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make further remarks on some of this author's peculiarities, such as that of placing acque termali' among the pseudo-volcanic rocks, in eompany with porcelain jasper ; but it is unnecessary, for the object which we had in view, to indulge in minute criticism. We have fulfilled a duty in thus far analyzing the only literally complete classification of rocks on a geological system which has come before us; and, in so doing, are sensible that we may be supposed to have put arms into the hands of those who may differ with us on the expediency of this method of arrangement. But an example of bad execution is no proof that the niethod is erroneous; and it must be very evident, that the execution of any such arrangement must be materially modified by the different views which, in the present unsettled state of geological theory, may be entertained by different persons. But whatever system a writer may be induced to adopt, he should at any rate come to this task with all the geological information of his day; and, whatever plan he may chuse, he is bound to be consistent and clear in its execution, and moreover to put his readers in possession of the theoretical and general base on which his classification is founded. Otherwise he does not present in his failure an argument against the utility of the system; but against his own knowledge, or industry, or habits of clear thinking and accurate arrangement.
Of the arrangement of Brochant it is unnecessary to say much, as it is merely a sketch of the well known Wernerian Geognosy, and is not accompanied, like the former Essays, by any details of the species or varieties. We have not here room to investigate the principles of this system, even if we were so inclined. It is unnecessary in fact to take any further notice of an author who, like some of our own, seems merely the gutterpipe through which the Geognosy of Freyberg has flowed into the mouths of those who have had no access to the divine spring itself..
But we must draw this article to a conclusion, and must therefore omit all mention of the systems of Volcanic rocks, with which this little compilation is terminated : being the more inclined so to do, inasmuch as we are but too sensible that we could throw no useful light on a subject which requires a thorough review by some one intimately acquainted, not with a volcano alone, but with all the volcanoes of the globe.
Art. III. Plan for a Commutation of Tithes. pp. 37.
UR readers must not expect too much from the title of this
article. We have no intention of entering on the vexata questio of the expediency or inexpediency of making a public provision for the support of the Church. We are quite satisfied with the manner in which the principle of this question has been decided in England; but our approbation extends no farther. Instead of agreeing with those who consider tithes as the best means by which such a provision may be made, we consider them as the very worst that could have been devised: And it appears to us, that the adoption of any measure which, at the same time that it secured the just rights of the clergy, should put an end to the levying of tithes, would be productive of the greatest national benefit. The subject of commutation is con- · fessedly one of no common importance, both as it affects the interests of the Establishment and the country. At the present period, too, it has a peculiar claim on the public attention. Tithes have hitherto been considered as falling exclusively on the landlords and occupiers of the soil; and the existence of this burden is now urged as a valid reason why they should be protected from foreign competition. We believe we shall be able to show, that this opinion is entirely erroneous; and that tithes, however objectionable in other respects, are an equal, not a partial tax. But, we must bespeak the indulgence of our readers while we state the grounds on which this conclusion rests. So much, and to so very little purpose, has been written on the subject of tithes, that it may be safely affirmed there is no part of political science so incumbered with error and misapprehension, or where it is more necessary to recur to first principles.
If land yielded no surplus to its possessors above ihe common . and ordinary profit of the capital employed in its cultivation, it is plain, that were a tenth of the produce set apart for the use of the clergy, the cultivators would be indemnified for this sacri. fice by an equivalent increase on the price of the remaining nine-tenths. . The level of profit may be temporarily, but it cannot be permanently elevated or depressed in any particular branch of industry: And as there can be no reason why the agriculturists should content themselves with a reduced rate of profit, when all other employments are yielding a higher rate, as soon as tithes were imposed they would set about transferring a portion of their stock to some more lucrative business; and this transference would be continued until the diminution of supply
had raised prices to their proper level, and restored the equilibrium of profit. In such a state of things, tithes would indisputably operate precisely as an equivalent addition to the price of raw produce. But after various qualities of soil have been brought under cultivation, and rents have, in consequence, been pretty generally introduced, it is not so easy to trace their ultimate incidence and effect. They then appear to occasion rather a diminution of the rent of the landlord, than a rise of prices. Farms which are tithe-free always bring a proportionably higher rent than such as are subject to that charge; and it is naturally concluded, that, were tithes abolished, the depressed rents would be raised to the same level as the others. For this reason, in an advanced stage of society tithes are not considered as increasing the price of raw produce to the consumers; but as diverting a portion of the rent of the soil, to which the landlord has no just claim, into the pockets of its rightful owners, the clergymen and lay-impropriators. "Taxes on the produce of land,' says Dr Smith,' are in reality taxes upon rent; and, though they may be originally advanced by the farmer, are finally paid by the landlord. When a certain portion of the produce is to be paid away for a tax, the farmer computes, as well as he can, what the value of this portion, one year with another, is likely to amount to, and makes a proportion. able abatement in the rent which he agrees to pay to the landlord. There is no farmer who does not compute, beforehand, what the Church tithe, which is a land-tax of this kind, is, one year with another, likely to amount to.'*
Suppose,' says one of the ablest writers in defence of tithes, " that the tenth or tithe were to be abolished, it would not put a farthing into the pocket of the farmer. It would be his landlord that would be the gainer, not he. The landlord would immediately advance his rent to the full amount of what was used to be paid in tithes, and would tell his tenant, that as he now lets his estate tithefree, or in other words lets him the whole estate, of which he had before let him only nine-tenths, he expects an increase of rent, not only equal to what the clergy claimed, but considerably more ; for farmers need not be told, how much more easy the clergy are in receiving their tithes, than those lay-impropriators, or private gentlemen, who have great tithes in their hands.
And such beyond all doubt are the generally received opinions on this subject. That we may be able properly to appreciate their accuracy, it is necessary to recollect, that the exchangeable value of raw produce is not regulated by the expenditure required to raise it on the richest lands under cultivation, but by
* Wealth of Nations, Vol. III. p. 274.
that which is required to raise it on the poorest ;-that is, on the least fertile lands which it is necessary to cultivate, in order to obtain a sufficient supply of raw produce. But it has been shown, that this last quality of land pays no rent; and, consequently, that the produce obtained from it is sold at its natural price, or the price which is necessary to cover the cost of its production, including therein the profit of the capital employed in its culture. However, as this principle is obviously of fundamental importance in tracing the effect of tithes or taxes on raw produce, we shall briefly recapitulate the reasoning by which it has been established, and endeavour to obviate one or two objections which have been stated against it.
On the first settling of any country abounding in fertile and unappropriated land, no rent is ever paid ; and for this plain reason, that no person will pay a rent for what may be procured in unlimited quantities for nothing. It is only after the most productive lands have all been brought under cultivation, and when recourse is had to those of an inferior quality, that rent begins to be paid by the farmers of those which are superior. Suppose, for example, that, in a stationary state of society, none but the best soils are under cultivation, it is obvious they could afford no surplus in the shape of rent to their proprietors : For, if they did afford any such surplus, it would be advantageous for the proprietors of the soils of the very next degree of fertility, and which, in point of productive power, must differ extremely little from the first, to commence cultivation; and as, by the hypothesis, there could be no increased demand, the increased supply could not fail to sink prices until they yielded only the ordinary rate of profit to the proprietors of the best soils. But, supposing the country to be rapidly advancing in wealth and population, and that, to attain sufficient supplies of raw produce, it had become necessary to cultivate soils which, in return for the same expenditure as would have produced 100 quarters on the most fertile, yield only 90 quarters, a rent of 10 quarters would be paid by the occupiers of the former; for it is evidently the same thing to a farmer, whether he pays a rent of 10 quarters for a piece of land, which, with a certain outlay of capital and labour, yields 100 quarters; -or farms, without paying any rent, a piece of land which, with the same outlay, only yields 90 quarters. This extension of cultivation might be indefinitely continued ; and when recourse had been had to lands which would only yield so, or 70 quarters, the rent of the first quality would plainly be em qual to the difference between its produce and that of the last, that is, to 100—70, or 30 quarters; the rent of the second to
the difference between 90 and 70, or 20 quarters, and so on. An increase of rent is not, therefore, as is very generally supposed, occasioned by improvements in agriculture, or by an increase in the fertility of the soil. Were none but the most fertile soils cultivated, no such thing as rent would ever be heard of. It results entirely from the necessity of resorting, as population increases, to soils of a decreasing degree of fertility; and therefore varies in its amount inversely as the profit of the capi. tal employed in cultivation ;--that is, it increases when the profits of agricultural stock diminish, and diminishes when they increase. Profits are at their maximum in colonies possessed of extensive tracts of fertile and uncultivated land, and generally in all situations in which no rents are paid; but it cannot be said that rents have attained their maximum, so long as capital yields any surplus in the shape of profit. But whatever may be the rent of the superior soils, the least fertile soils under cultivation never pay any rent. The price of raw produce must be such as will yield the cultivators the common and average rate of profit, and indemnify them for their expenses; and it cannot, for any considerable period, be either higher or lower. If it were higher, there would be an obvious inducement to apply fresh capital to the bringing of new land under tillage, or to the improvement of the old land; and, on the other hand, if it were lower, there would be an equally powerful inducement to withdraw capital from agriculture. In every case, therefore, - whether tillage be extending or diminishing, the price of that portion of produce which is raised in the least favourable circumstances, and which regulates the price of all the rest, is its necessary price. It is the price at which it would be sold if rents were altogether unknown; and is not in the least affected by them.
It has been objected to this account of the nature and causes of rent, that it takes for granted that landlords would permit farmers to occupy their lands without paying any rent. But, in point of fact, it does no such thing. The price of raw produce is not kept down to its necessary price by the competition of farmers, but by that of the landlords themselves. Though there must necessarily be a very wide difference between the best and the worst soils in any country of considerable extent, the gradation from the one extreme to the other is regular, and nearly imperceptible. The best differ but little from those which are immediately inferior to them, and the worst from those immediately above them. And hence, whatever may be the state of cultivation at any given period, it would be impos