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and permanently depend upon the pro- dant harvest, and from the same cause portion of the supply to the demand, she was an exporter in the year 1810. and the proportion of supply from But France could never be expected to abroad was in no degree likely to be rival this country in agriculture ; for, considerable. But supposing the sup- from every information that had reachply to be even considerable, the ap- ed us, her system of agriculture was prehensions expressed on this subject exceediøgly inferior to our own, while were still, in his mind, exaggerated her grain was also materially inferior and fallacious ; nor was it even proba. in quality. How then could it be apble that we should have to depend up- prehended, that we should have to de. on a foreign supply to such an extent pend upon that nation for supply in as to endanger the interests of our own any event, especially when we had to agriculture. A great deal of this ap. look not only to Holland as a medium prehension had been propagated, which for furnishing the produce of the banks was negatived by the papers on the of the Rhine, but to Flanders, to the table, especially with regard to the Baltic, to Poland, and to America ? supply derived from what was called With a peace, indeed, so consolidated our natural enemy. He would readily as the gentlemen on the other side proadmit, that if it could be rendered ap. mised,

he thought all apprehension on parent, that, in any event, we should this score quite visionary. But even have to depend upon France for food, calculating upon the renewal of war, a protecting duty, as it was termed, and the re-appearance of some extrashould be immediately granted to avert vagant tyrant, who, with a combina. auch a calamity; and to this grant he tion of all the powers of Europe, would accede, not from any commer. would speculate upon our total exclu. cial jealousy, which he would always sion from continental commerce, he deprecate, but from political jealousy, should still think such an apprehento which it

ld, in such a case, be sion groundless ; for it was notorious our duty to attend. What was the from experience, that even when the fact? Was France a corn-exporting experiment of this exclusion was made, country? Did it not appear from pa- namely, from 1810 to 1812, a larger pers on the table that our great import importation had taken place into this of corn had been, not from France, country, especially from France, than but from Holland, and from Belgium, was ever known within the same comthe sovereign of which was of our own pass at any former period. The apcreation? Thus we derived a supply prehension, then, of depriving this of corn, not from a natural enemy, as country of foreign supply, must, unFrance was denominated, but from our der any circumstances, be regarded as own probably permanent ally. But totally chimerical." France could never be regarded as a Independently of these consideragreat exporting country of corn. If tions, it was contended that it was im. she were, it would be a proof of her possible, under either system of poli. impoverishment--for no rich country cy, to prevent a part of the inferior was ever a great exporter of corn. lands of this country from going out No: the poor country was always the of cultivation; and that, therefore, if exporter of that article to the rich, this circumstance is to be followed by for which she received manufactures the consequences apprehended from it, in return. France had in fact become, these consequences must take place for the last year, an exporter of corn, at any rate. This argument was slated in consequence of an extremely redun- by Earl Grey and Mr Horner, who maintained, that no protection could sed population, and not from any de. be offered to the English grower triment to our own agriculture." Si. against the cultivators of Ireland, who milar observations were made by Mr could produce corn at a cheaper rate Calcraft, who added, that “ it was than in England, and who would be found that the great importation which consequently able to undersell the had taken place did not at all interfere English growers in their own mar- with the profits of the farmer. The kets, and that, therefore, the cultiva- farmer need not, in ordinary years, look tors of inferior lands in England would, with any degree of alarm at any imnot only have to contend with the portation ; and from what he knew of cultivator of the richer soils in this the feeling of the farmers on this sub. country, but with the growers of Ire. ject, he did not believe that they did land, both of whom would be able to look with alarm at it. The late meetundersell them; the consequence of ing in Kent had not been generally at. which would be, that these inferior tended by the farmers. The farmers lands could no longer be cultivated. throughout the country were, he be

But, it was further said, it has been lieved, waiting with patience to see found from experience that it is not

what the House would do for them, by a system of importation that our without troubling them with any soliagriculture is injured. Mr Baring citations." observed, that “ the great cause of It was, in the next place, maintained the increase of importation of late by the opponents of the measure, that years, was the increase in the po. it could not have the effect contempulation of the country, the increase plated by its supporters, of rendering of our manufactures, and our diffe. prices eventually steadier and lower rent establishments. From these cir. ihan they would otherwise be. Mr cumstances we had become a great Philips said, that “it seemed someimporting country, notwithstanding what inconsistent to tell the House, which, the prices had always continued that the effectual way to lower the high. This made quite against the ar- price was to acquiesce in a measure gument, that, when importation of fo. expressly intended to raise it. reign corn was suffered, prices would how (he asked) is this moderation and be low. For the last twenty years we uniformity of price to be produced ?had continually imported corn, and by contracting the market of supply. the excess was greater than at any time Thus, while, in all other instances, mo. before on record. We had never be- deration and uniformity of price are fore imported one-half of what we had found to be in proportion to the eximported during the last twenty years, tent of the market of supply, in the One would think, on the principles of instance of corn, they are to be in pro. the proposers of the measure, that this portion to the limitation of it ; and, in excess would have had the effect of a commodity peculiarly liable to be discouraging our agriculture. Now, affected by the variation of the seasons, what was the fact ? There never was moderation and uniformity of price, such an improvement in our agricul- and abundance, are to be attained by ture as had taken place during the last preventing importations from foreign fifteen or twenty years. This not only countries correcting the effect of the disproved the argument that importa. varieties of climate, and a scanty hartion was injurious to our agriculture, vest in our own. To him it appeared but it shewed also that the increased that no measure could be better cal. importation had arisen from an increa- culated to produce directly opposite




consequences.” It was maintained, that Within the last seven years, too, it if the importation price was fixed at was notorious that our agriculture had 80s., the price of corn in the market been in the most flourishiog state, would never be lower than this ; and much more flourishing, indeed, than Mr Baring supported this proposition when it was most the fashion to grant by a reference to the history of the bounties upon the export, and to im. corn laws.

“ On looking back," he pose restrictions upon the import of said, “ it would be found, that an al. So much as to the pretence of teration on the importation price had a steady price, which was looked for always produced a corresponding and as the result of the proposed measure. instantaneous change on the price in In his opinion, however, the best sethe market. Whenever they raised the curity for a steady price, that is, a fair protection to the grower, it was found price to the consumer, was not a meathat this rise was invariably followed sure, the witnesses adduced to support by an increase of price to the consu. which deponed that 80s., or even 96s.

For the five years preceding was necessary to enable the farmer to 1764, when an alteration took place, grow corn, while its advocates argued the price of the quarter of wheat was that its tendency would be to reduce il. i0s. 2d., and for the five years the price of that article, but to leave from 1764 to 1769, it was 21. 2s. 2d. the dealer in corn subject to this im.

The raising of the importation price pression, that, if he raised his price in 1764, was therefore attended with to an undue rate, corn would be im. a great corresponding rise to the con. ported. This impression, he conceived,

That no rise of price took and common sense would sanction the place for a long period before, was conception, would be the best means owing to government leaving alone the of keeping corn at a fair price, and laws; for no material alteration in correcting all excesses." them had taken place for about sixty- It was further objected to the profive years. Prices continued nearly the posed law, that, by raising the price same from 1764 to 1794, during which of corn, it would raise the price of la. period no alteration of the importation bour; the consequence of which would price had taken place. In 1794 the be, that our manufacturers would no importation price was again altered. longer be able to compete with fo. For the five years before 1794, the reigners in the foreign markets. Mr price was 21. 7s. the quarter ; and for Philips, after pointing out the manner the five years from 1794 to 1799, it in which the price of provisions acts was 31. 4s. Thus it would be found, upon the price of labour, and shewing that a rise of price to the consumer that it is impossible for a high price had invariably followed every altera- of provisions to consist permanently tion in the importation price.” With with a low price of labour,

proceeded regard to the necessity of the mea. to apply this principle to the case of sure, to guard against a fluctuation of our 'manufacturers. After making a prices, it was stated by Mr Horner, calculation, from which it appeared that “ for the last seven years, when that the excess of the price of labour our importation of corn was greater in this country above that of France than at any former period, the Auctu.

was 48 per cent., he wished it to be ation was much less than during any considered, what must be the effect of period of the same duration since the such an excessive price of labour emrevolution, and this fact he had ascer. ployed our manufactures, when țained by exanining the Eton Tables. compared with the low price of läbour employed in the manufactures of multiply the taxes on our manufacFrance, and what an advantage it must tures, and to increase the price of give to the French manufacturers in corn.” their attempts to rival us on the con. The proposed law was represented, tinent. He said, " that we ought not by some of its opponents, as an undue to delude ourselves with the notion, attempt to extend the system of pro. that because our manufactures had' tèction to the landed interest, at the hitherto been superior in some respects expence of the consumers, the people to those of other countries, that su. at large. Mr Baring entered into a periority would be easily maintained. long statement to shew, that this mea. Our advantage had been principally sure would have the effect of making in our superior capital and establish the people pay an enormous bounty ments, and in the disciplined industry for the support of the landed interest. of our workmen. But capital did not The substance of what he said on this belong exclusively to this country : head is, that, had there been no corn It might easily be exported wherever laws, it appeared, from the prices in it could be more profitably employed. the neighbouring countries, that the He had not had an opportunity of price of corn in this country would seeing the cotton manufactures of only have been 458.; but that, the preFrance, but he had cotiversed with se' sent importation price being 65s., it veral gentlemen more capable than made a difference of 20;. per quarter, himself of judging correctly of them; which was paid for the protection of and among the rest with the honoure the landed interest; and that this, on able member for Glasgow (Mr Kirk- the whole amount of corn consumed in man Finlay), who had lately visited Britain, would amount to 18,750,0001. that country; and they all concurred paid by the consumers, as a bounty in expressing their great surprise at for the support of the landed interest. the state of those manufactures, at the' He went on to shew, in the same way, extraordinary progress which had been that, if the importation price were raimade in them during the war, and at sed to 80s. the bounty which would the excellent fabrics which they pro. thus be paid by the people would daced." Mr Horner, after remarking amount to 32,750,0001. He further that the necessary requisites to enable stated, that a result of a similar kind us to preserve our superiority in our might be made out in another way.. manufactures were two, capital and The number of acres in an árable state skill, said, that " these were not ne- amounted at least to sixty millions. cessarily domiciled in this country, but Every person who had read the remight, like any of the other goods of ports would see, that, if no alteration fortune, take to themselves wings and took place in the corn laws, the rent fly away; and that it was no unfair of land must be diminished at least to or unreasonable thing to conjecture, the extent of 105. an acre; but the that, if to the different difficulties un.

pasture land must also be taken into der which our manufacturers now la- the estimate. The question was, thereboured, were added the proposed re- fore, whether the country gentlemen gulations as to the price of corn, these should give up 10s. an acre all over would be speedily followed by a de. the kingdom, or whether the consumers parture from this country of the capic were to pay the growers a sum of 40 ial and skill which had hitherto given or 50 millions a year beyond what life to our manufactures, seeing we they would pay in other circumstances. were about, in the same breath, to Were a reduction of rents over the

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kingdom to take place, it was con. The question was, what would so enatended, that it would produce all the ble him? Of the 80s. per quarter, he advantages sought by the proposed would calculate, that the landlord ob

This would the more cer- tained 20s. as his proportion, and that tainly happen, as not only the expence the remainder went to the tenant for of cultivation must be diminished, in profit, and for the discharge of the exconsequence of the fall in the price of pences of tillage. Suppose that, incorn, but the tenants could afford a stead of 20s. the owner of the land considerable diminution of their pro was to receive only 158., and the fits." That landholders could afford to profits and expences of the tenant reduce their rents, was maintained by were to be reduced in the same proMr Baring, on the ground that they portion, one fourth, that would leave enjoyed greater advantages in this 60s. as the price which ought to country than in any other. • In be named, after which grain might be France,” he observed, “ might be imported into this country, In this seen persons of large landed property way, if a farm were now let for 20001, living on the produce of that property, a year, the landlord would only receive in the manner of the country gentle- 15001. in future, a diminution wbich he men, and even the nobility, of this was able to afford.' As to the expenisland, in former times. But it was ces of cultivation, Mr Baring contend. only in this country that landed gen- ed, that, “ with the exception of taxes, tlemen could go to great towns, and there was not a single article of exhave great disposable incomes to pence to which a farmer was exposed, spend wherever they chose.” The ef. that would not be diminished in the fects of the reduction of rent might same rate with the price of the main be inferred from the depositions of article of subsistence. He instanced some of the witnesses. Mr Brodie, particularly the article of manure, and a a great Scotch farmer, deposed, that observed, that stable dung would of he rented land to the amount of 60001 course be increased in quantity ; for, if : per annum, and that some years ago corņ were so cheap, mpre horses would he had only paid 20001. or 28s per be kept by persons who before were acre. Suppose this gentleman's pre- not able to afford them; and therefore sent rent were reduced by the effects manure would not only be greater in n of peace, from 60001. to 40001., would quantity, but cheaper in price. Within not this, it was argued by Mr Ba- regard to labour, the main expence to ring, have a material operation on the which the farmer is exposed, he affirmat price of the corn he grew ? " Ited, that there was no man who would was estimated,” he said, “ that, of the venture to deny, that the price of laprice of the crops, the portion that bour would be lowered by the fall of came to the landlord on the best soils, corn. As to the profits of the tenants, un was one third ; on average soils, per. Mr Baring said, that “all men would haps one fourth ; and on the wet cold acknowledge that the improvements in soils, so much talked of, only about the situation, habits, and comfort of one fifth. No man would pretend the tenants, had kept pace with those that it was fit, by means of an act of of the landlords, Formerly, a farmer parliament, to keep up an adventitious thought it a high luxury if he was rent for the benefit of the owner of the rich enough to enjoy his ale ; but now, soil ; or that the House should be call. on entering their houses, you are not ed upon to do more than to enable the only treated with a bottle of Port; farmer to proceed with the cultivation. but sometimes even with Madeira.

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