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attending importation, and by the prevalence of bad seasons, both here, and, I believe, taking the majority of years during the period alluded to, on the Continent.” Bad seasons give a rise of prices; for what would otherwise compensate for the dimination of quantity in corn? But that good seasons alone will reduce prices, is proved, not only by the table of fluctuations which I have given at a former part of this letter, but, in an extraordinary manner, by the diminution from, I believe, 61. to 70s., in the autumn of 1813, which took place by mere exuberant production
, independent of exportation, or any change, either in the value of money, or our external relations.
High rents to the landbolder, and high gains to the farmer, have been for many years only a matter of history. The prices of late periods have been occasionally lower than even the average of prices so far back as the Commonwealth, and of Charles II, the former having been 48s. 1d., and the latter 48s. 7d.; and even at present, the price, 53., does not greatly exceed that of the former of those periods, though the difference in the value of money is so considerable. Let not the landed proprietor, therefore, be lowered still more than the late reverses in agricultural affairs have depressed him ; let not the cultivator of the soil
, the manufacturer of corn, as he may be termed, be forced into the lowest class of our manufacturing population. The manufacturer can, as you very properly observe, apportion bis supply
, to his demand; but uncertainty is the very essence of the farmer's pro fession.
Great, however, as the rise of agricultural produce, and concequently of the rents of lands had been, in the first twelve years of this century, that did not give the landholder an advantage, in the long run, over the possessor of personal property. Stockholden are said to have had their property reduced during the period of war, froin high prices at which they may have purchased, to low ones at which they might be obliged to sell. But is it not appe rent, that if there were persons who bought into the public funda at the highest, and were obliged to sell out at the lowest prices
, there is an ample set-off in the great depression which has taken place in the value of land, between the prices at which numbers have invested money in the purchase of estates during high prices
, and the trifling return with which they are now obliged to be satisfied, or the great reduction at which they may be compelled to sell them? Laws, it is obvious, cannot be accommodated 0 extremne cases.
But, in point of fact, the great mass of stock has been funded on advantageous terms to the possessor; some of it at a little more
, and none of it at much less than five per cent. A rise, there
fore, from an average of sixty or sixty-five, gives an immense advantage to those who may choose to sell out at peace prices, while the alteration of currency which has of late years taken place, is a bonus of a very important character to all stockholders, and is a totally unexpected, and a somewhat unreasonable gain to those who have invested their money under a great depreciation of value.
There is, however, another circumstance relative to the comparative advantages of the possession of real and personal property, wbich does not appear to have been attended to.
If we suppose two persons who were possessed at any particular time--gay sixty years ago-of equal properties, for instance, 10,0001., which the one invested in land yielding three per cent, and the other on mortgage yielding five per cent, it is by many considered as a circumstance bighly favorable to the possessor of land, that his property may now, or might some years since, be worth three times its original value. And this might certainly be the case ; and the possessor of money, or his representatives, be still worth the identical sum which was originally possessed. But then the incomes, in the mean time, differed materially; and if, instead of spending 2001. per annum more than the landholder, the mortgagee (and the same reasoning applies to other possessors of personal property) had made a sinking fund of this extra income, he would have found that his property would have been increased to full as great, or a greater extent, than any rise which could take place on land; and that the longer the period was, the greater would be the difference in his favor. In thirty years, his 2001. per annum would double bis principal ; and if, in the same time, land had a similar increase of value, the one would then possess 20,000l. in money, bearing an interest of 1000l. per annum; the other, land Worth 20,0001., and producing a rent of 6001. per annum.
If the mortgagee, in the next thirty years, employed his extra income (which is now 4001. per annum above that of the landholder), he would find that at the end of that period his original 10,000l. had become 40,0001., and that he had an income of 20001. per annum; of which, supposing that the estate had doubled likewise in value and rent, he would have an income above that of the landbolder of no less than 800l. I am satisfied with leaving each of them with four times their original patriimony; but it is clear that the increase of the value of land has a Jimit, that of the prudent management of money bas none.
I do not mean to say, that there are not some circumstances in the possession of land which give it increased consideration with many ; but still the question, at present, relates to comparison of pecuniary advantage.
I wished to have said something relative to the deficiency of revenue, which a diminution of home consumption, by an alteration in the circumstances of agriculturists, and all those connected with them, might produce; to notice the great rise which would necessarily take place in foreign produce, on opening our markets to it; and to advert to the bad policy of being obliged to trust to a foreign power, perhaps unfriendly to us, and at all events disposed, as was Prussia, to take advantage of our necessities, for the support of any considerable part of our population. But this would be to get still further into topics which I did not originally contemplate, and I must have done ; for my object, in the present letter, has been principally to show,- 1st, That the alteration of law contended for, if its operation has been correctly apprehended by you, is not of the high importance which it is represented to be; and that if it has not been correctly apprehended, the difference affects your whole train of reasoning, and makes the agricultural a new and more difficult question, as far as you are concerned. 2dly, That in carrying any alteration into effect, the interests of an important class in the community (for which you do not appear to me to have sufficiently provided) should not be endangered; and, Sdly, That if such alteration should be made, a protecting duty ought to be established, larger than that you contemplate, and of a sufficient amount to remove or quiet every reasonable alarm of the agriculturists; which duty should be so arrauged, as to be lowered if found too bigh.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
END OF NO. LV.
CONTENTS OF NO. LVI.
[Translated erclusively for the Pamphleteer.] ...... 395
Catholics. By Lord Nugent.
II. The Protestant Tory Refuted : in Reply to a Pamphlet entitled,
III. An Address to the Public on the Propriety of Midwives, instead
Humble Vindication of the present Ministry. By A. S. Wade, D.D.
V. Brief Reflections and Suggestions regarding several sobjects inti-
to the Burdens of the People. By Capt. Forman, R. N. [Original.].
VII. A Letter to the Electors of Bridgenorth on the Corn Laws. By
VIII. Observations on the Coro Laws, addressed to W. W. Whitmore,