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lic 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 never 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 harvests ; which would obably be more equal than we can make it by our artificial regulations, and therefore a more steady encouragement to agriculture. The nation 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.
Of the effect of dearness of provisions upon working,
and upon manufactures. The common people do not work for pleasure generally, but from necessity. Cheapness of provisions makes them more idle ; less work is then done, it is then more in demand proportionally, and of course
the price rises. Dearness of provisions obliges the manufacturer to work more days and more hours ; thus more work is done than equals the usual demand : of course it becomes cheaper, and the manufactures in consequence.
Of an open trade. Perhaps, in general, it would be better if government meddled no farther with trade than to protect it, and let it take its course. Most of acts, edicts, arrests and placarts of parliaments, princes, and states, for regulating, directing, or restraining of trade, have, we think, been either political blunders, or jobs obtained by artful men for private ad. vantage, under pretence of public good. When Colbert assembled some of the wise old merchants of France, and desired their advice and opinion how he could best serve and promote commerce; their answer, after consultation, was in three words only, Laissez nous faire ; “ Let us alone.”-It is said by a very solid writer of the same nation, that he is well advanced in the science of politics who knows the full force of that maxim, Pas trop gouverner, to govern too much;” whith, perhaps, would be of more use when applied to trade, than in any other public concern. It were therefore to be wished, that commerce were as free between all the nations of the world as it is between the several counties of England ; so would all, by mutual communications, obtain more enjoyments. Those counties do not ruin each other by trade, neither would the nations. No nation was ever ruined by trade, even, seemingly, the most disadvantageous.
Wherever desirable superfluities are imported in,
dustry is excited, and thereby plenty is produced. Were only necessaries permitted to be purchased, men would work no more than was necessary for that purpose. Of prohibitions with respect to the exportation of gold
and silver. Could Spain and Portugal have succeeded in executing their foolish laws for hedging in the cuckoo, as Locke calls it, and have kept at home all their gold and silver, those metals would by this time have been of little more value than so much lead or iron. Their plenty would have lessened their value. We see the folly of these edicts; but are not our own prohibitory and restrictive laws, that are professedly made with intention to bring a balance in our favour from our trade with foreign nations to be paid in money, and laws to prevent the necessity of exporting that money, which, if they could be thoroughly executed, would make money as plenty, and of as little value ; I say, are not such laws akin to those Spanish edicts ; follies of the same family ?
Of the returns for foreign articles. In fact, the produce of other countries can hardly be obtained, unless by fraud and rapine, without giving the produce of our land or our industry in exchange for them. If we have mines of gold and silver, gold and silver may then be called the produce of our land ; if we have not, we can only fairly obtain those metals by giving for them the produce of our land or industry. When we have them, they are then only that produce or industry in another shape; which we may give, if the trade requires it, and our other produce will not suit, in exchange for the produce of some other country that furnishes what we have more occasion for, or more desire. When we have, to an inconvenient degree, parted with our gold and silver, our industry is stimulated afresh to procure more; that by its means we may contrive to procure the same advantages.
Of restraints upon commerce in time of war. When princes make war by prohibiting commerce, each may hurt himself as much as his enemy. Traders, who by their business are promoting the common good of mankind, as well as farmers and fishermen, who labour for the subsistence of all, should never be interrupted or molested in their business, but enjoy the protection of all in the time of war, as well as in time of peace.
This policy those we are pleased to call barbarians have, in a great measure, adopted : for the trading subjects of any power, with whom the emperor of Morocco may be at war, are not liable to capture, when within sight of his land, going or coming; and have otherwise free liberty to trade and reside in his dominions.
As a maritime power, we presume it is not thought right, that Great Britain should grant such freedom, except partially, as in the case of war with France, when tobacco is allowed to be sent thither under the sanction of passports. Exchanges in trade may be gainful to cach party.
In transactions of trade it is not to be supposed that, like gaming, what one party gains the other must necessarily lose. The gain to each may be equal.
If A has more corn than he can consume, but wants cattle, and B has more cattle, but wants corn, exhange is gain to each : hereby the common stock of comforts in life is increased.
Of paper credit. It is impossible for government to circumscribe or fix the extent of paper credit, which must of course fluctuate. Government may as well pretend to lay down rules for the operations or the confidence of every individual in the course of his trade. Any seeming temporary evil arising must naturally work its own
CAUSES OF DEPOPULATION. As the increase of people depends on the encouragement of marriages, the following things must diminish a nation, viz. l. The being conquered; for the con. querors will engross as many offices, and exact as much tribute or profit on the labour of the conquered, as will maintain them in their new establishment; and this diminishing the subsistence of the natives discourages their marriages, and so gradually dimi. nishes them, while the foreigners increase. 2. Loss of territory. Thus the Britons, being driven into Wales, and crowded together in a barren country, insufficient to support such great numbers, diminished, till the people bore a proportion to the produce; while the Saxons increased on their abandoned lands, till the island became full of English. And were the English now driven into Wales by some foreign nation, there would in a few years be no more Englishmen in Britain, than there are now people in Wales. 3. Loss of trade. Manufactures exported draw subsistence