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the price of labour, and the immediate increase in the burden of the poor-rates, are two out of the many obvious instances in which the expenses of raising corn would be augmented in proportion to its market price. It is only to such means as will gradually enable the negative grower to enter into the market with the foreigner, that we can look for relief to agricul£ure. During the last session of parliament, petitions poured into the two houses, complaining of the distressed state of agriculture. The house of commons cannot create, by artificial means, that demand for the first necessaries of life which should remunerate those who produce them up to the extent of their wishes or the calls of their necessities; and even could the price of grain be thus raised, the house cannot by any legislative act render the consuming population, now so impoverished, competent to purchase corn at a high price. At present, when corn is comparatively cheap, are the poor too highly fed, or mechanics and manufacturers too well paid : That which government can do, without any violation of faith to the public creditor, is to diminish taxation by reducing expenditure: and , the effect of every measure of this kind would no doubt be immediately felt, both by the agricultural interest and the whole community. If we refer to the subsidiary causes of the present agricultural distress, we find many crying out against the existing corn laws: yet is it acknowledged on all hands that their repeal would produce no immediate benefit, while the misery is urgent and pressing:
With the corn laws, as they how stand, is necessarily connected the warehousing system; and this is described as most peculiarly injurious to the native grower; no sooner has wheat reached 80s., the price at which the ports are opened, than the markets are glutted with the produce of the warehouses, and the farmer robbed of his expectation of a remunerating price. But we would ask whether the importer on his side has no evils to contend with ; and whether, in the conflict between the two, the farmer has not the odds in his favour ! From the moment that the ports are closed the importer has an unproductive capital thrown upon his hands; and it is not only an unproductive, but a deteriorating and dimimishing capital. His corn is placed out of his own custody; time corrupts, and vermin destroy it. Before it is brought to market, or can be placed in competition with the native growth, it must be screened and cleaned afresh, with no slight loss. The loss, from all these causes, will of course depend upon the continuance of their operation, but can rarely be estimated at less than 5s. per quarter; and if at last the importer can, as is stated, glut the market when wheat has reached 80s., cannot the farmer, (particularly since the mischievous introduction of large farms), evidently perceiving the rise of the markets, be beforehand with his rival, and glut them at 79s., or 79s. 6d. 2 So far, therefore, as rer lates to the warehousing system, the farmer has evidently and greatly the advantage His sufferings proceed from the operation of those causes, or rather, of that cause, which disables him from
growing his grain at a reasonable expense—that is, from taxation. As the value of corn increased during the war, government taxed it afresh and afresh in every possible way. The landlord finding his own taxes also become daily heavier, raised his rents; the clergyman was obliged, by the same necessity, to raise his tithes. At last peace comes; and, from the facility of importation, perhaps abundant produce, emigration, and other causes, the real and abstract value of grain sinks; but in this its depreciated state, it still remains charged with the whole weight and apparatus of its old taxation. The diminution of taxation, will necessarily produce a necessity for diminution in the public expenditure. Something has been done, and with 875 millions sterling of debt, bearing an interest of between 30 and 40 millions per annum, it would be ridiculous to take pains about proving its necessity. That debt or interest, at the present amount of the sinking fund, would receive no very sensible diminution within less than twenty years. Yet who can promise us a general peace of half or a fourth of twenty years; and, taxed as we now are, by what miracle can the means of encountering an enemy be provided ? With regard both to our foreign trade and our internal trade and manufactures, there is reason for grateful retrospection and pleasing expectancy. Our European trade is considerably increased, that with the united states of America is upon the advance, and that to other parts of the world is on a peculiarly advantageous footing, and in a state of progressive pros
perity. The opening of the East India trade and the extension of the privileges of private traders have laid the foundation of a commerce which will rapidly enlarge to an almost incalculable extent. Our brass and copper manufactures have far exceeded their former amount. Our export of iron still retains the mediterranean market, and from a great increasing demand . and consumption, both foreign and domestic, is becoming one of the staple commodities of the country. The woollen manufactures, on an average of the last five years, exceed a similar average taken during the most advantageous years of the war: and our gross exports of cotton manufactures now forming our principal export to the continent of Europe, as well as to America, have advanced from sixteen to
twenty-one millions. The spirit of faction and of impiety which so recently presented a hideous appearance in the manufacturing districts has happily subsided, so that general tranquillity pervades the country. It is painful to except Ireland from this remark, which exhibits most lamentable scenes of outrage and violence. We fondly anticipated that the royal visit would extinguish the unhallowed flames of discord, but they have burst forth afresh. The avowed objects of the wretched peasantry are to reduce the amount of rents, tithes, and taxes. No facts have yet been divulged which go to prove the existence of any planned insurrection against the state. War it is, unhappily; but not waged against the government as such: though, indeed, it cannot add much to the present comfort or satisfaction satisfaction of those well-disposed subjects who inhabit the disturbed counties, that the attack is directed by paupers against every man of property, instead of by traitors against the sovereign on his throne. So far as yet appears, the avowed complaints of the robbers and incendiaries of the south of Ireland afford the fair explanation of their motives for outraging the laws, of the land and of humanity, and it is only from a sincere impression, and explicit acknowledgment by the government and aristocracy of Ireland, that the purpose of these outlaws is not political, we can hope to see a redress of wrongs in that country. While the whole European world has advanced in the arts of peace and in the enjoyments of cultivated society, it is a truth as melancholy as it is disgraceful, that the great bulk of indigenous population through the south and central parts of Ireland has stood for centuries unchanged and motionless. Ulster was judiciously colonized from this country; manufactures have there been successfully introduced; and, from being in the latter part of the reign of
Elizabeth the most savage and, desolate portion of the island, that province has since become the seat—the almost exclusive seat—of industry, sobriety, and comfort, amongst the labouring classes. With regard to the present local disturbances, they are of the same nature, and nearly in the same form, as a thousand others from which Ireland has never been wholly exempt for any consider
able time. As for objects of a
political character, we cannot connect the nightly depredations of a county or parochial banditti with any designs against the stateThey constitute indeed a state malady, of a dreadful and complex nature. Contempt for the laws and for the rights of property, hatred of the established religion, utter estrangement from the higher classes of the community, habitual violence, and oftentimes insupportable oppression— these are borne on the “head and front of the offence;” but the
ople of England are mistaken in imagining that any serious danger to the king's government is involved in the excesses of the Irish peasantry.
View of the Finances of Great Britain.
B. the frequent employment of the terms “ Political Economy,” an ordinary observer might infer, that at the present period, the science is very generally cultivated, and that the knowledge
of its principles is almost universally extended. If, however, this were the case, it is probable that the contrariety of sentiments, on subjects connected with the science, which now obtains, would no
- longer łonger be seen, and that results which are commonly witnessed, would be attributed only to their proper and necessary causes. But it is not at all unusual to find that the views which are taken on these subjects by various writers, seem rather to be in conformity with their political or perhaps commercial habits, than in alliance with the most established rules, or the doctrines maintained in the best works in this department of literature. These remarks may be particularly applied to that branch of the subject which comprises the state of the currency, and the causes of the phenomena which have resulted from the change in the circulating medium. Now whatever causes may be assigned for the circumstances in which we are placed by this change, it is probable that a reference to the principles of money will furnish a solution of what may at first apfo. to be a considerable difficulty.
f it be allowed that money is merely the representative of value, then the principal qualities to be sought in a currency, are those which possess the characteristics of durability and of universal estimation; or, in other words, those which are the least subject to fluctuation in price and to deterioration in use, and at the same time are nearly of the same value in all commercial countries. These qualities are supposed to be possessed in an eminent degree by the precious metals. They have, therefore, been adopted as the standard of value. The extraordinary length and unparalleled expenses of the last war, however, produced a fluctuation in the price of bullion to which it is not commonly incident, — the mint price being
31. 17s. 10}d. per ounce of gold, and the highest price 4l. I3s. To account for this variation, much has been written, and with various degrees of seeming triumph, both on the side of what was called the bullion committee and on the contrary. But whether the high price of bullion be attributable to the depreciation of bank paper, or whether it may be the result merely of the unfavourable state of the exchanges, and the balance of trade against us, may be hereafter enquired. It is a very favourable circumstance, that a different state of things has taken the place of that which generated the controversy to which we have adverted; and that peace having healed the suffering nations has re-opened the avenues to our commerce and returned to us, with a favourable state of the exchanges an adequate supply of the precious metals. By a maxim in political economy, “that the difference of prices in these metals cannot long continue;' we are led back from a short digression to a consideration of the currency of the country. It may, however, be observed, in passing, that in this digression we have seen the causes of some of those inconveniences which occur in commerce from the variation of the value of coin which we shall hereafter have to notice. It is obvious, that in a commercial country like our own, in transactions of any great extent, coin is not employed, but payments are made in paper; but it is essential to the validity of a paper system, whether the remark be applied to the bills of an individual or to those of the bank, that they should be the representatives of - money, money, as on this principle alone can they with safety become a circulating medium, For, if for example, an individual purchase a bale of goods, and instead of paying money, gives his bill for the amount of the purchase money, that bill may be said to represent cash, inasmuch as in all probability the goods will be returned in cash at the period at which the bill is payable, and the bill will be duly honoured. But if, on the other hand, an individual issues his notes to pay for his expenses of living, or on any account where the notes are not represented in the way to which we have alluded, such notes are of no real value. He may however have issued bills, we will suppose to the amount of a thousand pounds, on real proyerty; but he has also given bills for two hundred, which are of the description above-named : he will then have issued his bills for twelve Thundred pounds, when his assets are only a thousand; his paper therefore is depreciated, and he has only sixteen shillings and eight pence in the pound. This case may nearly represent what takes place in a nation's affairs when an excessive and unconvertible paper currency obtains. Suppose for instance, that the bank had continued to pay their notes in cash from the year 1797, to the present time, they would necessarily then have confined their issues, to the amount of their deposits, and the gold coin of the country would not probably have left us for so long a period. The result of the restriction act was to enable the bank to issue notes to any extent, without fear of being compelled to pay them in specie. The amount of notes at that period
was about twelve millions, from that time however, it continued to rise till it became twenty-eight millions: at the periods of paying the dividends too, even this sum
was increased. Now, it is clear, that either the bank could have paid their notes in cash, at any part of the interval referred to, or the notes must have been depreciated, as in the case of the individual alluded to above. For, if the bank had possessed the means, they ought without doubt to have paid them when presented. But this supposition would involve the result that the bank, to say nothing of the eleven millions in the hands of government, besides maintaining their establishment, and paying a large dividend to their proprietors, and giving bonuses at different periods, at length, adding twenty-five per cent to their capital, had accumulated bullion to the enormous amount of their issues; this was absurd. The other part of the dijenima is then that their notes were at a discount. This statement, as we have already hinted, has been much controverted; but that the depreciation existed, we think follows unquestionably from the principles to which we have adverted. Nor is it sufficient to adduce the high price of bullion in refutation of this position; for although it might have occasioned a run on the bank, yet had the notes been convertible into cash, it is probable that the very circumstance might have tended to produce a recurrence of bullion to its usual prices. The argument itself however proves, that the paper was inferior to bullion, and also that in common with other articles of commerce, its advance