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just as well as the foreign article of industry. If the duty, however, falls on a foreign production which the native soil either does not yield at all, or not nearly of the same quality, the tax must then be borne, or the enjoyment renounced. Products of this kind may, provided especially they are much in request, bear a high duty without any remarkable influence upon the consumption, and on the selling price of the country which produces them. Now this is applicable, in an especial degree, to those French wines which are among the objects of luxurious enjoyment. Whoever is prepared to give 2-3 fl. for a bottle of wine, is not deterred by a duty of 18-24 kr. On the contrary, a duty of 450 to 500 fl. the ton, on all other kinds, cannot be otherwise than injurious to the sale in Germany, and must have a reaction upon the price of them. These high duties have, however, subsisted for a long time in the north of Germany: in southern Germany, since the year 1822, when the French duty on German fat cattle was raised, they have been partly not much lower, and partly high enough to exclude the common kinds which were more similar to the German products of some of the western departments, as to circumscribe very much the import of French wines. The Union duty will therefore, under existing circumstances, occasion no very sensible changes; but only, perhaps, in rather a stronger degree, cause the injurious influence to continue, which the regulations of 1822 have exercised, on all inferior and middling sorts of French red wine, and on all her southern wines.
The Union duty may, however, with the exception of the import duty on French wine, be considered, on the whole, as very moderate, when compared with the restrictions to which German trade is subjected in France. Here, in almost all branches of manufacturing industry, importation is in the rule prohibited; and in the few cases in which foreign goods are not unconditionally rejected, high duties have, for the most part, nearly the same effect as a prohibition. It is to these restraints that we must ascribe the fact, that our exports in manufactures are only fromto of the value of our imports of French fabrics and manufactures. It is
true no prohibition falls upon the productions of one principal branch of German manufacturing industry, namely, linens; and the duties which are raised on their import for use do not reach the highest rate of the French tariff, but being, in proportion, three, four, or more times higher than the duties which the Union lays upon silk goods, they are high enough to limit the import to a moderate quantum, and to make the sale only possible when the seller is contented with the smallest profit. Although the French prices of imported articles, in comparison with the German prices, are as much higher as the French valuation of exported articles is lower than the German prices, yet thus the duties of French Tariff on linens amount, therefore, to twenty and more per cent of the official fixed value. They may, therefore, easily rise to 25 or 30 per cent above the German cost prices.
Cotton and woollen goods, leather, and leathern manufactures, cannot, with a very trifling exception, be imported; and those silk goods which are not prohibited are subjected to 24, and a still higher duty than in the Union, viz., plain silks, (for which the Union with a less difficult competition could find a sale) in their import by land are exposed to a duty of 17 francs 60 cents the kilogramme, or, inclusively of the tithe, of 1036 francs €0 cents the metrical cwt.
France was led back into the path of an excessively restrictive system of commerce, by two unfortunate experiments in the application of the principles of freedom of trade. In the year 1786, too rapidly, and without regard to existing relations, the barriers were thrown down, which afforded a protection, then much less to be dispensed with than now, to indigenous industry, against that country which was the furthest advanced in the cultivation of arts and manufactures, viz., Great Britain. The consequence was as rapid a return to the system of restriction.
Under the dominion of Napoleon, the overpowering pressure of the continental system, as it was called, excited a desire for greater freedom of trade. After the fall of Napoleon, neither measure nor aim were preserved; and the ports were opened to
foreign trade with a liberality, the effects of which, after a few months, led back to the old path.
At first the earlier principles were adhered to, by which manufacturing industry was protected, and the products of the soil, in so far as they could not, like Colonial articles of subsistence, be regarded as objects of duties of consumption, were, with few exceptions, either not at all, or only moderately taxed. However, the restrictions were soon extended to agricultural products, and even to such articles as were employed by industry, as auxiliary or transforming materials. The animated restrictive competition between the patrons of agriculture and of industry gradually gave more and more consistency to the system of restriction, as well in relation to the strengthening of the protection, by prohibitions, or by raising the duties, (which, from 1017 to 1826, fell particularly on linen,) as in relation to the number of the protected branches of production. It descended even to the lowest branches in the realm of industry, such as to the making of lampblack, the produce of which was burdened with a duty of 12 francs the metrical cwt.
The duties on sheep's wool, which, in 1816, was only 1 franc for the 100 kilogrammes, and which had only during a short time reached a more considerable height, were, by later laws, (1820 and 1822) fixed at 33 per cent of the value; the duties on fat cattle, which first in the year 1816 were fixed at a moderate import duty (of 3 francs the ox,) were, in 1822, considerably raised. Restrictive regulations against the import of corn at a low price were first established in the year 1819.
At the same time the export duties were on various articles diminished, which formerly, partly for fiscal reasons, and partly to facilitate the introduction of raw material, had been burdened with high duties.
With whatever specious reasons such a Customs' system may be defended, all comes at last to the simple principle: France must sell as much as possible to foreign countries, and import from them as little as possible.
He who considers the duties as a means of securing more or
less to those branches of industry which minister to the wants of the great mass of people, the supply of the home market to awaken industry, and in so far as natural circumstances are compatible with independence of foreign countries, to secure this independence, may possibly and partially, according to circumstance, or perhaps with preponderating advantage, attain this end; but never will a means be found to place a country in a situation to continue to sell more, and to import less from foreign countries.
If, notwithstanding the increasing restrictions during a course of years, the exports from France have, on the whole, thereby increased; such is a phenomenon we have also observed in other countries but the imports have increased, as well as the exports, and, in fact, in a much more uniform proportion than the Customs' lists show. The general increase of foreign trade in almost all countries proves only thus much, that the increase of productions was still greater than the influence of the restrictions, and it is particularly the extraordinary increase in the use of the productions of foreign parts with which the increase of European exportation in general is connected.
In so far, however, as the limitation of the imports attains the nearest aim proposed, its direct influence on exportation will not fail to take effect, and will, in fact, exist, though it cannot be specially pointed out in the grand result of many crossing causes. There can be no doubt in particular, that the restrictions imposed on the import of German products into France have had an injurious re-action upon the export of French wines, and impeded in foreign markets the competition of her industry with the industry of other countries.
Now, people are thinking again, as in England, of a return to the principles of freedom: they wish, however, not to be too hasty; with due consideration for contending interests, they aim only at a gradual introduction of the reforms demanded by the common welfare: this is, in principle, good: but, in holding back, they may miss the right measure and aim. All that has happened latterly, or that is announced as at hand, appears to us,
indeed, as well for Germany as for Great Britain, quite unimportant; while from all attempts and all explanations that have been made, it is more and more manifest that the facilitating of the trade with Germany is far more urgent and less difficult than an understanding with Great Britain; and that this must even be considered as conditional upon the lowering of many heavy duties upon German productions.
The removal of the prohibitions, which has been, in part, already accomplished, and is in part only in prospect, with relation to very fine woollen goods, lace made of any other material than silk, and prepared by the hand at the spindle, Cachemere not produced in Europe, Indian pocket and neck handkerchiefs, watches, scented leather, and other less important articles, is of no benefit to German industry. The diminution of duties, which has been already made to facilitate the introduction of many productions of nature, or is in contemplation, is likewise unimportant.
The Corn Laws, which change in a reverse ratio to the prices, are to remain in force.
The contemplated duty on mineral waters, in stone bottles, at 1f. the 100 kilogrammes, is, indeed, moderate; but, as far as I know, it has not come into operation.
The proposed diminution of the duty on fat cattle is inconsiderable. On all kinds of horned cattle, 7 centimes; on wethers, rams, sheep, and lambs, 12 centimes are to be paid; on the kilogramme of the weight of the live beast, nevertheless, the duty per head never exceeds of the existing duties (50 francs and 10 per cent additional on an ox). Swine weighing 50 kilogrammes and more are to be taxed 12 francs; under 50 and above 15 kilogrammes, 6 francs; and under 15 kilogrammes, 50 centimes.
According to the diminution of duties already in operation, uncombed raw wool is burdened with a duty of 20 (of the existing duty) and combed wool, with 30 per cent of the value, together with the tithe.
The ordonnance which enacts this reduction has moderated the duties upon a number of other articles, viz., flax, sulphur, green