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are shown, the writer has in the next place endeavoured, though vainly I will contend, to show that the bad effects of it are exaggerated. He has again written as follows:-"But after making all these deductions, and they are very great, from the supposed effects of the absenteeism of the Irish proprietors and the labouring classes in Ireland, we cannot agree with Mr. M'Culloch that it is immaterial. We cannot but join in the general opinion that their return, though it would not affect the prosperity of the British Empire considered as a whole, would be immediately beneficial to Ireland.” *

Mr. Senior next refers to a most extraordinary opinion delivered by Mr. M'Culloch on his being called upon to give evidence on this subject before a Parliamentary Committee. "Would not, he is asked, the population of the country be benefited by the expenditure amongst them of a certain portion of the rent, which (if he, that is the proprietor of land, had been absent) would have been remitted to England? No! he replies, I do not see how it could be benefited in the least. If you have a certain value laid out against Irish commodities in the one case, you will have a certain value laid out against them in the other. The cattle (by cattle is meant the form in which the landlord invests his rents or capital) are either exported to England or they stay at home. If they are exported, the landlord will claim an equivalent for them in English commodities; if they are not, he will obtain an equivalent for them in Irish commodities; so that in both cases the landlord lives on the cattle; and whether he lives in Ireland or in England, there is obviously just the very same amount of commodities for the people of Ireland to subsist upon.

"This reasoning assumes that the landlord, while resident

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* Political Economy, by Nassau William Senior, Esq., p. 156.

VOL. I.

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in Ireland, himself personally devours all the cattle produced on his estates; for by no other supposition can there be the very same amount of commodities for the people of Ireland to subsist upon, whether their cattle are retained in Ireland or exported." *

Here we have a most striking instance of the manner in which modern Political Economists have treated their great subject. Mr. Senior tells his brother economist Mr. M'Culloch, that the assumption upon which his whole argument is founded, is nothing less than the preposterous one that the landlords themselves personally devour all the cattle reared upon their estates. This, as Mr. Senior has declared, is the character of Mr. McCulloch's assumption. To the adoption of this absurdity he was driven by resolving to suppress, and, if possible, extinguish, all evidence that should militate against that free principle of trade and of living-of production and of consumption which he was so desirous of upholding.

I will now adduce another instance of the equally weak, inconsiderate, and careless manner in which the science of Political Economy involving the general commerce of all nations has been treated, when it has been surveyed in its practical character, that is, after the theory which I have examined has been urged on its course, and its effects upon the condition of mankind brought under observation. The matter for which I request consideration is contained in a speech made by Dr. Bowring in the House of Commons, on the subject of the distress of the Hand-loom Weavers of Great Britain and of India, and is as follows:

“I will recall to the House some few facts elicited before former Committees, showing that this distress of the weavers has been but of too frequent occurrence, and I think I can

* Political Economy, by Nassau William Senior, Esq.

show that it is an inevitable condition of a species of labour easily learned, and constantly intruded on and superseded by cheaper means of production. A very short cessation of demand, where the competition for work is so great, and the workmen so multitudinous, produces a crisis. The hand-loom weavers are on the verge of that state beyond which human existence can hardly be sustained, and a very trifling check hurls them into the regions of starvation. The Committee of 1818 asserted that the silk-ribbon weavers were suffering great privations and distress. Witnesses then stated that a warper could only get 38. 6d. per week, and a weaver 48.; that ordinary weavers were only paid 58. 6d. a week. Now, if the price of food at that period be considered, their distress must have been extreme; and the same or similar details have been brought out at every investigation. In 1826, the silk-weavers were stated to have gained on an average only 58. 6d. per week; and the Hand-loom Weavers' Committee have had it given in evidence, that in certain districts not 38. 6d. per week was paid to the weaver. To deny their right to commiseration would be as thoughtless as cruel. I do not deny it. I only implore a fit attention to the remedies proposed. No one can shut his eyes to the great changes which the improvements of machinery have introduced into the whole field of manufacturing industry-improvements, which, by superseding manual labour more and more, infallibly bring with them in the transition much of temporary suffering. The condition of the man who has to compete with a cheaper, better, or more rapid mode of production, must be deteriorated. The national good cannot be purchased but at the expense of some individual evil. No advance was ever made in manufactures but at some cost to those who were in the rear; and of all discoveries, the power-loom is that which most directly bears on the condition of the hand-loom weaver. He is already

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beaten out of the field in many articles; he will infallibly be compelled to surrender many more."

"I hold, Sir, in my hand, the correspondence which has taken place between the Governor-General of India and the East India Company, on the subject of the Dacca hand-loom weavers. It is a melancholy story of misery as far as they are concerned, and as striking an evidence of the wonderful progress of manufacturing industry in this country. Some years ago the East India Company annually received of the produce of the looms of India to the amount of from 6,000,000 to 8,000,000 of pieces of cotton goods. The demand gradually fell to somewhat more than 1,000,000, and has now nearly ceased altogether. In 1800, the United States took from India nearly 800,000 pieces of cottons; in 1830 not 4000. In 1800, 1,000,000 of pieces were shipped to Portugal; in 1830, only 20,000. Terrible are the accounts of the wretchedness of the poor Indian weavers, reduced to absolute starvation. And what was the sole cause? The presence of the cheaper English manufacture, the production by the power-loom of the article which these unhappy Hindoos had been used for ages to make by their unimproved and hand-directed shuttles. Sir, it was impossible that they could go on weaving what no one would wear or buy. Numbers of them died of hunger; the remainder were, for the most part, transferred to other occupations, principally agricultural. Not to have changed their trade was inevitable starvation. And at this moment, Sir, that Dacca district is supplied with yarn and cotton cloth from the power-looms of England. I will ask the advocates of Mr. Fielden's measure, whether his Bill, or a thousand such Bills, would have kept up wages in Dacca, or have prevented one iota of the calamities which there had but one possible remedy, a change of occupation?

The language of the

Governor-General is,

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"European skill and machinery have superseded the produce of India. The Court declare, that they are at last obliged to abandon the only remaining portion of the trade in cotton manufactures, both in Bengal and Madras, because, through the intervention of power-looms, the British goods have a decided advantage in quality and price. Cotton piece goods, for so many ages the staple manufacture of India, seem thus for ever lost. The Dacca muslins, celebrated over the whole world for their beauty and fineness, are also annihilated, from the same cause. And the present suffering, to numerous classes in India, is scarcely to be paralleled in the history of commerce.'"*

Now, the facts thus stated are the results of the application of the free principle of trade to a class of the people of India and of Great Britain. As they respect the former, they present indeed a lamentable picture of widely spread destruction and misery. Upon considering the nature of the matter thus presented, it has to be remarked especially, that throughout the description here given there is no allusion made to the operation of the great compensating principle. If the speaker had entertained an entire confidence in the principle of free trade, he would, after having described the lamentable issues of his asserted theory, have endeavoured to show that the people thus oppressed and injured by the changes effected in one quarter, had yet found their labour demanded, or their injuries compensated for, by increased prosperity in another quarter; and hence, in the aggregate, the condition of the entire people had been improved. But instead of this, the comprehensive language of the Governor-General is,-"The present suffering to numerous classes in India is scarcely to be paralleled in the history of commerce." The words "nu

* See Mirror of Parliament. Speech of Dr. Bowring in the House of Commons, July, 1835.

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