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Mr Jacob's Reports, will glean but little additional information from his volume.

Having completed his account of occupancy by metayers, serfs, ryots, cottiers, &c., Mr Jones comes, in the last place, to examine what he calls farmers' rents, that is, rents determined on the principle of competition, or as they exist in England. It is here, properly, that his controversy with Mr Ricardo commences; and, to understand the discussion, it may be as well, perhaps, to state what the theory is that Mr Jones labours to overthrow. Luckily this may be done in a few words. It is an admitted fact, that the soil of every extensive country is of very different degrees of fertility; varying, by many gradations, from the finest loams and meadows, to the most barren heaths and rocks-from the rich lowlands of Essex and the Carse of Gowrie, to the Highlands of Wales and Scotland. Now, the theory advocated by Mr Ricardo is, that so long as none but the finest soils are cultivated, no rent (understanding the term in the sense already explained) is paid; that rent only begins to be paid for the superior land, when, owing to the increase of population, recourse must be made to soils of an inferior degree of fertility, in order to obtain adequate supplies of food; that it continues to increase according as soils of a decreasing degree of fertility are taken into cultivation, and diminishes according as they are thrown out of cultivation. The produce raised on the worst land under tillage, or by the agency of the capital last applied to the soil, being all the while sold at its natural cost, without being in any degree affected by rent.

Mr Jones, who, not unreasonably, we think, might have been supposed well acquainted with the history of a theory about which he was inditing a considerable volume, ascribes its invention to Sir Edward West and Mr Malthus. But it is now well known that the discovery of the real nature of rent, and of the important fact that it is not a cause, but a consequence of price, was not made by either of the distinguished individuals alluded to, but by the late Dr James Anderson, author of Recreations in Agriculture, the Bee, and several other publications. In a pamphlet published by this gentleman on the corn laws, so far back as 1777, he has given the following exposition of this doctrine, which we believe our readers will agree with us in thinking, is not more remarkable for its depth and originality, than for its admirable precision and clearness :

I foresee here a popular objection. It will be said, that the price. to the farmer is so high, only on account of the high rents, and avaricious extortions of proprietors. "Lower" (say they) "your rents,

and the farmer will be able to afford his grain cheaper to the consumer." But if the avarice alone of the proprietors was the cause of the dearth of corn, whence comes it, I may ask, that the price of grain is always higher on the west than on the east coast of Scotland? Are the proprietors in the Lothians more tender-hearted and less avaricious than those of Clydesdale? The truth is, nothing can be more groundless than these clamours against men of landed property. There is no doubt but that they, as well as every other class of men, will be willing to augment their revenue as much as they can, and, therefore, will always accept of as high a rent for their land as is offered to them. Would merchants or manufacturers do otherwise? Would either the one or the other of these refuse, for the goods he offers to sale in a fair open way, as high a price as the purchaser is inclined to give? If they would not, it is surely with a bad grace that they blame gentlemen for accepting such a rent for their land as farmers, who are supposed always to understand the value of it, shall choose to offer them.

It is not, however, the rent of the land that determines the price of its produce, but it is the price of that produce which determines the rent of the land; although the price of that produce is often highest in those countries where the rent of land is lowest. This seems to be a paradox that deserves to be explained.

In every country there is a demand for as much grain as is sufficient to maintain all its inhabitants; and as that grain cannot be brought from other countries but at a considerable expense, on some occasions at a most exorbitant charge, it usually happens, that the inhabitants find it most for their interest to be fed by the produce of their own soil. But the price at which that produce can be afforded by the farmer varies considerably in different circumstances.

In every country there is a variety of soils, differing considerably from one another in point of fertility. These we shall at present suppose arranged into different classes, which we shall denote by the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, &c. the class A comprehending the soils of the greatest fertility, and the other letters expressing different classes of soils gradually decreasing in fertility as you recede from the first. Now, as the expense of cultivating the least fertile soil is as great, or greater than that of the most fertile field, it necessarily follows, that if an equal quantity of corn, the produce of each field, can be sold at the same price, the profit on cultivating the most fertile soil must be much greater than that of cultivating the others; and as this continues to decrease as the sterility increases, it must at length happen, that the expense of cultivating some of the inferior classes will equal the value of the whole produce.

This being premised, let us suppose that the class F includes all those fields whose produce in oatmeal, if sold at fourteen shillings per boll, would be just sufficient to pay the expense of cultivating them, without affording any rent at all; that the class E comprehends those fields whose produce, if sold at thirteen shillings per boll, would pay the charges, without affording any rent; and that, in like manner,

the classes D, C, B, and A, consist of fields, whose produce, if sold respectively at twelve, eleven, ten, and nine shillings per boll, would exactly pay the charge of culture, without any rent.

Let us now suppose that all the inhabitants of the country where such fields are placed, could be sustained by the produce of the first four classes, viz. A, B, C, and D. It is plain, that if the average selling price of oatmeal in that country was twelve shillings per boll, those who possess the fields D could just afford to cultivate them, without paying any rent at all; so that if there were no other produce of the fields that could be raised at a smaller expense than corn, the farmer could afford no rent whatever to the proprietor of them, and if so, no rents could be afforded for the fields E and F; nor could the utmost avarice of the proprietor in this case extort a rent for them. In these circumstances, however, it is obvious that the farmer who possessed the fields in the class C could pay the expense of cultivating them, and also afford to the proprietor a rent equal to one shilling for every boll of their produce, and in like manner the possessors of the fields B and A could afford a rent equal to two and three shillings per boll of their produce respectively. Nor would the proprietors of these fields find any difficulty in obtaining these rents; because farmers, finding they could live equally well upon such soils, though paying these rents, as they could do upon the fields D without any rent at all, would be equally willing to take the one as the other.

But let us again suppose, that the whole produce of the fields A, B, C, and D was not sufficient to maintain the whole of the inhabitants. If the average selling price should continue at twelve shillings per boll, as none of the fields E or F could admit of being cultivated, the inhabitants would be under the necessity of bringing grain from some other country, to supply their wants. But if it should be found, that grain could not be brought from that other country, at an average, under thirteen shillings per boll, the price in the home-market would rise to that rate; so that the fields E could then be brought into culture, and those of the class D could afford a rent to the proprietor equal to what was formerly yielded by C, and so on of others; the rents of every class rising in the same proportion. If these fields were sufficient to maintain the whole of the inhabitants, the price would remain permanently at thirteen shillings; but if there was still a deficiency, and if that could not be made up for less than fourteen shillings per boll, the price would rise in the market to that rate; in which case the field F might also be brought into culture, and the rents of all the others would rise in proportion. And so on to the same effect.'

Dr Anderson enforced the same doctrine on several subsequent occasions. But his original, ingenious, and profound disquisitions appear tohave attracted no notice from his contemporaries. So completely, indeed, were they forgotten, that Mr Malthus and Sir Edward West were generally believed to have been the first expounders of the true Theory of Rent. Of the originality of their investigations we entertain no doubt. Still, however,

they only re-discovered principles that had been discovered and fully established forty years before. Whatever of superior merit belongs to the first inventor, is wholly due to Dr Anderson, who has also been pre-eminently happy in his exposition of the doctrine.

Mr Jones has not attempted directly to controvert this theory; and unless his readers are otherwise acquainted with it, his work will not give them any very precise ideas of its nature, or of the questions really at issue. He contents himself with attempting to impugn a principle involved in the theory; thinking that if he succeed in showing that it is unsound, the theory of which it is a part will fall of course. The principle referred to is, that, speaking generally, diminished returns are obtained in the progress of society for equal quantities of capital or labour expended on the soil. But notwithstanding all that Mr Jones has stated, this principle appears to us to be alike obvious and undeniable. We presume Mr Jones admits that different qualities of land are under cultivation in England. It was proved, by the agriculturists examined before the Committee of the House of Commons on the Corn Laws in 1821, that while the best lands in cultivation in England yield from 36 to 40 bushels an acre, the worst only yield from 8 to 9 bushels; and it is a well-known fact that good land is always cultivated at a less expense than bad land. But it is as clear as the sun at noon day, that unless the productive powers of the quantities of capital successively applied to the superior soils had diminished, the inferior ones would never have been brought into tillage; for, if any amount of capital might have been laid out upon land yielding 36 or 40 bushels an acre without a diminished return, who would have been so insane as to think of laying it out on land that would only yield 8 or 9 bushels?

Mr Jones says that strong facts' would be required to prove the existence of the law of decreasing fertility; and are not these strong facts? Those who deny this law must be prepared to maintain that a very large proportion of the agriculturists of England are so insane, as to lay out capital for a return of 8 or 9 bushels, when they may, if they please, get 36 or 40. If, instead of quoting Columella, Mr Jones had looked into the statements of the most expert farmers before the Parliamentary Committees, he would have found evidence to satisfy him, though he were as sceptical as Bayle himself, of the existence of the principle in question.

But its existence must, on other grounds, be manifest to every one who reflects on the subject. If at an average equal returns could be obtained from every equal quantity of

capital expended on the soil, the whole world might be fed out of the Isle of Wight, or out of Grosvenor Square: For, supposing that L.100 laid out on the latter yields a certain return, it is clear, supposing every other L.100 laid out upon it yields the same return, that its produce may be increased without limit. We submit that this reductio ad absurdum is decisive of the whole question. What is true of Grosvenor Square or the Isle of Wight, is true of England, France, and, in short, of the world. Were it not for this law of decreasing fertility, why does not population go on increasing as fast in England, the Netherlands, and Lombardy, as in Kentucky or Alabama? If the productive powers of agricultural industry did not diminish in the progress of society, the produce of the garden grounds on the Thames, or the wheat-fields of East Lothian, might be as easily quintupled as that of the lands on the Swan River or the Missouri.

It is most true that this principle does not operate continuously. It is checked and counteracted by the improvements and inventions that take place every now and then, as society advances. But at the long run, the increasing sterility of the soils, to which recourse must be had, is sure to overcome them. The reason is, that improvements, by augmenting the productive powers of industry, lower prices, and give a corresponding stimulus to population, which never fails speedily to expand, so as to force the cultivation of new, and still inferior land. It is not contended, as Mr Jones seems to suppose is the case, that every additional quantity of corn obtained from land already cultivated, must necessarily be obtained by a larger comparative outlay; but it is contended that this is generally true, and that it is invariably true in periods of lengthened duration. would seem, indeed, from Mr Jones' work, as if every one who has written on rent, except himself, had always represented this law as of continuous operation; or, in other words, that they had totally overlooked the modifications it undergoes from improvements; but they were not quite so blind as Mr Jones would have us believe; and the following extract from a work he has sometimes referred to, and which was published six years since, will show how applicable his criticisms really are:

'I have thus endeavoured to exhibit the ultimate effect which the necessity of resorting to poorer lands for supplies of food for an increasing population, must always have on profits and 'wages. But though this cause of the reduction of profits be of ""such magnitude and power as finally to overwhelm every 'other," (Malthus, Pol. Economy, p. 317,) its operations may 'be, and indeed frequently are, counteracted or facilitated by ex'trinsic causes. It is obvious, for example, that every new

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