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French dispatges? In this concealment there is danger In this concealment must be wrapt up thereal cause of the embargo. On any other suposition it is inexplicable. -I am alarmed, ir, at this perilous state of things; I cannot epress my suspicions, or forbear thus to exhibit to you the grounds on which they rest. The people are advised to repose implicit confidence in the national government: in tha unbounded confidence lies our danger. Amed with that confi dence, the executive nay procure the adop tion of measures which may overwhelm us with ruin, as surely asif he had an army at his heels. By false polcy, or by inordinate fears, our country may le betrayed and sub
(To be continued.)
enjoy a commerce, much more extensive, than is practicable at this moment, if the embargo were not in the way? Why then should it be continued? Why rather was it ever laid? Can those be legitimate reasons for the embargo which are concealed from Congress at the moment when they are required to impose it? Are the reasons to be found in the dispatches from Paris? These have been moved for; and the motion was quashed by the advocates for the embargo. Why are these dispatches withheld by the executive? Why, when all classes of citizens anxiously inquire for what is the embargo laid?" is a satisfactory answer denied? Why is not congress made acquainted with the actual situation of the U. States in rela-jugated to France, as surey as by corruption. tion to France. Why, in this dangerous crisis, are Mr. Armstrong's letters to the secretary of state absolutely withheld, so that a line of them cannot be seen? Did they contain no information of the demands and intentions of the French Emperor? Did the Revenge sail from England to France, and there wait three or four weeks for dis-, patches of no importance? If so, why, regardless of the public solicitude, are their contents so carefully concealed? If really unimportant, what harm can arise from telling congress and the nation, officially, that they contain nothing of moment to the safety, the liberty, the honour, or the interests of the U. States? On the contrary, are they so closely locked up because they will not bear the light? Would their disclosure rouse the spirit of the people, still slumbering in blind confidence in the executive? Has the French Emperor declared that he will have no neutrals? Has he required that our ports, like those of his vassal states in Europe, be shut against British commerce? Is the embargo a substitute, a milder form of compliance with that harsh demand, which, if exhibited in its naked and insulting aspect, the American spirit might yet resent? Are we still to be kept profoundly ignorant of the declarations and avowed designs of the French Emperor, although these may strike at our liberty and independence?
And in the mean time, are we, by a thousand irritations, by cherishing prejudices, and by exciting fresh resentments, to be drawn gradually into a war with G. Britain? Why, amidst the extreme anxiety of the public mind, is it still kept on the rack of fearful expectation, by the president's portentous silence respecting his
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COBBETT'S WEEKLY POLITICAL RÉGISTER.
VOL. XIII. No. 20.]
LONDON, SATURDAY, MAY 14, 1808.
"Were the countries, which have usually supplied us, in a state of independence and security, the prospect "would be far from pleasing; but, when we cast an anxious eve to the Baltic, the view becomes dreary "indeed. Who can contemplate the consequences of a short crop, a mildew, or a wet harvest without ** horror?" MR. ARTHUR YOUNG.
"If the West Indies could supply us with 300,000 quarters of corn, I, for one, would object to its being "brought into this country."--Ma. WAKEFIELD, 737]
SUMMARY OF POLITICS. CORN AGAINST SUGAR.——(Concluded from p. 727).——This subject has been fairly exhausted; but, as I have, in the present Number, a letter from MR. YOUNG (which did not reach me here, till Saturday last), and also a letter from MR. WAKEFIELD, the two great advocates for a high price of corn; and, as there are some few passages in those letters, which contain new matter, or matter, at least, in a new shape, I shall notice these; but, as I shall abstain from bringing forward any new argument myself, I shall in this Num
[739 ted the running after riches, or supposed riches and resources, out of the country; I have said, that colonies added little or nothing to the strength of the country; but, did I ever recommend the withdrawing of the protection of government from those who are already settled in the colonies? Have I not, on the contrary, frequently endeavoured to turn the public attention to the miserable state of our colonies in the West Indies, and implored the ministers to do something for their relief? This change, then, is not to be found in my writings, or my.sentiments, and exists only in the ima
her close the discussion, lest, by continuinggination of Mr. Young. I am an advocate the dispute, we should, for want of novelty in fair argument, fall into sophistry and cavilling. First, then, with respect to Mr. Young. This gentleman, having in his eye the law of retaliation, employs against me the argumentum ad hominem, as the "learned" call it, or, as the unlearned would call it, the argument against the man. Referring to page 643 of the present volume, he finds me saying, that,
the sugar-grower; the latter being, in my opinion, full as much entitled to the "protection of the government as the "former." He congratulates me upon this change, as he is pleased to call it; is rejoiced to find that I have ceased to cry "perish commerce," and the like. But, pray, Sir, in what does this supposed change consist? Did I ever say that any particular set of men were less entitled to the protec tion of the government than any other set of men? Did I ever say this, or give it to be understood, in any way whatever? I have said, indeed, that the attention of the government ought to be always directed, in a more especial manner, to the internal prosperity of the country; I have reproba.
for domestic improvement; for the doing of that which shall render us independent of commerce, that is to say, independent of foreign nations. I am decidedly of opinion, that, starting from the present moment, we might be so independent as to corn as well as to every thing else. But, I have always admitted, and so has Mr. Spence, that a temporary embarrassment might, and would, arise from transferring three or four hundred thousand pair of hands from the shuttle to the plough; and, though I am satisfied, that we could dispense even with sugar, I never said, that sugar was not a necessary article; but, on the contrary, said that it was, but, that this. particular article was always at our command, making a distinction between this sort of commerce and that which can, at any time, be taken from us. At any rate, we have the sugar. The sugar is spoiling for want of being used. Commerce has brought us this sugar; and though I wish all commerce were annihilated, is that any reason why I am to object to this sugar being used, more especially when I am informed that it will cause a saving of cor? Though I wish the Royal Exchange and the Bank and all the rest of it were put an end to, is that any reason why I should not think that the merchant and banker are as much entitled to the pro
tection of the government' as the farmer?
our contrasting of his arguments in favour of enclosures with his arguments against the use of sugar in the distilleries, "is one "of the convenient results of confounding
corn and barley." Why, Sir, that is your own fault, if it be a fault; for, it was you and those who take the same side with you, who chose to make the question. a general one. It was you who chose to represent the measure proposed, as a measure that would tend to augment the evils of "a short crop or a week's mildew;" while some few of you called it a measure for "discouraging the growth of corn;" a measure for the creating of scarcity;" a measure to make the farmers bankrupts;" a measure," a bill," said a writer in the Morning Chronicle, " which should be en"titled, a bill to create a scarcity of corn,
by discouraging the growth thereof." You were, probably, aware, that, if you confined yourselves to the injury (real or supposed) which the barley-growers would sustain, no very great public interest would be excited; you must, indeed, have clearly perceived, that it would be thought of little consequence, whether the few persons, whose chief profits arise from the growing of barley, suffered a small diminution in the quantity of wine, which they now notoriously drink by the two bottles a day; and, therefore (for the conclusion is too obvious to require qualification), you chose to speakof the measure as one that would have a general effect; as one that would endanger* the common prosperity, and even the safety of the nation. After this, after we had thus been compelled by yourselves to combat you upon the general ground of human food, it does seem a little hard that we should be accused of confounding corn with barley. But, Sir, as to "the convenient result," with respect to the contrast above mentioned, the state in which your arguments were placed required no new conve
and the general interests of the nation, "all the distinctions between barley grow "ers are too trifling to be attended to." This," says Mr. Young, "I utterly deny." And then he goes on in a disser tation of detail about cropping; good hea-nience, on the part of your opponents; for, vens! as if the nation had any thing to do with cropping. As if, when the question of scarcity or plenty is agitated, the nation had any thing to do with this or that sort of crop. Human sustenance is the thing of which we want to secure a provision; corn is the main commodity of this sustenance; and, therefore, it is of corn in general, and not of barley in particular, which we must speak, and respecting which we must reason, if we mean to arrive at a just conclusion. Mr. Young, who was, probably, writing this his defence of his evidence at the very moment when I was, last week, commenting upon that evidence, says that
as I have shewn, I think, at the close of my last week's article, it was quite impossi-" ble to take those arguments in any way which would not lead them to defeat each other. You ask me, Sir, if I am wil ling, that the people should be taxed a million a year to make up for the loss, which the revenue will sustain by the distil lation of sugar. No, "without the hesi "tation of a moment;" for, I would, if I could have my will, lop off expenses, or rather shameful waste of the public' money to more than that amount. But, this is not your meaning. Well, then, Sir, I would full as willingly see the people pay a million'
in taxes as a million in price of corn, kept up by a restrictive statute; and, you have not heard me say one word in favour of the restrictive part of the proposed measure; for, my opinion is, that there should be no restriction. Let sugar come to the still, loaded with no heavier duty than barley is loaded with, and let them run a fair race. But, if a law exist to prohibit the use of sugar in the distilleries, ; or if duties are laid atmounting to such prohibition; then is the price of corn kept up by statute, and then are the people taxed in their loaf to the amount of whatever money the government raises from corn through the means of keeping sugar from the distilFeries. Besides, Sir, taking the question as One of mere revenue. I should suppose, that the sugar, which now lies rotting in the storehouses, has, as yet, paid no duties; and that, of course, the drawing of it forth will cause duties to be paid upon it. At any rate, the committee, who seem not to have lost sight of revenue, and who, as you say, were occupied, with great zeal, solely in discovering truth, have given it as their opinion, that the revenue will experience no diminution from the adoption of the measure proposed; so that an objection, upon this ground, cannot fairly be considered as of any great weight. Mr. Young is quite ready to grant the West India planters relief out of the taxes. So am not I. I am for suffering no company, or set of men, to come to the purse of the nation, to come and knock at the door of the labourer, and say, contribute towards making up to me the losses I have sustained in my calling, and to support me in that opulence which I have hitherto enjoyed. When the common tradesman fails, though from the effects of war or any national measure, which he could not have averted, he descends to the rank of journeyman, without any one proposing to relieve him out of the taxes. When a farmer is ruined by the rot amongst his sheep; or by the united effects of the kill-calf and the glanders, he becomes a labourer, and the taxes remain untouched by him. This is not only the lot of man, but it is right that it should be so; for, otherwise, who would rise early and eat the bread of carefulness, seeing how easy a matter it is to ascribe to misfortune what is the effect of negligence, extravagance, or avariciousness? Nothing but the deepest of political corruption, rendered familiar to the minds of a nation, can ever make it listen with patience to a principle so unnatural, so abominable, as that upon which relief of this sort is proposed. No. I would rather see the West Indians ten thousand times more impoverished than they are, than see
them buying boroughs, in order to secure votes for the minister of the day, in return for the grants made to them out of the public money. The West Indians have plenty of sugar. All they ask, is, to be suffered to make this into the drinks, which we now make out of corn. And as good a right they have to this (as long as the colonial system exists) as the Norfolk farmer has to sell his barley. We compelthem, observe. to pur chase all their wearing apparel, their tools, and their household goods, from us. We compel them to bring the produce of their lands to the mother country; and, would she not be a pretty sort of mother, if she were to say to them, your produce, which is to pay for the goods that I have made you buy of me, shall lie here and rot, lest the use of it should lessen the gains of those, who have derived a profit from selling food to the persons employed upon making the goods which you have bought? Commend me to such a mother, if you wish the child to revolt, even at the hazard of its own existence !—Ma. WAKEFIELD's letter contains little more than a repetition, under a new form, of his former arguments, yet there are some few points which ought not to pass unnoticed, particularly as he takes occasion to speak in praise of the opinions of Mr. Young. He says, that he never expressed his sorrow at the foreign supply of corn being cut off. Mr. Young expressed his alarm at it, and Mr. Wakefield's letters were calculated to shew the reasonableness of that alarm, by gi ving us details of the large average importa tion. In answer to my observation, that we heard no out-cry against the importa tion of 800,000 quarters of corn annually, he says, that there was an opposition to that importation; that there have been reports and petitions against it; but, last year, for instance, how came we to hear nothing against it? The cry has been raised all of a sudden; and that, too, at a moment when the country had, by these very gentlemen, just been alarmed for its safety, in case of a short crop. Well, but what was the object of Mr. Wakefield, in giving us an account of our average imports? He says, to induce those who had the power to make such laws or regulations as should insure to the farmer a better price for his corn. How? By the way of premium, paid out of the taxes? That would have been too absurd.. How then? By allowing an EXPORT? Good Lord! Whither? To what country, except to the West Indies. But, this, surely, is jesting. In answer, however, to my observation, that if the West Indies could supply us with 300,000 grs, of corn, in
kind, in place of supplying us with it in the shape of sugar, there would have been no objection to it, he says: "I for one, "would have objected." That's boldly said, at the moment when Mr. Young was terrifying me out of my wits with the anticipation of "a short crop or a week's mil"dew;" but, it is fairly said, and it is consistent; though Mr. Wakefield will, I am sure, allow, that he has said this from hard necessity and not from choice. I endeavoured to keep up the drooping spirits of my readers by telling them, that the same cause which kept corn from coming into the country would bring bands from those pestiferous prisons, the manufactories, to raise more corn in the country; but, Mr. Young said, no. "We must have a general " enclosure bill; for the lands now in "cultivation are no more at our disposition
than lands in the moon." Why did not Mr. Wakefield fly to my Register at that moment of distress? Why did he not, when some of my correspondents were accusing me of a want of feeling for my fellow-creatures, come boldly forward, and say, that if there were 300,000 quarters of corn in one of our colonies, he would, for one, object to its being imported? Why did he not throw his shield between me and Mr. A. B. (or Alexander Baring) of the Morning Chronicle, who had like to have crushed me with the threat, that we should, in future, get no corn from America? I laughed at the threat, to be sure; but I, though not apt to be daunted by popular opinion, had never the boldness to assert, that, when all the other corn ports in the world were shut against us, I would object to the importation of 300,000 quarters of corn, if I could find it in one of our own colonies. To this, however, I repeat it, Mr. Wakefield has been driven. The importation of 300,000 quarters of corn would, he could not deny, have precisely the same effect upon the farmer here as the importation of sugar to supply the place of that quantity of corn; and, as he had made up his mind to the rejection of the foriner, he was compelled to reject the latter. Hushed, then, be all your fears, ye scarcity alarmists! For here is a gentle inn, who has made the means of national subsistence his study; who has collected together an account of the resources and wants of the country; who was one of the persons selected by the committee of the House of Commons to furnish them with imformation and opinions; and he tells you in so many words, that, if, at this mom-ut, there were 300,000 quarters of
corn to spare in Jamaica, or Antigua, he would not, if he could have his will, suffer the said corn to be brought into England! In answer to my question, "what "difference would there be between im. "porting 300,000 qrs. of corn from the West "Indies and importing sugar to supply the
place of that quantity of corn?" Mr. Wakefield says, "there would be this ma "terial difference, we could have the corn to eat, and not distill it." Very true; but, this is no answer to me. I did not ask what difference it would be to the nation, but what difference it would be to the farmer; what difference it would make in the corn market; what difference it would make as to the inducement to raise corn, that being the point at issue.—Mr. Wakefield, in pursuance of his laudable re solution to be consistent, and profiting, per haps, from the cruel embarrassment of Mr. Young, speaks with becoming diffidence of the effect of new enclosures, and even of im provements, though, as the reader has, doubt less, observed, he is as fond of " cropping" as any other member of the agricultural clubs. According to my idea," says he, "of en"closures and improvements, they will not
operate against the chances of the seasons, "unless the additional produce of them be "exported, or luxuriously consumed at "home." Well, then, unless we had added to the distilleries, or set about an expor tation, or thrown corn into the rivers, Mr. Young's notion of security from scarcity to arise from new-enclosures was shockingly erroneous. "Who shall decide when these agricultural doctors disagree?" This discussion, if it has no other effect, will, I should think, set at rest the question about a general enclosure bill. I am a decided opponent of new enclosures, until we have more hands to till the land; and, I must confess, that I jumped for joy to find that Mr. Young had given his opinion against the distillation from sugar; because, without hearing his reasons, I was certain that none could be used which would not equally well apply against new-enclosures, supposing such enclosures to add to the quantity of corn now produced in the country.Mr. Wakefield persists in his notion of a granary to arise out of a surplus produce; and, therefore, let us take a parting view of this same granary.
-I had, in my last, put a case of a little nation consuming 1000 quarters of corn an nually, growing 1,500 and exporting 500, which, in case of a half crop, would always leave the quantity to be eaten the same. But, I asked, where the labour, and fertility (which, indeed, is only ancther nathe for