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, •*» - Kind

Jii is, that

.. good, and may

. of harm ; and I take

-y of supporting that opi

. oy the following reasons.

The present, and indeed every

scarcity of corn, arises chiefly from

a failure of crops.

That failure must be compensated to the grower (who is obliged to pay the fame rent in all seasons) by an increased price.—That price is always regulated by the demand. —The great desideratum is to keep the demand and the supply as nearly regular as possible. The proposal stow made to the committee has that end for its object. I have, with all deference, to prove that it is inadequate.

I live in a situation most likely to furnish me with the means of in

formation; viz. at the junction of the country which produces corn, with the country which consumes it, •within five miles of the great corn market of Warminster.

From Warminster, for near forty

miles eastward, through Wilts and

Hants, is a country which u\;es

ot consume one fourth part of the

ti it grows—From Warminster,

near forty miles westward,

'i a great part of Somerseted including Bath and a country which does

uuce one fourth part of the .[»it consumes.

The other three-fourths of corn consumed in the latter district is brought chiefly from the former (for the increased population of the north has deprived Bristol of the resource it once had down the Severn). Warminster and Devizes are the principal markets by which this quantity is supplied. From, these towns, to Bristol and Bridgewater, there is not a market where corn is exposed for sale in bulk. But would it be politic to compel the growers of this one-fourth part of the consumption of Somersetsliire to bring it to Warminster or Devizes, or to Bridgewater or Bristol, to sell it, to be carried back again to be consumed by the manufacturing towns of Frome or Shepton Mallett, possibly within a few miles of the place of its growth, at an advanced price, occasioned by this useless carriage.* I may be

* The proposal made in the committee, of obliging fanners to bring at least a sack of corn to market at a sample, or even a bushel Ts objectionable; the latter quantity, small as it is, cannot be brought ten miles under an expence ot two (hillings, and nobody could buy it at that additional expence, unless they also contracted to take a greater quantity with it to cover that expence: the poor, for whom it is intended, could never buy it. Besides, in all manufacturing countries the poor seldom buy wheat at market, or would it" they could j the labourers in agriculture in tlte villages buy it of the fanners for whom they work: the manufacturers live from hand to mouth, and buy bread ready baked. Besides, it is seldom reckoned how much, a poor man loses in time anu expenses in goirg to market to buy corn, even if ht could buy it.

Vol. XXXVIII, Ff asleed, to retail it. This increase of price this as a rule to settle any dispute,

"ould be very inconsiderable, and incase the wheat delivered un

wou d be much less than the value der a particular sample tshouM

of the time, which would be prove hghter than the bushel or

thrown away by the purchaser sack, «jittered with the clerk of

waiting in the market, or his loss the market

K." ignorance of the quality of I will only add, that from every

|hr commodity conversation which I have had

What I have said respecting with farmers, mermen and m.l

millers appears to me to be moll lers, since tins subject was brought

rTeS V to do away the present forward, I am convinced that me

Cpnon that the high price of use of weight as the regu .tor of

flour is in some degree owing to the millers or mealmen; but as a respedable baronet has brought forward a bill on this subject, the resolutions contained in my letter

measure, will prevent fraud ih dealings in corn, and will enable tl.e magistrates or others, to regulate the price of bread by the average price of wheat or flour, instead

resolutions contained in my leuer rageu..^. u. > .—~. ---■• -—■--Spea ng millers may be rendered of being hxed by the h.ahcft pr.ee unnecessary, except in drawing ot wheat, a. it is at present.

the attention of the country to the consideration ot thete lubjects, ■which I hope will be the consequence of the attention which has been paid by the committee to enquire into the causes of the high price of corn. .

A table, like the following, mio-hf regulate the prices of a market" as far as related to the quantity aud weight ■

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Thus 1/. iQf- per load difference would be made in the price, where 281b per sack was the difference in weight, which would be five half hundreds in a load of wheat, which is the exact weight of a

<-,..ir nf flour, and which the men, w Hk.«/ •• •> -■•-■>

best wheat would produce mo.e it back again to be confuted near Kan X lightest.-! have added the spot where u grew. ^

C.D.

Extract os a lef.er from Mr. Da~;tt to William Morton Pitt, Esq

Longl'at, AW. 22, 1795'

"YOUR queltiou—" Whether it be poilible or proper that farmers, who fell their corn by sample, fliould be obliged to bring the whole or a certain quantity ot it to market ''"—involves so many objects of consideration, that 1 must beg ynur leave uot only to give my opinion but to st3te my realoDs at some length; the subject is a serious one, and I trull you will not think me more prolix, than it requires.

The difficulties in reducing this plan to practice seems to be these:

ist. The infrequeucy of market towns in many parts of the kingdom, and the distance from thole towns to the places where corn is consumed.

»d. The increased e*pcnce of carrying corn to markets; and then, iu many instances, bringing

• ■' . I i".-. «M *mA n«o f

3. The impolicy, if not injustice, of restraining, by compulsive means, the sale of an article, which, however indispensable in itself, has as fair a claim as any other article of trade to a free and voluntary mode of sale; especially an articleof which the growth is optional on the part of the seller.

4. The absolute impossibility of securing a constant uniform supply on every market day, sufficient for the consumption of the district dependant on that market, till the next market day.

The above are my doubts as to the practicability or even the possibility of carrying a pianos this kind into effect. My opinion is, that it can do but little good, and may do a great deal of harm; and I take the liberty of supporting that opinion by the following reasons.

The present, and indeed every scarcity of corn, arises chiefly from a failure of crops.

That failure must be compensated to the grower (who is obliged to pay the fame rent in all seasons) by an increased price.—That price is always regulated by the demand. —The great desideratum is to keep the demand and the supply as nearly regular as possible. The proposal now made to the committee has that end for its object. I have, with all deference, to prove that it is inadequate.

I live in a situation most likely to furnish me with the means of in

formation; -viz. at the junction of the country which produces corn, with the country which consumes it, within five miles of the great corn market of Warminster.

From Warminster, for near forty miles eastward, through Wilts and Hants, is a country which does not consume one fourth part of the corn it grows—From Warminster, for near forty miles westward, through a great part of Somersetshire, and including Bath and Bristol, is a country which does not produce one fourth part of the corn it consumes.

The other three-fourths of corn consumed in the latter district ig brought chiefly from the former (for the increased population of the north has deprived Bristol of the resource it once had down the Severn). Warminster and Devizes are the principal markets by which this quantity is supplied. From these towns, to Bristol and Bridgewater, there is not a market where corn is exposed for sale in bulk. But would it be politic to compel the growers of this one-fourth part of the consumption of Somersetshire to bring it to Warminster or Devizes, or to Bridgewater or Bristol, to sell it, to be carried back again to be consumed by the manufacturing towns of Frome or Shepton Mallett, possibly within a few miles of the place of its growth, at an advanced price, occasioned by this useless carriage.* I may be asked, why cannot markets be held at these towns?—I answer the establishments ot markets are not the work of a day; —and suppose thev were established, still that would not increase the quantity os corn gpown in that country. The dealers must still go eastward for three-fourths of their lupply, lo the neglect of their own trilling markets, which of course would soon come to nothing again.

• The proposal made in the committee, of obliging farmers to bring at least a sack of corn to market at a sample, or even a bufliel 7s objectionable; the latter quantity, small as it is, cannot be brought ten miles under an expence of two (hillings, and nobody could buy it at that additional expence, unless they also contracted to take a greater quantity with it to cover that expence: the poor, fer whem it is intended, could never buy it. Besides, in all manufacturing countries the poor seldom buy wheat at market, or would it they could; the labourers in agriculture in tHe villages buy it of the farmers for whom they work: the manufacturers live from hand to mouth, and buy bread ready baked. Besides, it is seldom reckoned how much, a poor man loses in time ami expences in going to market to buy corn, even if he could buy it.

Vol. XXXVIII, Ff asked,

The avowed object of the plan before the committee is, doubtless, to defeat a supposed combination between buyers and sellers of corn to keep up its price, and to lay the markets open to a fair competition; and a very laudable object it is. I have already slated my doubts as to the possibility of carrying this plan into execution, or indeed any plan that would defeat this kind of combination; but. I have very great doubts in my own mind as to the existence of combination to the extent we frequently hear of, and still greater as to the magnitude of the injury supposed to be done thereby to the public.—I am sensible I am taking the unpopular side of the argument.—I think you will agree with me in some parts of it at least; and if you do not, 1 am sure you will not ba offended at my giving roy opinion.

That a combination mould exist among farmers is impossible ;— they are too numerous, and many 'of them too necessitous, ever to act in concert.

Rich larmers may undoubtedly (and this year they have done it) keep their wheat from market. In times of scarcity, like the last months of June and July, it is well they did, we lliould othervile have been quite starved in

August. The shortness of the supply then produced a saving in the consumption, and thereby the stock in band lasted out Suppose we had had a wet harvest; in that case the new corn could not have been gtouDd without an addition of old The rich farmers who had wheat left would then have been useful men. The fact speaks for itself.

As to jobbers of corn, these men may combine together; their number is but few, comparatively speaking; but how do they combine: not to raise the price of corn, but to fink it! Warminster market, though a sack market, and not a sample market, is in a great measure governed b> these men;—and were it not for them, Bath and Bristol mull be fed much dearer than they are now. If these men cannot get corn at one market they go to another, and if there is not enough at market they go to farm houses. But when they get to the places of consumption, there the combination ends, and competition begins;—less profit will suffice these men than the expence tint would be incurred by ten times the numbers of bakers and malsiers, coming twenty or twenty-five miles to market. In fact, had it not been for men of this description, Bristol would have been starved last summer.—There were instances, more than once, of that city being without a fortnight's supply of corn. These men knew it, and ransacked the country for more.—They did it for their own fakes, and thereby served the community.

But even admitting a combination between farmers and jobbers to exist in any particular country; the momeat coin gets above the price rtt which it would bear the additional expence of carriage ten miles farther, there is an end of the combination; and if it was possible the whole kingdom could combine, an importation from any country where it could be got cheaper would instantly* knock it up. In fact, these very men, though dealing at all times under suspicions, and this year frequently in danger of their lives, are the very hands that transfer the plenty of one country to relieve the distresses of another; and though at former periods, as well as now, thev have, in times of dearth, been pointed at as the cause of it, they have to my knowledge this year more than once saved whole towns from famine. In fact, times of scarcity are favourable to this (et of men. They arc then (against their will, I allow) particularly useful to all countries who do not grow corn enough for their consumption.—In times of plenty they cannot exist to answer their own purpose—in those times they are not wanted.

But the great evil which we in this country feel, and which our great corn markets rather encourage than prevent, is the inequality of measures by which corn, and particularly wheat, is fold; I do not speak of the various provincial measures. It is immaterial to a country whether eight, nine, or twelve gallons are fold for a bushel, provided all parties understand what the measure is.

But in this country, in all villages and small towns where there is no assize of bread, the baker fells his bread and his flour at his own price, for which lie always quoes the highest market price of

wheat; a few farmers, w!io happen to have extraordinary good wheat, make a point of adding two or three quarts to the ni«.asuro. This saclt of corn, so much better and bigger than the average of the market, will frequently sell for one fifth more th:in inferior samples of fair measure in the lame market. This high price, and which it is the interest of the buyer to give, forms a standard of price of bread and flour for the ensuing v eek—No existing laws are adequate to the remedy of this evij, for as neither buyer nor selser complain, who is to re-measure this corn, though fold in a public market? Besides, there is so much art in measuring corn, that two people may make several quarts difference in a sack, and yet both appear to measure fair.—If any remedy can be applied to this evil, it must be a compulsion to sell corn by weight;—this is done by choice at Manchester and Liverpool, and in this country the buyer always alks the weight, though he dors not buy by it: —in fact, weight determines the quality as well as the quantity. If weight was adopted, the price would be nearly equal, and it wculd then be possible to frame a fair assize table, which in my opinion is impossible to do from measure, especially in inch a year as this, when the difference in the price of good aud bad wheat is full one third.

I cannot help thinking, that if this measure was tried a year, it would ue found efficacious.—It would do one thing in an instant, which the legislature has not been able to do in a century—" equalize all the various measures in the kingdom,"

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