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Joseph Lowe.

The present state of England in regard to agriculture, trade and finance; with a comparison of the prospects of England and France online

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Can fluctuations be prevented in future? - - 320

Causes which affect the value of money - - 321

Supply of specie from the mines - _ . Hid.

Circulation of bank paper - - - . 323

Supply of agricultural produce ... 324?

Probable effects of a state of war ... 326

Injurious consequences of these fluctuations - - 327

Particularly on annuitants - - . - - 328

Section 11.

Plan for lessening the Injurij from Fluctiuition^ and giving
a uniform J'alue to Money Incomes.

A table of reference for time contracts - - 333

Effect of the proposed plan on the labouring classes - 336

Effcet of such a plan on agriculture ... 338

on tithe ... - 339

■ on the public funds and govern-
ment annuitants ..... 341
Objections ant^wercd .... - 343
Concludimr remarks .... - 344.



CONTENTS. XXIII

CHAPTER XL

Our Finances.

Page
The National Debt - - - - - 347
Fluctuations in the price of stock since 1720 - - 34-9
Mr. Pitt's administration .... 250
Reduction of the Five per cents. ... 352
Our other financial measures since 1815 - - 353
The Sinking Fund ; its limited operation - - 355
Compound interest a delusion - - - . 357
Advantages of a low rate of interest of money - - 359
Objections to a large Sinking Fund - - . 350
Estimate of our annual expenditure - . . 352
Stockholders ; distinction between permanent and tem-
porary depositors - - - 364-
Comparative Taxation of England and France - - 368

Section" II.

Our Prospects in Commerce and Finance.

Probability of continued peace - - - 371

Causes of war that no longer exist - - - 373

Our prospect of augmented resources - - 37'!-

Computed increase of our national income - 378

Its surprising increase in the course of last century - 379

Parallel of the resources of England and France - 381

Section III.
Vieias of Finance suggested by our Situation and Prusj)(rts.

How far is taxation a cause of embarrassment ? - 387

Tabular statement of our taxes - . - - 389
Examples of injury from taxation ; in the distillery ;

insurance ; shipbuilding . - - - 390

Relief that would arise from u reduction of taxes - 392

Objections answered - - - 395

M. Nccker ; his plan of fnumcc - - - ^^7



t.ONTINTH.



Pagr



The Qufslion ol'a hnuill Annual Loan in lieu (»lTaxcfc

State of the nionied interest - - - - 4CX)

Transmission of capital to foreign countries - - 401

Would the proposed loan affect the rate of interest? 'K)4-

Would it attcct the price of stocks ? - - 4-^^

Limitation to borrowing - - - " ^^^
The bill for transferring half-pay and pensions into

long annuities - - - ''"■^

Mr. Pitt; his ability in finance - - - 4-11

The period from 178 !• to 1793 - - - 4-1'^

Conclusion ; summary of the work - - - ^^^

Subjects which remain to be treated - - - 415



CONTENTS OF THE APPENDIX.



CHAPTER IL

T^e late Wars.

Our war expenditure in the form of tabular statements [1 J

The war of 1793, distinguished from that of 1803 [3]
A siniilar statement of our exports, and an explanation

of the custom-house term, " official value" - [4]

Our exports greater since 1814< than during the war [5]

Decline in the price of manufactures since 1818 - [7]
The present prices of manufactures compared to those

of the reign of King William - - - iltid.

Taxation ; its effect on trade _ _ - [8]



CHAPTER III.

Hise of Prices during the War.

Lower orders : Table of their family expenditure since

1792; — the country labourer - - - [9]

The town mechanic - . - - ibid.



rONTEVTS. \xv

■The niidtlle and higher classes: similar fluctuations in

their fiimily expenditure ... ["10]

Proportion borne by each Jiead of expence, (food,
clothing, and lodging,) to the total of family expen-
diture - - - - - - [11]

Comparative situation of the lower orders in war and

peace - - - - - -[12]

Effect on housekeeping, of a rise in the price of corn [12]

.. — in the rate of labour [IS]

. of a depreciation in

our paper currency - - - " [l-"^]

Annuitants on mortgage - - - - [I'^l

CHAPTER IV.

Currency atid Exchange.

On the amount of Bank of England notes in circulation [15]
Uncertainty of inferences from such amount - [16]
Fluctuations in the circulation of Bank of England Notes [17]
Circulation of country banks ... f/;/V/.
The exemption from cash payments: its effects -. [IS]
The time of its operation .... [19]
Discounts: their increase explained - - - [19]
The rate of interest ; its rise prevented by the exemp-
tion act ..... ['20]
This act considered as an economizing expedient - ibid.
Remarks on the Bullion Committee - - [21]
Questions at issue between their supporters and op-
ponents .-. - - [23]
Connection between the circumstances of our agricul-
turists and the circulation of country banks - [24]
The power of banks over-rated ... [25]
Inefficacy of an exemption from cash payments in

peace .. - .. ibid.

Mr. Peel's Bill ..... [2(j]
Publications on the subject of exchange; INIr. J. R.

M'CuUoch ...... ibid.

CHAPTER V.

Our Agriculture.

Effect of increasing population on the price of corn - [29]
Not understood by the Agricultural Committee of 1821 [30]
National disadvantage of a high price of corn - ibid.



XXV i CONTENTS.

I'age

Subsistence not enhanced by increase of population - [32 J

Uncertainty of speculative opinions - - ibid.
Arguments in favour of a free trade in corn, by Mr.

Bannatyne, Colonel Torrens, and Mr. M'Culloch - [33]

Computation of Poor-rate and Tithe - - [3.5]
Connection between increase of population and increase

of tithe - - - - - - [36]

The same in regard to the rent of land - - [36]

Comparative burdens on British and foreign agriculture [39 J

A protecting duty ; evidence of Mr. Tooke - ibid.

Reasons in support of that evidence - - [^O]

Competition of Continental agriculturists - - [4-1]

Probable limitation of our corn imports in peace - ibid.

Opinion of Mr. llicardo . - _ _ [43]
A protecting duty; ought it to be suspended in a dear

season? .. - - [44]

Observations of Mr. S. Gray on the Corn Trade - [45]
The case of Tenants on lease, and of Debtors on mort-
gage -..-.. [45]
The question of interference by courts of justice - [46]
Dr, Smith on agricultural improvers . - - [47]
Value of land during last century ... ibid.
Price of wheat on the continent and in England pre-
vious to 1793 - - - - - [48]

Average prices of our corn in 1822 - - - [49]
Exports and imports of Coi*n since 1697 - - ihid.
The Agricultural Report of 1821; abstract of its con-
tents -.. - - ibid.
Remarks on that Report - - - - [51]

Corn law of 1822; abstract of its provisions - - [53]

Additional labour bestowed on tillage since 1814 - \.5o\



CHAPTER VI.

Our Poor-rate.

Tabular statements of poor-rate for England and Wales [57]

The same for the metropolis - . - . [58]

Highway, church and county rate - - - [59]

Report of 15th July 1822, on the poor-rate returns - ibid-

10



CONTENTS. XXVll



CHAPTER VII.

Popidatioii.

Page

Employment ; its subdivision as society advances - [60]

Its minute division in a great city - - - [51]

National income apportioned among different classes - [62]
Population ; ratio of its increase in different stages, as

society advances ... - - [63]

The mercantile or manufacturing stage - - [64']

Effect of the enlargement of farms . - . [65]

Effect of machinery . - - . - ibid.

Great increase of population in the present age - [66]

Proportion of marriages to the whole population - [67]

Deaths : decrease in their proportion - - [67]
Counties of England and Wales ; their comparative

extent ..-.-. [68]

^— — — — productive power [69]

■ — their rank in den-
sity of population . . . _ [70]
Census of 1821 ; the increase since 1811, exhibited by

counties . - - . . [71]
Increase of our principal towns ... [72]
Distribution of our population into classes, and com-
parative numbers of each . - . - ibid.
Superior increase of town population - - [733
In what manner do population returns indicate an in-
crease of national wealth ? - - - - [74-]
Census of England in 1377 - . - ibid.

CHAPTER Vin.
Otir National Revenue.

Is our consumption equal to our production, or how far

is there an annual addition to national income ? - [75]

A table of our annual consumption - - - [77]

Proportion of national income exempt from taxation - [78]

Case of Ireland . - - - • ibid.

of France - - - [79]

National capital ; estimate of it in 1792, 1812, 1.S22 - [82]
Public burdens in the present year (1823) discriminated

into taxes, poor-rate, and tithe - - - [85]



rovTrvTs.



CHAPTER X.

Fbictuatiojis in Mo7icy.

Page

Abstract of Sir G. Shuckburgh's table - - [85]
Comparison by Arthur Young, of prices in the 17th and

18th centuries - - - - [86]
Progressive prices of several articles of manufacture ; of

horses and cattle ... - [87]

General progression of prices since the 13th century - [88]

Annual consumption of gold and silver computed - [89]

Comparative rate of prices in France and England - [90]
M'Culloch (Mr. J. R.) on the price of corn throughout

Europe [92]

Expense of a country labourer's family, and of one of

the middle classes - - - [93]

Constituents of a table of national consumption - [94-]

Farther remarks on a table of consumption - - [95]

The table adapted to farmers on lease - - [97]

' ■ ' to the lessees of mines - - ibid.

• to clergymen . . - [98]

Objections answered - . - - ibid.

Letter from a Hampshire farmer - _ - [99]

Mr. Tooke on " high and low prices since 1792" - [100]

CHAPTER XI.

Sinking fund ; the supplies which constitute it - [101]

The nominal Sinking fund - . . - [102]

Comparison of our present burdens with those of 1792 [103]

The Malt Tax - - - - - [104]

Price of commodities a century ago - - ibid.

Backward state of France as described by Mr. S. Gray [105]



CHAPTER I.



Events of the War vietved in Connection 'doith oiir National
Resources.



In appropriating a portion of our volume to mili-
tary events, our object is to direct the reader's
attention to the effects produced by them on our
finances and national industry: — to enlarge on the
occurrences of a campaign or on the policy of cabi-
nets, would be, in a great measure, foreign to our
pur})ose. In some respects, however, the two de-
partments of enquiry are connected, the effect of
our military operations having been repeatedly felt
by our exchequer, and requiring of course frequent
notice in the subsequent pages. It seems advise-
able, consequently, that our reasoning should be
preceded by a brief sketch of the events of the
war ; an outline to which reference may be made
from the subsequent chapters, whenever we shall
have occasion to allude to the connexion between the
state of our finances and the aspect of a campaign.
Such a narrative, however cursory, will necessarily
lead us over beaten ground ; but we are not with-
out ho])es of introducing, particularly in regard to
France, occasional remarks that are not altogether
familiar to the public.

War o/" 1793. — Nothing wonUl have induced
Mr. Pitt to take part in tiie coahtion against France,

u



2 Jf'nr of179S.

except a Iiopi' llmt the contest would have l)een
hroui^ht to an early conclusion, and himself" left
at liberty to pursue those measures of finance
which had begun to wear so promising an aspect.
His apprehension of France could be only of a
j)olitical nature ; a dread of the example of insub-
ordination gaining ground, and of rank and j)r()-
perty becoming endangered. In a military sense,
France was far from formidable ; her army, in
1792*, did not exceed the usual peace establish-
ment of 130,000 men, and its strength was greatly
impaired by the emigration of its principal officers,
as well as by the general relaxation attendant on a
continental peace of thirty years. Her navy ha\-
ing occupied the attention of government during
and after the American war, was in a better state
than usual ; but its efficiency was impaired by the
general disorder of the country, and its aspect was
certainly far from offensive.

Under these circumstances our government,
though in intimate communication with the powers
that had taken up arms against France, delayed for
some time joining the coalition. The recall of our
ambassador from Paris was postponed till the insur-
rections of autumn 1792, and the subversion of the
royal authority ; nor did our preparations for war
commence till towards the end of the year. This
caution on our part, and the impetuosity of the
ruling faction in France, caused the declaration of
war to proceed in the first instance from Paris, and
created a general belief in this country that the
French were the aggi'essors. A speedy termination
in favour of the allied powers was promised as well
by general appearances as by the early events of

• Joraini sur les grandes Operations Militaires, Vol. Y.



IVar of 179.3. 3

tlie war, the Frencii being soon repulsed from tlie
Dutch frontier, and some time alter from the
Netherlands, wliile tlieir intestine divisions rose to
a height that tlu-catened the downfall of the repub-
lican system. A short time, however, sufficed to
show the fallacy of judging from appearances, and
of listening to representations so partial as those of
the emigrants. The great majority of the nation,
without cherishing either personal hostility to the
Bourbons or schemes of foreign conquest, were
strongly attached to the Revolution. They had
long felt the want of a representative assembly,
and regarded themselves as checked in the career
of honourable ambition by the preference shown to
the privileged classes. Without any distinct concep-
tion of the checks requisite to good government,
they entertained a sanguine hope that the revolu-
tion was about to prove a remedy for all their
grievances.

In such a state of national feeling, the resistance
to invasion would probably have been equal, what-
ever had been the result of the intestine divisions
of France. Had the Jacobui party been kept under
by the Girondists, the strength of the country
would still have been called forth ; the property of
emigrants confiscated ; circulation given to the
assignats, and military levies enforced on a large
scale. It was in the autumn of 1/93, and in tlie
early part of 179f^, that these potent leveis weie
made to display all their energy. They sent forth
armies, which, without being so numerous in the
field as was generally imagined, were assined of
an ample suj^ply of recruits ; an assurance that
justified the new plan of rendering a campaign a
reiteration of attacks, on the calculation, that, whe-
ther successful or Jiot, the coinilry which shonhl he

B 'Z
ft



4. //7//o/17f)3.

able to call the greatest mimbers into the field,
would eventually triumph. Such, with a few qua-
lifications, were the operations of lyo^ and 1791 :
o})erations in which the national im])etuosity M'as
called into full display; but the command being
fi'cquently placed in unskilful hands, the lives of
men were exposed with unexampled rashness. The
result of continued sacrifices on the one side, and
of feeble generalship, of deficient concert, on the
other, was that, in the early ])art of 1795, a total
change took place in the as})ect of the war. By
that time, France had acquired both the Austrian
Netherlands and the Dutch provinces, was on the
point of concluding peace with Prussia and Spain,
and reckoned only Austria and England as her
opponents.

From this time forward, we may believe with
confidence, that Mr. Pitt deeply regretted that
France had been attacked, and the nation driven
to exertions so pernicious to its assailants. He
saw that revolutionary contagion was no longer
to be dreaded, the credulity of the French, their
absurd extremes, their repeated changes, their sacri-
fice of one party to the other, having brought com-
plete discredit on their politics. His objections to
peace, very different from those in 179'2, were now
of a military character : — to negotiate with France
would have been to acknowledge inabihty to resist
her ; to leave the Netherlands in her hands, would
have been to concede that against which we had
contended for a century. He determined, there-
fore, to continue the war, with the aid of Austria ;
and the exertions of France might have been
equalled, perhaps surpassed, by the two allied go-
vernments, had they possessed the knowledge which
they afterwards acquired ; — had England directed
• ' 9



IVar of 1703. 5

her chief resources to continental warfare, and had
tlie Austrians opened their eyes to their errors in
tactics. The numbers of the French were now less
overwhehiiijig than in the time of the assignats ;
but their efficiency was greatly increased, tlieir sol-
diers had become well disciplined, and a number
of intelligent officers had been formed. Their sys-
tem of reiterated attack was continued; the national
ardour was kept in full exercise ; and to the auda-
city of the first years of the revolution was added,
under the command of such men as Bonaparte,
Moreau, Kleber, Hoche, Desaix, the advantage of
scientific combination. It is to superiority of ge-
neralship more than to superiority of numbers, that
we should attribute the reverses of the Austrians
in 1796 and 1797, followed by a peace (Campo
Formio) of which the preliminaries were signed
when three armies were in march to their capital.

What in these early years of the war was our
situation in regard to financial supplies ? A state
of war creates a sudden demand for money, by
su})eradding what may be termed the mercantile
operations of government to those of individuals.
The call for arms, clothing, and military stores,
forms a new demand on the manufacturing in-
dustry of the country, while tiie drain of men
for the public service, enhances both wages and
salaries. On the part of individuals, there takes
place a decrease in certain branches of industry,
a relinquishment of undertakings which can be
carried on only by cheaj) labour, or a low interest
of money ; but the diminution, in one sense, is by
no means {)roj)ortioned to the increase in tiie other.
Hence, a rise in the rate of interest, and a difficulty
in borrowing, even at an advanced premium. Of

B 3



6 War (>/' 171'3-

siic'li (liHiciiltics, anil ol" tlic expedients ad()])tctl to
meet thein, we liave had repeated examples, in our
history, (hiring the hist century and a half. It was
in the reign of king VVilliani that England first
took a })art in continental war, on a scale of great
and contiinied expcnce ; and that reign was ac-
cordingly the icraof tile ini])osition of the land-tax,
of the establishment of the bank of England, and
of the first currency of its jyaper.

It unfortunately happened that the demand for
money in the early years of tlie wars of the present
age, was coincident with unfavourable seasons,
our crops, both in 1794 and 179«5, being insuffi-
cient for our consumption. Hence, a necessity to
export coin lor the purchase of subsistence, as well
as for military pui'poses ; and hence those embar-
rassments so severely felt in the mercantile world
during 1793, 4, 5, 6, and from which we were not
effectually relieved until 1797* when there occurred
both a diminution of oiu' continental expenditure,
and a general acceptance, at home, of bank paper
for coin.

At this time, England stood alone in the conflict,
and the state of our finances was far from satisfactory ;
but our navy had in the course of the year (1797)
achieved a double triumph, and the war becoming
strictly maritime, our attitude, like that of France
in 1794, showed all the advantage possessed by a
nation, when combining its resources on its proper
element. The confidence thus inspired, and the
spirit roused by tlie extravagant ambition of the
French government, enabled i\Ir. Pitt to meet our
pecuniary difficulties, by a recourse to the plan
which we shall developc presently, — that of raising
supplies within the year ; a })lan to which, still
more than to the substitution of paper for coin,

11



IVar o/'iyOo. 7

was owing tlie surprizing increase that took place
in our financial receipts.

Tiie year 171)^ will long be remembered bv
those who distinguish particular e})oclis in a great
contest, as one of favourable commerce, of improved
exchanges, of an abundant harvest, anil of relief
liom tlie dread of invasion. The Frencli, discou-
raged by our naval array, and by the failure of
I heir expedition against Ireland, made a tacit ac-
knowledgment of the ho])elessness of an attack
on England, by directing their disposable force to
Egypt. The absence of this army, and our vic-
tory at Aboukir, revived the hopes of the Aus-
trians, who regarded the existing peace as a truce,
and who have, throughout the present age, shown
themselves so prompt to second our efforts, and to
take up arms against France.

The year 1799. — We come now to what is termed
the third coalition, or the third time that the allied
])owers commenced operations by land in the hope
of either changing the French government, or re-
covering a portion of lost territory. In adverting
to these remarkable aeras in the contest, it is fit to
recollect that the aggressions were not on the part
of France, and that, with the exception of 179'



Online LibraryJoseph LoweThe present state of England in regard to agriculture, trade and finance; with a comparison of the prospects of England and France → online text (page 2 of 40)