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is common to raise a clamour, on the supposition that we shall thereby produce a domestic famine. Then follows a prohibition, founded on the imaginary distresses of the poor. To be poor, to be sure, if in distress, should be relieved; but if the farmer could have a high price for his corn from the foreign demand, must he by a prohibition of exportation be compelled 10 take a low price, not of the poor only, but of every one that eats bread, even the richest?' The duty of relieving the poor is incumbent on the rich; but by this operation the whole burden 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 only 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, comparitively, 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 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 probably 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 comparison when in distress itself. of the Effect of Deurness of Provisions upon
Working, and upon Munufactures. The common people do not work for pleasure generally, but from necessity. Cheapness of provisions make 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 10 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 further with trade, than to protect it, and let it take its course. Most of the statutes or acts, edicts, arrets, 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 advantages uuder 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 politics, who knows the full force of that maxim, pas trop Gouverner, not to govern too much;" which, perhaps, would be of more use when applied to trade, ihan 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 countries do not ruin each other by trade, neither could the nations. No na. tion 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 necessaajes permitted to be purchased, men would work no more than was necessary for
Of the Prohibition with respect to the Exportation of
Gold and Silver.
Could Spain and Portugal have succeeded in exceuting their foolish laws for htdging 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 niore 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 export. ing 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 a-kin to those Spanish edicts; follies of the same family.
Of the Returns for Foreign Articles. In fact, the produce of other countries can hardly he obtained, unless by fraud and rapine, without give ing the produce of our land or orir 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 nut 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 saine advantage.
Of Restraints upon Commerce in Time of Wur.
When princes make war by prohibiting commerce each may hurt himself as much as his enemy. Traders, who by their business are promoting the com. mon good of mankind, as well as farmers and fish. ermen, who labour for the subsistence of all, should never be interrupted or molested in their business, bui enjoy the protection of all in the time of war, as well as in the 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 Morrocco 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 thó sanction of passports.
Exchange in Trade may be gainful to each
Partij. 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, exchange is gain to each : hereby the common stock of comforts in life is increased.
Of Paper Credit.
It is impossible for government to circumscribe ot 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 ihe course of his trade. Any seeming temporary evil arising must naturally work its own cure.