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THE CONDITION OF THE EMPIRE.
When the “New Liberal System" ness now will not pay its own costs : -we speak of it as a whole, and not the farmer cannot obtain for his promerely in so far as concerns trade- duce what will pay the expenses of was adopted, we predicted that it would his farm; the ship-owner cannot exlead to public ruin and revolution. It tract any income from his ships; prohas only been partially applied, and fits are destroyed to frugality as well as lo! its friends are terrified by the extravagance : therefore economy can omens which appear in the political be no efficient remedy. The employhorizon. They no longer assure us ed workman cannot earn a sufficiency that it will produce unexampled trade of the coarsest necessaries, and the unand prosperity—that it will make the employed one can earn nothing; thereEmpire overflow with wealth, intelli, fore they cannot profit from economy. gence, virtue, and happiness; but, in. If the community were to strike off a stead, they hint of decline of manufac- large part of its expenditure in mertures and fearful commotions. Even chandize and manufactures, we fear the more respectable of the Ministe, this would prove any thing rather than rial writers are taking the alarm. The a remedy to the sufferings of agricul. Quarterly Review, forgetting its lat ture, manufactures, and trade. discovery, that this was the “ Age of Then the Quarterly Review advises the People"-the" Age of comfort for economy and retrenchment in the pubthe Poor”-now discovers, not only lic burdens. The poor rates are to be that it is the age of revolution, but reduced. As this would add largely to that symptoms are abroad of the most the privations of the labouring classes, fatal kind of revolution.
we are not convinced that it would And have all the egotism and boaste form any remedy to public suffering. ing ended in this? Is this the realiza- As to the property of the church, we tion of the promises that the master think it yields as much benefit to the should be overwhelmed with riches, nation in the hands of its present posa and the labourer should have his fowl sessors, as it would do in those of layin the pot, and his sovereign in his men. If by spoliation of the church pocket ? Have the brilliant"Improve. and other means, three or four mil. ments” produced nothing but loss, lions of annual taxes were abolished, beggary, misery, and the danger of it would only, on the average, benefit the most desolating calamities? each member of the community to the
Agreeing as we do with the writers extent of a few shillings per annum, we have alluded to on the existence of and such benefit would do but little in the danger, we should probably have removing individual distress. Then the been silent, if, in giving warning of it, aristocracy is cautioned. The poor they had pointed out the true sources, aristocracy! it is always the bane of and the efficient means of protection. public prosperity, and its sacrifice is But, instead, they have only offered, always the remedy for public evil. We for the former, vague, erroneous de- are constrained by the experience of clamation, and for the latter, counsels the last few years to think that the only calculated to hasten the crisis, further pulling to pieces of the politie and render its effects the more terris cal and social system-additional exble. As to sources, the Quarterly Re- periments, derangement, and confus view, of course, can find nothing sion—would form the very reverse of wrong in the new system of govern- a preservative from revolution. ment; and as to protection, it repeats We concur generally with the Rethe stale slang of the revolutionists by view in regard to the culture of waste profession. In conjunction with that lands and emigration. very godly and patriotic person Rich- The British empire at this moment ard Carlile, it calls for individual eco- possesses incalculable advantages benomy; the people of this country have, yond what was ever possessed by any it appears, become highly extravagant, other great nation : it possesses every and they are to return to the frugal thing requisite for commanding al. expenditure of former ages. It un- most uninterrupted prosperity and fortunately happens that, independ happiness. Yet
this empire is overently of individual expenditure, busia whelmed with suffering, and is admit
VOL. XXVI. NO, CLIV.
ted to be in danger of ruin. Your trades as far as possible. Admit into Ministry and Legislature declare that your market foreign silks, gloves, lace, they cannot account for this, they will shoes, &c. &c., at such prices as your attempt nothing in the way of remedy, own manufacturers cannot afford to and all they do enlarges the suffering take; and this must inevitably bind and makes the ruin more certain. To all the souls engaged in the fabrication make you sensible of the real causes, of such articles, to constant loss and we cannot do better than give you the suffering. following infallible receipt for utterly If you, unhappily, have manufac. ruining any great empire.
tures and trades which cannot be un Do not act on vague generalities, dersold by foreign opponents, it will and attempt to strike the whole mass be more difficult to restrict them, by at once; but adapt your measures to direct means, to continual losing prices. circumstances, and destroy in detail. But your measures against your agri. The prosperity of the nation can only culture, &c., by confining consideraexist in that of the individual; and bly more than half your population to the prosperity of the individual can unceasing distress, must indirectly go only exist in good profits on the em- far towards placing the remainder in ployment of his capital, or good the same condition. Providence has wages. Compel the individual to em- most wisely made it a law of nature, ploy his capital without profit, or at a that the minority shall suffer with the loss, or to labour for inadequate wages, majority. The distress of the majoand you will keep them in constant rity must bind the minority to reduced distress ; you will drag every capitale trade, insufficient employment, stagist, in succession, through bankruptcy, nation, bad debts, and inadequate and chain every workman to penury prices. and want. By thus ruining the indi. You may, however, to a certain exvidual, you must inevitably triumph tent, strike directly at these manuface in your efforts to ruin the empire. tures and trades, in common with the
Having made these self-evident rest of your interests. If you take truths your own, apply them in the from a man his capital, you take his first place to your agriculture. If you means of doing business ; of course, can only keep the prices of agricultu- in proportion as you may annihilate ral produce below remunerating ones, capital, you will produce loss and sufthis will manifestly strip your land- fering. It will not be prudent in you lords and farmers of profits and capi- to confiscate and destroy individual tal, and your husbandry labourers of property in a direct manner; for the the necessary means of subsistence. sending of troops to rob men of their You cannot accomplish it by prohi. money, or burn their goods, might biting your farmers from asking other create commotions dangerous to your than prices fixed by law, but you may authority ; but you may, with safety, do so in another manner. Open your employ indirect means equally efficamarket to the cheap produce of fo. cious. A vast portion of individual reign countries; admit the corn, pro. capital consists in reality of bank notes, visions, wool, seeds, tallow, &c. &c. and cannot exist if these notes do not. of such countries, at prices which will Suppress the notes, and you will ne. not remunerate your own agricultu. cessarily destroy the capital; the banks rists; and this will be as effective as cannot lend different money in lieu of a law for fixing prices. Your land- them, and their customers cannot bor. owners, farmers, and husbandry la- row any. You will thus as effectually bourers-probably half your popula- take from almost every man, no mattion-will thus be strictly bound to ter what his business may be, a part constant loss and suffering.
of his capital, as you would do should Then apply the truths to your ship- you rob him of his money or burn his ping interest. Place such foreign goods; and from great numbers of ships or an equality with your own, manufacturers and traders you will in your market, as can afford to take take nearly all their capital. By demuch lower freights ; and it will in- stroying the master's means of doing evitably bind this interest to constant business, you will necessarily destroy loss and suffering.
the employment of his workmen. In the same manner, apply the This poieni means will, therefore, of truths to all your manufactures and itself, enable you to produce an im
metise portion of loss, ruin, and dis- shortest possible time. You cannot be tresi, in every business throughout go blind as to assert the contrary. your population.
And now, how have you in late After having applied the truths as years governed, and how are you at far as practicability will permit at present governing, the British empire? home, apply them to your Colonies. Precisely on this plan. You have ada Admit into your market the produce hered, and are adhering, to it in every of foreign nations, at such prices as particular. With your intentions we your colonial growers of like produce have nothing to do; it makes not the cannot afford to take; and this, by least difference whether your object narrowing the market of the latter, be the ruin or the benefit of the emand reducing their prices, must bind pire; it is sufficient for us to know them, masters and servants, to con- that your conduct and measures are stant loss and suffering. Your mean the most efficacious you could possibly sures for distressing your population adopt for accomplishing its ruin. at home will injure grievously your You are compelled to own that your colonial population; and those for dis- population is in bitter distress-what tressing the latter will injure grievouse are the causes ? It is only a passing ly the former.
cloud, says your Chancellor of the When you have, as far as possible, Exchequer, arising from overtrading. bound every individual of your popu- Your Prime Minister, in such a selflation, at home and in your colonies, destroying speech as scarcely any other to bankruptcy prices and famine wages official man ever ventured on, has
- to constant loss and suffering-you ascribed it to the issues of the country may employ various means for hasten- banks, the loss of loans made to foing the ruin of your empire. The reign countries, &c.—to causes which universal distress will be a prolific ceased to operate some years ago. One source of discontent, disaffection, ig- minister thus, in reality, charges it norance, vice, and crime. To make it upon excess of capital, and the other produce the greatest possible amount upon deficiency. Your omniscient of these, teach your population that and infallible guides, the Economists all its laws and institutions are faulty, and Philosophers, generalize on the and fill the land with intolerable evils; matter in a manner perfectly astonish-excite its hatred hy this, on the one ing. One affiliates the distress on overhand, and continual new legislation trading, another casts the blame on on the other, against all established the existence of the corn laws; the things;-instruct it to despise the wis- causes are, according to this party, exdom of past ages, and to reject, as er- cess of currency, taxation, or the poor ror, whatever bears the stamp of ex- laws; according to that, bad harvests, perience ; under the pretence of bene, the suppression of the small notes, or fiting science, inspire it with contempt the increase of machinery. They can of those feelings and usages which hue utter nothing but vague generalities; manize man's nature and bind him to their magnificent powers cannot stoop bis species ;-array against each other to the drudgery of looking at parts, or servants and masters, inferiors and su- to the vulgarity of believing in the periors ;-by precept and example, facts and figures of real business. cause religion and morals to be deri. Undertaking the humble toil which ded as bigotry and prejudice ;-goad they disdain, we will look at the dithe loyal and orderly into disaffection visions of your population severally, by insult and coercion-and cherish and trace the distress of each to its and reward the rebellious and ungo- cause, by means of the ignoble evivernable. In a word, root out the dence of common-place demonstration. feelings and regulations which give In the first place, why are your farmbeing and weal to society, and replace ers distressed ? Because they cannot them with those which brutalize and obtain for their produce what will destroy it.
cover their outgoings. The last harIt is demonstrable, that this is the vest was not a deficient one to any very best plan which human ability material extent except in wheat; and could devise-that it is an infallible if wheat had been a full crop, they plan--for enabling any body of rulers would still have been distressed, as to ruin an empire completely in the was proved in the last year, by its cheapness. If your farmers could pro- ting freights, and they cannot obtain Cure a certain addition to the prices of such freights because you have placed their various kinds of produce, they them by law in these circumstances would enjoy prosperity. This is a fact in a considerable part of their trade, which you cannot controvert.
they must either accept losing freights, Now, why cannot they obtain the or incur the greater loss of abandoning prices requisite for making them pros- it to foreigners, and suffering their perous ?
Are machinery, the cur- ships to rot in port; the rate of freight rency, the corn law, overtrading, and fixed by law in this part of their trade taxation, the causes which make wool must of necessity be the rate in their unsalable at ruinous prices — which trade generally. make skins, tallow, &c. &c. so cheap And now why are your silk, glove, -which will not suffer the prices of and lace manufacturers distressed ? barley, oats, beans, pease, and wheat, They cannot obtain prices which will to rise to remunerating ones? You yield profits to the master and necesknow them to be perfectly guiltless. saries to the workman. Why are their Wool is ruinously low and unsaleable, prices so bad? Because they cannot because foreign wool is used in lieu of raise them to remunerating ones, withit ; skins, tallow, &c. are rendered so out having their traile taken from them cheap by the import of them from by foreigners. If the prices of the silk other countries ; and if a few shillings manufacturers were raised sixpence per quarter were added to the price of per yard, and those of the glove macorn, it would give birth to a destruc- nufacturers were raised in the same tive glut of all kinds by importation. proportion, you are well aware that It matters not what your currency, foreigners would destroy the trade of your harvests, or the prosperity of both. As to the lace manufacturers, your manufacturing and trading classes foreign blond lace has destroyed their may be, your farmers cannot, under trade to a large extent already. Here your laws for the admission of foreign is one cause of the distress; another produce, obtain adequate prices. They is to be found in the fact which you are distressed by bad prices, and your cannot question, that the large import laws prohibit them from gaining high- of foreign silks, gloves, and lace, deer ones. You must admit that this is stroys a vast mass of employment, and established fact, and not speculation. keeps the market constantly glutted.
The distress of the farmer must al. Your laws demonstrably prohibit these ways be shared by his servants. It three manufactures from obtaining adeat once compels him to employ much quate prices, and take from them much less labour, and to reduce wages. The of their trade. loss of profits and capital to the em. Several other interests are placed by ployer must for ever be the loss of your laws in similar circumstances. competence and bread to the employ. Looking at all who are dependent ed. "The sufferings of your farmers solely or principally on agriculture in have taken an enormous portion of the United Kingdom, including the employment from your husbandry la landowners and their dependents, as bourers, and reduced their earnings we as the farmers and their ser. until they cannot procure a sufficiency vants, they must comprehend one. of necessaries.
half the population. The Shipping To the landowners, rents have fall. Interest, Silk Trade, and other Inteen, and are falling, greatly; you know rests, circumstanced as we have stated, the cause is to be found in the low cannot have less than two millions of prices of agricultural produce. souls dependent on them. Here, then,
In the next place, why are your is the majority of your population ;shipowners distressed ? Are overtra- here are twelve or fourteen millions of ding, the currency, machinery, &c. people, strictly bound by your laws to the causes here? If the question be constant loss and suffering. These milridiculous, you compel us to put it. lions have had one-fourth, one-third, Your shipowners are distressed be, and, in very many cases, the whole of cause they cannot obtain remuncra- their property destroyed by your laws;*
When the Prime Minister spoke of the loss of the morey lent to the South American republics, as a source of public distress, he ought not to have been silent and they are prohibited by them from be permanent, for your laws have tas obtaining higher-taking into account ken their capital now, and for ever. the losses which bad seasons, &c. must It is thus a truth wholly above for ever entail on the farmer and tra- question, that you have by law bound der-than distress-prices. To ascribe the great majority of your population their distress to over-trading, the corn to constant loss and suffering, and de law, and the thousand-and-one other stroyed much of its property. The causes which you plead, is an absur- many millions of those who compose dity too gross for other ears than those it, are to most of your manufacturers of lunacy: It is not theory or specue and merchants customers, without lative opinion, but it is a matter of being rivals. To ascertain the effects arithmetical denionstration and a fact of this on the minority, apply, not to established by conclusive experiments, the economist for speculations, but to that your laws render it impossible the man in trade for the facts of real for these millions to obtain prices and life. You want in this case facts only, hold employment which will protect and not opinions. Go in the first place them from constant loss and suffering. to the respectable tradesman, and he
In addition, this gigantic part of will say, When my customers, farmyour population has been seriously in. ers and others, obtain good prices, jured by the destruction of capital ef. they buy almost one-third more goods fected by your suppression of the of me than they do when distressed ; small notes of country banks. Through they give me what I ask, pay me much these twelve or fourteen millions, you ready money, and discharge their bills have applied the principle of compell. at the proper time. But now, in their ing the individual to employ his capi. distress, they not only buy so much tal without profit, or ai a loss, or to less of me, but they will not buy, exlabour for inadequate wages.
cept at the cheapest rate ; they beat Passing from them, ask the mid- me down in price, they go on credit, dling and small manufacturers and my bad debts among them are very traders, in almost all parts of the heavy, and I cannot get my money country, if their distress do not arise of those who are solvent. Then go from over-trading, the corn law, and to the small tradesman, and he will your grand string of causes, and they give a similar account touching the will deride your ignorance. They working classes. He will tell you that will thus answer you: When the the difference between the prosperity banks issued small notes, they dise and distress of these classes is to him counted our bills and made us occa- not only a difference of almost half sional advances; this enabled us to his trade, but the difference between carry on a comfortable and prosperous the sale of good commodities at a full business. The notes are suppressed, profit, and that of bad ones at the and, in consequence, the greater part smallest profit-between selling for of our resources is cut off; we cannot ready money at no risk, and selling raise money to meet our paymients and on indefinite credit with great losses. carry on trade with : and this is the Then calculate from the individual to case, not because trade is bad, but be. the body. If the distress have come cause our capital has been taken from pelled, on the average, each indivi. us. Matters are made much worse, dual of the majority of fifteen milby the circumstance that the farmers lions, to expend two pounds per anhave now no money to expend. num less with the minority, it has
These people and their workmen compelled tre aggregate majority to form another very large part of your expend with it thirty millions less. population which your laws have re. To this enormous loss of trade, must duced to distress. Their distress must be added the loss caused by the sub
touching the capital which has been destroyed at home by the new system of trade. How many millions have been lost in the last four years by the landowners and farmers in the value of land and farming stock, and by the shipowners, silk manufacturers, &c. in the value of ships and fixed capital; and by the whole, in the destruction of profits, and insolvency Several hundreds of millions. Speak of the foreign loans, and overlook all this! Oh, fie, go to the "schoolmaster !"