Page images
PDF
EPUB

struct a dozen such canals, as those he mentions of Darien and Suez.

Reader, do you believe in the inspiration of the prophets and the Christian religion? and will you allow a sceptical philosopherone who thinks it indifferent whether we worship one God or twenty gods--to go before you in obeying the commands of your divine master ? Instead of saying 66 what do ye more than others ?" I would ask have you done as much ? have you like him “ added your weight to the better scale ?":

NO. 21.

TAE INFLUENCE OF WAR ON THE PROSPERITY

OF GREAT BRITAIN.

The philanthropic heart is pained, by tlie reiterated accounts, which we, every day, sce in the newspapers, of the protracted and intense sufferings of the operative classes, and particularly, the manufacturers of Great Britain : and we are naturally led to investigate the cause and seek a remedy. The cause of the present distresses of the lower classes in Great Britain, may be easily tra.ced to the long and expensive wars, in which that nation has been engaged : for, let whoever will get the glory and the plunder, the burthen of war is sure to fall, uitimately, on the labouring poor, and while, to repeat the language of Dr. Johnson, “the equipages of paymasters and agents shine like meteors, and their palaces rise like exhalations,” the labourer and his family are send supperless to bed. And while some, as we see by the late papers, are paying for strawberries with their weight in silver, and giving four guineas for a quart of green peas, others are compelled to live for whole days, like oxen, on nothing but grass and water; and the benevolent are looking anxiously forward, to the potatoe crop, which may be divided between the hogs of the rich and the children of the poor, as an alleviation to the sufferings of the latter.

Is there then a scarcity in England ? by no means : no country is more fertile ; no country is better cultivated, and no country is more productive; but the taxes on the land, which are necessary to pay the interest on

the loans contracted during the late wars, raise the price of the products of the soilor, at least, of all that grows above the surface, to a rate, which the poor man cannot pay, and happy is his lot, if he can get a sufficiency of what grows below, and leave the other to the few who have made their fortunes by war.

It is true, that, during times of great prosperity, the labouring classes in England get wheaten breadthose in Scotland oat cake, and the Irish their fill of potatoes; but no sooner does a mad spirit of overtrading and speculation derange the commercial and manufacturing affairs, than thousands are at once thrown out of employment, and left to starve: and that, while in the United States, they are surfeiting their horses with flour and wheat, the poor in England are pining for want of even the coarsest food; and that too, while their ware-houses are groaning under loads of bonded grain, which the government has not until lately permitted to be sold. Such are the fruits of war and glory.

If it be asked how it happens, that the poor are as badly off, pow in a time of

peace,

,

as they were during the war ? the answer is obvious. During the war, vast sums of money were borrowed for the purpose of carrying it on, which was distributed among the artizans who prepared the materials of war, and those who furnished luxuries to army contractors, agents, &c. and thus, instead of the parents laying up for their children, the present generation have anticipated the fruits of the industry of future ages, and have devoured the substance of those who are to succeed them, for centuries to come. But it is self-evident, that there must, at length, be an end of such proceedings. A nation may exhaust its credit as well as an idividual. A man and a state, that continue to expend more than their income, must certainly come to ruin and bankruptcy. The spendthrift, who is squandering borrowed money-setting up showy equipages and living in splendid style, while he is mortgaging his property and anticipating his rents, may appear to the silly and ignorant, to be in a state of prosperity, but the knowing ones, at length, refuse to lend him any longer, and he who soared and blazed like a rocket, at last, explodes, falls and ends in : and it is the same with a nation.

The land tax, which is imposed, to pay the interest of the war loans, raises the price of bread; for all taxes fall ultimately on the consumer. The importation of foreign grain, except it be bonded for exportation, is prohibited, unless the domestic corn rises to a certain price, and then it must pay a duty until the latter reaches a still higher price.Should this law be repealed, corn would flow into Britain, from the European nations, and America, in exchange for her manufactures. This would, at the same time, give cheaper living and more employment to the labouring classes, who, buying bread cheap, could afford to work still cheaper-and the cheaper the manufactured articles, the greater the foreign demand, until Great Britain would be covered with manufactories, villages and gardens--the population increased to an indefinite extent, and mendicity and pauperism banished from the empire.

What prevents this? War. The price of grain must be kept up to enable the farmer to pay his taxes. The high price of bread

« PreviousContinue »