Billeder på siden

colonisation, if that be practicable, which it probably is not. But colonisation, though practicable, would still be a very qualified remedy. Much land must be thrown out of tillage to reduce the produce to the decreased demand ; and much capital vested in machinery and buildings must be sunk; while the augmented debt pressing on diminished production must be grievously aggravated in its proportional weight.

Whether it be possible that this extra expenditure, which has ceased with government, should by degrees find its due distribution under the management of individuals, is a question very difficult to be resolved.

What supplied loans during the war was undoubtedly the superlucration of individuals during that period. The same degree of superlucration can scarcely take place during our present distresses. What does take place, may perhaps be forced into the desirable channels, or at least more desirable than those in which they now flow. Still there must be a diminution of quantity, as well as deterioration of direction.

It is supposed that things, if left to themselves, will gradually by their own attractions, arrange themselves properly. They will unquestionably make many efforts that way, and do something for themselves. I think it is the spirit of the leaders of modern legislation to trust a little too much to this tendency of things to right themselves.

If, as I contend, the cause of the ruling disease be demonstrative, and that it consists in the want of employment of the non-productive laborers, the remedy does not seem beyond the reach of human wisdom. And is it very prudent in such a case to leave things to the slow and uncertain operation of their own cure ?

It is perhaps the rage to employ capital profitably, which is the present hindrance to the due distribution of it. It arises out of the character, in some degree temporary, of the nation. The largest proportion of the income of the people has, of late years, been rather derived from the profits of capital, than from its rent or interest. This largest class therefore cannot easily be brought to expend capital, except with a view to profits. А national and superintending direction appears requisite.

Here is the difficulty. An expenditure at the public command, and through public organs, is that to which it would not be very easy to reconcile the people. War effected this: the superlucrations, then applied to loans, issued out again through the public organs : now they are directed with reference to results of profit.

Upon this intricate subject of superlucration, conipared with diminution

As the independent capitalist, who derives no part of his fund from profits, augments in his power of expenditure, the present circumstances of the nation are more likely to receive benefit, than from the augmented power of the classes, whose funds are wholly or partly derived from profits. Should money therefore become more easily at the command of this description of capitalist, he may injure himself by a stronger temptation to infringe upon his capital ; but he will be more useful to the public prosperity. It is possible then that things may not only work their own recovery gradually, but by a more rapid gradation than has been suspected. Produce may diminish with diminution of profits; and the capital hitherto employed in reproduction, may now come into the market, furnishing demand for the remainder. The benefits of superlucration, though slower than in the war, may, as it becomes by degrees more powerful, be, under this check, operative in the proper channels, and so far decrease the evils now felt, as to make them at least tolerable.


As Products become Riches only in proportion as the demand somewhat more than keeps pace with the supply, so only in the same proportion of demand for it, does Unproductive Labor operate among the means of Riches. If it be superabundant, it is a burden upon Riches, not an instrument of its augmentation.

This is precisely the state of circumstances in which the war has left us. It shows the danger of an highly artificial state ; of an excessive temporary stimulus. An highly artificial state can seldom be long continued, but by the continuance of a concurrence of causes, which is against all probability. But when we know where the disease lies, we may palliate, if we cannot cure it. It may show the absurdity of capital, many doubts and perplexities remain, which yet keep the mind in waver between opposing data.

The produce of the taxes of Great Britain in 1820, exceeded the produce of the taxes in 1819, by £3,313,141. This increase was upon almost all the principal articles of domestic consumption. Is not this conclusive evidence, that the national income had increased in the same proportion? For it cannot be conceived that the increase was paid for by capital.

Yet no one can doubt that there was at this time a very general distress, not only among the non-productive laborers, but among the productive classes.

The income therefore, that was wanting to some classes, was accumulated upon others.

Still the problem remains to be solved, how when it got into masses, it could distribute itself among those various articles of consumption, from which taxation draws its funds?

of flying directly from extreme stimulants to extreme exhaustures. It shows also, that all those unproductive services, which add not only to the ornament and luxury, but to the intellectual improve. ment of life, are often as useful in the distribution and even growth of Riches, as those which are so much boasted as alone solid and valuable.

The Noble, who spends his income, or his Capital, in a large establishment; in adorning his grounds; in promoting Literature and the Arts ; contributes as much to the due dispersion and future nurture of Riches, as he, who turns all his means to Profit. The Fruges consumere nati,” are as necessary as the Fruges accrescere nati, in this sense ; though not in the sense of Horace.



PRODUCTION. There are those, who argue, that, if ani excess of Produce be admitted, a reduction of that Produce would remedy the evils arising from it. I am confident, that, comprehending all the incidents inseparable from that excess, it would greatly aggravate the dis

They who support the opinion I oppose, forget that they cannot thus get rid of the former number of workmen, or former number of consumers ; that, employed or not, the unproductive laborers must be fed ; and that the loss, among the producers, is thus changed from the productive capitalist to the productive workman. If the demand of the goods of a Manufacturer, which had hitherto amounted to the value of 100,0001., was reduced to 50,0001.

- he might by reducing his produce proportionately, still go on with profit, in the case of being able to reduce his workmen, machinery, and capital, in the same degree. But if he were obliged to support the same workmen, &c., this reduction would greatly augment his loss.

This is the situation of a Kingdom, though it may not be that of individual Manufacturers. The multiplied Population must be still supported. For this reason the quantity of corn necessary to be grown cannot be much, if at all,' reduced, though the demand for it

· The Agricultural Report of the Br. Commons, (June 1821,) says that, “the annual produce of Corn, the growth of the United Kingdom, is, upon an average crop, about equal to our present annual consumption; and that, with such an average price, the present import prices, below which foreign corn is by law altogether excluded, are fully sufficient, more especially since the change in the value of our money, to secure to the British grower the complete monopoly of the home market." The Committee seem willing therefore to attribute the low price to a VOL. XX. Pam. NO. XL,

2 I,

(which stimulates price,) may be comparatively languid. But if it should happen to be much reduced, (a consequence which may be feared from languid demand,) it is an evil pregnant with the most fearful results. We must then resort to Foreign supply, to feed an unemployed Population - drain, which would soon exhaust the most abundant wealth !

SUCCESSION of abundant harvests. I attribute it to this languid demand, arising from want of means in the Consumers.

If I understand the argument of the Committee, it is, that increased means of purchase do not materially add to the demand, in the article of bread! But do not decreased means take from the demand for the adequate quantity? If so, the low price may be independent of a succession of abundant years, and the assignment of such a temporary cause only leads to delusion,











« ForrigeFortsæt »