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clever a man, perhaps, in your way, as our miller is in his way, satisfy the demands of the fundholders, and of the army and navy, and of placemen and pensioners, and judges and royal family, unless the taxes, to a sufficient amount can be collected; and this never can be done, for another two years, unless wheat be double its present price. To double the price, paper-money must come out till the total quantity of it in circulation equals what it was some years ago ; and, the moment the paper comes out again to this amount, down comes its value, and up goes the exchange in favour of other countries.

Thus you are, Sir, in what we country people call a cleft-stick, and, if you ever had your finger in that situation, you need nothing more to convince you of the aptness of the figure. You are squeezed from both sides by a force so equal, and you are so completely incapable of obtaining relief, either by pulling or by thrusting, that it requires but a slight effort of the imagination to transform your Chancellorship into an unfortunate finger. Your predicament is, in the history of your system, a perfect novelty. The abundance of the paper-money, its constantly increasing quantity, has always, till of late, been the threatening evil. But, now, the evil presses equally from the other side. The abundance of the papermoney, though it ruined many people, caused the farmers, landlords, and active traders to flourish. It raised prices and caused discontent amongst the miserable ; but, what were their mutinies? They were soon put down. All that stirred were quelled. Now, there is nobody to quell. The poor are pleased. They approve of all your doings. But, unfortunately, the poor do not pay the taxes. Loyal souls as they are, paupers, gipsies and all, their will is good towards the State ; but they have not the means. The farm. ers would pay, too, if they could. They would grumble, curse, cry, and pay; but, their money is gone ; or, rather, it does not come. It is useless to threaten them. They do not resist, and are not disposed to resist. Exchequer writs they may receive; but Exchequer writs cannot create the means to pay. It is a submissive, passive description of persons, who now smart. The time of suffering for others is gone by; and, if they do share a little with the rest, their satisfaction at seeing the result verify their predictions, and making those feel who never felt before, is much more than an ample compensation for their share of the suffering. Oh! how the Loyal Yeomanry Cavalry threatened the Jacobins ! What bloody oaths they swore against the enemies of the war. How they admired the speeches of Pitt and the pamphlets of John Bowles ! Well, they may read all these now, if they like, and what will suit them very well, at a cheap rate. Loyal pamphlets and even songs will, however, not tend to make money more plenty; nor will they assist you, Sir, in affording the "remedy,of which I shall treat in my next letter.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,

WM, COBBETT.

401

TO THE

CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER.

(Political Register, November, 1815)

LETTER III.

REAL REMEDIES. Sir,

Before we come to speak of these, I must notice a little more of the quackery that is now going forward. That instrument of knaves, and oracle of well-dressed fools, the Times Newspaper, which, upon wrong, false, and base grounds, opposed the Corn Bill, and repeated, to a sickening degree, all the vulgar and brutish trash about " peace and plenty,” and about the justice of the farmers and landlords now “contenting themselves with moderate prices ;” this bell-wether of the well-dressed rabble now has found out, that “the declension in the prices of bread-corn, and other grain, threatens to produce great nationul distress." It tells us, that, all over the country, "numerous farms ure abandoned by the tenants in an uncultivated state ; and that it is the foreign corn now lying in the warehouses, that keeps down the price of our own corn.

It is very true, that the declension of price is producing the effect that is here ascribed to it. No improvements of the land are going on. Farmers are drawing in their expenditure in all directions. They are lessening the number of their horses and of their labourers. Every sort of work that will admit of delay, is delayed, or given up. The land is either badly tilled or is left wholly untilled in numerous cases. And, thousands upon thousands of farms, are thrown back into the hands of the owners. The cultivators of the soil are fleeing like Lot, without the need of any injunction not to look behind them.

But, that, which this stupid man points out as the sole cause of this great national evil, really makes no part of the cause. The Corn Bill did not make wheat dearer than it was before, and yet he ascribes the low price to that Bill not having gone far enough. He ascribes this low price to the large store of foreign wheat now in England, though the law does not permit that wheat to be sold here, and does permit it to be carried away to other countries. This is a cause quite of the sort to be discovered by one whose optics are of a kind to enable him to see nothing that is of less bulk than a sack of wheat.

The Corn Bill forbade the importation and sale of foreign wheat, unless the price of wheat in England was 10s. the Winchester bushel. Foreign wheat might be brought here and warehoused, but it could not be sold here, until wheat was 10s, a bushel. Thus stands the law. Now, if all the wheat in the whole world were warehousert in England, why should that induce me to sell my wheat at 6s. 6d. a bushel, as I now VOL, IV,

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do? If, indeed, my wheat brought nearly 103. a bushel, I might be tempted to hasten my sales a little on account of this store of foreiga wheat; but surely my present price is such as not to be at all affected by that store any more than it would be by a store of stones or of wool.

But, if this were the case; if this store of foreign corn caused our corn to sell cheap, the owners of it must be fools indeed to keep it here, and must have been fools to bring it here. They, at any rate, must have thought that its being stored here would not produce any such effect; and yet, they are full as likely to understand this matter as the stupid, though prostituted writer of the Times Newspaper, who, while he is blaming the Government for suffering so much foreign corn to be brought into the country, and is ascribing to that the present ruin of the farmers and of all connected with them, never once thinks of apologizing for the brutal part he took last year, in opposing the Corn Bill, which he represented as "a boon to the landed people out of the p'rses of the rest of the com"munity."

I, too, opposed the Corn Bill, but upon very different grounds. I opposed it, Ist, because it tended to keep food at a high price, and, thereby, to drive people out of the country, and, amongst others, manufacturers, to the injury of England ; 2nd, because it tended to keep us aloof from the rest of the world ; but, principally, because its object was to enable the land to pay the present tares, which the good of the country required to be diminished, by the reduction of the army and of the pay, salaries and pensions of those, whose pay had been fixed at a high rate, or raised, on account of the high prices. But this sneaking caviller appealed merely to the bellies of the mob and to the purses of the annuitants. Not a word did he say about the tares; not a word about the expenses of Government; not a word about the pay of the army and navy ; not a word about the pensions and salaries and allowances and grants, all fixed, or raised, in dear-corn times.

But, Sir, as I am now about to talk of real remediis, we must take all these matters into view ; for, is it just, that the people who have to pay the taxes should have no consideration bestowed on them, while so much consideration has been bestowed on everybody else? Let us see how this question stands. Prices are now much about the same as they were before the Anti-Jacobin war. But, is this the case with the pay of the army, navy, judges, police-justices, clerks, &c. &c.? You know very well that it is not. You know very well, that, on the erpress ground of the rise in prices, millions have been paid to the Royal Family; that their allowances have all been augmented on that ground. You know also, that the salaries of the Judges, that the pay of the soldiers and sailors, that the salaries of the police-justices, that the pensions and allowances to Ambassadors ; in short, that all expenses have been raised, for many years past, and that some of them have had augmentation upon augmentation, on the erpress ground of the rise in the prices of the necessaries of life. Well, then; now that the necessaries of life have fallen in price á full half, ought not the pay, salaries, &c., to fall also, at least, back to the old mark? What pretext can there be for now paying these persons at the rate of dear-corn prices ?

Sone few years ago the average price of wheat was 158. a bushel ; or, let us come to the loaf; for that is nearer to the teeth of a judge or a soldier as well as of a labouring man. The average price, for years, of the quartern loaf, in London, was 18d. The average price is now, and has

been for a long while, 11d. Green Bacon was 17s. a score.

It is now 105. Malt was 16s. a bushel. It is now 9s. Bread, meat, and beer are the things on which the people live, or ought to live, and may live well; and though the Lord does not live upon them, his servants do Upon this comparison of prices, we have lowered the pay of our labourers, smiths, wheelwrights, &c. The men to whom we used to give 30d. a day, we now give 20d. i used to pay a shilling for job-work where I now pay eightpence. There is as yet some irregularity; a good deal of disputation ; the men are loth lo come down; many change masters; but, when they come to a new master, they lower their price. Work, however, stands still in the meanwhile, and much diminution of cultivation takes place. Many, running about to seek the old prices, at last, get no employ at all. They go to the parish; but, what takes place then? Why, the Justices compel the parish to feed them ; but, the parish compels them to work ; so that, after all, they do the work cheaper than they might have done it at first.

A dialogue between me and one of my labourers will give you as correct a notion of the state of the country, in this respect, as you will be able to ostain from the Board of Agriculture, though that Board of wise men costs us some thousands a year. L.-600 rod of water-furrowing at 9d. a score rod, 11. 2s.6d. Mr. C. - But 9d. a score is too much, Emery, L. - Too much, Sir! Why it always used to be a shilling ! Mr. C.-Yes, but flour used to be 203. a bushel, and now it is 10s. at the

same mill. L.– Flour is cheaper, to be sure, Sir, but every thing else is as dear as

ever.

Mr. C.-Will you give me 183. a score for a nice fat hog ?
L.-No, Sir. ( With a smile and twist of the neck.)
Mr. C.- But, you know, that, one year, since I have lived at Botley,

hogs did sell for 18s. a score ; and that, for years, they sold at 163.

or 17s. L.-Yes, Sir, but a man wants something else besides breau and bacon. Mr. C. I know he does. He wants some good, fresh, hearty beer. L.-Beer, Sir! How is a poor man to buy beer at 6d. a pot? Mr. C.-Why should he buy it at 6d. a pot, when he can have a

bushel of malt for 9s., and hops for Is., enough to make 21 gallons of as good beer as any man need wish to drink. Beer that will make

him feel bold when he has drunk a pot of it. L.-I never bre", Sir. Mr. C. - Pray then, what do you drink? You must drink something

with your victuals. What is it? L.-Tea, Sir! Mr. C.- Tea! And how much a week, and how much sugar? And

what do they cost you ? L.-Why, Sir, we have loz. of tea, and 3lb. of sugar. The tea costs

Is. 6d. and the sugar 33. Mr. C.-So, here is 4s. 6d. a week, laid out by my servant with the na

bobs and the West Indians, when you might have four times as much nourishment out of half a bushel of malt. Tuo weeks, at this rate, would cost you 9s. wbile, for 10s. you might have four full pots of good beer a day for three weeks. But, this is not all; durin} three weeka you lay out 13s 6d. to obtain whatever nourishment 9lbs. of sugar yields ; while, if this 13s. 6d. was laid out in 1ļ bushel of malt, you would obtain for it the nourishment which 37 lbs. of sugar yields; because it is a well-known fact, that every bushel of good

malt contains, at the least, 25lbs. of sugar. L.--(With a laugh like that of Cymon when he first discovered Ephi

genia sleeping by the fountain.) Ah, Sir! But how is a poor man

to get it out? Mr. C.-Why, as you do the bitter useless taste of the stuff that you

call tea; and which, for the greater part, is, perhaps, composed of the leaves of the ush or the black thorn : that is by brewing ; only, instead of brewing three times every day, you need brew only one time in three weeks ; or, if you prefer it, only one time in six, nine, or twelve weeks.- No wonder that you go so late in the morning to your work. No wonder that you are shuffling home a mile or two to dinner, instead of bolting out (as I did when I was a boy) with your meat and bread in your satchel, and your beer in a wooden bottle, slung over your shoulder. No wonder that you are all as thin as owlettes, and that that son of yours there, who is 19 years old, and is five feet nine inches high, is, as you told me last summer, too weakly to do man's work." No wonder that his knees bend under him, and that he has a voice like that of a girl, instead of being able to carry a sack of wheat and to jump over a five-barred

gate. L.-Aye, Sir, it is easy to talk; but how am I to brew without barrels,

or anything to brew with ? Mr. C.-All these would not cost you as much as you lose by tea-drinking

in one single quarter of a year. But, besides, does the tua-kettle, with its everlasting cooking3, summer as well as winter, cost you nothing? Do the tea-pots, spoons, cups and saucers cost you nothing? Do you pay nothing, in the course of the year, to those vagabond pedlars, whom I frequently see in the village with their moveable houses and their crockery-ware, whose license to traffic they seem to interpret into a commission to plunder, the tax upon whose licenses does not amount to a thousandth part of the injury they do in their tramping through thie country, and who, indeed, you may look upon as your friends, because they tear and burn the hedges that you are employed to make and to mend. Do you give none of your money to these wretches, instead of giving it to the cooper and

the brazier ? L.-(Having had time to belhink him.) Why, now, there, Sir; there

are potatoes as dear as ever. A poor man cannot get a bushel un

der 3s. Mr. C.-And what business has he with potatoes, then ? This trash is

always dearer than four. Ten pounds of potatoes are equal to one pound of flour in point of nourishment, and no more. And yet you buy potatoes for cheapness. This is your economy. You give 30s

. for the same quantity of nourishment that you can get for 10s. And this, too, in a smaller bulk, more cheaply prepared for the stomach, liable to no waste, convenient to carry to your work, at any moment ready to be eaten. This is your economy; but, I must say, that I do not so much blame you for this, when I consider how many great writers on food, and how many wise lawgivers have lent their hand in the misleading of you. This potatoe diet constitutes,

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