Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
[blocks in formation]

resoecting Ireland, in order that the capability of that country to promote the views of Buonaparté may be clearly understood. It is a conjunon error among the people of this country to think, that Ireland is not larger than Yorkshire; and that the people of it are not more numerous than the inhabitants of Manchester or Birmingham; and under this false conception of the extent and population of Ireland, a notion is too generally indulged in, that let what wiłł happen in Ireland, an English army is all that can ever be necessary to put down rebellion, or successfolly to resist invasion. Now, Sir, if you will take the trouble of looking into the apdendix to Mr. Young's Tour in Ireland, the English edition, you will find that England and Wales contain 42 millions of acres, statute measure, and that Ireland contains 25 millions of acres of the same measure, and with this information you will be able to

form a tolerably accurate idea of the extent.

of Ireland, if you take a map of England, and draw a line through Holy had and ondon; for the portion of England and Wales lying to the southward of such a line, will be nearly equal in extent to that of Ireland. You will also be assisted in acquiring a cor. rect notion of the length and breadth of Ire. land if you will measure the distance from the Land's-end to York, which will give you the distance from the Giants' Causeway to Cape Clear ; and if you will measure the distance from Yarmouth to Liverpool, which will give you the breadth of Ireland, between the Hill of Howth and Slince Head, in the county of Galway. As to the population of Ireland, it is computed, by Mr. Chaliners, to have been greater than 4 millions in 1788, and by Mr. Newenham to be greater than 5 millious in 1803. Many very intelligent persons consider it to be, at the

present time, beyond 6 millions, ground

ing their opinions upon the cheapness aud salubrity of potatoe diet, and the great facility with which every man in Ireland ob. tains a lease of a few acres of land. Now, Sir, the population of England and Wales being little more than 9 millions, it will ap

[ocr errors]

pear then that Ireland is not only larger than one half of England and Wales, but has a population exceeding, in number, one half of the population of England and Wales. Conceive, then, a country of so large an extent, and so populous, and the people of it so much attached to France, and distant only a few miles from our shores, once under the rule of Buonapartô, and contemplate the consequences !!! This is the true way of considering what Ireland now is; what Ireland would be if justly treated by England; and what Ireland will be if once possessed by France: A country in extent, population, trade and revenue, far beyond several independant kingdoms and principalities of Europe; not incapable of being herself an independent nation from ar

[blocks in formation]

only to have an opportunity of feeling sentiments of gratitude for favours, which oughtto be conferred, and to afford all the advantages of her population in warding off the imminent dangers which now threaten England; but alive to injury and insult, and not averse to a connection with France, ir her connection with England should prove merely a nominal and barren boon. If this country was but a few weeks under the government of Buonaparté's marshalls, de-, pend upon it, Sir, the fate of England would be decided. England would have at once to be prepared against invasions from the coast of Denmark, Holland, France, Portugal, Spain, and sreland. The numbers of troops that night be collected in either country would be so great, that it would be in practicable for the fleets and armies of England to prevent them from making good a landing; and even a landing of a small portion of troops would go a great way in securing conquest, notwithstanding the numbers and valour of the volunteers, and the inestimable blessings of the modern British constitution in church and state ; for, what would become of the trade of England without a circulating medium, and of the revenue of England without trade? And what would England be if her revenue failed, but a bankrupt ** and conquered. But if these events were not immediately to follow an invasion, what hopes can be entertained that the contest would terminate in favour of England 2 The points of the coast which would be exposed to attack would be so mumerous, and the opportunities of attacking so frequent, that the army and spirit of England must in the end be worn out and overcome. Peace with France would be the only resource, and that upon Buonaparté’s own terms. It would be made, and when time would have afforded an opportunity for reflection, it would then be deplored, that the value of Ireland had not been better understood, and the dictates of justice and sound policy listened to in time. It is really lamentable to reflect upon that blind policy which leaves Ireland exposed to conquest, when the operation by which she could be secured, and England placed in a state to defy France, is so simple and obvious. What do we want but the hearts of the people of Ireland to be with us, or on what can Buo

naparté build his hopes of conquest, but up

on our own folly in alienating them But, Sir, the peculiar danger to which this country would be exposed in consequence of Ireland being conquered, does not consist in the additions which Buonaparté would be able to make to his armies, but in the opportunity which he would acquire of sending his armies through Ireland into England and Wales. That he would be able to send his troops to Ireland in defiance of the fleets of England, is proved by the numerons instan. ces which have occurred of late years, of his ships having been able to go to the West Indies, to Egypt, and to Ireland without molestation. That he would be able to trans

ort his troops with safety from Ireland to £o is evident, from the short distance between the respective coasts, and from the known fact, that no ships can keep at sea in St. George's Channel in tempestuous weather; much less men of war and fligates, for which there is no port between Milford Haven and Scotland. The passage from Dublin to Holyhead has been fiequently made in row boats. The fishing boats on the eastern coast of Ireland are alone sufficient in number to convey a very large body troops; but if these were not sufficient for his purpose, the fishing boats and small craft on the west, and some shore, boats might easily be collected in the several harbours between Cork and Waterford, and would afford the means of transporting an immense army. Yet, notwithstanding all this, are we doing everything that lies in our power to promote Buonaparté's views in obtaining Possession of Ireland, Bigoted and infatu

ated nation, to see more dangers in the crucifix of an old man, called the Pope, than in the sword of Buonaparté: To be occupied in dreaming about your church being attacked by visionary armies of monks and friars; whilst your very existence as a nation is tottering before the threatened assault of your known and inveterate enemy' “ Quen deus vult perdere prius dementat." But, God grant that the darkness which has obscured your intellects may yet fleet away, before more is done towards the completion of the decline and fall of the British empire! —I am, &c.—MENToR.—Oct. 30.

SPEN CE on COMIM ERCn.

SIR ; The extract from Mr. Spence's pamphlet on Commerce, inserted in the last number of your Register, and there earnestly recommended to the attention of your readers, I have reflected upon with all that consideration which I am always disposed to bestow upon every work that has obtained the applause of one possessing so sound a judgment as yourself. It is impossible for me, however, to acquiesce in the proposition which it is the object of that extract to substantiate ; that “all the wealth of a nation is created by agriculture, none by manufactures;” and, I shall, therefore, take the liberty of offering a few observations tipon the subject. In order to be as brief as possible, I proceed at once to the example which Mr. Spence has adduced in the way of demonstration. “If a coachmaker were to em“ ploy so many men for half a year in the building of a coach, as that for their subsistence during that time he had advanced 50 quarters of corn; and if we suppose he sold this coach to a land proprietor for 00 quarters of corn, it is evident, that the coachmaker would be ten quarters of corn richer, than if he had sold it for 50 quarters, its original cost. But it is equally clear, that the land proprietor would be ten quarters of corn poorer than if he had bought his coach at its prime cost.” That a land proprietor who purchases for 60 quarters of corn a coach, the prime cost of which was 50 quarters only, would after such purchase be ten quarters of corn poorer, than if he had bought it at the prime cost; and that the coachmaker would be ten quarters of corn richer, than if he had sold the coach at such original cost, are propositions too grossly plain and self-evident, to be in any danger of being controverted . But, it is not quite so apparent, that they afford the slightest countenance to the doctrine, that “manufactures are no source at all of no“tional wealth.” The deduction however,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

;611 which Mr. Spence draws from them is, that “ a transfer, not a creation of wealth, has * taken place; whatever one gains the “ other loses, and the national wealth is “just the same.” Now, most certainly no creation of wealth hath arisen from the mere erchange or act of bartering the corn for the coach; for the best of all possible reasons, that the coach as well as the corn formed a part of that wealth, previously to any such exchange or transfer having taken place. Most certainly also, the coachoaker would gain the corn and lose the coach ; whilst, on the other hand, the land proprietor would gain the coach and lose the corn by such a barter | But the misfortune is, that this deduction of Mr. Spence's does not, as it seems to me, comprehend the only point at issue, the only true question being whether BY THE MANUFACTURE of such a coach, no greater addition was made to the stock of wealth, than if it had not teen manufactured at all? Mr. Spence's supposition seems to be, that inasmuch as the coachmaker receives for that coach an equal value in corn, by which he rennburses himself for the food advanced to the journeymen manufacturers and consumed by himself and family, during the period that the coach was building; therefore, it would be a mere transmutation of food, a wealth of a perishable nature, into a manufacture which constitutes a wealth more durable. And, that in consequence, “no wealth could “ with truth be said to have been trous ht into existence by the manufacturer.” But,

how happened it that Mr. Spence overlooked

the consideration, that the master and journeymen manufacturers, if they had not been employed in building the coach, must notwithstanding have eaten, and would, in point of fact, have consumed the same quantity of food Had not the coachmaker by the industry of himself and servants, erected the coach for the land proprietor, one of these two events would have taken place—either the land proprietor's 60 quarters of corn

would have passed into the bellies of those

[blocks in formation]

NOVEMLBER 14, 1807–Spence on Commerce. | dition

[762 to his wealth in the 60 quarters of corn, because, however plausible such an argument as between two individuals may to some persons appear, it will, I think, be seen from what I shall presently submit, that upon the more enlarged scale of the dealings of a nation, such an argument will not be thought by any person to hold good. Let me assume (for argument's sake) the population of a country to comprise one hun-, dred thousand persons, consisting in part of persons employed in agriculture, and in part of persons not so employed. Either the produce of the land would be more than sufficient to supply with food the whole of such population; or, would fall short of yielding an adequate supply; or, the produce of the land and the consumption of that population would be nearly equal. . In the case first supposed—if there were a yearly superabundance—it is manifest, that it had better be exported in exchange for specie, or some foreign articles of use or convenience, than that it should remain in the country to perish ; and it is equally manifest, that by such an accession of specie or foreign articles, the wealth of the country would be increased.— In the second case supposed—if there

[ocr errors]

corn at home—then it would obviously be good policy to promote as much as possible the fabrication of manufactures, and the importation of grain, or of specie wherewith to buy grain of other nations, in exchange for such manufactures. Hm the third case supposed, that is, taking the produce of the land to be just sufficient for the consumption of the people, without any deficiency or redundance—then, inastnuch as there would be a considerable portion of the community not occupied in agricultural concerns, but who nevertheless, naust subsist upon the produce of the land, it can surely require no arguments to prove, that it is more fitting that they should be employed in the manufacture of useful articles, than live like so many idle drones. And to me it does seem obvious, that by such their manufactures they make an addition to the stock of individual, and consequently of national wealth, seeing that but for such

manufactures the yearly produce of the land

[blocks in formation]

sale of them to foreign nations for gold (which gold, Mr. Spence assures as, is undoubtedly wealth), or in exchange for necessaries, as tallow and barilla, for example, wherewith to make soap, who, I ask, will be bold enough to assert, that no addition would, by such manufacturer, be made to national wealth Aye, will Mr. S. perhaps exclaim, but in the case of the tallow and barilla, at least,-as, when the soap comes to be sold to the land proprietor, there will be given its value in corn for it, there is only a little more complexity in the case, and it will eventually turn out to be the same thing, as far as national wealth is concerned, as if the manufactures so exported had been sold to the proprietor of land for corn in the first instance. Now, Sir, I deny that the consequences would be the same ; for, let it be remembered, that we are now speaking of articles of manufacture, for which, the land proprietor being already supplied, he has not the least occasion ; and he would not have the useful article of soap at all, in exchange for a part of his corn, but for the industry and enterprize of the manufacturer, who exported his manufactures in exchange for the tallow and barilla-—Then, Sir, as to the point, whether any addition would be made by such manufacture and traffic to the wealth of the nation :-and it does appear to me to be indisputable, that the national wealth would thereby be increased to the

full amount of the value of the tallow and barilla; for the owner of those raw articles

is the manufacturer, who has already ob. tained from the land proprietor, in exchange for certain articles sold to him, sufficient grain for the subsistence of himself and journeymen; so that, the produce of the 3. in exchange for those raw materials, would be to him of no service: and such manufacturer would therefore receive from the soapmaker, for his tallow and barilla, either gold or silver, or some other kind of durable wealth ; thereby adding to his own individual wealth, and, by consequence, to the wealth of that nation, of whose population he makes one.—It may be admitted, that the soapmaker will receive from the land proprietor corn in exchange for his soap, but then there will not be required, for the subsistence of the soap-maker and his servants, so much corn as will amount in value to the full value of the soap ; for, even supposing him to make no profit by the sale of the soap, yet he must at least reimburse himself the price paid for the raw material, in order to reinstate his capital by taking in exchange for some part of his soap something very different from food.—Mr.

Spence then comes to the consideration of , the subject—Johether the employment of a circulating medium affects the creation of notional trealth. “The circulating medium of “ civilised nations,” he observes, “is either gold and silver, or paper. Gold AND SILv ER ARE UNDou BTEDLY wealth, yet they “ are but a small portion of what has properly “ a claim to that title; and a nation which has ABUNDANCE of Gold ANd silver, is in fact not richer than if it had NoNe." —Really, Mr. Cobbett, it would be doing your readers a great kindness to explain this (to me inexplicable) paradox You see, Sir, the gentleman tells us, that “gold and “ silver are undoubtedly wealth ;” but, only two lines below, asserts, that “a na“ tion which has abundance of this same ‘gold and silver is Not Richer than if it “ had none !” That is to say: “a nation which is wealthy is not richer than if it had no wealth at all !” I would not complain of this most palpable contradiction, did it not prevent me from understanding what the meaning of Mr. Spence is, and thereby deprive me of the pleasure I should otherwise feel in grappling with his reasoning. “ The nation has,” Mr. Spence says, “paid an equal value of some other wealth “ for this gold and silver;” and therefore it is, I suppose, that Mr. Spence concludes, that from the presence of such gold and silver the nation is not richer. Why, yes, Mr. Spence, there is certainly something in your observation. Thus, in the case which I sup: posed above, the manufacturers received for the supernumerary articles which they exported, gold and silver; but yet, perhaps, the nation was not richer after the exchange than it was after such articles were made, and before they were exported. But pray, Mr. Spence, recollect, that your argument against manufactures and commerce goes this length —that neither by the manufac. tures exported, nor by the specie taken in exchange for them, was any addition made to the national wealth s-You, Mr. Spence, tell us, that “there is no good reason why “ the nation should be desirous of having gold and silver, rather than any other species of wealth: for (say you) the only superiority in value which the precious metals possess over other products of the labour of man, is their fitness for be: ing the instruments of circulation and exchange.” But, Sir, give me leave to ask you, does not that very superiority coll: situte a coop. REAsos why the nation should give the preference to gold and silver ? The land, we will suppose, owing to an unfavourable harvest, has not yielded its usual,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and the expected quantity of good grain, but, if we possess an abundance of that universal medium, gold and silver, we shall be enabled to provide against the scarcity, by purchasing and importing corn from foreign countries. Is there not then, good Mr. Spence, a good reason why we should give preference to gold and silver ? But, according to that gentleman, the necessity of having gold or silver as instruments of circulation and exchange, no longer exists. Expe-, “rience,” he observes, “ has in modern “ times, evinced that paper or the promis“sory notes of men of undoubted propersy, “form a circulating medium fully as useful “ and much less expensive.” Now, there is no doubt but that the paper of individuals answers the purpose of specie within the limited circle, where the responsibility and the probity of those individuals are known ; but who, besides Mr. Spence, would rank such paper as equal in convenience to gold and silver, which is current not solely within a limited circle, nor throughout the nation at large merely, but which constitutes the universal circulating medium of all civilized nations 2—I now take my leave of Mr. Spence's observations on Commerce; at least for the present, still retaining the same opinion which I entertained before I perused those observations ; that is, that the inherent wealth of every nation consists in the land, the TRADE, and the industry of the people.

Were the system, for which Mr. Spence is

so strenuous an advocate to be adopted, the land-proprietors would be rendered complete bashaws, and the population of the country absoletely dependant upon them. Then, should we in our days, see wat our ancestors of old saw—the main lody of the people were vassals to the great land-holders, and our country again over run and devastated by hordes from the more populous nations.—Only destroy the commerce of the country, which is the nursery for our segroen, and you at the same time I, Estroy The NAvy of the couxTRY. Then will you see the country sacked by Bonaparte and his hosts of Myrmidons ! Then would the old Roast Beef song not alone sink into contempt; but you might with equal justice

jeer at and deride the national song of Rule

Britannia . 1–This Mr. Spence is, I warraut him, a staunch stickler for “the Dominion of the Seas,” and with most admirable consistency no doubt inveighs at the same time against contuerce, although it is to that very commerce that we are indebted for The Means of secuRING THAT doMINIoN : I too (as I believe you know Mr. Cobbett), am a zealous friend to our supporting the

noMINIon of the sr. As ; but I should deem

myself guilty of the most glaring contradiction, if I were not at the same time a friend to our manufactures and commerce, for, if I ever thought that, abstractedly considered, those manufactures and that commerce were rather prejudicial than of benefit to the country, still should I think it wise to cultivate rather than check their growth, being firmly convinced, that our naval greatness is inseparable from our commerce, and conse-quently, that that commerce is of vital, IM PortANce to the country.—I am, Sir, yours, W. H. WROC. New Square, Lincoln’s-Inn, Nov. 10th, 1807. SINK1 NG FUND. SIR ; —Although your correspondent C. S. has proved to your satisfaction, that payment of the nation's debts by means of the sinking fund, must increase the taxes, depreciate money, raise the price current, and ruin us all, sevenfold ; I venture to suggest a doubt, that C. S.'s conclusions are not quite certain. C. S. (see Pol. Reg. Vol. xii. p. 445) states as the grounds of his argument, “ 1st. That agriculture and manu“ factures have found their limit, or are in“ capable of extension. 2d. That the pre“ sent capital in trade amounts to 100 mil“ lions. 3d. That the funded debt amounts “ to GOO millions.” These three premises granted, he concludes that, “ if the said * funded debt of 000 millions be discharged “ by means of the sinking fund, then the “ capital in trade will be increased to 700 “ millions; the depreciation of money will “ be in the proportion of seven to one “ of its present value, and the effects “ will be, &c. &c.”—— Sir, for the present I only venture to doubt, because, if one million be drawn out of the circulating capital of 100 millions, that capital is thereby reduced to 90; and if-the sinking fund applies the said one million in discharge of so much of the debt of 600 millions, then is the debt reduced to 599, and the one million returned into the circulating capital which had been reduced by means of the tax to 99. Of course, it (the circulating capital) is restored to its previous total of 100 millions; but, I doubt if it be thereby encreased, or money thereby depreciated. Repeat the operation, draw one again out of the circulating capital so restored to its total, with that one so drawn out, pay off one more of the debt of 599 millions, then is the debt reduced to 598; the one million returned again to circulation, the circulating capital again complete, but not encreased. Had I the advantages of a Scotch education, I could

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »