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Increase of peace establishments, and interest of new debt


Error of the author £878,544

It is true, the extraordinaries of the army have been found considerably greater than the author of the Considerations was pleased to foretell they would be. The author of The Present State avails himself of that increase, and, finding it suit his purpose, sets the whole down in the peace establishment of the present times. If this is allowed him, his error perhaps may be reduced to £700,000. But I doubt the author of the Considerations will not thank him for admitting £200,000 and upwards as the peace establishment for extraordinaries, when that author has so much labored to confine them within £35,000.

These are some of the capital fallacies of the author. To break the thread of my discourse as little as possible, I have thrown into the marign many instances, though God knows far from the whole, of his inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and want of common care. I think myself obliged to take some notice of them, in order to take off from any authority this writer may have; and to put an end to the deference which careless men are apt to pay to one who boldly arrays his accounts, and marshals his figures, in perfect confidence that their correctness will never be examined.*

* Upon the money borrowed in 1760, the premium of one per cent. was for 21 years, not for 20; this annuity has been paid eight years instead of seven; the sum paid is therefore £640,000 instead of 560,000; the remaining term is worth 10 years and a quarter instead of 11 years; its value is £820,000 instead of £880,000; and the whole value of that premium is £1,460,000, instead of 1,440,000. The like errors are observable in his computation on the additional capital of three per cent. on the loan of that year. In like manner, on the loan of 1762, the author computes on five years' payment instead of six; and says in express terms, that take 5 from 19, and there remains 13. These are not errors of the pen or the press; the several computations pursued in this part of the work with great diligence and earnestness prove them errors upon much deliberation. Thus the premiums in 1759 are cast up

1 See Smart and Demoivre.

However, for argument, I am content to take his state of it. The debt was and is enormous. The war was expensive. The best economy had not perhaps been used. But I must observe, that war and economy are things not easily reconciled; and that the attempt of leaning towards parsimony in such a state may be the worst management, and in the end the worst economy in the world, hazarding the total loss of all the charge incurred, and every thing along with it.

But cui bono all this detail of our debt? Has the author given a single light towards any material reduction of it? Not a glimmering. We shall see in its place what sort of thing he proposes. But before he commences his operations, in order to scare the public imagination, he raises by art magic a thick mist before our eyes, through which glare the most ghastly and horrible phantoms:

Hunc igitur terrorem animi tenebrasque necesse est,
Non radii solis, neque lucida te la diei

Discutiant, sed naturæ species ratioque.

Let us therefore calmly, if we can for the fright into which he has put us, appreciate those dreadful and deformed gorgons and hydras, which inhabit the joyless regions of an imagination, fruitful in nothing but the production of mon


£90,000 too little, an error in the first rule of arithmetic. "The annuities borrowed in 1756 and 1758 are,” says he, "to continue till redeemed by parliament." He does not take notice that the first are irredeemable till February 1771; the other till July 1782. In this the amount of the premiums is computed on the time which they have run. Weakly and ignorantly; for he might have added to this, and strengthened his argument, such as it is, by charging also the value of the additional one per cent. from the day on which he wrote to, at least that day on which these annuities became redeemable. To make ample amends, however, he has added to the premiums of 15 per cent. in 1759, and three per cent. in 1760, the annuity paid for them since their commencement; the fallacy of which is manifest; for the premiums in these cases can be neither more nor less than the additional capital for which the public stands engaged, and is just the same whether five or 500 years' annuity has been paid for it. In private life, no man persuades himself that he has borrowed £200, because he happens to have paid 20 years' interest on loan of £100.

His whole representation is founded on the supposed operation of our debt, upon our manufactures, and our trade. To this cause he attributes a certain supposed dearness of the necessaries of life, which must compel our manufacturers to emigrate to cheaper countries, particularly to France, and with them the manufacture. Thence consumption declining, and with it revenue. He will not permit the real balance of our trade to be estimated so high as £2,500,000; and the interest of the debt to foreigners carries off £1,500,000 of that balance. France is not in the same condition. Then follow his wailings and lamentings, which he renews over and over, according to his custom-a declining trade, and decreasing specie on the point of becoming tributary to France-of losing Ireland-of having the colonies torn away from us.

The first thing upon which I shall observe is,* what he takes for granted as the clearest of all propositions, the emigration of our manufacturers to France. I undertake to say that this assertion is totally groundless, and I challenge the author to bring any sort of proof of it. If living is cheaper in France, that is, to be had for less specie, wages are proportionably lower. No manufacturer, let the living be what it will, was ever known to fly for refuge to low wages. Money is the first thing which attracts him. Accordingly our wages attract artificers from all parts of the world. From two shillings to one shilling, is a fall, in all men's imaginations, which no calculation upon a difference in the price of the necessaries of life can compensate. But it will be hard to prove that a French artificer is better fed, clothed lodged, and warmed, than one in England; for that is the sense, and the only sense of living cheaper. If, in truth and fact, our artificer fares as well in all these respects as one in the same state in France-how stands the matter in point of opinion and prejudice, the springs by which people in that class of life are chiefly actuated? The idea of our common

* P. 30, 31, 32.

people, concerning French living, is dreadful; altogether as dreadful as our author's can possibly be of the state of his own country; a way of thinking that will hardly ever prevail on them to desert to France.*

But, leaving the author's speculations, the fact is, that they have not deserted; and of course the manufacture cannot be departed, or departing, with them. I am not indeed able to get at all the details of our manufactures; though, I think, I have taken full as much pains for that purpose as our author. Some I have by me; and they do not hitherto, thank God, support the author's complaint, unless a vast increase of the quantity of goods manufactured be a proof of losing the manufacture. On a view of the registers in the Westriding of Yorkshire, for three years before the war, and for the three last, it appears, that the quantities of cloths entered were as follow:

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* In a course of years a few manufacturers have been tempted abroad, not by cheap living but by immense premiums, to set up as masters and to introduce the manufacture. This must happen in every country eminent for the skill of its artificers, and has nothing to do with taxes and the price of provisions.

increased under the increase of taxes; and this not from a declining, but from a greatly flourishing period of commerce. I may say the same on the best authority of the fabric of thin goods at Halifax; of the bays at Rochdale; and of that infinite variety of admirable manufactures that grow and extend every year among the spirited, inventive, and enterprising traders of Manchester.

A trade sometimes seems to perish when it only assumes a different form. Thus the coarsest woollens were formerly exported in great quantities to Russia. The Russians now supply themselves with these goods. But the export thither of finer cloths has increased in proportion as the other has declined. Possibly some parts of the kingdom may have felt something like a languor in business. Objects like trade and manufacture, which the very attempt to confine would certainly destroy, frequently change their place; and thereby, far from being lost, are often highly improved. Thus some manufactures have decayed in the west and south, which have made new and more vigorous shoots when transplanted into the north. And here it is impossible to pass by, though the author has said nothing upon it, the vast addition to the mass of British trade, which has been made by the improvement of Scotland. What does he think of the commerce of the city of Glasgow, and of the manufactures of Paisley and all the adjacent country? Has this any thing like the deadly aspect and facies Hippocratica which the false. diagnostic of our state physician has given to our trade in general? Has he not heard of the iron works of such magnitude even in their cradle which are set up on the Carron, and which at the same time have drawn nothing from Sheffield, Birmingham, or Wolverhampton?

This might perhaps be enough to shew the entire falsity of the complaint concerning the decline of our manufactures. But every step we advance, this matter clears up more; and the false terrors of the author are dissipated, and fade away as the light appears. "The trade and manufactures of this country (says he) going to ruin, and a diminution of our

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