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may be interpreted in its favor. But, Sir, when Copernicus and Galileo taught, for the first time, that the sun, although we see it rise every morning in the east, magnificently pass over our heads at noon, and precipitate itself towards the west in the evening, still does not move from its place, they had also universal prejudice against them, the opinions of the Ancients, and the evidence of the senses. Ought they on that account to relinquish those demonstrations which were produced by a sound judgment ? I should do you an injustice to doubt your answer. I
Besides, when I assert that produce opens a vent for produce ; that the means of industry, whatever they may be, left to themselves, always incline themselves to those articles which are the most necessary to nations, and that these necessary articles create at the same time fresh populations, and fresh enjoyments for those populations, all probability is not against me.
Let us go back only two hundred years, and suppose that a merchant had taken a rich cargo to the sites on which the present cities of New York and Philadelphia stand-Would he have sold it? Suppose that, without falling a victim to the natives, he had succeeded in faying the foundation of an agricultural or a manufactural establishment: Would he have sold there any one of his articles ? Most certainly not. He would have been obliged to consume them all himself. Why do we see it so different in our days? Why, as soon as goods arrive, or are manufactured at Philadelphia or New York, are we sure to sell them at the course of exchange ? " It appears evident to me that it is because the farmers, the merchants, and at present the manufacturers, even of New York and Philadelphia, and of the surrounding provinces, produce, and import produce, by the means of which they acquire that which is offered to them by others.
What is true as regards a new State, it will be said is not 80 of an old one. There was room in America for more producers and more consumers; but in a country where there were already more producers than were necessary, consumers only were wanted. Allow me to answer, that the only real consumers are those who produce on their part, because they alone can buy the produce of others, and that barren consumers can buy nothing except by the means of value created by producers.
It is probable that in the time of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when England had not half the population of the present day, they had then discovered that there were more laborers than work. I desire no other proof of this than that very law which was then passed in favor of the poor, the result of which is one of the banes of England. Its principal object is to furnish work for the unfortunate who can find no employ. There was no employ in a country which since then has been able to furnish enough for a double and triple number of laborers. Whence comes it, Sir, whence comes it, however unfortunate may be the situation of Great Britain ? Are more of divers articles sold in it, than in the days of Elizabeth? What can be the cause of this, if not that more is produced ? One produces one thing, which he exchanges with his neighbour who produces another. Having more than enough for use, the population is increased, and still every body has been better supplied.
It is the capability of production which makes the difference between a country and a desert. And the more a country produces, the more it is advanced, the more populous it is, and is the better provided.
This observation, which is self-evident, probablyisnot denied by you, but you complain of the conclusions I draw from it.
I have asserted that if there is an overstock, a superabundance of many kinds of goods, it is because other goods are not produced in sufficient quantities to be exchanged with the first. That if the producers of them could produce more, or others, the first would find the vent which now fails; in a word, that there is only too much produce of certain kinds because there is not enough of others, and you pretend that there may be a superabundance of all kinds at the same time, citing at the same time facts in your favor. M. de Sismondi had already opposed my doctrine, and I am very glad to quote here his most forcible expressions, in order not to deprive you, Sir, of any advantage that belongs to you, and that
my answers may serve for both. “ Europe,” says this ingenious author, “is arrived at a point to have, in all its parts, an industry and a manufacture superior to its wants He adds, that “the incumbrance which results from it begins to be felt in the rest of the world.” “ Examine the reports of commerce, the newspapers, and the accounts of travellers, and every where will be seen proofs of that superabundance of production beyond the consumption, of that manufacture, proportionate, not to the demand, but to the capital employed; of that activity of merchants which induces them to go in crowds to every new settlement, and which exposes them by turns to ruinous losses in every trade in which they expected profit. We have seen merchandise of all kinds, but particularly that of England, the great manufacturing power, abound in all the markets of Italy, in a proportion so far beyond the demand, as to compel the merchants, in order to realise part of their funds, to sell their goods at a loss of a quarter, or a third, instead of at a profit.
The tide of commerce turned away from Italy, found its way into Germany, Russia, and the Brazils, and very soon met with the same obstacles there.
The last advices inform us of similar losses in new countries. In the month of August, 1818, complaints were made at the Cape of Good Hope, that all the warehousts were filled with European goods, which were offered at a lower price than in Europe, but without finding a sale. In the month of June, at Calcutta, the complaints of commerce were of the same nature. A strange phenomenon at first appeared—England sending cotton goods to India, and consequently succeeding in working at a lower price than the half-naked inhabitants of Hindostan, and reducing its workmen to a still more miserable state.
“ But this whimsical turn given to commerce did not last long. At present British productions are cheaper in India than in England itself. In the month of May they were obliged to re-export from New-Holland, European goods which had been sent there in too great abundance. Buenos Ayres, New Grenada, and Chili, are already returning goods in the same way.
“Mr. Fearon's voyage to the United States, completed only in the spring of 1818, presents this spectacle in a still more striking point of view. From one extremity to the other, of this vast and prosperous continent, there is not a city, nor a town, in which the quantity of goods offered for sale is not infinitely greater than the means of the buyers, notwithstanding the merchants endeavour to induce them, by very long credit, and every kind of facility in the payments, which they take in bills or' in provisions of all kinds.
“No fact presents itself to us in a greater number of places, or under more varied shapes, than the disproportion of the means of consumption with the production-than the impossibility which producers find to give up their industry because it is declining, and the certainty that their ranks are never thinned but by failures. How is it that philosophers will not see that which is evident to every vulgar eye?
“ The error into which they have fallen is entirely owing to this false principle—that the production is the same thing as the revenue. Mr. Ricardo, according to M. Say, repeats and affirms it. • M. Say has proved in the most satisfactory manner,' says he, that there is no capital, however large, that cannot be employed, because the demand for produce is only bounded by production.' No person produces but with the intention of consuming or selling the article he produces, and no one sells but with the intention of buying some other production, which may be of immediate use, or contribute to future production.
“ The producer becomes therefore consumer of his produce, or buyer and consumer of the produce of some other person. “Upon this principle," continues M. de Sismondi, “it becomes absolutely impossible to comprehend or explain the best demonstrated fact in all the history of commerce, viz. the choaking up the markets.”
I shall first of all observe, to those persons to whom the facts about which M. de Sismondi afflicts himself with some reason, appear conclusive, that they are in effect conclusive ; but that conclusion is against himself.
There are too many English goods offered in Italy and elsewhere, because there are not a sufficient quantity of Italian goods suited to England. A country buys only what it can pay for; for if it did not pay, others would soon cease to sell to it. Now with what do the Italians pay the English? With oil, silks, and raisins; and besides these articles and a few others, if they want more English productions, with what would they pay for them? With money! But they must obtain the money wherewith to pay for the English productions. You see clearly, Sir, that in order to obtain productions, a nation, as well as an individual, must have ręcourse to its own productions.
It is said that the English sell at a loss in those places which they inundate with their goods, which I readily believe. They multiply the goods offered, which depreciates it; and they take specie in payment as much as they can, which consequently makes more scarce and more valuable.-Being become more precious, a less quantity is given in each exchange. This is the reason they are obliged to sell at a loss. But suppose for a moment, that the Italians had more capital -- that they employed their land and their industrious powers better--in a word, that they produced more ; and suppose, at the same time, that the English laws, instead of having been framed
the absurd idea of the balance of com. merce, had admitted, on moderate terms, every thing that the Italians could have produced, in payment for English productions ; can you imagine that English goods would then incumber the Italian ports, or doubt that a still greater quantity of goods would find a ready sale ?
The Brazils, a vast country, highly favored by nature, could consume a hundred times the English goods which accumulate there, and don't sell; but it would be necessary that Brazil should produce all that it is capable of producing; and how is this poor Brazil to succeed in this ? All the efforts of her citizens are paralised by her Administration. If any branch of industry appears
Sismondi's New Principles of Political Economy, vol. i. 387, and following pages.
likely to yield a profit, the executive power şeizes and destroys it. If any one finds a precious stone, it is taken away from him. Great encouragement to seekfor more wherewith to buy European goods!!
The English Government rejects, on its part, by means of its Custom Houses and Importation Duties, the productions which the English might bring from abroad, in exchange for their goods, and even the NECESSARY provisions, of which their manufacturers stand so much in need ; and this because it is necessary that the English farmers should sell their wheat at above eighty shillings per quarter, in order to enable them to pay the enormous taxes. All these nations complain of the sufferings to which they
. have reduced themselves by their own fault, This puts me in mind of invalids who are out of temper with their sufferings, but who will not correct themselves of those excesses which are the primary cause of them. I know that an oak is not so easily grubbed up as a pernicious weed. I know that old barriers are not taken away, however rotten they may be, when they are supported by the dirt which has collected around them, I know that certain corrupt and corrupting governments stand in need of monopolies, and custom-duties, to pay for the vote of the honorable majorities who pretend to be the representatives of nations. I am not suffiçiently unjust to desire that one should govern with a view to the general interest, in order to obtain all the votes without paying for them; but at the same time, why should I be surprised that deplorable consequences should be the result of so many vicious systems? You will readily admit with me, Sir, at least I presume so,
Ι the mischief which nations do to each other by their jealousies, their sordid interest, or by the ignorance of those who set themselves up as their organisers; but you maintain that, even supposing they have had more liberal institutions, the commodities produced may exceed the wants of consumers. Well, Sir, I am ready to defend myself on this ground.
Let us pass over the war which nations carry on against each other with their " douaniers, let us consider each people in their relations with themselves, and let us understand, once for all, whether we are beyond the reach of consuming what we are capable of producing
os M. Say, Mr. Mill, and Mr. Ricardo, whom you call the principal authors of the new doctrine of profit, appear to me to have fallen into fundamental errors on that subject. In the first place they have looked upon merchandise as though it were an algebraic character instead of being an article of consumption,