Page images


manufa&tures, and making them Aourish. It is the competition of purchasers that gives the highest price.

• But we may ask, if we ought to grant to the merchants the same liberty in the commerce of grain. The thing suffers no dificulty in the interior commerce. It is proper that the necessaries of life should circulate freely in the provinces of a state ; by this means the consumption of the products is most assured, the subsistence diftributed proportionally to the wants, and are more easily found. The poor, the farmers, the manufacturers, and the inhabitants of the cities, will equally find their advantage--and ease become general among all the orders. Respecting the exterior commerce of grain, it has been much agitated of late, and determined that it should be favoured. After all the explanations which excellent citizens have given upon that question, we must avow that the reasons for it apo pear to be victorious.

Nothing throws tore languor upon the arts and manufactures, than the interdicting the exportation of manufactures. Many would drop entirely: None would remain but such as are merely necessary for the inhabitants. There being no emulation among them, nor a Spur which can make them excel other people, and gain a preference, they would work the worse, and dearer, than if they were permitted to manufacture for strangers. It is the same with the culture of the earth. It is the immense manufacture of corn which increases, contracts itself or extends ; profpers or languishes, by reason of the number of certain and ready markets which offer themfelves to the cultivator. It fecms therefore that it is the interest of agriculture, to authorize individuals to make magazines of corn, to fill and sell them, either at home or abroad, as it may happen.

• Nevertheless, the fear of exhausting a fate of a commodity fo necessary to life-or rendering it too dear, may occasion the limiting the exportation of corn, when at certain markets of a country the price rises above a certain point : but this value must be fixed by an irrevocable law; for if it depends on the caprice of government, or the insinuations that are made to it, it will publish without necellity, edicts which arbitrarily refrain this exterior commerce of corn; and no person then will dare to form magazines of corn in years of abundance, when they may be made to resell with loss at a low price. The permission of exportation being at once regulated, upon a medium known to every one, and which never varies, individuals would always venture in years of abundance to make provifion of grain, because they would be fure of trading with advantage. By means of this arrangement labour would never be too dear. The poor, the manufacturer, and the artizan would live commodiously. It would succeed better in putting an end to the famines, because the cultivator seeing a quick sale of his products, labours always with ardour to render his lands fertile ; the magazines which individuals form in good years, supply the defects of bad ones. When the price of products is low, the proprietors of grains like better to sell them in the country than elsewhere, as they will not then answer the expences and risque of exportation. Thus, without having any want of public magazines, which cost the prince much, and which in cera tain Aates are often subject to great inconveniences, they provide against famines. But it is not the same, if the exterior commerce of corn is burthened too much, or the saving of individuals. Very far from rendering by those means the price of labour less dear, of facilitating the fubfiitence of the poor, they expose themselves to produce an effect wholly opposite. For the low price to which products fall disgust the cultivator, from which, tillage must decline by little and little, A part of the corn-lands are converted to other uses, or abandoned ; the farmer thinks only of leaving his lands fallow. Not cultivating his corn-fields further than precisely necefiary for the consumption of the inhabitants; and when people Hare not form magazines, it happens that an unfortunate year brings on an extreme scarcity; and the necessity of having recourse to firargers for that with which the nation is supported.

All we have said here, is confirmed by what we have seen in France. Formerly the exportation of corn was permitted, and the fed England, who dared not to export any ; but at present, since England has encouraged the corn-trade by boonties, she has furnithed immense quantities to France, who has had many provinces rained in their agriculture, by interdi&ting this commerce. It is only by returning to the ancient freedom, as me has of late deter. mined to do, that the can re-establish her culture in its first luttre, -1

• But perhaps it may be said, that instead of exporting grains; would it not be better to convert them to the nourishment of a nu? merous people i Without doubt. if we could all at once precure this numerous people, it would be preferable. We want exportation in order to have markets. But men do not engender with so much facility ; they must have time. We have seen in the Second Paris that, for retaining them in the country, and engaging them to laz bour in the propagation of the species, they must firit be placed in a fate of ease. This ease can never have place among the proprietors of land, unless they have a reasonable price, and consequently, a ready market; then only, the inhabitants being in a commodious fate will people the country, and when the time comes that you have a great people, exportation will cease without prohibitions ; the consumption of the country must first be served. For who would export grains while they could sell them advantageously at home?

. We need not here say more than that the exportation of corn is not proper in states, where they cannot sustain at proper markets the competition of strangers. If the soil of a country is good and fertile, there will be no impoffibility of sustaining this competition, any more than if the culture was not sufficiently animated. If this was the case, and it arose from a want of a market, how should the farmer fell his crops, when they were very abundant? What if he has before his eyes the prospect of a prompt sale ? He redoubles his labour-and in spite of the smallness of the price, he fears not abundant crops; because on a great number of measures they procure a multitude of small gains, of which the amount furpasses what is drawn from moderate crops, when the measure of grain sells dear, Thus, for placing a nation in a ftate of entering into a competition with strangers, and at the same time, gain upon them, we must encourage exportation by bounties. It is by this method that the Eng.


Ff 4

lith have turned the tables on France ; for in 1621, when exportation had place among them, the Chevalier Colepepper complained, that the French carried to England such prodigious quantities of grain at fo low a price, that the English could not sustain the competition with them in their own markets.

« Thus all concurs with the cleareft evidence, that the exterior commerce of corn is advantageous to a nation, and ought not to be restrained by burthensome laws. We cannot doubt but that this commerce gives more activity to the labourers of the canton of Berne, which being well cultivated in every part, might give much more corn than is necessary for the consumption of the inhabitants. Nothing discourages the farmers of the Pays de Vaud, so much as the want of a market. In years of abundance they fee with sadness, the fecundity of their land. What a reflection therefore, not to find an eflux to other parts of Switzerland, that have not enough for main. taining themselves. It would infallibly happen to us as to the English. The courage and ardour which would thence inspire all our labourers, would place our agriculture upon so flourishing a footing, that we should hereafter enter into competition with those who had hitherto supplied us. But for determining individuals to undertake this commerce, and to make magazines of corn, we muft facilitate the means of preserving it without the risque of seeing it spoiled. Nothing is more proper to conduct us to this end than the establishment of stoves, by the aid of which we can destroy the feed of all the infeets, and free the grain from the prejudicial humidity which makes it ferment and corrupt. There are required therefore in the different districts of the country, the most abounding in corn, the public construction of ftoves, where individuals nay, for a flight contribution, dry their corn.

The liberty of commerce in the manufactures of a country, in grain, wine, cattle, and objects of traffic, fupposes that the government does not burthen them with monopolies, and exclusive privileges. These granted for exercising certain branches of commerce, occasion an infinite lofs to the nation. Those who obtain them would make immense profits, by selling their merchandise too dear. They render subsistence by this means too dificult to the poor, and cut off the resources for employing them. They have no regard to the true interests of the nation, because they all want to enrich themselves, before they transmit their privileges to others. These privileges which are as easily taken away as granted, prevent a nation from making the most of any one branch of commerce, or of ever rendering her the masters of it. There are likewise great inconveniences in the privileges granted to companies, composed of a great number of persons. The avarice which makes their common character, is mischievous to the welfare and extension of commerce. Sometimes, for raising the price of merchandise, they will not take enough for the foreign supply, and from thence bring on their own ruin, and that of the national commerce; because they then cannot enter into competition with other nations. It

not proper to eftablish these forts of companies, except when affairs are totally above the ability of individuals. Under a propitious government, one part of the


Aate is never favoured to the prejudice of the other. It is in her power to diftribute advantages equally to all, so that every one may have a share.

• There are lates where it is very easy for monopoly to introduce itself; it is where commerce is carried on by the prince, or by those who have a fare in the government. For who can prevent ordonnances being issued in favour of appropriating and engrossing all the advantages of trade ? In some states they have taken

wife measures for preventing this abuse. At Venice the nobles are not permitted to exercise commerce. At Rome the senators were excluded from having at sea a vessel, that held more than forty muids.'

As to the merit of the translation, it is nearly equivalent with that of the generality of works of this kind. This, we acknowledge, is but faint commendation; as we have often, with concern, remarked the defects of our Englifh translations, which are too frequently undertaken by perfons not only unqualified for doing compleat justice to the originals, but who are even, in some measure, strangers to the structure and elegance of the language into which they presume to render those Ăuthors who are unfortunate enough to tall into their hands.


Art. III. An Argument in the Case of James Somersett, a Negro,

lately determined by the Court of King's Bench : Whereia it is attempted to demonstrate the present Unlawfulness of domestic Slavery in Ergland. To which is prefixed, a State of the Cafe. By Mr. Hargrave, one of the Counsel for the Negro. Svo. 2 s. Otridge. 1772. N this tract we meet with considerable learning, and with

much precision of thought and expression. It appears not, however, in our opinion, to exhibit a very masterly view of its subject; and it will be allowed, that the Author talks of LiBERTY with too ftoical an indifference. We feel not in his argument that fire, and that enthusiasm, with which every Englishman ought to be animated, when he would vindicate the natural and inherent rights of mankind. No subject could perhaps have afforded a finer field for eloquence than the case in question ; yet we believe it impoffible that it could have been canvafled in a colder strain. No German lawyer could have crept through the subject with a more disgusting languor, or a more insupportable heaviness.

It also appears to us that the Author has omitted, in his historical detail, a very capital circumstance in regard to favery. We allude to the influence of manners in varying the condition of flaves; a position, of which it may be proper that we offer a short illustration.

The ancient Germans had the power of life and death over their flaves; but this power was very rarely exercised by them. The objects of this low condition they treated with the utmost lenity. Perberare Jeruum, says Tacitus of them, ac vinculis & opere coërcere, rarum. In England, during the Anglo-Saxon period, the villains were protected by law, and yet their masters behaved to them with infolence and inhumanity: and in the Norman times legal precautions had become more numerous ; yet the condition of the fiave was still more wretched and levere. Our Author seems to know, and in some measure to sefer to these facts; but they are not to be accounted for by any principles advanced by him.

To give a solution of them, it is requisite to attend to the manners that prevailed in the different periods referred to. In Germany, commerce was not cultivated, and no extensive notions of property had obtained. The weak attached themselves to the strong; the booty they acquired by their valour furnished chiefly their subsistence; and while they were not divided into particular employments, nor made money or private advantage the object of their pursuits, they were animated with high sentiments of pride and greatness. Though they held, therefore, their faves in the greatest contempt, yet it appeared to them dishonourable to treat them with in humanity.

. In England, the Saxons had improved considerably on the manners to which they had been accustomed in the country they had quitted. This is particularly obvious on an examination of their laws. They became acquainted with the advantages attending property, and with a nice subordination and distinction of ranks. They had become base enough, in consequence, to feek the augmentation of their wealth from the hard Jabour to which they subjected their Naves ; and they displayed their power by their oppreßions. The advancement of the Duke of Normandy to the crown of England increased civilization, and added to the misery of the villain. The magnanimity which is felt by the individual in a rude age, is seldom experienced by the polished citizen. The progress of the arts and of civi. lity, is ever accompanied with selfishness and corruption.

In regard to the orders or ranks of men which compose a community, it will constantly be found that their conduct towards each other will, in general, be directed by the spirit of the times in which they live ; and that their nature and characteristic peculiarities will be easier found in the books of the historian, than in those of the lawyer. It is therefore to be presumed that, if our Author had iurned his attention to our historical monuments, and to the writings of our antiquaries, he might have considerably enlarged his views, and attained a more liberal method of investigating his subject.

To these strictures we fall subjoin the following general re. marks concerning lavery, as they may amuse our Readers, and will, at the fame time, give them no unfavourable idea of the mcrit of the treatise before us.

« The

« PreviousContinue »