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of Pythagorean transmigration, now resides in France, Flanders, and England. How has it escaped from Florence? Can any reason be assigned but the absence of a sufficient safeguard from external intrusion and subversion ?
In the question of unrestricted trade, there are two objects of paramount consideration-subsistence, and (in a state burdering on the sea) maritime security.
The reflections to which these particular views of the subject lead are so extensive, that we must be content briefly to allude to them. Besides, liberty of trade in corn has been discussed so fully abroad and at home, that it seems to be settled that, on many grounds, it may, above most other branches of commerce, be left to its course. It is inherently secured by the productive principle of the soil, and the bulky form of the article; these are its proper protections against foreign interference. Husbandry is an industry planted by nature throughout the world; and restrictions from external competition hardly appear defensible, unless it be with regard to the heavy weight of taxation, which falls in so large a proportion on the land. It is in this view alone, and we are far from thinking it an insufficient argument, that the corn laws seem to be rendered necessary in this country. Arts and manufactures may Ait; in one age appear in Asia, another in Europe, the next in America, and a following one in New Holland; but agriculture exists amongst all people; the means of subsistence are given necessarily and usually sufficiently on the spot where wanted, and need no regulations and defences for retention.
Mr. Malthus has, with that profoundness which marks his thoughts in the science he professes, brought forward two arguments relative to the corn trade; the one, that capital employed on the land renders more permanent advantages to the state than that in manufactures; the other, that capital and labour yield a greater value in agriculture, from the rent resulting, than when used in any other way.* Yet, however well founded in fact, we cannot consider these reasons to warrant restrictions in regard to agriculture. Clearing, draining, inclosing, &c. are benefits to the state, to which individuals are sufficiently prompted by private interest and the peculiar inducements of husbandry, not to need the encouragement of privileges from any general regulations. Rent owes its value mainly to the degree of population; and while we admire the truth of the remark first made by this author,
that this surplus produce, this relief from labour, is one of the most peculiar blessings which the Almighty has bestowed upon man, yet it does not appear to us requisite to force its existence by undue encouragements, by taking advantage of a full population,
• Principles of Political Economy, chap. iii. pp. 220, 1410 and 229. VOL. XXIV. NO. XLVIII.
compressed within a small space, and preventing the admission of external supplies.
In a country situated as is this, the navy is so indispensable a part of its defence, that no hesitation can occur as to its being a primary duty of the state to support the navigation in its best source, its mercantile marine. The public advantage is so intimately united with our shipping interests that every reasonable encouragement becomes a paramount necessity. The economists who would sacrifice navigation to the increase of wealth, should consistently abandon the establishment of armies as still more detracting from it, without pretence to production. A naval preeminence is happily preserved in a numerous mercantile shipping, while foreign intercourse, commercial instruction, and general wealth are, at the same time, promoted.
The two great principles of our navigation laws, that foreign commodities shall be brought from the place of their growth, and in British shipping manned by British seamen, seem to be the happiest thoughts of legislation operating upon and regulating human actions in their widest range. The effects are, at once, moral and political.
Did not the law force the use of native shipping, it is probable other nations would become the carriers, who, with habits formed to the sea, have cheaper means of navigating. The depression of navigation, besides the loss of maritime power, would be a priva. tion of much knowledge to the country. It cannot be doubted that the necessity of visiting foreign countries, imposed by the navigation laws, gives rise to intelligence of every kind far more valuable than the expense of dearer conveyance. The masters and mariners enlarge their ideas, the ship-owners, merchants, manufacturers, and even cultivators, visit connections abroad, and return with instruction and a fostered love of enterprise: these qualities might, if not thus raised and kept awake, long remain dormant by being left to the undirected course of progressive wealth.
Further, the advancement of society in affluence depends upon the habits of mankind: a or may exist for ages which nothing but legislative interference will shake off, and give a disposition for exploring and ascertaining the resources of distant climates, and of proving fortune in a variety of shapes. The frequent success of reflecting mariners is observable in the number who become capable provident ship-owners and valuable merchants, plain, practical, infornied, and useful. It is the step by which they improve their condition; and find, in proceeding to that kindred sphere, a natural, active, serviceable asylum as they get forward in the progress of years and affluence. It is not enough
to consider the navigation laws as cheap or expensive methods of carriage, but as, inducing habits and character. We are not to look back since the period of their institution and make up the pecuniary account of the expense we have incurred through them, and the apparent retardation of wealth so proceeding; but to calculate, if we can, the enterprise, knowledge, active virtue, and the consequent wealth to which they have given birth, by forcing, and afterwards alluring numbers of our countrymen across so many seas, and to so many remote regions.
The favourite idea of our political economists is to banish fe. gulations, and to leave every species of industry to its own direction. They dwell on the course which wealth naturally takes in its free progress to its greatest height, through the various stages of society, from the hunter, through the pastoral, agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial state. They hold every interruption to perfect freedom to be prejudicial to the speediest advance. They beg the question of a never-failing activity and love of accumulation; they count not on the disposition to indolence, the contentment with little, taught and actually practised by so many; the calls of religion; the love of pleasure; the passion for honour overcoming that for wealth: all which may arrest the advance of public opulence in its free course through the early and middle stages.
We would call into action more motives than one. Individual exertion, on our adoption of liberty of trade, may not be allowed free play: if home regulations do not cramp it, external arts and rivalry will. If we look into history, we find that changes have not been effected in society without some strong application of external restraint. The American savage would scarcely be reclaimed but by absolute compulsion. The Tartar cannot be brought to but by regulation or force, from ranging his wilds with his flocks and herds, to take a step towards civilization by applying to agriculture. The attachment to husbandry is often found to predominate over the confinement, uncertainty, and artificial life of manufacturers and traders; and we have just observed how necessary may be the interference of the law to add to domestic industry the advantages of enlarged navigation.
If we endeavour to ascertain the result of freedom of trade in the commercial history of the world, it will, we believe, be found that its effects have not been to create any material branches of manufactures, nor yet to retain those previously possessed. It has, in fact, proved rather favourable to commerce than to manufactures. Italy, once the seat of numerous manufactures, which admits all foreign goods upon moderate duties, has nothing remaining but some small fabrics of silk goods. Switzerland receives foreign manufactures, and possesses
a few herself; but these have probably arisen from the forced situation of the warmshe had none previously. Hume remarks that agriculture may flourish even wbere manufactures and other arts are unknown and neglected. Switzerland is, at present, a remarkable instance; where we find at once the most skilful husbandmen and the most bungling tradesmen that are to be met with in Europe.' Many small territories and islands are to be observed in different parts of the globe enjoying absolute liberty of commerce, Hamburgh, Lisbon, Malta, Guernsey, St. Thomas, &c., yet no manufactures have been found to mis amongst them; and though possessed of certain portions of commerce, this may be ascribed more to favourable position, or vicinity to countries under restriction, than to any inherent virtue of an open commerce.
The doctrine of free trade has something very generous in its professions. It aims to remove all impediments and obstructions on the intercourse of nations; to withdraw much complication in goveryment with regard to legal enactments, to customs, and custom-house officers; to prevent the callous commission of vice in a profusion of oaths, of smuggling, and other encroachments on revenue ; with endless jealousies and contentions of trade. In these feelings we participate; and could the dreams of the theorists be verified, we would willingly enter into the adoption of that entire liberty of trade which was to lead to the realization of them. But many of the evils enumerated are inseparable from the constitution of society; laws are possibly as necessary to the protection of national industry as they are to that of individual property; the safe-guards and resources of the revenue must be maintained. If wealth be an essential part of power and a security of independence, we must admit and establish the system best fitted for its preservation. Narrow, malignant, or hostile feelings spring from the mind, and not from the existence of restrictions of self-defence or patriotic encouragement. If ill passions are bred by prohibitive regulations, their removal might lead to others of a nature not more benevolent—abjectness, sense of inferiority, and of inability to protect ourselves.
It is questionable whether the advantage of the world, considered universally, would be increased by perfect freedom of intercourse. Man thrives best by fainilies, communities, and special national interests. It is no reason against these forms and divisions of society, that the spirit and partialities which bind them may be carried to excess, and that, good in themselves, they are liable to abuse. Every country uses its own industry for the encouragement of its own people, and follows such inter• Essay XI. On the Populousness of Ancient Nations,
course with its neighbours as will serve mutually without particular prejudice. Whatever attraction of benevolence and beauty may appear in the speculations of political economists, their unlimited adoption must be postponed until man becomes devoid of covetousness and rapacity; and, till then, they may be joined to the past rhapsodies of community of goods and universal nonresistance. We would submit to these economists, to confine their provident care, in the first instance, to something short of the entire generation of man. It is long since the poet sang
• God loves from whole to parts: but human soul
His country next; and next, all human race.' It is a strong reason to doubt the practicability of these schemes, that statesmen have no where ventured upon them; not from ignorance, as has been petulantly pretended, but from extended knowledge. Neither in old nor new states, do legislatures find the Utopian ideas of these philosophers to be feasible: yet Adam Smith, the great advocate for the most unrestricted trade, is read in all countries and languages, and his doctrines have been moulded into all shapes, whether to inform youth or puzzle the learned. Reflection and practice seem to show that this valuable writer, in the zeal of his argument, carried too far his views of freedom of trade, as he assuredly did those of unlimited production and unrestrained parsimony.
It is the policy of general freedom of foreign, not of domestic, commerce that we hold in doubt. If in internal free intercourse one province gain and another suffer, the conjoint interest and wealth may be the same, or even increased. If Dorset and Hants suffer a privation of manufactures while Yorkshire and Lancashire abound, the common country may still be benefited by the concentration of manufacturing industry. But if Dorset and Hants were supplied from Normandy and the Ne. therlands, the policy with regard to this country might be justly questioned. Should it be urged that the improvement of the world might be promoted, the patriot (whose affections are local) must grieve, while the cosmopolite rejoices. • The interests, says Mr. Malthus, ' of an independent state are especially different from those of a province, a point which has not been sufficiently attended to. The interest of each independent state is to accumulate the greatest quantity of wealth within its own limits.'*
Are we then advocates for universal restrictions on commerce? We answer, no. But what limits do we assign? There is the great difficulty ; and while we see the necessity of many, we are
Essay on Population, Book III. ch. 9.