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the three years during which the reduced scale has been in operation, it will be seen that the yearly average quantities and the revenue derived from them are even much greater in the latter period : viz.
Three Years to
Three Years to 1845 inclusive.
1848 inclusive. Average consumption of Colonial spirits
Galls. 2,257,147 Galls. 2,999,904 British spirits
22,326,957 Average yearly revenue on Colonial spirits
£ 1,230,005 British spirits
5,561,815 It will place the policy of moderate duties in even a stronger, light than is thrown upon it by the foregoing figures, if we turn to the facts connected with a kindred article
we mean wine,- in respect of which no fiscal change has been made for many years. In 1825 the duty on wine, except on that of France, was reduced from 9s. ld. to 4s. 10d. per imperial gallon, and upon French wine from 13s. 9d. to 7s. 3d. "The average yearly consumption during the five years which preceded this reduction, was 4,751,104 gallons; and during the five years which followed the reduction, 6,539,855 gallons. It might have been expected that this result would have encouraged the legislature to make a further move in the same direction ; especially as the increased consumption, attained by the measure of 1825, had speedily reached its maximum, but more particularly since the quantity which has contributed to the revenue has, of late years, actually fallen off, notwithstanding the steady increase of our numbers and our wealth, and the more luxurious habits of society. The average consumption of the three years ending with 1840 having been 6,848,226 gallons, that of the three years ending with 1847, the latest for which the accounts are available, was only 6,510,098; although our population in the later period must have exceeded that of the earlier years by more than two millions. One move in the right direction was made in 1831 by equalising the duty on French and other wine, the effect of which has been to raise the consumption of French wine fully 60 per cent. : except for which circumstance, it is probable that the falling off in the general consumption of wine would have been greater than we have shown it to bave been.
The only departure from the principle of Free Trade which has existed with regard to wine, since the above mentioned equalisation of 1831, is a differential duty in favour of the produce of the Cape of Good Hope. For the last thirty-five years, Cape wine has been admitted to consumption at rates never exceed
ing half the duty charged upon the wines of Spain and Portugal. With how little benefit to the colony this favouritism has been attended, appears from the fact, that the consumption of Cape wine is now not one half of what it was a quarter of a century ago; and that the falling off is rapidly and steadily going on. The quantities on which duty has been paid, were in 1825 670,639 gallons in 1840 456,773 gallons 1830 535,255
1845 357,793 1835 522,941
1848 268,010 A result of this kind affords small encouragement to protectionist partisans. Doubtless the sale of Cape wine is as great as is justified by the quality of the importations; but the fact that, before the adoption of a differential duty in its favour, the wine of this colony did find its way into consumption in England, is in itself a proof that the quality was not always so uniformly bad as it now is; and leads strongly to the inference that its present inferiority is one of the never failing consequences of protection.
The effect of Mr. Huskisson's Free Trade measures concerning silk, has been so frequently discussed in these pages and elsewhere, and their policy so completely vindicated, that it cannot be necessary to revert to them on this occasion ; except to show that the further step which was taken in advance in 1846, has not been productive of evil to the manufacturers of this country, but the reverse. The duty chargeable upon each kind of foreign-made silk goods, was, up to the year just mentioned, calculated to be equal to 30 per cent. on the value. This protection was reduced in 1846 to one-half or 15 per cent. AN sort of ruin was thereupon predicted. We have made particular inquiries, and have the pleasure of stating that we are assured by one of the largest wholesale dealers in both British and foreign silks, carrying on business in the metropolis, — that speaking
generally of the silk trade of this country no prejudicial effect • whatever has been produced by the last reduction of duty on • foreign silks; but, on the contrary, a very beneficial one, by · bringing the manufacturers of this country more closely into *coinpetition with the French, and thereby calling their skill into . more active operation, by which the manufacture itself cannot • fail to benefit. There can be no better proof of the advancing skill of the English silk manufacturer, than the fact of his productions meeting those of other countries in third markets. This they do to a considerable extent, - not, as has been asserted in the single form of silk yarn spun from the refuse of the throwing mills, but --- in rich goods, stuffs and ribbons, lace, hosiery, and almost all the other forms given by the loom and frame to the material. During 1848, when our export trade with Europe was materially lessened through political troubles, which more or less deranged the commercial pursuits of almost every continental state, our exports of silk stuffs, and ribbons, exceeded 400,000 weight.
Our woollen manufacture had for a long period been carried on in the face of low import duties; which were seen to be unnecessary for the encouragement of our home industry,- inasmuch as we every year exported woollen goods to the value of several millions sterling. In the year 1846 all import duties on these goods were repealed; and it would be impossible for any advocate of protection to show that a single shuttle has been laid aside in consequence. It is true that some Bradford manufacturers have complained of the quantity of some qualities of Merino cloths brought over from France, as interfering with English industry. Unfortunately, however, for the justice of this complaint, it is the fact that the goods thus introduced are of a description which are not, and which never have been manufactured in England. The manufacturers of Bradford cannot therefore characterise as a loss through foreign competition the absence of a trade which they never had; and which was prosecuted by the French as extensively before 1846 as since, and during the time when all woollen fabrics were subject to a duty of 15 per cent. on their value. We have now before us a letter from one of the most extensive mercantile firms in Bradford, in which it is said ; • Our business as merchants in the home trade consists in the
sale of Bradford goods, and we are also importers of French • merinos. It would answer our purpose much better to have
these goods made here, and we have been at great pains and ' expense in endeavouring to do so, but as yet have not succeeded.'
Our linen manufacture was long treated, as incapable of existing without protection. The country was taxed to provide a bounty for whatever linen was exported; while duties equal to 40 per cent. on the value were imposed upon the linens of other countries. The system of bounties ceased in 1832, after having continued for more than a century; during which the English people had paid a sum of from 300,0001. to 400,0001. yearly out of their hard earnings, in order that foreigners might purchase their linen fabrics below the cost of production. In 1846 the duty on foreign linen was repealed ; and these successive measures have been so far from injurious to the manufacturers, that the trade has since assumed a degree of importance among the various branches of our national industry, to which
it had never before aspired. In the north of Ireland, this manufacture is said to afford the means of subsistence to nearly 300,000 souls; and the condition of its higher branches is thus represented in a paper read before the Dublin Statistical Society during the present year, by Mr. James Mac Adam, the secretary to the Royal Flax Improvement Society of Ireland, a gentleman peculiarly well qualified to give information on the subject:
'I allude to the manufacture of damasks, and that of linen 6 and cambric woven and printed in patterns.
The damask * manufacture was introduced from Saxony, and by degrees has ‘attained to such perfection, that the Irish fabrics now vie with, and even surpass, the finest productions of the Saxon looms, ' in excellence of quality, evenness of texture, purity of bleach, and elegance of design. Our finest damasks are now found on the tables of the nobility, of the Queen herself, and even of * several European sovereigns. Large quantities have been * made for the Emperor of Russia, the Kings of Sweden and * Denmark, the ex-King of the French, and even for the King of Saxony. The latter fact affords important evidence of our progress,
that we have thus furnished damasks to the ruler of 'that people, who successfully prosecuted this branch of industry long previous to the mounting of the first Irish loom.
In the foregoing remarks we have been necessarily brief; in order to bring within a reasonable compass some notice of the actual condition, under our reformed tariff, of each of our chief branches of industry. We will only refer at present to one other branch, viz., to the machine-wrought hosiery manufacture; which has existed almost exclusively in the three Midland counties, Leicester, Nottingham, and Derby, for full 200 years. For more than thirty years the hands employed in this manufacture have struggled for existence in a state of misery, which it is painful to contemplate. Mr. Felkin of Nottingham, a gentleman intimately acquainted with the hosiery trade of this country in all its branches, read a statement concerning it before the British Association at York in 1844, when the workmen engaged in it were in a less wretched state than usual, — not more that 10 per cent of their number being unemployed; but when the wages of a man for a full week's work were nevertheless no higher than from five to six shillings. At the present time, we have the same excellent authority for saying, that every hand able and willing to work in a frame is fully employed at an advance of from 30 to 35 per cent. upon the highest wages that they have ever received during the last thirty or forty years; and that the demand for their goods has for some time been greater than can be supplied.
Without claiming, as we might, for Free Trade policy, all the merit of the improved condition of 50,000 of our fellow subjects, we run no risk of contradiction, when we say, - that the advocates for protection cannot find in it any confirmation of their forebodings, or build upon it any argument for going back to the practice of restriction which they dignify with the name of protection.
It is doubtless mainly owing to the cheapness of production, which places their wares within the reach of a greater number of persons, -- and to the low price of food, which enables the masses to apply a larger part of their earnings to the purchase of comfortable clothing, – that this unexampled demand for hosiery has arisen. With the continuance of these favourable conditions, we may expect a continued state of prosperity for our artisans ; nor are we dependent alone upon the well-doing of our home consumers for such continuance. The measures lately adopted by our legislature (the practical operation of which it has been our object to explain), have so far cheapened the products of our industry, as to open and extend for them various foreign markets; and have enabled us better than ever to rival the industry of other countries, in every branch of manufacture to which we may think it desirable to apply ourselves. In a letter recently written by a person of high authority on such matters from one of the chief commercial ports in South America, we find the following statement :-•The repeal of all duties on manufac• turing materials in England, enables the British manufacturer ' to undersell every other by 25 and 30 per cent. ; and this is
so evident as regards this country, that foreign houses who * used to promote the sale of their own manufactures have been
obliged to turn their attention and capital to supplies from • Great Britain, and are now as actively engaged in the import• ation and sale of British goods as they used to be in those
from France, Germany, and Belgium.' ' If we turn our view from the far west to the eastern extremity of Europe, we find equal evidence in favour of the wisdom of our recent liberal commercial policy. A letter bearing date in March of the present year, written from Jaffa, states, British trade is greatly
on the increase ; indeed so much so, that I am led to hope it will be the principal foreign trade here. Cotton culture is
taken up with great interest by the natives; and I think, within ' a few years, Jaffa will export largely of this article for Great • Britain. The wheat of this district has already found good
markets in the United Kingdom; and barley and sesamé seeds 6 are also about to be shipped. All this tends to increase the consumption of British manufactures in these parts. The