Page images

quence of such an advance. But what is / years, supply her wants. And we may it that is asked by his Lordship in behalf clearly discern in this encreasing popu. of the Wool grower: only that the same lation, the revival of our own manufacprotection may be granted to them, which tures, if peace with America be prethe manufacturers have already obtained. served. Already has she cleared our Are not the manufacturers of Lace, Cloth, Manchester warehouses, 'and our woolSilk, &c. sustained by prohibitory laws? len goods are again on demand. That Why then is it required, in addition to our foreign relations demand legisla. this, that the Wool growers of Great Bri- tive interference, cannot be doubted.tain should be sacrificed to the supposed It was stated to be one of the principal benefit of the manufacturers, and become reasons for breaking the peace of Amiens, the first victims to excessive taxation? It that we were only pominally and not acis pleaded, that our foreign trade would be tually at peace with France; that we had endangered by such au advance; and we better continue in a state of warfare, than are informed that our American trade in be at peace with a nation that would not particular will most assuredly þe lost, and take goods of English manufacture. How that America is enabled to manufacture stands the case pow, as it regards those for herself. We have been informed of the nations with whom we are at this time at suit of clothes you have had sent you; but peace. The beloved Ferdinand; this if you meant, with this argument, to alarm friend to social order, whose Crown bas the manufacturers, you should have told been restored by the efforts of British us the price the Cloth cost per yard, and valour, has laid a duty of 70 per cent. have shewn that it was manufactured on all broad cloths, if not on all woollen cheaper there than in England; then, in- goods of English manufacture imported deed, there might have been some reason into his kingdom, Our good and great for alarm. But as neither your advertise- allies, from whence comes the next largest ments nor your suit of cloaths, by showing part of fine wool, have some of them obe any - relative price," tends to prove this structed, and others entirely prohibited, position, what cause is there for the alarm our fine cloths being imported into their you have attempted to excite?* We have dominions; and I have not heard of either in these instances a most salutary warning protest, remonstrance, or complaint being presented to us; and it is clearly demon made to the British Ministry against such strated that if the advice of our l'imes and proceedings. No! Legitimate Monarchy Courier politicians is to be taken, jealou- in France and Spain, and Legitimate and sies between this country and America are Papal Religion in Rome and the Italian to be fomented, and fresh attempts made Statės, being again' restored, I suppose to depose the president Madison. In this we are from such glorious results to put case America, indeed, can do, will do, up with these commercial affronts in con. without our assistance, and manufacture temptuous silence. Under such circumfor her own use. But this is no proof stances, not only a duty on Foreign Wool, that America cannot yet purchase cheaper but even a prohibitioii, till those States from this country than she can herself ma- repealed their prohibitory acts, would be nufacture. The probability is otherwise. justifiable and politic, inasmuch as it The troubles of Europe are increasing her would be a means of again opening a marpopulation with such rapidity, that her ket for our own cloths. But, Sir, for own manufacturers cannot, for many me, who am only of the sheep-fold, to er.

pect my opinions to be taken for autho; • I trave in my liouse a loaf of the most beau.rity would be presumptuous. I shall cal! tiful refined sogar I ever saw, manufactured from to my aid that enlightened political aço. the beet root in France; but if I were to adiluce nomist, Dr. Adam Smith. He considers this as a prou that the West' Iijdia Islands were generally prohibitions of foreign commoin danger uf ruin, it would be utterly fallacious. dities as oppressive to industry, but thinks This sugar cost 25.60. to 3s. per lb. inaking; and it is good policy to lay on duties of reta. if it cannot be made for half the price, it wotud liation, and illustrates that opinion by the be slieer 'nonserise to sound the aların to the following statement: “In 1697 the EngWes India planters, and tell then their ruivi was 6 lish prohibited the importation of Bone. certain' ou 'account of the waujufacture of sngar lace, the manufacture of Flanders. The in France.

goveroment of that country being at that

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


“ time under the dominion of Spain, pro- at 90, have fallen to 56, and are daily

hibited, in return, the importation of sinking, in spite of a thousand maneuvres

English woollens. In the year 1700, practised to keep them up. He who, two " the prohibition of importing Bone-lace years ago, considered himself worth 20,0001.

was taken off, upon condition that the bus finds his property reduced to 15 or “ importation of English Woollens into 12,0001.; and he who had an income of " Flanders should be put on the same

10001. a vear, finds it depreciated, by footing as before.” If a similar conduct causes which he has been unable to con: were to be adopted in regard to the wool trou, to 7501. 6001. or 5001.

All classes, of Spain and Saxony and the cloth of Eng. at the same time, have engagements, mea. land, a similar effect might be expected; sured by old prices, and are entangled, more and if the same degree of spirit presided or less, by leases and time-bargains, which at the helm of this country as existed in they are bound in honour and in law to the year 1700, no doubt can be enter- respect; and taxes, tythes, and poor rates, tained that some such beneficial measure

remain fixed demands, equal to one-third of would be adopted, and that its eflect timer incomes, and to two-thirds of pre

sent incomes. would be to open a continental market

Such is tke condition of the people of for our cloths, revive at the same time the English wool trade, and relieve the grow- England, created by a crusade of twenty ers from their present oppressive and disa years against liberty, and against institutions

and changes whicli were inevitable consecouraging situation. The subject is important, and it will doubtless depend on

quences of the spread of knowledge. To the future policy of Great Britain, whether and disguises, the strength of the English

carry on this purpose under various names the agriculturist or manufacturer will be nation has been stretched till it has lost i's, under the necessity of abandoning their elasticity, and the English people are now native soil, and seeking relief in those in the state of a man who has just escaped countries where taxes scurcely crist, and from the effects of a raging fever, or is retythes are happily unknown. The fact covering from a fit of drunkenness! But it cannot be denied, that the people are is in vain that we now reproach ourselves for jaded by the incessant demand of the tax

events that are past, or seek to criminate gatherer, and, if I am rightly informed, the authors of them, unless mankind dea in the county I am now writing, nearly rived wisdom from experience, and profited one-third of the tenant's property-tax is by example. It is now our only useful duty, upon schedule.-Your's respectfully. as good subjects, to enquire into the proxi,

R. F. mate causes of the pressing evils of the hour;

and, knowing the causes, to consider of the

means of palliating their malignant effecis. DOMESTIC EMBARRASSMENTS.

We suffer, perhaps, as much from the influ,

ence of alarm, as from the operation of real MR. COBEETT-The depreciation of the evils; and, in all cases, alarms are best dise prices of Agricultural produce and of prisipated by investigating their cause. perty in general, constilures a feature of the The progressive increase of effects from times, deeply interesting to the whole com- the constant operation of uniform forces, is munity, and meriting the most serious atten, not confined to falling bodies. It applies tion and examination. Fluctuations of pro- to moral agency, as well as physical; and perty are concerns of the fire-side and the constantly exhibits, its peculiar phenomena family circle; they haunt a man on his pil- in the ordinary concerns of life and society, low; they cloud his enjoyments with dark It is a principle well understood by knavish forebodings; and they fill bin with corrod statesmen, when they practice on public ing cares, which counteract the animal gra- credulity, for ihe purpose of exciting delu, tifications of abundance, and supercede the sions, favourable to their wicked projects. benefits of the wisest political institutions, Every convert is equivalent in this process

Land, which tras estimated two years ago to a new increment of force; and the sucat 100l. an açre, has not lately fetched 50l. ; cessive conversion of the mass of the people and that at 50l. scarcely 201., or any price; creates an accelerating moral impulse, simi., houses, which used to let readily at 100l., lar to an accelerated physical force, prostand empty at 80l. and 601.; consols, ducing effects often destructive, but, when which were at 72, and ought to have becocraftily managed, equal to the purpose for

which it was excited. The same principle which was“ promised by our Youngs, our operates in whatever regards the prices of Sinclairs, our Marshalls, our Lawrences, our commodities. If, from any cause, they rise Middletons, our Bedfords, our Bakewells, in price, the rise is greater than the single and our Cokes, and which was fondly and force of the cause ; and, if from any other anxiously anticipated by our ablest ştatescause they fall in price, the fall is accele- meo and patriots ? Was not plenty prorated by a law similar to that of all accele- mises as the reşult of these exertions; and rated forces, and is ultimately greater than what is plenty, but a supply at a cheap rate? ihe single cause wbich produced the origi- The reduced price of agricultural produce nal impulse. This being premised as a prim. is therefore a consequence of pleniy, of çiple applicable to all discussions of this improved and enlarged cuitivation, and of kind, I shall be able to throw lighe ou the a supply in our markets, somewhat greater actual cause of the present difficulties, by than the demavd. The inconveniences of reminding my readers of two axioms io po- these reduced prices have arisen from the litical economy, viz.

want of foresighi, in regard to the neces. 1. That the price of every commodity is sary effects of augmented produce. While in the inverse proportion of ihe supply and culv a small number of farmers practised the direct proportion of the demand; and, the improved system, they partook exclu.

2. That pominal prices are governed by sively of increased returns, and every aug. the relative quantity of the circulating me- mentation of their produce was an augmendium at different periods.

tation of their profils; but, as soon as imW bat then are the facts in regard to the provements and auginentation became ge. actual state of England; and how do the neral, and the incr. ase acquired an accelepreceding axioms apply to them? It will rated ratio, plenty led, of necessity, to corbe felt by all, that, during the last thirty responding cheapness; and it is at length years, such great improvements have been found, as long since it ought to have been, made in the practice of agriculture, ibat tbe that the increased produce of the spil is produce of all land has been increased at least merely an advantage to the public. oze half; that several millions of acres of What, however, has been the false reason. poor land have been brought into active ing of cultivators and proprietors? They cultivation, and baye added another fourth idly concluded that, because in the early to the produce; and that several other mil stages of improvement the advantages were lions of acres have been enclosed by means individual and exclusive, they would conof hundieds of Enclosure Bills, and been tinue so when improvements might become the valuable means of adding another fourth. general, and when supply, in consequence, Consequently, the agricultural produce would exceed the demand! The simplest alone of the whole kingdom has been at principle of political economy was thus least doubled wi'hin the last thirty years. overlooked; and the arbitrary circumstances In the mean time the consumers, at least as of the country, during the war, unhappily far as regards this argument, 'remain the justified the notion, that, because the prosame, or pearly so. They may have in- duce of the land was doubled in quaviiry, creased froin 10 to 11, or from 11 to 12 is movied worth and its movied rental were millions; but it is certain, that the produce tlierefore doubled. It was forgotten that the has been made to increase in so much higher consumers were the same, the markets the à ratio, as to warranı our considering the same, and the circulating medium, as to one as doubled, whiç the other remains this object, the same; and consequenily that Dearly as before.

the gross money-returns from agricultural • Is it then to be wondered, that, on the produce, and from rents of land, must be country returning to a state of peace, when nearly the same, however the quanțity of the relations of property ceased to be disa produce might be increased tibed by any arbitrary measures of public Nor is the question between tbe farmer policy, that an agricultural produce of and his laudlord, and the tax avd tythe double its ancient quantity, should, from the collectors, à simple one of mere produce. same consumers, and in the same markets, If he carries more to market from ihe same produce but lia!f its price? Would it not land, he is obliged to employ more labour be more wonderful if it were not so? Is and greater capital. These may not "le in it not a regular consequence of render.full proportion to the increase of produce, ing the supply greater than the demand ? but the difference constitụtes the advantage Is it out the happy and prosperous state of the public. Thoy will prevent the farmer,

who creates a double produce, from selling High rents and high prices of land are at the exact half of old prices; but the dif- therefore incompatible with a system of geference between that half, and the price at weral and uniform improvement, and canwhich he is enabled to sell, is a considera- not be sustained, unless large portions of tion between him and the public, and not land are again allowed to lie uncultivated, between him, bis landlord, and the tax and or improvement retrogrades, giving a motythe collectors. The supply in the market popoly to certain favored lands, so that the will prevent the farmer from making an un- supply at market may again become less due advantage; and the extent to which he than the demand. High-rated taxes, and may employ labour and capital from harvest tythes by composition in money, rated on to barvest, must depend on his returns; but the basis of high prices, are also intolerable. the whole question is no affair of landlords when prices are reduced by plenty, and can or tax-gatherers, If the land produces only be collected as portions of prosts or abundantly, and provisions become cheap, returns, measured in amount by the value , the landlord and the state partake of the of produce. So poor-rates, county-rates, benefit; and, at equal rents, the one can and all assessments founded on high money• live proportionably better; and, at equal values, are ruinous to the farmer, when the assessments, the government can enjoy money-value of his commodity is reduced greater power. But it is a sophism - which | by abundance. The public at large are nothing hut cupidity and state-craft could benefitted, not the tax gatherer, or the have sustained, that, because the farmer drones of society. It, however, merits ob. carries more to market as an effect of in- servation, as a proof of the short-sightedness creased labour and capital, that therefore of human wisdom, and of the temporary ibe landļord and the state have higher success which often grows out of our very monied claims on him ; and the injustice ignorance, that the late wasteful expendiof the assuinption was provęd, as soon as ture of the public money in anti-British the increase in the markets carried the wars, could not have been sustained, but supply beyond the demand, and brought for the false view given of the public redown the prices to their just and natu- sources, by the accidental and simultaneous ral level. The benefit is, of course, that rise of all land, owing to the increased proof the public at large. There are more produce of a limited number of farms. High visions, and they become, in consequence, prices, however, might in a degree have cheaper, or more plentiful. Such a pros- been sustained, but for the large importaperous state warranted, however, none of | lions from France, which so suddenly car. the golden dreams of landowners and land-ried the supply beyond the demand, and holders. There is nothing in it to warrant frustrated the usual artifices of dealers; and any increase of rentals beyond what they but for the improvident attempt of the bankwere in 1780, when the system of agricul directors to restrict the issue of the circu. tural improvemeot began. If land now laring medium, at the instant when taxes produces more than at chat date, it is neces. were increasing, and whicn the foreign posary that the consuming population should licy of the government called for a large equally have increased, to give the farmer extended, and progressively increasing ciran increased advantage on the same quan- culation. Thus, in the face of an enormous lity of land; but no sensible increase of po. loan of thirty-six millions, and of a public pulation has taken place, so as to warrant an expenditure of above ten millions a month, increase of social power in the farmer fri m the makers of our public money bave judged any increase of his produce. The rise of it seasonable to abridge the circulation. rents waś warranted, for a season, on a few They had found it necessary, for sixteen improved farms, because an increase of pro- years, to augment their issues at the rate of duce on them did not sensibly affect the nearly a million and a half per annum; but, supply at market; but nothing could be in the year when the taxes and calls of gomore fallacious than for the landed interest | vernment became greater than ever, when at large to suppose that they were thereby peace bad re-opened the ports of the world warraoted in raising the rents of all lands, to our commerce, and when agriculture was and forcing all land into improved cultiva- struggling against high rents, grinding taxes, tion, as a means of increasing rents, because and foreign importations, they have dimithe general augmentation defeated in that nished their issues from millions şense its own purpose, by rendering the sup- to twenty-eight millions ! The bank of ply greater than the demaod.

England too, in regard to the 1000 couplry

[ocr errors]

banks, is like the Sun to the planets and provement, derived from partial instances. satellites of the solar system. Every mo

That the late sudden depreciation has arised sion of a yard in the San moves each planet

from a sudden increase of the supply by ima mile; and every motion of the Bank of portation, and by restrictions in the issues of England disturbs the motions of its 1000 the circulating medium. That any stopsatellit's in a similar manner. If, there- page of the progressive increase of the cir. fore, the Bank of England has withdrawn culating medium is impracticable, wbile the its three millions, the country banks, who present taxes are levied, and while it conpay in Bank of England notes, have been tinues in the contemplation of the governo : obliged to withdraw perhaps five times the ment to pay the interest and priocipal of amount; and thus 18 millions have been the public debt. That no rise in prices, or withdrawn from circulation, at a period, energy of enterprize, can take place without when, in truth, an additional 18 niillions liberal issues of currency, until the burthen were wanted to sustain high prices, high of the public debt is removed, and the pubtaxes, and the artificial state of the country. lic expenditure diminished. To fine, I con:

To support the financial system of the clude, generally, that the present embarrassBritish government, and keep up the spirits ments grow out of the return of all farming of the people, it is necessary, in the language produce to the price justly and naturally of Sir John Sinclair, “That there should be measured by the supply and demand; to the plenty of money," that speculation should be continuance of high rents and cppressive fed and encouraged, and that there should be taxes, rated on the assumption of the con a great and rapid circulation. It is vain to tinuance of high prices; to the consequent seek to reconcile opposites, and foolish to inability of farmers to pay rents and taxes, talk of prudence after we have cast the die, meet their money-engagements, and pur: and decided on our course. It was deter: chase manufactured and imported articles mined to overcome certain eternal princi- of the dealers and shopkeepers; and hence ples promulgated in France, cost what it the general stagnation of trade, the scarcity might; it is idle therefore to talk of the cost of money, and the depreciation in the money now we suppose we have accomplished the value of all property, still further aggravated object. The interest of the public debt by ill-timed restrictions in the usual bank created by such a war, and the debt itself, discounts to middlemen and speculators, and are to be paid, or they are not. If they are, by the absorption of the circulating medium then the necessary means are increased is to sustain the financial system and the fo. sues of currency, and all the consequences reign projects of the state. of indefinitely high prices and indefinitely

COMMON SENSE. diminished currency; but, if they are not, Sept. 1815. then we may as well stop the progressive in. crease of the currency, and prepare to re. turn to taxes of a million a month.

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. My conclusions therefore are, that to

Mr. COBBETT,-In one of your late double the produce and keep up its prices is impossible. That to sell the doubled pro; subject had a right to address Napoleon,

numbers you asserted that every British duce resulting from extra labour and capital at half the late high prices, is but to return by letter, during his stay at Plymouth. to the monied state iv which we were, be. This I attempted by writing to him under fore improved and extended cultivation be

cover of Lord Keith, Captain Maitland, gan. That rents and all rateable assess

and Sir G. Cockburn, as likewise to Genements on land must also return to the same

ral Savary, Duke of Rovigo ; bụt what will state. That the advantages of improved and you say, when I tell you that Mr. Coffin, extended culture consisť in abundance and the Postmaster at Plymouth Dock, has been cheapness, and not in high rents to land absolutely suspended for the atrocious ofJords, high prices to farmers, and high taxes fence of forwarding my letters, as his duty to the state. That the recent depreciation appears to have been; and that he nar. in prices is a consequence of the supply in rowly escaped being cashiered by the Postthe markets exceeding the demand." That masters' General, who after strict investithe late high prices were occasioned by the gation, however, thought proper to reuncertain relations of property in time of instáte him to his oflice, probably from war, by artifices to support public credit, and fear of a parliamentary inquiry. by erroneous views of ihe advantages of im- I have regularly taken in your paper for

« PreviousContinue »