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Inquiry concerning the Author of the Letters of Junius


James's new and enlarged Military Dictionary


Kidd's Sermons, designed chiefly for the use of Villages and Families 389

Lacey's Discourses for Domestic Use

Langsdorff's Voyages and Travels in various parts of the world


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' (Dishop) Charge delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Chester 578

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109, 209, 319, 426, 538, 651

Lofft's Laura; or an Anthology of Sonnets


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Mease's Picture of Philadelphia


Memoir of the Queen of Etruria ; tritten by Herself


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Merivale's Orlando in Roncesvalles, A Poem


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Observations on the late Treaty of Peace with France, so far as it relates
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Pinkerton's Present State of the Greek Church in Russia ; translated from

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Predestined Thiefa With an Application to the recent Case of Robert



Quarrels of Authors


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Speech of the Right Hon. George Rose, on the Subject of the Corn Laws


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FOR JULY, 1814.

Art. I.-1. An Inquiry into the Causes of the general Poverty and De.

pendence of Mankind. Including a full Investigation of the Corr Laws. By William Dawson. 8vo. pp. 230. Edinburgh, 1814.

Longman, and Co. 2.- A Letter on the Corn Laws. By the Earl of Lauderdale, 8vo.

pp. 89. London, 1814. Longman and Co. 3.-The Speech of the Right Hon. George Rose, in the House of

Commons, on the 5th of May, 1814, on the Subject of the Corn Larus.

8vo. pp. 79. London, 1814. Cadell and Davies. 4.- Observations on the Effects of the Corn Laws, and of a Rise or

Fall in the Price of Corn, on the Agriculture and general Wealth of the Country. By the Rev. T. R. Malthus, 8vo. pp. 44. Lon. don, 1814. Johnson and Co.

WE might have conceived ourselves entitled to expect that,

after the progress which the science of political economy has made, we should not, in a country which boasts of its knowledge and liberality, have had the misfortune to witness another attempt to disturb, by acts of parliament, the established order of nature in regulating the supply of the people's food.

Since the same ideas, however, and the same interests are now likely to prevail, that have prevailed in former times, what remains is, to endeavour to remove the ignorance on which false measures are always grounded ; ignorance either among those who produce, or those who endure them. It is our duty, as well as the duty of all who write, to explain the subject so completely, and to make the community so well acquainted with the fallacies by which they have been misled, that we may

be in no danger of seeing our country injured again by laws tending to diminish the sources which supply its sustenance. Vol. II. N. S.


To the eye of plain reason, which looks straight forward to the established concatenations of events, it does appear strange policy in the legislature of any country, to pass laws for the express purpose of making provision scarce; that is, to retard the increase both of its wealth and of its population ; and to render it less great and less prosperous than it would otherwise become.

The established order of events we should imagine to be so obvious as to suggest itself to the thoughts of every one, and to be placed far beyond the reach of controversy. Men can live only by food. They can multiply only in proportion as it is increased. Food can be procured only by labour, and a community of men enjoy comforts exactly in proportion as their necessary food can be supplied by means of a greater or a less proportion of their labour; in other words, as a greater or less proportion of that labour, after providing for the supply of food, can be spared for providing a supply of comforts. If we suppose a situation in which the whole of the labour of the whole community is required to procure the necessary supply of food, that community must be deprived of comforts ; and if, on the other hand, we suppose a situation, in which necessary food were spontaneously supplied to the community, the whole of its ·labour would be devoted to the multiplication of comforts.

The argument is so clear and so conclusive, that it seems hardly necessary to put it in words. The law which imposes any burthen upon the importation of corn, is a law, the undisputed effect of which, is to make a greater quantity of labour requisite for the acquisition of the necessary quantity of food; it is, therefore, a law to diminish the amount of comforts to the community. But the diminution of comforts is not the only result. If there be a proportion of the community already deprived of comforts, whose labour can barely procure sustenance, it will deprive them of a part of that sustenance, and afflict them with the miseries of want. And further, if there be now a proportion of the community whose labour is actually insufficient to provide them with necessary food, it will deprive them of a still greater part of the necessary quantity, and unless they are supplied by charity, will reduce them to the most deplorable of deaths death by famine.

This is a view of the subject which does indeed to us appear calculated to strike the hearts of men more regardless of the interests of their fellow-creatures, as compared with their own, than are the owners of the land in Great Britain. The two elasses of persons, consisting of those whose labour is now barely sufficient, and of those whose labour is not suflicient, to supply them with necessary food, form by far the greater proportion of the community, almost the whole of the labouring and productive classes. Every event, therefore, which renders 'additional labour necessary for the acquisition of a given quantity of food, deprives that greater proportion of the community of a part of that necessary food, and plunges them into the miseries of want. When we hear it said, as we do hear it so often and so loudly said, that a free importation of corn will diminish the landowner's rent, and the farmer's profit, and when we hear the necessity proclaimed of a law for the prevention of these deplorable effects, we ask for the voices which are raised in behalf of the infinitely more numerous classes of persons, whose loaf will be diminished, not their rent or profit, by a law to increase the quantity of labour necessary for the acquisition of 'bare sustenance. Is there no difference to the feelings of the individual, between a diminution of rent, and a deficiency of necessary food? between the diminution of the rent of a number of persons comparatively very small, and the deficiency of the necessary food of a number comparatively very great ? Who, in a civilized country, could endure, for one moment, a man who could treat, as upon a footing of equality, the evils of a diminished rent-roll, and the evils of an insufficient quantity of food? And if so, what can be thought of a law, which, to keep up the rent-roll of one man, deprives thousands of bread.

Much has been lately said to excite in our breasts as strong sympathy as possible, for those who, we are told, will suffer å diminution of rent and profits. The owners of rent and profits have an advantage ground; they can make their voices be heard ; and they have never been slow in making them be heard on the score of their oren grievances. They are, moreover, the law-makers; and it is no wonder that, in the ages of darkness which are past, the case of those whose bread, and the bread of whose children, is apt to be cut short by a law which strikes at the supply of food, has been but little regarded in the places where laws have been made. It is only the progress of civilization, the progress of knowledge and of humanity, which gives the interests of the most numerous, the most needy class, and the class the most easily injured, a chance of equal treatment in the hands of legislators. This progress, in our own country, has already done much. Never, during any former age, were the interests of the most numerous order attended to by the legislature in any degree equal to what they are at present. The gradual pressure of knowledge will daily augment that happy regard, and could we only remove some deplorable obstructions, the procedure would be very rapid, and the beneficial results numerous and important. Never has a corn law, which was intended to obstruct, for the benefit of the land-holder, the supply of food, met with so much opposition as


the present. Never, we may rest well assured, will it, from this time forward, be possible, in this country, to make another.

The hollowness of the cause of those who have pressed forward a law for obstructing the supply of food, is sufficiently betrayed by the contradictory nature of their pleas and pretexts. The following may be taken as an example. The present low prices, they say, will ruin the farmer : we must have a law to prevent that ruin :--that is to say, they must have a law to make corn dearer. Again, they say,--Be not alarmed by sinister auguries respecting the operation of our corn law; the effect will be to make corn more plentiful, and consequently cheaper. Thus, we see, that, to meet all tastes, they make their corn law productive of contradictory effects, according as their occasions present a demand for them. But let us not, at any rate, be deluded by so gross treatment as this. If this bill is beneficial to the farmer, it must raise the prices, and if it raises the prices, it cannot lower them. It is avowedly for the sake of raising them, of keeping them up at a higher pitch than they would otherwise attain, that the law is avowedly proposed. They cannot, however, be kept up, except at the expense of all that misery, and all that national loss which we have just described. The law to keep them up is a law to produce gain to a small proportion of the community, by producing loss to the whole, and misery to the greater part.

It really shows a strange confidence in our ignorance to suppose it possible that we should avoid seeing this. It is implied in the very supposition, that we should import corn if we were not prevented. For why should we import it rather than raise it at home. If we import, we must pay for what we import, with the produce of a portion of our labour exported. But why not employ that labour in raising the same portion at home? The answer is, because it will procure more corn by going in the shape of commodities to purchase corn abroad, than if it had been employed in' raising it at home. The national labour is thus more efficient. A quantity of it less considerable, is required for the supply of necessary food. And a quantity of it more considerable, remains for the production of other commodities; for augmenting the comforts of the people, and the population and wealth of the state. The reasoning is so plain that any farther illustration of it may appear almost superfluous. For, suppose we have it at our option to buy corn either at home or abroad, the desire of the nation will be to purchase or acquire it where it is cheapest. It can be purchased at home only by cultivating the ground. It can be purchased abroad only by sending goods to pay for it. The cultivation of the ground is performed by a portion of labour. The goods also which are sent abroad are provided by a portion of labour. In fact, then,

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