« ForrigeFortsæt »
more, their whole consumptionwould the home sales of our own manufacbe reduced about four millions. The tures be reduced ; in proportion as loss in revenue alone would be nearly this home-trade may be reduced, in equal to the value of the manufac the saine proportion must our manu. tures exported. To burn these ma facturers reduce their purchases of the nufactures would be far less injurious raw article, and their export of manuto us as a nation, than to buy foreign factures to buy it with. In the same silks with them.
proportion in which our home trade The merchants and manufacturers may pass into the hands of foreign may buy corn much cheaper abroad manufacturers, in the same proporthan at home; but if they buy the tion must our foreign trade pass into foreign corn, they must very greatly their hands. reduce the consumption of our own How, then, will the operation of the corn-growers. They will sell far less new system amidst the traders affect of goods and labour; their prices will the Agriculturists? In proportion as be greatly reduced, and their cheap we may buy manufactures abroad, we foreign corn will be, in reality, infi- shall retrograde to the point from nitely dearer to them than the dear which agriculture started. If we buy corn of England.
the whole of our manufactures of other A nation, like an individual, must countries, our manufacturers must be buy where it can buy the cheapest; useless, and agriculture must be ruinbut then it must only buy what it ed. If we buy half, half the manya needs as a whole, and it must buy on facturets must be deprived of employthe grand principle of barter ; it must ment; if they remain in the country, look at the profit gained by what it they must form a destructive burden gives in exchange, as well as at the to the rest, and the Agriculturists ; if price of what it buys. Wheat is cheap they emigrate, a vast portion of our to the labourer at ten guineas the land must be thrown out of cultivaquarter, if he can buy it with labour tion. In the same degree in which at the rate of ten guineas per week ; we may buy manufactures abroad, in it is dear to him at twenty shillings the same degree must our manufacthe quarter, if he can only buy it with turers be permanently deprived of emlabour at the rate of twentypence per ployment, and reduced in number,– week. For a nation like this to buy and in the same degree must the conof other nations, solely because their sumption and price of agricultural proprices are lower than its own, corn,
duce be diminished. The Agriculmanufactured silks, cottons, woollens, turists, therefore, have, as much in&c.-articles which it has in abun terest in opposing a free trade in madance, and from the sale of which it nufactures as the manufacturers. It draws its subsistence,-is precisely the is far more beneficial to them to buy same thing, as for a'labourer to throw dear manufactures, with dear corn and hímself out of employment by hiring cattle, than cheap ones with cheap another in his stead, solely because corn and cattle. the other will take lower wages than We will now look at the fruits which himself. In both cases, ruin and star a free trade in corn must yield to the vation must follow.
merchants and manufacturers. So much for the benefit to be gain Our Agriculturists, we believe, when ed by the purchasing of cheap foreign wheat is at three pounds per quarter, manufactures. But then it is argued buy annually merchandise and manua that such purchasing will compel those factures to the value of nearly two hunnations to buy our own manufactures, dred millions. Some corn-farmers de which now exclude the latter from pend largely on the sale of wheat, and their market. This is abundantly re others sell very little of it, but depend futed by the fact, that, notwithstand- chiefly on other things. We think ing our immense exports of manufac we may assume, that on the average, tures, we have never found it neces each receives three times as much sary to take foreign manufactures inex from the sale of sheep, and other live change. In reality, such purchasing will stock, barley, oats, and black corn, diminish, and not increase, our exports wool, poultry, butter, &c. as from the of manufactures. In proportion as fo- sale of wheat. It is estimated, that reigners may supply us with silks, cot- each member of the community, on the tons, &c., in the same proportion must average, consumes a quarter of wheat VOL. XIX.
in the year; and if we take those who be enabled to sell more manufactures do not belong to the agricultural body to other countries. Let us see how at eleven millions, their purchases of far the opening of our corn-market wheat alone must amount to thirty- would satisfy their expectations. three millions annually. Four times We cannot export corn, and in conthis amount will give one hundred and sequence, if we get a superabundance thirty-two millions as the annual sales into the country, it must remain with of the corn-farmers. To this must be us. If at this moment, when we have added the sales from the grazing farms as much wheat of our own as we can of Britain and Ireland, from the pasconsume, we were to buy two millions ture and garden-land round the towns, of quarters of foreign wheat, at two and the sums received by the cottagers pounds per quarter, what would fol. for their vegetables, fruit, &c. If we low? The foreign wheat would supassume, that on the average each of ply two millions of our population for the eleven millions consumed flour, a year. Granting that it would be shambles meat, poultry, butter, eggs, paid for with manufactures, would the vegetables, and home-produced lea- four millions' worth of manufactures ther, woollens, tallow, &c. for which given in payment, enable us to employ the Agriculturist receives seven shil. an additional two millions of popula. lings weekly, this brings the sales of tion, to consume the additional two the Agriculturists to about two huna millions of quarters of wheat? No! it dred millions annually. It must be would not enable us to employ an adremembered, too, that the latter re ditional fifty thousand. Our manufacbuy and consume a vast portion of turers could supply nearly the whole their wool, hides, tallow, &c. after of the manufactures with their present these are manufactured. We know workmen. The wheat, or an equal that we are greatly above other esti- quantity of English wheat, would lie mates, but we think we are not far in the market perfectly useless; it from the truth.
could not be consumed here, and it This is the lever which puts the could not be sent abroad for sale. merchants and manufacturers in mo If we buy corn abroad, when we tion; without it, they could not exist. have as much of our own as we can The Agriculturists buy annually of consume, it must inevitably cause a them about two hundred millions' glut in the market. A glut in corn is worth of merchandise and manufac- infinitely more injurious than one in tures, and this enables them to trade other things. A glut in merchanwith other nations, to employ each dise and manufactures is soon got rid other, to buy of, and sell to, each of, by a partial suspension of importother, and to consume, not only agri, ing, or manufacturing ; but a glut in cultural produce, but merchandise and corn must last for two or three years, manufactures likewise.
if not removed by a bad harvest. The Upon the sale of agricultural pro worse prices are, the more corn the duce, about half our population de- farmer endeavours to raise ; and ruin pends, and of course it is infinitely requires the time we have stated to the most important of what, as a na render part of the land waste, and intion, we have to sell. We have abun- jure the fertility of the remainder. dance for our own consumption, and Every one knows that a glut in any if we buy foreign corn, we must there- article renders the price of it ruinous by render an equal portion of our own to the seller. If corn be sunk to a unsaleable and worthless. Yet, some losing price, it sinks the price of all of the traders are clamouring for per the produce of land, for it compels the mission to buy their corn of other na farmer to force sales in everything that tions. If our Agriculturists could not he has to sell. Previously to 1819, we sufficiently supply them, and if their bought not quite fo!ir millions of quar, foreign purchases would enable them ters of foreign corn, and this reduced to consume all our own corn, and all the farmer's prices more than a third, the foreign corn that they might buy, and plunged agriculture into distress, the clamour would not be unreason which endured several years. If we able. They do not, however, assert should buy, in two years, foreign corn that they could consume more corn; to the value of six millions, this would they say that they want to buy abroad sink the price of our whole agriculto make our own corn cheaper, and to tural produce at least one-fourth, for
perhaps four years. If we assume improvement. If they yield less prothat our Agriculturists annually sell duce than the richer ones, they are produce to the amount of two hundred cultivated at much less expense; they millions, it would reduce this amount are, with good management, yearly to one hundred and fifty niillions. The increasing in fertility, and it requires case would stand thus,-By buying no long period of time to raise them to the six millions' worth of foreign corn, fair average quality. If they be not our agriculturists would have annual so suitable for the growth of some ly, for four years, fifty millions less kinds of produce as the richer lands, than they now have for buying of the they are more suitable than the latter merchants and manufacturers. The for the growth of other kinds. Exlatter, by selling the six millions' worth cellent management, and plentiful of commodities abroad, lose the sale of manuring, only keep the best land two hundred millions' worth at home. at about the same point of fertility
Everyone is ready to declaim against and value; but they keep increasing over-trading, and to enlarge on the the fertility and value of the light, ruinous nature of gluts. Ministers until they render it good land. The and Parliament, at this moment, are Economists, however, assume that the pouring the most bitter execrations on light lands can never be rendered any those who, by their speculations, have better, and that the return for manubrought a superabundance of various ring must all be made by a single crop commodities into the market. Now, but what falsehood do they leave if the buying of that which we do not unpublished touching agriculture ? want, which in effect we can neither During the war, an immense quan. consume nor sell again, and which will tity of waste and light land, which had cause a glut in articles on which half previously been almost worthless, and the population depend, be not over which, to use a country phrase, had trading, what is ? Yet this over- scarcely been capable of maintaining a trading is to be created by Parliament goose on an acre, was brought under and the Ministry.
regular cultivation. No little of this But then we are told that our light is now excellent, and a large part of lands ought to be put out of cultiva. the remainder yields good crops, and tion to enable us to consume the fo- is still improving. reign corn. How, and when, are they If none but our rich land is to be to be put out of cultivation ? Is our kept under the plough, a vast portion, agriculture a thing so manageable, that some say two-thirds, of our whole Parliament can guide it with a finger arable land, must be thrown out of and thumb? Are the ministers to ram cultivation. The fact that our richest ble through the country with the sur soils at present leave only moderate veyor's chain and offset-staff, to point profits, may convince any man that out the acres that are benceforward we cannot have any large portion of to be sacred from the inroads of bad land under culture. It is preposthe plough? Will the owners and oc terous to imagine, that by ceasing to cupiers of the light lands voluntarily cultivate a trifling extent of unproduccancel leases, and sacrifice rent, profits, tive land, we should create a sufficient and livelihood, for the benefit of the vacuum in the market for foreign corn. community? These lands can only be To do this, we must render waste an put out of cultivation by the distress immense portion of land which is reaof our whole agriculture; nothing else sonably fertile, which is improving in could accomplish it.
fertility, and which enables its cultiA vast quantity of nonsense is put vators to live comfortably, when those forth touching these light lands. We of the best soils are only receiving have, in England, some land which is moderate gains. Everything in exradically bad, and which no culture perience, and argument, proves that could materially improve. When corn this land can only be forced out of was at the highest, no great portion of cultivation by a glut, and the consethis land was put under any regular quent distress of our whole agriculsystem of cultivation; and we imagine ture. Every farmer will extract the that not much of it is at present under greatest quantity of corn possible from the plough. Generally speaking, the his land, until he is disabled by losing light lands which are under regular prices. cultivation, are capable of very great But then, it is said that agriculture
will be amply protected. How will it who has seen the household managebe protected ? A duty is to be imposed ment of people of moderate income, on foreign corn, which, in the present and the working classes, must be aware state of the market, will admit it from that the consumption of flour fluctuall the corn countries in the world, ates very greatly. In 1825, general and which would admit it from some income was very good, while the price of them, if wheat here were reduced of wheat was only in proportion to to forty shillings per quarter. What that of other things, therefore the condoes agriculture want protecting from? sumption of flour must have been A glut-the thing that would inevi. exceedingly large. A vast additional tably flow from the importation of fo- quantity of other grain must have been reigii corn—the very thing that this consumed in the keep of horses, distill“ protection” would create! If our ing, malting, &c. Yet notwithstandagriculturists and manufacturers were ing this, we have now plenty of corn, unable to supply us, then a proper with the exception of barley, of which duty on foreign corn and manufactures the last crop was a bad one. The last to meet the deficiency, would be in crop of wheat was an abundant one, reality a “protecting duty;" but when and when the harvest was secured, they can supply us abundantly, a duty we had a large quantity of old corn in to admit the foreign articles must yield, the markets. In our judgment, the not protection, but ruin. It is one of glut was got rid of, and room was made the hateful characteristics of the “new in the market for the bonded foreign system,” that, while it pretends to wheat, in the last summer, much less give, it destroys protection; it removes by the increase of population and conevery security against gluts, and, by sumption, than by the falling off of augmenting supply, or diminishing production. We believe that considerconsumption, subjects everything to ably less corn will be consumed in the
It professes to give present year than was consumed in protection to the silk manufacturer, at the last one, and that we have much the moment when it is plunging him, more wheat than we shall be able to into bankruptcy with foreign silks ; consume before harvest. Our farmers, and to the farmer, at the very moment in the last two years, have recovered when it is preparing his ruin, by their means; much land that had bringing foreign corn into the only been thrown out of cultivation has market that he has, and which he can been again brought into it; land, in fully supply. This system has nothing general, has had its fertility greatly open and straightforward about it-it restored ; and we are pretty sure that is one of pitiful delusions from begin our produce of corn will, with the ning to end-whether it have origi same seasons, be now greater by onenated with Jew or Frenchman, we eighth than it has been for some years. know not, but it certainly shows few We have just opened our ports to the marks of English parentage.
farmers of Canada. If land will yield We say that, putting out of sight at present only one-eighteenth or onebad harvests, the expectation of which twentieth more than it yielded two is not made the pretext for opening or three years ago, the increase in the ports, the importation of foreign wheat will be as much as can be concorn must inevitably cause a glut, and sumed by an additional million of inplunge our agriculture into ruin. The habitants. When we look at all this, importing of not quite four millions of we are convinced that this country quarters of foreign corn, previously to must at this moment, with an average 1819, caused a destructive glut, which season, produce as much corn as it only began to disappear in 1824. Du can consume. For the first few years ring the long term of its continuance, of the future, the increase of populathere were, we think, two short haré tion cannot, we presume, be taken at vests, and land in general, from the so much as 300,000 yearly; and this diminished means of the farmer, kept can be abundantly supplied by the regularly falling off in fertility. We increased produce of our inferior soils, conceive that, in the last year, far the new land taken into cultivation, more corn was consumed in this coun and the importations from Canada. try than in any former year. Every It is avowed that the protecting one who is acquainted with the va duty is to be such as will considerably riety of uses to which flour is put, and sink the present price of corn as will
admit foreign corn from all parts so we must soon have a superabundance long as prices remain what they are.
that will reduce our corn-growers to If the ports were now opened, what bankruptcy. would follow? The speculators in Some of the Economists are simple English corn would entirely forsake enough to argue, that the foreign corn the market, and the factors, millers, would cause an increase in trade and &c. would hold the least portion of it manufactures that would suffice for its possible: all, not wanted for imme- consumption. We have already said diate use, would lie wholly on the sufficient to refute them. A large part hands of the farmers. Th latter of this corn would be brought by fowould have the utmost difficulty in reign ships, and paid for with un, effecting sales ; they would obtain bad wrought produce. Our farmers would prices; they would sell as little as instantly cease buying merchandise possible, with the view of sustaining and manufactures except from necesprices, and in the hope that a bad sity, and general trade would be not harvest, or some other cause, might increased, but greatly diminished: give a turn to the market; they pos- What effect had our former importasess the means of holding for a season, tions of foreign corn? They reduced and many of them could obtain a short commerce and manufactures to dispostponement of the rent-day. While tress, with agriculture. It matters everything, on the one hand, would not how low the price of corn may be, thus conspire to keep the English corn people cannot consume if they have from sale, the production of it, for at not money to buy it with. The four least the first year, would go on as pouvd loaf may, in reality, be cheap vigorously as ever. On the other hand, at tenpence, and exceedingly dear at foreign corn is a favourite article with fivepence, to the mass of the commuthe merchants—the first at market nity. Instead of the consumption of would be pretty sure to pay well, and corn being increased by the importaabundance of it would be eagerly tion of that of other countries, we shipped from all parts in the first
mo conceive it would be reduced. ment. For some time, the holders of Other of the Economists, who are it would regularly undersell our own equally foolish, maintain, that other farmers, and still get good profits; it nations could not send corn in sufficient would therefore be forced into con- quantity to injure our markets. Because sumption, to the exclusion of English in former years of scarcity,-of scar-, corn; and the importations would city arising from bad crops, and when continue to be large. The English crops were generally bad in other councorn would thus be preserved from tries, we could only procure from consumption, on the one hand, and abroad sufficient corn for a few weeks' excluded from it, on the other, to the consumption, they insist that we amount of a few millions of quarters; could never procure more in and then the farmers would break plenty. They protest, that the mardown under their burden. The new ket could not possibly be injured by crop would be approaching, payments the importation of as much foreign could no longer be deferred, and they corn as the whole nation could conwould come into the market in a body sume in a month,—of as much as to force sales at almost any price. would supply the greater part of two Agriculture would then exhibit only a millions of the population for a year, frightful mass of ruin.
-of as much as would render oneThis is merely a description of what twelfth of our English corn wholly took place in this country a few years useless. Such nonsense is below noago; it must, by the laws of nature, tice, and yet it forms one of the leadinevitably take place again if our mar- ing arguments of the most exalted of ket be constantly open to the foreign- the free-trade people. Let our ports
A bad harvest or a heavy duty be only constantly open to the corn of might defer the glut for a time, but other nations, and these nations will come it would, to the ruin of English soon be able, in good years, to supply agriculture. The most common un nearly half our population. The dederstanding in the nation may disco- lusion that prevails on the question is vér, that if we grow as much corn as actually astonishing. The importawe can consume, if we regularly im. tion of foreign manufactures is a 110port corn, and if we cannot export it, velty to the chief part of the present