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MR JACOB'S REPORT ON THE CORN TRADE OF NORTHERN EUROPE. WHATEVER difference of opinion fied than ever, that, even with the may exist as to the policy of our utmost liberty of importation, it is Corn Laws, it was desirable by all impossible for this country to obtain parties to have a correct and authen- large and steady supplies of foreign tic statement of facts relative to the corn at a price much lower than condition of those countries from what we pay at this moment for corn which the chief supplies upust come, of home-growth. To these concluon the supposition that our ports sions, it is apprehended, that every were wholly or partially opened to person must come who takes the the importation of foreign corn. trouble of perusing this invaluable With this view, Mr Jacob was sent Report. According to the scale of by Government, in the course of last ruinously-low prices of corn which year, to collect accurate informa- now prevail among the northern nation in Poland and Prussia, and in tions, there would, no doubt, be a the adjoining countries, for the pur- great hazard in admitting the quanpose of enabling Administration to tity there to be found without a duty judge of the condition of these coun- into our market; and it would be tries in reference to their supplies the height of injustice to those perof corn, and the effects likely to be sons who had invested large sums of produced in our own market, if our capital in agricultural operations, to Corn Laws were repealed or modic destroy, by an immediate retrograde fied. The information which Mr system of legislation, the whole of Jacob has brought home is varied, that capital which had been laid out curious, and in a high degree valu- on inferior soils. We are satisfied, able. It will tend to dispel the cal therefore, that Ministry have acted culations of ignorance and imperfect most fairly, under existing circuminformation relative to these grana stances, both to the land-owners in ries of Europe which he visited, and, this country, to the merchants who if we do not grievously mistake, it hold foreign corn, and the commuwill change the opinion of the majo- nity at large, when they have carrity of that class in our country, who ried through a measure for the readhere, with such determined obsti. lease of bonded corn at a fixed duty nacy, as was evinced lately in l'arlia- of 12s. a quarter, and obtained the ment, to a system of Corn Laws leave of Parliament to permit, conwhich seem devised to enrich one ditionally, a considerable additional small portion of the country name- quantity of foreign corn to be imly, the land owners, and to impovere ported into the country during the ish, to brutify, and to starve all the recess. This, we are satisfied, was a other classes in the community. It wise suspension of the present syswill be found, from this Report, that tem of Corn Laws,-a suspension the corn-growing terrorists in this called for, both by the unhappy country need be under no apprehen- state in which the manufactusion that they will be driven from ring part of the population are now the market, and reduced to ruin. It placed, and by the probability of will be clearly seen, that even with its being of great use to cornthe present deplorably low prices of growers in this country themselves, corn in Poland and Prussia, we by keeping the market at a steady could not obtain wheat from thence rate. Still, however, we cannot shut at a lower price than from 45 to 48 our eyes to the fact, which daily exshillings a quarter, and that, on the perience is making plainer, that, with supposition that a regular demand prices of corn so fluctuating and so existed for a considerable quantity high as they frequently are in this of grain for this country, prices would country, we shall, ere long, see our rise so high abroad, that little, if any, dealers in manufactured produce unadvantage would arise to our corn dersold in the general markets of growers from an unrestricted impor the world. What is the chief eletation. On the other hand, our ma ment that forms our labourers? The nufacturers will now be more satis- answer undoubtedly must be-corn. The bones and muscles, which are duce of our manufactures, if we were by far the most important instrue disposed only to act on the liberal ments of our wealth, are chiefly pro- principles of reciprocity. duced and supported by corn; and We have every hope that another in proportion to the cost of these Session of Parliament will not pass necessary implements to the produc over without some decisive step being tion of wealth, the profits derived adopted to place the corn trade of the from their exertions must be greater country on the same footing with the or less, granting that the skill which rest of our commerce. We see the sets them in motion, and the mecha- best reason for imposing a duty ob nical appliances by which they are foreign corn for some time to come aided, are the same. Now, it is per- but the state of unrestricted freedom fectly plain, that not only the skill is that to which we should always of our manufacturers, but also the look forward as the only sound and adrnirable and powerful machinery permanent footing on which not only by which the labour of man is ren- the trade in corn, but every other dered so infinitely productive in this kind of trade ought to be placed. country, not only may be transferred, The absurd notion, supported by but actually are in course of being Malthus, and other theorists, as the transferred toother nations, by whom principal reason for restricting the they are even improved; and hence, corn trade, is, that, in case of war, we must either precede our neigh- our supplies might be entirely cut bours by many steps in the progress off, and chat hence we ought to redof invention, and in the improve- der ourselves independent of all other ment and adaptation of machinery, nations for the requisite quantities or be content to be driven from the of this prime necessary of life. Tbat general market, in consequence of this reason is nothing better than a the greater costliness of our produc- bugbear, set up to enlist the fears of tions, arising from the enhanced price the great mass of the community in of human food. To this consum- the same cause with the sordidly selmation we must arrive in spite of fish purposes of land-owners, might every restrictive law which we can be proved, if proof were necessary, devise for discouraging all manufac- by the fact, that, during the very tures except our own. Whenever hottest period of the last war, our foreign nations can furnish them- bitterest enemy granted innumerable selves and others with manufactures licenses to merchant ships to impor: cheaper and better than we can send into this country the agricultural to them, from that moment our sus produce of the continent. Is it likeperiority as a manufacturing nation ly that such a state of things will is gone. Whence, then, is the wealth again occur? And granting that it to be derived by which our corps should, the same wants and necessigrowers are to fill their pockets? ties which caused our most in veterWill the most bigotted and most ate foe to relax to such an extent obtuse among them presume to the fetters which a war almost unl. think, that, when our manufactu- versal had imposed on commerce, ring population is annihilated, the would again arise, to restore the same price as now will be obtained streams of supply and demand to for their corn, or that they will after their natural course. But in proporwards be able to export at as good tion as the relations of commerce are prices the surplus of their crops to extending every day, and even to reforeign manufacturing nations? No, gions where the researches of civilassuredly. In short, we hesitate notized man have never before penetrato concur with some of the most dis- ted, in the same proportion is the retinguished statesmen in both Houses currence of famine, or even of a de of Parliament, who offered their opi- ficient supply of provisions, rendered nions on the late discussion, that our more improbable. It is prored by present system of Corn Laws has all historical documents, from which the effect of a non-intercourse act even the most hard-hearted advocates with many nations to whom we could for establishing the plague of famine profitably dispose either of our manus in our land cannot withhold their factures or of our money, the pro- belief, that, when the hand of Nature distributes her annual benefits but means a profit of three per cent. on sparingly in one quarter of the world; the purchase of land, and five per the same hand comes loaded with cent. on the capital expended, withi beneficence in another quarter, as if a view to improve the land."--Good. she intended, by this very means of But let us see to what conclusion alternate plenty and deficiency in the this definition leads. Let us sup. various provinces of the globe, to pose that a capitalist has laid out a oblige her children to draw closer to sum on the purchase of land, -that, one another in the bonds of affec. before making the purchase, he has tion, by a more frequent interchange used his own best judgment, and has of mutual benefits. The sacrilegious had recourse to his friends for their laws of man are derised in mockery advice, and that he has acted all along of the splendid and abundant bless in making the purchase, on the supings of nature. The voice of nefa. position that he was to draw three rious human legislatures is raised to per cent. for his money, and yet menace the very power, and to laugh finds that he cannot draw above two at the beneficence of the Legislator per cent. by the most skilful and of heaven. Our Corn Laws inflict economical management; will it be the curse of barrenness, on the most inaintained that this man is to come fertile regions of the earth, and, what to the Legislature and say, I have is worse, they inflict the curse of fa- been disappointed of the profit which mine on those very men whose hap I expected to make of the land which piness the makers of these laws are I bought a few years ago? It is bound, by the most solemn obliga- your duty to make up my loss; the tions, to promote and secure.
calculations I have made are found Let it not be supposed that, be to be erroneous, you must therefore cause we speak warmly on this sub- lay a tax on the country, or, in other ject, we therefore speak unadvisedly. words, restrain or prohibit the imWe have endeavoured to pay some portation of corn at a cheaper rate attention to this great question, not than I can afford to sell it, with a only during its discussion in Parlia- profit of three per cent. on the origiment, but by studying various writ- nal purchase of the land. When ings, both of theoretical and practic the demands of the agriculturists are cal men; and the result of the whole stripped of all the roundabout phrases is, that whether our landholders are of “ remunerating price, protection willing to allow the price of corn, and to agriculture," &c. &c. they come other agricultural produce, to fall to exactly to the same thing as if a the level of the price among neigh dealer in wine, in sugar, or coffee, bouring nations or not, to this level had bought a large quantity of these it will-it must come, ere many years commodities, expecting a clear prohave gone over their heads. The fit of 10 per cent., and finding that monstrous absurdities which the he did not clear one half of this, landed interest (as it is called) pours were to apply to Parliament to make forth as to the necessity of their ob- up the deficiency of the profit upon taining a remunerating price for their which he had erroneously calculacorn, scarcely deserve an answer. ted. What is a remunerating price? The landed interest again claim Lord Milton defined it well in the protection, because they say they House of Commons, according to are more heavily tated than foreign the bright notions of the Sir Tho- corn-growers. The weight of tax. mas's and Sir Edward's of that House, ation is heavy or light, just in proto mean, “ high rents to landlords, portion to the abilities of the taxand high profits to tenants." Al payers to bear it; and we have the though this is the plain English of fact stated by Mr Jacob, that taxall the demands of the agricultural ation on the owners and occupiers of interest, yet their sense, thus express land in almost the whole of Poland ed, is too glaringly selfish to permit and Prussia, is relatively much higher it to pass sub silentio. It is accord. than it is in this country. It is a ingly denied, and the following defi- most severe burden in all cases, and, nition given by an organ of the land- in many, the wretched inhabitants are ed class :-" Remunerating price scarcely able to pay the public taxes,
setting the rent of the land-owner legislation adopted by the Parliament altogether out of view. What, then, of the country, and so vigorously, so becomes of the unfounded clamour successfully, and, we may well say, of our agriculturists about the bure triumphantly acted upon by the den of taxation, which falls exclu- members of the executive Governsively upon them? But the power ment. After all, however, the strong of that class of corn monopolists is, conviction which must exist in the we rejoice to think, rapidly decaying minds of these highly-gifted indiviin both Houses of Parliament. The duals, that they have faithfully distriumphant majorities, by which Mi. charged, and are continuing to disnisters carried their lately-proposed charge the duties of their offices with measures into effect, will, we trust, increasing benefit to their country, strengthen their bands in the good ought to be considered by thein as work of restoring to every class of their highest reward, and the chief the community the same freedom ground to persevere in the establishof purchasing whatever commodities ment of those salutary principles of they require at the cheapest and the commercial policy on which they best market; in short, that they will have almost uniformly acted hitherexert themselves to the utmost to to. We need not add, that we conlegislate for the nation, and not for sider the repeal of every restriction one small class of the people. Pare on the importation of foreign corn tial legislation has been the curse of and provisions to be one of those this country ; but we have every measures which ought never to be reason now to hope, that the diffu- lost sight of, but, on the contrary, sion of sound principles in Political brought about as -speedily as possiEconomy among the whole class of ble, with having a due regard, but no well-educated men in the upper more than a due regard, to interests ranks of life, and, above all, the which have sprung up during our elear views of national good, and the present most vicious system of Corn steady resolution entertained and Laws. acted upon by the department of the We fear that we have allowed Government which has the more these observations to run too far; immediate charge in matters of trade but we could not close this Number and navigation, will ensure this of our Magazine without recording country in future against the wild some of our opinions on the importprojects of monopolizing theorists, ant question to which Mr Jacob's whether their perverse and short report refers ; and our readers, we sighted principles are broached in re are sure, will excuse us for having ference to the agricultural, the coin- offered a few collateral remarks, sugmercial, the manufacturing, or naval gested by the subject immediately concerns of the country. Much has before us, but relating particularly already been done to break down to that great system of free commer. ancient prejudices, and to introduce cial intercourse throughout the world, enlightened measures; but it will which it has, of late, been the obstill require the greatest efforts of ject of some ill-informed (we shall our Cannings and our Huskissons, not exactly say ill-intentioned) writo give an entire defeat to the host ters to reprobate. It is our wish of advocates for ancient abuses : and to look at principles, and not at we farther think, that not only is men ; but whenever we find a class the tacit acquiescence of all the well. of principles which we cordially apinformed classes of society, in the prove, embraced by a class of men in measures followed out by these Mi- opposition to other classes, it is, we nisters, required, but that positive conceive, our duty to give those men acts, indicative of their satisfaction who adhere to the principles we apwith what is doing, should be ex- prove all the support in our power. pressed either in the form of resolu. Our efforts, we allow, may be weak tions at public meetings, or in such - wretchedly weak-compared with other form as may tend best to shew the mass of senile prejudices which the cordial welcome which the great we have ventured to encounter ; still, mass of the community has given to we have given the expression of our the new and enlightened system of good wishes to the cause which we conceive to be that of true liberality Vistula at Dantzic and Elbing are and sound policy, standing in diame very small. The cultivators of that trical opposition to the dogmatical corn, which is supplied to trade, are and superannuated theories, and per almost universally both owners and nicious actings, of those men, who, occupiers of the soil on which it grows, by a perversion of the principles of They cultivate it by the labour of common sense, as well as by a viola. their tenants or subjects, who raise tion of the rules of our language, sufficient for their own support, but call themselves “ The Practicals," have scarcely any surplus. The
Let us now attend more particu land-owners are almost universally larly to Mr Jacob. In compliance deeply in debt to the Jews, who are with the instructions which he re, the only capitalists in the country, ceived from the Committee of the and through whose means the whole Privy Council for Trade, he passed commerce of the interior of Poland through the Netherlands, the Prus is transacted. Of late years, the sian provinces on the Rhine, and the charges for warehousing, shipping, dominions of Saxony to Berlin, and freight, tolls, commission, and other from thence by Stettin to Dantzic. demands, have been so high in proFrom Dantziche travelled through the portion to the prices obtained at the kingdom of Poland, visiting Thorn, port of exit, that very small sums Warsaw, and Cracow, and deviating have gone into the pocket of the in several directions from the main land-holder, and where estates have road, he returned through Galicia, been mortgaged, the profits arising Moravia, Austria, Bavaria, and from the sale of corn have been geWurtemberg to Strasburgh, where nerally insufficient in amount to he entered France, and, by way of keep down the growing interest. Paris, reached England. His obser. There are two modes of conveying vations relate chiefly to the Prussian wheat to Dantzic by the Vistula. dominions, and to Poland; but a That which grows near the lower yariety of information is communi. parts of the river, comprehending cated with regard to the corn-trade Polish Prussia, and part of the proof the neighbouring countries. vince of Plock, and of Massovia, in . In the outset of his Report, he the kingdom of Poland, which is states, that he heard every where, generally of an inferior quality, is among land-owners, farmers, and conveyed in covered boats, with com-merchants, complaints of the shifting boards, which protect the distress in which they were in cargo from the rain, but not from volved ; and he expresses his opinion, pilfering. These vessels are long, that their complaints were far too and draw about fifteen inches of general to leave room for the suspi, water, and carry about 150 quarters cion that they were not founded on of wheat. They are not, however, the existing state of their respective so well calculated for the upper parts circumstances. The prices of pro- of the river. From Cracow, where duce of all kinds, he says, within the the Vistula first becomes navigable, last three or four years, wben com, to below the junction of the Bug pared with the period which had with that stream, the wheat is mostpreceded them, or, indeed, with any ly conveyed to Dantzic in open flats. past period in which prices are accu. These are constructed on the banks rately recorded, confirmed the con. in seasons of leisure, on spots far viction, that their complaints were from the ordinary reach of the water, justified by the losses they had sus- but which, when the rains of Autained.
tumn, or the melted snows of the It is in the southern provinces of Carpathian mountains in the spring, Poland, namely, Sandomir and Cra- fill and overflow the river, are easily cow, that the greatest quantity of floated. Barges of this description are the best wheat is grown. Scarcely about 75 feet long, and 20 broad, with any wheat is consumed in the coun- a depth of two feet and a half. They try, as the 'corn' used by the people are made of fir, put rudely together, is almost exclusively rye. The quan- and fastened with wooden treenails, tities expofted from Poland by other the corners dove-tailed, and secured channels than the mouths of the with slight iron clamps, the only