Page images
PDF
EPUB

: the same in a direct manner to individuals, with regard to the

nation, and to individuals indirectly, it is the same as if a tax of thirty-six millions were levied upon this country for the use of France. Englishmen, burning with indignation, will exclaim Is this possible ? It is true; and we have allowed it, hitherto for

years, quietly to be done. It may be contended, that people have a right to spend their money where they please. I am a strenuous advocate for personal liberty ; but the country must not be impoverished to ruin. I deny the right. I am not a Spencean; but I deny that they have by natural justice-which ought to be law in all countries, and is acknowledged to be so in this—any such right. A landed proprietor is a trustee for the benefit of the public; he has a right to all the advantages and gratifications which his property can afford him in his own country. As, from the physical nature of man, those gratifications must necessarily be, in most cases, limited in proportion to the produce of his land; so he has no right to dispose of the remainder of that produce, in a way to be of no benefit to the sons of the soil. It surely will not be contended that a landlord is so completely the owner of his estate, that he would have the right, if he had the inclination and the power, to throw it into the sea ; neither has he the right to give the productions of it to a foreigner; but this is done, and in the way that I have set forth, not precisely in the actual produce, but generally in money or in manufactured goods obtained in exchange for that produce. I will not involve the subject in mazes similar to that of the bullion question, or in the intricacies of the arguments as to foreign exchanges. The simple matter of fact will be better illustrated by the following example :- A man of 1,0001. per annum landed property in England, chooses to reside in the charming and salubrious climate of the south of France; he orders his agent to remit to him his rents. At this period, an English merchant sends 1,0001. value in goods to Bordeaux. The agent wants a bill, to remit the landlord, and the merchant wants payment for his goods. An agreement takes place between the parties; the latter receives the amount of the rents in exchange for a draft upon the consignee of the goods, which draft is remitted by the agent to his employer, and thus the matter is settled to the accommodation of both parties, and without apparent or direct loss to either. But mark the consequence to the nation! The value of the goods wrought by the industry of England, is appropriated to pay in France the expenses of the English gentleman, and not one farthing of it ever returns to this country in any shape. If the landlord resided at home, he would expend his 1,0001. amongst his neighbouring tradesmen, and the merchant would get payment for his goods in money or some commodity of France, which would, of course, increase the wealth VOL. XVII:

Pam.

NO. XXXIV. 2 L

and the means of England. This statement must be intelligible to every understanding, and proves that all money expended by Englishmen abroad, is an absolute drain or tax upon the people at home, and is, moreover, the means of enriching our natural enemies, and furnishing them with the sinews of future war.

It is a vulgar and a most erroneous notion, that a man of great income enjoys any great portion of his wealth in his own person. It is said that the Duke of Northumberland has 150,0001. per annum. What a small

part

of this immense wealth does he himself consume! His stewards, his tradesmen, his servants, and various other persons, get nearly the whole of it. Perhaps in his own person he does not waste or injure the country to the extent of 501. per annum.

Even his food and his clothing are almost all profit, in some shape, to others; but suppose the 150,000l. per annum were expended in France: what labor, what industry would it require to produce property to such an amount to export abroad, and for which no return would be made? what, too, would become of those persons in this country, who were themselves supported, and were the support of others, by means of the Duke's income? Thousands, aye tens of thousands of tradesmen and persons in different classes of life, derive benefit by the circulation of this property here, which sent abroad, would leave them to press for support upon other portions of society; thereby injuring, to a certain extent, the whole body, and producing the very calamities which we all now so feelingly deplore. It is to be hoped, when the consequences of non-residence are made perfectly clear to our countrymen abroad, they will return without compulsion ; but it is the paramount duty of the government to enforce the residence of all those who derive their means of living, either from the soil or the funds of this country. A tax upon absentees has sometimes been talked of : but a tax will not do ; it will only remedy the evil in proportion to the per centage, which cannot be very considerable. Let them be recalled. Queen Elizabeth would not allow any person of consideration in her time to reside out of her dominions without a special licence, which was not easily obtained, nor without good cause shown. In the present day, such a restraint would be considered a great infringement upon personal liberty ; but the country must be saved. By adopting the example of his great predecessor, George the Fourth might incur the censure of hundreds, but he would have the praise and gratitude of millions; and even the few would have no rational ground of complaint—they would only be deprived of a privilege which is not permitted even to the monarch himself. What are we to be worse off in peace than in war? Are we to lay by no resources for future hostilities ? Are we to throw into the lap of France the produce of our industry and our soil, and to receive nothing from her in return—and all this to gratify the taste or caprice of a few individuals ; (I do not mean those abroad on public or private business, or invalids, to whom the indulgence, upon proper proof, ought to be allowed.) No, no! The mass of the people will never allow this, when cause and effect are made clear to their comprehension. They have hitherto borne their privations, which high and low have suffered with patience, ignorant of the precise cause, but willing to hope for the speedy termination. Alas! that termination they will not see, unless the remedy here proposed be adopted. Year after year, they will find their means diminish, till, driven to despair, even the well-disposed will listen to the delusive language of the Radicals. Let the government and the legislature take care that this necessity is not forced upon a people, who are sufficiently enlightened to be determined to assert the right of enjoying the fruits and the industry of their own country.

That the number of idle absentees who are spending English money abroad, consists of not less than 100,000, and that their daily expenses upon an average are twenty shillings each, seems to be generally admitted by those best informed on the subject. There are now 20,000 at Paris, 3000 at Boulogne, 2000 at Calais, 2000 at Brussels, 2000 at Tours, 2000 at Bordeaux ; several thousands at Rome and at Naples; and they are spread more or less in every town and village in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy. In September, 1818, there were nine English physicians at Paris, whose practice was entirely with English patients. If this statement be not correct, let measures be taken to ascertain the truth, and if it be established, I will ask those who may be inclined to discredit the conclusions which I have drawn therefrom, why France is now enjoying a high state of prosperity, acknowledged by all who have been there, and admitted to be unknown at any former period of her history; and why this country is laboring under a degree of distress-not partial or confined to particular districts or classes of the community, but, fundholders excepted, general throughout the kingdom--amongst the agriculturists, merchants, and manufacturers, landlord and tenant, master and servant; on all sides, from the Land's End to the Orkney Islands. It is supposed, and very properly supposed, that poverty and misery are the consequences of war. Have we then had more war than the French during the last thirty years ? Has our trade been more confined or less successful? Is our capital inferior ? Are the laws respecting property less efficient or protecting ? Are the arts and sciences, and use of machinery, not so well understood here as in France, and are the divisions of labor not so complete ? In short, is our progress not so advanced as that of the French, in all

[ocr errors]

those circumstances that constitute the wealth of nations ? The contrary in each of these particulars is well known to be the fact. The French have had more foreign war than ourselves, in addition to civil war(from which, thank God! we have been exempt) with all its horrors, and its sure accompaniment, destruction of property. How comes it then, that there are thousands of our lower classes without employment and in a state bordering on starvation, while there is no such thing in France ? It is said the people there, of all ranks, are in comfortable circumstances: this comes home to my argument. The French keep within themselves their own resources, and they receive the voluntary contributions of other countries. Let us reverse the picture. Suppose the whole of our countrymen now abroad were to return, and that certain rich foreigners were to think fit to reside in England, expending the enormous sum of thirty-six millions sterling; would not the whole of our population be in a state of complete prosperity, enjoying the riches (productions) of other countries as well as the whole of our own? Discontent would be banished from the land, and England would be in temporal prosperity and happiness, as superior to other countries as she is in refinement, in commerce, and in all her charitable, moral, civil, and religious institutions.

I have the honor to remain,

MY LORD,

&c. &c. &c.

THE

SPEECH

OF

THE MARQUIS OF LANSDOWN,

ON

FOREIGN COMMERCE;

SPOKEN IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS.

[Now first revised and corrected for the Pamphleteer.]

LONDON.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »