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for the ensuing twelve months, unless such a change in the trade should take place as obliged the deputation to meet again and alter it.
In the commencement of every new undertaking there are always a number of little difficulties at first to encounter, which a short experience soon points out how to rectify; and that many such would be encountered at the outset of an undertaking like the present, it would be derogatory to common sense not to admit, but to minds anxious to carry the scheme into execution, these would speedily vanish, while the harmony and happiness that would result from the accomplishment of it would be most gratifying to all. The great body of the master manufacturers have always been favorable to the fixing of a scale of prices, and have often, actually done the like; but then as it was in the power of any one of them still to deviate from the scale when his interests suited, and as also if but a mere fraction of the masters dissented from the proposal of the others, the prescribed arrangements could not be carried into effect by reason of the minority having an advantage in the market over the others, from being enabled to sell their goods cheaper on account of the lower wages paid to their workmen. These seceders from the general body of the manufacturers are usually individuals who have lately commenced manufacturing, and are endeavoring to accumulate wealth by every means which the law does not positively forbid, regardless of outraging the dictates of humanity, or of endangering the public peace, provided their ends are gratified thereby; and deeming that the men of humane feeling among the class of masters will crifice in some measure their own immediate interests to the pressing prayers of their workmen, these cold calculators speculate on the profits that will flow into their pockets thereby from being enabled to undersell in the market.
Of course it would be advisable to restrict the act at first to a few manufacturers, such as those of cotton, silk, and woollen, extending it cautiously afterwards as circumstances demanded. The fixing of a rate for farm-laborers could probably be most beneficially done by the county grand-juries on the report of a committee, or a general scheme might be made out to include the whole kingdom, striking the rate according to a certain fixed value of a quarter of wheat, and lowering or raising the scales of wages quarterly according to the various averages of the different counties. The laborers might be arranged into various classes in each parish, in proportion to their capabilities, by a committee of landholders and farmers resident in it; each class set down different daily wages, and the laborers raised or reduced in the classes according to their increasing or failing capabilities. Maximums and minimums might again be apportioned to all descriptions
of taskwork, beyond or below which neither party could go leaving them thus an extent of scale to bargain on, and
in disputed cases leaving the matter to the decision of umpires. The advantages then resulting from the fixing of a scale of wages are these.
Firstly, Preventing the working-classes from injuring their healths, corrupting their morals, and neglecting their families, by the debaucheries consequent on high wages, or being degraded by the distress which low wages lead to.
Secondly, Peace and good order would be preserved in the vicinity of their domicile, and a greater cordiality maintained between them and their employers.
Thirdly; Preventing the greedy portion of the master manufacturers, in periods of deep distress and low demand for goods, from taking advantage of the pressing necessities of the journeymen to exact work from them at such excessive low rates, as would force the latter to work longer and harder in order to increase the pittance, thereby accumulating a load of goods destined to keep down the market on a rise of prices, and to keep down the rise of wages too : for it is better that a manufacture should for a time, or even for altogether, be discontinued, and the exertions of the workmen be turned into a new channel, than pursued under difficulties which keep these in a state of misery and debasement.
Fourthly; Preventing the iniquitous and degrading system of the part payment of wages out of the poor's fund, than which nothing can tend more to convert our English peasantry into a mean, beggarly, grovelling race, by their spirit of independence being annihilated in the eleemosynary mode of payment thus pursued.
Errors of political economists regarding deterioration of land by cultivation, and cultivating inferior soils-Vegetables deriving their chief nourishment from the atmosphere – Advantages of growing our own food in preference to depending on foreign supply-Necessity of growing such as cheaply as other nations to preserve our foreign commerce-National debt rendering this eventually impracticable-Just
principles of present corn bill - Reduction of prices in grain immaterial to farmers—Landlords ultimate sufferers—False opinions promulgated by landlords regarding low profits on money invested in land-Views relative to improvement of the country1st. By composition of tithes-Such equitable in their nature, but vexatious and oppressive from their unfixed amount-Their retarding or preventing the recovery of waste lands--20. By canal and railway communications between places where food is cheap and where it is dear–Benefits of such from condecting places by mutual interest more strongly together-Important political results arising in this way by the grand American canalsJudiciousness of applying a sum of public money annually to such purposes-3d. By abolition of certain taxes, and substitution of a propertytax in lieu--4th. By opening new commercial sources of wealth-india, Africa, Ireland-Loss to English industry from long misgovernment of latter -Evil effects of absenteeism on it, and cause of this elucidated-51h. By establishing a sound system of country banking for issuing of small nutes — General reflections regarding banking, and bullion and paper money car. rency—6th. By general measures of economy at home and abroad--Sums that may ultimately be drawn from India by able government of it towards liquidaring the national debt-Necessity of accomplishing this by reason of its paralysing the industrious and warlike energies of the nation--On the present government–Their demand of the gratitude and support of the nation— Further views relative to the improvement of the country-Erropeous and baneful opinions regarding the impolicy of vesting capital in the improvement of poor land.
One of the most ridiculous doctrines of some of the modern political economists is, that soils deteriorate by cultivation; and one of their most mischievous, that relative to the impolicy of recovering soils of inferior quality from a state of nature, and endeavoring to improve them. That land is enriched instead of impoverished by a proper course of cultivation, is a fact so well known to the veriest tyro in agriculture, that the alarm endeavored to be propagated of the gradual decay of the fertility of our soils will never excite more than a passing smile at the ignorance of facts thus exhibited. If, again, their theoretical predictions regarding the losses suffered by the country in endeavoring to recover and improve poor soils had operated on the fears of our forefathers for a century back, how little of our British soil would have been at this instant in cultivation; for how much of our cultivated soil came originally under the description of that which the economists are now denouncing, but which a judicious system of cultivation has converted from unproductive barrenness to productive fertility. Let any individual but take a twelve miles jaunt, from London to Hounslow, and he will then be able to contrast the difference in value that a year or two's judicious cultivation can produce, by comparing the wretched wastes there with the luxuriant fields around them once as bleak and barren, but which the magic wand of industry has converted into little elysiums of smiling fertility. Though the labour or capital employed in these achievements might probably be often invested, both at home and abroad, more beneficially for the individual who attempts the like, yet if a portion of land which could not maintain one man can be made to maintain ten, the country has certainly gained immensely by it in the amount of strength and wealth thus added to her resources. On the principles so confidently inculcated of late, the industrious quarrymen in Berwickshire (as recorded by Sir John Sinclair), and the industrious miners in Wales (lately rescued from the wolfish fangs of some unjust and pitiless landowners there by the praiseworthy efforts of the London press), would never have attempted the conversion of land so sterile as not to be worth one shilling per acre annually, into land so fertile as to be now worth thirty shillings. By sheltering land from the bleak winds, and removing its superfluous moisture by drains, you transplant it as it were into a new climate, while by pulverising and thoroughly mingling together the various upper strata of the soil, exposing the whole to the chemical changes brought about by the joint influence of sun, air, and moisture, and adding further such requisite artificial ingredients (such as dung and lime) which the strata may have been deficient in, you convert the land thus into a fit bed for the rearing of substances necessary for the support of life. The soil indeed seems to be more the medium through which vegetables derive their nourishment than the body from which they extract it. It is well known that exhausted soils will recover their fertility by rest, which they must do by absorbing some substance from the atmosphere, and by new chemical combinations having had time to take place in them. The benefits of fallowing are accounted for on this principle, the frequent stirring of the earth by the ploughs, &c. es. posing more freely the various particles of the soil to the influence of sun and atmosphere, and admitting thus the beneficial changes more fully and quickly to take place. The rotations of crops seem to exert their favorable influence also by calling similar actions into play; for each vegetable requiring its own peculiar species of sustenance will consequently exert its own peculiar chemical actions, and thus further each other's growth when growing together, or when following in rotation in the same land. Člover, it is well known, when sown on a piece of land exhausted by other crops will fertilise it without manure being applied; and as here no enriching ingredient has been added to the particles of the soil, the fertilising effects of the clover must have been produced by the new chemical actions occasioned by it favorable to the growth of other plants, or by a substance extracted from the atmosphere to enrich it.'
It appears, however, that some soils are so peculiarly composed as to be in a constant fit state for the continued annual production of one species of vegetable : for in some of the valleys of Kent there is soil found of a peculiarly rich black nature, hardening so in dry weather as often to require six or eight horses to break it up; yet this soil has been cropped yearly with wheat, as far back as human remembrance goes, without a particle of manure having been expended on it, and without the slightest decrease in its fertility. Tull asserts that efficient pulverisation will auswer all the purposes of manure ; and when we find pulverisation in fallow answer this purpose, and find too a particular soil when well pulverised even without fallow produce a succession of the same crops without manure, we ought to pause before we smile at such a man as Tull, until we know what kind of land he cultivated and the means of pulverisation that he employed. With the exception of a few small portions of earths and alkaline salts, the grand constituents of vegetable matter are to be found in the atmosphere ; and from this, therefore, through the medium of the roots and leaves, the principal nourishment of plants must be derived. We find that seeds often will not germinate if the earth is kept caked above them, and the air thus excluded; and that plants florish by a frequent stirring of the earth about their roots, admitting the atmosphere to mix with it. An able agricultural friend who farmed considerably in Berkshire informed me too, that for a period of four years he sowed wheat in alternate drills with turnips on a field, feeding the latter off with sheep on the removal of the wheat crop; and yet without applying a particle of extra manure, the wheat crops in this field rose from 15 bushels in the first year to 40 in the last, when he was forced at this period to decline the farther trial of the experiment from the too great luxuriance of the wheat. Here then, at the end of the fourth year, was a produce of about 2500 lbs of wheat and 4000 lbs of straw (besides the many pounds of fatted mutton) extracted from a single acre of land, all, or at least nearly all, derived from the atmosphere: for the land though unbenefited by extra manures was still rising in fertility, the only manure applied being that from the sheep fed on the turnips; and it was therefore only a portion of the turnip that was thus returned to the soil in shape of manure, because the sheep had a portion also of the turnip incorporated into their bodies in shape of fat and mutton. Seeing, therefore, that plants draw their principal sustenance from the atmosphere through the medium of the roots and leaves, the soil answering simply as a matrix for the roots to ramify through, we have impressed on us the propriety of reducing all our sterile and yet untamed lands into a fit matrix for them to grow in when such can be accomplished, and in this way increase the wealth and strength of the empire by making the land capable of sustaining a more dense population. In reference to the importation of corn it must be observed that a man may treat himself with several extra articles of dress annually, and improve his health and appearance thereby, but that he cannot indulge in an extra quantity of food without both suffering therefrom ; consequently it is obvious that for every bushel of foreign wheat consumed in England, a bushel of English wheat must be withdrawn