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those who grow the corn to fare as well as the beasts they use in growing it? Be this as it may, the fact is, that the growers of corn do eat some of it. They make a part of the consumers of their own crops ; and, as in the case supposed, the grower would probably consume in his family about eight quarters of this wheat, he would, in fact, bear 81. of the tax to his own share.-The notion of Mr. Rowcliffe is, that the cultivator ought, somehow or other, to pay the tax, and not charge it in the price of his wheat! Does this happen in other trades? The rum, in Jamaica, is worth, perhaps, 2s. 61. a gallon. But, by the time that it reaches the lips of those who drink it, it is worth 20s. or 30s. a gallon. Would Mr. Rowcliffe have the rum.grower pay out of his own pocket all the charges of cooperage, wharfage, freight, insurance, storeage, brokerage, and tax, amounting to from 173. to 27s. a gallon, and then sell his rum at 2s. 68. a gallon to the nervous ladies, who give themselves the comfortable coup-de-gruce, by drinking hot grog before they go to bed ? I do not know what may be Mr. Rowcliffe's trade. Perhaps he is a tallowchandler. Candles pay a pretty decent tax. I do not know what it is. Suppose it to be 6d. a pound, and the price of the candles 1s. a pound; why does not Mr. Rowcliffe sell his candles for 6d. a pound? Why does HE “ indemnify himself against the tax ?”. And, if he does “indemnify himself” against the tax on his candles, why is not the grower of wheat to indemnify himself against the tax upon his commodity ?
By this time, my good neighbours, you will, I think, begin to fear, that you have promulgated something very inuch like nonsense, under the name of your worthy chief magistrate ; but you have the consolation of not being singular; for your sentiments, if a set of crude self-contradictions ought to be called sentiment are, it must be confesset, pretty general throughout this enlightened country; nor should I at all wonder if they were to become a set of axioms in those illuminating seminaries, the Lancasterian schools.
We have, however, not done yet. - It is asserted, that the Corn Bill, if passed, would " confirm the load of parochial burdens for the relief of the distressed poor.” I have above stated, that I disapprove of the Bill; but, supposing it to have a tendency to keep up the price of corn, how is it to tend to keep up the amount of parochial burdens ? The land keeps the poor; and, if what you said before was true, that the wheat growers will gain by the Bill, how is the Bill to add to their burdens ? That the bigh prices do not make paupers is clear from the incontrovertible fact that wages keep pace in price with food; and that high price of corn tends to cause employment, which, under low prices, would not, and now does not exist. What, then, is the foundation of this assertion, that the Bill would " confirm the load of parochial burdens ?" As it were for the express purpose of furnishing a suitable cap to this climax of absurdities, you charge the advocates of the Bill with an endeavour “to bar the bounties of Providence from a majority of his Majesty's subjects !”-Why do you not, at once, charge them with a design to is a blanket between the sun and the earth ? Will the Bill, think you, prevent the crop from being abundant and the harvest fine? Will it tend to impede the showers ? Good Lord! What nonsense does the belly suggest to the tongue and the pen! Where, I pray you, is Providence to produce these bounties? in England, I suppose : and will the Bill keep the wheat from the mouths of you and Mr. Rowclipfe ? If you mean, that it will keep fo
reign wheat from your mouths, do you suppose, that, if you were to live upon foreign wheat, that wheat would still be grown in England ? Can you possibly imagine; have your bellies so far got the better of your brains, as to cause you to believe that men will grow wheat here if you live upon foreign wheat ; and that the culture of wheat in England will not diminish in the exact proportion to the quantity of wheat imported ? Suppose, for instance, that candles were allowed to be imported at 5d. a pound as good as Mr. Rowcliffe's (who, for illustration sake, I suppose to be a tallow-chandler), which he sells at 1s. a pound, there being a tax of 6d. a pound, which he has to pay, do you think that Mr. Row. CLIFFE would make any more candles? Do you not think, that he would withdraw his capital from such a concern ? Though the worthy Mayor does not seem to understand much about political economy, he has surely too much sense not to see that he must be ruined by continuing his trade. If Mr. Rowcliffe were to protest against such importation of candles, while the tax remained to be imposed upon his candles, would you charge him with the malicious design of keeping you in the dark ? Why, then, do you charge the growers of wheat with the design of barring the bounties of Providence, because they are compelled to pay taxes, which keep their wheat at a higher price than foreign wheat can be imported at? I allow that their fears are unfounded. I allow that importation would not have the effect which they dread; but, if their fears be groundless, they are justified by your hopes and expectations. You as: sume, that the importation of wheat would cause the wheat in England to sell at a lower price, and then you blame the English wheat-growers for objecting to the importation, until they be relieved from the tax and the currency, which cause the necessity of a rise in the price of their commodity.
This expression, "the bounties of Providence," is mere cant. Bread is no more a gift of Providence than shoes, or stockings, or coats, or bats, or knives, or crockery-ware, or soap, or candles; and yet you say not a word about the laws which forbid — which wholly exclude, the importation of such articles ? Why does not the farmer complain, that the ports are not open to bring him shoes and stockings, and his wife's gowns and linen cheaper than those of home produce ? Why is a law of “protection,” as it is called, to be refused to those only who cultivate the earth? Mr. Waithman, too, must get into a puzzle-wit about the landed interest and the trading interest. He must talk, too, about intercepting the bounties of Providence; he must talk about withholding from the people the blessings of a plenteous harvest. What! does he think that the ad. vocates of the Bill mean to throw the corn into the rivers? How else are they to withhold these blessings ? Does he think that they will not sell their wheat ? What, then, does he mean? What sense is there in the ground which he took ?
There is one more assertion in your Resolutions, which I must notice, before I proceed to show you the real causes of the dearth of which you complain. You say that the landlords have augmented their rents since the commencement of the war, and that the owners of tithes have, “ with better reason,” raised the price of their tithes.- As you do not condescend to give reasons for anything you assert, it is not surprising that you should have omitted to give any here. I believe it would have puzzled Mr. Rowcliffe to assign even the shadow of a ground for this assertion.
The clergy would, of course, rise their tithes in order to enable them to pay their taxes, and to purchase food and raiment of increased price : and pray, Mr. Mayor, why were not the landowners to do the same ? What better reason had the parson than the squire ? You may be a very enlightened and enlightening man ; but if all your candles, and all the candles in Southampton, were lighted at once, I do not believe that they would enable you to discover any ground for such an assertion as this. The phrase is parenthetical, and I cannot help thinking that it must have been put in at the suggestion of some reverend gentleman, who was amongst the farmers and these celebrated Resolutions. The landlord receives money from the land in the name of rent, the parson, in the name of tithe. Say, then, Worshipful Sir, why the latter had “better reason" than the former to add to the amount of his former receipt.
The real causes of high price have, my worthy neighbours, been sedulously hidden from you. The causes are the taxes, and the depreciation of our currency. You, of the town of Southampton, have no right, taking you as a body, to complain of either. You have all along been supporters of the war. You have all along supported a man who has been one of the greatest of sinecure placemen. You have supported all measures relative to the Bank and the paper-money. You have decidedly approved of the causes of that enormous expenditure and debt, which must perpetuate the taxes, and continue in circulation the paper-money. You have been amongst the first to produce these high prices, of which you complain. Not a few of you have shared, along with Mr. Rose and his family, in the profits of the debt and taxation. It is not, therefore, very wonderful that you should shun, with great care, any reference to the real causes of the high price, and seek to fix the blame upon landowners,
rsons and farmers. At the Portsmouth petitioning Meeting there was a Mr. Grant, who is reported to have repeated the old saying of Down corn down horn," and who followed up this stroke of wit with gravely observing, that he hoped to see the time shortly, when meat as well as bread would be sold at the old prices. How far this witty gentleman, whose head was manifestly affected by the prospect of a full meal; how far he meant to go back, it would be hard to say; but, perhaps, his hopes extended no farther back than the peace preceding the war against the French Republic; the war for regular government; and, as old George Rose called it, for “the blessed comforts of religion !” But this Mr. Grant seems to have wholly overlooked the taxes imposed since 1792, up to which period, as we have seen before, the quartern loaf was sold at an average of 7d. If Mr. Grant had looked over his shoulder at the Dock-yard, and then turned towards Spithead, he would have seen a cause for the quartern loaf's rise, and for its continuance at its present price, at least. If he looked at the new buildings in and about Portsmouth; if he had thought of the millions of which Portsmouth had been the gulf, he would have hesitated before he railed against the growers of wheat, and the breeders and fatters of cattle.
During the peace, from 1783 to 1792 inclusive, the quartern loaf sold at an an average of 7d. and 5-10ths of a farthing. Call it 7d. During this last year, it has sold at an average of about 14d. The whole of the annual taxes, raised during the late peace, amounted to about fourteen millions. The whole of the annual taxes, raised during this war, has been, upon an average, about forty millions. We hay seen that the taxes, that all the taxes of every sort, paid by the landholder and wheatgrower, must fall finally upon the eaters of the loaf, they themselves being loaf-eaters as well as other people ; and need we go any further for a cause of the average rise in price of the loaf ? Suppose that candles had (I do not know that they have not) been taxed during the war 2d, a pound, would they not have risen 2d. a pound? And, would you not look to the tax, as the cause of the rise in the price? And, if the wheatgrower has had to pay, and still has to pay, double, and more than double, the sum of taxes that he had to pay before 1792, will you not ascribe the rise in the price of his produce to the same cause ? Or, has the profound belly discovered any rule of reason and of right, which distinguishes, in this respect, the farmer and his produce from all other men and all other things? Mr. WAITHMAN, who certainly had bestowed litile reflection on this subject, got to foundering about this matter. The powerful cause, taxation, he could not wholly get out of his head, and yet he talked about the bounties of Providence being intercepted. He observed (I wish, with all my heart, he could have held his tongue !) that
a great deal had been said about protecting duties ; but, when he saw, “ that there was a duty of 174 per cent. upon land from the Property Tax " alone, were we to have no relief from THE FALLING-IN of that and “ other burdens ?"
Yes, Sir, but let it fall in first! Take away the wheat-grower's taxes before you expect his produce to return to the prices of 1792. You begin at the wrong end, good citizens. Would you not begin by removing the tax from Mr. Rowcliffe's candles, before you called upon him to reduce the price of his candles ? Would you not take off his tax, before you permitted an importation that would knock him up in his trade? The belly has no feeling for anything but itself. It keeps crying, Stuff me! stuff me! without any regard to the means or the consequences. Say anatomists what they will, Mr. WAITHMAN, the belly has no bowels. “ I'll show you," says CONGREVE, a soldier, with his heart in his bead and his brains in his belly." Have we not good reason to suppose, that this sort of organization is now become common throughout the country?
The taxes alone are sufficient, not only to account for the late average price of bread, but for its continuance. Reason, common sense, forbids us to expect, that peace, or any political event whatever, will, upon an average of crops, reduce the price of wheat, until the taxes, with which that article is loaded, shall be taken off; and when they are taken off, how is the interest of the debt to be paid : So that, my worthy neighbours of Southampton, when you see Mr. Rose again, pray move him to make a battle about taking the tax from the loaf; and if he will be so good as to get the tax removed, and to cause guineas to circulate in place of Bank. notes, or will put the paper at its former value, then I will pledge myself to sell you bread at the prices of the last peace. But, until then, you must expect to pay, upon an average, 14d. for your quartern-loaf, whether the prayer of your petition be heard or not.
Mr. Grant, “ the down corn down horn" gentleman, talked of returning to old prices; but did he not mean to include, in articles of price, the paper-money! A good golden guinea, such as was current at 21s. in 1792, will now sell for 27s. So that the guinea has got up as well as the corn. A guinea, in 1792, would exchange for no more than 21s. in paper; it will now exchange for 278. in paper; and paper is the thing which regulates our prices. When, therefore, the loaf is at a shilling, as it is called, it is, in reality, at no more than 9d. of the money of 1792. This fact the people of Southampton have blinked. This fact has been kept out of sight. Mr. Rowcliffe talks about the enormous price of 86s. a quarter; but that is only about 578. Od, of the money of 1792 ! And yet this is wholly overlooked, and the landowners are abused and burnt in effigy for wanting to secure this price. They really deserve it, however, for at all interfering in a measure, the sole tendency of which is to prevent the taxes from falling off, and from leaving the interest of the debt unpaid. I have before stated it, but I will again state it to you, that the proposed Bill is a MEASURE OF THE GOVERNMENT ; that its object is to keep the taxes from falling off; and that if certain gentlemen, zealous for what they think the good of agriculture, have become its advocates, they have not rightly understood what the real interests of the wheat-grower are. I shall suppose, now, that the Bill does not pass, and (though I am sure it cannot be) that wheat comes down to 5s, a bushel, or 40s. a quarter. The whole of the prices of the country must follow it. The labourer will get about 10d. a day; and this rate will run through all the trades in England. A horse, which now costs the farmer 401. will cost bim from 121. to 15l. ; consequently, the taxes must come down in the same proportion, supposing none of them to be repealed (which I do not believe they will be); for, if the taxes continue the same. nominally, they must fall off in amount. The Property tax, for instance, is 174 per centum upon land. Reduce the wheat from an average of 15s. to an average of 5se, the rents follow the price of wheat; and the Government will get only a third part of what it has lately gotten from the land.
Southampton “annuitants,” do you begin to smell your danger? Do you begin to see that if you will not pay the taxes in the price of the loaf, and let others pay them quietly along with you, you will have to look sharp for the dividends on your annuities? You must be blind, indeed, if you cannot see, without the aid of Mr. Rowcļiffe's candles, that it is you, and not the wheat-growers, who would be ruined by the fulfilment of your wishes. It has been stated in those oracular instructors of the people, the London newspapers, that Sir Somebody Call, in Cornwall, has lowered his rents in proportion to the price of corn; and the wise editors of these papers, by way of a hint to the landholders, say, that they hope the example will be generally followed. Well ! now, suppose the thing done all over the country. Would not the Property-tax fall off immediately to the extent of one-half of its amount ? Who would be the losers ? Not the tenants, clearly. Not the landowners ; for wages, horses, food, all would come down to the reduced level. But, whence is to come the 40 millions a year for the payment of the dividends at the Bank? I will tell you what, my good neighbours, you ought to have resolved to do. You ought to have resolved to petition the Parliament to pass a law to compel the landowners to lower their rents, and the renters to lower the price of the corn, and all of them to continue to pay the same taxes, every year to the same amount, that they now pay; for, I do positively assure you, that, if you not continue to pay the same annual amount in taxes, the interest of the debt cannot be paid. There would have been something savouring of tyranny in this proposition; but, at any rate, it would not have been downright nonsense,
No, my worthy neighbours, you have had your war; you have had