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necessary, on the principle of granting any bounty at all, which we have above hinted, section 43. We do not controvert the wisdom of the principle for granting a bounty; for it must have been, and ever will be, an encouragement to cultivation; and consequently it would be highly improper wholly to discontinue it . Nevertheless, if it has answered one great end proposed, which was cultivation and improvement, and that it is incontrovertible the cultivator has, by the improvements made by the encouragement of the bounty, a living profit at the reduced prices of thirty-two or thirty-six shillings, sixteen or eighteen, &c., as above, which probably, when our ancestors enacted the law for granting the bounty, they understood the cultivators could not have; it seems clear, that there ought to be the proposed change and reduction of the bounty prices, as above mentioned.*
52. The French, intent on trade, have a few years since rectified a very gross mistake they labored under in regard to their commerce in grain. One county or province in France should abound, and the neighbouring one, though almost starving, should not be permitted to get grain from the plentiful province, without particular license from court, which cost no small trouble and expense. In sea-port towns, wheat should be imported; and soon after, without leave of the magistrates, the owner should only have liberty to export one quarter or one third of it. They are now wiser; and through all the kingdom the corn trade is quite
• Our authors were much more favorably inclined to bounties than Adam Smith, and disagreed with him on the subject of the bounty on the exportation of com, though they were still in favor of restricting it within narrower limits by reducing the rate of the market price at which it might be demanded. The reasoning, however, in the subsequent section is wholly in favor of Adam Smith's doctrine, that this bounty is inexpedient . — W. Phillips.
free; and what is more, all sorts of grain may be exported upon French bottoms only, for their encouragement, copying, we presume, our law, whenever the market prices for three following days shall not exceed about forty-five shillings sterling a quarter for wheat. Our reason for mentioning this is only to show, that other nations are changing their destructive measures, and that it behoves us to be careful that we pay the greatest attention to our essential interests.
In inland high countries, remote from the sea, and whose rivers are small, running from the country, not to it, as is the case of Switzerland, great distress may arise from a course of bad harvests, if public granaries are not provided and kept well stored. Anciently, too, before navigation was so general, ships so plenty, and commercial connexions so well established, even maritime countries might be occasionally distressed by bad crops. But such is now the facility of communication between those countries, that an unrestrained commerce can scarce ever fail of procuring a sufficiency for any of them. If, indeed, any government is so imprudent, as to lay its hands on imported corn, forbid its exportation, or compel its sale at limited prices, there the people may suffer some famine from merchants avoiding their ports. But wherever commerce is known to be always free, and the merchant absolute master of his commodity, as in Holland, there will always be a reasonable supply.
When an exportation of corn takes place, occasioned by a higher price in some foreign country, it is common to raise a clamor, on the supposition that we shall thereby produce a domestic famine. Then follows a prohibition, founded on the imaginary distress of the poor. The poor, to be sure, if in distress, should be relieved; but if the farmer could have a high price for bis corn from the foreign demand, must he, by a prohibition of exportation, be compelled to take a low price, not of the poor only, but of every one that eats bread, even the richest? The duty of relieving Ihe poor is incumbent on the rich; but, by this operation, the whole burden of it is laid on the farmer, who is to relieve the rich at the same time. Of the poor, too, those who are maintained by the parishes have no right to claim this sacrifice of the farmer; as, while they have their allowance, it makes no difference to them whether bread be cheap or dear. Those working poor, who now mind business five or four days in the week, if bread should be so dear as to oblige them to work the whole six, required by the commandment, do not seem to be aggrieved so as to have a right to public redress. There will then remain comparatively only a few families in every district, who from sickness or a great number of children, will be so distressed by a high price of corn as to need relief; and these should be taken care of, by particular benefactions, without restraining the farmer's profit.
Those who fear, that exportation may so far drain the country of corn as to starve ourselves, fear what never did, nor ever can happen. They may as well, when they view the tide ebbing towards the sea, fear that all the water will leave the river. The price of corn, like water, will find its own level. The more we export, the dearer it becomes at home. The more is received abroad, the cheaper it becomes there; and as soon as these prices are equal, the exportation stops of course. As the seasons vary in different countries, the calamity of a bad harvest is never universal. If, then, all ports were always open, and all commerce free, every maritime country would generally eat bread at the medium price, or average of all the different harvests, which would probably te more equal than we can make it by our artificial regulations, and therefore a more steady encouragement to agriculture. The nations would all have bread at this middle price; and that nation, which at any time inhumanly refuses to relieve the distresses of another nation, deserves no compassion when in distress itself.
We shall here end these reflections, with our most ardent wishes for the prosperity of our country; and our hopes, that the doctrine we have endeavoured to inculcate, as to the necessity of protection and freedom, in order to insure success in trade, will be ever attended to by the legislature in forming their resolutions relating to the commerce of these kingdoms.
REFLECTIONS ON COIN IN GENERAL, BEING AN
I.: i/ Ul'ri (Ctt
"The clamor made of the great inconveniences, suffered by the community in regard to the coin of this kingdom, prompted me in the beginning of his Majesty's reign to give the public some reflections on coin in general, on gold and silver as merchandise, and 1 added my thoughts on paper passing as money.
"As I trust the principles then laid down are founded in truth, and will serve now as well as then, though made fourteen years ago, to change any calculation would be of little use.
"Some sections in the foregoing essay of Principles
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9Tiua Preface waa written entirely by Mr. Whatley. — W. T. P.
of Trade, which might in this Appendix appear like a repetition, have been omitted.
"I always resolved not to enter into any particular deduction from laws relating to coin, or into any minutiae as to accurate nicety in weights. My intention was, and still is, no more than to endeavour to show, as briefly as possible, that what relates to coin is not of such a complex, abstruse nature as it is generally made, and that no more than common justice with common sense is required in all regulations concerning it.
"Perhaps more weighty concerns may have prevented government doing more in regard to coin, than ordering quarter-guineas to be made, which till this reign had not been done.
"But, as I now judge by the late act relating to gold coin, that the legislature is roused, possibly they may consider still more of that, as well as of silver coin.
"Should these reflections prove of any public utility, my end will be answered."
1. Coins are pieces of metal on which an impression is struck, which impression is understood by the legislature to ascertain the weight and intrinsic value, or worth, of each piece.
2. The real value of coins depends not on a piece being called a guinea, a crown, or a shilling; but the true worth of any particular piece of gold or silver is what such piece contains of fine or pure gold or silver.
3. Silver and copper being mixed with gold, and copper with silver, are generally understood to render those metals more durable when circulating in coins; yet air and moisture evidently affect copper, whether by