Hopeless trader! answer me,
What hath Bread-tax done for thee?—(l)
WHY does not the country shopkeeper oppose the Corn
Law?—Because he supposes that he recovers from the farmers what the bread-tax costs him. He is mistaken; for if the farmers buy his goods; they pay for them with his own money, wrung front him, and from his other customers, in the price of bread.
Why do not the master manufacturers oppose the Corn Law?—Because they suppose that they can extort from their workmen, in lowered wages, what the bread-tax takes from their profits. Well, if they cannot find patriotism in their cold hearts, they will find it in due time at the bottom of an empty pocket.
Why do not our merchants oppose the Corn Law; the effect of which is, to reduce the rate of profit on all British capital, skill and
labour?—Alas, we have no merchants! The Corn Law has transformed them into a sort of pedlars, or shabby brokers. When a foreigner enquires for an English merchant, he is shewn some fifty-pound upstart, dressed like a dandy, but poorer than a Polish Jew, who, with the looks of a wolf, the cunning of a cat, and the airs of a bashaw, plays three characters at
once—thief, half-beggar, and satrap.
Why do not the fundholders, to a man, oppose the Corn
Law?—I know not—but their property will be the very next great lump which the bread-tax eaters will swallow.
Why does not the Church oppose the Corn Law?—She can gain nothing, by it, for her lands are all underlet; and certainly the landlords, when they have digested the fundholders, will eat her too.
Why do not the farmers oppose the Corn Law? —Because they conceive that they derive an advantage from it, in the price of corn. They are mistaken. The competition for farms, of which it is the cause, will ruin every man of them. Unhappily, the landlords will be the last
devoured—but then, they will have the satisfaction of being eaten raw and alive.
Every man who dreads dangerous turn-outs of work-men, should oppose the Corn Law, for it is the great cause of such turn-outs: and before he blame the workmen, he should compare their conduct with that of the landlords. The workmen try to get higher wages, generally by legal means; the landlords make a law, by which they obtain their unfair price.
Every friend of agricultural improvement should oppose the Corn Law; for so long as the agriculturists can secure a forced price, they will make no efforts to improve their art.
Every man who would not welcome revolution, should oppose the Corn Law, or it will revolutionize the kingdom long before a reform can be effected.
Every advocate of reform should oppose the Corn Law, for it is the tax-shield of his enemies; deprive then, of that shield, and they must become reformers themselves, or sink beneath the consequence of their
Whoever does not oppose the Corn Law, is a patron of want, national immorality, bankruptcy, child-murder, incendiary fires, midnight assassination, and anarchy. Therefore, every supposed moral or religious
man—every schoolmaster—every teacher of religion especially—should oppose the Corn
Law; or he cannot possibly be either moral or religious, and the devil would be more fit to be a teacher than he.
Why the little landed proprietors near large towns do not oppose the Corn Law,
I never could imagine; for their land is commercial land; and the tenant who pays one shilling per week more than he ought for bread, would be able to pay fifty-two
shillings per annum more rent, if he could obtain his bread at a fair price. But the Corn Law ought to be supported by every wretch who would grieve to see this country carry her burden as if it were only a rain-drop on the eagle's wing; by every miscreant who would rejoice to see our mechanics labouring fifteen hours for eight-pence, and eating potatoes at thirty-pence per stone; while capital was quitting the island in all directions, never to return, except in a hostile shape.
Every man-devil who loves evil for its own sake, and says to the demon within hint, "Be thou my good," ought to support the Corn Law; for the consequences of that law are of an infernal nature, unaccompanied by good in any way.
While it exists, no reduction of taxation,—no, not the extinction of all other
taxes,—could be of any ultimate benefit to the people; for it would either destroy a sum equal in amount to the taxes repealed, or transfer that amount to the landlords, in raised rents and prices of corn.
In fact, it was intended by its authors to transfer the wealth of the nation to themselves; but it destroys far more than it transfers, as they will yet find to their cost; and every man who is bribed by it, wants but a Goethe to be recognized as a Faust.
It compels us to exchange our skill and labour for the produce of barren soils, and makes such soils the measure of our profits; reducing, as it were, the capabilities of fertile and mighty England, by the scale of barren and feeble Sweden.
How fast soever the competitors for bread may increase in number, no increase is allowed in the bread for which they compete; consequently, we must every day give more and more capital, skill, and labour, for less and less food; the saws which, in July last, sold for £40, will only sell for £30 in July
next; the clerk who last year received a salary of £100, will be grudgingly paid £80 next
year; and the shopkeeper, whose profits are £150, must be satisfied with two-thirds of that sum one year hence. In comfort, morals, science, we are inferior to our rivals; our manhood is more feeble than their infancy. The political machine will soon want power to overcome even its own friction;
and, deprived alike of individual prosperity and national strength, we
shall become the prey of anarchy, and fall before the first invader.
If the winds, and the tides, and the earth in her annual and diurnal
motion, were arrested, who dares contemplate the result? Yet the
Corn Law is arresting the winds, and the tides; unteaching the uses of navigation as if there had never been a Christopher Colon; and literally compelling the stars in their course to fight against England. Her old age and
decrepitude—an old age without dignity, and a decrepitude without
commiseration—are anticipated, a thousand years before their time, by act of parliament. Hear, O Czar,
and knout already, in imagination, thy province of Thule!
"Make haste, slow rogues! prohibit trade:'—(2.)
The Westminster Review has removed all mystery, from the subject of the Corn Law.
But it cannot he made too plain. Let us compare bread-taxed England with a ship, the crew of which, consisting of men, women, and children, eat lettuce grown on the deck of the vessel.
Let us suppose that no more lettuce can be grown on the deck than is barely sufficient to feed the present crew. Let us then suppose that another child is born, the mother of which addresses the captain in these
words:—"Sir, the people on the opposite shore grow lettuce, and eat fish, which we cannot eat. Let me exchange with
them—fish for lettuce; and the crew will no longer regard my child with black looks." "I will take your fish," cries the captain. "Sir," answers the mother, "I know that you will take my fish, but you will not give me any more lettuce than before, for you have no more to give; you can have no more; you can grow no more on these decks." "You be
d—d! Throw her overboard," roars the captain. Now, this throwing overboard, will be the very next thing proposed, namely, an emigration-tax, or law compelling the British people to breed white slaves for exportation. If it pass, it will furnish to all future ages a true picture of the miscreancy of these realms; for the effect will be precisely that which would have taken place in the Black Hole of Calcutta, had the tyrant who confined our countrymen in that dungeon, released a few of them from time to time, merely to prolong the sufferings of the remainder.
When our unfortunate countrymen were confined in the Black Hole of Calcutta, they complained of intense thirst, and the prison resounded with cries of "Water, water." Water was given them, but it increased their sufferings; for the thing wanted was not water, but air. Behold an exact picture of bread-taxed England! We are suffering under the effects of caged competition, already wrought up to agony. Same of the victims demand "one-pound notes!" others require "ten-shilling guineas?" and
others—the incurably mad, propose that more bolts shall be placed on the prison door. But the thing wanted is "bread," in exchange for cottons, woollens, and hardware; and no other thing can supply the want of that one thing, any more than water could supply the want of air in the Black Hole of Calcutta,
"A helmless wreck, a famine-frantic crew."—(3.)
Good sometimes results from evil. The French restrictive system, the fatal legacy of Napoleon to the Bourbons, who only knew how to imitate his faults, has given freedom to Europe.
In one instance, it beggared three millions of vine growers, merely to force the prosperity of 212 ironmasters, who nevertheless are ruined to a man. When the King set the nation at defiance, the manufacturers were glad of a pretence for discharging their profitless men, and the unemployed artisans of Paris overthrew the government.
If that mathematical education which is taught at one of our universities be worth what we are told it is, the clergy could not better employ their leisure than in seeking data on which to calculate in how many years or months the Corn Law will revolutionize this country. The following letter on the subject appeared in the
Sheffield Independent of the 25th of September, 1830:
TO THE EDITOR OF THE SHEFFIELD INDEPENDENT.
"SIR,—I learn from the Independent
of Saturday last, that at Hull alone, there have lately been entered from bond, for home consumption, 98,000 quarters of wheat. It is well known, that about eighteen-twentieths of the corn imported into England are sold far the account of foreign merchants; but it is known to too few, that by eighteen-twentieths of the above 98,000 quarters of
wheat—supposing it to have been sold at 70s per quarter,—the British public sustain a loss of £82,470, namely, 17s. per quarter actually given to the foreign merchant or grower; besides Is. per quarter duty paid into the British exchequer; and that the above, loss of £82,470, on eighteen-twentieths of 98,000 quarters of foreign wheat, sold to the British consumer at 70s. per quarter, is a loss utterly unredeemed in any
way, —benefiting neither man, woman, nor child in this country, of whatever rank or condition, whether palaced pauper, honest pauper, or unfortunate feeder of both, but as completely lost, as if the money had been thrown into the sea. I will endeavour to demonstrate these facts:—
"It is in evidence that the remunerating price of foreign wheat at Hull is about 50s, per quarter, and that 2s. per quarter more will allow the foreign merchant a handsome profit. Now, if the people of England were allowed to purchase foreign corn without duty or restriction, they would buy it when cheapest. But as 17 multiplied by 4 is only 68, it follows that the foreign merchant or grower, by determining not to sell until the price in England is 70s. per quarter, can afford to loose one cargo in four; and I think it follows, that rather than sell at the high duties he will suffer his corn to rot in our warehouses. Let us state a case. We will suppose that Shultz, of Hamburgh, consigns to Wreaks, of Hull, 1,000 quarters of wheat for sale, when the duty in this country shall be 1s per quarter. The agent obeys, and after deducting his expenses, and 10s. per cent. commission, remits the balance to his employer. The result will be as follows. The British public will lose by the 1,000 quarters of wheat £855, for they will have given £3,500 for goods which are only worth £2,645; but £50 duty will have been paid to our
Government—and the Hull merchant will have gained £4. 5s. 6d, commission.—So much for profit and loss.
"These are your wondrous deeds, kinglings of Gatton!
Yourselves how wondrous then!"
Behold, and, if you can, blush!—But if we must be cursed with the most impolitic of all taxes, a bread
tax—why not at once impose a fixed duty of eighteen shillings per quarter on foreign wheat, importable at all times;
a duty, no part of which would go into the pockets of foreign merchants
or growers, but the whole into our own treasury, at the same time
preventing, or misplacing some other tax to an equal amount?
The loss proved above on the transactions supposed, is about 34 per cent.; but such losses are the very least of the evils inflicted on the people of this country by the Corn Laws. Let it be remembered, however, that all which is destroyed by those laws increase the cost of production here, and is consequently a premium paid by us to our rivals. But the most deadly power armed against us by the Corn Laws, is that which a merchant might call the
reaction of discount; I mean the result of substracting a sum which has a certain tendency to increase, from a sum which is constantly decreasing.
If the 34 per cent, loss were suffered to remain as capital in the hands of the British people, there would be in twelve months a profit of at least 10 per cent. upon it; and if £5 are ten per cent. upon £50, I need not tell you that they are more than ten per cent, upon £40. But what is the percentage of reaction of discount upon ten per cent, added to thirty-four per cent? Let your loyal ass, Mr. Editor, discount the remaining £56 of the hundred, and if stone-blind he may see with his ears, or if more than stone-stupid, be instructed by his manager. Yes, it is this deadly power, this reaction of discount, this constant substraction of the increasing sum from the lessening one, that, always at work, and always working the wrong way, must 'ere long make itself tremendously felt. If the patron of all evil, the father of all lies, wished to overthrow the British empire, he could not find or invent means better suited to his purpose than the present Corn Laws, which do mischief in every way, and good in none. We are destroyed by a power tenfold more ruinous than that of compound interest on a borrowed capital employed in the cultivation of a profitless farm. The thing may go on as other losing concerns do, so long as persons can be found to pay the loss, and no longer. The most horrible of revolutions, recorded or conceivable, is coming as one that travelleth. In the meantime, what are our
absolutists,—alias Waterlooists, alias Peterlooists, alias Bourbonists,
alias Ferdinandists, alias Miguelites, doing? They are shaking their clenched fists in the faces of Eternal Wisdom, and
crying "Thou fool!" But instead of insuring their own destruction, by waging war on nature, instead of listening to the ravings of the Duke of Newcastle's
Sadler—if they would save their estates, and avoid the necessity of breaking stones on the highways for a subsistence, let them, while there is yet time,
if there is yet time, imitate the Parliamentary conduct of Lord Milton, whose words are things, and but for whose efforts in opposition to the wool tax, England would not at this moment have been able to sell without loss in any foreign country,
a single yard of woollen cloth.
Why are persons who boast of their ignorance, and who really are a century behind the people of England in knowledge, suffered to make laws? Because the people of England are not yet so enlightened as they ought to be. For if farmers knew that it is the Corn Law which is destroying their
capital—if merchants knew that it is the Corn Law which is annihilating their
profits—if manufacturers knew that it is the Corn Law which stimulates the battle of fifty dogs for one
bone—if shopkeepers knew that it is the Corn Law which beggars them, by beggaring their
customers,— surely, I say, the plundered labourers of England would not alone be heard to curse the most revolutionary of enactments.
Our weapon is the whip of words,
And truth's all-teaching ire.—(4.)
Why are the peasantry discontented? Because the bread-tax takes sixpence out of the labourer's shilling. "Oh, but we must cultivate the high moors, then
all will be well!" That is to say, a further reduction must take place in the wages of
labour! Yet with such fallacies as these are the people of England duped by their oppressors, who argue the question of cultivating waste
lands, as if there were good land remaining uncultivated! We might as well expect to become rich
by burning our property, as by wasting it in cultivating lands which will not pay for
cultivation; and if we were actually to destroy our property to the amount of twenty millions annually, we should neither act so wickedly nor so ruinously as the landlords do, in forcing the cultivation of inferior
soils; for while they raise rents, they lower wages, by diminishing the profits out of which wages are
paid; and not only do they destroy more than twenty millions annually, but what they destroy is not their
own! When do they propose to refund what they have extorted from
How God speeds the tax-bribed plough,
Fen and moor declare, man.—(5.)
I complain not that the plough is driven where the poor man's cow was fed, but that the plough which is driven over the poor man's land, is the rich man's plough.
Who would be an useful man?
Who sell cloth, or hats, man?
Who make boiler, or mend pan?—(6.)
A townsman of mine—a more warm-hearted and independent individual exists
not,—having objected to me, that the Corn Law, as a direct tax, is utterly inadequate to produce the effects which I predict from it, I will state one or two of its direct consequences, as a tax on British industry, skill, and capital. Its effects on the rate of exchange is equal to ten per cent. on our exports to the United States of
America,—say ten per cent. on fifteen millions annually; for if corn could be imported without restriction, bills at par, representing shipments of corn to England, might always be had in the market; or, if not, the agents of our merchants could and would remit at once, in grain or flour, with a saving to the British public of one million five hundred thousand pounds a year. Superficial reasoners are not aware, that under the present amended Corn Laws, the lower the duty the greater is the loss sustained by the consumer. This is easily proved. The law ordains that we shall not eat foreign wheat, until the price, in England, is 70s. per quarter; the foreigner, therefore, bonds his corn, waits till the price is sufficiently high, then sells for 70s. what cost him 50s. paying a duty of
1s., and pocketing a profit of 19s. per quarter. In this way the British people sustain a further loss by the Corn Laws of no less than
one million five hundred thousand pounds yearly. If the trade in corn were entirely free, bread, in the opinion of the friend I alluded to, would be nearly as dear as at present. Perhaps so; but as one of two things would necessarily result from a free trade in corn—namely, a rise in wages, or a fall in the price of provisions, I will not contest this point with him. Luckily, we can ascertain, by a short process, what is the amount which, in the opinion of the landlords, the Corn Laws, as a tax, cost the British community. These worthies are esteemed pretty keen-sighted as to their own immediate interests; and as they have rejected a fixed duty of 12s. per quarter, I think I am justified in concluding that in their estimation the present Corn Laws are worth still more to them. Now, 12s. per quarter on fifty millions of quarters of corn annually consumed in Great Britain and Ireland, are equal to a tax of
thirty millions sterling a year. That this amount is by no means overstated, is evident from the official accounts laid before the House of Commons, which shew that the average price of wheat, in England, for the ten years ending in 1825, amounted to 67s. per
quarter—say, a tax of 17s. per quarter—every shilling of which is equal to two millions five hundred thousand pounds laid directly on corn. Here then, in three items only, is an amount of direct taxation resulting from the Corn Laws, which would nearly pay the poor rates, and the interest of the national debt! My townsman is aware, of course, that if the Corn Laws raise the price of bread, they also raise, in the same ratio, the price of beef, mutton, butter, milk, bacon, and
vegetables; and I think I could demonstrate, that frightful as are the direct effects
of those laws, their indirect effects in restraining our trade, establishing our rivals, and destroying capital here, or driving it hence, are still more important and deplorable.
But the worst fact of the case remains to be stated—namely, that the landed worthies do not pocket more than seven or eight of the thirty or forty millions which the Corn Laws annually cost this country four-fifths of the whole being destroyed, and as completely lost to every man, woman, and child in England, as if thrown into the ocean. Was it Dibdin, who called Patience
"a white-eared cherub?" The patience of John Bull is indeed white-eared, and his wisdom of the same valiant complexion. But we have occasion for patience, if as the monopolists pretend, emigration is the only remedy for our
embarrassment; for, if it is so, our case is utterly hopeless: capital can only remain here to be destroyed; the
capitalists will be the emigrants! and neither the benevolence of the
SADLERS, nor the philosophy of plunder and famine, has
condescended to inform us how the destitute are to pay for their own expatriation. I may not be able to convince the landlords, but I have convinced myself, that in the year
1831, the Corn Laws will cost this country one hundred millions sterling, or about three times the rental of all the lands of the kingdom, and that they are acting with the accumulating power of compound interest.
Who would be an useful man? Who would be a prudent man? Who
would not be a madman, and attempt to stop the down-bill roll of
Doubly tax wheat, hemp, and flax!
Noodle, did'st thou ever read the history of the wooltax?
It is shorter than thy ears, and yet I doubt whether we shall ever see the end of it.
When the bread-tax was inflicted as a tribute on that vanquished people who conquered at Waterloo, the agriculturists of the countries, near the Baltic, no longer allowed to exchange their wheat for cloth in England, converted their arable
land into sheep-walks. The lords Shallow, with the aid of the Messrs. Shark and Co., then laid a tax on foreign wool, the growers of which necessarily became manufacturers
of cloth. They now undersell us in every market, not excepting our own; for, although by the exertions of Lord Milton, the wool tax was repealed, the consequences remain. Yet, ever and anon, the lords Shallow aforesaid, tired of growling, whimper for a
wool-tax! After pauperizing the kingdom from sea to sea, what more would they
have? An inscrutable Providence may permit them to wage war on nature a little
longer; but do they expect, that, in the end, they will be able to dethrone the Almighty? Who will improve machinery, if the whole benefit of the improvement is to be reaped by a set of "sneering,"
"idle," "legislatorial" "annuitants" and rascals? Who will invent a new machine, if the profit of it is to be swallowed, and after a few years, the machine itself, with all its advantages, and the trade to which it belongs, transferred to their especial favourites, our foreign rivals, by a set of sneering, idle, territorial "scoundrels?" If our
"sturdy beggars" dislike these terms, why do, they use such? They are the mildest terms I can find in Blackwood, where they are applied, not to a gang of
"hellish wretches," but to the most useful men in the empire; and if this book reach a fourth edition,
I will append to it a list of some of the beautiful epithets with which the advocates of the tax-eaters reward the plundered people for their base submission to an outrage which ought long ago to have pared the claws, drawn the teeth, and thinned the sides of every feudal monster (this term is not in Blackwood,) prowling between Calais and New York. Oh Lord!
Whip him, oh Lord, with want and woe!
Lord, teach him what his victims know!—(8.)
It was a maxim of the Roman Law, that persons who would not hold their property without injury to the public should not be allowed to retain it.
Now this law of the Romans is also a law of nature. Inevitably, then, and in the nature of things, if the landlords will not resign their bread-tax, they must lose their estates—not by spoilation, nor
merely of right and justice, but necessarily. I do not say, that
because—through their legislative usurpation, and by means of their bread-tax -they have destroyed more British capital in seventeen years, than would pay off the national debt, their estates ought, therefore, to be applied to the redemption of that debt, and for the exoneration of our descendants from taxes for ever;—these truths are self-evident, and reed no stating;—but I speak of the inevitable: I say, that if the landlords persevere, they must, of necessity, lose their estates. Inclosure of waste lands are premiums offered to poverty for their destruction; and every diabolical addition to their enormous wealth, by means of such premiums to misery, is only like an additional dram swallowed by a hideous drunkard, producing a further enlargement of the magisterial liver, and another splendid pimple on the aristocratical nose. If they were not stone-blind to consequences, they would shrink with horror from the delusive "protection," to which they cling with the desperation of a sot to brandy. Where is that protection to be
found? The workhouse knows it not; the trade which they have ruined knows it
not; the pocket of the rate-payer knows it not; the whip, and the dungeon, have not been able to torture it into
existence; the scaffold labours for it in vain; while Famine cries, "If it be food, let me devour
it!" Time hath not seen it, in his long journey; but Destruction says, "I have heard the name thereof; it cometh, and will come, the POVERTY
that shall instruct them!"
1. This baneful corporation may have reclaimed half a dozen drunkards; but it is a dear police, if, for every brawl prevented, it has made fifty thousand worse than Spanish serviles.
Certainly the most zealous ally of tyranny in England is Old Methodism, sometimes called New Popery.
But the fall of this corrupt power will be as signal as its rise, and more rapid.
Even as a fashion, it is everywhere on the decline, with the great vulgar and the small, its only
votaries—dealers excepted, and women of both sexes. Great as is the skill with which its Grand Masters use the petticoats to subvert the breeches; deadly as is the cunning with which the modern Loyolas seek the conservation of wrongs in the holy
name of Jesus; they will soon have no apology but the Johannaites, and no hope but in a junction with
them—unless there be truth in the report that the poor fishermen, have five millions in the three per cents.
Though dismal their Reign of Terror, and long-armed their Holy Inquisition, they must condescend in learn and teach what
is useful, or go where all nuisances go. The conjurer is gone already; the quack doctor, and the quack parson remain.
2. On this 1st December, 1830, the people of Sheffield meet to petition for Reform in Parliament. Where are the
Saints? Will they attend! Oh, Fie! No. But, I trust we shall have the benefit of their prayers, and then we may expect a Reform after their own
hearts—old abuses, under a worse corer; as if the devil, for a hoax, were to cloak himself in the
patriotism of the Methodist Conference. Let them pray
fervently; for who knows what Reform may bring? Who knows but the accursed drama may be made a state engine, for the gratuitous education of the people in politics and
morals? Heaven forefend, that the chapels of the fanatics should be converted into theatres of amusement and
3. It is a horrible fact, that not one petition for peace emanated from the great body of religionists in England, during twenty-five years of war against the laws of God, and the rights of man.
Of the fruits of that warfare, what remain? The Bread tax!—the great Unpaid!a debt of eight hundred millions!—and
Russia master of Europe!
4. Posterity will scarcely believe, that a nation which calls
itself the most religious and enlightened on earth, has endured for seventeen years a law, which sacrifices the interests of all the productive classes to the rapacity of a few haughty drones, who invent no gunpowder, improve no machinery, and run no risk, but of setting fire to every thing in the country, except the Thames.
Have our holy men objected to this law? They never heard of it.
It will be time enough for solemn triflers to ask what are the causes of distress in England, when the corn bill is written in blood and fire over every parish.
While millions of Hindoos died of famine, the Clives and Clivelings of splendid Calcutta could not believe that there was distress in India.
But we are not Hindoos; we may die, but not by millions. While our Missionaries are sent to the Ganges, Ireland sends her's to the Ouse and the Waveny; and dreadful are the mysteries which her wrongs have taught them to teach.
Oh, but we must exert ourselves! And why must we exert ourselves, if increase of profits will not buy an increase of bread? To seek substitutes for bread were equally idle. There
is no escape. If, rather than pay the price of wheat for potatoes, we resolve to eat salt and sand, the monopolists will tax the desert, and lay an interdict on
5. If the patrons of Missionaries would know what their deeds are worth, they have only to contrast the past with the present state of Otaheite.
That island, when first discovered had a population of one hundred and fifty thousand, living in ease, now reduced to less than twenty thousand, living in misery, and driven to church by the cudgel.
The persons who furnish funds for such cudgeling, while the people of England are dying of famine, may be the salt of the
earth; but the hour cometh when God, through the million voices of the
starving, will put to them this tremendous question. What did ye
with the lent talent?
6. In that happy commercial country, where the law for recovering a debt of ten pounds signifies the loss of a hundred , the expression of countenance here alluded to might be termed
national—if the tabooed and their imitators constitute the nation.
At once hideous and peculiar, it is neither a grin, nor a frown, nor a sneer. It is not
bravado—it is not calmness. If it resemble Turkish ferocity, it does not resemble Turkish dignity.
It is a compound of the confident official air of the hangman placing the knot, and the dogged yet apprehensive look of the butcher, who has stolen the calf which he pushes with one hand, while he grasps his knife in the other.
The foreigner who, for the first time, sees a newly arrived bread-tax-eater, has seen the "Corn-lawscowl;" he beholds it with surprise, disgust, and scorn: but the poor Englishman, when the
horrid thing approaches him, instinctively thrusts his hands into his breeches pocket, and with an indescribable mixture of shrug and bow, drops his under jaw, as if he expected a thief in the constable.
7. If a thousand square miles of fertile land could drop from the moon, and become a
part of this island, they would furnish a temporary remedy for some of the evils under which we
labour; but a free trade in corn would be a remedy at once effectual and lasting , it would make all the fertile
land in the world gradually available to us as profit and wages.
8. If Sunday were in the market, the bread-tax-eaters would buy
it; but they would not (for they could not, if we are to be bread-taxed,) give us more bread for seven days' labour, than we now obtain for six.
9. I am sorry to offend our honourable men; but the vast importance of my object must plead my excuse. Errors in agricultural legislation are soon remedied, because, in a fully-peopled country, where the productions of the land pay a reserved profit in the shape of rent, over and above the fair profit of capital, such
errors come speedily home to the landlord, who is the legislator. But if the consumer refuse to pay the tax on the manufacturer's productions, that tax may go on, like the bread tax, until manufacturers and nations are ruined.
But for enormous errors of this sort, Charles the Tenth of France would not have lost his throne.
The Bourbons might have played the tyrant, had they not played the ignoramus.
I sometimes dare to hope that the horrible Corn Law is thus destined to abate the landed nuisance here.
It is a tax which must come to an end: but Robert Shallow, Esq. acts as if he thought it would last for ever. Let him continue so to act, until he cease
to be measured by the shadow he casts. But if it is written that capital and skill shall no longer find profitable employment here, we happily know that liberal institutions are spreading over the Continent, and that the Channel is neither impassable, nor three thousand miles wide. There is an America in Europe, which any useful man who pleases may reach in a few hours, leaving his ice-hearted oppressors to settle the account with the mortgagees, and the two many-bellied monsters, "No-thing-to-do," and
a "Nothing-to eat," who will ask them whether they, or God, created the land, and whether it was intended to be a blessing or a
curse! The partisans of the present ministers are already opening their batteries in favour of the Landlords.
In the leading article of the New Monthly Magazine we are told, that land pays only 2½ per cent. But so long as the Corn Law continues, it is impossible to ascertain whether land pays 2½
or 20 per cent. Every man, however may state the facts of the case, as far as he knows them. I know an estate which, thirty years ago, sold
for £500: the rent is now fifty pounds per annum, or 10 per cent. upon the cost
price.—Instead of asking what this estate would sell for, let us contrast the fortunes of the owner, with those of his neighbour, the patient, long-eared iron master. The capital of the latter is reduced from £100,000 to £10,000, and he would be glad to receive 2½
pet cent. upon the reduced sum. Yet he maintains scores of families, while the unproductive, complaining landowner, without risk, and without exertion, is obtaining about forty times his profits. Oh, this
is but one instance, we shall be told! There are thou. sands of such instances, and those which differ from it are exceptions to the rule.