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ON SOME RECENT
EXPOSURE OF THE FALLACY
THE SINKING FUND..
By A. H. CHAMBERS,
AUTHOR OF THE RESUMPTION OF CASH PAYMENTS.
Anxious for the public weal, and entertaining opinions on the present financial system of the Country different, perhaps, from the generality of those who devote their minds to political subjects—and as my views may be peculiarly my own-I am induced humbly to submit the following Strictures, with this observation only - that I have not any thing either to hope, fear, beyond that of the public opinion, before whose tribunal I
venture to appear.
Of all errors, those which accord with our wishes are the most pernicious and fatal in their effects :- they flatter favourite opi. nions, while the judgment is misled, and falls a sacrifice to their delusion. - Never was any principle more fully demonstrated than the foregoing, in our recent mistaken notions with regard to the price of bread, and the excessive importations of foreign corn: for the purpose of reducing, as much as possible, the price of wheat to the consumer, under a false impression, that by so doing we shall relieve the wants of the majority of the people, and give them a more abundant supply of the necessaries of life. · That the price of bread, for the moment, has been reduced, there can be no question. But it is of great national importance to inquire if it were absolutely requisite that it should be so ? Does not each succeeding day prove at what an expense the price of bread has been diminished, and how rapidly the finances of the country and its general prosperity have been on the decline ? By finances we do not mean the immediate amount of the revenue as paid into the Exchequer ; but have reference to the future permanent resources of the country for supporting the national wants-which can only be derived from the productive labor of the individuals composing the community; the competency of whom to contribute is wholly dependent on their trading to profit, or obtaining an advance on their merchandise after purchase.
The public funds have ever been considered as the national Barometer. The rent of land-the Aorishing or depressed state of agriculture--the condition of the cultivator-are likewise criteria of national prosperity or decay: the manufacturer being dependent, in a great degree, on the produce from the soil, claims the least of our attention ; for if the former succeed, the latter will be sure to derive a proportionate benefit from their prosperity, on which he must chiefly rely. The actual decline in the value of merchandise at this time is evident in the articles of cotton, wool, &c.
The daily recorded reduction in the price of the public funds, from 84 to 65, is a diminution of more than one-fifth of the whole funded capital : the rent of land in various districts, has also been reduced one-fourth, and must necessarily fall with the reduction in the price of grain ; reversing the whole agricultural system, from the difficulty of tenants procuring farms to cultivate, to that of finding tenants to occupy the land.
To what cause, or causes, are all these national calamities to be attributed, if not to the adoption of false policy somewhere? is a question, it is intended fairly to discuss, without regard to either party, whether in or out of power ; for both would appear to have been equally in error. The first and principal mistake was, the unlimited introduction of foreign corn from various quarters, immediately after the cessation of hostilities, when grain became such a drug in our markets as to render the English, grower incompetent to its cultivation. To remedy this inconpenience, the question of importation became agitated in Parlia. ment, where a disposition was evident to court the opinion of the lower orders, who, by the bye, cannot be expected to comprehend an abstruse question of national policy, more especially as that under consideration was exhibited to their view through false lights, which, in their effect, militated against their true interest. The whole attention was injudiciously directed to keeping the price of grain as low as possible, instead of increasing the wages of productive labor, to meet the highest prices of corn, High State taxation, and low prices of corn and wages to the la. borer, are perfect solecisms these can never exist together for any length of time :-either taxation must be reduced, or the price of bread and labor must advance; and, under the ex. isting circumstances of the nation, there can be no question to which we ought to have recourse.
If taxation be reduced, we must for ever remain with an ima mense weight of debt, which, whenever we may have occasion to borrow, to maintain any future state of hostility, will hang like a millstone round the neck, and paralise every national exertion.
On the other hand, if the importation of grain be prohibited