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lishing or modifying the existing restrictions. We shall endeavour to be as brief as possible; but the importance of the subject, and the multiplicity of details which it involves, render a pretty large discussion absolutely unavoidable.
Attempts have sometimes been made to compute the quantity of corn raised in a country, from calculations founded on the number of acres in tillage, and on the average produce per acre. But it is plain that no accurate estimate can ever be framed of the extent of land under cultivation. It is perpetually changing from year to year; and the amount of produce varies not only with the differences of seasons, but also with every improvement of agriculture. This method, therefore, is now rarely resorted to; and the growth of corn is generally estimated from the consumption. The conclusions deduced from this criterion must indeed be subject to error, as well from variations in the consumption, occasioned by variations in the price of corn, as from the varying extent to which other food is used. But supposing the prices of corn to be reduced to an average, if the consumption of a considerable number of persons of all ranks and orders, and of all ages and sexes, were accurately determined, we should be able, supposing the census of the population to be nearly correct, to make a very close approximation to the total consumption of the country. Mr Charles Smith, the wellinformed and intelligent author of the Tracts on the Corn Trade, made many curious investigations with a view to discover the mean annual consumption of corn; and, reducing it to the standard of wheat, he found it to be at the rate of about a quarter for each individual, young and old. This estimate has been confirmed by a variety of subsequent researches; and, among others, by inquiries made during the scarcity of 1795 and 1796 by the Magistrates of Suffolk, in 42 different parishes, in the view of ascertaining the average consumption of each family, which they found to correspond very closely with Mr Smith's estimate. It is also worthy of remark, that M. Paucton, the intelligent author of the Metrologie, estimates the mean annual average consumption in France, when reduced to the standard of wheat, at about 10 bushels for each individual; and as the French consume considerably more bread, and less animal food, than the English, this estimate affords a strong proof of the correctness of that of Mr Smith.
Having taken the population of England and Wales, in 1765, at 6,000,000, Mr Smith reckoned the consumers of each kind of grain, the quantity consumed by each individual, and hence the whole consumed by man, to be as follows:
Average Con. ation of England
sumption of and Wales.
739,000 do. of barley, at lý do.
Consumed by man,
tilled, made into starch, &c.
Total of home consumption,
Add seed, one-tenth,
Total growth of all kinds of grain in England and
This estimate, it will be observed, does not include either Scotland or Ireland; and later inquiries have rendered it probable that Mr Smith had underrated the population of England and Wales by nearly one million. The most eminent agriculturists seem also to be of opinion, that the allowance for seed ought to be stated as high as a seventh.
Mr Chalmers, availing himself of the information respecting the numbers of the people, furnished under the Population Act of 1800, estimated the total consumption of all the different kinds of grain in Great Britain at that epoch, at 27,185,300 quarters, whereof wheat constituted 7,676,100 quarters. The crops of 1800 and of 1801 being unusually deficient, the importation in these years was proportionally great ; but excluding these scarcities, the total average excess of all sorts of grain imported from Ireland and foreign countries into Great Britain over the exports, had previously amounted to about one million of quarters, which, deducted from 27,185,300, leaves 26,185,307, to which, if we add one-seventh as seed, we shall have 29,925,057 quarters, as the average growth of Great Britain, in 1800.
The population of Ireland, as ascertained by the census of 1821, amounts to very near seven millions. The greatest por
tion of its inhabitants are, it is true, supported by the potato, and seldom or never taste bread; but we shall probably be within the mark if we estimate the number of those fed on the various kinds of corn at three millions, and the average quantity of the different sorts of grain consumed by each individual at two quarters. This would give 6,000,000 of quarters as the total consumption of Ireland.
But the population of Great Britain has increased since 1800 from 10,942,000 to 14,379,000; and both Mr Western and Dr Colquhoun concurred in estimating the average consumption of the whole empire in 1812 and 1814, at about thirtyfive millions of quarters.
The following is Dr Colquhoun's estimate:
Estimated SPECIES Average of the Each
Consumed Used in Used in vaPopulation of person Consumed by Beer and rious Ma- Total of GRAIN. Great Britain averaged. by Man. | Animals. Spirits.nufactures. Quarters.
· Dr Colquhoun has made no allowance for seed in this estimate; and there can be no doubt that he has underrated the consumption of oats by at least one-half quarter in the consumption of each of the 4,500,000 individuals he supposes fed on them, or by 2,250,000 quarters. Adding, therefore, to Dr Colquhoun's estimate five and a half millions of quarters for seed, and 2,250,000 quarters for the deficiency of oats, it will bring it to 42,750,000 quarters. And taking the increase of population since 1813 into account, it does not appear to us that the annual average consumption of the different kinds of grain in the United Kingdom can now be estimated at less than FORTYTwo millions of quarters, exclusive of seed, and at FORTY-EIGHT millions when it is included. Assuming this estimate to be correct, and the proportion of wheat to amount to twelve millions of quarters, the progressive consumption will be as follows :
Consumption of Wheat and other Grain in the United Kingdom, in a year, six months, a month, a week, 8ć.
1,500,000 4,500,000 6,000,000 One Month,
1,000,000 3,000,000 4,000,000 Two Weeks,
500,000 1,500,000 : 2,000,000 One Week,
750,000 1,000,000 One Day,
35,714 107,143 142,857 Several very important conclusions may be drawn from this Table. And, in the first place, it shows, that the largest importations that have ever taken place, bear but a very small proportion to the total consumption of the country. It appears, from papers printed by order of the House of Commons, that the total imports of wheat from all parts of the world, from the year 1800 to 1820 both inclusive, amounted to only 12,577,029 quarters, giving an annual average of no more than 589,906 quarters. It will also be observed, that the average price of that period was as high as 84s. 6d., and that it included five years of decided scarcity, and when the home prices rose to a most oppressive height. We subjoin a note of these years, with the prices and the total quantities of ALL SORTS of grain imported into Great Britain from foreign countries. 1800 110s. 5d.
1,797,181 1818 - 83s. 8d. - 3,522,729 Now, it appears from this official statement, that notwithstanding the ruinously high prices of these years, and although every corner of the commercial world was ransacked with a view to the supply of the British markets, such is the vastness of our demand, that the total quantity imported rarely amounted to one-twentieth part of the entire consumption; and in 1818, which was the year of greatest importation, the foreign corn imported did not amount to one-thirteenth part of the required supply, or to four weeks consumption! This is, of itself, sufficient to show that nothing can be more perfectly futile than the fears and apprehensions entertained by the agriculturists with respect to the excessive importations of foreign corn that would take place were our ports thrown open.
In 1801 and 1802, when the price of wheat in England amounted upon an average to 925. 10d. per quarter, and in Dantzic to 67s. 4d. per do., the quantity of wheat exported from the latter amounted to only 945,199 quarters, giving an annual average of 472,599 quarters, of which about threefourths were sent to England. And to furnish this trifling quantity-for it is but trifling when compared to the total consumption of this country-Mr Jacob mentions, that wheat was brought by land.carriage to the Vistula from the farthest parts of Gallicia, and even from Brun and Olmutz in Moravia, at an expense which could not possibly have been defrayed, except by the enormous prices which it then bore in the English market. (Report, p. 52.) We subjoin an account, furnished by Mr Jacob, of the total annual average quantity of wheat and rye exported from Dantzic in periods of twenty-five years each, for the 166 years ending with 1825, Years,
Total Quarters, Quarters. Quarters. 1651 to 1675 81,775 225,312 307,087 1676 - 1700 124,897 227,482 352 379 1701 - 1725
59,795 170,100 229,895 1726 – 1750
80,624 119,771 200,395 1751 - 1775 141,080 208,140 349,220 1776 - 1800 150,299 103,045 253,344
1801 - 1825 200,330 67,511 267,841 • The average of the whole period,' Mr Jacob observes,gives an annual quantity of wheat and rye, of 279,794 quarters (hardly equivalent to two days supply of the British market); and this surplus may be fairly considered as the nearest approach that can be made, with existing materials, to what is the usual excess of the produce of bread corn above the consumption of the inhabitants, when no extraordinary circumstances occur to excite or check cultivation.'. (Report, p. 49.)
It appears from the official accounts furnished by Mr Gibson, the very intelligent consul at Dantzic, that the exports of wheat from Riga for the nine years beginning with 1816, and ending with 1824, amounted on an annual average to 2,533 lasts, or to 25,330 quarters ; And it further appears, from offi- . cial accounts furnished by the same gentleman, that the exports of wheat from Elbing amount, on an average of the last twelve years, to 21,381 quarters.
It results from these statements, that the total exports of wheat from the three great ports of Dantzic, Riga, and Elbing, amount, on an average of the last ten or twelve years, to less