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at least it would be carried no further than to a state of coarse pasture.
Of the two first of these items I have already treated at large, and shall only add here that, including about 30l. from the item intitled rates, which according to the reasoning in the last chapter should be added to that entitled wages of labour, the two first items make up considerably more than two-fifths of the whole out-goings. If, however, there be any truth in the reasoning of the two last chapters, they are payments indispensably necessary to the welfare of the community. But in case of any defalcation in the due returns for the produce of the farm, they are the first that would cease to be paid ; because an inferior state of cultivation could still be carried on upon the land by a considerable reduction in them.
Of the next item, viz. wear and tear of horses, stock, machinery, and implements, it may be observed that a portion of this expense involves indirect taxes to the government, and the remainder is devoted to setting industry in motion in other profitable departments. Any diminution therefore in the power of making this payment would be doubly injurious to the commonwealth ; first by affecting the revenue, and next by depressing the general industry of the community. But such diminution would certainly ensue upon a depression in the price of produce, because like the two former items, this also could be trenched upon without absolute ruin to the farmer ; he might still raise an inferior description of produce, and continue to live.
The next item, including seed and manure, is also indicative of a farm managed in a thriving manner ; and, in case of an alteration of system by converting a
large portion of arable into rough pasture, the expensé would be saved. But it would be a most fatal saving in a commercial and manufacturing country; for, by checking the productive power of all the inferior lands, and by throwing them into such a state of waste as would require many years to reclaim, the community must be necessarily forced to have recourse to a permanent supply of foreign corn; and the capital and industry hitherto flourishing at home, would be transferred to foreign countries : to say nothing of the other inconveniences which have been stated as the consequence of such a calamity.
In the next item, tithes are the only article left for consideration; and in the view we are now taking they do not call for many remarks. Being a tenth of the produce, they will of course increase or decrease with the amount of that produce. But they constitute an out-going the relative amount of which cannot be diminished, as may be the case with all the other items. So long as the tithe owner is paid in that manner, the payment is very properly secured to him by law, in such a manner as to prevent the possibility of evasion or diminution. It has the
preference over all other payments, and must therefore be deducted from the gross amount of the produce, before any calculation can be entered into of what the remainder may be capable of performing. .
I cannot let this subject cross my 12th without one observation. However desirable it may be, both to the tithe owner in his professional capacity, and to the country with a view to the investment of capital in agricultural improvements, that a general commutation should, if possible, be made for this proproperty; yet, as far as it affects the farmer or mere
occupier of the land, it is I think in ordinary times clearly advantageous to him. If no such out-going existed, a third would probably be added to his rent; that being, I should conceive, not an unfair valuation of the tenth of the gross produce of a farm, upon the average of farms. But from the difficulty in the mode of collection, from the liberal feeling of many of the clergy towards their parishioners, and from the general custom which the prevalence of this feeling has established, I will venture to affirm that the utmost value is not taken in one parish in a hundred in any country where tithes constitute the payment of the clergy. The occupier therefore, if a tenant, is the last man who ought to complain of that out-going
The next item, viz. common interest on capital, is of course an absolutely necessary condition of its investment, and ruin must inevitably follow if it should continue permanently not to accrue; ruin to the individual by the loss of his fortune, ruin to the state by the destruction of its capital and industry.
Yet be it observed, this interest can only accrue upon the supposition that the price of the products of the farm is sufficient previously to discharge all its necessary out-goings, and to leave at least this surplus; which, it may be well to repeat, is not the profit that is to induce the capitalist to enter into further agricultural speculations, but merely the return which is to prevent his capital from being annihilated.
Of the direct taxes to government, which form the subject of the following item, it is scarcely possible for the tenant to pay less; and, property-tax excepted, the article is too trifling to deserve further
consideration. There are other taxes, however, paid ultimately by the landlord, which constitute a more serious out-going, and, being levied in the first instance on the occupier, have of course the precedence of any payment of rent.
There is moreover one tax which, although not paid immediately by the landholder, falls so heavily upon agriculture, and operates so injuriously upon all classes of country residents, that I can let pass no fair opportunity of exposing its bad effects. I mean the tax upon malt, where malt-liquor has been the accustomed beverage of the people. When the duty is high, it operates nearly as a prohibition to the poor cottager, who was formerly accustomed to brew this liquor in small quantities for the consumption of his family; and the proportion of grain used in the great breweries, for the supply of country public houses, is by no means sufficient to compensate to the farmer the loss of demand from individuals of the lower classes. The effects, therefore, upon agriculture are obviously of a runious tendency; and those upon the morals of the people are still more serious. The taste for malt liquor is by no means eradicated from an English palate by the want of power to manufacture it at home. But, after tea or some other substitute has been provided for the family, the father is reduced to carry any surplus earnings to the public-house, where alone he can gratify the reasonable appetite which he inherited from his fathers. But the habit of frequenting the ale-house is no sooner acquired, than the appetite becomes unreasonable. Profligate and illicit means are resorted to for its gratification; wretchedness and beggary are introduced into the cottage ; and,
although the whole process has the appearance of adding to the revenue of the state, it does in fact greatly injure the industry and resources of the community, and saps the main pillars of public happiness and security.
We now come in conclusion to a most important article—the profits of the tenant; that which is to induce him to invest his capital in the cultivation of the soil, and which is to enable him to accumulate a further capital for similar investments. To deny that it is the interest of the community that these profits should be high, would be to deny an obvious truth; and it seems undoubtedly true also that their general average must rise with the necessity created by the progress of society for investing capital upon inferior land. For the increased price of produce necessary to make a return for that investment, and which is in fact the cause of it, and the continuance of which can alone keep inferior land in cultivation, must of course raise the profits of capital already invested in the cultivation of land of a superior quality, where produce can be raised at a cheaper rate. This will not admit of dispute if we consider that, produce of the same quality bearing but one price in the market, the cultivator, whose expenses compared with the amount of his produce were before so low as to enable him to make a profit by selling it cheap, must now make a superlucration, when the price rises high enough to remunerate the grower, whose expenses are high when compared with the amount of his produce. But this superlucration must of course come out of the pockets of the consumer, and will therefore raise by its amount the general average of agricultural profits. It is