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stead of corn fpirit, for which it is universally admitted they have a preference. This method would likewise diminish the consumption of spirits, and probably leave a considerable deficit in the revenue, after indemnifying the distillers; for it appears in evidence, (Report, p. 335.), that so small a rife as id. on the gallon would injure the consumption, and a rise of id. affect it most materially, although the price would still be id. lower than that of rum. But the manner of equalizing the duties most likely to be proposed, is to reduce the duty on rum considerably below that on corn spirit, so that the whole price to the consumer may be lowered. If so much only of the duty is taken off, as will make the two fpirits fell for the same price, upon the present prime cost of the articles, the preference for corn fpirit, and the competition of the distillers and corn-dealers, will prevent the corn fpirit from being displaced by rum. To effect its exclusion, a considerably greater reduction of duty must be made ; and this cannot be estimated at less than 25, 6 d.; so that the price of rum shall stand at 138. The revenue will, by this change, lose 25. 6 d. on all the rum, and gain about is. Ód, on an amount equal to the corn spirit at present consumed. The annual average consumption of British plantation rum in Great Britain, for six years ending 1806, was about 2,778,000 gallons. The average of all sorts consumed must have been somewhat higher. For three years ending 1807, it was about 3,041,000. We may state this 3,000,000 gallons, then, as nearly the quantity upon which a loss, fay of 25. 6d. per galion, would be incurred, or 375,000l. The quantity of corn fpirit consumed in England, on an average of the years 1805 and 1806, was about 2,925,000 gallons; and, estimating the quantity consumed in Scotland by the proportion of the Scotch to the Englith distillation, the whole consumption of the island was about 3,000,000 gallons,—the gain of is. 6d. on which would be about 227,cool. ; so that a deficit of 148,cool. would happen to the revenue, instead of an increase, out of which to indemnify the distillers for the total loss of their stock and trade. But if the reduction is only 24. per gallon--making the price of rum 135. 6d., or about 25. a gallon lower than it now is, and only is. lower than corn spirits, ---even then, the whole gain of the revenue will be a trifle of goocl. for a fund of compensation +
We have now been supposing, that the consumption of spirits will remain the same as before, although the price is very mate
rially of It would manifestly be unfair to take 1807 as a criterion of the consumption of corn spirits; for, by Mr Jackson's evidence, it appears that a very extraordinary, and indeed unaccountable increase irad taken place in the use of spirits for that year.
rially lowered. This, however, cannot be expected to be the case. The consumption will greatly and rapidly increase; and surely, by this increase, the revenue and the planters will be the only gainers. No evil that can be stated, except perhaps the danger of famine to which the same measure will expose us, is more to be deprecated than the increased taste for spirituous liquors. It will fall entirely on the lower orders, whose health and morals must thus be widely and irreparably injured, in order to alleviate the distresses brought upon the planters by the African slave trade. The proposers of this plan, therefore, are reduced to a dilemma;either the consumption of spirits will remain at its present rate, or will increase ;-in the one case, the plan considerably injures the revenue;- in the other, a more likely case, it is infinitely detrimental to the morals and health, and ultimately to the wealth also of the community.
Of the two plans which we have considered, the last is certainly the one most conducive to the object in view—the reliet of the West Indians. It would take out of the market sixty or seventy thousand hogsheads of sugar, and save on that quantity the drainage of one seventh which the article suffers before it comes into the market. The former plan is much less efficient; for, though it has raised the price of sugar, it must have also checked the consumption of spirits; and it cannot, therefore, continue to take out of the market the same proportion of sugar during the remaining period of the prohibition. It has already raised sugar from 32s. to 50s. per cwt.; but the prohibition of grain cannot. force the consumption of spirits at advanced prices; and, instead of employing sixty thousand hogsheads, the new distillery will probably not require above 40,000,* leaving, besides the increase of glut this year from other causes, a quantity undemanded of more than 40,000 hogsheads. Thus, of these two plans, the only one which produces the desired effect--the one which alone answers the end in view is that which is liable to the greatest objections, both on general principles, and in its details. It is one, indeed, which the West India committee have not ventured directly to recommend; but have, with their usual, very laudable industry, illustrated, by evidence and accounts, leaving the mention of it in the form of a hint or suggestion upon their third report.
* The Report of the West India Dock Committee, just published, shows, that the importation of West India produce, in 1808, has greatly exceeded that of any former year. The numbers of the farger vessels which landed the cargoes in the docks for the last three years, were 477, 503, and 598 respectively. The Report mentions
cannot be destroyed without an additional inconvenience. It has raised up another interest which ought in justice to be considered when we are projecting its destruction. The sugar refiner has risked his capital on the faith of the law as it now stands; and a compensation for the loss of his business is fairly due to him. This the committee, in their fourth report, explicitly admit; and by a calculation, which appears to us in all respects fair, they state the utmost possible loss of capital employed in the home refinery, at somewhat less than 820,000l. ;-a much smaller sum than is lost yearly by the planter in consequence of the prohibitory duty on the import of refined sugar. To save this sum, then, could not prove a difficult matter, even were it required at once;the planters could well afford to give it. But the probability is, that the colonial refinery would not suddenly supplant the home refinery, at least in its full extent.
Upon this part of the subject, in which it gives us much pleasure to agree for the most part with the West Indian body, we must state one correction of some consequence. A set of traders are not indemnified by the mere purchase of their stock at a fair price, if they are forced out of their line of business. In a country well peopled and stocked with capital, the greatest injuries often attend a change from one employment to another; because, besides the inevitable losses consequent upon such changes when they can be made, the difficulty of effecting them at all, is very considerable. A prudent statesman will always take this principle into his consideration, when he is called upon to correct even the most evident errors in the economy which his country has for a course of time adopted; and unless the magnitude of the evil, and the benefits to be derived from removing it, shall be found out of all proportion to the disadvantages of the change, he will refrain from attempting it, except by the most gradual measures; well knowing that there are but few instances indeed in which it is either just or politic, to sacrifice the good of a part of the community to that of the whole; and aware, that as no maxim is more liable to abuse than this, of preferring the whole to the part, because there is but seldom any occasion for making the comparison, so none has been more frequently and grossly perverted. In the course of this article, we have met with a case, where its application would be clearly a great abuse, even if there were reason to think that the community might gain instead of losing by the sacrifice of the individual interests,---we mean the case of the distilleries. The sugar refinery is one to which it may be applied with more safety; but the persons now "gaged in that employment must receive a more ample indemnity for the loss of their trade, than the mere value of their stock, unless the change happens a great