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no more benefit from them than England or France: about the middle of the eighteenth century Spain began to relax in her monopoly.
British colonies, unlike the Spanish, were chiefly formed by individuals who fled from religious persecution and civil tyranny. Except in their foreign trade, the English colonists were at liberty to manage their own affairs their own way. They had their assemblies of representatives, who claimed the sole right of imposing taxes, and controlling the executive power. The causes of their prosperity are obvious. They carried out with them all the arts and improvements of the mother country; habits of subordination; acquaintance with regular government, and a code of laws ready made. Every colonist has more land than he can cultivate. He is eager to collect labourers from all quarters, and rewards them with liberal wages. But these liberal wages, joined to plenty, and cheapness of land, make these labourers leave him, in order to become landlords themselves, and to reward with equal liberality other labourers, who soon leave them for the same reason that they left their first master. People marry; they have the means for doing so comfortably, and the colony thrives. Wages are high ; there is no rent, and scarcely any taxes to pay: in old countries, rent and tithes eat up profits and wages, and impoverish the productive classes.
It had been frequently contended, that colonies form a part of the mercantile system. Great Britain confined the exports of certain products of her colonies to the mother country : these commodities having been enumerated in the act of navigation, and some other acts, were.on that account, called enumerated-commodities. The rest were called non-enumerated, and might be exported directly to other countries, provided it is in British or plantation ships, of which the owners, and threefourths of the mariners, were British subjects. Lord Sheffield conceived that the only benefit we derived from our colonies consisted in carrying and consuming their products. The restrictive system was doubtless a chief cause of the independence of the United States—an event so fortunate for them, and not injurious to England. The right of imposing taxes was the pretext, but the chief grievance consisted in vexatious restraints on their commerce with foreigners.
Restrictions on the colonial trade are undoubtedly impolitic. Colonies are members of the empire; and it is erroneous to think of enriching one by impoverishing another:—they ought to be free to buy and sell at the best market. Monopoly is
either'useless or pernicious; if the mother country can supply the colonies cheaper, she will be secure of their market; if not, capital ought not to be forced into a losing channel. Dr. Smith was the only politician who foresaw truly the consequences of the independence of America. By the emancipation of the colonies it was thought England would shrink from a giant into a dwarf. No such thing; commerce increased, and the value of exports are now fourteen times greater than before the war Trade rests on as firm a basis now, as i did when the colonies were dependant Force could not have preserved the exclusive trade of America. Spain, with all her garda costas, and multiplied precautions, could not prevent smuggling. When it is the interest of nations to have intercourse, it cannot be interdicted by custom-house regulations, nor treaties, nor acts of parliament. France is nearly destitute of colonies, yet she obtains their products as well, or better, than heretofore. It is a radical error to suppose commodities, which are the produce of so many different regions, can be monopolized. Commodities which we call colonial, ought to be called tropical. Sugar, which we are compelled to obtain from the West Indies, we might obtain cheaper from the East. Without the injurious regulations, which interfere with the supply of that necessary and nutritious article, we might obtain it for fourpence, instead of paying sixpence per pound. The quantity of sugar imported annually amounts to four hundred millions of pounds: supposing we pay an extra price of a penny a pound, on account of the monopoly, the country is taxed to the annual amount of 1,768,000/., merely that a few planters may carry on what they acknowledge to be a losing trade. Compensation is out of the question; us well might the landlord ask for compensation for a free trade in corn, or the mechanic for the introduction of machinery.
Mr. M'Culloch next proceeded to show the immense advantages likely to result from the gradual and universal abolition of monopolies and restrictions throughout the world. He expatiated on the vast field opened to commercial enterprise by the free governments, the fertile soil, and fine climate of South America. He next adverted to the growth and present state of our settlements in the East Indies. From the supposed wealth of Indostan it had been an object of cupidity from the time of Alexander to that of lord Hastings. From ships the East-India company had obtained factories, from factories settlements, and from settlements an empire. Notwithstanding the declaration of 1782, they had gone on extendingfheir territory, till they had now under their control a population of from ninety to one hundred millions. The revenue, according to the returns of last session, amounted to 19,230,000/. ; the expenditure was something more; but, in 1823, it was calculated the revenue of the company would exceed the expenditure about 1,340,000/. The directors had usually acted with economy and wisdom, but, at such a distance, it was impossible always to watch over the conduct of their servants. Mr. Burke considered it unjust and tyrannical to abstract a surplus revenue from India, but the excess of revenue, (if there ever be any,) may be laid out with advantage to the natives in the purchase of their commodities. The remittances to England by individuals amount to 1,500,000/. annually, which is one advantage derived from the East.
Since the commencement of the trade in the reign of Elizabeth, the advantages would have been far greater had it been free and unrestricted. Prior to 1806, the average exports of the company did not exceed half a million; the shipping employed not forty thousand tons. Though the trade had been only partially opened in 1815, yet such was the superiority of individual enterprise over dull, sluggish monopoly, that the exports since that time had increased in the ratio of fifteen to one. The result of this experiment is highly gratifying, ami shows the advantages of freedom, and how impossible it is to estimate the benefits which would result from sweeping away entirely the nuisance of monopoly.
EFFECTS OF MACHINERY.
Machinery renders Commodities cheaper —M. Sismondi and Mr. Malthus's Objections to Machinery—Never reduces Wages nor Demand for Labour—Advantage of Removal of Duties on Foreign Products—Mr. Ricardo's Case respecting Machinery — Causes and Remedy of Gluts.
Frotw the period of the publication of the " Wealth of Nations," in 1776, the great object of political economy has resolved into the best means, by which we can procure the greatest quantity of commodities with the least possible labour. By diminishing the labour employed, the power of producing commodities is augmented. Could hats be manufactured •with one-tenth the labour, the number of
hats made might be increased tenfold, to the great saving of the purchasers. M. Sismondi and Mr. Malthus have objected to the indefimte extension of the power of production by the improvement of machinery. They contend that it is more necessary to stimulate consumption than production; and that society may possess great general wealth, accompanied with all the evils of poverty. High as Mr. M'Culloch conceived the authority of Mr. Malthus to be, he found himself compelled to dissent from his conclusions.
Objections to machinery equally apply to any improvemeut in the skill and dexterity of workmen. The latter, equally with the former, tend to abridge labour and multiply commodities. There is no difference in the question, whether the workman shall apply superior science, art, and dexterity in his calling, and the introduction of machinery. Suppose workmen, by superior skill, or, which is the same thing, the use of machines, increase the quantity of products tenfold; suppose shoemakers can produce ten times as many shoes, or the farmer ten times as much corn, or the artisan ten times as much cotton or woollen, what, in this case, is the consequence? Why, every article is one-tenth its former price, and the comforts and means of enjoyment to every individual tenfold increased. The country would be in a high state of prosperity ; wages would be no lower ; only the power of consuming, among all classes, would be augmented. Instead of workmen toiling for twelve or fourteen hours, or children being immured in factories from their biith, they would have leisure to take their meals comfortably, for amusement, and intellectual improvement. It is only when little ingenuity is applied to economize labour that wages are low, workmen overwrought, and without leisure for recreation, or the meaus of enjoyment.
The lecturer, after expressing his opinion that intervals of leisure are necessary to the happiness and improvement of the working people, combated the objec tions of those who are apprehensive of a Clot from increased facility in production. Universally increased power of production can never be a cause of overloading the market. Were commodities increased tenfold, the number of equivalents every individual had to give in exchange, would be increased in the same proportion. As it is the object of every one to consume himself, or to sell to others what he produces, whenever there is an excess in any particular commodity, men change their employment. Mr. Malthus says; the demand for comma
dities depends on the will and the power to purchase; but who ever heard of a want of will to purchase 1 A beggar has the will to ride in a coach, to drink chainpaigne, and wear velvet and fine linen, and lacks only the power to do so.
A market for commodities may always be found when no impolitic restrictions interfere to prevent it. Without the corn laws the Poles would take our manufactures for their produce; as it is, they are compelled to trade with other countries. A vent would be opened for our manufactures in the North, by receiving the deals of Norway instead of the dear timber of Canada. A repeal of the duties on French wines and brandies would be a national benefit, by procuring us articles of consumption of which we stand in need, in exchange for those of which we have a surplus.
Mr. M'Culloch next showed that the Use of machinery does not, as some suppose, tend to diminish employment. The history of the cotton trade is a sufficient example to the contrary. By the application of machinery to the cotton manufacture, wages, and the number of people employed, have vastly augmented. Whatever tends to lessen the price must also extend the market.—No improvement in machinery can reduce wages or lessen the demand for labour; for as there is the same amount of capital and revenue, they must either be expended in the consumption and production of one commodity or another. The only inconvenience of machinery is that it compels men to change their employment; but this must be a temporary evil to those who had previously Acquired habits of industry. Individuals, too, who are obliged to transfer their capital, lose a part of that which is fixed, or cannot be removed. But the temporary inconvenience of individuals can never be placed in competition with the permanent good of the whole; it can never be deemed an adequate reason to persist in a clumsy and expensive process, which tends to keep up prices, merely because an ephemeral loss may be sustained by adopting new discoveries. Improvements in machinery, though they may inflict temporary injury on capitalists, can never injure workmen; they can never tend to reduce wages nor lessen the demand for labour, while they clearly tend to render all articles of consumption cheaper to all classes.
Mr. Ricardo has supposed a case not TSry likely to happen. He thought a machine of such a nature might be introduced, as, in point of profit, would be exactly on a par with manual labour. In such a case, the adoption of the new_in
vention, or the employment of men, would be a matter of indifference to the master. Such a case, however, has not yet, nor is it likely, in future, to occur. Machinery is never resorted to, unless, in point of cheapness, it is decidedly superior to manual labour.
The lecturer next proceeded to remark on the causes of gluts, and the means of obviating them. The utmost facility of production can never be injurious: the error consists in producing commodities for which'there is no demand. Our customers wanted silk, and we offer them broad-cloth. We might as reasonably complain of a fertile soil, or fine climate, as of the increased power of production. Commercial freedom diminishes the chance of excess of products, by extending the market for them. The prohibitive and restrictive system has wrenched society out of its natural position :—such is the effect of the corn laws! They have even been injurious to those for whose benefit they were intended, by shutting them out from the foreign market to which they might resort in years of extraordinary abundance.
Mr. M'Culloch concluded an instructive and animated discourse by remarking, that ignorant and interested persons might ascribe gluts to the facility of production; but the real cause originated in a restrictive system, which prevented the free transfer of employments and exchange of products among different nations.
Sinoular Custom.—At Northwich, in the county of Cheshire, a whimsical privilege is ascribed, by the charter of that church, to the senior scholar of the grammar-school: namely, that he is to receive marriage fees to the same amount as the clerk; or, in lieu thereof, the bride's garters.
LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC
SPITALFIELDS MECHANICS* INSTITUTION.
In accordance with our promise expressed last week under this head, we now commence our series of reports intended as a journal of the progress of this rising Institution. The operative class of weavers, for whom, in the first instance, it was more immediately intended, have not availed themselves of its proffered advantages to the extent that might have been fairly anticipated. To compensate, however, for this circumstance, its benevolent founders have wisely enlisted beneath their banners, members from nearly every branch of practical artisans; so that" there are now between three and four hundred persons eager in the pursuit of knowledge jwho meet within its walls.
The Introductory Lecture, delivered by Mr. Partington on Monday, will now claim our attention. It was commenced in nearly the following words :—
The material universe, of which the solid globe we inhabit forms but so minute a part, presents itself to the thinking mind as an immense assemblage of systems within systems, each complete in itself, yet connected by a variety of wonderful, though minute, relations. To lead the mind, therefore, to an examination of the various and imoortant uses of this beautiful creation, it witl be necessary first to direct the attention of my auditory to matter and motion in their most simple form ; and this may be best effected by analyzing the separate links which imperceptibly connect the various parts of created nature, and, thus connecting, form one splendid whole.
It will, however, scarcely be necessary in the present advanced state of science, to enter into an examination of that property of matter which implies that its ultimate particles are impenetrably hard, and as such, that they must occupy space, or that bodies are capable of an infinite division. These are facts too well known to need any experimental demonstration. I shall therefore proceed to examine, in the first place, some of the more important phenomena connected with the subject of attraction."
The lecturer then proceeded to a brief review of the attraction of cohesion,electrical attraction, the attraction of magnetism; and that species of attraction which is elicited by chemical combination. It was then stated, that all these subjects would be examined more in detail as the course proceeded; a fact of which we avail ourselves, as it will enable us to furnish the 'readers of the Circulator with a more perfect outline.of Mr. P.'s very important observations connected with the subject of gravitation.
After eulogizing Mr. Wallace, who had so lately been engaged in the gratifying task of communicating useful instruction to the members of this Institution—the lecturer observed, that if we place two balls in a vessel of water, it will be found that they will approach each other,—an invisible power will draw them together; and, if one of the balls be larger than the other, it will possess a greater attractive nfluence, and, as such, move the smaller body through a greater space than it is itself drawn, by the body containing a smaller quantity of matter. Now, the invisible power which produces this effect
is called the attraction 'of gravitation t— and the poet has justly observed,
"The very law which moulds a tear,
That law preserves the earth a sphere,"
r' The same phenomenon may be observed in the formation of the drops of falling rain, which partake of a spherical form; and also in that of dew, which is beautifully alluded to by another poet, when ha says:— ,
"Hast thou not seen two drops of dew,
The rose's velvet leaf adorn, How eager their attraction grew
As nearer to each other born."
Having stated that all bodies attracted in proportion to their mass, and, as such, that a large body must possess a greater attractive energy than one that is of less weight, it must be evident, that the attraction of a.:. tone will draw our solid globe from its course; and the reason that this motion is not apparent to the human eye, will be found in the vast disproportion that they bear to each other.
Otherwise, observed Mr. Partington, the fact is certain, that the ball I now drop from my hand operates upon the earth, in the same way as it is itself operated upon.
Now, as all bodies are drawn towards the earth's centre, it wiirbe quite evident that no two cords, or pendulums, lowered from any height above the earth's surface, can be parallel with each other; and a farther illustration of this fact will be found in a long line being actually drawn out of its ordinary direction by the attraction of a mountain at Schealian.
In all places equi-distant from the centre of the globe, the force of gravity is equal, but, the earth having its equatorial longer than its polar axis, by rather more than thirty miles, the force of gravity is less at the equator, than at the poles, and this fact, as we shall presently find, is fully proved by the length of the pendulum varying in different parts of the globe.
Now, this compression of the earth's poles is produced by the centrifugal force operating on the earth, and which indeed originates in its revolution round its axis.
This will be best understood by reference to the following diagram, in which a flexible sphere is made to revolve by means of a wheel and axis. The lecturer, on giving motion to the elastic rings, experimentally showed their depression at the poles.
Having thus seen that gravity impels all bodies in the neighbourhood of our earth towards its centre, we may now proceed to notice some apparent exceptions to that rule. If a cylinder be homogeneous, or entirely of one specific gravity, and placed on an inclined plane, it must evidently descend, because the centre of gravity will be beyond the base. The lecturer then stated, that he had before him a cylindrical body which appeared to disobey this universal law of nature, as it ascended the inclined plane, but a very ready solution might be given for this apparently singular phenomenon, and it would be found in the materials of which the cylinder was composed: for it would be observed, that a small lump of metal was introduced, and with this the wood was loaded, and the centre of gravity being thus thrown out of the centre of the figure, the loaded side preponderated and ascended the plane.
A similar effect was then produced by employing a double cone, which ascended an inclined plane.
Amongst the apparent exceptions to the general law of gravity, may be classed the hanging towers of Pisa, in Italy, and Caerphilly, in Glamorganshire. The tower of Pisa leans fifteen feet from the perpendicular; whilst that of Caerphilly leans nearly as much beyond the base. But, as in both cases the centre of gravity falls within the base, no danger of their being thrown down need be apprehended.
Thus, the inclining body, A D, whose centre of gravity is E, stands firmly on its base, D K, because the, line of direction, E F, falls within the base. But if a]weight,