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ther there is any appearance of a want of funds, or of inclination on the part of buyers to speculate, if they could be satisfied of an inadequateness of the stock of the country?

'The extremely low price of cattle has of late attracted so much attention that I insert a statement of the numbers sold at Smithfield for the last four years.

Neat Cattle. Sheep and Lambs.

1819 135,226 949,900

1820 132,933 9*7,990

1821 142,133 1,107,230

1822 143,830 1,353,043

'The comparative increase has been equally great at Liverpool and Hull, and I am told that the supplies at the other markets in England have been no less superabundant. How then can there be any difficulty in accounting for the very low prices of meat during the last twelve months?'

In the second Part of Mr. Tooke's work, which relates to the effects of war on prices, he is disposed altogether to deny its tendency to occasion an increase of demand; although he readily allows that it is capable of raising prices by the diminution of supply. We should be inclined to admit that the latter cause is generally more powerful than the former, particularly at first; but we think that the former is by no means inefficient; and for this we shall give our reasons in a subsequent part of our examination. In the mean time it may be observed, that both when Mr. Tooke denies the effect of war on prices from increased demand, and admits it from diminished supply, his criterion uniformly is the degree in which it may affect the proportion between the two; and it is only because he thinks that the actual proportion of the supply to the demand during the years in question was determined by other causes, that he considers the war as having had little to do with the high prices, thus referring every thing to the state of the supply and demand.

In that part of the work which considers the effects of the variations of the seasons, and refers the high and low prices of the last thirty years almost exclusively to these variations, it is obvious that every thing must be attributed to supply and demand, as the seasons can operate in no other way. And the great fluctuations of prices which appear in the tables of the last Part, without the possibility of their being accompanied by proportionate alterations in the costs of production, can only be attributed to the same overpowering cause. It may be safely said, therefore, that every Part of Mr. Tooke's work conspires to prove that all prices depend upon the state of the demand and the supply, and that labour and the costs of production only influence prices as they are the necessary conditions of the supply.

For

For the proofs of the second important proposition which we consider as established in Mr. Tooke's work, namely, that the supply of commodities as compared with the demand is much more affected and for a much longer period by the variations in the seasons than has hitherto generally been supposed, we must refer to his Third Part. He there enters into a detailed and interesting account of the character of the seasons from 1788 to 1792, and from 1793 to 1821 inclusive; and having explained very correctly the effect of quantity on price as being always very much greater than in proportion to the deficiency or excess of that quantity, he applies this principle to explain the high prices of corn between 1792 and 181'2, and the fall of prices since that period.

Few persons, we conceive, have ever doubted the great effect of scanty crops on the price of grain in the particular years in which they have occurred. In estimating, consequently, the price of corn at distant periods, it has been generally recommended not to include years of scarcity in too short an average; and it has been even sometimes proposed to throw them out entirely. But we have met with no writer who, in considering the causes of a very great rise of prices spreading itself over so large a period as twenty years, has attributed it almost exclusively to the seasons. We cannot, as we have said, go with Mr. Tooke to the full extent ■ of this conclusion: yet we think that the facts which he has produced clearly show not only that, as a general truth, the effects of the seasons extend themselves at times over periods of considerable length, but that in the particular case referred to they had a much greater influence on the rise of prices than had been generally supposed. As a general truth, we think the position would be confirmed by a reference to other parts of our own history besides those examined by Mr. Tooke. In that very valuable table of prices collected by Sir Frederick Morton Eden in his work on the Poor, periods of high and low prices are to be found, of considerable duration, for which it would be very difficult to give any other adequate solution than the comparative abundance or scantiness of the supplies of corn arising from the number of favourable or unfavourable seasons included in such periods.

After the great plague which occurred about the middle of the reign of Edward III. and gave occasion to the. first attempt to regulate wages by law, one should naturally have expected that, owing to the great loss of people then sustained, corn would become cheaper rather than dearer; instead of which it appears to have risen from about 5s. 4cZ. the average of the first twentyfive years of the reign of Edward III. to lis. Qd., the average of the last twenty-six years, with very little difference in the quantity

of of silver contained in the same nominal sum. For this great rise of bullion prices, spreading itself over a period of twenty-six years, it would be scarcely possible to assign an adequate cause without resorting to a succession of unfavourable seasons. During the reigns of Richard II. and Henry IV. a period of thirty-four years, the bullion price of corn seems to have fallen rather lower than it was in the first half of the reign of Edward 111. In the first twenty-three years it was 5s. Id. and in the last eleven years lis. Id.; and as in the latter half of the reign of Edward III. the pound of silver was coined into 25s. and at the end of the reign of Henry IV. into 80s. the bullion price of this period was rather below what it was in the first half of the reign of Edward 111.; and it certainly would be very difficult to explain the low prices of these thirty-four years and the high prices of the preceding twenty-six without the powerful operation of seasons.

In 1444, other statutes regulating the price of labour were passed, probably owing to the high price of corn, which had risen on an average of the ten preceding years to 10s. 8d. without any further alterations in the coin; and for this rise there seems to be no adequate cause but a succession of comparatively scanty crops, particularly as after this period there was a continuance of low prices for above sixty years. The average price of wheat from 1444 to the end of the reign of Henry VII. iu 1509, returned to about 6s. while the pound of silver being coined into £ I : 17s. 6d. instead of <£[ :2s. (id. as at the time of passing the first statute of labourers in 1350, showed a very decided fall in the bullion price of wheat. This fall, however, was so considerable and lasted for so very long a period that we cannot attribute it wholly to the seasons. Still less are we disposed to attribute it to the cause assigned by Adam Smith—a gradual rise in the value of silver; because, if we refer to his own criterion of value, labour, we shall find that while the bullion price of corn had been falling, the bullion price of labour had been rising, and, consequently, silver had been diminishing instead of increasing in value. These prices of corn and labour could only have arisen from a great and continued abundance of corn which was evinced by the very large quantity of it awarded to the labourer; and this abundance was occasioned probably by the combined operations of favourable seasons with the introduction of a better system of agriculture, before the distribution of property and the habits of the labouring classes had-been so far improved as to encourage a proportionate increase of their number.

The-rise in the price of corn during the course of the next century may, no doubt, be easily accounted for by the progress of population and the discovery of the American mines, without

any any aid from unfavourable seasons, although in fact such seasons did combine with the other causes just mentioned, in raising the price of wheat towards the end of the century, from 1594 to 1598. The same cause unquestionably operated for twenty years, about the middle of the subsequent century, from 1646 to 1665 inclusive, when the price of the quarter of wheat was £%: 10*. ■—considerably higher than it was either in the earlier or latter part of the century; and it is somewhat singular, that while during a considerable part of the civil wars between the houses of York and Lancaster, and subsequently, corn was remarkably cheap; during the civil wars under Charles I. and for some time subsequently, it was as remarkably dear—a pretty strong presumptive proof that the seasons had more to do with the prices in both cases, than the civil wars.

All these cases are noticed by Mr. Malthus, in the fourth section of his chapter on the Wages of Labour, in his work on Political Economy, and he has occasionally referred to the influence of the seasons; but he has not, as we should have expected, from his usual and laudable habits of attending to facts and experience, called the particular attention of his reader to the general conclusion which unavoidably follows from them.

It will be seen, from the slight sketch we have given of the high and low prices of a long period anterior to the period examined by Mr. Tooke, that, as a general truth, we are fully prepared to attach very great importance to the effects of the seasons on prices, for periods of twenty or thirty years together. We further think, that in the particular case in question, the coincidence of the highest prices with the scarcest years shows, incontestably, that a considerable part of these high prices belong to the same cause. The reason why we cannot attribute nearly the whole of them to the seasons is, our firm conviction that the circumstances of the late war, notwithstanding the opinion of Mr. Tooke to the contrary, were such that they must necessarily have occasioned a general rise in the money price of corn, if the seasons had continued to be of the same description, exactly as those which prevailed for ten or twenty years before 1793.

Mr. Tooke has produced documents which show, that during the last century, up to the commencement of the war with France, the prices of corn, meat, and even labour, were as low in the periods of war as in the periods of peace. These documents we consider as containing most useful and important instruction, calculated to remove the impression too common among the producing classes, that war must be favourable to them. They certainly prove, as Mr. Tooke states, that a rise of agricultural produce, wages, and other articles not taxed, or not the immediate

objects objects of war consumption, is not a necessary consequence of a state of war. But though in the three subsequent sections he seems to intend to examine all the causes of high price, which especially belonged to the character and circumstances of the late war, yet the most striking peculiarities of it in this respect, he has either omitted to notice, or allowed them a weight in no degree commensurate with their real importance. These peculiarities were the unusually rapid increase of the population, the extraordinary increase in the quantity and value of the exports, and the very important circumstance, that whereas in all the former wars noticed, we grew more corn than our own consumption, in the last, we were obliged to import corn from abroad, in order to make up our habitual supply. We have always considered the very great rise of general prices, which took place in the interval between 1793 and 1814, as mainly occasioned by the rise in the price of corn; and if, independently of the seasons, there are any causes more influential than others on the price of corn, they must be those which we have just named. The obstructions which the war, and high freights, would throw in the way of importing the usual quantity of foreign com, would, upon every principle stated by Mr. Tooke, necessarily raise the price; and this rise would continue to be proportioned to such freights and obstructions, till the corn of home growth was sufficient for the support of the population; but the great demand for labour and the great increase of the population, would be exactly calculated to throw this event to a distance, while the general rise of prices so occasioned, would be supported by the abundance and value of the exports.

We are disposed to agree with Mr. Tooke, when he says, {Part II. p. 570 'If it na^ so happened, that in the last war we had habitually grown as much corn beyond the proportion of our own consumption, as we did between 1740 and 175Q, and that the seasons had been equally favourable to the growth, we should have witnessed a totally different set of phenomena connected with prices. The transition from war to peace might, as was the case on many former occasions, have been attended with a rise of the prices of agricultural produce, and nothing would have been heard of the distress of the landed interest as resulting from the peace, nor would war be considered a3 the source of their prosperity.' But as the actual state of things was quite different; as, instead of growing a considerable average surplus of grain, which we did in all the former wars of the century, our home growth had become insufficient for our consumption, and the population seemed to be outrunning our cultivation, there was evidently a very great and

decided

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