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The Sixth Part of the Encyclopædia Metropolitana will be published in June.

Mr. George Downes, of Trinity College, Dublin, will publish, in a few Days, Letters from Mecklenburgh and Holstein, including an Account of the Cities of Hamburgk and Lubeck, written in the Summer of 1820.

William Spence, Esq. is republishing his Tracts on Political Economy, viz. I. Britain Independent of Commerce. Il. Agricultore the Source of the Wealth of Britain.III. The Objections against the Corn-Bill refuted.-IV. Speech on the East India Trade ; with Prefatory Remarks on the Causes and Cure of our present Distresses, as originating from Neglect of Principles laid down in these Works.

Dr. Meyrick has been many Years engaged in collecting the scattered Notices to be found in our old Poets, Chroniclers, Wills, Deeds, and Inventories of Ancient Armour. The Result will appear in the most splendid Style, in three Volumes, imperial 4to., and contain above 100 Specimens of Ancient Armour.

The Rev. J. W. Bellamy is preparing for Publication, by Subscription, the Poems of the Rev. Thomas Cherry, B.D. late Head Master of Merchant Tailors' School.

Mr. Valpy is reprinting his Edition of Brotier's Tacitus, in 4 Vols. Octavo. It combines the Advantages of the Paris and Edinburgh Editions, with a Selection of Noles from all the Commentators on Tacitus, subsequent to the Edinburgh Edition: the Literaria Notitia and Politica, with all the Supplements, are also added; the French Passages are translated, and the Roman Money turned into English.

A Magazine in the French Language, will be published in London on the 1st of June, under the Title of Le Musée des Variétés Littéraires, and continued monthly.

Chinzica, a Poem, in Ten Cantos, founded on that Part of the History of the Pisan Republic, in which is said to have originated the celebrated Triennial Festival, called the Battle of the Bridge, will speedily be published in 8vo.

The Vale of Chamouni, a Poem. By the Author of « Rome," is in the Press.

Mr. Nichols is preparing the fourth Volume of Illustrations of Literary History, which will conclude the Eighteenth Century.

THE

BRITISH CRITIC,

FOR MAY, 1822.

ART. I.

On Protection to Agriculture. By David

Ricardo, Esq. M.P. 1822.

It is not a little humbling to reflect that the wisdom of man is almost entirely confined to a periodical change of principles, and to the adoption of new measures, generally the reverse of those, which he has been accustomed to pursue. Disappointed in the result of his arrangements, he not only questions the soundness of the views upon which they were formed, but even makes haste to relinquish and abjure them altogether; satisfied that he cannot go wrong, if he shall resolutely advance. in'a direction wholly opposite to that, in which he was wont to proceed. For example, the policy of our fathers in regard to trade and manufactures, was founded on a pervading system of protection and restriction. A policy which has no doubt been carried to the very utmost limits of praotical advantage; and until the principle of reaction on the part of other countries, had begun to admonish is that the real benefits of trade can only be permanently established on the footing of a liberal reciprocity. At present, on the contrary, the public voice is lifted up in favoor of an absolute freedom of trade, and a complete emancipation from all the prohibitory and restricting enactments, which have hitherto regulated the intercourse of nations. Our philosophical legislators are found eagerly joining their suffrages with those of the embarrassed merchant, in recommendation of a new system : impatient to commence a career of experiment and adventure : and desirous to be admitted to competition with the whole world, unaided by bounties, and unprotected by custom house exactions. The dangers of a second and worse extreme are, it is clear, now before

G g VOL. XVII, MAY, 1822.

us; and it will require all the weight and experience of our wisest counsellors to defend the country from the effects of precipitate innovation.

The vacillation and inconsistency now mentioned, have been at all times most strikingly exemplified in regard to the corn laws: for the pressure always occasioned by any considerable deficiency or excess of produce, on the consamer and the farmer respectively, creating loud complaints and energetic appeals to Parliament, has too frequently led to measures on the part of that assembly, which indicated a larger share of good nature than of legislative wisdom. Their expedients change with the change of the weather ; and their principles, as political economists, are found to receive a bias from the state of the wind, or the report of the sales at Mark-lane. In such circumstances, reasoning is useless, and all reference to standard authorities and the maxims of experience passes for mere drivelling. Acts of Parliaments are sent forth to appease the clamorous peti. tioner, much on the same principle that coloured water is given to a whimsical patient, or a piece of gilded wood to a crying child: the eye is filled, and the mouth is stopped for the time, and by and bye nature and common sense return, to effect the cure and restore the temper.

On the subject of agricultural distress, two questions present themselves for consideration ; namely, what is the extent of the evil complained of; and secondly, what are the most likely means to remove or to mitigate it.

In regard to the first, there has certainly been more poisé than enough, at least, if we may be allowed to form a judgment of the farmer's circumstances, from the prices of agri. cultural produce, during the last four or five years. From a parliamentary paper printed early last year, we find that the price of wheat for seven years preceding was as follow :

d.
1814

73 11
1815
• 64 4

in. 1816

75 10

1. vieta 1817

94 9 1818

84 1
1819

73 0
1820.
65 7

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The average price of wheat, therefore, during the years just specified, is not less than 76s. ; a return which in our opinion, amply sufficient to remunerate the grower for all the expences of production, if þe is not burdened with an

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excessively high rent, or impeded by diffioulties of an uno common description. From 1793 to 1800, the price of the same commodity was as under:

d. 1799 •

48 11 1794

51 8 1795

74 2 1, 1796

77 1 1797

53 1 1798

50 3 1799

... 67 6 If the average of these years be taken, it will be found rather under 60s. 60; a conclusion which

to weaken the ground upon which the farmer establishes at once his complaints, and his claims for redress and parliamentary interference. Nay, if we strike out five years of scarcity, intervening between 1791 and 1820, the average of the remaining twenty-five years will not be equal to that for the last seven ; we mean, from 1813 to 1820. The years we have struck out and the respective prices are these ;

8. d. 1800 ....

113 7 1801

118 3 1810

106 2 1812

125 6 1813

108 9

seems

When these years are left out of the thirty, elapsed between 1790, and 1820, the average price of wheat does not exceed 70s. ; whereas, the same price from 1813 to 1820 is 76s. Where then is the cause for all the murmurings, and lamentations, and predictions of ruin, with wbich the

ears of the country have of late been assailed. The agriculturists have enjoyed a monopoly of the whole market of the United Kingdom, with very trilling exceptions, ever since the conclusion of the war; and their prices during that period, have averaged higher than ever they did in any similar period, in the memory of man, if we except two or three years in the present century, when we were afflicted with the fears and even with the pains of famine. Even from 1802 to 1809, during the heat of the war and the height of the non-intercourse system enforced by Buonaparte, the average price of wheat did not greatly exceed 70s. the quarter; being nearly six shillings under the average from 1813 to 1820. It must not be concealed, however, that the prices of last

year-were considerably under the averages jast given; being not more than 558. 3d. the quarter of wheat, and in proportion for other kinds of grain. It is worthy of remark on the other hand, that the quantity sold at Mark-lane in 1821, exceeded considerably the quantity sold in any of the four preceding years; and that consequently the value of the corn disposed of, does not exhibit the same rate of diminution that is presented by the return of prices. We extract from a document in Mr. Ricardo's pamphlet, the following statement in regard to the quantity, average price, and total value of the wheat sold in Mark-lane from 1817 to 1821 inclusive. Quantity.

Av. Price. Total Value. 1817 337,264 Qrs. 94 0 .... 81,585,151 1818 236,167 ....... 84 6 1,003,710 18:9 285,541

72 6 1,035,086 1820 366,668

67 0

1,228,337 1821 428,315

55 3 1,177,867 If then, the sales effected in London were only in proper tion to those in other parts of the country, we are warranted in asserting that the increased consumption, or at all events, the increased sales, have more than compensated for the diminished price, and that in the aggregate, the value of the farmer's crops has not materially fallen. The returns from Mark-lane it is readily admitted, do not of themselves warrant the conclusion now stated. It is at the same time consistent with experience to look for an enlarged consumption, in proportion to the cheapness of the commodity, and the means possessed by the people at large of becoming purebasers: and on this ground there is some probability that the extended dealings in the London market, would be

found upon enquiry, to afford only a fair representation of • similar dealings in all the large towns of the kingdom. But

whatever may be the fact in regard to the amount of sales elsewhere, we find, that as far as this immense city is concerned, the quantity of wheat sold last year at 55$. brought more money than was received in 1818, when the price was 84s. 6d. or in 1819, wben the price was 72s.6d. The difference in the former year is not less than 170,0001. whilst in the latter it abounted to more than 140,0001.

We are perfectly aware of the fact that a small excess in quantity over the customary demand, ereates a depression of price much beyond the proportion of that excess; and also, that a deficiency in the supply has a corresponding effect in raising the market to perhaps a still greater extent above the ordinary rate. An abundant crop, - therefore, is pot

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