Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

but I shall have less money to expend in other tilings, and those other things must consequently fall in price. I shall have less money to pay to my draper, tailor,

shoemaker, to my brewer, and all those

who furnish me with the comforts of iife. Now, Mr. Farmer, these good people are all your customers, as well as 1 am, and in proportion to the increase in your charge to me, you lessen their means of purchasing from you. They of course will eat less, and you will be at last obliged to come down to the means which the consumer has of paying you for your produce. If you cannot ailord to pay your rent and taxes, without raising your prices, I am sorry for you; for you really cannot get more money from us than we have; if you get more from one, you will have less from another; so that at last it will be the same.” I will not say, that such reasoning would convince the farmer; but I will assert, that such would be the effect of any demand for higher prices, if the quantities of goods and money continued the same. The farmer, however, has the tar to pay; that is imperative upon him ; there is no bargain in that business; the Government will be paid, or they will seize. What is to be done 2 The farmer cannot obtain higher prices, because money, which measures the price of every thing, has not increased; he must, therefore, pay a smaller rent to the owner of the farm. Disguise it as we may, it is the owner—the rson in the receipt of the revenue which is left, after paying for the labour expended! It is the proprictor of property that really pays all the taxes; and every tax laid on the cultivator of the soil, or on the roduce, is deducted at last from the rent. his, certainly, docs not take place where leases are held; because here is a positive engagement to pay a stipulated sum, which may not be altered in consequence of a heavy tax; when the farmer, having to pay all the rent which the land will fairly afford, after supporting himself and family, and in addition, a tax to the Government not contemplated when he made his lease, he may be ruined: for observe, if by increased exertion he should produce more food, this only makes it cheaper, and will not enable him to pay the additional demand with greater ease.—We know well, that if the farmer be ruined under such circumstances, the owner of the property will also be injured ; his land will be ex

hausted; and, being liable to the payment of

a tax, will not let for the sum it did formerly. The farmer will, at last, pay a part of his rent to Government, and the remainder to the owner of the land. The same takes place with the owners of houses: if a house be liable to the payment of a tax, it will bring less rent. This will appear very evident if we imagine one house to be offered for 100/. a year, which is liable to the payment of 39/. in taxes; , and another equally good is offered for 150l. per year, but liable to no tax. , is it not evident, I say, that the owner is ulic loser i°recisely the same thing takes place with all property that yields a revenue to the proprietor; and how can the owners of property indemnify themselves. by high prices, if it were possible, which it is not, irom the limited ability of the other parts of the community, it would re-act upon themselves. If the farmer and land proprietor charged higher for their goods, they in their turn would be charged higher for every thing they had to purchase; so that at last they woodd have precisely the same quantity of clothing, furniture, and other means of enjoyment which they would have had, without any rise in price having taken place ; the ouly dimierence being, that there must be more money in. circulation; for without that a general rise in prices is impossible, supposing the various articics brought to market in the same quantities as before. Aithough I think that what has been said, is sufficient to shew, that taxes, without an increase in the money of the country, cannot rai.e prices, yet I will venture to risk the taking up of a little more room in your admirable REGISTER, by shewing the fallacy of the proof produced by you at page 717. You suppose a man cultivating his own farm of 100 acres, which yields him 300 quarters of wheat, at 4. per quarter, making an income from his farm of 1200s. per year; but his land is subject to a tax of 34, per acre, so that he pays to the Government 31 out of his 1200l. You go on to sup. pose, that if the tax were taken off, that he could afford to sell at 3!, per quarter, instead of 4/. It is true he could afford it, and he could now afford it at 31, if le were to make 6007. serve him instead of 900s. per year. But why should he sell his corn at less after the tax was taken off than he did before ? Do not owners of land always take as high a price for the produce as it will fetch in the market 2 Has

a land proprictor, such as Mr. Coke, any

[graphic][graphic]

thought of selling his wheat, or letting his land, at one half their present price, because he could afford to live at the rate of 9001 a year, as well as the owner and cultivator you have imagined Does not the owner, in fact, take, in the shape of rent, all, or nearly all, that the farmer has left, after supporting himself and paying the various expences attending cultivation, taxes, &c. 2 and does not the farmer always take as high a price as he can get for his food 2 You imagined that wheat was at 4!. a quarter instead of 3' on account of the tax: I should say, that the quantity of currency in the country had brought things general'y to certain prices, and

among other things, wheat, to the price of

4. a quarter. Wei, supposing the same money to continue in the country, would the farmer take 11. a quarter less because he could afford it’—is it iikely 2 Do you expect that he wood do it voluntarily ; and why should he be compelled by the consumer. Even supposing, for the sake of argument, that the farmer were to lower his price, the rest of the community would have one-fourth more money to expend on other things, which moist, of course, make other articles rise: and thus the fail in the price of food would cause other things to be dear, unless, indeed, we could in giac that a greater part of the morey of the people remained unoployed, and this less copic into the mar'.st. This would be equilto:aking, part of the currency out of circulation, which is certain'y a sufficient cause for low ring the prior. But again, the farmer and owner would have only the same men, y to lay out he had before the tax was taken of, and the rest of the people would have the 3' por acre, which formerly passed through the hands of the Government. Why should this be 2 Why should not the former charge as high prices as he did before, if others do not alter their prices 2 and how, how can prices be altered, if there be the same goods and the same quantity of money as before, seeing that in the nature of things one is the measure of the other. Increase the quantity of goods, whether food, clothing, or any other, or all saleable things, and let the money remain the same in quantity, and each particular quantity must fall in price, as the whole of the oods is equal to the whole of the money. hen a tax is laid on, the Government receives a part of the revenue arising from property (after supporting the labourer),

and as taxes are increased, Government comes in for a greater and a greater proportion; they may at last take nearly all, and make the owners mere funnels, as you strongly expressed it. But this has nothing to do with prices. Prices are determined by the proportion which exists between the saleable goods and the currency of a country. In the supposition of candles paying Gd. per pound duty, you say, that the duty being added to the original cost 6d. the candles are sold at 1s. per lb. It is here that nearly every one is misled by appearances—it is so obvious it strikes

so plainly the dullest mind, that taxes may

and do increase the prices of some things,

that they take it as a proof of taxes having

a power to produce that effect generally ;

whereas, if we suppose, before a tax were

laid on candles, and when they were sixpence a pound, that 100,000/. of the currency of the country was employed in the sale and purchase of candles, and after the tax, and the consequent rise to 1s. per lb. 200,000/. of the currency must be kept in

employment by them. Is it not clear, that there being less money left for the purchase of other articles, they must all fall in price equal to the rise in candles, thus establishing the equilibrium. Government may by a tax divert a larger proportion of the currency to one article, but it must be

taken from the other articles; if one be dearer, others must be cheaper—always supposing no additional currency thrown into circulation. 'The same reasoning applies to beer, to spirits, to salt, in fact, to overy thing : in vain might Government tax every articlo equally with a view to

raise prices—they would remain staturn

ary, there would not be money to pay all

increase in price—The real cause of the general rise in prices is to be found in the increase in the quantity of circulating money. This cause may be divided into two branches: the first, is the increase in the quantity, which naturally results from successful commerce. The second, from swelling up our currency by Threadneedle-street, and other substitutes for metallic money. With respect to the former cause, it has happened to us, in

common with other nations that have had

a conimerce, flourishing and highly profitable to those engaged in it; an accumulation of the precious metals has always been the consequence of prosperous trading, unless where they have been banished by similar means to those which we have used to send

Lotteries. The present time is peculiarly

arms out of the country, namely, making the currency overflow by an excessive issue of paper. Our Government may have had powerful reasons for issuing, or causing to be issued bank notes, such as lessening the value of what they had to pay to the stockholders; but the cause, the sole cause, in my opinion, of the general rise in prices, is to be found in the increase of the currency. —With respect to the late Corn Bill, I think it was intended to do good, and would have done good. But it certainly appeared to be doing much evil in giving an improper direction to the public mind; perhaps, taking all the circumstances attending it into consideration, 'tis better that it did not pass into a law. But if the people do not come to their senses, we shall, in a few years, become dependant upon other countries for a supply of food, in a much greater degree than we have yet been 5–and it is possible that a bad harvest may take place throughout the corn countries of Europe, when each country, to protect itself, will prohibit exportation; and where then will Friend Rose find cheap food for the poor 2 There is now time for considering and discussing the subject; and I should feel grateful for the insertion of those few hasty remarks in your Register: want of time will not permit me to take any pains in dressing theia to meet the public eye—I am, Sir, your constant reader and admirer, T. H. Sulford, June 22, 1314.

GAMINo.

MR. CoppETT. Termit one to express my thanks to you for the very just and striking views presented to the public in your last week's Register, on the immoral tendency of every species of gaming; and the pernicious effects of indulging children in habits of playing at cards, and other games of chance. The sentiments you have there expressed do equal honour to your understanding, and your benevolence; and I shall be much gratified if the same able pen would pourtray the direful effects of another species of gaming, which receives annually the sanction of the British Legislature: I mean the State

favourable for such a discussion; being now no longer engaged in a war for the support of our holy religion, we may surely disPense with a tax (although a voluntary one) which bears very heavily upon the

morals, as well as on the pockets, of many

* of our deluded fellow-countrymen.Amongst our mumerous moral writers, “I do not recollect much has been witten to discountenance so baneful a practice.— There is, however, one, whose sentiments very much ceincide with yours. He is a Clergyman of our Established Church; but he does not rank either with the orthodox or the evangelical. I will, with your permission, give you a quotation :“If we wish to encourage the free ex“pansion of the benevolent principle in “children, we ought never to put a card. “into their hands;–young people are “brought up, with the motion that card“ playing is a pretty innocent recreation. “They, therefore, at a very early period, “learn to associate the idea of gaming “with many ideas of pleasure; and not, “as they ought, with sensations of shame, “ of pain, and diappointment. I hardly “know any admonition which a palent “ought more assiduously to instil into his “child than this—that all gaming is a “species of robbery by delusion; tı at it “engenders food, and cnds in misery; “even the less species of gaming, which “are deemed so perfectly harmless, and so “micely adapted to fill up the yawning. “vacancies of situity; —even these lead “directly to a fatal depravation of the “ moral priat ole, by extinguishing the benevolent affections.----I never knew a “confirmed and habitual card-player, who “la not a colous and unseeling heart, , It is, indeed, impossible for any one song to retain the genial glow of one benevo. lent sympathy, who habitually associates, like the inveterate card-player, skiisations of thiumph and of pleasure, with the vexation and disappointment of others ;----even the least, and most innoxious species of gaming, have a fatal tendency to imbue, with the taste of Pleasure, the emotions of malevolence; and, indeed, we cannot long be partakers. in a single amusement, into which one drop of the spirit of garning has been infused, without its diminishing the power of that susceptibility of catching the sensations of others, and of mingling “ them with our own ; from which syn. “pathy flows, and by which benevolence “is excited----must not then the higher and more criminal species of gaming “tend, with a direct and accelerated in:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]

“gaming, rankling in the heart, and gra“dually, but rapidly, undermining all “within, infallibly create the cruel and “designing villain Does he not soon “learn to plunder the unwary without “shame, and even to triumph in propor“tion to the misery and indigence which “he produces? Hear this, ye heroes and “heroines of Faro. Would to God it “would raise one blush on your livid “cheeks, or one emotion of remorse in “ your callous hearts!!!”—I am, yours,

C. - F. R. June 22,4814. ''. - . - - Political. Occurrences. The ac

counts from Spain represent raatters there to be in a very unsettled state. Ferdinand, it is said, has issued a Decree for junishing those officers who served under K. Josepil. ... By this Decree (says the Courier) all military officers down to the rank of Captains, are banished for life, with their *ives and futilies; the wife during the life time of her husband, but the children under twenty-one years of age are not included.”—I can well understand how a wife might think it no punishment to be. come a partner in her husband's evole. But to indict a penalty on a child foe supposed crime of the parent, the more especially when that child has reached an age

which puts him beyond parental controul, l.

appears to me tile height of injustice. When to this, however, it is added, that “the same rule applies to such Captains as are supposed to have acted under the authority of their soft,” no language is sufficient to stigmatise the enormity. of such a Decree. There are many. who must have served involuntarily under the French, when King Joseph was in possession of Madrid, and who only waited for another order of things, to declare accordingly. Yet no exception is made in their favour, though they did declare the moment an opportunity offered. But the Decree does not stop here. “All Civil Authorities, from the Counsellor of State down to the Commissaries of war, partake of the same fate (with their fami. lics) as Military Officers holding rank

Civil Officers, who received salary under the Government of King Joseph, are de-, clared unworthy of holding any situation under the Crown.” . The Times writer says, that this Decree “is entitled to great commendation, as tempering justice with mercy '"—My persuasion is, that no such Decree exists; for instead of discovering either justice or mercy is it, I do not think that the most tyrannical despot that everexisted, even aided by all the coldblooded advice which this writer is in the £aily practice of giving to Sovereigns, "could hive framed an edict so hostile te the principles of justice and mercy.

The advocates of war are still eager to promote a traffic by which they have been so greatly enriched. They seize with avidity every circumstance which they think has a warlike appearance, and put it forth to the public with a degree of anxiety which at once discovers their motives and their views. In the Courier of last night a striking instance of this sort of feeling was given.—It appears that, owing to the necessary arrangements not having been completed for the evacuation of the city of Mentz by the allied troops, that garrison is still occupied by a body of Austrians and Prussians. This circumstance has, in consequence, been converted into a proof, that neither of these Powers are willing to give up the place; and the

Courier was at no loss to present its readers with a private letter, said to have

been received from Paris, confirming this fact, and stating, “ that an immediate rupture between Austria and Prussia is apprehended.”—That these Pöwers, and probably Russia also, may quarrel about the arrangement of the territory falling to each in consequence of the peace appears very probable. But this does not appear to me the moment for this, because the final occupation of these territories remains to be settled at the ensuing Congress; and because I do not think that either of the Allied Sovereigns will again rashly involve themselves in a war, until they have, in some measure, recovered the strength which they lost in the late tedious

above that of a Captain; and all other

Printed and Published by J.

and exhausting contest.

MORTON, No. 94, Straud.

« ZurückWeiter »