« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
difference between the present and former prices of the article, on the whole amount consumed in the nation.
This reasoning may be illustrated by its application to a particular case.
If a yard of cloth can be manufactured in GreatBritain and brought to this country for five dollars, and if a yard of the same quality costs to the domestic producer six dollars,* it is obvious that the commodity will not be manufactured amongst us. But government may, by imposing a duty of one dollar a yard on the foreign product, enable the domestic producer to supply our wants. The foreign fabric must then sell for six dollars, if it continue to be imported ; and if it do not bring this price, the importation will cease.
Consequently, the domestic producer will be able to manufacture the article at the new price of six dollars. What then is the effect of this new arrangement upon the consumers—those who use the commodity, comprising the mass of the nation ? Simply this, that they must now pay six dollars, or so much of their industry as they usually give for that sum of money, for what they before received in exchange for five ;-precisely the same effect as would result from laying a tax of one dollar a yard on the whole consuinption of the particular article. Do then the manufacturers receive this tax? Not at all; since they receive no larger profits than in their previous occupations, before they commenced manufacturing. If government should impose a duty of two dollars a yard on the cloth, so that the capitalists who first engaged in its production, might make exorbitant profits, very soon their rapidly increasing wealth would draw the attention of others to the same employment, and thus competition would reduce their profits to the ordinary rate the rate of profits made by selling the fabric at six dollars. We have already seen that where there is freedom of person and property, the exchangeable value of products will be reduced to that which will yield the usual profits to those employed in their production. Since then the consumers lose, and the producers do not gain, there is no possibility of escaping the conclusion that the duty is pro tanto a national loss.
We are still of the opinion, therefore, Mr. Raymond to the contrary notwithstanding) that it is adviseable “to buy where we can buy cheapest;" and if we can obtain cloth, or any other articles with less labour mediately, by producing other values and exchanging them with foreigners, than is possible immediately, by employing our own industry in their production, why should we not turn our labour to the best possible account? If the British are wil
Owing to the higher price of industry and capital.
ling to manufacture for us at a lower rate of profits, and since our own people, by their conduct in not changing their employments, say they are more profitably employed than they would be in manufacturing at such prices, by all means let us accept the service of Britain, and give her in return those things in the production of which we have the advantage. In manufactures, Britain has undoubtedly the superiority over any other nation. There capital is abundant, and interest low. Labour is cheaper than we ever wish it to be in our own land; and these and various other circumstances enable Great-Britain to make more finished fabrics, and cheaper than is yet possible in the United States.* The time will come, though the vast extent of our territory will very much retard its approach, when our population will be dense, and our labourers forced to confine themselves to the bare necessaries of life-when profitable modes of investing capital will not be so numerous, and its diminished returns will have been followed by a diminution of interest ;then we may manufacture even more cheaply than Britain now does, in cottons at least, since we have the advantage of growing the raw material. But for ourselves, we are very far from looking forward to this period with pleasurable anticipations. We prefer the present state of things, when, owing to the almost unlimited extent of the most fertile lands, and the profitable modes of investment which they present, the returns on capital are maintained at a very high rate; and progress in wealth is proportionally rapid. By applying a small amount of money-capital to our great extent of landed capital, the proceeds will be larger than would be received, if the same amount of money-capital were appropriated in any other way.
We may safely leave individuals to follow the dictates of their own good sense, sharpened by interest. " It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy. The tailor does not attempt to make his own shoes, but buys them of the shoemaker. The shoemaker does not attempt to make his own clothes, but employs a tailor. The farmer attempts to make neither the one nor the other, but employs those different artificers. All of them find it for their interest to employ their whole industry in a way in which they have some advantage over their neighbours, and to purchase with a part of its produce, or what is the same thing, with the price of a part of it. whatever else they have occasion for."* These remarks are applicable to nations.
* We must except the coarser cottons, in which the price of the raw material forms a large portion of the value. In such goods, the greater cheapness of the cotton may more than counterbalance the greater dearness of the capital and labour: since these last compose but a small part of the cost of the manufactures. There is a feature in the internal economy of the English nation, of which the influence, in en. abling them to sell their fabrics low, cannot be questioned, though it may sometimes have been overlooked—we allude to the system of poor laws. If the labourer must be subsisted for the whole year on bis wages, it is obvious that those wages must be higher than at present: since now it is necessary for his support, that he should receive the assistance of the poor rates during some months in the year. If, however, wages were higher, the prices of goods, of which wages are a component part, must also be raised. Consequently, the system of poor laws has some influence in lessening the prices of the products of industry; and by this means they are sold cheaper by the British merchant to the foreign consumers. The poor rates, therefore, amount. ing still to near thirty millions of dollars annually, are a premium paid by Britain to induce other nations to consume her products : since no motive will have such influence on foreigners as their cheapness. Shall we also have a system of poor laws? * Wealth of Nations, vol. i. p. 320. + The difficulty which will be started here that Britain will not receive our products, is rather apparent than real. It is true Britain does not admit. to any great extent, the growth of the Northern States; but of the Southern, she does very largely; and of the Middle States, to a very considerable amount. Hence the South is employed in the production of articles of export, partly to the exclusion of other products, and depends on the North for the necessaries of life. Thus an extensive market is opened for the produce of the Northern States. The demand of Britain for our productions, is not equally diffused over the United States; but is very excessive in one quarter, and very small in another: but on the whole, perhaps, as great as could reasonably be expected. Even if we have to exchange with the British, partly in specie, this is equally the produce of our own labour, since it must have been purchased with our exports. So long then. as we have products to exchange for gold or silver, we can have a sufficieucy of those metals to exchange for other commodities. If the precious metals should rise in value in our country, there will be stronger inducements to esport goods, and bring back the returns in bullion. Thus the evil, such as it is, will rectify itself. If the goods which are valued at an ounce of gold in foreign countries, should bear the value of only half an ounce in our own, our merchants, by esporting goods and importing bullion, will realize cent. per cent. on the adventure.
It is of the utmost importauce on this subject to remember, that the question is not whether we shall produce manufactures or not, but whether we shall produce them in one way rather than another. They are equally our own production, and equally employ our own labourers, whether we produce other commodities, and receive manufactures in exchange for them,t or whether we have the manufactories among ourselves. The former, we believe, to be the less expensive mode of production; and the arguments in its favour are so strong, that many of those who advocate restrictions on trade, have assumed new ground. Among these we find Mr. Raymond; and his last resource, and indeed, the only resource of his party, is what a celebrated writer would call "a false fact.” A large portion of our labourers, it would seem, are out of employment, or at least only partially occupied in business; and, therefore, even if the cost of manufactures of domestic production should be greater than of those which might be imported, it would be policy to encourage our own manufactures, that all our people may be fully employed. Now this seems on first view to be a very formidable argument; and the only objection to it is, that the author has drawn too liberally on his imagination for his facts. Consequently, the superstructure cannot be more stable than the foundation. Can any thing be more preposterous than that men, who talk of the Baconian mode of philosophizing,* should stand forward and assert that a nation which doubles its wealth and population in less than twenty-five years, is overrun with idlers? In our country, the unexampled increase of wealth and population has given form and substance to theories which previously were supposed to have no existence but in the brains of fanciful philosophers; yet in the very face of these facts, some have the hardihood to affirm that the American people are idlethat they are not employed! If such be the fruits of idleness, we pray Heaven to bless our country with the continuance of them; and for ourselves, will confess that we have been bewildered by gross prejudices against men of a very deserving character. It appears now, that idle, indolent persons double their wealth in less than twenty-five years; while the active, industrious inhabitants of Great-Britain, who are engaged extensively in manufactures as well as agriculture and commerce, require about eighty years to accomplish the same object. But we have, perhaps, misunderstood Mr. Raymond on this subject. He is dealing in new and startling propositions, and, perhaps, reconciles the whole by a small change in the meaning of words. Thus, by "idleness," he designs to express what less refined reasoners call “industry;" and when he says, that our citizens are slothful, and their time only partially taken up with business, he means that the people of these United States are more industrious, and more productively employed than any other nation of the same extent on the face of the earth. This reconciles theory with observation.
But enough of this; and we suppose our readers are ready to say the same in relation to Mr. Raymond's book. Perhaps they may be surprised that we have found so little to commend. We can assure them, however, that this is not our fault, but our misfortune. And if we should appear to have treated with little ceremony the gentleman who has thought himself qualified to remand political economists to the merchant's clerk for further
Vol. i. p. 274. + We do not say, that it is altogether fair to compare a young and growing nation with one far advanced in age, and which has a small territory and crowded population. As Great Britain, however, is triumphantly held forth as exemplifying the truth of the restrictive theory, we thought that to contrast her condition with our own, might not be unprofitable.
instruction with respect to the meaning of their terms, and to the farmer's boy for information on the nature of rent, we plead guilty to the charge; but declare ourselves unconscious of having misrepresented the author in any one particular; and believe that our readers will acquit us of having done him injustice, when they have read but a very small portion of the volumes before us.
Art. III.-1. History of Charles the Great and Orlando, ascribed
to Archbishop Turpin. Translated from the Latin in Spanheim's Lives of Ecclesiastical Writers : together with the most celebrated ancient Spanish Ballads, relating to the Twelve Peers of France mentioned in Don Quixote ; with English metrical versions. By Thomas Rodd. In 2 vols. London.
2. Floresta de rarios Romances sacados de las Historias an
tiguas de los Doce Pares de Francia. Por DAMIAN LOPEZ DE TORTAJADA.
Since the beginning of that struggle which resulted in the deliverance of German literature from the bondage of French authority and a servile imitation of foreign models, a new order of researches, and almost a new theory of criticism have been proposed to scholars. It has been discovered that there is no genuine, living beauty of compusition which springs not spontaneously, if we may so express it, out of the very soil of a country; which is not connected with the history, animated by the spirit, and in perfect harmony with the character and opinions of its people. It has been found that all imitative or derivative literatures are in comparison of the truly primitive and national, tame, vapid and feeble—that Roman genius, for instance, did but dimly reflect the glories of the Attic muse, and that even in the chefs d'æuvre of the Augustan age of France, replete as they are in other respects with the highest graces of composition, the want of this native sweetness, this “colour of primeval beauty,” is universally complained of by foreigners. The German critics, therefore, and after their example, many others bave, within the present century, busily employed themselves