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manufactures. Their reciprocity is we should succeed in obtaining a free all on one side. They will thankfully importation for our goods into the take every thing, but give nothing. northern states, we positively denyWe admit this is unreasonable-ab- and here is the vital point of the arsurd—and, in the end, impolitic. We gument—that such extension of the only assert it as a fact, and we must foreign market would, upon the whole, deal with mankind as they are, not afford any benefit to the British manurisk hazardous innovations upon spe- facturers. No one, indeed, can for an culations of what they should be. instant doubt that if our manufacturers We abandoned our navigation laws could retain the home market for their in order to conciliate Prussia, and produce at its present level, and at the she immediately met us with the same time obtain, by the free importaPrusso-Germanic league, which ar- tion of foreign grain, a proportional rayed five-and-twenty millions of Ger- extension of the foreign market for mans in a hostile commercial com- their produce in the great grain states bination against this country, and of the Continent, they would be very practically loaded all British manu- great gainers indeed by the change. factures, through the whole extent But would they be able to do this? of their territories, with
And would not the transference of our valorem duty of fifty per cent. We orders for grain from domestic to foequalised the duties on French and reign agriculturists necessarily induce Portuguese wines in the hope that as great a diminution in the home the Cabinet of the Tuileries would market for our manufactures as it ocmake a similar concession in favour casioned an increase in the foreign ? of the manufactures of this country ; That is the vital point of the case ; but we have looked in vain for any re- but, nevertheless, it is continually duction of the French duties on Bri- overlooked by the opponents of the tish iron or cotton goods. We con- Corn Laws, who uniformly hold out cluded a reciprocity treaty in 1826 an extension of the foreign sale for with Sweden and Norway, as usual our manufactures, upon the whole, as a all on one side ; and hardly a year has necessary and immediate result of the since elapsed which has not been abolition of our duties on foreign marked with a fresh imposition of du- grain, wilfully shutting their eyes to ties on British goods and manufactures the simultaneous and equal decline of in the Scandinavian harbours. We the home market. But is it not as have taken Belgium and Portugal clear as any proposition in arithmetic, under our peculiar protection as re- that the quantity required for the volutionary states, and, in fact, solely wants of our people remaining the propped up their existence during the same, no advantage could possibly last seven years; and, in return, they accrue to our manufacturers by transhave loaded our manufactures with ferring their encouragement to agrisuch progressively increasing duties, culture from the home market to fothat the British exports to both these reign states ? If, in consequence of countries are now L.500,000 a-year living in great part on Polish grain, less than they were prior to 1830, the Polish landholders and cultivators when our revolutionary protection are so much enriched as to be able to commenced. These facts demonstrate purchase a greater quantity of our on how precarious a footing any hopes manufactures, it is quite clear that the are rested of our obtaining any con- British farmers, who at present exclucessions in favour of British manufac. sively supply the home market, would tures from any relaxation, how import- be impoverished to the same extent, ant soever on our part, on foreign and that what is gained at the one end agricultural industry, and how obsti- would be lost at the other. If the nately other nations cling to the sys- grain at present consumed by the intem of prohibitory protections to their habitants of the United Kingdom is own manufactures, notwithstanding five-and-twenty millions of quarters, all the most unreserved advances on our raised by the home growers, which is, part to a more liberal system of com- probably, not far from the mark, and, mercial policy:
in consequence of the abolition of the But even if it were otherwise, and Corn Laws, five millions of these we possessed a perfect security that by quarters were to come to be habitually abolishing the duties on foreign corn, provided for us by foreign states, the
market for our manufactures would in tries the case is the reverse : their prinno degree be extended. British agri- cipal consumption is of their own arculture would produce five millions of ticles of luxury. A much larger proquarters less, and Polish agriculture portion of the wealth derived from the five millions of quarters more; but sale of their produce will be employed still the supply of five-and-twenty in the purchase of our manufactures if inillions of quarters would remain the they are fed by their own farmers than same, and the extension of our foreign if they are fed by those of foreign exports, by the creation of five millions states. If ten millions' worth of Baltic of quarters of new foreign grain, would grain is purchased for the supply of be exactly compensated by the con- the British market, a considerable traction of the home market for five part of it will, no doubt, return to millions of quarters previously in the our operatives in the shape of an excourse of annual production in the tended demand for British manufacBritish Islands.
tures. But a much larger proportion But, in truth, this is putting the ar- of the same sum will take that progument a great deal too favourably fitable direction, if it is laid out in the for the anti-Corn Law party; for no purchase of grain raised in Great Bri. thing can be clearer than that, by such tain and Ireland. The reason is oba transfer of agriculture from the Bri. vious. British manufactures are a tish islands to the shores of the Vis- necessary to the British farmers and tula, the possible, or perhaps probable cultivators. But to the foreign landextension of the market for our ma- holders or cultivators great part of nufactures, by the increased wealth our manufactures are unknown luxuthrown into foreign states, would bear ries. A large portion of the agriculno sort of proportion to the certain tural wealth on the Continent will be diminution of the home market from spent on Continental luxuries, and a the depression of our agriculture. Mr comparatively small proportion will be Smith has long ago stated, that the directed towards the purchase of armost profitable trade for every state ticles manufactured in the British is that which is carried on between the Islands. town and the country, and that the Further, it appears, from the most home market for our manufactures is correct calculations which have recentworth all foreign markets put toge- ly been made, that the total amount of ther. It is a much more profitable agricultural produce annually raised thing to have a good market in our in Great Britain and Ireland, is two next-door neighbour than in a distant hundred and forty-six millions sterstate. The habits of our own people ling; and the total amount of its maare formed to the consumption of our nufactures annually reared is only own manufactures in the first instance, one hundred and forty-eight miland the purchase of foreign luxuries lions. * This fact demonstrates, in the only in the second. In foreign coun- most striking manner, both how much
• Estimate of the Value of Produce and Property annually raised in Great Britain and Ireland, by the Combination of Capital with all animate and inanimate power."
superior the agricultural interest in in 1837, two of which were the most the state still is to the manufacturing, prosperous that ever were known, was notwithstanding the enormous increase about L.48,500,000, the numbers beof manufactures of all sorts of late ing as stated below." years, and also the essential injury Considerably more than two-thirds, which would be inflicted upon our ma- therefore, of our whole manufactures nufacturers themselves, if, by a change are raised for the supply of the home of policy injurious to our own agri- market; and of the total wealth of the culturists, any serious diminution were British islands, which amounts at preto take place in the home market for sent to above five hundred millions a. our manufactures; for it appears, from year, hardly a twelfth part is produced the Parliamentary returns, that the by the manufactures for the export total export of British manufactures, sales, the numbers being as follows:on an average of three years, ending Total property annually produced,
L.514,000,000 Declared value of manufactures exported, on average of last
It is quite clear, therefore, that, not- ated by the manufacturers for the exwithstanding the high-sounding repre- port sales. Nothing, therefore, could sentations which they make of their be so impolitic, nay, so absolutely inimmense importance to the national sane, as to adopt any measure calcuwealth, and the vast masses of wealth lated to injure the interests of a class which they exhibit in particular dis- producing nine-tenths of the national tricts, the manufactures for the export wealth for the sake of one producing sales hardly produce a twelfth part of only one-tenth. the annual income derived from the in- The same conclusions are derivable dustry of the nation, and will bear no from the survey of the different emproportion, either in point of magni- ployments of our population. It aptude or importance, either to the ag- pears from the Population Returns of riculturists or the manufacturers for 1821 that the total number of families the home market. The former pro- employed in manufactures, agricul. duce at least five times, the latter ture, and neutral employment stood as about double, the wealth annually cre
17,300,000 China, glass, pottery, &c.
5,900,000 Jewellery, plate, &c.
3,400,000 Paper, furniture, colours, printing and book apparatus, &c. 9,000,000 Miscellaneous,
31,200,000 L. 148,050,000
Declared value of British and Irish Produce and Manufactures exported, 1835, L.47,372,000; 1836, L.53,368,000; 1837, L.47,262,000.
† Pebrer's Statistical Tables, p. 350.
The families employed in manufac- tral class the dependence on agricultures, therefore, are upwards of 300,000 ture and home manufactures will be less than those employed in agricul- divided from the dependence on foture, or who gain their subsistence in reign manufactures nearly in the same other ways. Keeping in view that proportion ; in other words, not more the produce of British agriculture is, than a twelfth part of the neutral class in round numbers, two hundred and can be considered as dependent upon fifty millions sterling, while that of foreign manufactures ; and the numBritish manufactures is only one hun. bers of the people may be arranged, dred and fifty, and that of the latter according to the interests in the state branch not more than fifty millions is on which they depend, nearly as folraised for the export sale, it may rea- low:sonably be presumed that of the neu
Families dependent on
Families dependent on
1,198,000 | Manufactures for foreign
market (1-3d of 1,581,000), 527,000 sumption (2-3ds of
Neutral class dependent on 1,581,000),
1,054,000 foreign manufactures Neutral class dependent on
(1-12th of 718,000), 59,750 agricu and home manufactures (11-12ths of 718,000),
In other words, all the families de- tish market. Yet it is evident that pendent upon our foreign manufac- the British manufacturers are much tures are not a fifth-part of those de- better able to withstand a free imporpendent upon the agriculture and home tation with foreigners than the British manufactures of the kingdom ; and cultivators; for in capital and machieven adding to the latter class the nery England is far in advance of any whole of those employed in the foreign other country in the world, and capital trade connected with our export ma- and machinery are capable of effecting nufactures, it may safely be concluded an almost indefinite reduction in mathat the population employed in agri- nufactures, but they can effect a very culture and the home trade, and the trifling reduction in the cost of raising branches of industry dependent on the necessaries of life. The proof of them, is at least six times as numerous this is decisive. Indian cotton, manuas those engaged in the manufactures factured in Glasgow or Manchester for the foreign markets and the em- by British steam-looms, is capable ofunployments connected with that branch derselling Hindoo manufacture in the of industry.
Hindoo market even when manufacFurther, when the working-classes tured by persons receiving only threeare so exceedingly willing to impose pence a-day of wages; but we should upon the British farmers the burden of like to see what profit could be made unrestrained foreign competition, are by exporting British wheat to Hamthey equally ready to give them the burgh or Dantzic. The load of pub. benefit of a similar burden of restric. lic and private debt, therefore, and the tions existing in favour of their own high prices incident to great opulence industry? They are not. Their re- and an advanced state of civilisation, ciprocity, like that of the modern Li- must always operate with much more berals, is all on the one side. We severity upon the cultivator in an old bear a great deal of the necessity and commercial state, than upon expedience of allowing Polish wheat facturer, and, consequently, there is to come in duty-free to the British much more reason for contending that harbours ; but we do hear nothing the latter should be exposed to free from these gentlemen of the proprie competition with foreigners than the ty of admitting French silks, Swiss former. Nevertheless, the whole pochintzes, Silesian calicoes, or Saxon pular clamour is directed the other cloths, on the same terms to the Bri- way, and intended to deluge with foreign competition the British culti. whole wealth annually produced by vator, who cannot withstand foreign the nation. competition instead of the British Holding it, therefore, as clear that manufacturer who can. Perhaps, the
the manufactures raised for the export most effectual way to stop the senseless sale are not a half of those which are clamour on this subject would be for consumed in the home market, the the agricultural interest to besiege question comes to be, even with referParliament with petitions that, in the ence to the interests of the manufacevent of the Corn Laws being repealturing classes themselves- Is it wise or ed, all duties on foreign manufactures prudent to force on a change which should at the same time be swept may seriously affect the prosperity of away.
those classes whose productive indusWe have been unwillingly driven try constitutes the main-spring from into these details. We are solicitous which the wealth is obtained by which to avoid any question which may have these manufactures for the home marthe appearance even of espousing the ket are purchased? Is it prudent to cause of one class of society in oppo- advocate measures which may extend sition to another, when, in fact, it is in the market for that class of our manuthe united interests of all that the only facturers who produce forty-eight mildurable foundation for national pro- lions' worth of goods, by levelling a sperity is to be found. The investiga- deadly blow at the interests of those tion of the comparative importance of classes who take off a hundred millions the different classes, and the propor- a-year worth of goods ? Considered tions in which they respectively con- merely as a matter of pounds, shillings, tribute to the wealth of the State, is and pence, as a calculation of profit none of our seeking. It has been and loss, it is surely an unwise thing forced upon us by the clamours and to attempt to push the lesser market at reckless demands of a furious multi- the expense of the greater—to seek to tude calling for the instant repeal of extend a distant market of half the the Corn Laws. We have, on repeated dimensions by crippling a nearer one occasions, shown ourselves fully alive of double. to the vast importance of our foreign But the case becomes incomparably commerce and shipping, as well as to stronger, and, in fact, altogether inthe paramount necessity of reconsider vincible, when it is recollected what ing that one-sided reciprocity system is the difference between the descripunder which our commercial interests tion of persons who constitute the fohave so long languished, and which, reign and compose the home market. securing to foreign nations all the bene. The foreign market is, in great part, fits of our liberality, and to ourselves composed of individuals owing alleall the evils of their restrictions, per- giance to independent potentates, and petuates a state of things which must, who either have been, or may become, ere long, extinguish both the maritime our inveterate enemies. The home power, and commercial greatness of market is made up of our own counGreat Britain.* But, when a fierce trymen, brothers, and friends, the bone demand is made by a particular class of our bone, and flesh of our fleshin the community for a total repeal of the sinews of the state, by whom its all the duties which at present pro- independence is to be maintained tect the industry of our agriculturists, against foreign invasion, and its prowe are naturally driven to enquire sperity secured against domesticcalamwhat is the relative proportion of the ity. What will the operatives of Birclass advocating this innovation to the mingham, Manchester, or Glasgow, other classes in the community whose gain by doubling the growth of corn interests they propose materially to in Poland, Prussia, or the Ukraine ? injure ; and the result is, that the class Nothing but this that they will augwho thus insist that every thing should ment the resources and revenue of the be sacrificed to their demands, are not Czar, who wields at his pleasure the a seventh-part of the whole population, whole power both of Russia, Poland, and do not create a tenth-part of the and Prussia, and enable him to pur.
See in particular the Colonial and Reciprocity Systems,-Blackwood's Magazine, Sept. 1838.