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then sustained without complaint, and the seasons, peculiarly disadvantageous to land encouraging nature of agricultural specula- of this description, has caused a diminution tion was indicated by a continued progressive in the gross amount of produce; and the advance in that industry and skill which discontinuance of the use of artificial matend to develope the productive powers of nures, together with a system of over-cropthe soil.
ping, has impaired the productive power of That the same rate of prices, when applied these inferior soils; and in some cases, to the circumstances of the present times, where the poor rate is heavy, their cultivado not secure the same prosperous results. tion has been entirely abandoned. That
That the truth of this assertion has been these clay lands are, im many instances, proved by evidence to the satisfaction of proved to be ancient corn land, on which two several Committees of the honourable wheat has been grown from time imme. the Commons House of Parliament, in the morial.” years 1821 and 1833.
And this petition further shewethThat those Committees were led to the That your petitioners have been informed following conclusion, as set forth in their and believe, that the public debt of the narespective reports; namely, that the returns tion in the year 1793, amounted to less than of agricultural capital were, at the periods to two hundred and forty millions. That the which those reports referred, considerably supplies granted by parliament for the ser. below the ordinary rate of profit.
vice of that year were £16,698,553. That That the Committee of 1833, when prices the last parliamentary returns relative to the were about 25 per cent. higher than they poor rate, prior to the year 1795, gave have been during the current year, advert- their amount at £2,000,000. ing to the report of 1821, declared that That in the course of the French revolu'they were bound, with deep regret, to ex- tionary war, the general taxes of the country, press their fear that the difficulties of the and the local assessments of your petitioners agriculturists remained unchanged; that were progressively augmented. their savings were either gone, or greatly That from 1814 to 1816, the public revenue diminished-their credit failing--and their exceeded £70,000,000, and the parochial resources generally exhausted.'
assessments amounted to from £6,000,000 And this petition further sheweth- to £7,000,000. That the prices of the present time do That these enormous sums were paid in a not, as at the former period by your peti- currency which fluctuated in value ; but tioners referred to, encourage the application which, measured by the rate of Foreign exof capital, science, and skill, to the deve- changes, and by the market value of gold, lopement of the fertile powers of the soil. was depreciated during the last five years of
That this fact has also been proved to the the war, from 15 to 25, and at one time to satisfaction of a Committee of the honour. nearly 30 per cent. compared with the old able the Commons House of Parliament. legal standard of the coin of the realm. That, in the year 1833, a Committee of that That twenty of the shillings of that time, House declared in their report, that they though light from age and wear, exceeded were satisfied, by the strongest concurrent intrinsically the value expressed by the protestimony from different parts of Great Bri- missory one pound notes of the Bank of tain, that the occupiers of inferior soils, England to such an extent, that that corpoespecially of heavy clay lands, have of late ration were compelled to issue tokens conexpended less capital and and labour in their taining three-fourths only of the weight of cultivation. That this neglect arising from silver required for the old standard mint low profit, and prices inadequate to the cost coinage, with a view to establish an equivaof production, combined with a series of wet lent between the paper and silver currency.
That this low value of the currency, ac- That your petitioners, therefore, do not companied by, and probably resulting from, exaggerate their case, when they assert that, a very large issue of the credit medium of by direct and indirect, by general, and speexchange ; together with the increased de- cial taxation, their present publie burthens mand for the productions of your petitioners, exceed those to which they were liable at the which was occasioned by the requisitions of period which preceded the French revolua war establishment (together with the non- tionary war in the ratio of three to one. existence of Foreigh competition), rendered And this petition further shewethyour petitioners able to sustain the burthen That they who apply their capital and inof taxation, without difficulty or prejudice. dustry to the production of raw commodities,
That in the year 1819, the legislature and who consequently are wholesale dealers, passed an act, by which the currency of the have not that control over price, which they country has been re-adjusted to nearly the who are engaged at a retail trade, can more same standard as that which regulated the readily command. issues of coin from the mint, previous to the The products which your petitioners have Bank restriction act in 1797.
raised by the outlay of their capital, are sold That a pound sterling, therefore, is an ex- in the general mart of exchange, where expression which now denotes a considerably perience has proved that the ratio of demand higher value, whether estimated in gold or in and supply, together with the relative value silver ; and more than double the value when of raw produce and currency, are the rules estimated in corn, that it did at the periods which govern price : and which no effort, on of the war, to which your petitioners have the part of your petitioners, to recover the adverted,
extra cost of production, occasioned by taxaThat the precious metals, or a currency at tion, can influence. The retail dealer fixes par with them, do moreover now exchange that price on his articles of sale, which prufor a larger quantity of agricultural and ma. dence and justice may require, in reference nufactured commodities, than was the case to all the elements which have constituted when the mines of South America were their cost to him, together with a fair addi, more productive; when the large amount of tion of profit. His returns will necessarily currency required by Great Britain and the be limited by the diminished demand for, United States of America, was not metallic; and consumption of, the commodities in and when the requisitions of the war occa- which he deals, which the high prices resioned a vast stimulus to the demand for quired by taxation may occasion. But his agricultural produce,
property is not tendered by him, nor required That under these circumstances, the by the consumer, at a price below its actual capital unredeemed debt of the nation, cost. Competition may keep him to this fair amounted in the year 1833, to £754,100,529., and just limit, but it will not reduce him being more than three times its amount in below it. 1793. That the annual interest thereon was This advantage is apparent even in refer. £27,703,433. That the public expenditure ence to the articles which are produced by the for the year ending January, 1833, amounted capital and labour of your petitioners when to £50,908,381., being more than three times they pass into the hands of the retailer. The that of 1793. That the parochial assessments various kinds of grain which your petitioners for poor rates, county rates, and other spe- are compelled to sell at a loss, are, by those cial burthens on land, amount at present to who prepare them for use, distributed to the about £7,000,000, annually, being three consumer at a profit on their wholesale price ; times the sum required for those purposes and that profit, unless checked by the in, by the last parliamentary return prior to fluence of competition, is by no means al. 1795.
ways readily adjusted to the ratio even of purchase
The corn, when converted into flour or and the restrictions on their growth of barley bread, or malt, does not, under those deno- and hops, occasioned by the heavy excise minations, sustain an immediate fall in duties which attach to those articles. price commensurate with that which may And this petition further sheweth have affected its sale as grain.
That the difficulties in which your petiThat security for price, which is available tioners are involved by a high cost of proto dealers in retail, your petitioners however duction consequent on taxation, and an excannot command. Their sales are regulated change inadequate to recover that cost, must by no principles of mutual understanding speedily occasion a general insolvency of and agreement, they are protected by no those who are engaged in the business of mysteries of craft, by no combinations for agriculture. reciprocal support.
The blessing of Divine Providence on the In the competition of exchange, your pe- exertions and perseverance of your petitiontitioners are soon found to be the yielding ers, under all their difficulties, has hitherto party. The practice of “engrossing'' or enabled them amply to supply the necessi" forestalling,” were it justifiable, would ties of their fellow-countrymen with those under their circumstances, be impracticable, commodities which constitute the means of and ultimately useless. Their necessities subsistence. give them no option but to sell ; and any The discontinuance of those exertions, and advantage which may occasionally result from an extensive suspension of agricultural proa reservation of stock is available to those of duction, on all soils except those of supeyour petitioners only who need it least, but perior fertility, will inevitably occasion in is beyond the reach of those who, from their the end an increase of price to the consumer. limited means, require it the most. The But that increase of price will proceed from price, therefore, which your petitioners re- the most lamentable of all causes-namely, ceive, must be that wbich the retail dealers a deficient supply. calculate they can afford to offer with a view Your petitioners humbly represent that to their own profit; but it is not that which the necessities of the country, however vast your petitioners, as producers, can afford to its resources in manufactures, mines, and take, under that heavy burthen of taxation, colonial wealth, cannot be adequately supgeneral and local, by which they are op- plied by the exchange of these commodities pressed.
with foreign nations for corn. Your petitioners therefore humbly repre
In confirmation of this opinion, your pesent to your honourable House, that in con- titioners refer to the evidence of Mr. Jacob, sequence of the circumstances which they before a Committee of the House of Comhave attempted to describe, taxation, whe- mons, in 1833, who made the following dether direct or indirect, whether general or claration which was embodied in the Report special, operates to their prejudice in a de- of that Committee. gree far exceeding that with which it presses “My opinion is that if we were to dimion many of the other productive and trading nish the growth of English wheat by one classes of the community.
tenth part of that now produced we should Your petitioners, having adverted to the not be in a safe state, in case of a deficient extent of their exclusive liabilities in the harvest, for all the world could not make up gross, forbear to particularize them at any the deficiency. If the next harvest gives us length. They are well known to your ho- but eleven months supply, and if, owing to nourable House, under the several denomi- bad weather, it should be deficient one tenth nations of land tax-poor rate – tithe- more, there would then be such a deficiency county rate-highway rate-church rate as all the world could not easily supply at any
price; for wheat is not the food of man in are capriciously and variously distributed any other country to the same extent as in even among your petitioners themselves, England."
from the accidental circumstances of settleYour petitioners, therefore, do not appear ment. They pray that you will examine that before your honourable House to plead their system as it affects the condition of the own cause as a distinct and separate interest peasantry—as it disorders the natural relain the State. The prosperity of the nation tions of the social system and as it disturbs at large is involved in that of your petition- the balance of reciprocity between capital ers; and on the well-being of all classes of and labour. their fellow-countrymen, your petitioners Your petitioners further pray, that your are well aware that their own must necessa- honourable House will so adjust all those rily depend.
imposts which are required for the benefit of Your petitioners have for many years re- the community at large, that they may no linquished to the exigencies of the State, longer bear, as many branches of local taxand to those of their destitute neighbours, ation now do, on your petitioners almost all hopes and expectations of that affluence, exclusively. They pray that free scope may which in former times frequently rewarded be provided for the pursuits of the working the industry and enterprise of the skilful classes : and that, while the peasantry shall farmer.
be released from the artificial restrictions of Their present prayer is only that they may compulsory location, capital may be allowed be placed in such circumstances as will en- to require, or to dispense with, the aid of courage the hope of a reasonable profit, and, labour, which can be valuable only when it the solvency of their remaining capital. is free.
Without security for that capital, and for Your petitioners humbly submit that a its successful application to production, the surplus population is a national concernState must be involved in the embarrass- that its appropriation is a paramount duty of ments of your petitioners, and the poor in the State, and cannot beas in all justice it their ruin.
ought not to bera partial responsibility atYour petitioners are aware that they have taching to one description of property only, exceeded the customary limits of an Appeal and in unequal degrees. That the real existto your honourable House. They can only ence of a surplus population can be tested offer, as their apology, the great national only by the unrestrained circulation of laimportance of those facts which, with all bour, and the optional application of capital. humility and respect, they have attempted That a legal code which occasions local conto state.
gestions of the people, in arbitrary and vaYour petitioners therefore humbly pray rying proportions, and which requires that that your honourable House will take under employment shall be furnished by exaction, your immediate and most serious deliberation and not by voluntary requisition is repugthe extreme difficulties in which they are nant to every natural and social principle ; involved, and the crisis of impending ruin and if continued, must terminate in a comwhich awaits them. They pray that you will plete revolution of the agricultural condition consider the heavy burthens which oppress of Great Britain. them under the present parochial system Your petitioners have learned, with heartprescribed by law-burthens which are par. felt gratitude, the speech which his Majesty tial, and therefore unjust, not only in their has been graciously pleased to address to his application to your petitioners, as a special parliament at the opening of the present class of community, but also in the several Session. From that speech they derived endegrees of unequal proportion in which they couragement and hope ; and especially from that part of it in which his Majesty has been before by the Marquis of Chandos, for the pleased to “lament deeply, that the agricul- relief of agriculture, ought to satisfy every tural interest continues in a state of great thinking person, desirous of restoring this depression,” and in which he recommends the most important branch of native industry your honourable House, to consider whe- to prosperity, that it is impossible to do any ther“ it may not be in your power, after thing for it in the present House of Comproviding for the exigencies of the public mons. These motions were none of them service, and consistently with the steadfast of intrinsic value in themselves (the presmaintenance of public credit, to devise a me- sure upon agricultural industry being too thod for mitigating the pressure of those great for any measures, short of the most local charges which bear heavily on the gigantic ones, to be càpable of relieving it), owners and occupiers of land; and for distri. further than as trying the temper and disbuting the burden of them more equally over position of the House towards agriculture. other descriptions of property.” And also, In this respect, their value is inestimable ; in which his Majesty announces that “mea- their failure proves, beyond the reach of sures will be proposed to the consideration contradiction, what I have long been conof Parliament, which will have for their ob- tending for, the complete ascendency acject, the commutation of tithe in England quired by the money-owning, commercial, and Wales.” The system of tithe has been and shopkeeping classes over the deliberafound, not only materially to discourage the tions of the House of Commons, and the extraordinary application of capital to cul. loss sustained of all real power and influence tivation ; but also to disturb that harmony in the state by the territorial aristocracy. Mr. which is so desirable between the clergy and Cayley's object I suspect was, not so much to their parishioners.
establish a silver standard (which would not Your petitioners humbly pray that your have relieved the debtor side of the comhonourable House will give full effect to his munity more than about five or six per cent.) Majesty's most gracious recommendations, as to institute a full and free inquiry into that you will not give to it a limited con- the depressed state of agriculture, and the struction, as referring merely to the Church- causes of its depression, such as would have rate, or even to the county rates : but that let in the question of the currency, and would you will receive it in the full comprehension of have exhibited to the nation in true colours those terms, by which his Majesty, as a just the whole of the fraud that has been pracand paternal monarch, has been pleased to tised upon it by the legislative measure of recognise, as a principle of sound and equit. 1819, commonly called Peel's Bill; an accuable government—that the burdens of the rate understanding of this being essential to people should be equally distributed over all a remedy being provided for the general descriptions of property,
distress. The money-owning classes, who And your petitioners, as in duty bound, have amassed immense wealth by the meawill ever pray, &c. &c. sure, and are still amassing it daily, are per
fectly well aware that, if the fraud were to PROPOSALS FOR A GREAT NATIONAL be discovered, the plundering system would
ASSOCIATION OF THE PRODUCING cease. They dread nothing, therefore, so CLASSES.
much as a free and impartial inquiry into
the condition of the agricultural and proTO THE EDITOR.
ducing classes ; and this is the real secret of London, June 23, 1825.
Mr. Cayley's failure in the House of ComSie,—The failure of Mr. Cayley's motion mons, where the influence of money-owners in the House of Commons, joined to the and non-producers is alone felt. failure of two previous motions, made a little It is, nevertheless, better for the nation,