Page images

to prove...Perhaps equally so as to justify the ridiculous rhodomontade of the aforesaid child being therefore “left to rot on the surface of the earth, be worried by dogs, or devoured by crows!” Upon my word, Mr. Editor, I cannot but admire your transcendent good, nature to have indulged Mr. E. in his strange desire to appear in print, and to “extend beyond the limits of the circulation of a provincial paper” such absurdity. After asking Mr. Eccleston whether he seriously believes that the “poor innocent child” did in reality “rot on the surface of the earth,” or was “devoured by crows,” in consequence of the vicar's refusal to bury the corpse in his church-yard 2 I am inclined to suggest to him the propriety of being in future rather more cautious in his language than to assert that a dead child was “worried by dogs!” For although Mr. Eccleston, who boasts of his teading respecting “the humanity of the Hottentots,” might peradventure have added his experience, that not only dogs but even puppies sometimes worry parsons, it really staggers my belief that they ever worry the dead! But, Mr. Editor, to be serious, on a subject, which required all Mr. E.'s powers of intellect and fancy to produce a smile, I cannot but express my regret that, such an occasion as the present should have been seized with so much ayidity, for the purpose of bringing a clergyman into contempt. When Mr. E. says, in the hackneyed phraseology so often resorted to by declaimers, “tell it not in Westmoreland,” &c. It is so evident, by the very method which he has taken of giving universality to his narration, that he is desirous of its being not only told “in Westmoreland” but published before the whole world, and “every creature;” and, for the purpose of exciting the scoffs of the malignant, and the sar. Castic illiberality of all who feel pleasure in the debasement or humiliation of the clerical character; that it immediately occurs to me to be the duty of every consistent friend of the church to point out the following fact: That if any person within this realin of England, belong"g to, and accredited by any tolerated Soctor branch of the Christian religion, shall wilfully avoid or prevent his children from being admitted by baptism into the communion of Christ's church; such persons, have no legal right to any of the Privileges of the church, and may not be interred by the ministration of any rite or *remony incident to those only who have been baptised. The vicar alluded

[blocks in formation]

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. SIR, HE discussions relative to the cornLAws involve the immediate interests of the whole population of the British empire, partly as growers, or entirely as consumers. To subsist, is the first of all considerations; and to be able to subsist, by moderate exertions of labour, is the result of all social wisdom. In the agitation of this momentous question, it will appear that the several parties are anxious to reconcile inconsistent and impossible conditions. I • THE MANUFACTURING INTEREST demands that the English farmer, or iandlord, may be on the footing of the Polish or American farmer, or landlord, and meet them at the same price in the market; forgetting all the differences of their circumstances, that the price of land, labour, horses, and implements, is in England four times as great as in those countries, and that an incompetent recompence for agricultural labour and capital would ultimately be the means of turning them to manufactures ; thereby unduly increasing the stock, creating a glut in the market, and sinking the price of manufactured articles to the reduced level of farming capital and labour. II. THE AGRICULTURAL INTEREST, on the contrary, requires that the present high prices may be inaintained as an indemnity for high rents and increased wages, which are required to meet heavy taxes and the diminished value of money, and to counterbalance the consequent increased price of land, labour, horses, and implements; forgetting that if subsistence is high our manufacturers cannot meet the competition of other nations in the market, and that if the importation of corn is embarraised by high duties, various nations who 3 H 2 have

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

have no other staple cannot import and
consume our manufactures.
THE STATESMAN desires to see the
country grow corn enough for its con-
sumption, so as to make its subsistence
independant of foreign nations; but he is
anxious at the same time to increase the
export of manufactures, and to enable
them to meet all competition in foreign
markets, and desirous of keeping down the
price of bread, for the subsistence of the
manufacturers and the benefit of the
poor; yet he cannot abate his assessments
or abridge the currency while his budget
exhibits so enormous a single item as forty
millions for the interest of the public debt;
and he is anxious to extend the coln-
merce of the country to those great coun-
tries whose staple is corn, though to al-
low the free importation of their staple
would be to put an end to the growth of
corn in England, to destroy the landed
and farming interests, and in them to cut
off his most substantial sources of re-
Such is the social DiLEMMA in which
the people of England are placed. For
the purpose of removing it, let us examine
the causes and the circumstances which
have tended to produce it.
What would be the situation of any
individual whose estate was charged with
amortgages double its proper rental *
What would be the situation of any
anerchant who paid interest for the capital
sunk in remote speculations double the
amount of his annual profits?
Yet in what do the incumbrances of a
nation differ from those of such individuals?
Is not the wealth of a nation made up of
that of individuals? Does not the power
of a nation grow out of the accumulated
contributions of all its members? Is any
other property than that of individuals
pledged for the public debt? Expedients
and shifts may be resorted to in public
borrowing as well as in private borrow-
ing—The load in the former case may
be thrown by A, B, and C, for a season
on I), E, and F, and these may contrive
to divide it with G, H, and I.--So also a
man may borrow on one estate to relieve
another, and he may sell a third to pay
the loan. Yet in all such cases the collec-
tive community and the total means of
the individual must eventually suffer.
Each will naturally seek to reimburse
himself by the expedient of higher prices,
but then we return to the present dish-
culty—for none will buy of a dear manu-
facturer or high-priced baker if they can
&void it.

Dilemma relative to the Corn Laws.

[June 1,

It appears toothat the TAxes, the consequences of a twenty years crusade against the principles of liberty in France, must be collected out of an ARTIFICIAL AND BioATED curb ENcy. Yet the manufacturing interests, one of their two sources of supply, are endangered by the consequent high price of subsistence—and if this is brought down to the desired level, then the agricultural interests, their other source, must be nearly, if not entirely, annihilated. The difficulty then is created proximately by TAXES and PAPER Money, and remotely by war and DEBT. It is absurd therefore in the manufacturing interests to complain of the agricultural interests; because no distinct class of the community merit reproach, but only those of each class who have abetted the late wars, and thereby created an intolerable load of debt, and an amount of interest, which of itself equals the whole rental of the kingdom before the war began. ' If laws and administrations of governments did nothing more than restrain bad passions and punish crimes, all the interests of society would find their own level,and the force of natural circumstances, in regard to points of the first necessity, would regulate and govern the labours, pursuits,and relations of the people. They seek however to regulate the force of circumstances, to controul nature, and to direct the combinations which produce events, although they are unable to foresee all the consequences of their regulations, and in many complex arrangements can only discover their errors by experience. It is true, the comparative prosperity of Britain affords evidence of the success of its thousand legislators in applying palliatives to every social disease; though it cannot be disputed that our bulky statute books are composed in many instances of mere nostrums, which seldom reach the seat and origin of the disorders to which they are directed; and though every such nostrum generates, or lays the foundation of some new disease, till it is difficult or impossible to trace the complicated and multipled, causes of new symptoms of derangement—and dilemmas are created such as that in which the country finds itself in regard to the Corn Laws 2 . The simple and undisturbed course of nature, would confer on all men of the same uation the same recompense for equal quantities of useful labour, or combinations of labour and skill; and the unchecked and unrestricted inter

coursé tural

course of nations, would leave the relations between labour and the necessaries of life, simply that of the productive powers of their soil. As it is in the same parish, so would it be in the same nation,and in all nations. But how numerous are the circumstances and municipal regulations which disturb these general laws!—How many custom-houses must all articles pass through between nation and nation —How many restrictive and prohibitory laws must they encounter!—How arbitrary is the creation of that currency which is the measure of their price —In fine, how differently is every article of produce and manufacture presented to the consumer from its exhibition by nature, on the spot which gave it existence!—Yet as often as it suits our humour, or interests, we endeavour to break through all the fences, laws, and regulations of society, and to exhibit particular articles to the consumer just as they come from the hands of nature | Whether, in England, the farmers or manufacturers are better paid for their respective labour, skill, or capital, is a point which introduces much personal feeling into the discussions relative to the

Corn Laws; but, in truth, is a question

of little ultimate importance in the calculations of well-informed economists. The simple and unerring test of the condition of every branch of useful labour is the condition of the labourers. If the agricultural labourer is better paid in proportion to his skill than the mechanic, if the farmer gets more than the shopkeeper, or if the landlord is better paid for his capital than the merchant, the fact is to be discovered in their relative appearance and means of living. And so it is in every particular branch of trade. If we wish to know whether it is more desirable to be a smith than a carpenter, a lawyer than a physician, a manufacturer of broad cloth than of cutleryware, other things alike, we must look to the fire-sides of the several classes. But if great differences arise from any accidental causes, and one class rears its head above another, the remedy, if no bad laws intervene, is simple and universal, namely, those who are engaged in a branch of labour for which there is no demand, employ themselves in that for which there is one. The increase of hands keeps down the high price which scarcity would otherwise occasion; and when the produce begins to exceed the demand, competition lowers its value, the labourer sinks below the level of other labourers, and he then turns his attention as before

to some other employment which pays him better, the same causes producing the same effects under every variety of circumstances.” If therefore the manufacturing were on this occasion to prevail over the agricultural interest what would be its ultimate gain? Not only would agricultural labour and capital be instantly directed towards trade and manufactures, so as to increase the competition and diminish the profits, but the taxes, which could not then be borne by the agricul

* Labour in society is, in truth, like water in nature, and will always find its own level if unobstructed. It seeks, like the motion which vivifies all things, to be constant in its quantity, whatever be the variety of its purposes. How monstrous them are all laws which seek to confine men in casts, classes, or particular trades! Which say, that although a man's trade has failed from the caprice of fashion, or public policy, he shall not be allowed to exert his best skill in another which wants labourers, and in which he may earn a subsistence . It is forgotten that this feature of the economy of labour obeys the general law, and will find its own level; that mo man will turn his attention to a new trade in which there are already a superfluity of labourers; that he who has served a regular apprenticeship is likely to possess more skill than he who has not, and therefore must enjoy a preference; that the injustice of the principle would be intolerable if universally applied, and if the manual labourer were to be protected from the intrusion of decayed mechanics, just as particular mechanics are now protected from the intrusion of labourers or other mechanics; and that, as the benefit of free employment would be universal, it would be reciprocally enjoyed by all, in the degree in which their health, wants, taste, and genius, might render a change desirable.

In regard to the industrious classes of society, this system of monopoly is a sinking one, because if a man's trade fails, he is prohibited from pursuing another however analogous to his own, or agreeable to his taste; but he must sink at once to the workhousc, go for a soldier, or employ himself as a mere manual labourer. This seems to be a hardship imposed on mechanical labourers, by the apprentice laws, which must be often felt, and be productive of much complicated misery: while they secure no advantages of corresponding worth which can be considered certain or permanent; oparate with aggravated severity in a country where so much labour is affected by fashion or foreign connections; and violate all those principles of general policy which best promote the welfare of every part of the community by meeting the wants of the whole.

[ocr errors]

tural interests, would fall wholly on the manufacturing interests. If it be objected that it is the high rents of land which produce the effect on bread, it is not duly considered that an increase of rent of a pound an acre adds but 5s. or 6s. 8d, to a quarter of wheat, or only 3 farthings to the quartern loaf; and that if rents are double, the general effect of a war-system, of paper money, and of taxes, has been to treble the price of all commodities, so as to leave the landlord, not so well off with a double income as he was before the war. And if it be urged that the grazing system is still open to the farmer, and that we may eat our corn at the Polish and American price, and our meat at the English price, it is not duly considered that one sort of food bears a regular proportion to the price of every, other— that consumption is proportioned to price, —that meat regulates the price of labour as well as bread, --that is meat is sold in an undue proportion to corn,its consumption would be lessened, while by turning the arable land into pasture the quantity would be increased, and the eventual destruction of the agricultural interest be equally certain. Or, if it be conceived that the same causes which oppose a frce trade in corn operate in like manner on manufactured produce, it should be remembered that there is no Polish or American price for many important articles of our manufactures, and that we at present enjoy a monopoly in our ingenuity, arrangements, connexions, and capital, which it is to be hoped will continue till we have disengaged ourselves from our burden of debt and taxes' lt is therefore manifest that at this crisis we cannot remove these public difficulties by removing their cause; consequcntly our statesmen, if they act wisely, will pursue, in regard to the body-politic, the analogous course of experienced physicians, when they encounter a similar complication in the body-natural. These have recourse to palliatives; they endeavour to relieve pain wherever it takes place; and they assuage exasperated symptoms as often as they appear, leaving the cure to nature and the chapter of accidents! This is all that human foresight and power can in such cases effect; and it is all that a reasonable patient can desire. He wiil, however, expect, that his physicians should, on every indication of amendment, use the most efficacious means to prevent a relapse; and in this feature of their prac

Justification of the Corn Laws.

[June 1, tice, our political physicians ought also to pursue the analogy, and to take such measures as shall secure the constitutional representatives of the people of England from again becoming the dupes of passions, which were excited by the stimulus of malignity, and kept alive by the spirit of avarice. At this moment, the only question is one of PRice, and this question of price is a consequence of the difference of the value of money, occasioned by wars, undue expenditure, debt, paper money, and taxes. Of these causes the primary one is removed, and time and perseverance may perhaps renove the others. We shall then be on a level with other nations, or in the situation in which we stood before the first crusade against liberty in America, and we may then grow corn and make bread on the terms of other nations, and may freely import or export as suits our pleasure. But till the causes of the disease are removed, it is absurd and useless to expect or desire a radical cure, and we must be content with palliatives, such as those recommended by the committee of the House of Commons, which simply oppose one change of price by another. As a bonus to the English farmer, it is proposed, that all foreign wheat, (and other grain in proportion) shall be liable to a duty of 24s. when the average price of the maritime districts exceeds 63s. and that as the price advances 1s. the duty shall be reduced 1s. and when above 878. , shall be only 6d. per quarter. Foreign grain can, however, be always brought into the English market on paying the duty, while our own cultivation is protected against advanced prices

by a fine of 24s. per quarter, when the

price is under 68s.-thus, if our price is 54s, and the Polish or American farmer can afford his wheat at 30s. he is still at liberty to import, it in any quantity.* The first propositions of the committee


[merged small][merged small][graphic]

were to make the price 105s. and they afterwards reduced it to 34s. both of which alarmed the country; but the graduated scale from 63s. to 87s. is a middie measure which is not calculated to excite particular jealousy, if it answer the purpose. It cannot be doubted, that we ought to grow wheat in England, but this cannot be done, unless the grower ineet with fair remuneration for his labour and capital, and is protected from low foreign prices by some judicious laws. Whenever circumstances leave us only a choice of difficulties, the only benefit to be derived from experience and wisdom, is to choose the least. The source of the disease being evidently in the war system), and in the expenditure during the last twenty years of a thousand millions beyond the public income, the radical remedy would be to remove the debt, and with it the taxes raised to pay its interest. God forbid, however, that this should be done by any means inconsistent with the good faith which ought always to characterize the conduct of debtors towards creditors. Time alone, and a more pacific spirit can cure this evil. We must cease to be the dupes of wicked newspapers; and we must not allow ourselves to be excited to projects of revenge, aggrandizement, or conquest, either against the Americans, Norwegians, or any other people who are asserting their rights and liberties, by demoniacal writers who seek only to gratify

[merged small][ocr errors]

Price. Outy. Price. Duty. Price. Duty. S. S. S. S. S. S. S. S. S. 63 to - 24|42 - - 22:32 - - 13 63 to 64; 2442 to 43 22/32 to 33 13 64 to 65 23|43 to 44, 21.33 to 34, 12 G5 to 66 22:44 to 45 2034 to 35 11 66 to 67 21:45 to 46 19 and so on to

67 to 68 20146 to 47 18|44S.

8 to 69 1947 to 48 17 Oats.

69 to 70 1848 to 49 16|31 - - 13 70 to 71 1749 to 50 15|21 to 22 12 {and so on tol and so on to 22 to 23 11 Gs. 638. 23 to 24, 10 - and so on to

w 32s.

their hellish spirit, or their insatiable avarice. JUSTICE must govern the mind and actions of the nation; and then peace, freedom from debt and taxes, plenty, prosperity, and true glory, will be the consequence of her ascendency. On this subject of domestic discord, excited by the mutual jealousies of the landed and commercial interests, the people of England should peruse the fable of Menenius Agrippa, delivered on the occasion of a similar dispute to the people of Rome; and in regard to their foreign policy, they should never forget that a nation which seeks glory, prosperity, or advantages, from the chances of war, is like a man who has recourse to DRAM. DRINKING to keep up his spirits; who goes to LAw to protect his peace, rights, and property; and who frequents the GAMING TABLE for the purpose of bettering his condition. CoMMON SENSE. -oTo the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. SI R,

WAS very glad to see in your 247th

number, page 311, Dr. Shaw's scheme of the seven duplicate vowels. I have for some time been convinced of the truth of that system, but I have looked in many a grammar and spelling-book without ever having had a glimpse of it in print. I must, however, beg leave to correct (as it seems to me) the Dr. in a point or two. In the first place, I think the Dr. wrong in considering the 6 to have a short sound. Every other vowei has a real and perceptible difference between its long and short quantities, but in pronouncing this 6 with the utmost attention, I cannot perceive any difference.

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »