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after minute, and the master of the house, two or three members of the committee (we are glad, for our love to the other sex, who were determined to probe the matthat such folly could not be in the mistress), ter to the bottom: and it will be seen set it up for hours together in the vain at- that their cross examination led to the tempt to make it stand as fast as it fell down. awful and dismal truths which, even after At last he grew tired of this amusement, and they were extracted, were only partially told the mistress, his wife, he was quite con- contained in the report to which the comvinced the stool would not stand. “Have you mittee finally gave its consent. tried to find out the reason of its not stand- We are not in this imputing blame to the ing?” “Oh! no; what's the use of that ? the chairman of the committee. On the contrary, stool won't stand, and that's enough for me.” we know from reading the report, that, as far "Why, you stupid fellow!” says the mistress, as his examination of witnesses went, it was "here are only two legs to the stool!” “Oh! done in a very logical order; and we underthen I should not be surprised" replies the stand that nothing could have been fairer or sage gentleman, "if that be the cause of the more impartial than his conduct in the chair. stool not standing !" But our rulers, even But yet he was a Cabinet minister, and it is wiser in their generation, were sapient never very agreeable for a minister of the enough to imagine that they could make the Crown to detect enormous evils under a stool stand without adding the third leg. regime for which he is in part responsible; They may perform a miracle of this kind. if not for their origin, at least for their conAll we can say is, we have no faith in it. tinuance. He was, however, in addition to We don't think them the prophets to per- this, member of a ministry not a little imform such a miracle, and what is more, we bued with the cold philosophy of the most will bet the two whole legs to the broken rigid political economists. It is not, thereone that they never do it.
fore, to the chairman altogether that we were It is common enough and it is true indebted for that full and efficient evidence enough, God knows), to say that agriculture extracted from forty as efficient witnesses as has not a leg to stand upon. And yet ever stood before a committee of the House Parliament has declared that it is not a leg of Commons. At the same time it is due that it wants to stand upon; and that it is a to Sir James Graham to say that he fully sort of animal that wants no legs to stand freed himself from any suspicion that might upon; or, perhaps, (like the man who tried attach to his being a commercial philosopher, to accustom his horse to live upon nothing, in that most elaborate and able speech which till it died in the experiment) our rulers he made this year in the discussion of the may fancy that agriculture, though it may Corn Question, on Mr. Hume's motion. have been used to a leg, will some time or We propose in our next to examine into other learn to stand without one.
the merits of the report that emanated from However, two committees were appointed; this Agricultural Committee, and afterwards one to enquire into the fact of the distress to shew how far it conforms to the real of agriculture; the other into the fact of the state of that evidence on which it assumes distress in trade and shipping. It is the to be founded.
B. first only to which we shall in this place apply ourselves. Sir James Graham was appointed chairman, and certainly a better THE SHIPPING INTEREST. chairman, or one more conversant with the
“ Britain's best bulwarks are her wooden walls." subject of agriculture could not have been elected. We have gone through the evidence, which was examined before this commit. So sang our forefathers when British navi. tee, with great diligence. It is generally gation was fostered, encouraged, protected, understood that the chairman in committees and, strange to say, so we sing still, when it of the House of Commons is allowed the is despised, neglected, treated with the rankexamination in chief, and that the first est injustice. It is a great mistake to supquestions proceed from him. It is not dif- pose inconsistency between profession and ficult to detect from the report of the evi- practice to be confined to matters of religion. dence, where the chairman finished his ex. Every part of our social arrangements examination. His questions are seemingly put hibits the melancholy reverse; but in none, with the intention of eliciting a certain li- perhaps, is its character more marked, or mited amount of distress and no more; and if have its effects been more decisive than in the examination of the witnesses had stopped the case of the shipping interest. here, no more would have been proved of Every Englishman turns with exultant the distress of agriculture than that there pride to our naval power, and boasts with was a certain uneasiness only among the reason of naval triumphs. The source of Jarming classes; and that two legs out of this power and the foundation of these the three at least were sound. But it triumphs are admitted to have been the vast fortunately happened that there were some extent of our maritime commerce; hence
the extension of this commerce has been an culture pines ; how is it that all have lent avowed object of policy with statesmen the their aid to the philosophers in this race most renowned for their sagacity, and the destruction? The answer, we conceive, is laws and regulations, under which it has not difficult. reached its unparalleled height, have been Animals in quest of prey, select by inthe theme of praise from philosophical stinct the most defenceless victims. The writers, and the object of imitation by jea- philosophers have artfully and systematically lous rivals.
pursued a similar course; the agriculturists But eulogized in its principle, successful were too powerful for a first attack, and too in its application, envied in its results, our wise to be deluded by the specious reason. navigation system has, by some fatality ings which would have made them willing within the last few years, been altered or instruments to their own immediate destrucabandoned, and with the change has en- tion. But even they were not proof against sued a state of difficulty, embarrassment and the seductive bait of cheapness in articles nedistress, affecting every branch of British cessary for their own consumption, and unmaritime commerce, unequalled, we believe, consciously lent their aid towards the estain any other department of the national blishment of a principle, which, once triinterests. The hazard to the safety of the umphant, could not fail to be directed with country from this state of things is sufficient destructive force against their own interests. not merely to justify, but to render impera- To be enabled to purchase what we require tive enquiry into its causes; and when we at the cheapest market, appears in the ab. add our conviction that justice towards in- stract equitable, and is undoubtedly dedividuals has no less been outraged than gene- sirable. But in this country, if all are conral policy disregarded, we are persuaded that sumers, it must not be forgotten, that no apology will be requisite for a review, as nearly all are also producers. In this latter brief as the nature of the subject will per- character, to be driven, by the general applimit, of the general bearings of this interest- cation of the principle, to sell their own proing question.
ductions at the cheapest rate, was from the The truth is, and every day's experience first perceived by each to be a very different developes the fact, that sound practical po- affair from purchasing at the cheapest rate licy has been sacrificed to showy but spe- the productions of others. Hence in a comcious theories. The cautious wisdom that munity where all were protected, all were experience teaches has been abandoned for anxious to preserve their own industry and the trial of visionary schemes ; folly has been property untouched, however ready to adopt dignified with the title of liberality, and, in theory, and to practice towards others grasping at the shadow, we have lost the the principles of the most unrestricted liberty substance. All this is bad enough, but it is of commercial intercourse. Each interest by no means the worst part of the case; thus in succession recoiled from the applinot only have the rash experiments of the cation of the doctrines of free trade as though economists utterly failed, but, in the appli- death were in the contact; and political cation of those experiments the first princi- economy,—triumphant in the schools, made ples of justice have been violated; the im- little progress in practical commerce. It policy has been great, but the injustice has was therefore necessary to attack interests been greater; and while derided and out. in detail, and the first selected was naturally witted, the nation is left to deplore the in- that which was least capable of defence. fatuation of its rulers, apparent in the decay Weak in the legislature, where the decision of its naval power, the unfortunate ship- was final, popular sympathy proved an inowner, struggling year after year in compe- sufficient safeguard to the shipping interest, tition against rivals, (with whom, if free abandoned as it was by the agriculturist and unshackled he might contend,) is re- and the manufacturer. In vain did the ship duced to despair and ruin by the continuance owner urge his claim to equality of proof burthens which render effort hopeless and tection with that extended to other inresistance vain. Like the Israelites of old, terests, on the general principles of equity; groaning under the Egyptian yoke, the tale and his superior right on the particular of bricks is rigorously exacted, while the ground of the incapacitating restrictions to straw necessary for matting them is arbi- which, for objects of supposed national trarily taken away. Loaded with taxation, policy, he was exposed. Vainly even did and impeded by restriction, British capital he appeal to the landholder's sense of selfand British industry, starting in the race with interest, by proving that when tolerating or the capital and industry of the unburthened supporting the withdrawal of protection foreigner, sink and fail in the unequal con- from the shipping interest, he undermined test. But still, the phantom of free trade is the foundation on which the Corn Laws pursued, and one victim succeeds another rested. Inevitable as was this consequence, without the illusion being dispelled. Ship- the danger did not appear imminent, and beping has fallen, manufactures totter, agri- tween supineness and delusion, navigation was sacrificed. We unhesitatingly denounce our undisputed supremacy on the Ocean. the course that was pursued, as unjust and But with increasing domestic taxation, and impolitic, and we are satisfied it has proved the consequent increase in the expences of mischievous alike to national and individual navigation, our ship-owners, confined to interests. Let us bring these assertions to the employment of costly British ships and the test of particular examination.
British seamen, were soon pressed by the To an insular nation maritime commerce competition of nations more favorably ciris evidently the basis of national security. cumstanced, against which they were unable To encourage and extend this commerce has successfully to contend. To counteract therebeen consequently, at all periods of British fore this disadvantage, additional charges, History, an object of policy fondly pursued in the shape of light and harbour dues, by our most patriotic and enlightened States. ballastage, pilotage, and other local taxes, men. The extension of domestic navigation were from time to time imposed on foreign is not the necessary result of the growth of shipping, and (which was even of greater general commerce--it is admitted, indeed, to importance,) increased duties were levied be sometimes opposed to it. The merchant, on commodities imported in foreign ships, if left at liberty, will naturally employ the over and above those charged on similar carrier who will convey to the distant mar- importations in British ships. kets of the world his exports, and bring Thus was our navigation system comback from thence his articles of importa- pleted.—To its peculiar character, as comtion, at the cheapest rate. Now that nation pounded of restriction imposed on the ship will be enabled to navigate at the cheapest owner, and protection extended as an equivarate, in which the materials, requisite for lent, we would invite especial attention, the building and equipment of ships, are as on it the principal position of our submost abundant; the inhabitants most ex- sequent reasoning must depend. In the empt from taxes, by which the cost of labour compulsion to build and equip his ships,is enhanced—and the mariners, from habit, to repair and victual with articles of domestic content with the most moderate accommo- production,-to employ exclusively domestic dation and the simplest fare. In none of labour,-it must be plain he could have no these particulars could Britain compare with interest-nor, from the necessity imposed some of the continental nations, and accord- on him to man his ship with British seamen, ingly when it was found that, with a grow- can it be pretended that he could reap any ing commerce, no correspondent increase advantage. If, on the contrary, it can be took place in British Shipping; it became shewn, that, in all these cases, he could requisite to devise means for ensuring their obtain the requisites for navigation at a keeping pace with each other, even at some cheaper rate from abroad, it must be persacrifice of cheapness. This indeed became fectly obvious that the compulsion to prothe more necessary, as the honour and safety cure them at home constituted a burthenof the nation were found to be in jeopardy some disqualification on his pursuits. from the ascendancy of maritime rivals. Now this it is, that can be, and has been, Passing over the earlier efforts for the at- unanswerably proved. But it was in containment of this object, which were desul. nexion with objects of high national policy tory and often vacillating, it was in the that these regulations were framed. It was proud reign of Elizabeth that the policy was to cherish and encourage the proprietor and first systematically developed. In rapid suc- cultivator of the land, the manufacturer, cession, foreigners were excluded from our the artizan, and the labourer, that the ship fisheries, our coasting trade, and our Colo- owner was restricted, or driven by duties nies. These important branches of the car- to the employment of home produced timrying trade were restricted to British built ber, and iron and copper, and sail-cloth and sbips, navigated by British seamen. In the cordage, and the thousand articles required foreign trade by an Act of Cromwell, con- for the equipment of his vessel ; and likefirmed by and embodied in the celebrated Act wise to home grown corn, and home fed of Navigation of the 12th and 13th Charles provisions for the consumption of his crew. II., the importation of the produce of the And it was to ensure the possession of a distant quarters of the Globe was prohibited, race of hardy and experienced mariners to except in British ships ; while the importa. man the British navy in time of war, that tion of European produce was restricted to he was compelled to employ for that crew British ships, or ships of the producing British seamen alone. But the legislature country; and also to direct importation of old was not so unjust as at once to from the place of production. The effects doom the ship owner to foreign competi. of these important regulations, were soon tion, and, at the same time, to incapacitate manifested in the decline of the navigation him by restrictions from all chances of of our rivals, especially the Dutch ;-in the maintaining it successfully. Restriction and glorious triumphs achieved by the British protection it will be seen therefore went navy; and finally in the establishment of hand in hand each was part and parcel of
the system of navigation, and under that affairs, and expressed our astonishment systém maritime cominerce attained a height that the old established London bankers, altogether unparalleled; wafting wealth and with abundant capital and credit, had not prosperity to our shores, and furnishing taken up that branch of business. It apsinews to a navy immortalized by the names pears to us the most proper and legitimate of Rodney and Howe, and Duncan and part of the trade of a banker that the reNelson
sources of his credit and capital can be But the wayward fancies and the weak directed to; at the same time, it must be adcompliances of modern statesmen, have mitted to be one involving much risk and yielded to foreign jealousy what hostile efforts anxiety. And this, probably, is the reason could never have extorted from us; and why its profits are allowed by the London while we have been insane enough to con- bankers to be shared by a very small numcede to demands we ought to have resisted, ber of bill-brokers. and have removed the protection which had “Circumstances have recently occurred been conferred on our ship owners, we have which have forced this subject upon our not been just enough to remove the restric- attention in a very serious manner. It is tions, for which that protection was granted well known that many of the joint stock as an equivalent. Hence the decline of our banks, in the country, conduct their business mercantile marine; the discontent of the more according to the practices of billshipping interest; the scandal that attaches brokers than of bankers; the deposits of
o the legislation of our philosophers; at such banks are generally small, while their whose bidding we have committed national liabilities upon bills, discounted for their folly and individual wrong. Of the process customers, and again discounted by thempursued, the proofs and the consequences, selves in London, are immerisely large. This we must reserve the details for a future system of extending paper credit by circunumber,
lating bills, has extended itself to an almost We conclude by repeating the summary incredible degree, and it continued to be still of our position. It was for objects of great in the progress of rapid extension up to the national policy, in which the ship owner month of August last, when it was checked could have no special, separate, or peculiar in- by the contracting influence of the Bank of terest, that the restrictions of the naviga. England, which began to act with increasing tion system were imposed. He was en- caution in consequence of the drain for gold. titled therefore to demand protection, up to the facts alluded to in former numbers of that point, to which he was disqualified; this' Circular demonstrate that the check and to that point consequently it was part to this system was not applied before it was of the navigation system to protect him. wanted. The disqualification has been left—the pro. The risks attending the trade of a billtection has been withdrawn. There is broker are so great, that it appears to us no no single department of British capital or prudent man would consider himself justified British industry that is not, in a greater in entering upon it unless he had a sufficient or less degree, protected from the un- capital to bear him through difficulties and restricted competition of foreigners, except losses, or was contented to do a very small that of shipping engaged in trade with amount of business with extreme caution. those nations, with which treaties of mis- The latter course in present times is almost called “reciprocity" have been concluded. impracticable, because extreme caution supYet the owners of this very shipping are poses great discrimination in selecting bills, discouraged and incapacitated in their pur- and inflexible resolution in taking none but suits by burthens and restrictions, imposed those of the best character; and these are under the authority of the State, equally precisely that description of bills which the unknown in every other department. This more opulent bill-brokers are ready to take course the ship owners will not be deterred at the lowest marketable rate of interest from branding with the epithets of robbery at a lower rate than any small bill-broker, and wrong! It is relatively unjust, because limiting his business to escape risk, could it establishes an invidious distinction be- afford to discount them at, This is the diftween them and their fellow subjects: it is ficulty that all new bill-brokers have to enpositively so, and to the last degree, because counter, and it tends more and more to they have, as has been shewn, an especial create a monopoly in favour of a few houses claim to that protection, which to them of great experience and established reputaalone is denied.
tion. It is a curious thing, but we know
of only two firms in this trade, the partners OUR SOUND AND WHOLESOME STATE.
in which had any considerable amount of
property when they commenced-a trade FROM THE CIRCULAR TO BANKERS, which requires the responsibility of property
more than almost all others. "WE have frequently remarked upon the “ The last twelve months have afforded new trade of London bill-brokers in money abundant evidence of the truth of these
FROM 1810 to 1829.
3,703,743 1,502,981 | 5,206,724
observations- Within that period four do not we beg of them to examine it, the bill-broking firms have failed in London, evidence, particularly that of Mr. Gurney, the aggregate amount of whose liabilities given before the manufacturing Committee much exceeds a million sterling, viz. Sala- of 1833, by bill-brokers, other brokers, and monson, Frazer and Co. Poole and Wood, cheap dealers. These men described the Anstead, Glaister and Co., and Gumersall, state of commercial affairs as unusually sound. Gandell and Co. The leading partner of Profits were low, they said, but this was this last firm, and also Mr. Sanderson, Mr. amply compensated by the sound state of Lawes, (successful Bill-Brokers,) and Mr. things, and freedom from risk. These men Poole, (unsuccessful,) had all been clerks in were the centre of a system in full operation the house of Messrs. Richardson, Overend arising out of low prices. As long as they and Gurney, and it is impossible that any could get on with the new system, it was for man could have been in a better school for them to praise it. That it was sound is instruction. Mr. Gumersall having been sufficiently contradicted by its failure even five or six years in the office of Messrs. in that line which seemed for a moment to Richardson and Co. and Overend and Co. be thriving on the country's ruin. was understood to be able to discriminate the character of bills with great skill. If therefore, Messrs. Gumersall, Gandell and Co. had conducted a small business purely as Bill-Brokers, they might, in time, have succeeded in raising it to some importance; but, we understand, they have speculated deeply on the Stock Exchange, and to that circumstance their failure is principally attributed. When Salamonson and Co. failed, it was said that many forged bills had been passed through their hands.
The same fraud, we are sorry to hear, has been extensively practised on the present occasion.
“There have been some failures besides that of the Bill-Brokers. Bentley, Dear and Co. who conducted a large haberdashery concern of the “cutting character” in Cheapside, failed on Monday (Sept. 29) for a large sum. The returns of this firm have been between £250,000. and £350,000. per annum. The manufacturers who know nothing of the credit-trickery by which, it now appears, such trades are upheld, will, we fear, suffer deeply.”
In the above extract it is stated that the liabilities of the four bill-brokers who have failed within the last twelve months is £1,000,000; we are credibly informed however, that the liabilities are £2,000,000. The money market has been embarrassed by a contraction of Bank issues occasioned by the foreign drain of gold. Numerous failures are taking place, and of a character which exhibits not a sound, but rotten system and state of trade. A few years since Mr. Bentley, above mentioned, was a clerk. He then commenced business in the new style of low prices, never pretending, Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select we understand, to have a capital of above Committee appointed to examine the Peti. £10,000; he now fails, in debt £100,000, and tions from the Hand-loom Weavers. will scarcely pay 18. in the pound. Another 1 July, 1834.—JOHN MAXWELL, ESQ. IN man, a hatter, has lately failed; he was a
THE CHAIR. clerk three years ago ; his debts are £50,000 with nothing to pay.
A third fails' for Hugh Mackenzie (plain weaver, Glasgow) £200,000; all engaged in a rotten system of
called in. accommodation paper carried on by the bill. Can you explain what effect that power. brokers.
loom has in your mind on the competition Our readers will remember, and if they with the hand-looms; what is the effect of
VALUE IN STERLING OF THE GOLD AND SILVER RAISED FROM THE MINES IN
THE FOLLOWING COUNTRIES :
7,473,825 114,660,870 122,134,6956,003,13254,162,759 60,165,891
23,603 4,523,378 94,429,303 98,952,6811,913,075 45,388,729 47,301,804
FROM 1790 to 1809.
Russia-from 1820 to 1829......