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London Evans and Ruffy Farmer Journal Newspaper Archive: January 10, 1825 - Page 1

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Publication: London Evans and Ruffy Farmer Journal

Location: London, Middlesex

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   Evans And Ruffy's Farmer's Journal (Newspaper) - January 10, 1825, London, Middlesex                                EVANS and JiUFFY's S'JOURNAL, Jlnd Agricultural JLdvertizer. Vol. XVIIL-No. 904.     MONDAY, JANUARY 10,-1825.      \Price 0icl.{m?j�r J0ri3rnal Com#pontjence. To the Editor of The Farmers' Journal. TO THE RIGHT HON. WM. HUSKISSON, 1'ltESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE. Silt,- Southovcr, 30th Dec. 1824; Feeling perfectly convinced that you require no apology for addressing you on a subject of such vital importance, I make none, and only add, that it is a source of very great pleasure to me to have to state my arguments to a practical man of business, who has so thorough a knowledge of the question in its different bearings, and who iv ill, I hnve no doubt, give this letter all the attention it merits/ In the last Session of Parliament' a motion was made hy an Hon. Member,, for an alteration of the existing Corn Laws, and although it was negatived, still, as the same gentleman declared his intention of bringing it forward annually, it is perfectly certain that it will be the subject of debate in the ensuing Session. As, therefore, it is childish to shut one's eyes to what is so very plain, it is, in my opinion, by much' the better way to meet the question "fairly,.and if, upon deliberation, it should be found that the Corn taws, .although so lately amended, are susceptible of still farther improvement, by all means let the alteration be made. I hope, Sir, lam not outstepping propriety in considering you as thejierson who drew the lteport of the Select Committee which sat on the Agricultural Distress, and which was ordered to be printed 18th June, 1821. Taking, therefore, as granted, that the principal points in it bad your entire approbation, I submit the following remarks as naturally arising from them. The Report recommends the adoption of a fixed duty on the Import of Corn, with Forts always open. It at the same time admits, I use the words of the lteport, that " It would be indispcnsible for the just execution of this principle, that such duty should be calculated fairly to countervail the difference of expence, including the ordinary rate of profit, at which Com, in the present state of this country, can be grown and brought to market within the United Kingdom, compared with the expence, including also the ordinary rate of profit, of producing it in any of those countries from whence our principal supplies of For ign-Com have usually been drawn, joined to the ordinary charges of conveying it from thence to our markets," It is not possible that Justice herself could have held the scales more even between both parties. The only question, -therefore, is, " What is the difference of ex-pence, &c." In order to ascertain this, it does not appear necessary to have any other evidence (lor how could better be obtained ?) than was brought before the Committee of 1814, with this single remark,-That for twenty vears previous to the year 1814 the price of Corn in this country had been generally very high, and immense quantities of Foreign Corn had been imported, and consequently the price raised abroad. Some of the most eminent importing merchants, well acquainted with the subject, who were examined at that time before the Committee, gave it as their opinion, that there would be a considerable quantity of Corn imported were the price here ever so low. That opinion would be much strengthened now, after ten years peace and the improbability of those countries being again the seat gf warfare for many, very many years. The Committee in their lteport of 1S11-, alluding to this, state, 14 That' tJtcix is scarcely any priee in our maikct, which under circumstances of a general abundance in the other parts of Europe, could be sufficiently low to prevent an importation of Corn from those foreign ports at which a consider able supply is annually accumulated for export only." The Select Committee of 1811 directed their attention very much to the state of the Foreign Corn Trade: the Committee of 1821 principally to the cost of production at home. Comparing the two. I think .we arrive at this conclusion- That any fixed duty, with our ports always open, sufficient for our protection, according to the words of the lteport, must be a very high one; and, although I may be convinced thut the duty would not be an audition to the price here, but a diminution to the price abroad, I am aware of the difficulty of making the consumers think the same, and, therefore, I despair of any fixed duty being put high enough to protect us, when we most want protection. I am sure, Sir, that it is needless to prove to one so well acquainted with the subject us you are, the fact, that if our own Agriculture be suffered to go to decay, and we should have a failing crop on a diminished and deteriorated cultivation, no foreign import, however great, can supply the deficiency ;-and I believe that you will also admit, that, taking an average of years, the population of the United Kingdom would be fed cheaper bp fair protection being granted to Agriculture, and Foreign Corn introduced only when the price is high, than by any other system. In the years 1800 and 1801, when the average price of Wheal was 18s. per bushel, and therefore the in-ducement to import very ureat, the whole quantity imported from abroad was only 2,G88,013 quarters of Wheat, which was calculated for our population at that time by Mr. Jacob, in a very able pamphlet, to amount only to six weeks supply, or one eighth of our consumption. If the greatest import ever known has been only six weeks consumption, how can any foreign import compensate for deficiency of produce when our population has so much increased ? Calculating an average growth of Wheat at twenty bushels per acre equal to our consumption should the crop be only one fifth below an average, or short by ten weeks supply,will not the price rise here in spite of all foreign import ? and to a dreadful height if no inducement hag been held out to the home grower to lay by part of a former year's produce. As stated before, it is useless, Sir, to state this to you, but as this letter will be published, there are many who may read it not possessing the same knowledge of the question as yourself, and it is therefore necessary to state it clearly. My deeply lamented- friend, the late Mr. Webb Hall, than whom a more honourable and patriotic man never lived, after deeply considering the subject, considered 40s. per quarter as the lowest amount of duty, which would secure the British farmer when he most needs protection. It is certain,, in the words of the kite Lord Londonderry, that no Ministry would dare to collect 40s. per quarter when the price of bread is high, and, therefore, were a fixed duty to that amount, or to any thing near it, imposed, there must be a discretion vested in the Privy Council, to suspend the payment. This would be a most delicate task to perform, for who is to say the precise moment when it is to pay 30s. or 40s. per quarter, and the next to pay nothing? I hear of no one, who has studied the subject, proposing less than 30s. per qearter. I presume that when Wheat is belew 70s. per quarter, we do not stand in need of foreign import. Suppose, for the sake of argument, the average to be 60s., the price proves we have plenty of our own growth. If the duty be only 20s. per quarter, wo should be inundated with Foreign Wheat, when our own was selling at a price below a remunerating one. Now, when there is every prospect of our ports opening before another harvest, the price at Dantxic, as appears in a letter from thence dated the O'th inst., was 26s. for " real good ]Vhcut:" at Hamburgh, on the 7th inst., the highest price was 28s. Calculating the expence of freight from Dantzic at 4s., and iiom Hamburgh at 2s., duty 20s., it would leave a great profit to the importer were Wheat here at 60s. lleferring, therefore, to the words of the Report of 1821, I cannot think thut any fixed duty less than 30s. will be sufficient to answer that principle which, as stated before, the Committee deem " indispcnsible." But under the present amended Corn Laws, we are liable, as has lately been proved by the tricks of interested dishonourable individuals, to have the ports opened by false returns-and for our deliverance from which I beg leave to return you my best thanks. We, as well us the consumers, are also liable, according to the words of the lteport, to injury in this way :- For example, let it be supposed that in ylugnst next the average price of Wheat, calculated in the usual mode, should be 79s. \ld. per quarter,, whatever may be t/ic possible scantiness of the forthcoming harvest, a fact not then capable of being ascertained, the ports will remain shut till the l!ith November ; but if that average should be HOs. Id. wluitcver mm/ be the abundtmee of the foi thcoming harvest, tJie /wis. and the ware, houses of Foreign Coin, will be opened for at least six weeks, and in reference to the principal exporting countries for three months." I believe that the ensuing year is likely to be the precise period at which the Report hints in the latter part of the paragraph, I have no doubt that the ports will open for the Wheat in bond previous to the passing of the Act in 1822, in May next, and probably in August generally. Should we then be on the point of reaping an early and ahundaut harvest, we shall be equally liable to unlimited import for three months, as stated in the Report, from those countries whence our supplies have been drawn, and those three months the most favourable for Baltic commerce. This actually occurred in 1818, and unless prevented by the Legislature, will probably recur in 1825, and the mischief arising may be as great and as permanent as from that in 1818, from the effect of which we are but just recovering. Viewing the question in its different lights, I can see no plan so little liable to objection, as the one proposed by yourself in 1814, with some alteration and additions, which I flatter myself you will think improvements. The graduated scale you then proposed was I believe as follows :-Wheat at 63s. to pay a duty of 24s. per quarter; Wheat at 64s. to pay a duty of 23s. per quarter. The duty to decrease Is. as the price rose Is. Thus Wheat at 7 Is. would pay a duty of 13s.; at 84s. a duty of 3s. j and at and above 87s.-Is. per quarter. Bv the late Act of 1822, Wheat is shutout when under 70s.; from 70s. to 80s. a duty of 17s. for the first three months; from 80s. to 85s. a duty of fOs. for the same period, and at and above 85s. a duty of Is. per quarter. The great objection to this is, that Foreign Corn is at one moment entirely excluded, and the next admitted in unlimited quantities. There are four, quarter days to which the farmers of the United Kingdom look with the Same feeling as the poor convicts at newgate to the day when the Recorder's lteport is laid before his Majesty. I propose to ask no further protection than we now have, but only for it te be altered so as to answer better the purpose for which it was intended.   I begin at 8^. with Is. duty os at present; 84s__2s.; 80*.-o's.; 70s.- lfis. As it is now excluded when it is under 70s, I pro<-pose increasing the dutv 2s. as the price fulls Is. per qr.: thus at 69s-18s.; 68s-20s.; 67s.-22s.;  66s__Sts { 65s.-26s.; 64s__28s.; Sis-80s.; 62s__32s ; 61s.-34s; With regard to warehousing, it will be only fair to peri  mit Foreign Corn to be bonded for a given time, the same as other articles subject lo dutv; but the amount of duly should be fixed at the time of' import, because the merchants would have bought at times price; and as he puts it in bond in hopes of price rising, ho will be the better able to pay the duty. The great cause alleged lor the introduction of the Grinding Bill during the List Session, was the release of the capital locked up in Fureigu Wheat-; it would therefore he highly impolitic to encourage the recurrence of .the evil, which would be the case were the amount of duty not fixed at the time of import. I would also permit Wheat, bona fide from our North-American colonics to be imported, on paying half the amount of duty : thus at 80s. it would pay 3s.; at 70s.-8s.; at 60s.- 16s. per quarter. One great point still remains, and that is the alteration of the lime for stating the averages. I propose to abolish  additional trouble; the Receiver ofV the Corn Returns would merely every week strike out one and put in another. The different Custom Houses' might always have the Gazette, which would shew them the exact amount of duty to be levied, for the week. The average would also be put under the surveillance of the Custom House, and would be returned more correctly, . particularly were there a severe penalty, half to go to the informer, in case of a false return. The merchants would know when it answered their purpose to import. The? farmer would be freed from his quarterly terror^ and the consumers would be certain that Foreign Corn would her admitted at very low duties, as soon as the price here rose at all high. Some time since I published a letter in The Farmers'' ' Journal, which perhaps met your eye, in which even under 70s. per quarter, the duty was to increase as the price' decreased Is. per quarter; but since, I huve met with a-most intelligent friend who has travelled abroad, who ha* relations living and occupying loud there, and who hair assured me that the cost of production there is so trifling, that a duty of 26s. per quarter, when the price here was-60s., would be no check to import. The lute crop of wheat proves so very deficient 'that at present prices the farmers in this county are not so well off us last yeur; and if any one, forgetting the enormous losses the tenantry have borne for three years in succession so lately, stqiposes that they are now making tor-tunes, I challenge him to shew thut at present prices, even where the rents huve been reduced, the tenants are making more than 10 per cent, fur their-capital and industry, and surely tliis is as low u return us they ought to make. The price of Sonthilown AVuol, one great article of produce in this county, has been under lAd. peril). The price of meat is rising, but that is to be attributed in a great degree to the immense losses sustained by the rot in sheep, which was never more general. Many graaiers-have lost their whole stock. The survivors of- whole flocks have been sold at 10s. each. Let all this he taken > into account, and I am convinced no reasonable person at all acquainted with the business will think that the tenantry of the country are making enormous profits. 1 have thus, Sir, to the best of my ability endeavoured : to state my reasons for the proposed alterations in the Corn 1 jiws. The time has been when even the mention of a disfus--sion of them in Parliament was- viewed with terror. Thank God, that lime is gone by, and more enlightened views are now held on the subject. It has been found by experience, even in the midst of the city of London, as proved before the Committee by a highly -respectuble Alderman now no more, "� that he never knew an instance when Utc agricultural produce was at a fair and liberal and pro- � per price, when the home trada.of the country dill nut flourish." The proposed plan is merely a modification of the present Corn Laws, and- which I have no doubt would be perfectly satisfactory to. the consumers.   Corn would be in fact admitted which is now excluded, and the duties at > present payable when it is admitted, would be rather . diminished than increased. 1 have the honour to be with greot respect, yourmost  obedient humble servant, JOHN ELLMAN, jun. To the Editor of The Farmers' Journal., THE NECESSITY FOli CORN LAWS. SIR, London, Dee. 29,' 1824.. Bei-'oue the ink is well dry, in exposing the incorrigible folly of some public writers, whose itch for scribbling might easily be passed over, if what they published contained nothing else than folly, we are uguin culled upon lo contemplate and trample upon a new crop of their   

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