Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

something to supply the place of provisions, now thrown away! Let us see, however, whether it be probable, that less corn would be raised on account of this measure. Wheat, we are told, could not be raised upon certain of the lands, which now bear crops of barley. But oats night, and grass would follow oats as well as barley. But, upon the supposition, that the particular lauds alluded to would bear nothing but barley, there are other lands, which now bear barley, and which would bear something else. Still, it must be confessed, that there would be one market lost; but, would no other marker open? If you stop the distilleries will not the barley that they now consume go to the fatting of hogs and to various other purposes The moment barley begins to be cheap, that moment it is given to hogs; and, if you ask me how the hog's flesh is to be disposed of; if you are still afraid, that the quantity of hu man sustenance, in England and Scotland, will be too great; if you still dread a glutted market of provisions, there are the West Indies, those very colonies, whom, you are afraid, the Americans will starve; who will give you, in times of plenty, sugar in exchange for your barley, made into pork, and from whom, in times of scarcity, you can, at any moment, withhold that pork. In calling this a granary, indeed, there would be something like reason and consistency.But, the truth is, I believe, that no such exchange would be necessary to keep alive the motive for growing barley. It is, in a national point of view, completely irrational to speak of barley but as being an article of human sustenance; means of supporting human life ; as, to use the common word, subsistence. Now, I think, it is a principle acknowledged upon all sides, that wherever there is subsistence there will be a proportionate population, or, to use the words of Mr. MALTHUS (with whom I disagree as to the checking of population), "population al

as a

66

the land !This article does little more than dilute the argument of Mr. Wakefield, namely, that the distilleries is one great market for corn, take away this market and you take away one of the most powerful motives to the raising of corn, whence will arise a diminished produce and all the consequences of such a diminution, amongst which is particularly mentioned the ruin of the barley farmers.Now, in the first place, the quantity of barley used in the distilleries of England and Scotland does not exceed 300,000 quarters annually, the average annual produce of about 70,000 acres of land. And this is a market, the loss of which is to spread ruin amongst the cultivators of England and Scotland! It is to make bank-withholding corn from the distilleries, and rupts of four-fifths of the farmers of Scot-land it is to sterilize the land, and starve the people; and that, too, by bringing provisions into the country, or, at least,

"

ways treads close upon the heels of subsistence." If this be the case, then, where is the ground of alarm at throwing an additional quantity of subsistence in upon the community. This doctrine of Mr. Malthus being sound (and common sense says that it must be so) there never can be a want of a market for any quantity of barley that we can grow. There may be a temporary fall of price; but the permanent effect of

supplying the place of it by the produce of colonies belonging to ourselves, must be, either that of producing an exportation of hoge-meat, or of increasing our domestic po

Mod

felt it to be our duty to enter our feeble protest against these most dangerous encroachments on the agriculture of the * country, which is surely of more value "towards its independence than all its colo"nies both in the Eastern and Western ** world. An experiment to sterilize the

66

country for one year to interrupt the <roature of crops to create a famine, per

68

haps, in the kingdom. We trust in the "good sense of parliament, that we shall "have no such experiment.It is to the * Distillery in particular that the northern part of the kingdom looks in its culture of barley for a market. Rob Scotland of this resource, and four-fifths of its farmers will be bankrapts: they cannot substitute **wheat for barley-their climate will not

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ripen it; and the same argument may apply to a great proportion of the barley. ⚫lands in England.This is a very different measure for stopping the distilling of grain for a season of scarcity. In that case, having a crop of barley in hand when wheat is deficient, an act passes to stop the distillery, so as to bring the whole "stock into use as a substitute for bread "corn-but here is a project to prevent the growing of barley.It might be entitled,

a Bill to create a scarcity of Corn by discouraging the growth thereof." Surely "there is no evil that can befall the country "equal to that which would flow from a * measure of this kind--and when it is re"flected that we may be thrown entirely on

our own produce for subsistence, we shall **not be condemned to the trial of chimeri

[ocr errors]

cal experiments, by which the course of our husbandry is to be disturbed--and our **farmers are to be warned against sowing

pulation, both causes being equally effica. cious in preventing the discouragement and the decreased production and gains of the farmers.. -Suppose the West Indies could supply us with barley enough for our distilleries, Mr. Wakefield would, if he were consistent, object to it, because, as he would say, the barley growers of England would be thereby discouraged. He would be of the same opinion with regard to Guernsey or Jersey; for the measure would still haveprecisely the same effect, and, upon the supposition that new enclosures tend to make an increase (which I think they do not) in the quantity of subsistence produced, he would, of course, also object to new enclosures, and, then, I should leave him to settle the point with Sir John Sinclair, and "the friends of

""

agriculture," who cry aloud and cease not for a General Enclosure Bill. This last argument was made use of by Mr. Perceval, to whom Mr. Windham replied, that in the case of new enclosures, the supply was, doubtless, increased, and the competition augmented; but, in the case contemplated, there would be an exclusion of one set of growers to the sole advantage of the other. I agree, that the immediate advantage will be solely upon the side of the colonies; but, this is no objection to a measure, provided no injury be sustained on the other side in consequence of that measure." Augment"ed competition" is only another phrase for decrease of price; for, whether the market be wholly cut off, or only narrowed in its demand, though there may be a difference as to the degree, the principle continues the same; and, therefore, the seller has as good a right to complain of augmented competition as he has to complain of a total loss of the market. Pursuing this to an illustration: it is said, that the Scotch barley-grower will be injured, in consequence of this cutting off of a market for 300,000 quarters of barley, annually consumed in the distilleries; and that, as this measure is to be adopted after he has taken a long lease of his farm, he will not be able to pay his rent, and will become a bankrupt. This is to be the effect, we are told, of a loss of market. But, suppose, that the proposition of " the friends of agriculture" were adopted; suppose a General Enclosure Bill were passed, and suppose it were to answer the expected purpose, namely, that of causing an increase of produce. It would be a pitiful increase indeed, unless it exceed ed 300,000 quarters of barley in a year; and, then, pray tell me, gentlemen, friends "of agriculture," you with Mr. Brand, are resolved to oppose the men

}

[ocr errors]

sure in every stage, whether the Scotch or the English barley-grower would not suffer as much from this increase of produce as from that loss of market, which, it is alledged, will be the effect of the measure now proposed? As connected with a question like this, which embraces the general produce of the soil and the general interests of the nation, all the distinctions between barley-growers and wheat-growers are too trifling to be attended to. The kind as well as the amount of the produce will be regulated by the demand. The general market will tell the farmer what he is to sow, and the same infallible guide will tell the corn-dealer whither he is to send the fruit of the harvest Every argument made use of, with respect to the interests of the cultivator, applies, of course, to those of the owner of the soil; and, unless my reasoning be erroneous, neither can experi ence any permanent injury from the measure now in contemplation, while it is, upon all sides agreed, that the West India planters, so long and so severely oppressed by an accu mulation of hardships, will therefrom derive considerable relief. Were there, indeed, any ground to apprehend, that the nation would experience an injury from this mea sure; were it a question between the West India planters and the people of England; I should say (though it would grieve me to be put to the necessity) let the West India planters perish, rather than England be endangered by scarcity; but, as I am convinced, that the measure now proposed will be greatly beneficial to the former, without producing any, even the slightest, danger or injury to the latter, either temporary or permanent, I hope, that, in the approaching discussion and decision, enlarged views and public spirit will prevail over local and interested motives.

[ocr errors]

1

observation or To the cor

WOODCOCKS AND SNIPES.It is whim sical enough, that these poor little birds should become a subject of discussion amongst grave politicians; yet, as a law is about to be passed relative to these birds, and as two gentlemen (whose letters I insert) have thought it worth their while to make the proposed regulation a matter of such serious notice; I to submit an respondent, who ridicules the idea of deba ting about little birds, while we are threat ened with invasion, one may answer by asking him how it happens, that he, Wao never wrote to me before, came to write me now, if he thought the subject so very unimportant. The other correspondent scems to view the matter in quite a different

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

16

light. He calls upon me, as the cham"pion of the just rights and liberties of the vi people," to interfere, "in order to pre"T serve, for the middle and lower orders, "who are to fight our battles, the liberty they have hitherto enjoyed, to follow the innocent amusement of killing Woodcocks and Supes." Appealed to with so much solemnity, and anxious to preserve the good opinion of my correspondent, I shall give him my sentiments in the clearest manner that I am able. In the first place, I must observe, that I am unacquainted with any right, which the making of Woodcocks and Snipes game is at all likely to abridge, as far, at least, as relates to any amusements of the people... The law, as it now stands, does, indeed, attach no penalty to the mere act of killing these birds, nor to the mere possession of them; but, I would ask this complainant, where the shooter is to find the birds? And, let the answer be what it may, unless the birds be found upon the shooter's own land, or land rented by him, he is liable to an action of trespass for even looking after the birds; and this liability arises, not from the statute, but from the common law. And, very wise and just is the law in this respect; for, is it not clear, that it would be impossible to have any thing worthy of the name of private property, if every man were at liberty to invade it, under the pretext of seeking after woodcocks and snipes or wild animals of any sort?

But, I shall be told, perhaps, that the contemplated law, will prevent unqualified persons from shooting woodcocks and snipes even by permission of the owners, or renters of the land. To which I answer, that the prevention is already as complete as this dreaded law can possibly make it; for, to go a shooting woodcocks and snipes without spaniel, or game dog of some sort, is what no man thinks of; to be seen out with dog and gun the law, takes, as proof of being

66

[ocr errors]

I

9

in pursuit of game;" being in pursuit of game subjects the unqualified pursuer to the penalty of five pounds; and, as the same evidence is admitted with respect to the penalty in default of having taken out a game license, the unqualified person, who is found in pursuit of a snipe is already liable to all the law levelled against him, who is found. in pursuit of a pheasant. How, then, can. the unqualified part of the people suffer any abridgment of their amusements from the act now before parliament? Let us take an instance: you meet a man with dog and gun, beating along your meadow, or through

" of snipes, or of woodcocks." But, il you inform against him, and prove that he was out with dog and gun, he is liable to the penalty of shooting without a licence; and, it is exactly the same with regard to the qualification.The act, therefore, which is about to pass, will have no effect whatever in lessening the liberty to shoot or to hunt. Its effect will be to prevent the public sale of woodcocks and snipes. If the law pass, it will be a crime to sell these birds at all; and that will certainly be a check to the pursuing and the killing of them ; but, then, observe, that those who kill these birds for sale, cannot be said to pursue them for" amusement." The fact is, that almost the whole of the woodcock and snipe market is supplied by gentlemen's game-keepers a small share of the supply comes from the hands of mere poachers; and, in checking of the traffic of these descriptions of persons, it is not very easy to conceive how the liberties or the comforts of the "middle and "lower orders of the people are likely to "be abridged."- As to the game-laws, generally speaking, such a quiz of a code surely never before existed in the world! A code, which gives to the son a privilege, founded upon the rank of his father, and which, at the same time, denies that privilege to the father himself. It is, in short, one mass of inconsistency and confusion; a ridiculous medley of feudal privileges and pecuniary preferences. Game, like other things, should be private property, the proof of proprietorship being that the animal was upon the land of the claimant at the time of its being taken, kilied, or foundfor pursuit. This, together with the law or trespass, as it already exists, would be quite effectual in the preserving of game of all sorts; but, until this be the law, quarrelling, heartburnings, and acts of oppression, will and must be the consequence of the exis-> tence of those animals, which, as far as one can judge upon such a matter, were created for the recreation and pleasure of man.

CURATES' STIPEND BILL. I do not absolutely retract what I said, last week, in favour of this bill; but, upon reading over its clauses (having before merely seen a general description of it), I feel much less interest as to its success, than I before felt.

-The allowance fixed on for the curate is one fifth of the annual produce of the liv ing, together with the use, upon certain considerations, of the parsonage house and glebe, or part of the latter. The Bishop is to see this law enforced but, there is no

your coppice. You ask for his licence,thing to compel him to cause it to be enforc

10

"(

6.

none," says he, am in pursuit.

ed; for, as to the appeal, which the poor

[ocr errors]

curate is allowed to make from the Bishop to the Archbishop, is it not a mockery to talk seriously of such a provision, especially when he is exposed to costs, if he fail in his appeal? In fact, the bill will place at the mere mercy of the Bishops, not only the property of the incumbent, but also that of the patron. In this shape the bill must be an evil in place of a good; but, if the law were imperative upon the bishops, it appears to me, that it would be attended with exceeding good effects.

AMERICAN MONIES.- The reader will remember, that I predicted, that the monies of the holders of American funds would come to England in protested bills of exchange; or, rather, in bills that would meet with a protest instead of payment. I have now before me a letter from a merchant, subscribed with his name and place of abode, informing me, that a bill, being, perhaps, the first remittance of the monies of a great and notorious fund holder, the sum upwards of seven thousand pounds, has come to hand, and has actually been protested. I shall not publish names, and I need not; but, I will express my hearty wish, that every succeeding bill may meet with the same fate; and, that, of all the vast sum of monies, not as much as would purchase the insertion of a single puff paragraph in the Morning Chronicle may ever reach the hands of the greedy owner, who, were he begging his bread, would not merit a crust from an English hand.- -The excuse, I hear, is, in these cases, that the embargo prevents ships from coming to bring the worth of the bills drawn upon England. But, who made the embargo? Who but the Americans themselves? What an impudent excuse! 1, however, have no ground of complaint against the Ameri cans, upon this score; for, if, from any supernatural cause, they should prove to be ho-" nest men, my readers may be led to doubt of my veracity- -What an impudent excuse! "I have barred up my shop door, and,

therefore, cannot send you any goods in return for your monies." What an imWhat an impudent thing! But, it is good; very good, thus to see their flatterers and defenders punished by them.

MR. SCOTT'S LETTER.- -This letter, which, in answer to A. B. C. (page 378 of the present volume) was to have been published last week, was, the joint request of Lord Oxford and a common friend of the parties, withheld from publication. Mr. Scott has, as will be seen below, consented to withdraw the letter altogether; but, I think it a duty I owe to him to say, that the letter contained, as far as I am able to judge, I am able to judge,

a full refutation of all the assertions and insinuations, contained in the letter of A. B. C. unaccompanied with an injurious reflection upon any person whatever. Panton Square, April 21, 1805.

MR. SCOTT'S LETTER.

SIR, -As I understand my letter, announced for publication in your last paper, in answer to the anonymous letter of A. B. C., was suspended at the particular request of the Earl of Oxford, it is but justice to myself to observe, that the public, being made any party to this business was not be gun by me, and that, if I abstain from urging any further publication upon the subjecty atter all the means of injuring me have been exhausted, it must depend upon the conduct of other persons; and, if in vindicating myself, I may wound the feelings of those persons, which it is not in my nature wantonly to do, and which I can never do without wounding my own, they ought to consider a little the precept we have been all taught, "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”- I ain, &c.--JAMES SCOTT. Norfolk Street, April 20, 1808.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

MR. WAKEFIELD'S 3D. LETTER. SIR,Having in my last endeavoured to point out the only available resource left to the country, at the immediate moment of a scarcity, I am anxious to now call your at tention to the causes which have made Great Britain an importing eorn country, That we are so, I consider as an indisputable fact; a correspondent of yours however, quarrels with this assertion, because I have not brought my account of import and export down to the close of last year. After the holidays I will furnish you with the accounts of import and export for 1806 and 1807, as I am desirous to remove every doubt, which can be raised of the existence of these facts, upon which he justly says "my arguments depend." But, whatever may be the accounts for the two last years, I wish it to be distinctly understood, that my fears, my anxieties, do not arise from a review of what has occurred in any one or two years, they arise from observing that for seventy years at one period, we were an exporting corn country, that we have not only ceased to export, but that we now actually import, and have imported for more than the last thirty years; not only so, but that the proportion of import has increased in an astonishing degree. This alteration is the fact upon which

rest every argument, every opinion which I have upon the subject; and whether (as your correspondent suggests) it has or has

[ocr errors]

not occurred in the course of a single year, the last if he pleases it, has nothing I think to do with the question. Before entering upon the subject of my present address, I will answer the other points relied upon in the letter which you have inserted in Saturday's Register. Your correspondent states a certain breadth of wheat grown every year in the kingdom, and an average produce upon this quantity of land, if this data are true, the whole produce is justly stated, and it would most amply feed all those who depend upon wheaten bread for subsistence, but it is necessary he should establish his data with as much precision as the Custom House books do the entries of corn inwards and outwards. It is very easy to suppose "fifty millions of acres to be in a state of cultivation," and to suppose "one half of them, are under the plough," but I want more than vague supposition. Especially as without taking up the pages of your Register in replying minutely to all parts of this calculation, its fallacy may be shewn by asking what has been dope with the corn which has been Imported in the course of the last thirty-five years. It has not been exported. This the Custom-house books prove. Has it been burnt? Has it been thrown into the sea ? Or, has it in some shape or other been consumed by the people of England? If it has been consumed by the people, as beyond all doubt is the fact, then it is impossible for us to have been yearly growing more than we consume, and of course the supposititious account of land under the plough, and an annual surplus produce of wheat is erroneous. -The more I consider the principles of political economy, the more am I convinced of the truth of the statement of Sir James Stewart, that every man, every body of men, every nation is impelled to active exertion by the feelings of self interest. Now, has or has not, the interest of the British farmer been sufficiently attended to? Has the money price of his produce been allowed to keep pace with that of his expences? Has he been as well paid for investing his property in agriculture, as he would have been by investing it in any undertaking of manufac tures or commerce. I have not myself any doubt, but that he has not been rewarded; have not any doubt but that the price of grain does not pay the farmer, the use of his capital, his labour, and risk. Can any one doubt, but that if agriculture would have yielded equal or greater interest to the owner of a capital, than West Indian adventure, or foreign commerce, capitalists would have invested their property in the manufacture of corn; for a farmer is in truth, no other than

·

a manufacturer, and that also of the stapl commodity of the country. Is this the case Do we see large capitalists employing the money, devoting their time and attention t the growth of corn. No! Then what i the reason why they do not? It is becaus such undertakings do not answer their pur pose, if they did there are no men wh would be more eager to engage in farmin speculations. It is however necessary be fore I proceed further, that I should establis this important and ruinous fact beyond al kind of dispute, for upon it the whole of my subsequent reasoning will be built, and de pend a comparison of the laws of 1670, 1688, and 1706, and those of 1773 and 1791 will be nearly sufficient to convince you of this fact. By those of the first period a bounty was given upon the export of wheat till the price equalled 48s. per quarter. By those of the last period bounty.ceased when wheat was 44s, the quarter!!! The money price of every article of manufacture and commerce has increased in price; in other words, the value of money has fallen. Yet, in the face of this acknowledged fact, it is expected that the money price of corn is to be stationary!! worse than stationary! decreasing!! But this is only a part of the evil, this is only some of these facts, which from the evidence. I have to of fer in support of the melancholy proposition which I laid down in the early part of my letter, for in addition to all the foregoing facts, it is necessary to take into full and serious consideration, the augmented and augmenting expences of the farmer, the money price of his produce has stood still, while every machine, every barn, every article of his dead stock, has advanced in proportion to the fall in the value of money. Rent has in the same proportion advanced upon him; so have the poor rates, so have taxes. At the suggestion of a committee of the House of Commons, the Board of Agriculture in the year 1804, sent circular letters, throughout the kingdom, to ascertain the then expences of cultivation, and amount of produce. A similar inquiry had been made fourteen years before, and the result of a comparison between them is, that while the expences of the farmer have augmented in this short period, in the enormous proportion of thirtyone per cent. his produce has only increased six and half per cent. The two last items of his increased expenditure claim particular consideration, for as the poor rates are now levied they fall almost entirely upon the farmer. For rents or annual value being almost exclusively rated, every other species of capital escapes from contribution, wAnd, in the last

), 40 JNDOS 1, data)
Hon 17

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »