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hardwares and cutlery go chiefly to want of good and accessible seaAustralia, India, and the United ports, in consequence of which the States; and our woollen and worsted goods which they take from us are goods to the United States, India conveyed to them overland, and and China, Germany, British North figure in the imports of other counAmerica, and Australia.
tries. Our own possessions, it will terial of war-cannon, rifles, and be seen, are as good customers to gunpowder—we send to any coun us in the buying as in the selling. try which, unhappily for itself, may They take from us fully one-third stand in need of them.
of our exports; the United States, As the amount of our imports Germany, France, Turkey, and Holshows, we are good customers to the land take another third; and the world at large. Having seen the remaining third is taken in various kind of goods which each country proportions by the other countries takes from or sends to us, let us in- of the world. These facts bring dicate the countries with which the out in a very clear light the imgreatest amount of our trade is car- ' portance to us of our colonies and ried on. Of the 249 millions' worth possessions. The whole cost of our of goods which we imported last colonies to the British exchequer is year, 84 came from our own pos- barely three and a quarter millions sessions (i.e., our colonies and In- sterling, of which sum about a mildia ; from France, 24; United lion is absorbed by our military States, 19}; Egypt, 16}; Germany, stations of Malta and Gibraltar; 13} ; China, 13; Russia, 12}. Thus while India costs us nothing at all, our own possessions send us fully and, moreover, furnishes a profitone-third of our imports; France, able sphere of action for our adventhe United States, Egypt, Germany, turous youth, who in due time and China, send rather more than bring home with them their gains. another third; and of the remain- India at present buys annually 20 ing 77} millions, Russia and Hol- millions' worth of goods from us, land send us fully 27 per cent. and Australia 12. Arabia and Persia figure lowest in We are the great carriers of the the list. In 1862, Persia sent us £5 world. Thirty thousand ships sailworth of goods, Arabia nothing; ing under the flag, or bearing the in 1863 Arabia sent us £2 worth of cargoes of England, says Mr. Cobgoods, and Persia nothing. Japan den, are ever on the seas, going and sends a million.
coming from all parts of the globe. The same countries which sell to The once solitary and unnavigated us the greatest amount of goods are surface of ocean is now whitened also (though not quite in the same with the sails and tossed by the order) those which buy from us the paddles of countless vessels. Not most. Of the 146 millions of our promiscuously do these whiteexports last year, our own posses- winged ships dot the expanse of sions purchased 51 millions' worth; ocean, but following and crossing the United States, 15; Germany, and meeting one another on regular 134; France, 83; Turkey (exclusive highways, which men have found, of Egypt), nearly 7; and Holland, 6}. not made, on the deep. We make Arabia and Persia again figure low- roads with vast labour on land, est in the list; in some years taking we find them made for us at sea, nothing at all, in others a thousand in the great currents which wind pounds or so—less than the amount through the deep, and the steadyof goods sent to our consuls and em- blowing winds which traverse in bassy. These two countries, doubt- similar fashion the realms of air. less, take very little from is; but From the Thames, the Mersey, the the infinitesimal appearance which Tyne, the Humber, and the Clyde, they make in the Board of Trade argosies and commercial armadas returns is greatly owing to their are ever leaving, and jostle in our es
tuaries with similar squadrons mak we have 1500 sailing vessels, averaging to port.* The shores of these ing 160 tons each, and employing estuaries, lined with miles of docks 10,000 men;' besides 90 steamers, and building-yards, ring with the averaging 330 tons burden, and emclang of hammers; and vast ribs of ploying 1700 men. In the purely wood and iron, curving upwards foreign trade we have upwards of from still vaster keels, show where 7000 sailing vessels, averaging 430 leviathan vessels are being got tons each, and employing 100,000 ready for their adventurous career. men; also upwards of 500 steamAs we watch the launch of these ships, of the average burden of 645 vessels,-still more as we see them tons, and employing 20,000 men. setting off, with full-spread sails or Thus, in our home and foreign smoking funnels, for all parts of the trade, taken together, we have fully world—to China or the Cape, to 20,000 ships, with a tonnage of the St Lawrence or La Plata, to the 41 millions, and employing 175,000 North Sea or the Mexican Gulf, or men. Both classes of our ships, both to double the wintry promontory of steam and sailing, are regularly inCape Horn on their way to the creasing in numbers, but much the guano islands of Peru or the golden greater ratio of increase is in the shores of California --we think of number of steamers. In both kinds icebergs and sunken reefs, of ty- of vessels, too, there is a steady inphoons and tornadoes, as well as of crease in size. Comparing the prefair winds and sunny seas. All sent amount of our shipping with the year round, a ceaseless stream what it was in 1850, we find that of ocean-traffic is flowing to and from we have eleven per cent more ships, our shores. Last year 90,310 ves- forty-four per cent more tonnage, sels with cargoes entered or left and fifteen per cent more men our ports, carrying on the foreign Moreover, a great economy has of trade of the country.t. Of this late been effected in the working of shipping, British and colonial ves the vessels. Since 1850, there has sels exceeded the foreign in number been a reduction of one-fifth in the by one-fourth, and in tonnage (our number of men required for a cerships being a half larger) by nearly tain amount of tonnage; so that two to one.
our 175,000 seamen now work an In regard to the amount of Brit- amount of shipping which would ish shipping, we find accurate in- have required 220,000 men in 1850. formation in the official register. The last feature of our trade which In the home I trade, employed remains to be noticed is the traffic on our coasts in conveying goods in the precious metals.
It is a cuand passengers from port to port, rious, and at first sight a puzzling we have 11,000 sailing vessels, It is so, at least, to those who averaging 75 tons burden each, fancy that the receipt or export of and employing 40,000 men; be- the precious metals is an indication sides 450 steam-vessels, averaging of a country's gains or losses. Gold 240 tons burden each, and employ- and silver in large quantities are ing 7000 men. Engaged partly in constantly pouring into this country, home and partly in foreign trade, and flying off again. The native
* The amount of the export trade from the twelve chief ports of the United Kingdom in 1862 was as follows:-Liverpool, £50,297,135; London, £31,523,812 ; Hull, £11,916,375 ; ' Glasgow and Greenock, £6,096, 228 ; Southampton, £3,379,503 ; Newcastle, £1,968,118 ; Leith, 1,298,099 ; Bristol, £298,260 ; Cork, £132,130 ; Dublin, £48,777 ; Belfast, £4188.
+ This statement shows clearly the vast amount of shipping employed in our trade; but it is not a guide to the number of separate ships employed-seeing that many of them make double or treble voyages, and are entered anew each time.
# The “home trade” includes our own coasts, together with the ports between Brest and the mouth of the Elbe.
countries of the precious metals, of the other. The goods which we Australia, Mexico, and California get from the former are taken by (through the United States), send the latter; the bullion which we us a large portion of their annual get from the latter is taken by the produce; and we send it off again, former. Each exports what it can chiefly to Turkey, Egypt, and India. best spare; and, dealing with both, There is also a constant flux and we pay the one by sending to it the reflux of the precious metals be- produce of the other. A drain of tween England and the other coun- gold upon any country may be octries of Europe, especially between casioned simply by a change in the this country and France. During channels of trade. For example, as the last five years we got 18 long as we drew our cotton supplies millions of gold and silver from from the United States, gold was France, and we sent thither nearly hardly needed in the trade, because 40 millions. But of the balance the United States took from us of 22 millions thus apparently ac other goods of equal value; whereas quired by France, a considerable now, when we get our cotton from portion simply took its way through India, Egypt, and other countries that country, vià Marseilles, to the which take less goods from us than East. No less than 140} millions we buy from them, we have to pay sterling of the precious metals were away a very large amount of bullion imported into England during the every year. Yet there is not a loss last five years, and 138 millions were in the one case any more than in exported; so that of the enormous the other. The influx or efflux of quantity which we received, only bullion is no sign of a country's two and a half millions remained gain or loss. Australia is constantly with us.
How was this? What sending away her gold, and is growbecame of the 138 millions which ing rich by the process.
Her whole no sooner reached our shores than prosperity depends on her parting it went off again? We made the with the gold; it would be the best possible use of it. We sent it worst evil that could befall her if abroad chiefly to purchase materials she were compelled to keep it. The for our industry, and the goods 'Economist,' as we have said, reckons manufactured from these materials the annual savings of the United we in turn sent abroad, selling them Kingdom at the astounding sum of to other countries. Thus we send £130,000,000. What is there in away our gold in order that we may the flow of bullion to show for this? make a profit on the materials which In one year (if the ' Economist' be the gold purchases. It is a fair ex- correct) the capital of the country change. The foreign country gets increases by a sum which is nearly the value of its goods in gold, and equal to the whole amount of the we get the value of our gold in precious metals which came to our goods. But these goods, by being shores during the last five years, manufactured and re-exported, not yet of that amount all that remained only give employment to our people, with us was only two millions and but enable us to make a profit a half! If the import and accumuwhich we could not do by keeping lation of the precious metals were the gold.
a test of national progress in wealth, There are some countries which then India should be making greater export more goods and less bullion gains every year than England and than they import; and there is an all Europe put together. The ebb other class of countries which re and flow of the precious metals
, gularly export less goods and more therefore, is no indication whatever bullion than they import. India of the amount of a nation's gains is an example of the one class,—the or losses. It is an event which ingold and silver-producing countries, dicates nothing but itself,-namely, Australia, California, and Mexico, that payments in bullion are being
Is that any
di made: and nothing can be predi- China, and hardly, yet is it a
cated therefrom as to the relative legal tender in India. Therefore It condition of the sender or receiver. these Australian and Mexican mer
An influx of bullion may be chants give the China or Indian Tois equally a sign of gain and a sign of exporters bills upon some well
indebtedness. Suppose the Govern- known firm in London, and send
ment of any country—say Russia bullion to London to meet these 1. raises a foreign loan of ten or twenty bills when due. The exporters on 5 millions; then to that extent, or their part at once get these bills te nearly so, the precious metals are discounted at their banks in CalEure drawn from other countries and cutta or Shanghai, where the pros poured into Russia.
duce is placed to their account; and sign that Russia is increasing in the bills themselves are sent by wealth, or that the balance of trade post to London to the parties on is in her favour? No, certainly: it whom they are drawn, and who is a sign of neither of these things. thereupon have to make payment. The indebtedness of Russia is only Now, as these bills on London are increased thereby. Or again, of always in excess of our bills on
the immense savings which we make India and China, the balance has Tabs annually, suppose our capitalists to be sent out in the precious
resolve to devote ten or twenty metals : and thus the bullion which millions sterling to the construction comes to us from the gold and silver of railways, or suchlike enterprises, producing countries for the most in foreign countries, which will part simply rests here as at an enyield a good profit. Thereupon the trepôt, and is quickly sent off to precious metals leave our shores in the East. Only, the gold must first great quantity; but are we losers be exchanged for silver in Europe, thereby ? Would the money be as it is silver only that is current sent abroad if it were not to get money in India and China. It is larger profits than the senders can only in making such payments that get at home ?—and does not the the precious metals are of any use annual interest, or dividends, on to trade. Their use is to effect the sums thus invested abroad come purchases or payments which canback to us regularly, to increase the not be accomplished by the ordinary profits or income of our people ? means of bills of exchange. In Finally, the coming and going of such cases only are the precious the precious metals may be a sign metals needed. Indeed, the use of neither of gain nor of loss, but the precious metals is even more simply of the amount of trade restricted than this. When there which a country is carrying on. is a want of bills of exchange, goods The precious metals pass through may be sent abroad instead alike this country as through a sieve; of bills and of gold. These goods and the immense quantities that are then sold in the foreign market, thus come and go are simply one of and with the proceeds the English the consequences of our extensive merchant pays his foreign creditor, trade. To a large extent our mer without a single sovereign having chants act as intermediaries be- left this country. Instead of sendtween countries which have little ing specie from this country, he commercial relation with one an- buys it abroad with goods,-paying other.
For example, Australian his creditor out of the stock of specie and Mexican merchants order goods held in the creditor's own country. from China or India, between which Gold is sent abroad only when it countries and their own there is suits the interests of the sender to little or no direct trade, and conse do so. Hence, to place restrictions quently no bills of exchange in on the export of gold, is simply
can be made ; to compel our traders to send goods moreover, gold is not money in at a bad bargain when they could
send gold at a good one. It is an
gold from Australia just as he orders interference with the liberty of cotton from India. Or, with less trade. It is an antiquated system, trouble, he can buy bills on any and yet it is the principle which place he likes, and order the prounderlies almost all the operations ceeds of the bills to be sent home of the Bank of England. For ex to him in specie : and he will only ample, in November, the Bank re have to pay freightage on this fused to discount the bills of cot- specie the same as he pays it on ton merchants simply because the other commodities. So much elaproceeds of these bills were meant borate nonsense is talked on this to be sent abroad in the shape of subject and on “the exchanges" specie.
that one is apt to think that the The movements of gold are like precious metals ought to be styled those of a cheque which is never the mysterious metals." Yet cancelled. The man to whom gold there is no mystery either in their is paid can make no profit by keep- influence
movements. he passes it on to another, They can be dealt in like other who for the same reason acts like- commodities—bought and sold in wise, and so on,—the gold sufficing the same way as sugar, soap, or to make payments, as a cheque tea. does, and, like a cheque, having no The statistics of our trade which other use.
If a man pays another have now been passed in review, with a bill of exchange, the receiver exhibit, in a startling manner, our may keep it for several months, - dependence upon other countries. for it is equivalent to an interest. We are dependent upon them alike bearing security; but no one keeps for food, for clothing, and for emgold or cheques, for they are sterile. ployment. Our dependence for Gold is profitless unless it circulate: clothing may seem a small matter, to circulate is its grand use and its though it is not; but our dependnormal habit. And as it circulates, ence for food and employment is flitting from country to country, unquestionably a very serious affair. making payments or purchases, and If Mr Caird is right in estimating circling back again, a momentary the consumption of our people at ebb of the precious metal may oc- twenty million quarters of wheat, cur in one country while a plethora then, during the last four years is produced in another. But this (when the average annual importais merely transitory—a state of un tion has exceeded twelve million stable equilibrium which is over in quarters) eighteen millions of our a few weeks' time. Why, then, population-three-fifths of the nashould these temporary ebbs of gold tion — have been dependent for put us in a flutter? And yet, when grain-food upon foreign countries. they occur, we actually allow them But even taking the most favourto shake down our whole fabrics of able estimate that can be formed, it trade and industry.
appears, on the average of years, Any merchant can get these pre- that not less than one-third of our cious metals, whether for export or population is dependent upon import, in the same way as he grain-supplies from abroad. * This gets cotton or iron. He may order is irrespective of the nine millions'
As, unfortunately, there are no agricultural returns for England and Scotland, a reasonable conjecture is the only approximation to correctness which can be made in estimating the amount of wheat consumed by our people. Twenty years ago it was assumed that, on an average, one quarter of wheat was consumed per head. This would give a total consumption of 30 million quarters. Mr Caird estimates it at only two-thirds of that amount. The truth may lie between these different estimates. There can be no doubt that wheat bread is more in use by the lower classes than it formerly was ; the consumption of wheat in manufactures in the