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was then called 'Cobden's Testimonial, compelled his employer, the farmer (rebut to which a very different term is luctantly, I quite believe, in most cases) now often applied. And I can tell you, to make his election between reducing with equal truth and honesty, that a the wages of his labourers, or altogether great number of those who were thus dispensing with the services of many of cajoled into parting with their money, them. Can such things be without prolike 'myself, now bitterly repent their ducing an awful effect upon the general folly,
welfare of the British Empire ? “With respect to your enquiry as to « The picture I have here drawn, the proportion which the present home applies to all other trades in the same way trade in cotton manufactures bears to as to ours. An intimate friend of mine, its former extent, I think you can apply who is largely engaged in the ironmongery your own statistical knowledge to that trade, and employs two travellers, told subject with much more effect than any- me, a few weeks ago, that their two last thing which I can say will demonstrate. journeys were the worst and least reI can, of course, speak accurately for our munerative that they ever had since they own concern ; and from the remarks of have been in business.
Neither money some of my neighbours, who, like our- nor orders to compare at all with former selves, have been chiefly engaged in the years' results. home trade, I can also draw tolerably “ You are, I think, aware that the just conclusions as to their position being steady character of our business for no better than our own. Down to 1848, many years, has enabled us to give emwe found matters much as they had been ployment to a regular and large number in previous years - sometimes better, of workpeople in various departments ; sometimes worse — - but, on the whole, but, since last Michaelmas, we have been pretty steady. In 1849, our eyes began compelled to discharge between 300 and to be opened to the consequences of 400 of them; and that, too, in despite of the present unwise policy ; but it having had recourse to the practice to was in the last year, and particularly which you allude in the concluding porin the autumn or fall trade, that the tion of your letter-exporting our surplus full conviction of its ruinous tendency production or stock. Your supposition burst upon us.
Our own business has on that head is perfectly correct. There fallen away fully one third ; and many are numerous houses in this quarter, who, others, I hear, are still
off. until within the last year or two, never How can it be otherwise ! The country exported a shilling's worth of goods; and shopkeeper, away from the large manu- that remark applies in many cases most facturing towns, relies almost entirely distinctly to those who, like ourselves, for his trade upon the landowner, the have hitherto especially cultivated the farmer, and the agricultural labourer, home trade. But it is as you say. with those dependant upon them - in We never like to make sacrifices at general terms, upon the agricultural home ; preferring to run the risk—if we interest. And what is their present to force sales and sustain losses position? . The proprietor of the soil is -of doing so at a distance. When our either compelled to lower his rents, or, stocks have accumulated, we have rewhich is equivalent, to make large abate- sorted to that mode of getting quit of ments on their payment ; with the pros- them, and have, within the last eighteen pect before him, that even that course months or two years, exported to a conwill little avail him a year or two hence, siderable amount; and, whether if the present position of affairs should, received our returns in money or prounfortunately for the country, so long duce, I can have no hesitation in telling continue. As a natural consequence, you that, with one single exception, the which has occurred in many instances realized amount has invariably fallen within my knowledge, he deems it pru- short of what we could have obtained for dent to reduce his establishment and the goods upon the spot ; in some inabridge his expenditure. The farmer stances to a considerable extent. I no longer derives an income from his cannot pretend to know what success labours, even if he does not dip into his attends the operation of other and recapital ; and prudence, at least, if no gularly exporting firms. But, if they do stronger reasons operate, compels him to no better than we have done, the export abstain from any outlay which is not one trade of the country is not worth followof absolute necessity. As to the poor ing. labourer, he can, at the best of times, “ You will infer, from what I have afford to spend but little beyond that here said, that in our concern, at least, which will provide the necessary food we are heartily sick of Free T'rade. A for his family and himself. And although sense of shame at having been made the his loaf is cheaper, dire necessity has dupes of a body of selfish theorists will, I
have no doubt, prevent most people, who the “unadorned eloquence” of Richard have been equally victims with ourselves, Cobden ? We have not the least from making the same frank avowals that fear that they will do so. They must I have here done. But, whether they confess it or not, you may rest assured of the Free-Trade measures upon the
by this time be aware that the effect that the feeling of great numbers, even in this town—the hot-bed of League and been far more serious than was ever
value of agricultural produce has Free-Trade doctrines- is going rapidly round to the same views that I have now
contemplated by the parties who inexpressed. And I shall be rejoiced to
troduced them. We know that the see that cause which you have so con
late Sir Robert Peel was entirely sistently, and, I mnst admit, so disinter- mistaken in his calculations, and that estedly advocated--the cause of Protec- the data upon which he proceeded, tion to National Industry, without dis- furnished to him by the most incortinction of class-brought to a successful rigibly conceited and pedantic of staissue. Talk of Class Legislation, indeed!
We Why, I can see plainly enough, now, that shall do Lord John Russell the justice
tists, were utterly erroneous. the entire legislation of the last five years on commercial matters has been
to believe, that even he would not done at the bidding of that knot of men, he have foreseen their actual result-,
have originated such measures, could who, to carry out their wild theories, or further their own selfis ends, have not certainly he would not have secured scrupled to demand the sacrifice of any the acquiescence of many of his party, or every other interest, the most import- who are now only restrained from ant in the land.
declaring themselves converts to Pro“ But, thank God, there is now a tection, by that surly obstinacy which promise of their race being nearly run; a Whig invariably mistakes for and it is not too much to predict that, adherence to solid principle. The ere long, as in the case of other quacks manufacturers are perfectly cognisant who have preceded them, the popular feeling upon which they have thus for of the fact that, within the country, years fraudulently traded—and which has
consumption has dwindled to a very already assumed a character of marked low ebb; and we presume there are indifference towards them — will, with
few of them who will now be inclined great numbers even here, change into one to attribute that circumstance to the of absolute and merited contempt. pressure of railway calls, which, two
“ You will make what use you please years back, was the favourite apology of this letter, with the restriction, obvi- of Ministers in every case of financial ously imposed upon me, of requesting emergency. They do not require to that my name may be withheld.”
be told why our exports have inThis is the confession of a Man- creased so largely – the history of chester manufacturer; and we think their own transactions is sufficient to our readers will agree with us, that it account for that ; and we do not is difficult to overrate its importance. think that they are so blind as not to If such have been the results of the perceive that the competition amongst Free-Trade policy in so short a time themselves, rendered greater by the from its commencement, upon that additional surplusage which must be very interest which expected to profit disposed of if production is to go on the most, what ruin must it not have as formerly, must preclude the hope wrought to others, and what are we of their obtaining remunerative prices to expect from its continuance? What in those markets which are still open becomes of the cry so diligently to them. The present depressed state raised—by none more diligently than of manufactures fully demonstrates the by the apostates to whose cowardice soundness of the position which we the mischief is principally charge- have always maintained, that no inable—that any return to our old and terest in this or any other country tried commercial policy is impossible ? can expect to prosper apart from the Are our manufacturers, or any con- prosperity of others-a rule which the siderable portion of them, so wedded magnates of the monied interest, secure to theory that they will despise the as they now deem themselves, would do lessons of hard experience, and per
well to keep in mind; for they may rely sist in ruining their own trade, simply upon it, that this experiment cannot because they were once seduced by be continued much longer, without some question emerging in which they not undergone the test of experience. are especially involved.
Were we to say that both those who Upon the coming great election de. were for it and those who were pends the solution of by far the most against it were equally in the dark, important question of the age. We we should wrong our own position. all know by what means Free Trade We never had but one view as to the was carried. A shifty and plausible result, not only upon the interest Minister, who throughout life had more immediately assailed, but upon steered his course far more by ex- the other interests of the country inpediency than by principle, yielded separably connected with it. From to a spurious agitation organised by the first we exposed the fallacy of the selfish men, who believed that they idea that manufactures could flourish might reap a profit by altering and whilst agriculture was decaying; and disarranging the whole relations of the issue, we think, has abundantly the country. Before declaring him. shown the correctness of the views self a convert to their views, he took which we entertained. Since then advantage of his position, being still the question of Protection has underunder the guise of a Conservative, to gone a large discussion; and the facts prepare the way for this radical arising from the working of the other change; and this he did so artfully, system have materially assisted the that, up to the last moment, his in- progress of the cause. The time has tentions were hardly suspected. His arrived when those who have hitherto own defection was of far less con- abstained from taking an active share sequence than the baneful influence in the controversy, find it their impewhich he exerted, too successfully, rative duty to come forward and over men who had not the virtue or declare their sentiments unreservedly; the firmness to renounce their leader and, to a man, they have ranged when he renounced his professed themselves on the side of Protection. principles. The support which he Hence those magnificent gatherings thus received, honourable neither to in every part of the kingdom-in him who asked nor to those who gave London, in Edinburgh, and in Liverit, enabled him unconstitutionally, pool-which have carried such dismay but without a direct violation of the to the hearts of those who dared, in Constitution, to carry a measure in their folly or their ignorance, to assert volving a great national change with- that the cause of Protection was dead. out the recorded assent of the con- How could it die, being, as it is, the stituences of the Empire. The act vital spirit of the British Empire ? was suicidal, in so far as regarded Hence the testimony of such men as his tenure of political power. Singu- Sir E. B. Lytton, of the highest talent, larly cnough, and with a blindness and the most uvdoubted integrity and which will appear unaccountable to honour, against the continuance of a posterity, he seems to have supposed system which is crushing industry, that the gentlemen of England would and rapidly threatening to assail the unhesitatingly ratify his acts, although very foundations of property. And these were opposed to his professions. hence, we are sorry to say, the mean A late addition to their class, he and impotent attempts of the reneunderstood neither the sentiments, gade section in Parliament to stifle the morals, nor the honour of the the rising cry for justice, by the threat men with whom he had to deal of a coming revolution. They cast him from them, and he We do not know what number of fell as Minister. But he bequeath- the Peelite party are willing now to ed the legacy of his last set of follow Sir James Graham as their opinions to his successors, albeit of leader. We are not honoured with the opposite State party; and, in the confidence of any of these gentletheir hands, the system which he men, nor do we desire it; for the had founded, progressed. All this course which they have pursued has time Free Trade was nothing more not even the negative merit of manlithan a theory. Plausible theory it ness to render it decent in the eyes of may have been for most theories the world. They have been powerare plausible; but it certainly had less for practical good, and their sole efforts have been limited to the task rity, to limit the renewal of the of reviling the cause which they aban. Income and Property Tax to the doned at the bidding of their chief. period of a single year. We regard Sir James Graham has gone further. this as one of the most important He now stands in enviable proximity events of the Session ; since it unwith Colonel Peyronnet Thompson, equivocally shows that the nation is who regards foreign occupation as an writhing under the pressure of this evil of less magnitude than a return to unequal impost, and has the power, Protective principles, as the defamer when it wills, to cast it off for ever. of the British army, whose swords, he We do not, however, suppose that the insinuates, would be unsheathed Whigs have any such notion. They against the people, should that people, are treating the impost as a shipin the exercise of their undoubted builder might treat a vessel which had privilege, return to Parliament a ma- been afloat for nine years, careening jority of representatives who think and coppering it afresh, preparatory differently from Cobden and his crew. to a new launch. Now, when we We hardly know which most to ad- remember that Lord John Russell has mire—the monstrous arrrogance, or given distinct notice of his intention the unblushing effrontery of the man. to propose a new Reform Bill during Did he really suppose that threats, the next Session of Parliament, the coming from such a quarter, would existence of the Income Tax, under deter any one in the exercise of his any shape whatever, becomes a matter free individual opinions ? Was he of most serious importance. What weak enough to think that his inuen- necessity there exists for an extension does could turn the scale of public of the suffrage has not yet been exjudgment; or that the electoral body plained to us, neither are we aware of throughout the kingdoms would shrink the principles upon which that act of from performing that which they extension is to be framed. It may not esteemed to be their duty, because, be intended as a last desperate effort forsooth, it pleased the Border Baro- to maintain a bad commercial system net to prophesy that no change could it may possibly be a wise and even be attempted without outbreak, temperate measure suited to the reviolence, and bloodshed ? He has quirements of the time: but as to heard his answer in the shout of in- this we can offer no opinion ; for the dignation which has rung, from one bill itself, if not also the principles end of England to the other, in reply upon which it is to be constructed, is to his mischievous menace; and we yet in embryo. But we cannot help bave little doubt that, by this time, expressing thus early our decided he is convinced—if shame can pene. conviction that the maintenance of the trate into his bosom—that the most Income Tax is incompatible with any fatal act which a statesman can com- large extension of the franchise, if the mit, with regard to his own position, rights of property within this country is to proclaim that brute force has are to be preserved. At present, an more might and majesty than the law income of £150 is chargeable with within the limits of the British terri- income-tax. If it is intended by any tory.
new electoral scheme to give a preBefore concluding, we must say a ponderance of votes to those who are few words upon the position of her not so directly charged, then we say Majesty's present Ministers; and we that the promoters of such a measure shall confine our remarks simply to a are establishing a principle which, topic connected with their commer- when carried out, must inevitably cial and financial policy, leaving out lead to confiscation. We all reof view the graver question of secu- member that, in 1848, Sir Charles rity to the Protestant faith, which is Wood, with his usual intense stolidity, now occupying the attention of Par- proposed to augment the rate from liament, and elevating the character sevenpence to one shilling in the of the Irish nation, through the con- pound-a proof of what may again duct of its chosen representatives. be attempted upon any occasion of
Ministers have been at last com- emergency. Let us suppose a new pelled, by the vote of a hostile majo- Reform Bill carried, which shall have
the effect of lodging the political the minds of many, and equal justice power in the hands of those who are is no longer regarded as the grand exempt from direct taxation. An element in the distribution of national agitation rises for the removal of cus- burdens. No greater evil than this toms-duties upon articles of general can befal a country so eminently consumption, such as tea, coffee, commercial as our own. To tamper sugar, and tobacco; and the Minister with the public faith is to introduce of the day, unable to stem the torrent, the wedge of anarchy; and yet, how is forced to yield. In such a case as is it possible to deny that almost this, which may very readily be every one of Peel's fiscal and moneimagined, and which indeed is sure to tary measures have had a tendency in occur, how could the revenue be that direction, by disturbing the raised? Sir Charles Wood has already distribution of taxation, altering the shown us how - by augmenting the value of produce, and rendering the direct tax upon rated industry to an burden of monetary payments more amount equal to the defalcation. oppressive than it was before ? There is no reason whatever why We do not believe that Lord John sevenpence, or even a shilling per Russell will have the opportunity of pound, should be the limited rate. No proposing his new scheme in the tax can be more popular than a direct character of Prime Minister of this one, to which the majority of the country. Events are rapidly tending people do not contribute ; and much to their consummation; the Wbig of that powerful support which the Cabinet exists by suffrance only, and Whigs have hitherto received from in a few weeks it may be broken up. the Irish members in their financial It has served its purpose of conductpolicy, may be traced to the fact that ing the Free-Trade experiment to a Ireland has all along been exempted point, when the miserable fallacy and from the operation of this obnoxious deception of the whole system has impost. Mr Henry Grattan lately become apparent to the nation ; no declared, that Ministers might as well one interest having been left unscathattempt to levy Income Tax in Siberia ed by its noxious influence. If the as in Ireland. If so, let us by all manufacturers have rightly profited means get rid of it in Great Britain by the lesson, they must by this time also. These considerations are well be convinced that they cannot sepaworthy of attention at the present rate themselves from the interests of time. The questions of taxation and the great mass of the British people ; of representation are closely bound that their boasted independence and together, and it is in vain to attempt monopoly of the markets of the world separating the one from the other. is a vain and illusory dream ; and The frequent shifts of Sir Robert Peel, that the real prosperity of the nation and the principles of expediency can only be attained by fostering the which, in 1842, he thought fit to apply labour and protecting the industry of to taxation, have altogether unsettled the subjects of the British Crown.