Page images
PDF
EPUB

tion of discriminating duties enables culture; and, 2. To cause corn to be foreign shipowners to take much lower sold at the cheapest rate for the avefreights than they could otherwise af rage of years, by properly fostering ford to take: in the absence of such our own agriculture, and remaining as duties, these shipowners can afford to independent as possible of foreign natake much lower freights than will re- tions for supplies of it. munerate British ones; and the latter The doctrines which were promulare compelled to take about such gated by the friends of the new system freights as they take. This is unde- when it was introduced, must be still niable, and no one offers to disprove remembered by our readers. Corn was it. The shipping and maritime power to be imported duty-free. A duty of of this country are sustaining serious even ten shillings per quarter on wheat diminution. This

is proved by offi- would starve and rob the community. cial documents. That this diminu. A free trade in corn was essential for tion has been caused by the losses of the enriching of landowners and farmthe shipowners, and the increase of ers. The cheaper corn was rendered foreign shipping, is placed above ques• by importation, the more of it British tion by the fact, that the importations farmers would sell. Cheap corn would of this country have enormously in benefit the agriculturists, as much as creased since the termination of the the rest of the community. Foreign

wheat could not be imported for less We need not say more on the ef- than from 50s. to 60s. per quarter; fects of the new system on the ship- and no quantity of it to affect the ping interest.

market could be obtained. These and We proceed to agriculture. Al. a thousand similar absurdities were though the abolished Corn Laws had oracularly put forth as unquestionable not been long in existence, they were truths, and dissent from them was held dictated by the old system. So long to be almost a proof of lunacy. as the price of corn was not higher If these doctrines had been acted than was necessary for the proper re- on, what would have been the present muneration of the corn growers, the condition of the country ? On the old system gave them a monopoly of 1st July 1827, the markets were openthe market. When the price was be- ed for foreign wheat then in bond, low this, it directly prohibited foreign and more was cleared than half a milcorn from entering the market, as the lion of quarters. This wheat entered most effectual method of excluding the market under favourable circumit; and when the price rose above this, stances to prices. Thirteen months it made the trade in corn free. The elapsed between the harvest of 1826 old system acted on these principles: and that of 1827, and in consequence, 1. To give proper protection to the consumption had a month above the capital and labour employed in agri- year allowed it for diminishing the

war. *

* We are assured by a friend, who is extensively connected with shipping, that it is at this moment in a more depressed state than it was ever in any former period. He gives us the following particulars. Ships are now going to Miramichi, in the Gulf of St Lawrence, in ballast, to fetch timber at a freight of 338. per load. In the spring of this year, the freight was 34s., which, taking into calculation the increased risk, and wear and tear of the season, was equal to what one of 38s. would be at present. 458. is the lowest freight which would enable a vessel to yield a moderate profit, should she be fortunate, and escape accidents. In other trades, matters are as bad; in the East India trade, ships are incurring enormous losses. Shipping is getting deeply mortgaged.

The shipowners carry on a losing trade, in preference to laying their vessels up, partly because they think that the expense of laying up, and the deterioration of value, (which is greater in ships laid up, than in those kept in employment,) are together worse than the loss incurred by sending them to sea. In addition to this, many shipowners are compelled to send their ships to sea, so long as they can escape ruin; they are indebt. ed to their tradesmen and agents ; if they lay their ships up, they are sued for money which they cannot pay; and therefore they go on paying an old debt out of a present voyage, and getting deeper into debt to make it. Our friend is of opinion that à Par. liamentary Return of the ships which have been mortgaged in the last few years, would throw great light on the desperate condition to which the shipping interest is reduced.

stock of British wheat; in the winter Direct prohibition was perfectly effec-
of 1827, much wheat was given in tual ; under all circumstances, it com-
some districts to cattle, from the scar. pletely excluded foreign corn as far as
city of hay, oats, &c.; and none of it was intended to do so.
the foreign wheat paid a lower duty Prohibitory duty, from its nature,
than L.i, 2s. 8d." per quarter, and cannot possibly be effectual. Corn va-
some of it paid considerably more. ries in price in foreign countries, and
Nevertheless this foreign wheat had in consequence the duty will exclude
such an effect on prices, that for some it in one year, and admit it in abun-
weeks the average price in the Gazette dance in another. A duty which is
was only about 50s. according to the governed solely by the price of British
old bushel. In various English coun- corn, stands in reality on the prepos-
ties, the bulk of the farmers did not terous assumption that the price of
obtain for their wheat more than from foreign corn never varies. How erro-
40s. to 46s. per quarter.

neous and pernicious the new system This will shew very conclusively is in principle, has been abundantly dewhat the consequences would have monstrated in the last twelve months. been if the market had been opened Mr Canning represented that it was two or three years ago to foreign wheat to give to British farmers an average at a duty of 5s. or even 10s. per quare price of 60s., according to the old buter; and to other corn at duties pro- shel, for wheat: and to exclude foportionally low. Before this time, reign wheat when the price should be agriculture would have been reduced below this, he and his colleagues calto a state of horrible ruin.

culated that a duty of 20s. would be And now after these maniacal opin a prohibitory one. Well, upon trial, nions have been so confidently put it has been found that a duty of nearly forth by its friends, what has the new 23s., and in some cases of considerably system done in respect of corn? It more, has admitted more than 500,000 has, instead of establishing free trade, quarters, being almost all of good quasubstituted, according to its own con. lity, that the law did not directly exfession, prohibitory duties for direct clude. In consequence the farmers prohibition. The prohibition of the only obtained an average price of 50s. old system in its permanent operation or 52s., instead of one of 60s. took effect when wheat was at 70s. France occasionally needs foreign per quarter; that of the new system corn. Now, had she needed a consi. is intended to take effect when wheat derable quantity in 1827, this duty is at 66s., or, according to the old bu would have been a prohibitory one. shel, at about 64s. per quarter. This A duty must of necessity always opedifference of 6s. per quarter is of great rate in this manner. With exactly importance to the grower of wheat, the same Gazette price, it will in some while to the consumer it is of scarcely years wholly exclude foreign corn, and any.

in others it will admit it in ruinous This substitution of prohibitory du- profusion. ty for direct prohibition, constitutes This then is the essential difference the only difference in principle be- between the old system and the new tween the old system and the new one. one. The former effectually excluded The mode by which foreign corn was foreign corn at all times when it was admitted under the old laws, had no intended to do so; at all times when more connexion with their principle, corn in this country was at or below than it has with that of the new law; a certain price required for the proper under them such corn might have been protection of the agriculturists. The admitted at all times when the six new system will frequently admit foweeks' average had been above a cere reign corn when it is intended that it tain price, just the same as it can at should exclude it ; with the same Gapresent.

zette price, it will sometimes wholly We have therefore to ascertain how exclude such corn, and at other times far prohibitory duty is to be preferred admit it to an extent which will subto direct prohibition in respect of corn. ject the farmers to heavy losses ; occaIf at a certain price foreign corn oughtsionally it will give the farmers the to be excluded, it must be clear to all price they need, and which it is inmen that the measure is the best which tended to give them ; but generally it is the most effectual in excluding it. will give them one far lower.

[ocr errors]

This new system, in so far as it has some parts it takes away their colonial had operation, has done very great in- trade, and to other parts it does no jury to the agriculturists. It has re- injury. It has, however, injured it duced prices much more than, if the deeply as a whole. At the outset it professions of its parents are to be be- professed to avoid all prohibitory dus lieved, it was intended to do, and it ties; yet in the last year, it raised its has made them losing ones. We of own duty on cottons imported into course speak without reference to the British America from 16 to 20 per advance which the bad harvest weather cent; and on silks from 15 to 30 per has occasioned.

cent. This was a reasonably plain The old system prohibited foreign confession of its own errors. salted beef and pork from being im- This system opened the colonies to ported into this country and its colo- the ships of all nations on these nies; the new one admits them at a grounds :- 1. That prohibition wag duty of 12s. per cwt. On the provi- highly injurious. 2. That the measion trade of Ireland the change ope- sure would be very beneficial. And, 3. rates perniciously in regard to both That as American ships were already export and price.

admitted, it was unjust and pernicious The trade in certain descriptions of to exclude those of other countries, ladies' shoes, and various smaller After being a short period in existence, trades and interests, have been much it prohibited American ships from eninjured by the new system, either bytering the colonies ; it thus establish the import of foreign goods, or by the ed a direct prohibition much more reduction of price necessary to prevent comprehensive at the time than the such import.

one it had destroyed touching shipWe have now pointed out how far ping. America has since offered to the two systems really and in effect remove the reason on which it did differ on most material points, in so this, but nevertheless the prohibition far as the home trade is concerned; continues. This prohibition is flatly and we will now shew how far they opposed to the principles on which the differ in regard to the colonial trade. new system was founded; it consti.

The old colonial system compelled tutes a direct abandonment of them the colonies generally to buy of the on the part of Mr Huskisson and his mother country such manufactures friends. and produce as she could supply them Now, what is in reality the free with. This compulsion was relaxed trade which the new system has estain the special case; and it permitted blished in the colonies ? It has in them to obtain through her from fo- some things substituted prohibitory reign countries any commodities which duties for absolute prohibition; in she did not produce. It confined the others it has substituted one absolute carrying in the colonial trade to Bri. prohibition for another; in some cases tish ships, save in special cases. Its it has permitted the colonies to buy object was, to give to the capital and directly of foreign nations instead of industry of the community the same buying of them through the medium monopoly of the colonial market which of the mother country; and in others it gave them of the home one. it has permitted them to buy of fo

The new colonial system, at its birth, reign nations what the mother coun. professed to open the colonial market try could supply them with. In so to the manufactures and produce of far as it differs from the old system in all nations, at moderate and not pro- principle, it has done injury to both hibitory duties; and likewise to the the colonies and the mother country. ships of all nations, on condition of To enable our readers to judge correciprocity. With regard to foreign rectly of the scandalous injustice of the manufactures and produce, this system new system, and of the ridiculous has naturally had the most partial boasting of Mr Huskisson and Mr operation. Some kinds are as effec- Grant, we will here give a summary tually excluded by its duties as they to shew how far the difference between were by the old prohibition; and other the old system and the new one exkinds are admitted, to the exclusion of tends, touching various articles of trade British manufactures and produce. It and manufacture. We shall of course thus operates in the most unjust man- describe the new one as it was left by ner to the community at home. From these individuals.

In cotton wool, the two systems are reduced the duties on rum and British the same.

spirits, and it has thereby made the Indigo. The old system imposed on duty on Brandy and Geneva practie it a duty of 5d. per lb.; the new one cally more restrictive than it was unsubjects it to a duty of 3d. when it is der the old system. the produce of British possessions, and Tobacco. "The old system imposed of 4d. when it is that of other parts. a duty on American tobacco, which is Now what has this change accom- the kind chiefly used in this country, plished here? In 1824, before it was of 4s. per lb.; the new one has redu. made, the entry of indigo for home ced this duty to 3s. The reduction consumption was 2,494,655 lbs. Since was confessedly made by mistake and the change, this entry was, in 1926, unintentionally. The duty is one of 1,902,820 lbs., and in 1827, 2,412,202 revenue. The new system has made lbs. Our readers will see that this some unimportant reductions in the change does not differ in the least duty on tobacco of Spain and Portufrom the old system in principle. gal, and on manufactured tobacco and

Flax. The old system imposed on it segars. a duty of 5d. per cwt.; the new one Timber. The two systems are the subjects it to one of 2d. per cwt. In same, unless this be an exception :practical effect, the difference is not few years ago an alteration was made worth notice; in principle there is in the duties, which was intended to none; the old duty was one of reve- benefit foreign timber, at the expense nue; the new one is the same.

of that of British colonies. Hemp. The old system imposed a Currants and raisins. The two bygduty on hemp produced in British tems are the same. colonies of 8s. per cwt. ; the new one Rape, linseed, and other oil cakes. admits it duty-free: the old system They are the same. subjected the hemp of foreign coun- Seeds. In clover and some other tries to a duty of 98. ed. per cwt.; seeds they are the same. The new the new one subjects it to a duty of system reduces the duty on flax and 4s. 8d. per cwt. This reduction is linseed from 3s. 4d. to 1s. per quarter. merely one of revenue duty, and what The greatest difference is in rape seed. are its effects? Before the change in The old system imposed a duty on it 1824 the entry of hemp for home con- of L. 10 per last; the new one reduces sumption, was-589,690 cwts. Since this duty to 10s. the change, this entry was in 1826– Skins. In various kinds the two 509,059 cwts.; and in 1827-508,848 systems are the same; in some the cwts. According to one of the Par- new one reduces the duties. liamentary papers, the entry of hemp Turpentines. The two systems are for home consumption was in 1790– the same. 564,933 cwts. ; while in 1826 it was Wines. The new system in them only 485,502 cwts. We have here has merely reduced a revenue duty. some evidence of the pernicious ef- Oils. In Palm oil they are the same; fects of the new system on shippingthe new system has reduced the duty and in admitting foreign cordage, &c. on olive oil from L.18, 15s. 1d. per into the colonies.

tun, to L.8, 8s. Tea. The two systems are the same. Pearl and pot ashes. The new sys

Sugar. They are the same, with tem takes off a duty of 1s. 8d. per cwt. this exception :-the new system ad- from those imported from British comits Mauritius sugar at å duty of lonies, and admits them duty-free; 27s. per cwt., instead of one of 375. it reduces the duty on those from other Here is not the least difference of parts, from 11s. 2d. to 6s. per cwt. principle. The old system prohibited Barilla. The two systems are the the import of foreign sugar for home same. consumption; the new one continues What we have thus stated touching the prohibition.

some of the most important articles of Coffee. The new system has redu- commerce, is in general equally appliced the duty, which was, in regard to cable to the minor articles. In some our own colonies, entirely one of re- of these the two systems are precisely venue.

the same; in others, the new system Brandy aud Geneva. The two sys- reduces in an unimportant degrée dutems are the same. The new one has ties of revenue, and a decrease, ratha than an increase of importation fol. 20 per cent; the effect is nothing ; lows. In some cases such an increase none were imported under the old of importation follows, as might have system, and none are now imported. been expected had no change taken Paper. The new system reduces the place. Speaking generally, the reduc- duty on brown paper from 10d. to 3d. tions are made on duties which were per lb. ; this has nad no effect, for none never intended to be restrictive or pro- is imported. It has reduced the duty hibitory, and which were imposed on paper for hangings from Is. 7d. to solely for the sake of revenue.

ls, per square yard. This has followThis applies chiefly to such articles ed :--In 1821-14,917 square yards as are either not produced in the were imported under the old system ; United Kingdom, or are not produced and in 1827—32,360 were imported. in it to any material extent. We will under the new one. now turn to articles which rank amidst Musical instruments. The new sysits important productions, and of which tem reduces the duty on them from it only needs to import what will ena- 50 to 20 per cent. În 1824, the old ble its own production of them to meet system admitted them to the declared consumption.

value of L.2576; and in 1827 the Tallow. The two systems are the new one admitted them to that of same.

L.5226. Butter and cheese. They are the Japanned Ware. The new system game.

has reduced the duty from 624 to 20 Eggs. They are the same. per cent. The change is a nominal

Hides, untanned. In regard to fo- one, as none is imported. reign ones, they are the same; the Wax and tallow candles. The sysnew one makes a trifling reduction of tems are the same. duty in favour of such as are the pro- Cordage. The new system has reduce of British colonial possessions. duced the duty from L.1, Is. 60. to The falling off in the consumption of 10s. 9d. per cwt. The import in 1824 hides deserves remark. In 1824 the was 1380 cwt. ; and in 1827 it was entry for home consumption was 2271 cwt. By the new Customs' bill 271,032 cwt. ; in 1826 it was 166,989 just passed, British ships are to be owts. ; and in 1827 it was 170,027 allowed to supply themselves with cwt.

cordage and sails in foreign countries, Bacon and hams. The new system for which no duty is to be charged so reduces the duty from L.2, 16s. to long as they remain in the use of the L.1, 88. per cwt.

vessels. We imagine from this, that Apples. The two systems are the our ships will now be supplied by fosame,

reign countries to a considerable exSheep's wool. The old system in tent with duty-free cordage and sails. general admitted it duty-free. A few One pernicious measure thus leads to years ago a duty of 6d. per lb. was im- another. To relieve the distress of the posed on its which is now reduced to shipowners, the manufacturers of cordid. and £d. per lb.

age and sails are to have their trade Horses. The old system imposed taken from them. on them a duty of L.6, 135. each ;

the

Copper. The new system has renew one reduces the duty to L.1. duced the duties to about one-half;

Hops. The systems are the same. and this has had no effect worthy of

We will now turn to manufactured notice on imports. articles, which the United Kingdom Straw-hats. The systems are the can produce in greater abundance than same. it can consume, when it can find a Glass. The new system has redumarket for them. We have already ced the duties, without producing any stated, that in regard to effects, there material change in the trifling import. is no difference worthy of notice be- Books. The old system imposed on tween the two systems in regard to them a duty of L.6, 10s. per cent, if cottons, woollens, hardware, and lie bound or half-bound, and of L.5, if nens.

unbound; the new one subjects them Soap. The two systems are the to a duty of L.5 per cent, bound or same.

unbound, if printed since 1801. The Manufactures of pewter. The new import has diminished under the new system reduces the duty from 50 to system.

« PreviousContinue »