Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

being "thrown away" For if every species of agricultural produce convertible into food, which is consumed as a luxury, is to be considered as "thrown away," I accept of the term, and in this sense of it contend, that in order to secure the country from the danger and suffering of a scarcity, it is necessary either to thus annually "throw away" a large quantity of grain, or that we should export to such an extent. Deprive us of the export (whether by impolitic laws or the state of the political world, it matters not) and we must have recourse to the luxurious consumption of grain to secure us from the evils I apprehend. The fallacy upon which you have built your argument, in supposing me to contend that in order to induce the farmers of a nation to grow more corn than is upon an average necessary for the consumption of the uation, a part of what they grow must be annually bought of them for the purpose of being thrown away." Now this, Sir, is not my proposition, I contend, that for a course of years we have not grown corn equal to our consumption; and I contend contrary to your statement, "that demand does not regulate the production of provisions." But this will require explanation. Let a country in consequence of the demand, grow one fair year with another, to the amount of its physical wants, and have neither export or luxurious consumption to the extent of this growth. Demand will regulate production and no further. For suppose a bad harvest, the demand is the same; but all the demand in the world will not make good the deficiency of the crop. And your fallacy consists in putting the chance of a bad year out of the question, now this chance should be in the question; it should be present to our view, we should never lose sight of it. It is the hinge upon which the argument turns. Instead, therefore, of the alarm being at approaching superabundance of corn, the real alarm which is felt by the country is, that the measure will deprive us of that resource, which in the day of famine and distress (greater far than that of the West Indian planter) will save us, or at least a large portion of the people from starving. For, Sir, from the present state of the continent we cannot import. This, therefore, is our only resource, we have no other, take it away, and the first week of autumn will give the nation dreadful experience of the truth of the arguments I am submitting to you One of two things must follow the adoption of this measure of distilling wholly from sugar. Either this surplus quantity of corn will no longer be grown, or a new population will arise to consume it; which ever

happens the produce will not exceed the demand one fair year with another; and while we cannot import, if we have neither an export to retain, nor a surplus luxurious consumption to convert into fond, we are without resource, and exist at the mercy of the seasons. Your idea of the West Indies becoming a market for the export of barley in the shape of pork, is not, I think, tenable; for if the planter has the least shadow of a claim to be relieved from the distress which he now suffers, he surely will have a real one not to be starved. Change the present order of things according to your proposal, with a view to relieve the money distress of the planter, and then on the first scarcity, will you deprive him of his supply of provisions, that supply upon which his very existence depends; this would be affording present aid at the expence of future destruction.-Fully agreeing with you and Mr. Malthus, that

population treads close upon the heels of production," I mean of that production which is consumed as food, I have ever felt anxious to encourage a distribution of some part of such production into channels of luxury, as thereby a demand is created, and a surplus produce gained, which is available at the moment of necessity, and till that perilous. moment arrives, the tariff (if I inay so express myself) of human life, is more high, a greater enjoyment is afforded to the people, and the public prosperity is advanced. Turn however this surplus production into food, population quickly follows; the condition of the people is not bettered, they are exposed to all the chances of bad seasons, and none of the ends of government are obtained; for I shall ever agree with the proposition, that "where a country is so extended and populous, that it can maintain its independence, and secure its prosperity; the further exten sion of its territory, and the increase of its population become secondary to the moral improvement and individual happiness of its inhabitants "For my opinions concerning inclosures, I must refer you to my last letter, and shall subsequently enlarge upon the subject; but the length at which I have replied to your observations upon my correspon dence with you, oblige me to postpone both that, and the consideration of the corn laws, which I promised.-- I am, Sir, &c —EDWARD WAKEFIELD.--Duke Streit, Westminster, April 25, 1808.

66

CORN AGAINST SUGAR.

SIR,-As one of the class whom you have addressed in the provincial and London papers, I am desirous to thank you for devoting a part of your attention, aud of

your last weekly sheet, to the question of substituting Sugar for Corn. I am willing to believe that the opposition of many to such substitution, is owing to their want of opportunity to learn, and rightly to understand, the chief circumstances, connected with the case; which (as far as they are of a practical nature) is not to be wondered at. It is well known to those who are the most concerned in the comparison, that a quarter of well made pale malt will afford as much vinous spirit as 1cwt. 3 qr. or 196lb. of good, and strong sugar. While raw, or unmalted, barley is no more than half as productive as the malt. Of the 300,000 quarters of barley con sumed, annually, in the British distilleries 250,000 are malted, and 50,000 are used in a raw state. Hence, the quantity of sugar required to supply the use of 250,000 quarters of malt will be 437,500cwt. and the substitute for 50,000 quarters of barley will be 43,750, the total whereof is 481,250 cwt. or 40,104 hogsheads. The accumulated surplus of sugar in three years, (being the difference between the importations and the sales from the 1st January, 1804 to the 1st January, 1807) amounted, according to the parliamentary reports, to 1,434,609 cwt. which may be reckoned a supply for the distilleries for the three years, being 119,634 hogsheads of 12 cwt. each.-This immense glut of sugar remained wholly useless, under locks in the king's warehouses in London or in the ou ports, because there was no demand for any part of it. Consequently, the duties thereon, amounting to 2 millions sterling, were lost, to the revenne; and all the actual costs of the cultivation, and various expences in the plantations, with the freight and shipping charges to England, exceeding all together a further sum of £2,500,000 were lost in the same time, to the WestIndian proprietors-With what face can the country gentlemen require that these two amounts of £4,500,000 or 1,500,000 annually should be so sunk and surrendered, and for what purpose? The average annual growth of barley, in this kingdom was, 20 years ago, estimated to be 3,500,000 quarters. There is more reason to think the quantity grown is increased than that it is diminished, within this period. And if such should be the case to the amount of 100,000 quarters only, yearly, it will follow, that the whole consumption, by the distillers, is no more than a twelfth part of the annual produce of this grain. What room, therefore, is there for alarm to the landed interest? The same quantity of

cause

barley would, doubtless, still be malted; because, in all probability, the consumption of beer would be somewhat increased. The distillers, it is true, would be under the necessity to advance the prices of their spirits. But, if the cost of such liquors was to be increased in a degree to lessen their consumption, would not this tend to national amendment? Would not the same money be expended in, and the same amount of duties (taken altogether) be paid for, a far more wholesome, bemore nutritious, article?-It appears from the accounts at the Excise Office, that 3,250,000 quarters of barley are malted annually, on the average. The remainder of the growth (2, or 350,000) is required for seed, and the feeding of cattle. In some parts of the kingdom bread is, also, made with barley. Of the 3,250,000 quarters of malt, the common brewers use 2,250,000, or nine times as much as the distillers, and it would not be difficult to select a very few (say six) of the principal breweries in London, wherein as much malt is consumed, as in all the distilleries in the kingdom.-After all, I have no expectation that the measure will pass into a law. It is too late in the season for the substitution to have any effect, either way. The distillers are provided with large stocks; and should such an act, even, be assented to in the present session, it could be of no value; because there is reason to believe that, to make it passable, a clause would be introduced, empowering the privy council to stop the operation of the act, whenever it may be judged by them to be necessary. And every one must perceive how easily a plea may be found by the ministers, for the exercise of this power, as soon as the harvest is gathered. Whatever, however, may be the event in the matter, that can be said in excuse for the gross folly and injustice of those who, at the present momentous crisis, advocate in favour of anhigh price for corn; who have the assurance to recommend the throwing it away in the fabrication of an article, allowedly destructive of the health, and every way productive of distress to the chief consumers of this pernicious liquor; instead of promoting the application of the same corn to their necessary food?-I am, &c.-A HAMPSHIRE FREEHOLDER.April 27, 1808.

CORN AGAINST SUGAR.

SIR-I have read your letter to the Freeholders of Hampshire, as well as some papers in your Register, on the subject of introducing sugar instead of grain, into the

66

""

"6

Distilleries, with very great satisfaction, as
they appear to me to contain undeniable
truths. But in your statement of the annual
importation of grain from the Continent of
Europe, for a long series of years back, I
think you are rather below the mark, when
you make the average only 800,000 quarters,
as I have been informed it has amounted to
between 12 and 1400,000; however, what-
ever the quantity may be, we must now
consider it out of the market, as we can
receive no more from that quarter; and as
the annual importation of grain shows very
plainly that there is not as much corn
grown in this country as is equal to our con-
sumption, there will be a deficiency in the
market equal to the amount of the importa-
tion. Now, Sir, we all know that the
scarcity of any article at market will en-
hance the price of it, as a glut will reduce it.
Is it not, therefore, very plain, that the de-
ficiency I have mentioned must raise the
price of corn, and if we should have war
with America, the West Indies must be
supplied with food from this country, which
would increase the deficiency and raise the
price still higher. If, therefore, the infor-
mation which I have received be correct,
that 1,200,000 quarters have annually been
imported, and we add to that 300,000 more
for the supply of the West Indies, it will
produce a diminution of the quantity of corn
in the market of 1,500,000 quarters; and
if you take from the distilleries and throw
into the market the quantity they use of
300,000 quarters, still there will be a de-rently our case at present. I have only one
ficiency of 1,200,000. Now, Mr. Cobbett,
the question of real concern to the country
ought to be, not whether we shall take the
pitiful quantity used by the distilleries and
throw into the market, but how so large a
deficiency is to be made up? and that ap-
pears to me to be a question of every serious
import under the present political circum-
stances of the times. For it after thirty years
(for I am told we have been importing corn
for so long a period) trial, it has been found,
that we do not grow as much corn as we
consume, (otherwise the importation would
have ceased) our prospect of encreasing our
produce so as to be equal to our consump-
tion is rather gloomy; and at any rate, as
seed time is now past, we can look for no
increase of produce for the present year. I
was therefore astonished to find, by your
letter to the Freeholders of Hampshire,
that such a thing as a Petition against bring-reply,
ing into the market the trifling quantity of
grain used in the distilleries, was likely to be
set on foot; and I wish you may be right
when, treating on this subject, you state in

your Register:
"I do not recollect any
measure to have been met by so apparent
"ly determined an opposition as this; and,
though I am not on the side of the op-
posers, it does, I must confess, give me
some little relief from that disgust which
"I have of late experienced, to perceive
"that this opposition has nothing to do
"with party," because I had imagined that
there was not a farmer in Hampshire or any
where else, but who would have been satis-
fied with the rise of price which the deficiency
of corn in the market that I have stated, must
necessarily produce, without the addition of
the trifle that would arise to him from the
quantity used in the distilleries, if left to
himself, and not urged on by others possess-
ing a factious or party spirit.-It has been al-
leged, that the distillation of grain ought to
be encouraged as a measure stimulating the
farmer to sow more lands, and a granary to
be made use of in case of need. As to the
first, let us first of all be convinced that
this country can produce as much corn as
the population can consume in food (which
an experience of 30 years has not been able
to do) before we throw away any part of it
in making of spirits, which can be made as
good, if not better, from sugar, of which
we have an overflowing quantity at market;
and as to the second, we are precisely in the
predicament, when they allow that the grain
in the distilleries is to be brought into the
market for food, namely, when a scarcity
demands it; which, I think, is very appa-

more question to ask you, Mr. Cobbett,
when I will not trouble you further at pre-
sent, and that is, besides the deficiency of
grain already mentioned, if there should
happen a blight or other injury to the crop
now on the ground, where are we to look
for a supply of food? or must this country
be reduced to a state of famine ?-PRO-
PATRIA.- April 28, 1808.

64

AMERICAN STATES.

Believe me, Mr Cobbett, it is not with. out relnctance, I again press myself forward as a correspondent of yours. I do assure you, I would not have attempted a reply to the first letter of the "American Merchant of New Broad Street," had I not considered myself in possession of irresistable facts, to prove the fallacy of his statements. I say, Sir, I would not otherwise have attempted a because I know, and knowing it, will confess, my incapacity to carry on a lettered warfare, where ingenuity of argument is to be the foundation stone-this I candidly admit, but I must in the same breath declare,

that when I really think myself armed with proof, no eloquence, however powerful, no rhetorick, however admirable, shall deter me from endeavouring to rescue from unmerited censure, those measures, which, in my opinion, are adopted for the preservation of the dignity, and the independance of England. If I have really wounded the feelings of the "American merchant" (see his second letter as inserted in your Register p. 610.) ia mistaking the principles which actuate him, positively, and truly, I do, from my very heart, beg his pardon, because, it is some relief to my mind, to find him disclaim with worthy indignation, if actually felt, those motives, which did in my opinion, judging from his line of argument, glaringly appear to biass him. Forgetting the invidious manner in which he attempted to insinuate, that personal hatred, and prejudice, were the incentives, that actuated you, he complains of my style of language, towards him, and then dexterously introduces, a forcible appeal, with respect to the liberty of the British press. God forbid, Sir, that i should attempt to tread, even as fight as Gossamer, on that palladium of our freedom, that ancient fabric, which to use the words of an eminent advocate, "has "been gradually reared, by the wisdom, "and virtue, of our forefathers," but Sir, let me add, honor and patriotism forbid, that I should not strive with honest zeal, to vindicate, from misrepresentation, the justice of those measures, which already, in their effect, begin to make the haughty Emperor of France feel, that England yet has power to protect, her already too much insulted dignity. Pardon this digression, which, hurried on by the warmth of my feelings, I fear I may have too much lengthened.I observe that your corresponnow acknowledges his error, with respect to premiums of insurance, through the year 1807. In my former letter, when speaking on this immediate subject, I mentioned, that independant of my own individual knowledge, I could produce leading under-writers in Lloyd's Coffee-House, as evidence to the truth of my assertion, that premiums did advance in consequence of the Berlin decree. I have since learnt, that several most respectable gentlemen, have appeared at the bar of the House of Commons, and proved the fact. I likewise notice, that your correspondent does not doubt my assertion, as to premiums having advanced 100 per cent. in America, also in consequence of the same decree. If it were a principle of mine to dwell on my triumph over a fallen antagonist, here, Sir,

ent

what an opportunity do I possess. I must not omit to acknowledge my error as to the period, when the Berlin decree was first known in this country, but at the same time, I put it to you, and every impartial man, whether this error, does, in the most distant. manner, shake my assertion, as to premiums having advanced in consequence of the said decree?-The questions put to Buonaparté, by the President of the Court of Prize Causes, your correspondent calls insidious—— What! the President dare to put insidious questions to his master? Oh, no, impossible. -Insidious, however, or not insidious, we heard of them in this country very early in the month of October. Your correspondent after conjecturing as to the probable period of their being known here, says, """ but I "cannot speak with absolute certainty to "this point; the material thing is, that our "Orders in Council were issued, before it

was possible to know, whether America "would protest against the enforcement of "the Berlin decree, or not." What! Sir; did not America virtually submit to the decree, by quietly paying for about two months, without any public remonstrance or protest whatever, on the part of the govern-.. ment, an advance of 100 per cent, in the premiums of insurance on voyages direct to England and Ireland?, surely, nothing can be more palpably clear.-The extracts of letters I produced, to prove the execution of the Berlin decree, your correspondent says, only speak in general terms without naming place or ship; this is not quite fair; they expressly say, the Berlin decree had been positively acted upon at Antwerp; it is true, they do not give the name of the vessel mentioned, to have been cast away on the coast of France, and condemned; but when I state, on my solemn word of honor, that these extracts were taken from the letters of one of the most respectable merchants on the Continent, and who certainly would feel inclined to lessen, rather than to exaggerate the fact; I do confidently think that every impartial man, taking the context of the whole of the said extracts, will be of opinion, that the Berlin decree was acted upon, pre.. vious to the promulgation of the British Orders in Council.-I believe I have now noticed the leading observations, which the facts 1 adduced in my letter of 30th March, have drawn from the American merchant, and notwithstanding he has so ingeniously laboured to contradict them, I do maintain that they still stand firm and unshaken.-But a few words more Sir, and I take my final leave of your correspondent. He appears desirous to play on my expression of British

[ocr errors]

American merchant, by telling you that he really is an English American merchant, that he is much mistaken if I can make the same declaration. He is perfectly correct; I cannot designate myself an American merchant, but, I can assert, I am an Englishman, possessing a British heart, and British feelings, and it is that beart and those feelings, that have actuated me in repelling his accusations, as to the injustice of the British Orders in Council. Had I been born, either in Scotland, or Ireland, (the invidious contemptible distinction, I am forced to presume he means to make by using the word English) I can tell him, I should still have viewed his narrow-minded insinuation with the precise same sovereign disdain.I am, c. J.London, April 19, 1508.

IRISH TYTHES.

SIR.In your Political Register of the 20th March, ult. I read with infinite plea sure a letter dated Dublin, ascribing to rack rents, and the neglect of and extortion committed by landlords on their tenants, the past and present miseries of this country; be confidently assured, the writer has stated the fact fairly, and that the exceptions to his charge against our Irish squires are so few, as to leave this a general political truth, more capable of ascertainment, and more obvious to an impartial observer, than perhaps, any afforded by the annals of any country, as the cause of discontent and disloyalty. Our poor join their landlords and squires in their outcry against tythes, very naturally; these tythes are in addition to rack rents, and the poor flatter themselves they have found a weak point of attack, and that in all events, by the abolition of tythes much is gained. So far, I concur, and (limiting my reasoning on the tythe system) to the effect it has on the poor, sincerely wish they were abolished, and the clergy of all persuasions paid by the state. But, to say that tythes are the cause of the poverty, the heart breaking poverty, of the Irish cottager, is an absurdity too gross, a falsehood too stupid for the most violent and ignorant of our squires to shew his face to. Not one estated man in Ireland, in one hundred, has any just sense of the implied duty imposed on him as proprietor of land. He looks merely to the number of pounds, shillings, and pence he can extract from his tenantry; he requires neither good farm houses, timber, fencing or draining. Land contiguous to Dublin, is let at 20 guineas per acre, near most paltry towns from 8

|

to 12, and all over this unfortunate island, in proportion. The lands of our numerous absentees are let, at the most destructively high rents, because they are let by an agent or attorney, who is valued and paid by his employer accordingly, and who makes what representations he pleases. No man ever hears in society, an estated gentleman say,“ by such or such an event, my estate will be improved, my tenants made comfortable." No! but, "I shall have such or such a rise. my estate will be worth so much more,&c." I

-These facts are disgustingly true and prominent to every human being who is not interested in denying them. I therefore, draw your attention to this most embarras sing political subject, not more on account of its importance than of its difficulty (a legislative interference being nearly impracti cable), in the hope that your mind and some of your labours, may be directed towards it, and that it may become the subject of dis cussion in your Register, and set our fellow subjects in Great Britain to think, and rea son, and communicate on this, the real state of Ireland, as deeply connected, nay, embracing their own prosperity and existence. Do not, I implore of you, Sir, and your correspondents, be led away from the consideration of this subject, by any the most distant idea or apprehension that you are mistaken in the fact. Build upon it, and be assured your foundation is good. Take this for granted; and apply your strong understanding and powers of representation, to draw to it the public attention, and to force our land. ed gentlemen to turn their views inward. If the fact be denied, thousands, tens of thousands will substantiate it, and the very inves tigation will lead to a beneficial result. I really think (without overrating the impor tance of my own country) no subject to which your attention in the course of your political life has been turned, is of more importance than this. You will necessarily among the enlightened and independant English find support and assistance, and gra titude and applause be your reward in-l LAND.-April 2, 1809.

1

COBBETT'S

Parliamentary Debates.

The Eighth Number of the Tenth Vo Jume of the above Work is ready for delivery. Complete sets, from the commence ment in the year 1803 to the present time, may be had of the publishers.

Printed by Cox and Baylis, No. 75, Great Queen Street, and published by R. Bagshaw, Brydges Street, Covent Garden, where former Numbers may be had; sold also by J. Budd, Crown and Mitre, Pall Mal

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »