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to the ox, that I think there is room to question, country greatness more solid, and felicity more whether a great part of mankind has yet been durable ? informed that life is sustained by the fruits of It is apparent, that every trading nation flourthe earth. I was once indeed provoked to ask ishes, while it can be said to flourish by the a lady of great eminence for genius, Whether courtesy of others. We cannot compel any she know of what bread is made ?
people to buy from us, or to sell to us. A thouI have already observed, how differently sand accidents may prejudice them in favour of agriculture was considered by the heroes and our rivals; the workmen of another nation may wise men of the Roman commonwealth, and labour for less price, or some accidental imshall now only add, that even after the emperors provement, or natural advantage, may procure had made great alteration in the system of life, a just preference for their commodities; as csand taught men to portion out their esteem to perience has shown, that there is no work of the other qualities than usefulness, agriculture still hands, which, at different times, is not best permaintained its reputation, and was taught by formed in different places. the polite and elegant Celsus among the other Traffic, even while it continues in its state arts.
of prosperity, must owe its success to agriculThe usefulness of agriculture I have already ture; the materials of manufacture are the pro. shown; I shall now, therefore, prove its neces- duce of the earth. The wool which we weave sity; and having before declared that it pro- into cloth, the wood which is formed into cabia duces the chief riches of a nation, I shall pro- nets, the metals which are forged into weapons, ceed to show, that it gives its only riches, the are supplied by nature with the help of art. only riches which we can call our own, and of Manufactures, indeed, and profitable manufacwhich we need not fear either deprivation er tures, are sometimes raised from imported madiminution.
terials, but then we are subjected a second time Of nations, as of individuals, the first blessing to the caprice of our neighbours. The natives is indeperdence. Neither the man nor the people of Lombardy might easily resolve to retain their can be happy to whom any human power can silk at home, and employ workmen of their own deny the necessaries or conveniences of life. to weave it. And this will certainly be done There is no way of living without the need of when they grow wise and industrious, when foreign assistance, but by the product of our they have sagacity to discern their true interest, own land, improved by.our own labour. Every and vigour to pursue it. other source of plenty is perishable or casual. Mines are generally considered as the great
Trade and manufactures must be confessed sources of wealth, and superficial observers have often to enrich countries : and we ourselves are thought the possession of great quantities of pre. indebted to them for those ships by which we cious metals the first national happiness. But now command the sea from the equator to the Europe has long seen, with wonder and conpoles, and for those sums with which we have tempt, the poverty of Spain, who thought hershown ourselves able to arm the nations of the self exempted from the labour of tilling the north in defence of regions in the western hem- ground, by the conquest of Peru, with its veins isphere. But trade and manufactures, however of silver. Time, however, has taught even this profitable, must yield to the cultivation of lands obstinate and baughty nation, that without in usefulness and dignity.
agriculture they may indeed be the transmitters Commerce, however we may please ourselves of money, but can never be the possessors. They with the contrary opinion, is one of the daugh- may dig it out of the earth, but must immeters of Fortune, inconstant and deceitful as her diately send it away to purchase cloth or bread, mother; she chooses her residence where she and it must at last remain with some people is least expected, and shifts her abode, when wise enough to sell much and to buy little ; to her continuance is in appearance most firmly live upon their own lands, without a wish for settled. Who can read of the present distresses those things which nature has denied them. of the Genoese, whose only choice now remain- Mines are themselves of no use, without some ing is from what monarch they shall solicit pro- kind of agriculture. We have in our own tection ? Who can see the Hanseatic towns in country, inexhaustible stores of iron, which lie ruins, where perhaps the inhabitants do not al- useless in the ore for want of wood. It was ways equal the number of the houses ; but he never the design of Providence to feed man will say to himself, These are the cities, whose without his own concurrence; we have from trade enabled them once to give laws to the nature only what we cannot provide for ourworld, to whose merchants princes sent their selves; she gives us wild fruits, which art must jewels in pawn, from whose treasuries armies meliorate, and drosey metals, which labour must were paid, and navies supplied! And who can refine. then forbear to consider trade as a weak and Particular metals are valuable, because they uncertain basis of power, and wish to his own are scarce; and they are scarce, because the mines that yield them are emptied in time. But suffers not any variation, but what is caused by tht surface of the earth is more liberal than its the uncertainty of seasons. caverns. The field, which is this autumn laid I am far from intending to persuade my counnaked by the sickle, will be covered, in the suc- trymen to quit all other employments for that ceeding summer, by a new harvest; the grass, of manuring the ground. I mean only to prove, which the cattle are devouring, shoots up again that we have, at home, all that we can want, when they have passed over it.
and that therefore we need feel no great anxiety Agriculture, therefore, and agriculture alone, about the schemes of other nations for improvcan support us without the help of others, in ing their arts, or extending their traffic. But certain plenty and genuine dignity. Whatever there is no necessity to infer, that we should we buy from without, the sellers may refuse ; cease from commerce, before the revolution of whatever we sell, manufactured by art, the pur. things shall transfer it to some other regions ! chasers may reject; but, while our ground is Such vieissitudes the world has often seen; and covered with corn and cattle, we can want therefore such we have reason to expect. We nothing; and if imagination should grow sick hear many clamours of declining trade, which of native plenty, and call for delicacies or em- are not, in my opinion, always true ; and many bellishments from other countries, there is imputations of that decline to governors and nothing wbich corn and cattle will not purchase. ministers, which may be sometimes just, and
Our country is, perhaps, beyond all others, sometimes calumnious. But it is foolish to productive of things necessary to life. The imagine, that any care or policy can keep compine-apple thrives better between the tropics, merce at a stand, which almost every nation and better furs are found in the northern re- has enjoyed and lost, and which we must expect gions. But let us not envy these unnecessary to lose as we have long enjoyed it. privileges. Mankind cannot subsist upon the There is some danger, lest our neglect of indulgences of nature, but must be supported agriculture should hasten its departure. Our by her more common gifts. They must feed industry has for many ages been employed in upon bread, and be clothed with wool; and the destroying the woods which our ancestors have nation that can furnish these universal commo- planted. It is well known that commerce is dities, may have her ships welcomed at a thou- carried on by ships, and that ships are built out sand ports, or sit at home and receive the tri- of trees ; and therefore, when I travel over bute of foreign countries, enjoy their arts, or naked plains, to which tradition has preserved treasure up their gold.
the name of forests, or see hills arising on It is well known to those who have examined either hand barren and useless, I cannot forbear the state of other countries, that the vineyards to wonder, how that commerce, of which we of France are more than equivalent to the mines promise ourselves the perpetuity, shall be conof America ; and that one great use of Indian tinued by our descendants ; nor can restrain a gold, and Peruvian silver, is to procure the sigh, when I think on the time, a time at no Svines of Champaigne and Burgundy. The ad- great distance, when our neighbours may devantage is indeed always rising on the side of prive us of our naval influence, by refusing us France, who will certainly have wines, when their timber. Spain, by a thousand natural or accidental By agriculture only can commerce be percauses, may want silver. But surely the valleys petuated ; and by agriculture alone can we live of England have more certain stores of wealth. in plenty without intercourse with other naWines are chosen by caprice; the products of tions. This, therefore, is the great art, which France have not always been equally esteemed; every government ought to protect, every probat there never was any age, or people, that prietor of lands to practise, and every inquirer reckoned bread among superfluities, when once into nature to improve. it was known. The price of wheat and barley
CONSIDERATIONS ON THE CORN LAWS.
By wbat causes the necessaries of life have risen to a price at which a great part of the people
are unable to procure them, how the present scarcity may be remedied, and calamities of the
• These “ Considerations," for which we are in. debted to Mr. Malone, who published them in 1808, or rather to his liberal publisher, Mr. Payne, were,
in the opinion of Mr. Malone, written in November, 1766, when the policy of the parliamentary bounty on the exportation of corn became paturally a sub
same kind may for the future be prevented, is This position involves two questions : when an inquiry of the first importance; an inquiry ther the present scarcity has been caused by the before which all the considerations which com- bounty, and whether the bounty is likely to promonly busy the legislature vanish from the duce scarcity in future times. view.
It is an uncontroverted principle, that sublata The interruption of trade, though it may dis- causâ tollitur effectus : if therefore the effect tress part of the community, leaves the rest continues when the supposed cause has ceased, power to communicate relief; the decay of one that effect must be imputed to some other manufacture may be compensated by the ad-agency. vancement of another; a defeat may be repaired The bounty has ceased, and the exportation by victory; a rupture with one nation may be would still continue, if exportation were perbalanced by an alliance with another. These mitted. The true reason of the scarcity is the are partial and slight misfortunes, which leave failure of the harvest; and the cause of exporus still in the possession of our chief com- tation is the like failure in other countries, forts. They may lop some of our superfluous where they grow less, and where they are pleasures, and repress some of our exorbitant therefore always nearer to the danger of want. hopes ; but we may still retain the essential part This want is such, that in countries where of civil and of private happiness,—the security of money is at a much higher value than with us, law, and the tranquillity of content. They are the inhabitants are yet desirous to buy our corn small obstructions of the stream, which raise a at a price to which our own markets have not foam and noise where they happen to be found, risen. but at a little distance are neither seen nor felt, If we consider the state of those countries, and suffer the maid current to pass forward in which being accustomed to buy our corn chcaper its natural course.
than ourselves, when it was cheap, are now reBut scarcity is an evil that extends at once duced to the necessity of buying it dearer than to the whole community: that neither leaves ourselves, when it is dear, we shall yet have quiet to the poor, nor safety to the rich : that reason to rejoice in our own exemption from in its approaches distresses all the subordinate the extremity of this wide-extended calamity; ranks of mankind, and in its extremity must and if it be necessary to inquire why we suffer subvert government, drive the populace upon scarcity, it may be fit to consider likewise, why their rulers, and end in bloodshed and massacre. we suffer yet less scarcity than our neighbours. Those who want the supports of life will seize That the bounty upon corn has produced them wherever they can be found. If in any plenty, is apparent, place there are more than can be fed, some Because ever since the grant of the bounty, must be expelled, or some must be destroyed. agriculture has increased : scarce a session has
Of this dreadful scene there is no immediate passed without a law for enclosing commons danger; but there is already evil sufficient to and waste grounds : deserve and require all our diligence, and all Much land has been subjected to tillage, our wisdom. The miseries of the poor are such which lay uncultivated with little profit : as cannot easily be borne : such as have already Yet, though the quantity of land has been incited them in many parts of the kingdom to thus increased, the rent, which is the price of an open defiance of government, and produced land, has generally increased at the same time. one of the greatest of political evils--the ne- That more land is appropriated to tillage, is cessity of ruling by immediate force.
a proof that more corn is raised ; and that the Cæsar declared after the battle of Munda, rents have not fallen, proves that no more is that he had often fought for victory, but that he raised than can readily be sold. had that day fought for life. We have often But it is urged, that exportation, though it deliberated how we should prosper ; we are increases our produce, diminishes our plenty: now to inquire how we shall subsist.
that the merchant has more encouragement for The present scarcity is imputed by some to exportation than the farmer for agriculture. the bounty for exporting corn, which is consi- This is a paradox which all the principles of dered as having a necessary and perpetual ten- commerce, and all the experience of policy, condency to pour the grain of this country into cur to confute. Whatever is done for gain will other nations.
be done more, as more gain is to be obtained.
Let the effects of the bounty be minutely
considered. ject of discussion. The harvest in that year had been
The state of every country with respect to so deficient, and coro had risen to so high a price, corn is varied by the chances of the year. that in the months of September and October there had been many insurrectious in the midland coun.
Those to whom we sell our corn, must bave ties, to which Dr. Johnson alludes ; and which were every year either more corn than they want, or of so alarming a kind, that it was vecessary to re- less than they want. We likewise are naturally press them by military force.
subject to the same varieties.
When they have corn equal to their wants, or “ But perhaps, if exportation were less enmore, the bounty has no effect : for they will couraged, the superfluous stores of plentiful not buy what they do not want, unless our ex- years might be laid up by the farmer against uberance be such as tempts them to store it for years of scarcity.” another year. This case must suppose that our This may be justly answered by affirming, produce is redundant and useless to ourselves; that, if exportation were discouraged, we should and therefore the profit of exportation produces have no years of plenty. Cheapness is prono inconvenience.
duced by the possibility of dearness. Our When they want corn, they must buy of us, farmers at present plough and sow with the and buy at a higher price; in this case, if we hope that some country will always be in want have corn more than enough for ourselves, we and that they shall grow rich by supplying are again benefited by supplying them.
Indefinite hopes are always carried by the frailty But they may want when we have no super- of human nature beyond reason. While there fuity
When our markets rise, the bounty fore exportation is encouraged, as much corn ceases; and therefore produces no evil. They will be raised as the farmer can hope to sell, cannot buy our corn but at a higher rate than and therefore generally more than can be sold it is sold at home. If their necessities, as now at the price of which he dreamed, when he has happened, force them to give a bigher ploughed and sowed. price, that event is no longer to be charged The greatest part of our corn is well known upon the bounty. We may then stop our corn to be raised by those who pay rent for the in our ports, and pour it back upon our own ground which they employ, and of whom few markets.
can bear to delay the sale of one year's produce It is in all cases to be considered, what events to another. are physical and certain, and wbat are political It is therefore vain to hope that large stocks and arbitrary.
of grain will ever remain in private hands; he The first effect of the bounty is the increase that has not sold the corn of last year, will with of agriculture, and by consequence the promo- diffidence and reluctance till his field again: the tion of plenty. This is an effect physically accumulation of a few years would end in a vagood, and morally certain. While men are de-ation of agriculture, and the husbandman would sirous to be rich, where there is profit there apply himself to some more profitable calling. will be diligence. If much corn can be sold, If the exportation of corn were totally promuch will be raised.
hibited, the quantity possible to be consumed The second effect of the bounty is the dimi- among us would be quickly known, and being nution by exportation of that product which it known would rarely be exceeded; for why occasioned. But this effect is political and ar- should corn be gathered which cannot be sold ? bitrary; we have it wholly in our own bands : we should therefore have little superfluity in we can prescribe its limits, and regulate its the most favourable seasons; for the farmer, quantity. Whenever we feel want, or fear it, like the rest of mankind, acts in hope of sucwe retain our corn, and feed ourselves upon cess, and the harvest seldom outgoes the expecthat which was sown and raised to feed other tation of the spring. But for droughts or blights, pations.
we should never be provided ; any intemperaIt is perhaps impossible for human wisdom to ture of seasons would reduce us to distress, go further, than to contrive a law of which the wbich we now only read of in our histories; good is certain and uniform, and the evil, though what is now scarcity, would then be famine. possible in itself, yet always subject to certain What would be caused by prohibiting exporand effectual restraints.
tation, will be caused in a less degree by obThis is the true state of the bounty upon corn: structing it, and in some degree by every deducit certainly and necessarily increases our crops, tion of encouragement; as we lessen hope, we and can never lessen them but by our own shall lessen labour; as we lessen labour, we permission.
sball lessen plenty. That, notwithstanding the bounty, there have It must always be steadily remembered, that been from time to time years of scarcity, can- the good of the bounty is certain, and evil not be denied. But who can regulate the seasons? avoidable; that by the hope of exportation corn In the dearest years we owe to the bounty that will be increased, and that this increase may they have not been dearer. We must always be kept at home. suppose part of our ground sown for our own Plenty can only be produced by encouraging consumption, and part in hope of a foreign sale. agriculture; and agriculture can be encouraged The time sometimes comes, when the product only by making it gainful. No influence can of all this land is scarcely sufficient; but if the dispose the farmer to sow wbat he cannot sell ; whole be too little, how great would have been and if he is not to bave the chance of scarcity the deficiency, if we had sown only that part in his favour, he will take care that there never which was designed for ourselves.
shall be plenty.
The truth of these principles our ancestors though nominally the same, has, in effect and in discovered by reason, and the French have now reality, gradually diminished. found it by experience. In this regulation we It is difficult to discover any reason why that have the honour of being masters to those, bounty, which has produced so much good, and who, in commercial policy, have been long ac- has hitherto produced no harm, should be withcounted the masters of the world. Their pre- drawn or abated. It is possible, that if it were judices, their emulation, and their vanity, have reduced lower, it would still be the motive of at last submitted to learn of us how to ensure agriculture, and the cause of plenty ; but why the bounties of nature; and it forms a strange we should desert experienoe for conjecture, and vicissitude of opinions, that should incline us to exchange a known for a possible good, will not repeal the law which our rivals are adopting. easily be discovered. If by a balance of pro
It may be speciously enough proposed, that babilities, in which a grain of dust may turn the bounty should be discontinued sooner. of the scale-or by a curious scheme of calcuthis every man will have his own opinion; lation, in which, if one postulate in a thousand which, as no general principles can reach it, be erroneous, the deduction which promises will always seem to him more reasonable than plenty may end in famine ;-if, by a specious that of another. This is a question of which mode of uncertain ratiocination, the critical the state is always changing with time and place, point at which the bounty should stop, might and which it is therefore very difficult to state seem to be discovered; I shall still continue to or to discuss.
believe that it is more safe to trust what we It may however be considered, that the have already tried; and cannot but think bread change of old establishments is always an evil; a product of too much importance to be made and that therefore, where the good of the change the sport of subtilty, and the topic of hypothetiis not certain and constant, it is better to pre- cal disputation. serve that reverence and that confidence which The advantage of the bounty is evident and is prodaced by consistency of conduct and per- irrefragable. Since the bounty was given, mul. manency of laws.
titudes eat wheat who did not eat it before, and That, since the bounty was so fixed, the price yet the price of wheat has abated. What more of money has been much diminished : so that is to be hoped from any change of practice? the bounty does not operate so far as when it An alteration cannot make our condition better, was first fixed, but the price at which it ceases, and is therefore very likely to make it worse.