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The rise in the price of agricultural cultivation is only profitable beproduce, at one and the same time cause of the existence of a class of raises rent, and makes it practicableto persons who are willing to give the cultivate land less fertile, or whose cultivators a remunerating price; in powers have been decayed. But proportion as demand thus presses There is no foundation for the invert- upon supply, in the same proportion ed proposition, that it is only when will it be profitable to cultivate land the powers of land decay, that there upon which, in order to produce the will be rent. There would be rent same returns, more of capital and of though there was no such thing as labour must be expended. But it decayed or inferior land within the is the previous willingness to give circle to which a given community the price, which in every case causes is limited for its supply, as soon as the cultivation of the land; not the the demand for corn began to press cultivation of the land which induces against the limits of the produce. a necessity of giving the price. In The fact of there being either decay- other words, it is the market that ed or inferior land at all, is itself but governs the farmer, not the farmer an accident, which might have been the market. or might not have been, like the fact It is true that the expenses of culof there being weak or inferior spi. tivation will determine, in one direcrits; and has no more to do with the tion, the price for which corn will general cause of rent, than the fact be sold ; that is, it will determine of there being weak spirits has to do its lowest price, which may rise, with the general fact of spirits sell. however, “ to an extent only limited ing for a price. If any man were to by the circumstances of the particuassert that proof spirits sold for a lar case, whenever the competition high price, because there were weak, increases the price faster than the er spirits that were selling for a outlay the produce."— True Theory lower, it would be clear that the of Rent, p. 17. whole was a fallacy, cultivated for Supposing all land to be subject the sake of the inference. The case to tithe, (which is not the case unie of rent is of the same kind; and the versally,) and supposing all land for false inference, for the sake of which the first time brought into cultivation the fallacy is cultivated, is that tithes subject to tithe, (which is not the fall on the consumer.”
case at all,) upon these suppositions, We have chosen to state the ques. the produce of nine-tenths of the tion, not as it may be said to exist land must be sufficient to remunerate between churchmen and economists, the cultivators, before the whole of but between different classes of the it can be brought into cultivation; economists themselves. Colonel and therefore the consumers must Thomson is no bigot. He cannot be pay the tithe, provided the tithe is the reckoned amongst the friends of the only residuum, after the expenses of Church as a religious establishment cultivation have been paid. For, in On many, and on vital questions, the this case, there can be no rent ; the Destructives claim him as their own. tithe, the profits of stock, and the But he is a well-informed gentleman, wages of labour, absorbing the whole whose time in the University was of the treasure. Or, if the tithe be not thrown away; and the labour considered a rent, as in truth it is, which he bestowed on the severer here is a case in which rent must be sciences has so disciplined his mind paid by the consumer. But, even in and sharpened his intellect, that he this extreme case, it is to be observed, sees at a glance the weak points in that it is the willingness of the conthe positions of his less lettered sumers to pay the tax which induces brethren, whose reasonings are as the growers to cultivate, not a disinaccurate as their principles are position on the part of the growers dangerous.
to cultivate, which compels the conThis able logician has stated the sumers to pay the tax. matter at issue with a candour that Viewing the matter in this light, commands respect, and a clearness (which the reader will be good that renders comment unnecessary. enough to hold in mind is not the Land is cultivated only because the practical view of the question,) ecocultivation of it is profitable; such nomists have represented tithe as though it diminished by one-tenth conclusive reasoning of the Edinthe fertility of land. Because the burgh Review ; an authority which farmer must be content to remune- we will not be accused of selecting rate himself out of nine-tenths, it is, because of its partiality to the claims they say, as though the other tenth of a Church establishment. Having were not in existence. But this is admitted that the principle of Ricarnot so. Undoubtedly, if the fertility do holds good under the circumof the land were reduced by one- stances which he has supposed, the tenth, provided the same relation sub- reviewer observes, “ that these are sisted between supply and demand, not the circumstances under which the former must get for the nine- the ayriculturists of Great Britain tenths as much as he, under other are, or ever have been placed. So far, circumstances, would get for the indeed, is it from being true that all, whole. The case to be considered, or nearly all, our lands are affected however, is one where the farmer by the burden of tithe, that it gets a price for the nine-tenths suffi- appears that almost a third part of cient to cover the expenses of the the land of England and Wales is whole, and where another party, the exempt from it, exclusive of consiclergyman, for instance, gets a pre- derable tracts in Ireland, and of the sent of the other tenth. Now this whole of Scotland. And such being other tenth will, undoubtedly, be em- the case, it is quite idle to suppose ployed in encouraging the industry that the cultivators of the tithed lands of various tradesmen and manufac- have had any power so to narrow turers, and, so far, in contributing the supply of corn brought to marto the effectual demand which ena- ket, as to throw any considerable bles the farmer to cultivate:-and so portion of the burden of tithes on far as it has this effect, it must be re- the consumers. Had the extent of garded, pro tanto, as an abatement of tithe-free land been inconsiderable, the tax; for, if the imposition of a they might have thrown the greater tithe enhance the selling price of part of it upon them ; but when they corn, the existence of tithe constitutes have had to come into competition, an additional fund which enables the not with a few, but with a third of purchasers to pay it. This is a case the cultivators of England, and all where diminution of amount is in some those of Scotland, it is obvious that degree compensated by increase of the price of corn must have been revalue ; for what is taken from the gulated by the price for which it can farmer is not destroyed, but convert- be raised on the last lands cultivated ed into equivalents, by which the that are free from tithe, and not by worth of the remainder is augmented. what it could be raised for on the
But ours is a practical question. last lands cultivated that are subject We are more concerned with the real to that charge. It appears, therestate of the case, than with one which fore, that if the whole land of the has not, as far as we know, been at empire had been subject to tithes, any time realized anywhere, and the proposition advanced by Mr which, while the law remains as it Ricardo, that tithes do not fall on is, could not possibly be realized in rent, but on the consumer, would, the British Empire. For more than under the existing restraints on imone-third of the land in Great Britain portation, have been strictly true. is, or may be considered as, TITHE- Inasmuch, however, as this is not our FREE. According to a statement in situation—as a very large proportion the Edinburgh Encyclopædia, (Vol. of our lands is not subject to tithes, ix. p. 32,) the total annual value of and the cultivators of the tithed lands all the land in England and Wales, in are, in consequence, without the 1815, amounted to L.29,476,850. It means of limiting the supply and also appears, that lands of the annual raising the prices, the proposition advalue of L.7,904,378, are wholly vanced by Dr Smith, that tithes contithe.free; while lands of the annual stitute a portion of the rent of the value of L.856,183 are tithe-free in land, and that their payment has no part; and lands of the annual value effect on the price of corn, IS MOST of L.498,823 pay only a low modus. CERTAINLY CORRECT." Now upon these facts we cannot do So far the reviewer is perfectly better than avail ourselves of the conclusive. It is clearly and unde
VOL. XXXIII. NO. CCV.
niably true, that tithe cannot con- 'might almost pass for a truism, stitute any part of the market price namely, that the market governs the of corn, when that price is regulated farmer, not the farmer the market. If by the produce raised upon lands that be true, it is undoubtedly true, that are tithe-free, And it must, that the farmer, in taking land, will generally speaking, be so regulated, consider not what price he may be when so large a proportion of the able to extort, but what price the publands employed in agriculture is so lic are willing to give for his produce. circumstanced. Price rises, not be. His bargain with the landlord will, cause tithe is paid, but because de- therefore, be made with reference to mand presses against supply. No existing prices, and he will consent man will cultivate his ground merely to pay only such a rent as leaves in order to pay a tithe, if he can do him able to pay the other burdens to nothing more. Price must have risen which the land is liable, after having in consequence of an increase in the replaced his capital and realized his effectual demand, before land which profits. At least, no prudent man is subject to tithe will be cultivated; would make any other kind of barand thus the market price of all pro- gain. It may be added, that if the duce grown upon the lands of a farmer may govern the market so as better quality will have so far ex to make the consumer pay the tithe, ceeded the cost price, as to leave, there is no reason why he may not after paying the profits of stock and also
govern it so as to make him pay the wages of labour, a very consi- the rent, or, indeed, to carry prices derable residuum, which will be to any height that might be dictated shared between the clergyman and by his cupidity. the landlord; the clergyman separa
But farmers have no such power ting his tenth, and the landlord ap. over the market. If they had, it propriating the remainder.
would be, ultimately, most injurious But we do not agree with this able to themselves. Like other dealers, writer, that even if all lands were they will consider themselves suffisubject to a uniform tithe, that bur- ciently remunerated if they are able den could be thrown upon the con to replace their capita), with the ordisumer in any case, beyond the pre- nary profits of stock. And like other cise point of time when the market dealers they will only calculate upon price was just sufficient to pay the being able so to do, when a willingtithe, the profits of stock, and the ness to give remunerating prices has other expenses of cultivation. Up been previously evinced by the pubto that point of time, the land would lic. To act upon any other principle, not be cultivated; for no one would would be to reverse the maxim consent to cultivate it at a loss. And which, in all such matters, usually after that point of time there would governs the conduct of mankind. begin to accumulate that residuum If farmers may throw the tithe on above the cost price, which consti the consumers, in the manner Ricartutes the fund out of which tithe do has supposed, there is no reason and rent must be finally paid. So why they might not throw upon them that the tithe would be thrown up a sum equivalent to tithe, supposing upon what may be denominated the tithe to be extinguished. So that, at surplus profits; and, therefore, could all events, the public would not benot, in any such case, constitute any nefit by their extinction, unless farportion of the expenses of produc- mers may be supposed to be more tion.
willing to pay a tax, than to realize This, however, will be said to be a personal advantage. the question-Would it be thus 'If the landowner united in his thrown up, or would it be projected own person the characters of landupon the consumers ?
Projected lord and cultivator, it is clear that upon the consumers, say Ricardo and the charge of tithe must fall upon his disciples; because corn is a ne him. And we fully subscribe to the cessary which the public must pur dictum of Colonel Thomson, “ that chase, and for which the farmers can, what he cannot keep himself, he can accordingly, get their own price. never recover from others by the inNow this position directly contra vention of selling it to them with dicts what we should have thought their eyes open."
“ If it is urged,” says the Colonel, guesses may be rough and imperfect " that such landowners might reco- the first year, they will be better in ver the tax from the consumers, by every succeeding year, and will in raising the price of corn,—the an. the end attain to the greatest exactswer is, that the operation of their ness that can be desired. But if the individual interests will prevent it. price of barley is raised through the If they raise the price of corn, it is quantity being diminished, the prices manifest that less must be sold. A of some other kinds of produce must high price spins out the consumption fall, through the quantity grown of a deficient harvest, and would being increased, for the land will cause only a portion of equal magni- be employed in growing something tude to be consumed out of a plenti. else. The landowners, therefore, ful one. But none of the landowners furnish the tax, and in the first inwould place so much confidence in stance recover it from the consuunion among his brethren, as either mers of barley in the price. But on to throw away corn already in his the other hand they suffer a reducbarns, when he had the option of tion of the prices of other kinds of selling it or refuse to grow it, when produce; which makes a deduction by the sale of it he could obtain what from their recovery of the tax, and a he considers a reasonable profit. The set-off to the consumers of agriculquantity of corn grown and sold, tural produce against the increased therefore, will not be diminished by price paid for the article taxed. The any such combination; and if the consumers of beer pay a higher price quantity is not diminished, the price for their barley, and consume less; for which it is sold cannot be increa- but the consumers of wheat or of sed. If there was no monopoly gain, something else, pay a lower price for the case would be very different in- what they consume, and consume deed. For then the tax would oblige more. There is some loss of busithe landowners to contract their ness to maltsters, brewers, and publigrowth, till the price rose to what cans ; but there is an increase of would pay them for their trouble; business to millers, bakers, or whoin the same manner as other produ- ever are the dealers in the articles cers do in similar circumstances. whose consumption is increased. And the landowners themselves will "And as no man lives on beer alone, actually do this, with respect to that the tax will be compensated, at portion of their produce which will all events, in a certain degree, not not pay them the necessary profits only to the consumers of agricultural of stock."
produce in the aggregate, but to His observations are no less valu. every individual consumer of beer able or conclusive upon that case, also. And if it should turn out in the which has furnished their most plau- end, that the aggregate gains of the sible topics to the advocates of the consumers, by the reduction of the contrary opinion.
prices of other things, are equal to “ The cheval de bataille of those their losses by the rise of barley, who believe that taxes on agricultu- or, in other words, that they have paid ral produce fall on the consumers, is the same sum for the whole produce the malt tax. If a tax is laid on malt, as before,—the consumers will be just the price of beer rises till the tax is where they were, with the exception recovered to the dealers; and it of the altered proportions which would do the same if the tax were have been forced upon them, and laid on barley. What then, they say, the landowners will have furnished so clear as that the tax falls on the the tax without recovery." consumers? The fallacy here is in Nor, upon the assertion that, inasbringing forward only half the case. much as tithe has a tendency to throw If a tax is laid on barley, the quan- a certain portion of land out of cultivatity of land laid down with barley tion, and thereby create a diminution will be diminished, in such a manner of produce, the price must be raised as according to the guesses of the till it makes the produce the same as growers will cause the price to rise to · before, because men cannot yo without what, after paying the tax, will make the produce, are his reasonings less it as advantageous to grow barley as pertinent or constraining. any thing else. And though the “ “ The fallacy,” he says, “ here, as
has been mentioned already is in the sentence more. Colonel Thomson has inattention to the nature of effectual settled the question. Tithe is not paid demand, and the assumption that the by the consumer, even as rent is not produce cannot be diminished. It is paid by the consumer. Both are not true that men say, ' we must and paid out of that surplus fund which, will have such and such a quantity according to the settled laws which of corn, whatever may be the price. regulate the growth and the sale of But they say, ' we will have as much agricultural produce, must be accuas it is more convenient for us to mulated, though neither landlords nor pay for at the price for which the clergymen were in existence. grower will grow it, than do without Upon the whole, we are not surit.' It is a question of equilibrium, prised at the prejudice which some between the inconvenience of pay of our political economists cherish ing a high price, and the incon. against Universities. They must convenience of economizing in the use of sider that, by their means, in the percorn; and whatever may be the laws son of Colonel Thomson, a most by which the magnitude of these two hopeful disciple has been woefully inconveniences severally vary, there perverted. Had it not been for his must be an equilibrium somewhere, pernicious scientific education, and at a point short of consuming the old his acquaintance with logic, he never quantity. That men cannot live with would have been a dissenter from out a certain quantity, meaning there their views, or led to question the by some quantity, of food, is true; soundness of the principles upon but it is not true that men are living which they proposed to carry on on a fixed quantity, which will not their sapping and mining operations be diminished on an increase of price. against the Established Church. At the siege of Gibraltar, General Before we take leave of him, we Elliott ascertained by experiment cannot but observe, that, while we upon himself, that a man can live on are thankful for the instruction which four ounces of food per day. If this his pages have imparted to us, we is assumed as the smallest quantity lament that his discussion of the on which life can be sustained, it is question has not been somewhat more still, in the first place, not true that expanded. We fear that many of his the community, or any considerable readers will have reason to consiportion of its members, are living on der him liable to the censure which four ounces of food per day; and, Horace pronounces, when he says, secondly, even if it was true, the re “ Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio." sult of an increase of price would be, This cannot proceed from barrennot that the same quantity of food ness of imagination. Colonel Thomwould continue to be bought by the son's illustrations are as ready and consumers, whatever was the price, pertinent, as his reasoning is perspibut that the population would begin cuous and strong. It is therefore to decrease by all the modes conse- solely to be attributed to the severity quent on insufficient food, and that of the school in which he has been for this decrement there would be no trained, to the rigidly scientific hafood bought at all. So far from there bits into which his mind has been being any necessity that the same disciplined; and we could wish to quantity of food shall be bought, it succeed in persuading him, that, does not even follow that the buyers without in the least departing from shall all live to buy. But there is no academic dignity and scholastic necessity for pushing the argument strictness, it would be possible for to this length. It is sufficient to at him to convey his thoughts in a mantend to the fact, that when there is ner much more level to the capacities a necessity for the consumption be- of all sorts and descriptions of reading diminished, because the corn is
erg. He can have no interest in not there to be consumed, an increase hiding his light under a bushel. of price is the engine that carries But we must return to our subject. it into effect; a clear proof that in Whether tithes are, or are not, paid crease of price diminishes consump- by the consumer, are they not a tax tion."
upon industry? We think not; and Upon this part of the subject it we shall give our reasons.
Those can be scarcely necessary to add a who take the most adverse view of