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remarks upon the subject at present, without, however, pretending to say whether such a plan be actually in agitation or not; for, on this subject, the writer hereof reasons entirely hypothetically.
It cannot be denied that this adventurous company, if such there be, either must fail in their project, or they must succeed in it. What will be the consequences to the public in either case?
If they fhall buy up goods to a great amount, at advanced prices, and fail in procuring the monopoly that appears to be aimed at, the consequences are obvious, and need not be insisted on here.
It is of more importance to inquire what would be the consequence if they should be able to succeed in this enterprise.
The first consequence would be, to derange the operation of all those lefser manufacturers who fhall have been so uncautious as to sell their white goods, for the sake of the tempting price offered, to throw many of their hands out of employment, and to render uselefs much of that machinery they had erected at a great expence. Their best hands will thus be dispersed, and will not be easily collected together again, should they ever be wanted; nor will they return to such persons, who will be considered as unsteady employers, without additional wages; their machinery will also go to wreck, so that if they fhall ever think of beginning their business anew, they must do it at a great additional expence to what they could have gone on with if no such interruption had taken place.
The second consequence is, that the price of printed goods must rise considerably; and if the company fhall have succeeded in securing a great quantity of wrought cloth, and fhall at the same time speculate in cotton wool, (which we cannot suppose will be overlooked,) it is hard to say
how high these prices may be raised for a time;—as high no doubt as possible! For as to the assertion that the company will sell these goods as cheap as at present, we can only consider it as a lure held out to blindfold simpletons. What manufacturer or merchant will not, in every case, take as high a price for his goods as he can get at market? The prices being thus raised, the very manufacturers who sold the cloth may be glad to buy it back again at an advanced price, trusting to the high price of callicoes continuing; but, in consequence of that high price, great exertions will be made to supply the demand; much cotton wool will be produced, much white cloth will be made, and a diminished sale of printed cloths, both at home and abroad, must be the consequences of the advance of price. All these circumstances combined, must first produce a stagnation in the sale, then a fall of price. Sales must be forced below prime cost; and bankruptcies and distress, to a prodigious extent, must be the inevitable consequences. The company who began all this, may, however, chance to escape, if they fhall have had acutenefs, and moderation enough to avail themselves only of the first spurt that their artificial operations fhall have occasioned; but they are like men walking above a mine of gunpowder, to which a match may be set in a moment that will drive them all to destruction. Wretched, indeed, must that country be, whose manufacturers are gamblers! A faro table is but a childish game to a stake of this nature, which must unfortunately involve in its consequences many millions of industrious and innocent people.
From all this it ought naturally to be inferred, that those who are in pofsefsion of marketable goods at pre sent, will probably serve their own interest most effectu ally, by not being tempted by offers, which, though apparently advantagious for them, may be, in the end, highly detrimental. They ought to consider, that if they at
present, for a tempting offer held out to them, for once, only, shall allow their business to slacken, or run into confusion, they will probably be deprived of a hundred moderate profits, that they have the prospect of deriving from a steady adherence to businefs; and that therefore they will do well to think deliberately, before they permit themselves to be drawn into the snare.
The reader will here observe, that we by no means take it upon us to afsert, that such a design is at present in agitation; nor have we the smallest knowledge of the persons concerned, nor any thing respecting their situation; so that nothing that is said above, can be understood to have reference to them as individuals. The case is entirely hypothetical, and the reasoning general. If such a thing be in agitation at present, what has been said will apply to that case as well as to any other of a similar kind at any future period. It is intended merely to operate as a general caution to guard against the influence of monopolizing principles, whenever they fhall occur. It is equally calculated for the meridian of Bengal as of Britain; and will equally apply to the ninteenth, as to the eighteenth century.
It may be proper just to touch upon one circumstance, which alone would be sufficient to fhow, that if ever a case fhould occur, similar to that alleged, something unfair must be intended. If such a company should purchase a great quantity of unmanufactured goods, perhaps equal to twice or thrice what their works are capable of executing, how is it pofsible they can perform the whole of this, without a great and wonderful previous preparation? Every manufacturer in this branch, must feel the force of this argument; and must of course see, if he wishes to see, that the lure held out must prove fal, lacious.
ae Continued from p. 192.
DURING the recefs of parliament, many pamphlets, as usual, were published on 'the subject of the corn bill, and among these none made a more distinguished figure than that by lord Sheffield, who disputed in many respects the principles afsumed by the committee. On the 14th of December, Mr Ryder moved, in a committee of parliament, some resolutions, merely with a view to have them printed before the holidays, for the consideration of the members. Agreed
The purport of these resolutions was, that in order to ascertain the selling price of grain, the whole of Britain fhould be divided into certain districts, therein specified; in each of which the actual prices fhould be taken at stated periods, and transmitted to an officer in London to be appointed for that purpose; who fhould, according to regulations provided for that purpose, publish these prices, and which should be accounted the standard for regulating the importation and exportation of grain; that liberty thould be given to warehouse foreign grain under certain regulations, when it could not be sold in this country; that government should provide warehouses at certain ports for that purpose; with other clauses which had been formerly carried into practice.
After a committee of the whole house had sitten by several. adjournments on this bill, in the progress of which nothing very remarkable occurred till March 11. 1791, when a warm debate took place on the clause permitting the warehousing of corn. The proceedings in this case were too remarkable to be passed over in silence.
Upon the clause for erecting warehouses for the reception of foreign corn, the committee, on the motion of lord Sheffield, divided ;-Ayes, 62;-Noes, 62.
The chairman thereupon gave his casting vote for the Noes, and the clause was of course thrown out of the bill.
When the preceding clause had been thus rejected by the committee, Mr Pitt, on the departure of several of those who had voted against the clause, told the committee, that all the dependant clauses fhould remain in the bill, (notwithstanding it was agreed that they were absolute nonsense without the clause that had been rejected,) because the clause fhould be restored on the report. Lord Sheffield gave notice that, as whatever was urged against any part of the bill did not obtain the least attention, he fhould move, at a proper time, for a call of the house; and then his lordship and several others, quitted the house.
After some farther conversations on the subject, the chancellor of the exchequer rose and said, that as the members had at first been equai, and as gentlemen had now but little time, he fhould again divide the house. The committee then divided again upon lord Sheffield's amendment.
Ayes, 55-Noes, 67;—Majority, 12.
The committee was then adjourned to the 16th.
The above, though a faithful statement of facts, will, no doubt, to every attentive reader, appear to be a very extraordinary procedure in a grave afsembly of legislators, on a business of great national importance, as there appears upon the face of it a degree of obstinacy, of warmth, and petulance that seem to be altogether inconsistent with the full elucidation of truth, in a matter of so much importance and difficulty; and it must reflect a disgrace upon this afsembly, that they could tamely sit and see themselves so basely insulted. Would Hampden and Rufsel, and the patriots of that day, have believed it pofsible that a time would ever arrive, after the nation had once been able to establish their freedom by a clear bill of rights, when any man could stand up in that house, and, to their faces, tell the members that he would not permit a clause in a bill to be rescinded, although he himself, and all who heard him, acknowledged it was nonsense. Yet this was done; and so tame and humble was this senate, that it passed almost without reprehension. We may boast of our freedom, as the Roman senate boasted of theirs, when Caligula caused his horse to be nominated consul; and with equal reason, While such things are; yet not only the senate, but the nation the famous people Nume, kornet wildout