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positive pleasure in stating the case currency-two subjects than which which is most opposed to his own none can be more intricate, and on views with the greatest force and care. which nearly all his peculiar opinions And, indeed, it may almost be alleged rest. On the first his idea is, that of him that he has elaborated his the effect of the accumulation of capiopponents' arguments more than his tal in the later stages of society is own. The fairness and candour of entirely different when applied to his mind comes out here in a most manufactures and when applied to forcible light. We frequently differ agriculture. The accumulation of entirely from Sir Archibald as to his capital causes its circulating medium, conclusions, but we have never had money, to abound; but whatever is to look further for the arguments plentiful is cheap: the money price and facts on which we ground our of articles consequently, becomes opinions than his own pages. If he higher in a State which has much gives the bane, he gives the antidote capital, than in one which has little. also. We know of no work in Therefore, did no counterbalancing the English language in which an cause exist, such a State would have earnest Liberal, and decided Free- to pay a higher money price for its trader, will find the arguments and productions than one in which the facts in support of his views so con- scarcity of capital made money rare, densedly, so forcibly, and so clearly and consequently prices low. "In reexpressed, as in this* To future gard to manufactures, this counterages it will represent, as in a mirror, balancing cause does exist. The the passions, the views, and the feel application of capital to machinery, ings of the time: to the present, it the division of labour, the power of presents the most useful summary steam,, enable production to take which we possess of the rise and pro- place at an infinitely, lower price. gress of all the great political parties One man aided by machinery can do during the last forty years.
as much in a day as fifty men could We know of no historical writer do without it, and at å hundredth who gives at such length, and so de- part of the cost. The result is that cidedly, his own views-and we think a wealthy State can always produce he carries this to a fault ; but at the manufactures at a much lower rate same time there is none more care- than a poor one. In agriculture, ful to keep separate his views from however, this law does not hold good. his narrative, and to give the reader Capital applied to production there the means of judging fully of the produces a certain increased result, soundness of his conclusions. He but at an enhanced, not a reduced does not mix together his history and price. So that whilst capital applied his opinions. Both stand side by to manufactures causes enormousside ; and whilst we accept the one, ly increased production at a vastly we may frequently reject the other. diminished cost, capital applied to
What generally characterises Sir agriculture produces only a moderate Archibald's views is broad sound increase of produce at a considerable sense. There is never any difficulty increase of price.t Very much the in understanding the foundation on same conclusion has been reached, which his opinions rest. We take, though from a different point of view, for example, his views on the com- by Mr Mill, when he lays it down as parative effects of capital on com- a fundamental law, “that increased merce and agriculture, and on the labour, in any given state of agricul
We would more especially point out the statement of the argument in favour of a return to a Metallic Currency (vol. i. p. 379-386); that in favour of Free-Trade on its first introduction (vol. iii. p. 704-706); that in favour of Catholic Emancipation (vol. iv. p. 160-167); of Reform (vol. iv. p. 305-315); and that in support of Free-Trade in 1841 (vol. vi. p. 436-440); of the Bank Charter Act in 1844 (vol. vii. p. 111-114); and for the repeal of the Corn-Laws in 1845 (vol. vii. p. 176-184). We have sought in vain in any Liberal works relating to the same subjects for an equally candid account of the arguments and views of their Tory or Protectionist opponents.
+ Alison, vii. 397, 398.
tural skill, isattended with a less than all annuities increased in the same proportional increase of produce," proportion. The debt-encumbered and adds,
nation and the debt - encumbered “No tendency of a like kind exists landlord are crushed, but the fundwith respect to manufactured articles. holder and the mortgage-holder pros The tendency is in the contrary direc- per. Sir Archibald deduces from tion. The larger the scale on which this, that what is desirable is that the manufacturing operations are carried on, circulating medium should always the more cheaply they can in general be bear, as nearly as possible, the same performed. Mr Senior has gone the relation to the thing circulated, inlength of enunciating as an inherent law creasing with its increase, and diminof manufacturing industry, that in it ishing with its reduction, thus mainincreased production takes place at a taining always the same real value ; smaller cost; while in agricultural industry, increased production takes place and that the only way by which it is at a greater cost ... The
tendency, possible to attain this, is by a carethen, being to a perpetual increase of fully-regulated paper currency, wbich the productive power of labour in manu- should be increased in proportion factures, while in agriculture and min- to the increase of real transactions, ing there is a conflict between two ten- and contracted according to their dencies, it follows that the er- diminution. His objection to the change ralues of manufactured articles, Bank Charter Act of 1844 is, that it compared
with the products of agriculture does just the contrary, by making the and mines, hare, as population and in- circulation of paper dependent upon dustry advance, a certain and decided ten- the retention of gold—the export of dency to fall.”-Mill's Political Economy, vol. ii. pp. 263, 264.)
every guinea beyond a fixed amount
being followed by the drawing in of Its tendency is to enable an old a note of corresponding value—so and wealthy State to undersell its that whenever large foreign transacyounger and poorer neighbour in tions cause a flow of gold abroad, inmanufactured articles, but to com- stead of the currency expanding with pete with it at a disadvantage in the its increased work, it is foreibly conproduction of raw material and bread- tracted by an equal amount. stuffs.
Now with these views we mayor we On the currency, he thinks, that if may not agree, but they are evidently a certain amount of money, or the founded on a broad basis of good circulating medium, is requisite for sense, are the result of much careful the transactions by which a certain thought and study, and
are supported amount of commerce is carried on, by a mass of facts worthy of the most and if these transactions be doubled, careful consideration. the circulating medium, by which There is no historical writer of they are carried on, should be doubled modern times who has made so large also. For if it remains the same, it and so important a use of statistics has to do double work, and therefore as Sir Archibald. The great imporbecomes twice as valuable. Now this tance of this branch of historical change would be of no consequence science is only now beginning to be were it not for fixed obligations. It understood. Sir Archibald Alison is quite the same, as far as the trans- and Mr Buckle are almost the only actions themselves are concerned, historical writers we know who have whether one guinea does the work of founded large views and great intwo or pot; but it is a very different ductions upon it. There can be no thing when an immense mass of obli- doubt that it is an instrument of firstgations are entered into at the one rate power, and when the facts proved period, and come to be discharged at by it are exhaustive, they afford a the other-entered into when the demonstration equally conclusive guinea will produce only one-half of with a mathematical one. But there what it will when they come to be is no subject upon which a little discharged. In this case the weight knowledge is so dangerous a thing, of all debts is doubled, the value of or in which any one who has not
• Alison, ii. 379, 391 ; and vii.
Export of Brit
& Irish Prod. & Manufacture.
thoroughly mastered the subject in imports are official value, and these exall its bearings is so certain to fall ports declared value, from disconnected into error. Of this weapon Sir columns, the exports did in reality abArchibald has a signal command.solutely double the imports. Thus in We have had frequent occasion, upon
official values throughout :almost every subject treated of in his long work, to verify his statis- 1849' £105,874,000 £25,661,000 £164,539,000 tics, and we have always found them perfectly accurate. They are taken chandise not consumed in this country
“If we subtract the re-exported mer. either from parliamentary papers or from the total of imports, the proportion the writings of his opponents, and of imports for consumption to our exwhenever he has had to make an ap- ports is £80,000,000 to £164,000,000, or proximation, we haveinvariably found less than one-half. In place, therefore, that he has made one rather under of a balance against the country of than over the particular point which £42,000,000, there is a balance in its fahe has been anxious to establish. vour of two to one. Such is the vindica
We cannot better illustrate Sir tion of free-trade on the very argument Archibald's great knowledge and which Sir A. Alison accepts as the criteperfect integrity on this subject, than rion of its advantage.”—Edinburgh Reby noticing an attack which has re
view, No. 225, p. 120. cently been made upon him. In a
This is boldly and plainly putlate number of the Edinburgh Re- there can be no compromise here. view is an article, marked not less He distinctly states that Sir Archiby malignant personal hostility than bald has been guilty of falsehood, by acrimonious party-spite. The fraud, and wilful imposition, in havwriter, an able but ill-informed man, ing deliberately and knowingly dehas headed his onslaught and made clared, to serve a party end, that the his cheval de bataille an enormous balance of trade in the year 1849 was statistical falsehood, to which he enormously against this country, says Sir Archibald has given utter- when in reality it was enormously
in its favour. A graver accusation,
and one more damnatory to an his“It is, however, a much more serious torian, it was impossible to bring. accusation against this work that it com- Let us examine this matter to its bines the most elaborate distortion of foundation. Up to the year 1854 it statistical facts with the reckless asser
is impossible to give with perfect tions of political ignorance. When statistics are made the basis of argument, accuracy the balance of trade, beSir Archibald continually misquotes
cause that is the first year in which them in the interest of his theory. Thus the real or declared values are given he actually places side by side, as corre
for both exports and imports—an apsponding figures, tables of the declared proximation only, before that, could value of imports with tables of the offi- be made. Now, how to make this apcial value of exports—although the de- proximation is as good an experimenclared value, both of imports and exports, tum crucis as possibly could be had which do not suit his theory, stand side wherein to try equally the statistical by side in the original. In vol. vii. p. 302, there is a tabular view of imports both the historian and the reviewer.
knowledge and the impartiality of and exports for the nine years 1841-9; The method pursued by Sir Archiand we will quote the figures for the first and last years as an example :
bald was this : To subtract the declared value of British exports
from the official value of the im£64,377,962 £51,634,628 £12,743,339 ports, and give the difference as an 105,874,607 63,596,026
42,278,582 approximation to the real balance. Now this precious piece of statistical The method pursued by the reviewer cookery involves a distortion of much was to subtract the official value of more than the £42,000,000 in dispute the imports from that of the exports, for the last year cited alone ! On re- and give it as the true balance. ferring to Porter's Progress of the Nati The one method in the year 1849 page 356, from which the author ives a balance against this country fesses to quote, we find that while tl 12,278,582, the other one in it VOL. LXXXVIT NO. DXXXIV.
He says, –
favour of £84,126,000. Now, every omitting any consideration of the exone who has made statistics a study ports of foreign and colonial produce knows, that while the official value on the one side of the account, in of the exports (owing to the cheap- consideration of the depreciation
conening effects of capital and machin- tained in the official value of the ery on manufactures since the period imports given in the other), he simply when the official values were as- deducted the real value of British signed) is considerably more than exports from the official value of the double their real value, the official whole imports. An easy and invalue of the imports (from their being fallible means of testing the amount chiefly raw material) is about forty of truth contained in these two per cent below their real value. Sir methods exists from the year 1854 Archibald evidently thought that this --the first in which the real or deexcess of the real over the official clared value of the whole exports value of the imports was about equi. and imports is given. We extract valent to the official value of the three tables for the four first years exports of foreign and colonial mer- after that period from a most able chandise (chiefly raw material). So and exhaustive article on this subject letting these two balance (that is, in the Press :
and Imports, 1854-57.
* The declared value of British Exports was given before, but not of Foreign and Colonial Produce till 1854. The real value of the Imports was first given in 1852.
Edinburgh Reviewer's Method.
1854 1855 1856 1857
Balance in favour of England in four years,
119,541,892 141,130,427 159,991,614 149,978,682 570,642,615
Sir A. Alison's Approximation.
It thus appears, that while Sir Ar- “ The rates of valuation employed for chibald's approximation for these four computing the amounts given under the years would give a balance of trade head of official value were fixed in the against this country of £59,000,000 year 1694, and have not since been alterless than the real balance of ed; so that the sums thus given must not £138,000,000, the reviewer's meth- tion of the value of goods exported and
be supposed to give any accurate exhibiod would convert this adverse bal- imported. This system of valuation has ance into an enormous balance in her been preserved in the public accounts, favour of £570,000,000.
because it has been supposed to exhibit Such is the result of writing on a a correct measure of the comparative subject of which the writer is ignor- quantity of merchandise which has made ant. * Sir Archibald, ever anxious up the sum of our annual dealings with not to over-state his argument, made other countries. The fallacy of the prean approximation which under-states sent system will be at once apparent if the the truth. The reviewer, eager to amounts given in the official value of imserve his party, made one which ports and exports in any one year are stated an enormous falsehood. We sition of the correctness of the custom
brought into comparison. On the suppowish we could say that we thought house valuation, our foreign and colonial he did this simply from ignorance. trade must long since have proved the But in the very page of Porter's ruin of our merchants,
since the value work to which he refers, and speak- assigned to our exports is enormously ing of the very year which he has greater than that givento the imports. To selected as his example, we find the instance the first year of the series in the following passage :
following table, the loss of the country * Had the writer in the Edinburgh Review been well acquainted with the subject of statistics, he would have known that the real difficulty of ascertaining the balance of trade now lies, not in fespect to the official values of the exports, which are utterly worthless for that object, but in the difficulty of estimating correctly a certain depreciation which exists both in the “declared " value of the exports and the “real” or computed value of the imports. The exports are entered at the value declared by the exporter, that is, nearly at the cost price; but they will be sold at a considerably higher rate to give him a profit and pay the freight. Therefore a considerably larger sum of money will be received for them than appears in the statistical tables. On the other hand, the imports are valued in the customhouse at a rate considerably under the price at which they have been purchased. For them also, therefore, a larger sum of money will be paid than the tables show. The difference is larger on the side of the exports (where it includes both freight and profit) than on that of the imports (where it is made up of part of the profit only). To estimate it correctly at present is impossible, from the excessive fluctuations in the foreign trade ; goods being wetimes sold at an immense profit, and not unfrequently much below cost pri ially in the distant markets.