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causes were milder or severer, followed Coventry, paid nearly two thousand every war on that continent within the dollars for that purpose alone. TEN last century? And this too, whether DOLLARS AN ACRE, to the poor, and all the nation selected for the example was the other imposts besides !* or was not one of the belligerents. To No other collapse in the immense go no further back, how was it after machinery of trade and manufactures the peace of 1763 ? How after that of ever before caused the like far-spread 1783? How after that of 1801 ?. Final- ruin. Those of 1763, 1783, and 1801, ly and emphatically, how was it after it was admitted alike by ministry and the final pacification in 1815, the very opposition, were high prosperity in the moment when our own calamities be- comparison. Even our own great gan
n? Take England herself, not only struggle, the seven years' war of the the beau ideal, but the great exemplar revolution, an enemy in the heart of of what Protective Systems can accom- the land, farms neglected, dwellings plish, and how was it with her? burned, people in debt, soldiery unpaid,
In the latter part of the year 1815, produced nothing like it; nothing, and close of 1816, the British shipping, though the money of the Old Congress that which had been engaged in com- became worthless, though all credit merce, fell away eight hundred and
was gone, and commerce had been twenty-six thousand tons! In March, swept off the ocean, and the Confede1817, out of the number of three thou- racy, then the last shelter of our hopes, sand' three hundred and sixty persons was tumbling in ruin over our heads. who had been engaged in four of the Nothing in the records of modern principal clothing towns in Yorkshire, civilisation resembles that immense There were only seven hundred and wretchedness of 1816, 1817, and 1818, fifty-seven in full, and one thousand pervading a whole kingdom, and four hundred and thirty-nine in partial wringing the hearts of fifteen millions employ, while one thousand one hun. of people. Compared with the deep dred and sixty-four were entirely idle; gloom of it, the embarrassments which only two in nine had full work! At befell ourselves at the same time and Birmingham, the principal town in the from the same causes, were less than iron trade, from a population of eighty- the shadows of a transient cloud. four thousand souls, twenty-seven So far, then, from these restrictions on thousand received parish relief! Then trade and these protective tariffs being a as to cotton manufacture. At the time preventive or remedy for such calamiwe speak of, there were in Lan- ties, they only aggravate their violence. cashire alone, and the borders of the The whole system, with its wheels adjoining counties, above half a million within wheels, and other complicated of persons who derived their support machinery, is artificial, and upheld from cotton weaving alone: and their only by a vigilant and unceasing strug. wages were four and a half pence a day, gle with nature, and the slighiest de enough barely to purchase half a pound rangement anywhere sends stoppage of oatmeal daily, which, with a little and ruin everywhere; and the wider salt and water, constituted their whole the system, the broader and deeper the food. To alleviate the sufferings of this ruin. Take the case of ourselves, not immense multitude, one third larger as we were then, but as we are now, than the entire population of the city inured in some degree to tariffs, proof New York, some efforts were made. tected to our heart's content. And then, But when it was found that to distri- what if Europe should again become bute only a slender increase of nourish- the theatre of such a series of desperate ment, an addition of a little milk or and convulsive struggles as finally beer, or a morsel of meat, to the oat- closed in 1815? What if the Automeal and water, a weekly sum of no crat, suppose, should attempt the same less than ninety thousand dollars would universal dominion which Napoleon be needed, even charity retired from attempted before, and all the nations the scene in despair and horror. Of be drawn again into the raging vortex course, the poor rates amazingly in- of war, and the factorship of the world creased. One instance must answer. be once more thrown on the United A single farm of two hundred acres, in States? Who is there, that is ignorant
• Mr. Brougham's speech on Manufacturing Distress; 1817.
enough-not of political economy, not satisfied ? And is it true, that we of the laws by which all trade is regu- never thought of imitating her examlated, but of the nature of the Ameri- ple, till she began, by experience, to find can people, to suppose that no gains that example unworthy of imitation would be attempted, no speculations even by herself? Yet such is the fact. begin, no overtrading ensue? Would The great truths of Political Economy, not every plough plunge deeper, every first demonstrated by Adam Smith, bad shuttle fly swifter, every slave toil overcome the sneers of the ignorant harder, and every vessel be heavier and grovelling, and taken their place laden ? Who supposes that one single throughout the kingdom, among the energy of nature or art would be left well-grounded convictions of the
wise unexerted? And when, at length, by and intelligent. Even Mr. Pitt, more another Waterloo, or whatever other conservative in his temper than most conflict, peace should be made in an of his contemporaries, was unable to hour,-for it is the end, and not the withhold his assent, and sent dismay length of the fight which brings the into the hearts of the monopolists and peace,--and the nations go to rest, and protected, by citing, in Parliament, grow their own corn, and man their " The Wealth of Nations," as a work own vessels, and resuscitate their own of conclusive authority. The doccommerce,-then, having no more use trines of that noble science, no man, for our productions, or our services, capable of steady reflection and willwould they not dismiss us again, as ing to exercise his capacity, ever they dismissed us before; and as we, doubted. Accordingly, as soon as exwere the case ours, should dismiss amined and understood, they received them? And would no revulsion ensue? assent; but though assented to, they
-no stagnation ? no stoppage of facto- were still violated ; just as men believe ries? no barns remain full of un- the truths of religion and yet keep sinthreshed grain ? no vessels rot at the ning on. The great doctrines themwharves? The man who doubts it, selves were spoken boldly, grew famimay well be reaching out his pulse, liar to the ear, often appeared in parand showing his tongue to the first liamentary debates, but all men stopped physician he finds, and be ready for the short at the precise line where the razor in his hair, and plenty of refrige- practice of them should have begun. rants on his skull thereafter. Such a The prejudices of a five centuries' state of things, no restrictions, no home growth, the conservative horror at innomarkets, no precautions of Govern- vation, the mighty interests interwoven ment could prevent. The elements of with the entire existing order of manuit are in man, in his love of gain and factures, trade, and agriculture, formed greediness after it, and in his ignorance a barrier which simple truth, unbacked of what may lie hidden at an hour's by anything save evidence and proof, distance in the future. And nothing was not of power to force. But in but a wall, too high to be scaled, too 1816, truth received a mighty ally in hard to be pierced, drawn all round the awful collapse we have attempted the nation, and closing up all inter- to describe; and in 1817 the conflict, course with mankind, could avert the in good earnest, began. And in that catastrophe. And without the wall, fight, far away to the utmost van, was the more artificial the frame-work of seen the lofty frame, and heard the trade and manufactures, the more wide- pealing voice of one whose name and spread would be the disasters.
memory mankind are long to cherish; The fruits of this system to Eng. the same by whose "Society for the land we have already seen; and when Diffusion of Knowledge,” science has we revolve the uses 'which, in our dis- been spread, and learning made cheap, tress, we made of her example, it is and the neglected called to memory, natural to inquire what remedy she and the poor instructed, and startled proposed to herself for her own ca- monarchs warned of a greater than lamities? While we were seeking to the schoolmaster's approach,—the apalleviate our embarrassments on the proach of political truth sown broadhomeopathic principle of embarrass. cast in the popular mind, and shooting ing ourselves more, what did she do? up strong with all the popular might. Did she tie on new restrictions? or But the ministry met the shock as best had she tried restrictions till she was they could. Free Trade was, undoubt
VOL. XII.-NO, LVII. 40
edly, a thing very good—but the But, surely, that petition, drawn for country was not ready. And really, such an object, and signed by such men, there was a difference between theory the now Lord Ashburton could never and practice. And in the former, truth have presented without extremest dismight be very true in the abstract, but gust, and without pouring forth all the in the latter, it was certainly a lie in phials of his experience and practice on the concrete; and the Treasury benches the misguided signers and their aims? applauded, and the protected classes For, certainly, no practical man can shouted. But the distress was not ever speak in favor of Free Trade. But cured, nor the millions fed; and some in favor of it he did speak, though; and small imposts for the army and navy in arguments drawn, not from Adam were remitted, and the siern conflict Smith, but from his own knowledge was adjourned, not ended. For the and observation, what his own eyes next year, and the next, it was re- had seen, and practice taught, and newed. And strange to say, at the spoke long and eloquently, and from very hour when Mr. Clay was deliver- his heart. ing his first oration in favor of restric Then there must have been some tion, and sneering at theorizers and mistake! The petition after all could speculatists, and vaunting himself not have been for Free Trade ? Read upon the support and uniform agree the first six sentences of it, then; they ment of all practical men, at that very form the Free Trader's perfect creed:hour, all the practical men of any note, in London, the merchants and traders, conducive to the wealth and prosperity of
“ That foreign commerce is eminently the
governor, several former governors, the country, by enabling it to import the and the most intelligent of the direc- commodities for the production of which tors of the Bank of England, were pe. the soil, climate, capital, and industry of titioning Parliament for free trade! other countries are best calculated, and to The first signer of that celebrated export in payment, those articles for which petition was Mr. Thornton, distin- its own situation is better adapted. guished for his practical skill, whose “ That freedom from restraint is calcugreat work on the currency alone lated to give the utmost useful extension to brought England, after twenty-five foreign trade, and the best direction to the years' suspension, back to specie pay- capital and industry of the country. ments, who had himself been the gov
“That the maxim of buying in the cheap ernor, and then was a leading direc. est market, and selling in the dearest, which tor in the bank, who had been many dealings, is strictly applicable, as the best
regulates every merchant in his individual years a member of Parliament, and a rule for the trade of the whole nation. most prominent member in everything
“ That a policy, founded on these prinrelating to commerce, and who pos. ciples, would render the commerce of the sessed all the knowledge of trade which world' an interchange of mutual advanclose observation, a clear understand- tages
, and diffuse an increase of wealth and ing, and long and diligent practice enjoyment among the inhabitants of each could bestow.
state, But to what speculatist, cloistered in “ That, unfortunately, a policy, the very some college, remote from all life, reverse of this, has been and is more or trade being a mystery, ledgers gibberish, less adopted and acted upon by the governand merchandize a thing like the ment of this and of every other country; phænix, often heard of, never seen-to each trying to exclude the productions of what theorizer, specially ignorant of other countries, with the specious and well everything about manufactures, save
meant design of encouraging its own proonly' what Adam Smith had taught, ductions; thus inflicting on the bulk of its was this petition entrusted for presenta subjects, who are consumers, the necessity of tion to Parliament? That theorizer, submitting to privations in the quantity or that speculatist, was Mr. Alexander what ought to be the source of mutual bene
quality of commodities ; and thus rendering, Baring, “the Prince of Merchants," as fits, and of harmony among states, a conon a late occasion in this city he was stantly recurring occasion of jealousy and called, the fame of whose House ha
hostility. spread wherever commercial fame “ That the prevailing prejudices in could go, and whose enterprise had favor of the protective or restrictive syspenetrated all lands where commer tem may be traced to the erroneous suppocial enterprise could enter.
sition, that every importation of foreign
commodities occasions a diminution or dis- when it shrunk from the gaze. Innocouragement of our own productions to the vation began to appear less horrid. same extent ; whereas, it may be clearly And those who were interested under shown, that although the particular the restrictive system, ventured to indescription of production which could not quire whether they were really as deep; stand against unrestrained foreign compe- ly interested as they had thought, and tition, would be discouraged, yet, as no importation could be continued for any and heard the discussions with some
were not exactly clear about the fact; length of time without a corresponding exportation, direct or indirect, there would be patience, as men doubting are apt to an encouragement for the pirpose of that er- do; and at last began to be considerportation, of some other productions, to which ably sure, though they might be misour situation might be better suited ; thus taken, that protection of every branch, affording at least an equal, and probably a save specially their own, was, on the greater, and certainly a more beneficial em- whole, rather hurtful,—but on the proployment to our own capital and labor." tection of their own, the salvation of
How the framers and signers of this the kingdom depended, -no doubt of it. petition, Mr. Thornton and Mr. Baring, Meanwhile, the conflict went on among the rest, must have shrunk in from year to year. At length, theory their shoes, when the next arrival from began to ripen into practice. On the America brought them Mr. Clay's 8th of March, 1824, just twenty-three opinion of the visionary speculations of days before Mr. Clay was curling his theoretical writers. Indeed, no man lip at theorizers, and quoting the Eng. that we ever read or heard of is so well lish example in his second oration, a authorized as Mr. Clay to sneer at theo- British Minister, a theorizing, unpracrizers in trade. Bred to the Bar; ad- tical, President of the Board of Trade, mitted at twenty;
keeping company ended a speech, remarkable for its with sheriffs and jurors," in the then liberal views, with the following noble wilds of Kentucky, till twenty-six; then sentiment: “If I am accused of removed to the Legislature, first of the leaning strongly to liberal principles in State, and afterwards, of the nation, at a regard to trade; I at once plead guilty time when all minds were engrossed to the charge; but they are principles with the stirring events then passing in founded on experience, and sanctioned Europe, and every energy of our coun- by the highest authorities. In my cils was needed to run clear of the vor- opinion, to be liberal in matters of tex; next, when all European trade commercial policy, is TO REMOVE THE was broken up, sent Minister to Ghent DIFFICULTIES to settle the question of impressment; HAVE HITHERTO PREVENTED A FREE INthence, returning, after the peace, to find all business disturbed and all men TIONS, TO EXTEND TO EACH THE ADVANtoo much excited and too eager for im- TAGE AND ENJOYMENTS OF THE OTHER, mediate change, to admit of excessively AND TO PROMOTE ARTS, SCIENCES AND cool deliberation or prudent forecast -- CIVILISATION.”* And loud and sincere it was by an experience thus varied, plaudits rang from the opposition as and by a practice thus early begun and well as ministerial benches, and pealed long continued, that the distinguished along the galleries. And away went western Senator felt authorized, in a the prohibitions on the importation of spirit wholly remote from tragedy, to manufactured silks for ever. assume the air, as well of practical Gifted with nothing of what the wisdom, as of the deeply initiated into world calls genius, and endowed with the sacred mysteries of trade and pro- no eloquence beyond a plain statement duction!
of what he understood clearly, and But to return to the progress of liberal could fully prove, and unhesitatingly principles in England. Though trade believed, it was yet the lot of this gengained little freedom by these discus- tleman to make the theories of Adam sions, yet men began to more than be- Smith the practice of Great Britain. lieve the doctrine; they wished it ap- His name has already become a syplied. They learned to look prejudice nonym for whatever is cautious in full in the eye, and were encouraged statesmanship, and liberal in trade.
. On the Silk Trade, 8th March, 1824.
Lord Brougham, who had studied him and horror. But now, though it was a well, and met him in many an encoun- step further than had been gone before, ter, though never in that for the free- it was only a step, and the next step, dom of trade, because there they ever too, in the national progress. And, stood shoulder to shoulder, champions though it produced much electioneerin the same great cause, has thus ing and the usual bribery, still it caused sketched his character. The colors no astonishment, and hardly any sur. are a little remarkable, if we consider prise. It was an event in course. Fifthat the Great Original was one of ieen years ago, a Ministry going to the those whom Mr. Clay calls speculatists People with such an issue, had not, at and theorizers:
the opening of the next session, found,
of their own faith, five members at “I verily think that if I were to search their heels. And even now they were all England over, and ransack the whole beaten, and, for every object of party volumes of our annals at any period, for a discipline, and for every chance of conpractical statesman, one who habitually tinuance in place, beaten overwhelmdiscarded theory for practice, one who ingly. Nevertheless, there were millooked to every theory with suspicion, and lions and millions who had not voted, adopted only those doctrines which were who owned no soil, thankful to find grounded upon the most incontestible re- enough to be covered with at the last, sults of experience; a pilot, who, in guid- whom the Protective and its kindred ing the vessel of the State, proceeded with the lead-line ever in his hand, and ever systems had ground to the earth, sounding as he sailed; who never suffered who were in best condition when the her to stir until he knew the depth, the nation prospered and groaned loudest bottom, a-head, and all around, and left no
in its adversity, and therefore had no current, tide, or breeze out of the account;- stake in the kingdom, and consequently if I were to name one whom I have known had no right to vote. Towards the or heard of, or whom history has recorded, defeated Ministry these millions had a and to whom this description is eminently kindness, because it was for themapplicable, Mr. Huskisson is the name I selves that the great issue had been should at once pronounce.”
made, and by themselves would have
been enjoyed the first fruits of the vicIn the same class of liberal-minded tory. These millions, therefore, held men, Mr. Canning, Lord Liverpool, meetings, sometimes ten, sometimes and other names almost of equal pride, thirty thousand in a place, and grew were found. Indeed, so great has been acquainted, and got faint glimmerings the power of truth, and so clear the of their own numbers, and passed resodoctrines of Free Trade, that within lutions, and asked for bread, and hinted the last fifteen years no slatesman in in their own rough way that they had England has had the hardihood to some small cause for dissatisfaction. argue for Protection on principle. The When, therefore, the victors came ground bas all changed. The system into power, though within the Parliais admitted to be bad, but it is estab- ment House they could out-count their lished. Their institutions are shaped adversaries one or two hundred votes, to it, and any alteration will endanger, yet those adversaries bad, without the if not lay in ruins, the great social walls, friends who could not be outedifice.
counted, and who, if they once discoBut alterations must come, nay do vered the power that lay in their own come continually. It is now but the arms and in their own just cause, other year, when a British Ministry, would be likely to use it, perhaps inhard pressed by their Conservative foes, discreetly. Sir Robert Peel, therefore, dissolved the Parliament, ordered a conservative he was and had new election, went down to the hust- pledged himself to be, deemed a little ings, and staked their continuance in liberality not unmeet for his position. power upon the abolition of the Corn Public commotion being so near at Laws, and other such liberalisations in hand, and liable to come any hour, he trade. Fifteen years ago, such a mea- made ample concessions to Free Trade, sure, thus propounded, had put the three –indeed, conceded all he could withkingdoms all aghast with amazement out passing the line between himself and
* On the Bill to Amend the Poor Laws, 1834.