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for the produce of Tropical countries ; the disposition to the consumption of sugar, coffee and other Tropical produce, and the ability to purchase such comniodities remained unaffected by the determination of the British Nation, not to extend the cultivation of the British possessions in the West. The demand for Tropical productions, so far from being reduced, is increasing, particularly with the increasing population of the two continents of America.
When this limit to the British employment of slaves, and consequently to British shipping, was imposed, national compensation was again presented in the British Asiatic provinces.
Those provinces present an inexhaustible resource for sugar, and, it is presumed, coffee, at prices against which it would be impracticable to mantain successful competition by means of the labor of slaves.' The Act of the last session, already mentioned, permitting a direct commercial intercourse, in British ships, between the British ports in Asia and the world generally, at length recognises, and to great extent applies, the principles of British policy, to the circumstances occasioned by the change of relation in the American provinces and by the abolition of the Slave Trade, and affords a reasonable ground of expectation, not only that the British Flag will continue ascendant, but that the demand for slave labor, will decline in the Foreign Settlements. [See Appendix B.]
The third and last change to be noticed, namely, the change from comparatively low, to high constituents of cost, in the cultivation of the United Kingdom, has very considerably, but it may be hoped not permanently, affected the United Kingdom in her powers of production, and in all her trading and commercial relations.
In particular, this change has already very considerably lowered, and threatens further to lower the impulse to the growth of British corn, and also threatens the most destructive effects to the British land-owner and farmer, from the importation of Foreign corn,
The consideration of the nature and effects of Market, will lead to the more distinct apprehension of this subject, and will illustrate the subject of trade generally.
A beneficial market is the first and last object of Political Economy: a beneficial market excites to enterprise and exertion by the promise of advantage which it offers; a beneficial market accords the return to active capital, compensation to labor, and rent to the proprietor of the soil. These advantages must be derived from the market, or they cannot be enjoyed.
The causes which, without having recourse to bounties or restrictive laws, dispose to a market becoming and continuing beneficial, are ;
· The difference in the quality of the products of the East and West will be noticed hereafter.
Skill in cultivation and preparation for sale-Capital-Con
sumption or demand-Low constituents of cost-Low charges
of transit. The causes which, on the contrary, indispose to a market becoming or continuing beneficial, are; Deficiency of skill in cultivation or preparation for sale-Defici
ency of capital-Deficiency of consumption or demand — High
constituents of cost.-High charges of transit. The British Empire comprehends, in a very high degree, the means necessary to the enjoyment of beneficial markets.
The impediments to the exercise and exertion of those means, now existing, very greatly reduce or wholly prevent the enjoyment of that advantage.
The cultivation of the British Isles is skilful; the capital determinable to that object abundant ; most of the costs of production and transit depending upon individual enterprise, and upon the ingenuity and skill of the artificer and manufacturer, are low; and the consumption or demand for corn, (whatever may be the present effect of the productive harvest of the year 1820) through a considerable length of time, has exceeded the native growth or supply.' But although the market for corn might, upon these considerations, be expected to have been singularly beneficial, the high costs and charges of production occasioned, chiefly, by the present system of duties, taxes and rates, derange the economy of this great market of the country, and deprive all, either directly or indirectly dependent upon it, of the ease, satisfaction, and power to stimulate a spirit of enterprize, which they would otherwise enjoy and commaud, and in general would exert.
The average prices of the British market for corn, very far exceed the prices of corn in the markets of the world generally; and a high average price is in some measure assured, by checking the introduction of Foreign corn to the British market. The price thus assured to the British grower is more than adequate to the costs of production, including rent, if the public annuities and the maintenance of the capable poor be abstracted.
These claims being remitted, considerable reduction in the prices of corn and other commodities might by degrees be experienced, as the costs of production should subside, consistently with the restoration of the farmer to a condition to make a liberal return of rent to the landlord.
The principle which deprives the British market for agricultural
The average quantity of wheat and four added to the consumption of the country from the importation of Foreign wheat and flour for the years 1815, 1816, 1817, 1818, and 1819, being five years of peace, was 477,738 quarters. See Appendix C.
produce, of a character beneficial to the landlord or tenant, inheres
a in the levy of the money required for the payment of the public annuitant. The effect of this principle, upon the costs of production, cannot be estimated by the mere numerical amount of the annuities paid to the public creditor; nor by the combined amount of these annuities, of the Sinking Fund, of the charges of collection and management, and the advance which is necessarily made by merchants and dealers upon the duties paid by them.'
These several particulars may be taken in round numbers as follows:
Amount of annuity and interest on Unfunded Debt payable to the public
32 millions Sinking Fund (reduced from 17 millions)
5 Expenses of collecting and charges of management, 7 per cent. on 40 millions,
Advance made by the merchant, manufacturer, and dealer, upon duties paid under the heads of Customs and Excise, 25 per cent. on 40 millions, 10
50 millions. Unfortunately, however, this aggregate, although it shows that the consumer ought to pay fifty millions, in respect of thirty-two millions to be paid to the public creditor, exhibits only a small part or proportion of the effect of the system of public annuities upon the costs of production, and consequently upon market.
Fifty millions added to, or combined with, the cost of the several commodities subject to duties of Excise and Customs, require an advance in the price of such commodities to that extent. The consumer does, or should, through the medium of these commodities, pay the sum of fifty millions; unquestionably a very considerable sum: but the simple addition of fifty millions to the cost of the whole of the commodities vended within one year in the United Kingdom, would not have added more than twenty per cent. to prices, computing the annual amount, previous to any advance on this account, at two hundred and fifty millions.
The great and destructive effect of this primary addition to money prices, upon market, is experienced in the action of price upon price. Malt, beer, spirits, wine, leather, salt, soap, candles, coals and other commodities require, in the aggregate, an increase of price to the extent of fifty millions. If this advance be paid, every consumer of these commodities, who commands any means of endeavour to remove the burthen from himself, at least attempts
" See “ Further Observations on the Practicability and Expediency of Liquidating the Public Debt of the United Kingdom," Pamphleteer, vol. xvi. pp. 491-493.
to advance the money price of whatsoever he may
offer either to rent or to sell; the landlord to advance the rent of land, that he may in his receipts find a counterpoise to his additional expenditure; the tenant to advance the prices of agricultural productions, that he may recover the increase in the constituents of the costs of production : and a favorable conjuncture' enables these several
1 parties to effect such purposes. The manufacturer, for the same reasons, and in like manner, advances the price of goods. The advance in money prices becomes general. The attempt to regulate price by price is inseparable from the principle of barter, through the
medium of a money price. If the supplies to a farm be increased in money price, through the direct operation of duties on such supplies, that increase of price requires an increase in the price of wheat and other produce; an increase in the price of wheat, requires an increase in the price of labor, and through the medium of labor an increase of price in every article of production in which labor combines. An increase of price in such productions requires a fresh and distinct advance in the price of wheat, and a further advance in wheat again requires an increase in the price of labor generally, and such further increase in the price of labor should re-act upon the price of wheat. In like manner it is necessary that an increase of price should be communicated throughout the community. The burthen of the duties which render necessary this new arrangement of prices, cannot be generalised or distributed, by the simple addition of the amount of the duties, or of the duties and the concomitant charges, but if effected, must be accomplished by means of the communication of the increase in price, experienced in respect of the objects directly taxed, to all national productions. Price should be communicated to price, or by one commodity to another, throughout the whole chain of dealing, and these increased prices act, or should act and re-act, one upon the other so as to effect the general and equal distribution of the burthen of the duties imposed.
The merits of this important topic may be tested thus ;
If the lands in cultivation, in the United Kingdom, be estimated at fifty millions of acres; the rate of price now required for the produce of the land, at six pounds per acre ; and it be admitted that one half the rates of price now required, only, would have been required in the year 1790, if the country had then been entirely free from debt: it follows that in respect of the produce of the land, money prices ought to be increased in consequence of the Public Debt, by the addition of one hundred and fifty millions ; to which must be added at least twenty millions for the greater price now required for manufactured goods and other commodi
The late war presented that favorable conjuncture.
ties, through the operation of duties rendered necessary by the debt, besides the sum of fifty millions first mentioned, as being directly incorporated in the price of Excise and Customs articles. In the aggregate, TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY MILLIONS, or SEVEN Times, nearly, the amount of the annuity paid to the public creditor. If the increase of price thus required be obtained, the evil is felt in the checks to industry, incident to a system of high prices. If the increase of price thus required be not obtained, the evil becomes aggravated, and fatal to the harmony and well-being of the community. The principle of JUSTICE, the very key-stone of the social union, is disturbed.
Without claiming for this statement more than some approximation to truth, it is obvious that the distribution of the duties through the medium of money prices cannot proceed by the simple addition of any given amount of impost, but if effected, proceeds by the communication of price from one commodity or class of commodities to another, and again by the repeated action and re-action of these increased prices. And it is equally obvious that British agricultural productions require at market, in the aggregate money price, an increase since the year 1790, very far indeed exceeding the simple or primary amount of the duties or duties and taxes, which have been imposed since that year, and that the increase of price required, although obtained under other circumstances, CANNOT now be obtained.
The remedy for this great evil is plain and simple ; namely, the practical application by the community as a body politic, of the principle already ingeniously and ably applied by the individual, of supplying the market with productions (the rights of the producer being reserved) at the lowest possible constituents of cost. The application of this principle in the conduct and direction of the public business of the country, would promptly and effectually restore the British market for the national produce, to a healthy and beneficial state. The means of liquidating the claims of the public creditor, without which the present heavy costs of production do not fairly admit of being materially lowered, are plain and easy, if the liquidation of the debt become the object of the concurrent will and desire of the nation. The liquidation of the public debt
. would clear the industry and dealings of the United Kingdom of the weight of two hundred millions and upwards in the money prices required for commodities; and the peculiar state of the
Applied to agriculture, it would admit and would lead to the highest rate of profit, and would of course admit of the division of profit necessary to maintain the proper rights and station of the landlord and tenant, and of sufficient and proper wages being paid to the husbandman.
2 Autumn, 1821.