Fortunately for England, all her imports are raw materials.
In Great Britain the price of food is at a higher level than in any other country, and consequently, the British artisan labours at a disadvantage in proportion to the higher rate of his food.
Scotland is a great country and many wonderful things have come out of this country, however England gets the glory.
The advantage to Great Britain of a regular free trade in corn would, therefore, be more by raising the rest of the world to our standard and price, than by lowering the prices here to the standard of the Continent.
Destroy or take away the employment and wages of those artisans - which the corn laws in a great measure do - and you will, ere long, render the land in Great Britain of as little value as it is in other countries.
I see no reason for giving the capital employed in agriculture greater protection than the capital vested in other branches of trade, manufacture, or commerce.
I am willing to admit that if the agriculturists are oppressed by peculiar burdens, they ought to be relieved from them, or be allowed a fair and just protection equivalent to all such peculiar burdens.
I maintain that the existing corn laws are bad, because they have given a monopoly of food to the landed interest over every other class and over every other interest in the kingdom.
There is abundant proof that the opening of our ports always tends to raise the price of foreign corn to the price in the English market, and not to sink the price of British corn to the price in the continental market.
Now, what produces a want of demand A refusal to take from other countries the commodities which they produce.
What farmers require is, that the prices should be moderate, and the markets steady and for this reason I did, in 1826, 1827, and 1828, take the course which I would now recommend to the House.
Land, in England, is valuable, because we have highly-paid artisans to consume the produce on the spot.
I will undertake to prove that the present corn laws have been detrimental to the public, without being beneficial to the agricultural interest.
If the corn laws were altered, the British artisan might again be able to subsist by twelve hours' labour, a most desirable event.
Our people are unemployed and anxious to work for the food which foreigners can give us.
Worse there cannot be; a better, I believe, there may be, by giving energy to the capital and skill of the country to produce exports, by increasing which, alone, can we flatter ourselves with the prospect of finding employment for that part of our population now unemployed.
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