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forcible observations on the ruinous tendency of undue taxation, and on the benefit that might be expected from a diminution of certain duties ; in the hope that, the price being lower, the extended consumption would produce an equal or a greater revenue. In all this Mr. B. has our cordial assent; since nothing, we are assured, would be productive of greater relief than the practical application of these ideas, on a plan of considerable extent, and in conformity to the example of the commutation adopted in the case of tea at the end of the American war. Art. 24. Observations for the Use of Landed Gentlemen, on the
present State and future Prospects of the British Farmer. By Rusticus. 8vo. pp. 81. Edinburgh, Blackwood; London, Murray. 1817
Rusticus discovers much more knowlege of the subject than those generally evince who address themselves to the public through the humble medium of an ephemeral tract; and he is evidently conversant both with the practical routine of agriculture and with the works of eminent writers. He begins by treating of the amount of a farmer's capital, and by correcting the exaggerated notions which have prevailed of late years in that respect. Surveyors are accustomed to calculate rol. per acre as necessary to do justice to land, even when a considerable part is kept in pasturage: but the fact is that the farmers are possessed of no such sums, being in the habit of taking credit for various articles used by them, and of delaying the payment until a fund is provided by the sale of the crop. Again, although times were, generally speaking, highly favourable to the farmers during the war, the increase of price was accompanied by a corresponding increase of labour and taxes, and was followed, at no great distance, by a rise of rents. If we add to this the enhancement of all agricultural tools, &c., with a general disposition on the part of the farmers to lay out their money on improvements, we need not be surprized that, in the hour of trial, the pecuniary means of our farmers were found so inadequate to the struggle. Two years of low prices, and a deficient crop in a third, form an amount of loss which they are not likely to recover for a length of time.
The subject of the second section is the often-discussed theme of the corn-laws, which leads the writer to notice the principal causes of the late extension of our home-produce. This extension is owing not so much to the additional quantity of land brought into tillage, as to the improved culture of that which has long been under the plough ; as well as to the large and progressively increasing supplies received from Ireland, since the importation of Irish corn was laid open in 1806. The object of the pamphlet being to persuade our land-holders of the necessity of a general and permanent reduction of rent, it enters into the plan of the writer to estimate very lightly the operation of the corn-laws. Such bills afford, he admits, a temporary 'relief to the farmer, but the eventual benefit rests with the proprietor: but he does not object, like many other agricultural writers, to that very
important clause in the late act which permits the warehousing at all times of foreign corn; being aware that no abuse is likely to be made of this privilege in the case of a commodity so bulky and so liable to waste. Moreover, were this clause to be repealed, the merchant might still accomplish the same object by warehousing corn in foreign granaries. In these views he has our cordial concurrence; as well as in the very judicious arguments brought forwards (p. 43.) against all bounties on exportation. A more questionable part of the tract is that (p. 63. et seq.) in which the author presents us with his objections to the plan of regulating rents by reference to the price of corn; a plan certainly not admissible if the rent be varied from year to year, but which is by no means 'undeserving of attention if it should embrace a series of years, and be founded on a calculation comprehending various kinds of grain.
These and several other arguments, which our limits do not permit us to notice, are all introductory to the main object of the writer; viz, an estimate of the scale of reduction which landholders ought in his opinion to adopt, not merely from principles of humanity but from motives of interest. In the northern part of the kingdom, farms are almost always held on lease; so that the tenant cannot, as in many counties of England, give notice to quit on the occurrence of a change of circumstances ; he is bound by law to go on as long as he has any property remaining : but to force him to such an extremity would be both cruel and impolitic, in as much as it would have the effect of extinguishing, by the forced sale of his implements and other parts of his farming-stock, that capital to which the land-holder looks for the future cultivation of his ground. The advice to reduce income is by no means palatable to any class of the community: but the land-holder has no reason to complain on comparing his condition with that of the annuitant, of the naval or military officer, of the trader or manufacturer. The extent of sacrifice required should, in the opinion of this writer, be a return to the prices of 1802 ; a season in which land had considerably advanced, without reaching the extreme prices of recent years; and this, in Scotland, would imply an abatement of 25 or 30 per cent. No calculation is attempted for England ; and in course the ratio would be very different when we consider the great discrepancies (according to situations) in the ratio of enhancement: but, speaking generally, it is likely to be rather under than over the line drawn for our fellow-subjects in the North.
We are sorry that this able and argumentative composition is deficient in one material respect; that is, the writer has taken very little pains to make the different parts of the reasoning follow in their succession; and in some particular passages (as p. 38.) the attention of the reader is quite fatigued with the diffuseness and consequent obscurity of the style. Still, the publication deserves to rank greatly above the common run of pamphlets ; as may be seen on a mere reference to its beginning and its conclusion, which, by an odd coincidence, are much better than the middle of the tract.
Art. 25. Prosperity Restored ; or, Reflections on the Cause of
the Public Distresses, and on the only Means of relieving them. By the Author of the “ Remedy, or Thoughts on the present Distresses.” 8vo.
Sewed. Baldwin and Co.
We have here one of the most elaborate and at the same time most singular of the long list of pamphlets produced by the present emergency; the author discovering at times very sound notions and an exemption from current prejudices, while on other occasions, he deals out erroneous views with a lavish hand and with the gravest conviction of his own'accuracy. Heappears to deem himself superior to all subordinate aids, such as previously arranging his materials and dividing them into chapters or sections; since he commits his thoughts to writing exactly as they occur, and disdains to restrain his happy fluency for the sake of the insignificant advantage that might be derived from a revisal and fresh collocation of his reasonings. As it would exhaust the patience of the most laborious reviewer to supply this defect, and to exhibit a systematic analysis of this multifarious production, we must content ourselves with a cursory notice of its merits and demerits. In several points, the writer is very right, such as in asserting that an extreme fall in the price of corn is replete with eventual injury to the consumers : but what a contrast is exhibited by other parts, in which the effect of taxation is compared to the effects of improved machinery, and a new impost is said to do no more injury to the country than the introduction of a threshing machine to the labourers of a particular district ? · All our misfortunes are owing, in the opinion of this writer, to the action of circumstances on our currency; and the Bullion-Committee is declared to have been more prejudicial to the country than our long contest, with Bonaparte. The true way; says the author, of restoring our currency to an efficient state is to extend the Bank-restriction-act for ten years ; and to make the Bank issue a quantity of additional notes on bonds, bills, and other securities, at five per cent. interest. Most people are of opinion that the Bank has dealt rather largely in the way of issues : but this idea has no weight with the present author; and, though money be now so plentiful that mercantile bills are currently discounted for less than five per cent., he cannot help regretting that the public continues blind to the want of an additional circulation, and that no one should have thought of increasing it, when ' a single act of parliament would have created a thousand millions in an hour!' Art. 26. Cursory Hints on the Application of Public Subscriptions,
in providing Employment and Relief for the Labouring Classes. In a Letter to the Editor of " The Times.” By a Member of the University of Oxford. 8vo. 18. Murray. 1817.
Those, and those only, who are doomed to toil through the pages of new publications can form an idea of the gratification afforded to a reviewer, by passing from the ordinary farrago of the press to a tract of superior interest! If we cannot say that the one before us is by any means a finished composition, for it seems to
have been written straight forwards and with little attention to method, yet the views which it contains are marked by knowlege, reflection, and benevolence. The writer is anxious that, in providing employment for the labouring classes, we should avoid interfering with the established master-tradesmen, and that we should select for them work of such a kind as would not otherwise be executed. An ample field will be found for this sort of culture in public local improvements, which it is no one person's duty in particular to undertake, and which could scarcely have been an object to any existing trade.
• It becomes of the greater consequence,' says the writer, that what is done be well directed. Erroneous views and ill-chosen plans may throw a neighbourhood into embarrassment and collision, with much jealous, discontented feeling. The very industry of the country may be employed to its harm and its generosity encrease its burdens. Charity formerly affected no plan; it gave freely, and meant nothing more. Now that it pretends to act upon thought, it subjects itself to rules and takes more reason along with it. It should understand its own limited powers, and take its measures accordingly. It should wish to close its commission as soon as possible. It should therefore endeavour to keep the master and capitalist in every branch (who is the proper and direct patron of the labourer and mechanic) as strong and efficient as possible.'
The rate of wages to be given under the patronage of public funds ought, on the most humane considerations, to be low ; because, if it were otherwise, the subscriptions would soon be found inadequate. The choice of the work should also be very simple; because some of the workmen will be aukward, and all will be under the eye of a relaxed control, - inferior in regularity and vigilance to that which a commanding personal interest would inspire. Similar reasons lead the writer to question the policy of what are currently called ' cheap shops ;' which supplant, to a certain extent, the ordinary dealers in the commodity, and disguise to the consumer the real price of the article: creating perhaps an indiscreet consumption, or causing a premature drain of the supply. . Let us always remember,' he adds, - that the only effectual relief in a case of high price is to be sought in the conduct of the lower orders. Theirs is the great demand and theirs the great consumption ; - example from above is the beautiful and reconciling authority for parsimonious forbearance; but example is only the beginning of the account.'
Such are a few brief specimens of the elegant and judicious observations which flow so easily from the pen of this writer. Art. 27. England
England may be extricated from her Difficulties, con- . sistently with the strictest Principles of Policy, Honour, and Justice. By a Country Gentleman. 8vo. pp. 60. Hatchard.
Like many other country-gentlemen, this individual of that body is highly ministerial: but he performs his part so aukwardly, that the lords of the ascendapt” can have no great reason to congratulate themselves on his co-operation. He begins with a
re.capitulation of the causes of our distress, and dwells with a singular propensity to repetition on the imprudence of our farming brethren in launching forth in the day of their prosperity, and bringing up their daughters to play music and figure in foreign dances. One of his plans for remedying the unfortunate embarrassment of the present day is a treaty of commerce with the Con. tinent, on the plan not of leaving merchants at perfect liberty, but of a rigid balance of exports and imports, viz. that we should buy from our neighbours corn or other produce exactly in proportion as they should take our manufactures. Another equally sagacious recommendation is that of reviving the income-tax; after which, and a few more happy discoveries, the author concludes with the significant assurance that these are all that are wanting to extricate
England from her difficulties.' Art. 28. The State of the Country discussed, in a Number of
Questions and Answers; by which some Principles of Political Economy are explained and enforced. The whole being an Argument for the Abolition of Sinecures, and for Parliamentary Reform; addressed to all who feel an Interest in the Welfare and Prosperity of the Country. By Mercator. 8vo. pp. 88. 25. 6d. Hunter. 1817.
The worst parts of this pamphlet are the passages prominently set forth in the title as directed to the abolition of sinecures and of parliamentary reform; these topics, at least the latter, requiring the pen of a writer far superior to Mercator. The rest of the tract is occupied with an exposition of the principles of political economy, and conveys several useful notions in a clear and popular form; beginning with an explanation of the causes of the present distress, and passing on to questions connected with the corn-laws, the price of labour, the condition of the farmers, the effect of excessive taxation, &c. We have often heard of an odd inequality in the productions of the same writer, but we have seldom seen it more curiously exemplified than in the case before us, the preface and the concluding passages being much inferior to the rest of the pamphlet.
The National Debt in its true Colours, with Plans for its Extinction by honest Means. By William Frend, Esq. M. A. Actuary to the Rock Life Assurance Company, and Author of “ Evening Amusements,” &c. 8vo. pp. 36. Mawman. 1817:
The pressure of public distress seems to have induced Mr. F. to suspend for an interval his astronomical labours, and to direct his calculating powers to keep up the spirits of his countrymen. This little tract does not contain any estimate of the amount of the national debt, or any attempt to lessen the current notion of its magnitude; the author being satisfied that the discharge of the principal is a very remote question, and that we may be well pleased if we pay the dividends regularly and lay the basis of an eventual liquidation. He has no doubt of our being able to pay these dividends, notwithstanding all our embarrassments; and, if we cannot coincide with him respecting the expected aid from