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• The bounty upon the exportation of it is capable of purchasing, as much as corn necessarily operates exactly in the it rises in its quantity, the service will same way as this absurd policy of Spain be little more than nominal and ima, and Portugal. Whatever be the actual ginary. state of tillage, it renders our corn some. “ There is, perhaps, but one set of what dearer in the home market than men in the whole commonwealth to it otherwise would be in that state, whom the bounty either was or could and somewhat cheaper in the foreign; be essentially serviceable. These were and as the average money price of corn the corn merchants, the exporters and regulates more or less that of all other the importers of corn. In years of commodities, it lowers the value of sil- plenty, the bounty necessarily occaver considerably in the one, and tends sioned a greaterexportation than would to raise it a little in the other. It ena- otherwise have taken place; and by bles foreigners, the Dutch in particu. hindering the plenty of the one year lar, not only to eat our corn cheaper from relieving the scarcity of another, than they otherwise could do, but it occasioned, in years of scarcity, a sometimes to eat it cheaper than even greater importation than would otherour owo people can do upon the same wise have been necessary. It increa. occasions; as we are assured by an sed the business of the corn merchant excellent authority, that of Sir Mathew in both ; and in years of scarcity, it Decker. It hinders our own work, not only enabled him to import a great. men from furnishing their goods for er quantity, but to sell it for a better 80 small a quantity of silver as they price, and consequently with a greater otherwise might do ; and enables the profit than he could otherwise have Dutch to furnish theirs for a smaller. made, if the plenty of one year had It tends to render our manufactures not been more or less hindered from somewhat dearer in every market, and relieving the scarcity of another. It theirs somewhat cheaper than they is in this set of men, accordingly, that otherwise would be, and consequently I have observed the greatest zeal for to give their industry a double advan- the continuance or renewal of the tage over our own.
bounty. ūThe bounty, as it raises in the home. “Our country gentlemen, when market, not so much the real, as the they imposed the high duties upon the nominal price of our corn, as it aug. importation of foreign corn, which, in ments, not the quantity of labour which times of moderate plenty, amount to a certain quantity of corn can maintain a prohibition, and when they establishand employ, but only the quantity of ed the bounty, seemed to have imitasilver which it will exchange for, it ted the conduct of our manufacturers. discourages our manufactures, without By the one institution, they secured to rendering any considerable service ei themselves the monopoly of the home ther to our farmers or country gentle- market; and by the other, they endea. men. It puts, indeed, a little more voured to prevent that market from money into the pockets of both, and ever being overstocked with their it will perhaps be somewhat difficult commodity. By both they endeavour, to persuade the greater part of them, ed to raise its real value, in the same that this is not rendering them a very manner as our manufacturers had, by considerable service. But if this mo. the like institution, raised the real vaney sinks in its yalue, in the quantity · lue of many different sorts of manufac. of labour, provisions, and home-made tured goods. They did not, perhaps, commodities of all different kinds which attend to the great and essential dif
ference which nature has established determined ; corn is. The real value between corn and almost every other of every other commodity is finally sort of goods. When, either by the measured and determined by the promonopoly of the home market, or by portion which its average money price a bounty upon exportation, you ena- bears to the average money price of ble our woollen or linen manufacturers corn. The real value of corn does not to sell their goods for somewhat a bet vary with those variations in its aveter price than they otherwise could get rage money price, which sometimes for them, you raise, not only the no. occur from one century to another, minal, but the real price of those goods. It is the real value of silver which va. You render them equivalent to a great. ries with them. er quantity of labour and subsistence, “ Bounties upon the exportation of you increase, not only the nominal, any home-made commodity are liable, but the real profit, the real wealth and first, to that general objection which revenue of those manufacturers, and may be made to all the different esyou enable them either to live better pedients of the mercantile system ; the themselves, or to supply a greater objection of forcing some part of the quantity of labour in those particular industry of the country into a channel manufactures. You really encourage less advantageous than that in which those manufactures, and direct towards it would run of its own accord ; and, them a greater quantity of the indus- secondly, to the particular objection of try of the country, than what would forcing it, not only into a channel that probably go to them of its own accord. is less advantageous, but into one that But when, by the like institutions, you is actually disadvantageous ; the trade raise the nominal, or money price, of which cannot be carried on but by corn, you do not raise its real value, means of a bounty being necessarily a you do not increase the real wealth, losing trade. The bounty upon the the real revenue either of our farmers exportation of corn is liable to this or country gentlemen. You do not further objection, that it can in no reencourage the growth of corn, because spect promote the raising of that paryou do not enable them to maintain ticular commodity, of which it was and employ more labourers in raising meant to encourage the production: it. The nature of things has stamped When our country gentlemen, thereupon corn a real value, which cannot fore, demanded the establishment of the be altered by merely altering its money bounty, though they acted in imitaprice. No bounty upon exportation, tion of our merchants and manufactu. no monopoly of the home market, can rers, they did not act with that comraise that value. The freest competi. plete comprehension of their own in. tion cannot lower it; through the terest, which commonly directs the world in general that value is equal to conduct of those two other orders of the quantity of labour which it can people. They loaded the public remaintain, and in every particular place venue with a very considerable ex. it is equal to the quantity of labour pence; they imposed a very heavy tax which it can maintain in the way, whe- upon the whole body of the people ; ther liberal, moderate, or scanty, in but they did not in any sensible dewhich labour is commonly maintained gree increase the real value of their in that place. Woollen or linen cloth own commodity ; and by lowering are not the regulating commodities by somewhat the real value of silver, they which the real value of all other com- discouraged, in some degree, the gemodities must be finally measured and neral industry of the country, and, in.
VOL. V. PART II.
stead of advancing, retarded more or ticular works agree privately among less the improvement of their own themselves to give a bounty out of lands, which necessarily depends upon their own pockets, upon the exporta. the general industry of the country. tion of a certain proportion of the i « To encourage the production of goods which they dealt in. This exany commodity, a bounty upon pro. pedient succeeded so well, that it more duction, one should imagine, would than doubled the price of their goods have a more direct operation than one in the home market, notwithstanding upon exportation. It would, besides, a very considerable increase in the proimpose only one tax upon the people, duce. The operation of the bounty that which they must contribute in upon corn must have been wonderful. order to pay the bounty. Instead of ly different, if it has lowered the mo. raising, it would tend to lower the ney price of that commodity.” price of the commodity in the home It may be remarked, in general, of market, and thereby instead of impo. this celebrated argument, which Dr sing a second tax upon the people, it Smith has thus carefully expanded and might at least in part repay them for illustrated, that, if it were sound, it what they had contributed to the first. would prove the utter impossibility of Bounties upon production, however, giving in any circumstances, the slighthave been very rarely granted. The est encouragement to agriculture. Such prejudices established by the commer- encouragement can be given only by cial system have taught us to believe, adding to the profits of the farmer; that national wealth arises more imme. 'but Dr Smith maintains, that it is imdiately from exportation than from possible to add to these profits,-to production. It has been more favour. accomplish any thing more than a noed accordingly, as the more immediate minal rise in the price of corn, or to means of bringing money into the confer more than a nominal advantage country. Bounties upon production, on the farmer. If this opinion were it has been said too, have been found just, cultivation must for ever be at a by experience more liable to frauds, stand; for to what does Dr Smith's than those upon exportation. How argument amount! That neither the far this is true, I know not. That bounty, nor any other human institubounties upon exportation have been tion, can have the effect of rendering abused to many fraudulent purposes, corn more profitable to the farmer, is very well known. But it is not the and of encouraging its production. interest of merchants and manufactu. But the rapid progress of agricul. rers, the great inventors of all these ture in this island, affords a sufficient expedients, that the home market practical refutation of this doctrine, should be overstocked with their and creates a strong suspicion, that goods; an event which a bounty upon there is something fundamentally er. production might sometimes occasion. roneous in the whole of the author's A bounty upon exportation, by en train of reasoning. abling them to send abroad their sur. The price of labour enters materi. plus part, and to keep up the price of ally into the value of all commodities; what remains in the home market, ef. but it does not form the sole criterion fectually prevents this. Of all the of this value. The profits of stock expedients of the mercantile system, and the rent of land are also importaccordingly, it is the one of which ant ingredients ; but neither of them they are the fondest. I have known are chiefly or directly influenced by the different undertakers of some par. the price of corn. The profits of stock
are regulated, as every one knows, by corn, from which he infers, that their the relative proportions of the supply amount must be regulated by the price and demand ; and thus we have one of that article ; but as horses seem to considerable ingredient in the price of be the only class of labourers to whom all articles which is not influenced by his hypothesis strictly applies, his conthe price of corn.-But the value of clusions can be extended no farther, labour itself is not entirely regulated and can never embrace those who reby the price of corn. If the labourer quire something more than unmanu. required or consumed nothing but corn factured corn for their subsistence. there might be some truth in Dr The British labourer, in the present Smith's position, although even in this state of society, consumes many things case we should only have an approxi. besides corn, and requires many artimation to accuracy - It is well known, cles on which the price of British corn that in different periods of the history can have no possible influence. The of this and of all other countries, the profits of stock, for example, which rewards of labour have been very dif. are not regulated by the price of corn, ferently proportioned ; that they have yet enter into the prices of all sorts of sometimes been so ample as to enable merchandise ; while there are many the lower orders to live in comparative articles in universal demand even a. affluence, and at other seasons so scan. mong the lower orders, of which the ty, as to render it difficult for the poor raw material or the finished manufac. even to subsist. We speak at present ture comes from distant countries, upnot of the nominal but of the real on the price of which it will not be price of labour ; of its price not in said, that the price of British corn can money but in corn ; and the truth of have any influence. It has been supthe observation may be illustrated by posed by some very accurate enqui. reference to what has often occurred, rers, that two only of the five parts both in the remote and in the recent into which the wages of the British periods of our annals. The truth is, labourer may be divided, are expend. that the price of labour, like that of ed in the purchase of corn, the remainall other commodities, is chiefly regu- ing three being required to procure lated by the proportion betwixt the other articles of necessity or convesupply and demand ; and must for nience. Dr Smith's argument, there. ever be thus regulated until the reward fore, is just only to a very limited exshall sink beneath the necessary wants teat, and does not warrant the sweepof man. Even if the labourer, there. ing conclusions which he has deduced fore, required nothing but unmanufac. from it. tured corn to subsist upon, his wages Some excellent observations, which would not be entirely regulated by the tend very much to illustrate and conprice of this article ; for while, in a firm the opinions which have just been season of universal prosperity, he might stated, have been made in a pamphlet be able to command a large surplus, lately published by Mr Malthus, the a thousand circumstances, which it is author of the Essay on Population.* impossible to controul, may entirely “The substance of his (Dr Smith's) change his condition and prospects. argument is, that corn is of so peçu. Dr Smith's argument proceeds on the liar a nature, that its real price cannot erroneous assumption, that the wages be raised by an increase of its money of labour are entirely expended an price ; and that, as it is clearly an in
Observations on the Corn Laws, by thic Rev. T. R. Malthus, p. 4, et seg.
crease of real price alone which can ly; and, as far as some of them de encourage its production, the rise of pend, in part or in whole, upon fomoney price, occasioned by a bounty, reign materials, (as is the case with can have no such 'effect.
leather, linen, cottons, soap, and can · " It is by no means intended to deny dles,) they may be considered as indethe powerful influence of the price of pendent of it, like the two remaining corn upon the price of labour, on an articles of tea and sugar, which are by average of a considerable number of no means unimportant in their amount. years; but that this influence is not " It is manifest, therefore, that the such as to prevent the 'movement of whole of the wages of labour can necapital to, or from the land, which is ver rise and fall in proportion to the the precise point in question, will be variations in the price of grain. And made sufficiently evident by a short that the effect produced by these vas enquiry into the manner in which la. riations, whatever may be its amount, bour is paid and brought into the mar. must be very slow in its operation, is ket, and by a consideration of the con. proved by the manner in which the sequences to which the assumption of supply of labour takes place,-a point Dr Smith's proposition would inevita which has been by no means sufficientbly lead.
ly attended to. : « In the first place, if we enquire • Every change in the prices of into the expenditure of the labouring commodities, if left to find their natu, classes of society, we shall find that it ral level, is occasioned by some change, by no means consists wholly in food, actual or expected, in the state of the and still less, of course, in mere bread demand or supply. The reason why or grain. În looking over that mine the consumer pays a tax upon any of information for every thing relating manufactured commodity, or an adto prices and labour, Sir Frederick vance in the price of any of its comMorton Eden's work on the Poor, I ponent parts, is because, if he cannot find, that in a labourer's family of or will not pay this advance of price, about an average size, the articles of the commodity will not be supplied in house-rent, fuel, soap, candles, tea, the same quantity as before, and the sugar, and clothing, are generally equal next year there will be only such a to the articles of bread or meal. On proportion in the market as is accoma very rough estimate, the whole may modated to the number of persons who be divided into five parts, of which two will consent to pay the tax; but, in consist of meal or bread, two of the the case of labour, the operation of articles above-mentioned, and one of withdrawing the commodity is much meat, milk, butter, cheese, and pota. slower and more painful. Although toes. These divisions are, of course, the purchasers refuse to pay the adsubject to considerable variations, ari- vanced price, the same supply will ne. sing from the number of the family, cessarily remain in the market not only and the amount of the earnings. But the next year, but for some years to if they merely approximate towards come ; consequently, if no increase the truth, a rise in the price of corn take place in the demand, and the ad. must be both slow and partial in its vanced price of provisions be not so effect upon labour. Meat, milk, but great as to make it obvious that the ter, cheese, and potatoes, are slowly labourer cannot support his family, it affected by the price of corn. House- is probable that he will continue to rent, bricks, stone, timber, fuel, soap, pay this advance till a relaxation in candles, and clothing, still more slow. The rate of the increase of population