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creased, the manufactured goods would, after the first rise of prices had attracted a sufficiency of capital to their production, sell for the same price as before. But it is quite otherwise in agriculture. If the supply deriveable from lands of a superior quality, is insufficient to supply the wants of the population, the granting of a monopoly of the home market to the agriculturists, occasions a permanent rise of price. It not only causes a faulty distribution of the national capital ; but as it obliges recourse to be had to poorer soils, in order to procure the necessary supply, it necessarily and directly increases the cost of its production.

Although, therefore, it were true that every manufacture in the kingdom were protected against foreign competition, that would be no reason why agriculture should be placed in the same situation. A prohibition against importing foreign woollens, though it may prevent our importing a comparatively cheap commodity from abroad, will not raise the expense of manufacturing it at home. Such, however, is the certain effect of every restriction on the importation of foreign corn into a country which had previously been in the habit of deriving a portion

its supplies from abroad.

It is not true, however, in point of fact, that any of the staple manufactures of the country derive the smallest advantage from restrictive regulations. It might formerly have been contended, and perhaps with good reason, that the woollen manufacturers were unfairly benefited by the prohibition against exporting English wool. But, now that the price of wool is higher in Great Britain than in any other country of Europe, there is no room for such an allegation. So completely indeed are the agriculturists aware of this fact, that petitions have been presented, and with too much success, to the Legislature, not for the abolition of the restrictions on exportation, but for the imposition of heavy duties on the importation of foreign wool. To suppose

indeed that those manufactures which can at present be exported without the aid of bounties (and the rest had better have no existence) should be injuriously affected by foreigners being allowed to import the same commodities, is evidently absurd. The manufacturers of Gloucestershire, in their excellent Resolutions against the ate Corn-bill, expressed in the strongest manner their acquiescence in the doctrine of a free trade, and stated their readiness to sacrifice any exclusive privileges they might enjoy, to the attainment of that desirable object, Why will not the agriculturists meet the manufacturers on this ground And, instead of hunting after restrictions and prohibitions, consent gradually to recur to the sound principles of a free trade ?

Notwithstanding the utmost freedom of trade, the price of corn must always be higher in an importing than an exporting country.- Every home commodity,' says Sir Matthew Decker, • will,' in a free trade, find its natural level; for, though that fluctuates, as of necessity it must, according to the plentifulness or scarcity of the seasons, yet, for home consumption, every home commodity must have great advantage over the foreign, as being upon the spot, and free from freight, insurance, commission, and charges, which, on the produce of lands, being all bulky commodities, must in general be about 15 per cent.;—and a greater advantage cannot be given without prejudice ; for 15 per cent. makes a great difference in the price of necessaries between the nation selling and the nation buying, and is a great difficulty on the latter ; but arising from the natural course of things, cannot be helped ; though it is a sufficient security to the landholders, that foreigners can never import more necessaries than are absolutely required ; and, I presume, in such cases, they have more charity than to starve the people merely for the sake of an imaginary profit, which yet would prove their ruin in the end ; for it is a fallacy and an absurdity to think to raise or keep up the ralue of Innds, by oppressions on the people that cramp their trade ; for, if trade declines, the common people must either come upon the parish, or fly for business to our neighbours.' *

But in the second place, it is not true that restrictions on the Corn trade afford any security for our obtaining an ample and independent supply of raw produce. On the contrary, it is a recognised principle, that the wider the surface from which a country derives its supplies of food, the less will it be exposed to fluctuations of price, arising from favourable or unfavourable seasons. The weather that is injurious to one soil, or one situation, is generally favourable to a different soil and a different situation. A general failure of the crops throughout an extensive kingdom, is a calamity that but rarely occurs. The excess of produce in one province, generally compensates for its deficiency in another; and, except in anomalous cases, the total supply is nearly the same. But, if this be generally true of a single nation, it is always true in reference to the world at large. It is invariably found that when the crops of one country fail, plenty reigns in some other quarter.–And a perfect freedom of trade is all that is wanted to guarantee a country like Britain, abounding in all the varied products of industry--in merchandise suited to the wants of every society-from the possibility of a scarcity.

Nor is there the least risk that a trade of this kind, when once established, will be capriciously put an end to.

When a

* Essay on the Causes of the Decline of Foreign Trade, p. 56.

nation has bcon, for a series of years, in the habit of importing corn from another, it must have exported some more acceptable produce as an equivalent. The farmers of the corn-growing country will, after this commerce has been established, calculate as much upon the demand of the importing country, as on that of their own citizens—they will cultivate an additional quantity of land, raise larger crops, and consequently pay higher rents, because they are assured of this vent for their produce. The benefits of such an intercourse are reciprocal; and the corn-growers, as much as the corn-buyers, are interested in a continuance of the traffic, and would suffer as much by its cessation. When we consider,' says Mr Ricardo, the value of even a few weeks' consumption of corn in England, it is evident no interruption could be given to the export trade, if the Continent supplied us with any considerable quantity of corn, without the most extensively ruinous commercial distress-distress which no sovereign, or combination of sovereigns, would be willing to inflict on their subjects; and, though willing, it would be a measure to which, probably, no people would submit. It was the endeavour of Bonaparte to prevent The exportation of the raw produce of Russia, more than any

other cause, which produced the astonishing efforts of the people of that country against the most powerful force, perhaps, ever assembled to subjugate a nation.'

Were the intercourse between Great Britain and Poland unrestricted, we should be able, by exporting manufactured goods of the value of 10001., to import as much wheat as it would cost 20001. to raise on the poor soils now under cultivation in this country, Surely then, it cannot be doubted, that it would be most for the general advantage, that capital should be withdrawn from the cultivation of such soils, and invested in some more prodne: tive employment, and that the corn which is now obtained from them, should be imported.-Such a measure would materially increase the command of the labouring classes over the primo necessary of life, and would go far to double the rate of profit, and consequently to prevent the efflux of capital to other countries.

In almost all the discussions which have hitherto taken place respecting the Corn trade, the interest of the farmer has been always considered as the same with that of the landlord. Nothing, however, can be more completely different. Whenever the real price, or the cost of production of raw produce, is increased, the profits of agricultural and of all other stock are reduced; and, on the other hand, when the price of raw produce falls, profits are augmented. The average price of corn in Britain, is more than three times its average price in Kentucky; but a Kentucky farmer, with a capital of 1000l., would,

notwithstanding, derive from it at least as much profit as he could derive from a capital of 3000l. or 40001. employed in farming in this country. It is landlords, and not farmers, who reap advantage from a high real price of corn, and from the cultivation of bad lands. The interest of the latter is precisely the same with the interest of the consumers; and, however paradoxical it may at first appear, it is unquestionably true that a permanently high price of raw produce is as certainly ruinous to the farmer as to the manufacturer.

But, although we are thus decidedly of opinion that the abolition of the restrictions on the importation of foreign corn, is not merely called for on the ground of their forcing a very large proportion of the capital and industry of the country into a comparatively disadvantageous employment, but also as a means of relieving the country from the most oppressive and ruinous of all possible taxes, we think the abolition ought to be cautiously and carefully brought about. Time ought to be given gradually to withdraw capital from the poor soils now under cultivation. And, for this purpose, it would be proper that a diminishing scale of duties should be adopted. The price at which foreign grain should be admitted duty free, might be made to decline from 80s., its present limit, by 2s, or ss. per quarter annually, till it reached 50s., when the ports might safely be thrown open, and the restrictive system for ever abolished.

But, besides the many advantages that would result from the increase of trade, and the reduction of taxation, consequent on a repeal of the Corn-Laws, a very great diminution of taxation might be effected, by retrenchments in other branches of expenditure. For example, the military peace establishment of Great Britain and Ireland in 1792, was fixed at 27,000 regular troops; and the whole aggregate force employed at home and in the colonies, only amounted to 44,000, and the expense to about tico millions. Now, however, exclusive of a ycomanry force of between 60,000 and 70,000, which had no existence previous to the late war, we maintain 60,000 regular troops in England and Ireland only; and the entire expense of the military department is at least equal to seven millions ! Here, certainly, å radical reform is imperatively necessary. We do not think

it too much to affirm, that the army expenses might be reduc- ed a full half, without occasioning the least injury to the pub

lic service. It is a monstrous absurdity to contend, that four times the force which sufficed to preserve the tranquillity of the country, in very critical circumstances, and when the public mind was powerfully excited by the French Revolution, should be necessary in a period of profound peace, aud when

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legitimacy is everywhere triumphant. · Such an excess of force is not only uncalled for and unnecessary, and in the highest degree unconstitutional, but is altogether incommensurate with the means of the country. A rigid economy is in every government the first of virtues; and in ours, it is also the most pressing of duties.

In addition to the retrenchments which might be effected, not in the military only, but in every other branch of the public expenditure, it cannot be doubted that a very great reduc- tion of the duties affecting various commodities might be made, without occasioning any diminution of the revenue. When the real price, or the cost of production, of any commodity, is so great that it can only be purchased by the rich and wealthy Classes, no reduction of duties could greatly extend its consumption. But it is otherwise with those commodities whose prime cost does not exceed the power of the great body of the people to become purchasers, and which are, besides, in very great request. In such circumstances, a reduction of any heavy duty by which they may be burdened, would prodigiously extend their consumption; and, without diminishing the revenue, would add to the comforts and enjoyments of all.

These conclusions do not rest on theory only. Previous to 1744, the East India Company's sales of Teas amounted to no more than about 600,000 pounds weight annually; producing a revenue of about 140,0001. In the early part of 1745, an act was passed, by which the tea-duties were very greatly reduced ; and, in 1746, the sales amounted to nearly two millions of pounds weight, and the revenue to 228,0001. But this uanswerable demonstration, of the superior advantages resulting to the revenue itself from low duties, was unable to restrain the rapacity of the Treasury. In 1748 the duties were again increased; and fluctuated between that epoch and 1784, from 64 to 119 per cent. In the last mentioned year, however, the Government, having in vain tried every other means to prevent the smuggling and adulteration of tea, reduced the duty from 119 to 12 per cent.: And the revenue, instead of falling off in the proportion of one to ten, owing to the increased consumption, only declined in the proportion of one to three. The shortsightedness of ministers, and the narrow and contracted policy on which they have almost always acted, put it out of our power to refer to many such conclusive instances to prove the superior productiveness of diminished taxation: there are, however, one or two others which deserve to be pointed out. In 1787, the duty on wine and spirits was lowered 50 per cent. ; but the reenue was, notwithstanding, considerably augmented. The a

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