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the amount of the protection ; and here the The following tables, compiled from sevstruggle lay between a formidable associa- eral parliamentary returns and public docution, acting on and by the strength of pop-ments, will not only elucidate the present ular prejudices and passions, and clamour- discussion, but afford some statistical data ing for the abolition of all duty-and that which are worth preserving, as well for the great and respectable body, including most facts they establish as for the doubts* they of the property and intelligence of the here and there excite. country, who-adhering to protecting du We shall begin by exhibiting at one ties as the best, and, indeed, only mode of view the Old and New Scales of duty on insuring a constant and regular supply—are wheat, to which all other grain is generally well aware that the rates ought to go no proportionate. Our readers will observe higher than will suffice for that object. We that 8d. appears in each rate of the old therefore believe that there are very few scale; this was not so at first;—but 8d. was of even the most exclusive agriculturists added to the scale in consequence of the who would contend that the rate of duties change from the Winchester to the impeestablished in 1828 was not now fairly sus- rial measure, made subsequent to the oriceptible of some diminution, and that it ginal act. would have been politic, or even possible, to have maintained them at so high a scale.
per Quarter. S.
S. At 36 under 37 37
46 46 47
73 73 and upwards
19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 18 16 13 10 6 2 1
55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66
56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67
12 11 10 9 8 7 6
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
There are many discrepancies as to details, and jects for which the accounts were made—some from even as to totals, in the various documents from different modes of computation—but none are conwhich we have compiled these tables, arising, no siderable enough to disturb the general results. doubt, from the different periods and different ob
We have begun the foregoing view of A vast proportion of the duties received the old scale at 36s. price and 21. 10s. 8d. under it was at the rates which are not alduty, because they were the extreme points tered- viz. 1s. and 28. duty on 738. price; practically attained during the operation of and the proportion received beyond the that scale, but by law there was an increase point where the new scale terminates-viz. of 1s. duty for every fall of ls. in the price, 208. duty on 50s. price-was, compared so that, if we could suppose the price to with the total amounts, inconsiderable. On have fallen to 103. a quarter, the duty would the other hand, the protection afforded by have risen to 31. 16s. 8d.
the new scale, though lower and more liSir Robert Peel intended by his new mited, will be found more steady, and, we scale to make a considerable diminution of believe, more effective-as it will greatly the duty, and has done so; but the differ- diminish, if it does not wholly prevent, those ence between the two scales is much greater frauds which were equally injurious to the in appearance than in reality-the higher producer and the consumer. protections of the old scale being in fact We next give a return of the nominal, and, we may almost say, delusive.
Average Prices and Total Quantities of Foreign Wheat and Wheat Flour entered for Home
Consumption, with the Average Rate and Total Amount of Duties paid thereon, with the Average Prices of Flour for each year during the operation of the Act 9 Geo. W., c. 60, from the 15th July, 1828, to the 29th April, 1842.
This table shows that averages, spread only 700 qu ters; and the last four, as over wide periods of time, may be very fal- much as 2,300,000 quarters. It is quite lacious in several ways. The total import clear that, for a country that sometimes rein fourteen years being about 15,000,000, quires to import a tenth part of its annual writers have stated that we import annually consumption, and at other times needs little somewhat more than a million of quarters or no importation at all, a fixed duty would of corn, and as our total annual consump- be an untenable absurdity, which would tion (for seed and food) is calculated at alternately ruin the producer and starve about 24,000,000, the import has been stat- the consumer. The reader will also obed at a fortnight's consumption. Now this, serve that the general average given by the if true, would imply both a regular import sliding scale is 2s. 5d. less than the 8s. fixand a regular supply at home, and in that ed duty proposed by the Whigs; so that case something might be said for a fixed this scheme for cheap bread would have duty; but, in fact, we see that, in the first raised the price of the loaf in the proportion four years, the average importation was of about one-third for the last fourteen years. about 1,200,000 quarters; the next four, ) We confess, however, that we do not much
rely on these yearly averages of duty; they great markets does not influence, as directare liable to individual disturbances, which ly as might be expected, the price of flour reuder them unsafe guides when there have in detail. In 1828, when wheat and flour been great fluctuations. Let us take, for were at 60s. 5d., Greenwich Hospital paid example, a case which happened in 1839, for the sack of four 46s. 60. ; when in and which happens in a greater or less de- 1832, wheat had fallen 18. 9d the quarter, gree every year-14,000 (in round num- the sack of flour rose 8s. Id.; and in 1839, bers) quarters of wheat were imported early when wheat had risen to 70s. Sd., flour felí in the year at 1s. duty ; 700 quarters were to 52s. 2d. In the deluge of papers which also imported late in the same year at 20s. have been called for in this corn-contro-the duty on the whole would be 14001., versy, we are surprised not to find any and the average of the whole would be return of the successive prices of bread-stated at 1s. 104d. Yet who can doubt that which, being really what the lawyers call the ls. paid on 14,000 quarters would be, the gist of the whole case, we should have for all practical purposes, a fairer measure expected to find a prominent object of inof the effect of the duty on the general quiry; but it has not been sn, and the market than 1s. 108d. ? Again; we have imperfect information we have privately vow before us an official document which gathered, coupled with the strange disstates the average duty for Michaelmas i crepancy between the prices of wheat in the quarter, 1841, at 168. 8d., to which is ap- official averages and of flour in the Greenpended a note to say that the real average wich books, induces us to suspect that the was only at 1s. ld. This enigma we sup- actual prices of bread might offer very difpose means that there was during all the ferent results from the official prices of earlier part of the quarter a very high duty, corn. at which little was entered, which in the The following account, which ranges the very last days fell to 1s.-when a large im- whole of the quantities of wheat imported portation was effected : and we shall see under the respective rates of duty actually more fully by and bye that the stated aver-paid, is more valuable it rests neither on age of 58. 7d. on the whole period is very averages nor on any other conjectural data, much higher than the real and effective rates but is the exact statement of the real opeof duty. We must also notice in this table ration. that the price of wheat and flour in the
The price of bread has recently-while this, in London being 8jd. per 4 lb. loaf, it follows that article was printing-attracted considerable notice, the price of bread is 301 per cent. higher in London and a kind of controversy has arisen as to the fair than in Paris. If the price here is taken at 8d., as ness of our bakers' prices. We extract from the stated by some bakers, the price in London will Times of the Bih of September, the following in- still be rather more than 23 per cent. higher than in teresting statement of the relative prices in London Paris. and Paris :
The price of bread of the second quality in Paris 'The fairest mode of investigating this matter ap- is 30 cents. per kilogramme, which is equal to about pears to be, to take a large city, such as Paris, where 5d. per 4 lb. English weight; and the price at which an assize or legal price of bread exists, and which bread is sold in London by some of ihe low-priced has continued for many years to work well in de bakers being 6d. per 4 lb., it follows that bread of this tail; and to compare the prices now prevailing there description is 20 per ceni, higher in London than in and here, both of the manufactured article and the Paris. raw material, and then see where the difference These are very remarkable facts—and particular
ly the statement that in France, a country generally 'The highest price of white wheat of the first so cheap as compared to England, and where there quality in Paris is 38 francs per 14 hectolitre, which are no corn-laws, wheat is at a price equivalent to is cqual to a price of 58s. per quarter English: and 58s. per quarter English. We very much doubt the highest price of white wheat in London being whether the current-price here was higher on the 60s. per quarter, it follows that wheat is 38 per cent. same day, we know that in some markets it has higher in London than in Paris.
been lower. The highest price of the finest wheaten flour in As to the variations in the price of bread, it is Paris is 70 francs per 159 kilogrammes, which is clear that they cannot, fortunately, be so rapid as equal to a price of 44s. per sack of 280 lbs. English; those in the price of corn, and that, for many reaand the highest price of flour in London being 478. sons, bread must be somewhat dearer than even the per sack, ii follows that flour is nearly 7 per cent. average price of wheat might seem strictly to wardearer in London than in Paris.
rant: every step in the process from the wheat. • The price of wheaten bread of the first quality field to the baker's counter--operates as a rest which in Paris is 38 cents. per kilogramme, which is equal tends to level and to steady, though at the same time to a price of 61d. per 4 lb. loaf English weight: and to raise the retail prices. the price of bread at most of the full-priced bakers'
The total quantity of foreign wheat and flour imported between 1828 and 1841 was 15,034,794 qrs., * of which there came in At 1s. duty,
6,392,258 qrs. 2s. 8d.
3,177,016 6s. 8d.
2,175,666 10 8d.
903,915 13s. 8d.
710,084 16s. 8d.
376,131 18s. 8d.
92,542 20s. 8d.
412,425 At all rates of duty from 20s. 8d. to 25s. 8d.
572,201 25s. 8d. to 30s. 8d.
217,827 30s. 8d. to 40s. 8d.
4,688 40s. 8d. to 50s. 8d.
221 above 21. 10s.
We think this account shows that, for all deranging the trade, discouraging the fair practical purposes, the New scale, varying trader, frequently ruining the speculator from 18. io il., has a sufficient range, and himself, and defeating the main object-a there is reason to believe that it will afford constant and steady supply. It became, a sufficient protection.
that therefore, absolutely necessary that these 9,569,274 qrs., considerably above three-jumps should be removed, and that the fifths of the whole importation, came in at slight and equable advance of each step of the prices of 72s. and 73s., and at the two the scale should be introduced to diminish, lower rates of duty, which are not altered ; if not wholly prevent, all fraudulent disturband that considerably above four-fifths ance of the market; and when that was to (12,648,855 qrs.) came in at the four lowest be done, it would have been, as we have rates of duty, which are the least altered, already said, impolitic-even if it had been and which are altered merely by following possible—to evade a general revision of the out the general principle of advancing one scale so as to fit it to the prices at which shilling each step, and thus removing the experience had shown us that it was likely chasms and jumps which did so much mis- to be called into operation. We believe chief and afforded the most plausible objec- that considerable improvements--although tions to the system. As to the entries at no great extension of arubility—have been the highest rates, they were obviously acci- made and are in progress in practical agri. dental and of no importance either as affect- culture; and we venture to anticipate ing prices or protection. In short, it is much benefit from the influence of the clear that the chief business—that which recently formed Agricultural Association, alone can, in ordinary times, operate in a which, we trust, will direct the application large way-must lie among the lower rates, of science to the first and most important and there was certainly the defect of the of the Arts ; but, looking at what has been former scale, which jumped 4s. on each of practically done, we do not think that any its second and third steps—from 28. 8d. to one is sanguine enough to suppose that the 68. 8d., and from 6s. 80. to 10s. 8d., and increased supply from the British soil has then at 2s. each step up to 20s, after which as yet been at all proportionable to the init went on at the regular increase of 1s. We creasing demand. Whence are the four or need not now examine why Mr. Huskisson five millions of additional mouths that have permitted these jumps in the earlier and grown upon us since 1821 to be fed ? more important stages; suffice it to say Art,' says the sage, “is longlife is short ! that experience has shown, and all parties Can we wait for the slow experiments of are agreed, that they have had an injurious the Davys and Liebigs? Here are the effect. The possibility of making a profit people swarming upon us! And will any of 4s. and 8s. in the duty, on the rise of 1s. rational man--be he farmer or he he landand 2s. in the price, was a strong incentive lord-say that we should not endeavour to to fraud of various kinds---frauds which we create increased facilities for meeting an admit appeared to be generally in favour of increasing deficiency? The strongest adthe consumer by tending to the introduction vocates of the agricultural interest admit, of corn at a lower duty, but which were in we believe, that in the most favourable truth injurious to everybody, by artificially season Great Britain can do little more
The difference between this sum and the total ported which were excluded from the former account of the foregoing table is . ne of those discrepancies of the nel duties received—but the variance is of no to which we have alluded: it arises from this importance. account including some amounts damaged or ex-i
than feed herself; and we most readily , practised in public affairs, some of them admit, nay, insist, that for all that she can parties to the former arrangement, and raise she ought to be secured, as far as essentially and almost exclusively belonging human means can do so, a remunerating, to the landed interest, have recommended a and, we will even add, an encouraging scale which the representatives of the market; for, as the home supply is the only landed and all other interests throughout safe and certain supply, it should be, we the country have passed with little objecsay—more for the interests even of the tion, and we therefore indulge a very conconsumer than of the producer-not merely fident hope that it will be found sufficient remunerated but encouraged. The question to fulfil its object. then is as to the degree of encouragement Our experience is as yet too short to en- • necessary to maintain—and to stimulate-able us to speak decidedly of its effect, but the exertions of the home producer. as far as it has gone it has produced some
The solution of that question must be singularly satisfactory results, as the fol. always in a great degree conjectural and lowing table of the weekly operation of experimental. A Cabinet of able men, long the new Act will show :Account of Wheat and Wheat Flour entered for Home Consumption at ten of the principal ports of
Great Britain in each week since the passing of the new Corn Law, with the Average Price and Rates of Duty.
Thus we see that from the 28th of April ( for the first week, ending 5th of May, havto the 3d of September, the latest possible ing been 59s. ld., and the average of the date, the importation of foreign wheat and seventeen succeeding weeks has been 62s. flour at ten principal ports has been no less id.—the average of fourteen preceding than 2,457,931 qrs., being considerably years having been only 59s. The farmer, more than was imported in all Great Bri- therefore, bas, as yet, lost no protection to tain in any whole year (except 1839) of the the price from the new scale * -nor, on the existence of the late law; and, be it ob- other hand, has the Revenue suffered, for served that this importation has been made the average duty paid during the existence in the face of a most promising harvest, of the late scale was only 5s. 7d. per gr., and with less irregularity than any corres- while the average of the late importation ponding period. Well, then, here is at has been 8s. 4d.; but, without reckoning by least a very unusual supply of food for the people—but does it ruin the farmer? We fulfils its promise, prices must fall; and the dealers
* There can be little doubt that, if the harvest see by this return that, during the progress evidently expect ihis, as they have made such largo of this extraordinary importation, the price entries al 8s. and 9s. duty; but we still hope and has been in the home market comparatively believe that the farmers will find a remunerating steady-affording, however, a considerable market, and we are quite sure that their position is,
on the whole, safer than it would have been under advance from the starting point--the price the former scalo.