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life or property without public trial and conviction, according to the laws of the land. All the new taxes and impositions as established since the death of King Valdemar should be abolished. That the plunder of ship-wrecked vessels should be punished, and that no new law should be made, unless with the consent of the whole kingdom in a general parliament, in which alone it should be lawful for the king to alter, take from, or add to the above articles by the advice of the prelates and "best men” of the kingdom.

Art. VI.--Petition de la Chambre de Commerce de Lyon, à la

Chambre de Deputés de la France. When commencing, in our ninth volume,* our disquisitions upon “ Reciprocity and Free Trade,” we observed that the Governments, both of England and of France, were more inclined to take off restrictions than the people to be set free from them. The petition with which we head this article, from the representatives of the commercial interest at Lyons, to the Chamber of Deputies, shows that even those who are engaged in trade, at the very seat of the silk manufacture itself in France, are now espousing the principles for which we have humbly contended, and upon which our rulers, both Whigs and Tories,f have, for some years, begun to legislate. Though it be somewhat in contradiction of our own estimate of public opinion in France, we are truly glad to be enabled to adopt this document as the title of our renewed inquiry.

In our last volume we laid down the principle of Freedom in Trade. Not relying upon the dogmas of political economy, or attempting to prove that, by any system of commercial legislation, the wealth of the country would be augmented, we argued for non-interference, upon the general right of every man to do what he wills with his own property. For a legislature, we have contended, to teach men how to be happy, or rich, is an attempt, presumptuous, oppressive, and vain. We have admitted, that the general safety against foreign enemies, which is the peculiar trust of the government, may constitute an exception to this rule; but we have shown that no such exception is necessary now; or, at least, no esception beyond the existing laws. We have admitted,* that the subsistence of the people might reasonably constitute another exception; but we have as yet given no opinion, as to the necessity and sufficiency of the present laws l'egarding the food of man. These two we hold to be the only permanent exceptions admissible.

* Page 261.

+ “ Free Trade” has never properly become a question of party politics in this country. It has found advocates as well as adversaries in the ranks of both parties; nor bave the same men always maintained the same opinions. The recent relaxations iu our commercial system have commenced and been effected, quite as much, to say the least, by Tories as by Whigs; nor did a single measure of the Duke of Wellington's Board of Trade furnish ground of opposition to the then Whig minority. In the Silk Committee of last session, the advocates of restriction were, for the most part, Whigs, and they would have had an ultimate majority, but for the exertions of one, who, by his own avowal, “ clings to the name of Tory." # Vol. x. p. 68.

Vol. ix. p. 276.

The object, according to us, of a government, ought to be, to adhere to the principle of freedom as clearly as these two admitted cases of exception will permit; and to take care that they operate neither more extensively, nor for a longer period than their legitimate purpose requires. The government in an old country has no duty different from that of the government of a new community; except in as far as former departures from a just principle may have placed the interests of certain individuals, or classes, at variance with the common right and the common good. It is the duty of government to restore the lost right : dealing, however, very tenderly with the interests of those who have flourished under a system of injustice and oppression; rendering, on their account, the transition from wrong to right very gradual, but always moving onward until the right shall have been com, pletely restored.

We have given a history of the proceedings of our governments since 1820, having this transition in view; and we will in this article consider, whether it has been effected prudently, and what have been the results of the new measures; in regard as well to particular interests, as to the general prosperity.

Subsequently to our last publication, free trade has been the subject of a discussion in the House of Commons, and there has been an elaborate inquiry into the state of the manufacture more particularly affected by the new measures. We rejoice at having thus something to work upon.

Mr. Robinson, of Worcester, brought the general subject before the House of Commons in Mayt last, when he presented a very elaborate petition from that city. This manifesto is full of general assertions and speculations, but is not only without one fact, but without any specific allegation of injury. The petitioners even start with a mistatement, of no great importance, but illustrative of their laxity of assertion. “ The ancient Statutes for the protection of Trade and Manufactures have been repealed or rendered null by late Statutes, enacted more especially, (as is therein recited) for the extension of Freedom of Trade.”

• Vol. ix. p. 276.

+ May 22d, Parl. Deb. xi. 1277.

There is not one word of this recital, in any of the acts which repeal prohibitions or lower the duties on importation! It was not to be expected, that persons who had not read the acts of which they complained, should be prepared to describe the alterations which they desired. The petitioners accordingly content themselves with a prayer for inquiry, “ Ist. Whether the Commerce and Navigation of the country have not gradually been declining since the introduction of the principles of the Free Trade System: and 2dly. Whether the re-enactment of the whole or some part of these wholesome and patriotic Statutes under which the British People enjoyed unrivalled prosperity, is not necessary for the revival of Trade."

The first question we resolve in the negative; we shall soon show, that, since these “ ancient Statutes ” have been repealed, more British goods have been exported, and more foreign goods imported; and more voyages performed by British ships.

As to the unrivalled prosperity which we have lost, the question is, when was it enjoyed ? Unless it were in the period immediately preceding the change of system, it furnishes no argument. No comparative statement is available, unless it shows that under all the circumstances of the world, some years after the peace, the commerce and navigation of this kingdom were in a state of progressive extension; and that since these changes they have declined. Yet it is notorious, and it is part of the statement of Mr. Robinson himself, that between 1815 and 1825, there were aggravated symptoms of distress among the whole trading community.*

We do not deny, that in judging of the wisdom of the change of system which has been effected, it is fair to take into consideration the whole state of the country, before the change and after it: a falling off in the extent or profitableness of our trade, or manufactures, would not necessarily prove that the recent policy had been erroneous; but it would put the advocates of that policy upon the defensive, and require them either to shew that the new measures could not possibly be the cause of the evil, or to state other causes, to which there is a reasonable ground for ascribing it. But as many great effects spring from causes which human wisdom cannot certainly discover, it cannot be admitted that a failure, even in both these points, would justify a condemnation of the new policy; at most, its authors must submit to the charge of having tried an experiment with doubtful success. It will be found, that this reservation is not necessary to the justification of the measures; but we wish to state, fairly and fully, all the points We shall show that the Foreign trade of this country, that is, the number and extent of its transactions of purchase and sale with the other countries of the world, has not declined since the commencement of the new system. There is not a single point of view, in which it can be presented, without exhibiting the symptoms of enlargement.

of the case.

* Parl. Deb. xii. 1282.

There may be a question as to the exact limitation of the periods which we are to compare, but no way of stating the accounts of imports and exports, or of shipping employed, will give a result otherwise than favourable to the latest period. And the most recent year, 1831, is the largest, as to the extent of commercial transactions, of any which can be found; not only in the periods immediately preceding and succeeding the change, but, for the last twenty years.

We will now state, on the same averages as in our former article,* the official value of the imports of Foreign merchandize into the United Kingdom : In 1821-2-3,

£ $ 32,381,000 In 1824-5-6,

39,810,000 In 1827-8-9,

44,632,000 In 1830-1,

47,979,000 $ There thus appears an increase in the imports, as indicated by these official rates, of not less than £15,598,000 between the first period and the last, or, if we take the latest year, £17,332,000.

Vol. IX. p. 278. + In this, and in all similar accounts, the trade between Great Britain and Ireland is considered as a country trade, and is not included. The trade between Great Britain or Ireland, and the British or Channel Islands, that is, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Man, is considered as a trade with a foreign country, and is therefore included in this account.

These are the “official" values ; there is no other method of stating a total of separate articles; an account of quantities can be given, but it is obvious that these can. not be added together. There are not the means of giving the actual cost, or sale value, of imports; and even could they be given, they would not afford the means of a comparison of quantities,--the thing here desired. The accounts of official value, defective as they are for many purposes, afford decidedly the nearest approximation to an accurate account of the comparative extent of traffic at different periods. It has been said, that these official values are not even to be relied upon for comparison, be. cause, in one account, an over-rated article may predominate, in another, one that is under-rated. Therefore, they do not answer for ascertaining the present relative value of our trade with two several countries; but, where no considerable change has taken place in the articles composing the account, that is, for trade with any particular couniry, at particular periods, or for the general account of trade in this country, they are tolerably accurate; the more so, if the period of time is not extensive, and it is known that there has been no material alteration in the course of trade. Still, wherever we can, we shall state actual quantities. $ We have stated the average, but there was a great increase in the latter year : 1830,


49,713,000 These sums are taken from the Annual classed accounts.


This statement proves, that we have imported a greater quantity of foreign goods, a fact from which may be reasonably inferred an enlargement of the means of purchase possessed by the inhabitants of this country, and an enlarged use of commodities ;-undoubted symptoms of prosperity.

But, it may be answered, No. Your statement is only the proof of the very evil of which the opponents of the new system complain. We are deluged with foreign commodities, to the ex. tinction of our produce and manufactures.

Now, putting aside for the present, the doctrine, which teaches that there can be no importation without an exportation, corresponding not only in value, but in the employment which it affords, let us inquire how far these importations can have interfered with our native industry. In what proportions have they consisted of foreign manufactures, or of articles which are also produced in this country. In what proportion of the materials of our own manufactures, and of articles of foreign luxury; nor is it immaterial to inquire how much of this increased importation from abroad has consisted of the produce of our own possessions.

It is not easy to make these distinctions with accuracy; but the following classified statement of the increase between the first and last period of importations into Great Britain, will afford an approximation.*

Raw materials of our manufactures, including
dye stuffs, &c.

Fruits, spices, tea, sugar, and various consumable
articles not grown here

Corn, grain, meal, and flour

+Agricultural produce (other than corn,) such as
is produced here


223,000 Foreign manufactures

552,000 Articles not specified





Deduct decrease on Timber .

Total increase 5,261,000 We have not the materials of an account, showing the propor

* In this, and other detailed statements, we give Great Britain only, because there would be much trouble in adding Ireland, and ibe difference would not be considerable. Of the whole increase of more than fifteen millions and a half, only about 350,0001. arises in Ireland. Add to which, that it is chiefly to Great Britain that the opponents of the new system refer in their complaints. † Of this, 290,0001. is on tallow.

From 654,0001. to 1,206,0001. The increase is almost entirely in the silk manufactures.

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