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average price of bread has been full as low,
if not lower, than during the preceding .
peace, notwithstanding the constant depreciation of money. How senseless, then, is the cry o pece and a large loaf" How stupid or how base must those persons be who encourage that cry! And how anxious ought we to be to prevent the influence of such an error in the producing of another disgraceful peace? It will be perceived, that in about every six years there have been two years of scarcity, and we may reasonably suppose that two such years are now about to begin ; at a most critical time they are indeed beginning, and if great wisdom be not displayed, on the part of those in power, the consequences may be fatal. It is not altogether certain, that a clamour for peace, and that an excuse for peace upon any terms, would be disagree. able to the minister; for, though it might be inconvenient for Mr. Pitt himself to make such a peace, he has shown us that he knows how to effect his purposes of that sort by proxy; and, those persons are very much mistaken who suppose, that the Doctor and his set, who are now acting just the same part that Mr. Pitt and his set acted during the year 1803, have so entirely broken with Mr. Pitt as to reject a reconciliation with the beneficent view of restoring peace and plenty to their country. In short, it appears by no means improbable, that, when the nation shall become heartly weary of this lingering war, and when to that weariness shall be added the discontent arising from the high price of previsions, we shall be transferred again to the care of the Addingtons, who, whatever may be thought to the contrary, will never be found in an opposition to the present ministry. Their pretexts for ubmitting to the enemy's terms would be, with very lit.
tle variation, the same that they before made
nse of: it is far from certain that they would not regard an alarming scarcity as a very great blessing; and, therefore, it is necessary to forewarn the nation against the danger of again becoming their dupes; of again approving, from an erroneous notion as to the effects of war on the prices of pro. visions, of a peace that shall add to the load of infamy heaped on their country by the treaty of Amiens. Mr. Pitt would desire nothing better than to hear a clainour for peace on any terms. A cry for “peace “ and plenty" is, perhaps, the very signal he is waiting for. It was not he who declared war; aid it will not have been Mr. Addington who conducted it to the end : so that either of them has a loop-hole: a very
harrow one indeed, but one that would serve their purpose extremely well, if they could once hear a clamour for peace upon any terms. This clamour, therefore, should be carefully avoided. Peace may be demanded at the hands of the minister; but, it should be demanded as an object which he ought to be able to obtain upon safe and honourable conditions, and the nation never should be inveigled to commit itself as to any concessions or 5 crifices. The war is in the hands of the minister : it is for him, who has all our purses and our persons at his command, to end the war with honour to his Sovereign and to us: if he succeed, be his the applause due to a wise and upright statesman; but, if he fail, we shall. not, I trust, again be satisfied with a childish representation of the “diffculties he has. “ had to encounter,” especially when we consider that they are difficulties, for the most part, of his own creating, and that
'such as are not of his own creating are
amongst the common occurrences of life, and therefore ought not to be regarded as obstacles to the accomplishment of any object essential to the safety, honour, or dignity of the nation.—Here I should stop, but there are two or three topics, closelyconnected with the price of bread, which I think so important in their nature, and of: which I am so anxious to draw forth a disgussion, that I shall take this opportunity of introducing them, though at the evident: hazard of exhausting the patience of the reader.——As a standard of the value of “ money, the price of bread at any particular time is not satisfactory, because, as we have lately experienced, bread may be in price disproportiorate to meat and other articles of subsistence; but, taking the average of a series of years, the price of bread is a standard sufficiently accurate for any practical purpose. Let us, then, see what has, according to this standard, been the progress of the depreciation of money. Average price of the quartern loaf during the 12 years ending with s. d. 1762 - - - - - - - - - o 53 During the to years ending with 1770 o 6; During the 10 years ending with 178o o 7 During the 10 years ending with 1790 o ; ; During the 134 years ending in July, 1804 - - - - - - - - - 1 c The observation that struck one in barely casting one's eye over the list, was, that 83, which was a price so low as to require the interference of Parliament and the offer of a bounty to export corn, was a price higher than ever was known, even in years of scarcity, previous to :;95 ! This being the
case it was clear that money had lately d preciated in a proportion much greater than formerly; and hence it became an object of inquiry to know where the new proportion of depreciation began. By embracing, in the last avcrage, a period of thirteen years and a half; the plentiful years of 1802 and 1803, and the still more plentiful half of the present year are included in the calculation. This is giving too much advantage to the last stated average; but, it was best to bring the period down to the time when the minister declared that the price of corn was too low. The depreciation of money from 1750 to 1790 appears, accord. ing to this standard, to have been gradual; and, notwithstanding all that has been said about the inadequacy of the price of bread as a standard, 1 am persuaded, that the proportion of depreciation, exhibited in the above-stated averages, will be found to correspond with other standards by which the degree of the depreciation of money has been determined. The depreciation during the last thirteen years and a half has, it will be perceived, been more than twice as great as during the preceding forty years. Money is not worth half so much as it was fifty years ago; and, indeed, this is a truth of which no man who was alive fifty years ago needs to be reminded. But, the important point is, that the far greater part of this depreciation has taken place within a few years; since the year 1790; since the establishment of the Sinking Fund and since the consequent extension of the funding system together with the inevitable increase of paper-money; but, with double strides has the depreciation advanced since the Bank has been skreened from the just demands of its creditors; since the paper-money, though disgraced, has been made a legal tender; since the reciprocal connivance between the minister and the Bank has become apparent to all the world. If the stockholder has a mind to know what he has lost by the depreciation of money, he has only to look at the above averages of the price of bread, and he will at once perceive, that each shilling which he now receives in his dividends is worth just seven pence half-penny of the money which he bought stock with in 1790. He will perceive, that his 100 pounds is in fact reduced to within a trifle of GO, and that, of course, he is in reality receiving no more than three pounds a year for every hundred pounds which he deposited in the funds thirteen years ago. Nor has the loss come to an end : it is going on; and, if the system were to last another thirteen years, his hundied pounds would be reduced to 20, or,
perhaps, to 10; for the depreciation proceeds, as we have seen, with an accelerated velocity. Is it not time, then, for fathers, mothers, guardians, and trustees to reflect upon the consequences of placing in the funds the fortunes of children, who, by the time they come of age, may probably not receive a shilling in the pound But, long before the next thirteen shall have expired, the whole system will be blown to atoms, even without any assistance whatever from extraneous causes. It contains within itself the seeds of its certain destruction: their growth may be quickened by war, or by any other circumstance, which, by adding to the taxes, adds to the quantity of paper-money; but grow they must, and their growth must produce the annihilation of the system, in spite of every measure that can be adopted by way of preventive. Another topic which I could wish to see ably handled, is, the de. gree of effect which the increase of paper. money and the consequent facility of obtaining pecuniary accommodations, have in enhancing and keeping up the price of provisions, particularly bread, the materials for making which are of a nature to be held in hand for a long time, without damage and at little expense. Mr. Boyd and some others
attributed, as Lord King observes, too pow
erful an effect to these causes. In 1801 I was of opinion that they had no effect at all of the sort attributed to them. But, I had just then left a country, which, though sufficiently stocked with paper-money, knew nothing of paper that was not, upon demand, convertible into specie, in which country, cf course, pecuniary accommodation could not be extended to such a length as to enable the speculators to raise or to keep up the price of provisions. Mr. Howison and Mr. Foster have some good remarks upon this subject, but a more ample discussion of it would be very desirable.—In plunging and groping about after adequate causes for the late scarcity, the wiseacres of the Board of Agriculture, with Lord Carrington at their head, fell upon two, which, at their ruggestion, were moulded into the form of Hesolutions by the Grand Juries of Yorkshire and other counties. These two were, the want of a general enclosure bill, and the want of a fixed compensation to the clergy th lieu of lities in kind! It never entered into his Lordship's head, I'll warrant you, that the inundation of bank-paper had produced any effect at all, though he was, or had been, himself a Banker and even a maker of paper-money! As to a general enclosure bill, the idea discovered, in the person by whom it was conceived, a total ignorance of the laws and
usages relative to sanded property, whether public or private. Without a reve'ution as to property, the project was utterly impracticable; and in principle I am thoroughly convinced it was extremely impolitic, and still more unjust and oppressive. It would have swept a quarter of a million of people from the cottages to the poor-houses. The partial enclosure bills are frequently injurious enough in this way: the interests of the cottager are seldom thought of: the division is made according to the spiritual maxim impiously applied to the worst of temporal purposes; “to him who hath much more is given, and “ to him who hath nothing is taken even “ that which he hath;” and thus, that which for ages has been regarded as a paradox, is, by the effects of modern ingenuity, rendered a practical proposition. To know what the effects of enclosures and other agricultural schemes are, we have only to look at the amount of the poor-rates and at the number of the poor, both which have increased with the increase of enclosures; and, in those counties where the agricultural improvements, as they are called, have been pushed to the greatest extent, the agricultutral population has diminished most, not relatively, but positively diminished, while the population of the country has, upon the whole, been increasing. —These are ex..perimental truths, and because they are, they will not be attended to. Mr. Pitt, not content with projecting himself; not satisfied with a swarm of individual projectors, must needs organize a certain portion of : them into a Board of Agriculture. The reports and other publicatious of this board will hereafter be preserved by curious men, as specimens of solemn foolery; but there will be found amongst them soone of a very mischievous tendency, especially those which relate to the proposed “compensation," as it is called, for tithes in kind, which is neither more nor less than a proposition for seizing the revenues of the Church, and for making the Clergy stipendiaries of the state, or rather of the minister, just as the Constitutional Clergy in France were, during the short interval between the abolition of tithes and the total destruction of the monarchy. This was a pretty bold proposition for a “Board “of Agriculture * to make, and when we consider who was at the head of the Board; when we further consider, that a proposition of the same kind was made by Sir Henry Mildmay in a speech early in 1501; and that Mr. Long, in his pamphlet upon the Price of bread, points at the very same object as a remedy for the evil of scarcity; *hen w conside: all this, it is impossible
not to believe, that the project of abolishing the tithes originated with, or was approved of by, Mr. Pitt. It is, indeed, asserted, that, early in 1800, he had actually prepared a bill for that purpose, and that, though it was decidedly disapproved of by the then Attorney General, as being a most dangerous innovation, he proceeded so far as to submit it to his Majesty, whose decided disapprobation it also met with. The Clergy are all of them acquainted with the history of this project, and therefore when I hear Clergymen loud in the praise of Mr. Pitt, I cannot help regarding them as being much more intent upon furthering their own particular interests than those of the Church and of religion. These persons seem, by their conduct, to say: “ so that I get a good salary “ for life what need I care who pays it me.” Such Clergymen, and I hope they are few in number, I would beg leave to remind of the fate of the Clergy in France. Mr. Burke told them that they never would receive above three years salary, and they did not receive above two, the last of which was paid in assignats that had undergone a depreciation of 50 per centurn. Sir J. Sinclair has expressed his approbation of the project for “commuting the tithes for government “securities,” and has cited the opinion of a person, who has pointed out the advantages that the Clergy as well as the laity would derive from such an arrangement. But, after the above exposition relative to the depreciation of money, little, I imagine, will need be said to convince the Clergy, that the proposed commutation would soon reduce them to beggary, and would not be long in levelling the Church establishment with the dust, aid therein completing the work which Mr. Pitt began when he procured a law to be passed for alienating Church property in order to redeem the land-tax, a law not less utifair in its operation than unconstitutional in its principle, and aiming directly at the subversion of the Church of England And yet there are clergymen of that Church who boast of being Pittites | But, even amongst the chosen twelve there was one Judas. I have digressed so frequently and so widely that the reader must, I am afraid, have entirely lost sight of the object that ought principally to have been kept in view ; namely, the ignorance which was discovered by the Grand Juries, the Board of Agriculture, and their abettors, in ascribing so much virtue to a general enclosure bill and to a commutation of the tithes. Fortunately no general enclosure bill has been pissed, and no commutation of the titles has taken place; yet coin has Le
come cheap again, and not only has it become cheap, but too cheap, and so much too cheap that the parliament has passed a law to raise taxes upon the people to detray the expenses of sending it out of the country! Where, then, was the necessity of enclosing all the commons and of comuruting the tithes with a view of growing more corn ? To represent the tithes as an impediment to agriculture, when it is well known that they have existed almost ever since the laid was first tilled, requires no small portion of assurance; but, laying this point aside for the present, we hear Mr. Pitt now calling upon the parliament to pass a law for giving the farmers money to export their corn, because the land, not withstanding the tithes, has produced too much; and, of course, if the general enclosure and the commutation of titthes were to cause more corn to be produced, we should have more money to pay in premiums to get the super-abundance carried out cf the country. the quartern loaf should again rise to
ighteen pence, I should not at all wonder to see a revival of these remedies, these state nostrums, especially the project of commuting the tithes, which would, I am afraid, be very popular; for the monied interest, which has ninety nine hundredths of the press at its command, has succeeded in making the mass of the people believe, that the nobility and clergy, particularly the clergy, are their oppressors. The clergy are represented as wallowing in wealth, while they have, in general, hardly enough to keep them alive. The paper money system his placed the farmers above them, and their poverty begets poverty by forcing them to submit to cotlipositions upon terms dictated by their grasping parishioners. Their rithes are represented as worth “fifty millions sterling,” when it is well known that the whole of them together do not receive half a million annually, a sum far short of the aggregate annual income of ten loanjobbers; and, what man of just sentiments can restrain his indignation, wh: n he sees a minister making it a point of honour to keep faith with these loan jobbers, while he can hardly with-hold his clutches from plundering the clergy, ten thousand of whom have not so much to support th: m as the nation pays for the support of ten loan-jobbers!. To maintain the more than Eastern magnificence of these leviathans of wealth seeins, too, to be thought nothing of; nay, by the means of well-timed subscriptions, or some such device, they of tain applause and admiration for their go nerosity from the People to whom they tous throw back
hardly the fractional farthings upon the hundreds of thousands of pounds that they receive! - -Bask Dolla Rs.-Upon the subject of these articles of Birmingham manufacture, considered as a proof of the depreciation of the English paper-money, a letter from a correspondent will be found in the first
page of the present sheet. The writer
sets out with a misrepresentation of words made use of by me in p. 87, where, as it will be clearly perceived, I did not say, that the arguments in the particular passage there quoted from a former Register had served Mr. Foster as the foundation of his doctrine of depreciation ; I sail, that from me, Mr. Foster had taken “whole passage, “ and indeed the very soundation of his “ doctrine of depreciation.” I afterwards quote a passase by way of specimen ; but without saying any thing that could lead to the supposition, that I meant Mr. Fosters doctrine of depreciation to have been derived from the arguments in this passage. All the reasoning, therefore, which C. B. has built upon this assumed adinission be comes useless in the dispute, and he has. still to combat the arguments of Mr. Foster, upon o' her ground. In reply to Mr. Foster, who says, that “a promisso y note, “ should either have into insic value in 1 “ itself, or else be nothing more than the “ representative of it,” C. B. asks: “why “may not a promissory note possess at . “ once, intrinsic value in itself, and bes: at the same time, the representative of . some higher value?” Then, o: to assume that Mr. Foster declares this to . be impossible, he , p: oceeds to assert, that “ it is upon so palpable an absurdity, that “Mr. Foster rests the foundation of his “ doctrine." This is all mere assumption and assertion. Mr. Foster (see his book, p. 84) has not insisted upon any such iopossibility, much less had he made if the foundation of his doctrine. In speaking at . the dollars, considered as promissory notoi, he says: “ but a promissory note should “ ci, her have intrinsic value within itseh . “ or be merely the representative of it 3. “ if it is issued as the value itself, it cal“ be no more valuable than the silver, it “ contains ; if issued merely as the repo “ sentative of value, why go to the ex“ pense of having it of such precious má-. terials " He does not say, that it is impossilse for a bank note to be issued ha; :ving an intrinsic valuc less than its nominal. one; but he fairly and clearly lays down the principle upon which notes are issued he truly supposes, that the note lowlso
a thing of full intrinsic value, or of no intrinsic value, that there should be no confidence, or all confidence ; aud the former. is the case in the present instance; there is no confidence : the dollar is fully worth five shillings in Bank-paper, and so it is regarded by the people. These dollars are not made a legal tender. Why are they not If they are merely banknotes, why is this species of notes excluded from the advantage of that law so salutary to the affairs of the bark 2 Is it because the minister was unwilling to extend the protection given to the bank, or because the bank directors knew, that, in this instance, they stood in need of no protection ? Those gettlemen well knew, that they were in no danger from a run upon them,
on the part of the holders of dollars, espe
cially as they could augment to any degree that paper into which alone the dollars could be converted. They knew, that four dollars would be regarded as worth more than a pound note; but they should, by way of grace, have asked for a clause to make them a legal tender, and thus have furnished a pretext for calling them notes of hand.——How C. B. could, with such a grave face, suggest that the bank-dircetors may have made their small notes of silver from motives of humanity, I am at a loss to conceive. If, however, he really thinks that they the bank directors have put themselves to this immense expense merely for the sake of preventing those acts, which bring so many of the brotherhood of moneymakers to an untimely end, perhaps he may be induced to persade them to walk on a little further in this path of humanity and brotherly love, and to issue gold notes in jieu of some portion, at least, cf the eighteen or twenty millions' worth of paper ones which they have afloat, and for which they owe the holders gold and silver in amount agreeable to the nominal value of the paper. But, if such was their motive in issuing dollars instead of paper, it seems that it has been rendered abortive by the inferior class of money-makers, who, in defiance of the law, have already proceeded with great success and to a very great extent, in imitating the beautiful productions of Mr. Boulton's Birmingham mint; insomuch that we are told, that Mr. Boulton is preparing gauge-plates, by the hel of which the É. be *ś so to distinguish the counterfeits from those of the original manufacture. But, as these useful utensils cannot, as we are informed by a circular paragragh bearing a strong resemblance to a pull, be got ready with as
one fourth part less than the original dollar.
This circumstance, while it shows what a wide field here is opened for the commis ion of this sort of crime, is a pretty clear proof that the intrinsic value of the real dollar is equal to its nominal value in bank-notes, otherwise there would be a profit upon the counterfeits without diminishing their weightAmorgst the numerous bad effects of a depreciated paper-money, is, the strong temptation to counterfeit, to clip, and to debase the current coin. No laws, however strict, no punishment however severe and prompt, will prevent this. If the government will force paper-money upon the people, some part of the people will bring the coin to a level with it, till at last the government will no longer receive the coin in payment of taxes, and then it totally disa pears. This has been the progress of the silver coin in Ireland, and this will be the progress of the silver coin here. My correspondent C. B. revives his arguments respecting the price of dollars as builion; and, I again tell him, that I am not talking of silver in the shape of old pots, but of silver circulating side by side with English bank-notes ; and, as I here find, that four Spanish dollars are now equal in powers of purchase to a one pound note, I conclude, that the note has depreciated ten per cen: tum from its former value. To strengthen his argument he says, that guineas may now be had for bank-notes without a premium : I do not say that, in particular instances, they may not , but I deny, that that is any proof that the paper-money has rot depreciated. I before stated the reasons on which this opinion was grounded ; and is an additional one was required, it would be easily found. in the proofs which we have of the extensive practice of counterfeiting and debasing the coin. Mr. Foster speaks only of a depreciation of English bank-money in the degree of 2; per centum, and I am desired to reconcile this with my arguments which went to prove a depreciation of 10 per centum. . But, Mr. Foster confines hinself to the open discount of the notes exchanged against guineas, whereas . I have always . contended, that there is going on an unseen . depreciation, and that this depreciation -: rcăches very far, affecting coin as well as paper, till that part of the coin which is . inct either clipped or counterscited will Hoo"