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The producers of the greater part of these privileged commodities live in a particular section of the country. But the consumers of the commodities received from foreign countries in exchange for these exports are all the producers of the whole three or four hundred millions. A tax is imposed upon the foreign commodities so consumed, and now the question is whether, that whole tax falls exclusively upon the producers of the privileged articles, wbich serve as a medium of exchange upon the eighty millions of exports namely—or upon all the three or four hundred millions laid out in consumption of one sort or other indiscriminately?
Put the case: A single person is general proprietor, or landlord, of the city of New York. His rental would, we shall say, be some ten, fifteen, or, it may be, twenty millions yearly. His tenants, as every body knows, are a most luxurious and extravagant race of people-consuming, of foreign or taxed products, especially of the dearer sorts, out of all proportion, more than any of their neighbours. They will have them-abstinence is out of the question-their demand for foreign merchandize is the most effective that can be imagined. How is their great landlord, who is, of course, an importing merchant, to exchange his rents for foreign merchandize? He must contrive to exchange them, in the first place, for the gold of North-Carolina, (if they were not paid in specie,) or the cotton and rice of Soutb-Carolina. These are his media of exchange; he cannot dispense with them, if he mean to import any thing, and import he will, because the market, in a growing and prosperous country, is every day becoming better, and the de. mand more unappeasable. He goes to England and buys his goods, but their value is diminished by a tax levied on them when he returns with his cargo. Now upon whom does the weight of this tax fall ? Upon the planter or gold-digger who supplies him with the medium of exchange? or upon him who cannot dispense with that medium, or upon those who will have and consume his merchandize, if it be possible? The answer to this question should seem to be obvious enough. No one who reads Say attentively, it is thought, would hesitate to affirm that the very last class upon whom such a tax would fall, would be the producer of the medium of exchange, and the very last article seriously affected in its price, by such a tax, would be the cotton or the gold.
A fundamental error seems to be involved in this theory. It is the exploded notion of the French economists-which has been steadily pursued in the policy of most European governments—that the wealth of a nation depends not upon the sum total of its productions, but upon the amount of its sales to foreign countries. M. Say justly remarks, that one of the most important portions of Dr. Smith's work is devoted to the refutation of this theory. And the same writer, speak. ing of Poland, observes—" Poland herself, which exports at the rate of ten millions of wheat annually, and therefore, according to the economists, takes the sure road to national wealth, is, notwithstanding, poor and depopulated : and why? Because she confines her industry to agriculture, though she might be, at the same time a commercial and manVOL. VIII.No. 16.
ufacturing State.” (p. 9.) The fund laid out iv consumption, is the whole produce of the land and labour of a country, and nothing can be more chimerical than to suppose (as some of our politicians seemi to do) that the rich States, worth of the Potomac, have not wherewithall to buy foreign commodities, because they are obliged to procure a medium of exchange elsewhere. The cornfields of Holland were in Poland and she paid for its wheat in East and West-India produce. All this and a great deal more, was the fruit of her navigation and her commerce-for agriculture she had none.*
Another error in the theory alluded to is to overlook the important effect which savings have in counteracting the effect of taxation. This is so great that Mr. Say (p. 431) speaks of a tax which produces such an effect, as any thing but an evil. The consumption of every nation-even the most industrious and commercial - is, to a greater or lese degree, unthrifty. A portion, more or less considerable, of its income, which ought to be laid out in reproduction, that is to say, ju increasing its capital, is wasted in mere luxury and profligacy. If in consequence of a new tax, this portion is saved for more useful purposes, as it sometimes is, no harm, in an economical point of view, but some good may be done hy it. Such taxation is not to be justified in its political aspect, but still it is not an uncompensated evil. So, if an impost be laid on a favourite article of consumption, the consumer will save from his other expenditures enough to judemnify himself against the increased expense. If broad-cloth is doubled in price, he will wear, it is probable, as many coats as formerly, but he will not go so often to the theatre, or he will not pay so high a rent, &c.
Had the present tariff been imposed in 1816 it would have had no effect whatever on the price of cotton-wool-so great was the demand for the raw material. But since that time the markets of Europe are fully supplied (to say the least) and our unjust restrictions upon trade, no doubt, affect the Southern planter in some, though a very slight, degree as a producer.f This tax, added to that which he pays as a consumer, (though together falling very far short of forty, or even twenty per cent. on his income) are too onerous to be tolerated in a free government. The condition of the Southern country besides, is such as to make this burthen less bearable here than any where else. From various natural causes that condition is eminently unprosperous: and if it be true, as Mr. Say remarks, (p. 108,) that there is in general too little attention paid to the serious mischief of raising prices upon consumers, the observation was never so applicable or so forcible as in our case.
The industry of the Southern States-Carolina, Georgia, Alabama especially-is confined to the cultivation of a few great staple commodities. They are supplied from their sister States with almost every thing that enters into their daily consumption: and it is in this way,
* The greatest aggregate revenue which any nation enjoys, says Mr. Say, is that of China, since it maintains the most numerous and dense population. (p. 315.)
+ Increased consumption, it is true, would soon lead to increased production, and that-such is the fertility and extent of the cotton growing country-to a fall in prices, as they fell in 1822 and 1823 before the first tariff of protection, eo nominebut we have a right to our chance.
that those States are enabled to procure the cotton, rice, &c. required for the exchanges of foreign commerce. The great bulk of the articles upon which a Carolina gentleman of large fortune, whose expenditures are at all liberal, lays out his income-including the prodigal waste of absenteeism-are Northern and Western products-articles of the description alluded to in the following observation of M. Say-an observation of great importance in itself, but unhappily not quite applicable to our situation. “But even in this point of view, the exclusive system is pregnant with injustice. It is impossible that every class of production should profit by the exclusive system, supposing it to be universal, which, in point of fact, it never is in practice, though possibly it may be in law or intention. Some articles can never, in the nature of things, be derived from abroad; fresh fish, for instance, or horned cattle-as to them, therefore, import duties would be inoperative in raising the price. The same may be said of mason's and carpenter's work and of the numberless callings necessarily carried on within a communityas those of shopmen, clerks, carriers, retail dealers and many others. The producers of immaterial products, public functionaries and fundholders lie under the same disability. These classes can none of them be invested with a monopoly by means of import duties, though they are subjected to the hardship of the monopolies granted in that way to other classes of producers.” (p. 110.) Even butcher's meat from NewYork is sometimes sold in this city and from the most important products of art and industry down to the coarsest and most humble, through all their imaginable varieties, this State pays for what it consumes, aud that, with two and only two cominodities - cotton and rice. How much of its annual income is added to its capital, and goes to swell the products of its land and labour—it is hard to say. Subject to a perpetual drain by absenteeism and emigration-buying every thing and paying dearly for whatever it buys-it is feared that its annual savings are very little. By the operation of natural causes—such as the geographical and political connexion between the South and North, the comparative unproductiveness of slave-labour, at least, in trades requiring skill, climate, &c.-the manufacturing States, have, without the interference of the government, immense advantages over us in our mutual intercourse. We stand towards them in the same relation as Poland towards Holland, and even a worse. But surely that is no reason why a most onerous system of taxation should be added to the evils inseparable from our condition, and that, because we have one sort of product which they have not, we should be compelled by our government to let them in for a larger share of that, than they would at all events have.
We need not add, that when we speak of our whole consumption being supplied from the other States, we do not forget that we import a good deal from Europe. We refer, particularly, to that immense mass of products, of which the greater part, ought to be, and, in most countries, is, as Say remarks, furnished by domestic industry.
By accident the subjoined addition to the Note at page 338 in the article upon Griffin's Remains, was omitted.
“What we have said of the abuse of Cæsura is equally applicable to other prosodial figures, synalæpha, ectblipsis, &c These are poetical licenses to which poets only are entitled; they are inadmissible in the crade productions of schoolboys. Exceptions are not rules. What would be boldness in Pindar, is mere impudence in the writer of such verses as are here under consideration, and, under proper instructors, would never have been attributable to Mr Griffin. Of him we delight to form a more favourable estimate ; for, judging by the portrait prefixed to these volumes; by the character given by Dr. M'Vickar; and by various speci: mens of his prose works, we do not hesitate to believe and to say that he was, in the most enlarged sense:
“Ingenui vultus puer, ingenuique pudoris.”
Note by the Editor. Owing to the absence of the Editor, many errors crept into the article on Canal Navigation and Fluids in our Fifteenth Number. The able writer of that article has already published a list of them in a daily journal.
In correcting the press,“ high" was inadvertently substituted for“ low' at page 300, line 8.
In the same article the reader is requested 10 add the e wherever it is wanted ju " Piraeus"
At page 431,"admonishes" for admonish.
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