau, plate, and furniture, and presents from her friends,
And Cockle's pills and raspberry jam, and various odds and ends.
There were eighty zinc-lined cases and portmanteaus full a score,
Of band and bonnet boxes at least some fifty more,
Of carpet-bags three dozen most plethorically crammed,
With nigh-forgotten articles in one wild chaos jammed.
Our Venus had a transit out particularly quick,
A glorious transit mundi, but without the usual sic (k);
Till one fine day she gazed upon the far-famed, Austral strand.
One eye upon her luggage, and one eye upon the land.
The vessel berthed beside the pier; Matilda's future lord,
The "Honourable Dobbins," stepped jauntily on board;
He clasped the maiden to his breast, nor heeded that close by
The melancholy Jobbins stood with sad reproachful eye.
"Come, come, my love!" says Dobbins, "let's get your things ashore;
I have a cab in waiting here to take them to my store."
"A cab!" cried she—"twice twenty cabs would not for me suffice;
Behold my things!" He started, as though stung by cockatrice.
"That lofty mountain yonder, which high its head erects,
That Alp of packing cases—are those, dear, your effects?"
"Of course they are, beloved, for keeping house with you,
Enough to furnish us complete, and everything quite new!"
He staggered as if hearing news of pestilence or dearth,
Then gasped in low and anxious tones, "And what's the whole lot worth?"
She thought that his emotion spoke of joy that knew no bounds,
And whispered gaily in his ear, "Some forty thousand pounds!"
He bit his lips, he ground his teeth, he tore out hunks of hair,
He looked the full embodiment of desperate despair;
Then with a shriek of agony, the hideous truth found vent,
"There's ad valorem on the lot of ninety-five per cent.!
"My new amended Tariff comes in force this very day,
I little dreamt that you and I should be the first to pay;
Besides, I haven't got the cash! oh dear, how bad I feel!"
The maiden smiled a scornful smile and turned upon her heel.
The miserable Dobbins gave a second piercing shriek,
Then leaped into the briny flood, and stayed there for a week;
Though Jobbins tried to find him hard, but failed, with these remarks,
"He always was too deep for me—besides, there might be sharks."
The very night of Dobbins' loss, the Ministry went out,
The Jobbins' party took their place 'midst many a ringing shout;
And of our Jobbins in a trice, their Treasurer they made.
Because, as everybody knew, he gloried in Free Trade.
He took the dues off everything, from thimbles up to tanks,
And passed Miss Bobbins' goods himself, and won that virgin's thanks;
And what is more, he won her hand, her chattels and her heart,
And she is Mrs. Jobbins now, till death them twain doth part.
As Dobbins to import his love had spared nor cash nor pains—
They raised a handsome monument above his cold remains;
The carved inscription to this day is there his tale to tell,
"He did his duties—and himself—not wisely but too well."