« AnteriorContinuar »
THE BOAR SONG.
Bring me the hunter's goblet deep ;
It holds a flask and more :-
To pledge the mighty Boar!
Thy prowess shall restore :
To pledge the mighty Boar.
To pledge the mighty Boar!
We have not chased the coward fox,
Nor slain the feeble hare :-
When the wild swine left his lair.
Nor by six-foot spear he fell :-
Be the hunter's song his knell ! (Chorus.)_His pledge be the wine of the sunny Rhine,
And the hunter's song his knell !
Peril is on the antlered brow,
While lowered for the fray ;
When it strikes the stag at bay.
When he turn's on the woodman's edge;
Nor give him the goblet's pledge.
To wolf or stag we pledge!
Nor stalwart arm, nor steadfast heart,
Are ever needed more
To receive the rushing boar.
Across his Tyrant's path;
And pointing his sword in wrath.
To pledge the freeman's wrath!
Speed now! The hunter's feast array !
Bring on the vanquished Boar !
The king of the chase before !
One princely cup we pour ;
We pledge to that mighty Boar.
We pledge to that mighty Boar!
FALLACIES CONCERNING TITHES.
The following remarks on the reasoning by which the opponents of the true doctrine of tithes uphold their opinion that tithe is a rent tax, and therefore paid at present from the rent of land, were originally intended as notes to an article on Ireland, which appeared in our sixth number. Their insertion, however, would have extended that article beyond proper limits, and mingled up with it certain abstract reasonings partfrom its main object; so we preferred postponing them, and presenting them as follows.
Our leading opponents of this day are Dr. Chalmers, Mr. Senior, Colonel Thompson, and perhaps the late Dr. Robert Hamilton of Aberdeen. Their opinions we shall now shortly discuss, taking them in the foregoing order.
I. Of Dr. Chalmers' tithe theory, we deem it necessary merely to state, that it rests on grounds peculiar to the author's unique creed, and not accepted by any other economist of the time. In passing it by with this slight notice, we are the farthest possible from intending dis. respect. Our work is a practical one-not speculative; and when the Doctor's ideas shall appear to have the least chance either of being reduced to practice, or of in any way influencing practical men, we shall then give them the attention they merit. Our countryman does not himself expect that this will be soon. Like the great Verulam, he commits his thoughts to posterity.
II. Let Mr. Senior state his own opinions.
“ It is true that tithes are not a burden on the wages of the labourer or the pro. fits of the farmer, but are a deduction, or rather an exception, from the landlord's rent ; and that, except so far as inconvenience arises from the mode in which they are collected, or from their interference with the employment of capital, (the latter of which inconveniences affects consumers in general, the citizen as well as the rustic,) neither the labourer, the farmer, nor even the landlord, can justly complain of them : neither the labourer nor the farmer, because he does not pay them ; nor the landlord, because they are an interest in the soil which never was his; which he may wish for, as he may wish for his neighbour's field, but with no more right to appropriate.”—Letter to Lord Howick on Commutation, fic. p. 56. Third Edition,
Next let Mr. Senior illustrate his opinions.
" It is true that its great evil, the dissociating the people from their best instruc. tors, the clergy, is not the subject of vulgar complaint; but effects are attributed to them which, though they are not their real consequences, are yet real grounds for their removal. This may require some explanation. The supposed effects to which I allude are the raising the price of provisions, and occasioning agricultural labourers to be out of employ. Now it is perfectly true that, where tithes have long existed, they produce neither of these effects. But it is equally true that their removal would produce an immediate fall in the price of provisions, and increase the demand for agricultural labourers. Their effect, where they have long existed, is the same as if the country in which they prevail were thereby rendered rather less extensive, or rather LESS FERTILE, and consequently rather less populous, than it otherwise would have been. If England, from time immemorial, had been rather more exten. sive, or rather more fertile than it now is, no one will suppose that the price of provisions would have been lower, or the number of labourers out of employ smaller than they now are. We should have had rather more corn, rather more rent, a demand for rather more labour, and a rather greater population to eat that corn and perform that labour than we now have. The increase would have been in all cases
• These and the following capitals are ours.
positive, not relative. So, if Devonshire or Lincolnshire had never existed, the ren. tal, the fund for the subsistence, and the population of the country, would all have been positively diminished ; but as they would have borne the same proportion to one another as they do now, the price of the existing quantity of corn, and the demand for the existing supply of labour, would have been just what they are now. So if tithes had never existed, we should have had rather more corn, a rather larger amount of rental, and a rather larger population. Every thing else would have been as it is. But if a new Devonshire or a new Lincolnshire, fit for immediate cultivation, were now suddenly added to our shores, the immediate consequences would be, an increased demand for agricultural labour, an increased supply of provisions, and a rise of wages, both as estimated in money and as estimated in commodities. It is true that, if this accession to our territory were followed by no change in our habits and institutions, the increased prosperity, which would be its immediate consequence, would gradually disappear as our population rose with the increased supply of subsistence; and ultimately we should be just where we are now, excepting that we should be rather more numerous. So IF TITHES WERE SUDDENLY COM. NUTED, AND THEIR INTERFERENCE, SUCH AS IT IS, WITHI AGRICULTURAL IMPROVEMENT, GOT RID OF, THE SAME CONSEQUENCES WOULD FOLLOW AS IF THE EXTEXT OF OUR TERRITORY, OR ITS FERTILITY, WERE SUDDENLY AUGMENTED. And supposing no improvement to take place in our institutions and habits, the consequent increase of our population would bring us back, as far as the price of provisions and the demand for labour in proportion to the number of labourers are concerned, to the precise point at which we are now.”
This illustration might, by an ill-natured or captious adversary, be easily twisted into a refutation. Wherein Mr. Senior differs from us, we shall attempt to make apparent in a subsequent section:-it is more im. portant to notice wherein he agrees with us. He holds that tithe is a renttax; but, at the same time, that it renders the tithed land as if less fertile, and that its abolition would, to the consumer, have precisely the effect of a sudden improvement of our agricultural territory, or a creation of new land, i. e. it would lower the price of agricultural produce. The consumer then would be relieved by the abolition; and therefore now lies under the burden, whether the landlord be affected or not. Not only does he lie under that burden now, but has likewise done so in all time bypast. Mr. Senior's attempt to show that this is no grievance, is a curious one. He tells us, that if at any previous period this burden had been removed, the people would have just procreated the faster ; and that in consequence of new land being thus forced into cultivation, wages, profits, and the price of provisions, would in all probability have been at this day, exactly at their present low point. And he warns us, besides, against being misled by the delusion, that their present abrogation would permanently benefit us, seeing that it could only act as a sort of premium on procreation! We call argumentation of this sort, Malthusianism run mad. If it goes any length, it must go the full length of demonstrating all attempts to benefit a people by improving their physical or economical condition, nothing more hopeful or profitable than the labours of Ixion. Dr. Chalmers, indeed, manfully carries it even to this ludicrous extremity, and speaks of paltry economics with lofty disdain; but Mr. Senior will scarcely be so bold. Our Malthusians are often not good philosophers, and show little skill in the complex movements of society. The progress of what their leader terms the MORAL CHECK, is in fact most intimately bound up with that physical improvement which they hold in so mean account. One theorem of the higher science we shall here announce, and be content with merely announcing it. Mr. Senior may think over it, and draw inferences at his leisure. It is this: - The progress of civilization, i. e. of moral and intellectual culture, is (physical circumstances remaining the same) slow or rapid in society,
NO. LX. VOL. II.
nearly in proportion to the thinness or density of population : or, to take an illustration, had Great Britain been at the present moment twice as populous as it is, while at the same time our powers of obtaining physi. cal comfort remained such as they now are, our people would have been both wiser and better, and our empire therefore greater and happier. *
III. We come now to the leader of the heretical rebellion-the very head and front of this band of recalcitrators against the orthodoxy of Ricardo,--we mean Colonel Thompson, author of “ The True Theory of Rent,” and of several other well.known economical essays. The doctrine of rent, as propounded by Colonel Thompson, is unquestionably correct ; but he errs in supposing that any inference regarding tithes can be drawn from it different from what follows directly from Ricardo's statement. We are hardly disposed to acknowledge even that the renttheory is different from the development of the same subject by this latter great man ; though it is certainly an admirable and necessary cor. rection of the language of his more incautious disciples. Our readers Must become conversant with the whole ambages of this question ; so that we make no apology for bringing an outline of it before them. The followers of Ricardo too, often allege that the difference of the fertilities of soils is the cause of rent, whereas it only measures its amount. Co. lonel Thompson states truly that the limited quantity of good soil, coupled with a constantly increasing demand for produce, is this cause ; and while he thus supports the original view of Adam Smith, he is, in his turn, supported by Mr. Say. The process which brings about the origin of rent appears to be as follows, and may be seen actually in operation in the less cultivated districts of America :-So long as the best soil alone of any country is cultivated, the corn sells at the mere cost of production ; i. e. its price pays the wages of labour and the ordinary living profit for capital, but no rent. Were this species of land of indefinite extent, no rent would ever arise, and corn would thus obey the same economical laws with manufactured articles ; but the good soil wears out as population proceeds; and while the demand for produce, therefore, goes on constantly increasing, the supply is limited. Corn, however, must be had ; its immediate rise in the market is a necessary consequence; and the holders of the superior lands are thus bona fide holders of a monopoly. Whatever sum they obtain for their produce over and above its cost of production, may be termed the monopoly exaction or rent ; and they can only raise this rent in amount, until by some means the public obtain a power of reaction, and are enabled to defy them. Now the patent means of public defence are the soils still uncultivated, which, though inferior, may nevertheless yield a return. These next lower soils were not cultivated at first, because with corn at its original price, they could not have been tilled profitably ; but so soon as the price of corn gets sufficiently high to allow of their smaller produce paying for wages and profits, they will unquestionably be cultivated ; the monopoly price will stop ascending, and the
• Mr. Senior sees very well the humbug of any plan of commutation into a tax on rent.--He says truly in page 58, that in time the landlords would forget that tithes had been surrendered to them as an equivalent, and would call out for corn laws and restrictions as an indemnity. The fact is, they have done so already, even where they paid tithe only in imagination, and we may therefore guess what sort of a relief we shall have from Mr. Stanley's plan.
amount of the rent of the better soils be determined.* A proper consideration of this will show that it differs nothing in the main from Ricardo's notions ; nor will it permit of a different inference in the question of tithes. Previous to the exhaustion of the best soils, corn plainly obeys the laws of all necessary manufactured articles; and were tithe then imposed, its burden would, without doubt, be thrown upon the consumer. The agriculturist obtained nothing more for it originally than the cost of its production; and as he will not produce it for less, he must, the moment he is laid under the necessity of giving a tenth of it away, raise his price until the remaining nine-tenths yield him this profitable return. If he cannot do this by a mere extra demand upon his consumer, he will do it by lessening his supply, or in other words,
• We entreat our readers to make themselves acquainted with the doctrine of Rent. If they knew it, it would unveil many a financial iniquity, of which, without such knowledge, they can think only in vague and unsatisfactory termg. Finance is a cunning tyrant, and we require to study well to become acquainted with its subtle oppressions. We are tempted to add here a refutation by the redoubted Christopher North, of some absurdities upon this subject, advanced by one of his more forward than wise correspondents. The refutation is complete and admirable, and incidentally illustrates our subject :
u Our correspondent puts a case, the substance of which may be very briefly stated thus :–Edinburgh wants ten millions quarts of water, which can be furnished at one penny each. Afterwards Edinburgh wants one thousand quarts more, which cannot be furnished at less than one penny farthing. Now, is that any reason, says he, why the ten million men should renounce their advantage, and raise their price by a farthing in order to countenance the thousand men ? This is his question. But he forgets one little thing. Before any man would think of producing the last thousand quarts, the ten millions must have been found insufficient for the demand ; that insufficiency would express itself by a rise in the market price of the ten millions. This rise would act as a summons to the production of the last thousand quarts, and would take place not after (as our correspondent supposes the Ricardian to say), but before the production of that last thousand. That this increased price would be sustained after the supply was equalized with the demand, is evident, because the penny men could not return to their old price, and undersell the penny-farthing men, without driving them out of the market; since a penny-farthing, by the supposition, is the least sum that will pay profits and wages on the thousand quarts. But the pennyfarthing men cannot be driven out of the market, because the whole product by the very means of the case, is no more than sufficient for the demand ; and if for a moment they should be driven out of the market, the increase of price consequent on insufficient supply would immediately recall them. In this state of things, the land. lords of that land, or of those wells which produce the ten million quarts, finding that the producers have an advantage over the thousand quart men, step in and demand the whole difference between them, viz. a farthing--and so commences Rent. For those who raise water at a penny-farthing have the ordinary rate of profits ; and therefore those who can raise it at a penny, have more than the ordinary rate by a farthing. This rent becomes confirmed by contracts ; and after that all attempts to undersell become impossible, except by sacrificing some part of the ordinary rate of profit,
* Our excellent correspondent will find it vain to kick against these irresistible doctrines. But he must allow us to add, that the old theory of Rent is not (as he supposes) opposed to the new theory, but simply different from it. Adam Smith did not deny any thing essential to the new views ; he merely overlooked something, viz. the fact of the different rates of fertility in the soil. Neither did he uniformly overlook this ; some things which, he says, imply that he had a glimpse of it; and with regard to mines, he was pretty sensible of this scale of differences, and of its consequences.-C. N.”
Hadst thou always written thus, 0, Christopher ! thy crutch would have dealt many a good blow for the Good Cause !