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to give employment to the tradesman and mechanic: but the very highest is necessary, if the Stockholder is to receive his dividend. And although strange, yet it is true, (so much do we judge by the moment, without attempting to look forward,) that on falling market the agriculturist cries out, and the stockholder rejoices; whilst, in point of fact, to the agriculturist (except for the moment) it is a matter of slight importance, and to the stockholder it will be absolute destruction. These you will say, perhaps, are bold and speculative assertions: yet let us inquire into the truth; and I am much deceived if the facts will not fully bear me out.
But before we go into this inquiry, it will be necessary to look a little into the situation of the country, as far as regards its expenditure and income. To speak of the former in round numbers, the expenses estimated this year to carry on the government of the country are about
I The interest of the debt due to the fund-holder
The interest of the sinking fund
2 The income, from taxes, &c. during the last year, which was
See Mr. Chalmers, on the State of the United Kingdom at the Peace of Paris, Nov. 20, 1815, (recorded in PAMPHLETEER, No. XIV. p. 413.) He calculated at that time the total annual charge £44,294,037.
2 See returns of net produce of the Revenue from the 5th January, 1815, to 1816.
Of the War Taxes more than 16,000,000 are already done away by the repeal of the additional Malt duty, and by the Income Tax not being revived. But this is not the point to which I would draw your attention; it is the situation in which we shall be placed in the time of peace. It has, I believe, been stated, that we cannot, with our extended possessions, expect a Peace Establishment of much less than £20,000,000
To which add the interest to the Fundholder, and Sinking Fund
If there are other sources from whence this will be made up, I profess I am ignorant from whence they will flow: but allowing that I am even wrong in my calculation, the plain fact that it will
The whole amount before the war was not, I believe, £16,000,000.
be impossible to find an income equal to the debt and annual ex» penditure at the expected amount, will not, I believe, be denied. Whether this debt be paid or not, is a matter to which the agriculturist looks but with comparatively little interest: it is the attention of the fundholder, and those who depend on our taxes for their income, that I would call to this subject.
To the agriculturist a regular market, I said, alone was necessary: if he has that, he knows his labours will be repaid; he is induced to improve his property; he can borrow money for the purpose, because the lender knows he will in proper time be repaid with ine terest; he adjusts his expences to the price of the articles he sells ; he pays his landlord, his labourer, the mechanic and tradesman, on the same scale; and he will be as comparatively rich at the end of the year, whether, on the average, corn be at 60s. or 100s. per quar ter. In proportion as his transactions increase, will public credit be restored; in proportion to the price of his produce, will the circulation of money be increased or diminished; and in the same proportion will the tradesman find a sale for his goods; and activity will be again given to the whole commercial part of our com munity. If then a regular market will do all this, how is it to be effected? Will not wholesome laws for the protection of our own, by duties on the importation of foreign corn, amounting in
Let not any man fear that restrictions like these would produce scarcity in this country: it would be the only mode likely to create a good supply at a fair price to the British grower. Mr. WESTERN tells you in his Speech, (see PAMPHLETEER, No. xiv. p. 520.) that from the reign of Charles II. to the year 1773, such was the case when even a bounty was given on exportation by King William; and he quotes a speech of Monsieur de Caradeuc de la Chalotais, Procureur General, to the Parliament of Brittany in 1764, whọ says, "at the time we unfortunately forbad the exportation of corn, our neighbours encouraged and rewarded it. They (the English) in consequence tilled with emulation; their fields were covered with abundance; and in those years of want, we, who formerly used to sell them wheat, were obliged to pay them the tribute of that encouragement which they gave their fellow citizens. In three years the English received from France 10,465,000 livres. The consequences of our had administration have been, first, that France dare not cultivate more than her own wants require and not being able even to elevate her views above what is barely necessary, she must infallibly often fall below; and consequently remain exposed to all the accidents of bad seasons and short crops."
ordinary times to a total prohibition, and by preventing the foreign merchant from making a granary of our warehouses, be the most safe, and indeed the only way to effect it? and if authority be wanted, can a better man be quoted than LORD COKE,' who says, "But I have observed that the most excellent policy and assured means to increase and advance agriculture, is to provide that corn shall be of a reasonable and competent value; for, make what Statutes you please, if the ploughman has not a competent profit for his excessive labour and great charge, he will not employ his labour and charge without a reasonable gain to support himself and his poor family."
And here it will not be improper to remark the strange ideas promulgated by many who say, that the rise of the funds will throw money, through the banker, into the purse of the farmer. Yet this doctrine is held by some who profess themselves to be men of business.
It will keep money, it is true, in the purse of the capitalist, because he will not buy stock at a disadvantage to himself. But when the farmer brings his bill to the banker to be discounted, is he refused because his money is gone into the Funds? or because the capitalist has not any left with which he can assist him? If the farmer's bill ís on a person in London, by whom the banker knows it will be paid in course, would any difficulty arise in finding notes for the exchange? has the banker forgotten the mode of making notes at his pleasure?
The gentleman who wants money on mortgage, may get it the more readily when the funds are very high, but the farmer will never find relief until the certain sale of his produce will enable him to pay his bill when it is due. It is the regularity of the transaction, not the certainty of payment at a distant period, that can tempt a banker to discount; the blood will reflow to the extremities, when there is a cause there to attract it.
But you will ask, will this revival of agriculture and of commerce enable us to raise our taxes to pay our debts and public servants? That must depend on the price of the markets, added to their re
See PRESTON's Address to the Fundholder, &c. where the subject is most ably treated, and the quotations from LORD CORE on this subject much more at length, page 42.
gularity. In whatever state of society we may be found, our absolute wants for food and raiment will be the same; and these a regular market will always assure us. But taxes grow out of the luxuries which we fancy we require; which with increasing affluence we always eagerly seek; but which, without the means of obtaining, we must be content to forego. And however melancholy the fact, the more we would now appear just to those from whom we have borrowed in a time of war, the more must every species of luxury be encouraged, with all the train of evils that will be its inseparable companions. In proof of this, let us only reflect on the state of society a year or two since. Was there a rank that had not moved many degrees above itself; without enumerating the fortunes rapidly made, but more quickly dissipated, from an attempt to vie with others who had more lasting resources on which to draw? Take the mechanic alone, and see how changed were the very principles on which he lived! His wages were increased; not in proportion to the price of his food, but the luxuries he now. conceived necessary to support his rank amongst his companions : otherwise why could not the labourer in a manufactory have done as well on twelve shillings per week as the ploughman? The latter will eat more, and requires as much clothes to defend him from the weather: but the former must support his clubs; be dressed like a gentleman on a Sunday; and earning enough for all his wants in four days of each week, spend the others at the alehouse, or some place of public amusement.' And how was this brought about but by the high prices in our markets? With an increase in our rents we added to our stock of luxuries: we required not a larger dinner; but it must be of a more costly nature : our establishments and servants' wages were increased; our houses
If any one has doubts of the different state of the labourer in the country and the manufacturing town, let him make inquiry into their habits, and he will be speedily convinced of the fact;-let him ask whether while the labourer in husbandry is working at from nine-pence to fifteen-pence per day, the manufacturer and mechanic in the town is equally reduced; and if he finds he is not, let not a high price of corn be accused of raising our manufactures: the truth is, the manufacturing labourer is paid for his skill; and the man, who would deprive him of a just reward, would take away the stimulus to exertion, which it is always wise to encourage.