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our manufactures only is required; the ruinous exchange of specie for imported grain being stopped, mercantile speculation takes the more natural and salutary direction of exchanging the luxuries of British manufacture for the luxuries of foreign growth; and thus, while the home market is rendered ample by the vast surplus funds at the disposal of the consumers, the foreign trade is rendered at once safe and productive, by being turned into channels which exchanges production against production, not gold against grain.

It has been proved, that the nations from whom we import grain will not receive in return our manufactures, and will take nothing but gold in exchange for their grain; whereas those from whom we import luxuries that we do not ourselves raise, are quite willing to take our manufactures. Who are the nations from whom we must purchase grain? Being a bulky article, it will not bear, unless the prices are extravagantly high, sea-carriage from any great distance; and we must, therefore, draw our supplies from the neighbouring states. Poland, Prussia, and the southern provinces of Russia, constitute the great granaries from which our foreign supplies have always been derived; and from which in particular, during the great scarcity of 1838, by far the greater part of our imported subsistence was obtained. But these states will not take our manufactures off our hands, nor would they do so even if we were to repeal our Corn-Laws. The reason is obvious. They are actuated by an indelible jealousy of our manufacturing greatness; and they are under the influence of men who are determined, at all hazards, to rival us in those industrial establishments in which we have so long taken the lead, but in which they think they can now, by a rigid system of exclusion, effectually extinguish our superiority. Of this they have given a decisive proof in the vital point of the Navigation laws; for while we, seventeen years ago, repealed those laws, and thereby destroyed our own commercial navy employed in the intercourse with these states, they have not only done nothing to diminish the duties on any one branch of British produce, but have gone on continually increasing them so that our exports to the


northern states of Europe are now less than they were eight-and-thirty years ago. They would willingly establish, indeed, a reciprocity treaty in regard to grain as they did in regard to shipping; that is to say, they will admit our grain on the same terms on which we admit their grain. will they establish a treaty admitting our cotton and iron goods without duty, in consideration of our admitting their grain without duty? Let the Prusso-Germanic League form the answer, by which, in consideration of the English having taken off all the restrictions on the entrance of foreign shipping into their harbours, Prussia imposed a discriminating duty on every article of British manufacture, which practically amounted to fifty per cent.

The countries, on the other hand, with whom we carry on a great commercial trade in mutual luxuries, America, the West Indies, the East Indies, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Turkey, Italy, &c., are actuated by no such jealousy of our manufacturing industry, and by no such political hostility or commercial rivalry; for this simple reason, that they lie in a different latitude from ourselves, and consequently their industry is directed to totally different objects. Our cotton and iron establishments are no subjects of jealousy to them; for they are intent upon the production of wheat or cotton, of tea or sugar, of wine or fruits, of oil or spices, of coffee or tobacco. The greater or more prosperous our manufactures are, the better for them; because they are thereby enabled to obtain the manufactured articles they require from Europe at a cheaper rate; while they, on the other hand, secure a larger vent for their own produce. Hence these distant nations impose hardly any duties upon our manufactures, but they take them off our hands as largely as we can furnish them; whereas the European states, from whom we are compelled to buy grain, being in the same latitude with ourselves, and actuated by national or commercial jealousy, cannot be induced by any considerations to relax their enormous duties upon all our manufactured articles. And of such vital importance is this consideration in the present question, and so vast its effect upon our manufacturing ex

ports to distant parts of the world, that while every inhabitant of America consumes nineteen shillings and sixpence worth of British manufactures, of the West Indies, three pounds ten shillings' worth,-and of Australia, eleven pounds' worth, every inhabitant of Prussia takes off only threepence worth of British manufactures, and of Russia only sixpence worth! And this is the reason why a great export of our manufactures, in seasons of agricultural plenty, and corresponding import of luxuries, is attended with no drain upon the banks, and no shake to commercial credit; while a great importation of foreign grain, consequent on a bad season, being necessarily paid for in specie, is immediately attended with both the one and the other.

Let us turn now to the bad seasons that have occurred since 1836, which have led for a considerable time to a practical repeal of the Corn-laws, and immense importation of foreign grain, and see whether experience has proved the results which the antinational faction uniformly anticipate from the large importation of grain, and whether it would be safe for the nation, especially with reference to its commercial interests, to go on perma nently with that system of importation of foreign grain, which was forced upon us by the bad harvests of 1838 and 1839.

The harvest of 1836 first broke in upon the long train of fine seasons. The rains in the autumn of that year, as every body recollects, especially in Scotland, were incessant; the prices, in consequence, rose considerably; and although the harvest of 1837 was somewhat better, yet those of 1838 and 1839 were so deficient as to have given the nation a full specimen of the blessings to be expected from an unrestricted trade in grain. The harvests of the former of these years were so very bad, that the prices rose rapidly till the beginning of December 1838, when the ports were opened, and immediately such a prodigious deluge of foreign grain was admitted, that, as is well known, upwards of six millions in sovereigns were drawn out of the bank to pay for it; and although the

prices are now not so high, in consequence of the harvest of 1839 being not quite so disastrous, yet they are still sufficiently elevated to admit of a very great speculation in grain, and a large importation into the bonded warehouses. The average price of the week ending 6th March 1840, being sixty shillings and elevenpence a quarter for wheat, and twenty-five shillings and twopence for oats-prices which, though not high enough to admit the free issue of grain from the bonded ware. houses, are yet sufficient to have kept up a great speculation in grain stored in these warehouses, and consequently drained away, to a large extent, the specie of the country. And what has been the result? Wide-spread commercial distress. One of the leading Whig noblemen, a steady anti-cornlaw advocate, Lord Milton, lately presented a petition to Parliament, in which it was stated, with perfect truth, that the manufacturing distress which had existed for the last two years, though not accompanied with the general panic of the great disaster of 1825, nas been far more depressing to general industry, and felt far more acutely by the productive classes of the community. There is no man acquainted with commerce, in any of the great commercial emporiums of the kingdom, who can doubt that this has been the case, and that ever since spring 1837 has been a period of almost uninterrupted and wide-spread commercial distress. To those engaged in, or connected with commercial pursuits, all proof of this is unhappily superfluous. To those who are not, a glance at the instructive returns in the note, will amply demonstrate how seriously the national resources have been impaired by the combination of erroneous government with commercial distress during the last three disastrous years.*

Now, admitting that the commercial crash in America, in the close of 1836 and beginning of 1837, was the immediate cause of the great commercial distress of the year 1837 in the British islands; what is it that has occasioned the far greater and far longer wide-spread distress of 1838 and 1839? Why, the great drain of specie in the end of 1838 and spring of 1839,

* Deficit, 1837, £726,000; 1838, £440,000; 1839, £512,000.

amounting to above six millions sterling, which took place for the importation of foreign grain. Every farthing's worth of this grain had to be purchased in specie, for such was the effect of the onerous duties on British manufactures in Russia and Prussia, that the holders of grain would take no part of its price in British manufactures. The result was, that the drain set in so severely upon the Bank of England for specie to carry on this lucrative trade in foreign grain, that the stock of bullion and specie in their coffers was reduced in a few months from eight millions five hundred thou sand, to two millions five hundred thou sand sovereigns-that to avert bank ruptcy, they were obliged, for the first time, to open a credit with the Bank of France, in order to provide the necessary funds to meet the incessant demand for cash at their establishment; and that between the immediate advances for grain, and the repayment of the sums borrowed from the Bank of France, not less than ten millions sterling in specie has been drawn from this country, within the last fif

teen months.

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other banking establishments throughout the country, of course, immediately followed the example. Money quickly became scarce; credit was abridged or suspended; bankruptcies speedily followed among the least opulent portion of the trading community, and that universal distrust and anxiety ensued which is at once the consequence and the cause of public distress.

On the other side of the Atlantic the consequences were still more disastrous. The British merchants, pushed to the wall themselves, were obliged to demand payment from their American correspondents of the large balances due to them since the year 1837; the United States Bank-the National Bank of America-has stopped payment; every banking establishment in the Southern States has followed the example; and although those of New York have contrived to avoid

coming to that extremity, yet they have done so only by refusing credit, and thence innumerable bankruptcies.The almost total destruction of American credit has shaken that of even the greatest capitalists at home, while the inability of a large portion of the American consumers to continue their wonted purchases, has seriously affected the demand for our manufacturing industry among our best customerswho heretofore have taken above twelve millions' worth of our manufactured produce annually off our hands.

These results occurring within the short period of eight years, and illustrating the opposite effects of the system which they decry and that for which they contend, are decisive against the arguments of the anti-national faction. In the first four years are to be seen plentiful harvests, abundance of provisions, a rigid exclusion of foreign importation, accompanied by the very highest degree of commercial and manufacturing prosperity. In the latter, a forcible repeal of the Cornlaws, occasioned by the badness of the seasons which opened the ports-an immense importation of foreign grain, and the fullest experiment, upon a large scale, of the effects to be anticipated from a free importation of foreign subsistence. The consequences have been high prices-a general dcpression of the home market for our manufactures commercial distress unsurpassed even in this age of vicissitudes, and a narrow escape from national bankruptcy.

If we would figure to ourselves, therefore, what must be the result of a repeal of the Corn-laws, we have but to imagine the commercial state of 1838 and 1839, perpetuated amongst us. We have only to figure six or eight millions of specie a-year drained annually from the nation to purchase foreign subsistence--the screw perpetually applied by the Bank of England to the currency in order to enable them to withstand this pressure, —every subordinate bank in the kingdom contracting their issues and pressing their customers for payment of the balances or bills due by them-distress and anxiety universal among the trading classes-the revenue constantly falling from the progressive decline of exports and imports-and new taxes upon comforts or necessaries of life imposed or threatened, in order to

fill up the yawning deficits of the Exchequer, and we shall have a lively picture of the blessings which we may anticipate from the complete realiza tion of all the projects of the antinational faction. It is in vain to say that these anticipations are chimerical or exaggerated they have been realized to the letter by the experience of the last two years; hundreds on hundreds of the anti-Corn-law clamourers have been reduced to bank ruptcy; hundreds of thousands of the multitude whom they strove to delude have been landed in the workhouse.

It is no answer to these observations to say, that a commercial crisis like that of 1839, though it was doubtless owing to the bad harvest of the preceding year, which caused all the specie to be drained out of the country for the purchase of foreign grain, is not to be considered as a natural or necessary attendant upon a free trade in corn; but that, on the contrary, if we would take off our duties on foreign grain, those countries would take off their duties on British manufactures; and that thus the commerce, beneficial to both sides, would take place by an exchange of commodities, without that excessive drain on specie which has recently been felt as so distressing. Be fore the anti-national faction has any right to assume that such will be the case, they are bound to show that a similar relaxation of foreign duties, in return for British concessions, has taken place in regard to other articles where the reciprocity system has been tried. Has experience proved that this has been the case? We repealed the Navigation law, and established the reciprocity system in February 1823. Have one of the nations, benefited by that great change, relaxed a single iota of their duties upon our manufactures? Have they not all on the contrary increased them, insomuch that the nations, as we have repeatedly demonstrated, who have been benefited the most largely in their shipping by our concessions, have contrived almost entirely to exterminate our exports in manufactures to their people. We introduced the free-trade system, and lowered the duties on a great variety of articles of foreign manufacture,-on French silks, French clocks, French wines, foreign fruits, and almost all the luxuries of foreign manufacture. Have they, in one single instance, relaxed

one shilling of their duties upon our goods, in which we have the advantage of them, and in regard to which, consequently, a real reciprocity might be established? Not one.-What ground, therefore, is there for supposing that the same men, who have obstinately refused for seventeen years to make even the smallest relaxation of their duties on British manufactured produce, in consequence of our prostrating the safeguards of British industry at their feet, are to make any change in their system, hitherto so steadily adhered to, in regard to the matter of the corn trade? And would it not be well to see some realization of our expectations of a reduction of duties on British manufactured goods, in return for our repeal of the Navigation laws, and the establishment of the free-trade system, before we adventure upon the more perilous and decisive step in placing the national subsistence in their hands?


The cause is perfectly apparent which has hitherto prevented, and will continue to prevent, the governments of continental Europe from making the smallest relaxation in their burdens on British manufactured produce, in return for any concessions we have made, or may make to them. situated nearly in the same latitude with ourselves, their manufactured productions are, for the most part, the same as ours, and they are all making the most strenuous efforts to rival us in every department of manufacturing skill. Though considerably behind our manufacturers in many important particulars, especially in the amount or price of fuel at their command, and the perfection of the machinery which they can obtain, yet there are other respects in which they have decidedly the advantage; among which, the water-power in some places, the cheap. ness of labour in others, and the absence of trades-unions and strikes in all, are some of the most conspicuous. Their manufacturers, therefore, are persuaded, that by continuing the prohibitive system for ten or twenty years longer, they will be able completely to rival British manufacturing skill; whereas, by opening the doors of free competition just now, immediate ruin of their numerous and promising es tablishments would ensue. Their goveruments are thoroughly imbued with the same principles; they con

sider the prohibitory system as having been the nursery which raised British manufacturing industry to its present pitch of greatness; and to the extent and grandeur of British manufactures, they justly ascribe the political preeminence which this country has long enjoyed. Regarding, as they do, commerce and manufactures as the bases of national wealth, they are fixed in their determination to admit nothing to interfere with the system destined for their protection. No relaxation or abandonment of British duties on foreign grain, would induce them for one moment to relax their duties on British manufactures. Their principle is, that agriculture can stand upon its own basis; but that manufactures, especially be fore they have attained their full maturity, require the fostering encouragement of fiscal protection. We have seen this strongly exemplified in the case of France, the government of which has never relaxed one sous in the duties on British manufactures, although we have reduced the duties on their wines above fifty per cent.

But farther, is it not plain that the only effect of abolishing the protecting duty on corn would be, even if they did consent to take our manufactures, to transfer the purchase of these manufactures from home growers of grain to foreign growers, without making any addition to the sum-total of the demand for the manufacturing produce of the nation? If the annual consumption of grain by the present inhabitants of Great Britain is thirty millions of quarters, which is probably not far from the mark, and that for some years prior to the disastrous harvest of 1838, this amount has been yearly raised by the agricultural cultivators of the united empire, what benefit would accrue to the British manufacturers by having the production of a half, or a third of this produce transferred from British to foreign growers? Would their condition be improved-would the market for their produce be increased--if, instead of the whole thirty millions being raised by the farmers of Great Britain and Ireland, a third of it were to be transferred to the farmers of Poland and the Ukraine? Would not the former set of cultivators, our own fellowcountrymen and brethren, be as much injured as the latter, our aliens and enemies, would be benefited?

But the case is infinitely stronger than this; for the preceding comparison proceeds on the supposition, that the "new world" of agricultural cultivators who are to be "called into existence" on the continent, to supply the race of the old cultivators exterminated in the British islands, will consume as large a portion of British manufactures, as their prede. cessors who now flourish on the banks of the Thames, the Tay, or the Shannon. But it is utterly impossible that this effect can take place; and nothing can be clearer, than that any extension of the market for our manufactures, in consequence of the enlarged growth of grain on the banks of the Vistula or the Volga, would be a perfect trifle in comparison of that which would be lost by the cessation of the production of grain to the same amount in the British islands. The great consumption of our manufactures in the home market, has been owing to the enjoyment of freedom, affluence, and comfort, by the working-classes, for many centuries; and at least as many centuries, and as much freedom and prosperity, will be requisite to bring the Polish or Russian peasants to a similar level, or capacity of enjoyment. Artificial wants among the masses of the people, are of the slowest possible growth, even in the most favoured circumstances. To suppose that they will ever extend to any considerable degree under the present villanage system of Poland and Russia, is, of all absurdities, the most extravagant. The idea that a Polish peasant, who now takes nothing but rye-bread and water, who inhabits a clay-built cottage with an earthen floor, and is clothed in the coarse woollens of his own country, is to replace or compensate the loss of the Norfolk, the East Lothian, or the Carse of Gowrie farmer in the consumpt of British manufactures, is perfectly ridiculous. man now alive would see any material change in the habits of the Polish or Ukraine peasants, or in the amount of our exports for their consumption. Whatever was gained by the importation of foreign grain into the British harbours, at the expense of the British cultivators, would accrue to the benefit of the Polish and Russian landholders, and they would expend it upon the manufactures of their own country, or the dissipation of Paris or Naples,


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