In the mid-19th century the British attitude towards its colonies was changing. Many people were beginning to feel that the colonies cost too much to maintain. Aside from the cost of protective trade tariffs like the Corn Laws, there was the cost of maintaining the apparatus of political control. When the colonies began to approach Great Britain about Confederation and independence, the British were quite ready to give up their political hold on the colonies. But they intended to keep as much economic control as possible.