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able to a great number of poor families in But his majesty's government, as appears by the “ England, employed in the trade of making evidence, have, under the exigencies of the case, “ such wool cards," the same were then and are thought it right from time to time, on special now allowed to be exported to all parts of the applications, to grant licenses for the exportation world.
of different articles of machinery to various parts Neither the grounds on which these acts of the world. were passed and repealed, nor the advantages The committee, in 1824, examined many expected to be derived from them, appear to practical men * for the purpose of ascertaining have been well understood; as by the 25th how far, in their opinion, the prosperity of our (c. 67) the prohibition was perpetual, whilst by manufactures had been promoted by the laws the 26th (c. 89) it was provided, that the pro- which prohibit the exportation of tools and mahibition should only continue in force till the end chinery, and how far the improvement of the of the next session of parliament, and no longer. manufactures of other countries had been
Your committee beg leave to state their thereby retarded. Many of these witnesses were opinion, that changes in laws which regulate of opinion that considerable advantage had acthe export and import of any article should be crued to this country from the protection which made as seldom as possible, as by every change these prohibitory laws gave to our manufacnew establishments and connexions in com- turers, by their operation in preventing foreign merce must necessarily be formed ; and, exclu- nations from becoming our rivals in several sive of the loss of capital consequent thereon, the branches of manufactures: but a careful perusal uncertainty to which they give rise in the minds of their evidence will best shew the grounds on of merchants and manufacturers must greatly which those opinions are founded. tend to impede the commerce and check the In addition to the examination of persons prosperity of the country. Many able and practically conversant with machinery and maintelligent men have even gone so far as to nufactures, that committee called before them assert, that it is often much better to submit to and examined two gentlement eminently qua. inconvenience and loss than to make a sudden lified to determine, on general principles, the change in any extensive branch of the industry policy of prohibiting the exportation of tools and of the country, although that change might machines. These gentlemen gave their reasons ultimately remove the inconvenience and loss at length for believing the prohibition to export suffered ; yet so great has the uncertainty been tools and machines to be injurious to the com. as to what line of conduct the legislature would merce and manufactures of this country, inasultimately pursue, that the statute book affords, much as we thereby shut ourselves out from a in the instance of machinery, a notable example new branch of business which would give em. of the total want of any fixed principle; exhi- ployment to a large number of our people, in. biting, in the same year, one act to permit the crease our own capabilities, add considerably to exportation of one kind of tools, because their the amount of our productions, and consequently prohibition had proved injurious to the indus- to the increase of capital; particularly so, as the trious classes of the community; and another materials of which tools and machinery are made prohibiting the exportation of other kinds, be- are almost entirely the products of our own soil, cause such exportation was considered to be and may be procured by the labour of our own detrimental; and the provisions of that act, people in unlimited quantities. which would have expired in 1787, were con- Your committee beg leave, however, to call timed from year to year by the 27th, 28th, the attention of the house more particularly to 29th, 30th, 31st, 32, 33, 34th, till, by the 35th their evidence, which contains matter of the Geo. III., c. 38, it was rendered perpetual. greatest importance, as it explains many of the
These acts also prohibit the exportation of all grounds on which, in the opinion of those gentools, implements, and machines used in coining tlemen, commercial intercourse, in order to be money, although it would be extremely difficult prosperous, should be founded. to shew why any country should have impedi- Another circumstance of some moment, to ments thrown in its way for coining money for its which your committee beg leave to request the own use, or what possible injury this country attention of the house, is the commercial jealousy could sustain from supplying other nations with which the prohibition to export tools and mathe various and expensive machinery which is chines is calculated to perpetuate, and the effect necessary in large quantities to the establishment which the repeal of these laws would produce on of mints. No permission, however, appears to the policy of other nations towards us, and how have been granted by legislative authority for far the removal of all such causes of jealousy this purpose, except in one solitary instance, would operate in respect to many regulations namely, in that of Mr. Matthew Bolton, an and restrictions now existing on commerce, engineer of Birmingham, who, by the 39th which the members of every enlightened goGeo. III., c. 96 (1799), was permitted to export vernment must necessarily wish to see removed, the machinery necessary for the erection of a
| Mr. S. Walker, Mr. W. Yates, Mr. P. Ewart, Mr. mint in the dominions of the emperor of Russia, 1. Kennedy. Mr. Thomas Osler, Mr. William Brunton. and to send workmen there to erect the same.' + Mr. M Culloch, and the Rev. Mr. Malthus.
and which the legislature appears to have had were also apprehensive that the orders which in view in the late various important alterations might be received from abroad for tools and in the commercial relations of this country. machines would raise their price at home, and
The evidence taken by the committee in the prevent our own manufacturers from being last session was such as to induce them, at that supplied with the machinery they wanted ; time, to decline recommending any measure to and several manufacturers concurred in these the house beyond that of a renewal of the opinions. inquiry in the present session ; and in order to The objections made by the machine-makers make this inquiry as complete as possible, the and manufacturers were thus reduced to two; chairman of your committee caused a notice (in- viz. serted in the Appendix) to be sent to the prin- 1st. That in consequence of the large foreign cipal municipal officer and chambers of commerce orders which would probably be sent from in many of the great manufacturing towns of the abroad, the price of the tools and machines, United Kingdom ; some of whom, it appears, if the free exportation were permitted, would caused it to be inserted in several of the pro- be considerably and permanently raised at vincial newspapers.
home. It is necessary to observe, that, notwith-| 2d. That it was to be feared that, in a short standing this public notice, no person from any time after the repeal of those laws, foreigners of the manufacturing districts has requested to would be able to undersell us in cotton goods, in be examined before your committee ; and that lace made in frames, and in some other branches only two answers to his circular were received of manufacture. by the chairman; one from the chamber of To these two principal objections your comcommerce in Birmingham, inclosing a copy of mittee more particularly turned their attention; the resolution of that chamber, of the 12th of and in the evidence of all the London engineers March, 1824, which objected both to the emi. it is distinctly stated, that they do not believe gration of artisans and to the exportation of that any considerable rise of price would, for machinery; and as the evidence of the witnesses any length of time, follow the repeal of the pro. deputed by that chamber at that time will be hibiting laws. On this subject, however, your found in the minutes of the committee of last committee submit to the consideration of the year, it is presumed that they had no additional house an extract from the evidence of Mr. evidence to offer ; the other, from the master Alexander Galloway. cotton-spinners of the county of Renfrew, ap- “ Do you then think that we should secure a pointing Mr. Dunlop (whose evidence on the “ very considerable and profitable branch of per. subject will be found in the minutes of last “ manent manufacture, without injuring our year) to oppose any bill for permitting the ex-“ home manufacturers, if this law was repealed? portation of machinery. As no person, there-“ -I am decidedly of opinion we should improve fore, came forward from the country to offer “ our condition; and if I was a considerable evidence to your committee, it was necessary “ machine user in any of our principal manufac. more particularly to revert to the evidence taken “ tures, I should say I should be very much beby the committee in the last session, for the “ nefited by taking off the prohibiting laws, as it purpose of more fully shewing its tendency. “ would ultimately lessen the price of machinery.
Almost all the principal engineers whose “ Do you mean by the increased competition factories are situated in the metropolis were “ and skill that would be brought into action? examined. Their evidence tends to shew the “ – Yes; and that will all end in making mainjurious consequences of the laws which pro." chines cheaper. At first it may increase the hibit the exportation of tools and machines, and “ price with certain individuals, but not with all of them concurred in recommending their “ the manufacturers generally; and ultimately repeal. Several machine-makers resident in the " it will increase the means by which machinery country were also examined before the com.“ is produced.” mittee, all of whom agreed in recommending a The principal difficulty which seemed to your revision of the laws, or that particular kinds of committee likely to occur, from any considerable machinery might still be legally exported, while increased demand for machines from abroad, was other kinds might be prohibited. They also the number of bands which could in a comparaconcurred in opinion that much of the machinery tively short space of time be procured to meet at present prohibited might be advantageously the demand. exported; but gave it as their opinion that other It has always hitherto happened, and on genekinds of machinery, and particularly those used ral principles it may safely be affirmed, that it in the manufacture of cotton goods, should not will always happen, that where a commodity be permitted to be exported. This opinion was can be supplied in unlimited quantities (which grounded on an apprehension that foreigners machinery may be in this country) a large inmight in time be able to manufacture such crease in the demand never fails, after a very goods, not only for their own use, but also for short period, to reduce the price; but the neexportation, cheaper than we could, and might cessity of instructing men in machine-making thus supersede us in the foreign market. They seemed to oppose an obstacle which it would re
quire much time to overcome; and it was appre-f" them in the art of making machines ?--
“ and other goods, will not that be injurious to
“ portion to the cost of the transfer of the ma. With respect to the second objection, the ap- “ chines into France. prehension of being undersold in the foreign “ Will you have the goodness to state to the market, the evidence of those witnesses in whom “ committee the advantages that would accrue this apprehension is most prevalent, contains “ to England from the exportation of its mamuch which seems to incline in a contrary direc- " chinery? - The advantages would be, that in tion to the inferences drawn by them. It is ad “ addition to all our present manufactures we mitted by them that we possess many facilities « should have an additional branch of manufacwhich foreigners do not, and may not for ages “ ture, corresponding in extent to the extent possess. Our minerals are generally in imme. " that the foreigner took machines from us. diate neighbourhood, whence, from the proximity “ You would thus have a new field created for of rail-roads, canals, and rivers, they may be con- “ the profitable employ of capital and industry, veyed with great facility to all parts of the king “ which you have not now." dom, either for home manufacture or exportation. Your committee think proper to notice, as Almost all our great manufacturing towns, and a third objection entertained by many of the . establishments for the construction of machines, witnesses, viz. that, in consequence of the low enjoy similar facilities; and thus, with the con- | rate of wages paid on the continent of Europe, tinual improvement of machinery, enable us to manufacturers in foreign countries would be enkeep down the cost of production.
| abled to sell their goods cheaper than we could Upon this subject your committee beg to refer sell ours. to the following extracts from the evidence of Your committee are sensible of the propriety Mr. M'Culloch, which, in their opinion, deserves of paying due attention to this objection; as not the most serious consideration.
only many of the witnesses whom they have * Do you conceive that the laws rather assist examined form their opinion of the impolicy of " the French, than otherwise, in being able to allowing machinery to be exported on the “ establish manufactories of machinery of their grounds that the low wages of France and other * own ?-I should think our preventing the nations secure to those countries advantages “ exportation of machinery to France has a ten- over England, but almost all persons of all de“ dency to force the French to become machine- scriptions consider this doctrine of the advantage “ makers themselves, and to rival us in a branch of low wages as forming a settled axiom in poli. * of industry, into which, if they could get tical economy, and therefore as one which ad. “ machines from England, they would have no mits of no question whatsoever ; but so far from “ motive to come into competition.
this being a doctrine that ought to be universally “ Those laws make it more a matter of ne- received as sound and settled, your committee ““ cessity on the part of the French to induce our are of opinion that many facts exist to shew that " machine-makers to go to France, to instruct doubts may be justly entertained respecting its
validity. Experience proves, that in those country advantages in carrying on manufactures, countries where wages are low, the workmen there exist the reasonings and conclusions of are often indolent, and so unskilful as to be those learned and observing persons (who during incapable of producing any commodities but the last fifty years have reduced the rules that such as are of the rudest and coarsest kind; one govern the operations of industry and trade to workman is employed in two or more different a science) to explain in what way they consider operations in the same fabric, and little or no this doctrine to be wholly untenable. These assistance is given to manual labour by inven- eminent persons undertake to shew, by argu, tions to abridge and economise it; whereas, in ments and facts, that the effect of low wages is those countries where wages are high, the work, not a low price of the commodity to which they men are generally active, spirited, persevering, are applied, but the raising of the average rate and exceedingly skilful ;- no article is too dif. of profits in the country in which they exist. ficult or delicate for them to make; the principle The explanation of this proposition occupies a of division of labour is in full operation, and large portion of the justly-celebrated work of the every description of machinery is made to con- late Mr. Ricardo, on the principles of political tribute extensively to the diminution of manual economy, and is also ably set forth in the fol. labour.
lowing evidence of Mr. M‘Culloch, to which It is well known to those who have attended your committee particularly desire to draw the to what has taken place in respect to the cotton attention of the house: manufacture in Ireland (and it has been alluded to “ Have you turned your attention to the in the evidence), that when Mr. Pitt, in 1788 “ effect of fluctuations in the rate of wages ou and at the union, proposed to lower the duties " the price of commodities ?I have. on cotton goods imported from Ireland into “ Do you consider that when wages rise, the England, the witnesses who were then examined“ price of commodities will proportionally in. before committees of this house resisted his “ crease ?-I do not think that a real rise of plans on the same grounds that the witnesses “ wages has any effect whatever, or but a whom your committee have examined object to “ very imperceptible one, on the price of comthe exportation of machinery, namely, the ad “ modities.” vantages which a country with low wages has “ Then supposing wages to be really lower in over a country in which wages are high. But “ France than in this country, do you think although Mr. Pitt, at the union, lowered the " that that circumstance would give the French duties on cotton goods imported from Ireland “ any advantage over us in the foreign market? into England to ten per cent; and that cotton “ -No, I do not; I do not think it would give goods could be sent from Ireland to foreign “ them any advantage whatever. I think it countries, to be sold there in free competition | “ would occasion a different distribution of the with English cotton goods; and although Ire- “ produce of industry in France from what land has imported from time to time the best " would obtain in England, but that would be English machinery, and employed the best “ all. In France the labourers would get a less English workmen to instruct the Irish work. “ proportion of the produce of industry, and men, yet Ireland, under all these circumstances “ the capitalists a larger proportion. (with an average rate of wages of 3d. or 4d. a “Could not the French mamufacturer, if he day, as proved in evidence before the com-“ gets his labour for less than the English m. mittee on the state of Ireland), was not able to “ nufacturer, afford to sell his goods for less do any thing worthy of notice in the cotton ma- “ As the value of goods is made up wholy of nufacture, till the repeal of the duty of ten per “ labour and profit, the whole and only feet cent in 1823, led to the sending of English yarns of a French manufacturer getting his labar into Ireland, to be wove there and returned to “ for less than an English manufacturer, is te England, and till English capital was employed “ enable him to make more prefit than the in Ireland to promote the industry of her “ English manufacturer can make, but not to people, by giving orders for goods to be sent to “ lower the price of his goods. The low rate of England to enable the English manufacturers * wages in France goes to establish a high to make good those orders which they could not " rate of profits in all branches of industry in execute in England.
* France. The case of England herself is also in point, “ What conclusion do you come to in making to shew that low wages may be counterbalanced a comparison between wages in England and by other circumstances; for though wages in“ wages in France ?-_I come to this conclusion, England are much higher than wages in other that if it be true that wages are really higher countries in Europe, yet almost every kind “ in England than in France, the only effect on of manufactured goods that are required in that would be to lower the profits of capital great quantities can be made so much cheaper “ in England below their level in France, bat and better in England as to find a market in that will have no effect whatever on the almost every foreign country.
* price of the commodities produced in either But besides these facts, tending to disprove" country. the doctrine that lov wnges always give to al “ When you say that wages do not affect “ prices, what is it that does affect prices ?-1" this opinion principally consist in the natural * An increase or diminution of the quantity" advantages that England possesses, from the “ of labour necessary to the production of the “ circumstance of the iron-stone and coal being 55 commodity."
1“ invariably found in the same spot, and thus “ Supposing that there was a free export of" affording a means of manufacturing iron at a
machinery, so that France could get that " cheap rate; the talent and ingenuity of the " machinery, do you think that under those workmen ; the immense spare capital we 46 circumstances we should retain those advan “ have in this country; the circumstance of * tages which we possess at the present mo." our canals and rail-roads, already established, * ment?_Yes, we should; for the export of“ enabling us to bring the raw material from * the machinery would not lower our wages, or “ the interior of the country at a very low rate: · increase the wages in France, so that we “ it would, of course, take a considerable time * should preserve that advantage to the full “ before France or any other country could “ extent that we bave it at this moment." “ possess any of those advantages, even those
" Will you explain to the committee why" which cannot be considered as peculiar only * you are of opinion that the French manu-" to us, such as canals and rail-roads."
facturer would not undersell the English, Supposing, indeed, that the same machinery “ seeing that his profits are larger than the which is used in England could be obtained on « English manufacturer ? _Because if he were the Continent, it is the opinion of some of the " to offer to undersell the English, he can only most intelligent of the witnesses that the want “ do it by consenting to accept a less rate of of arrangement in foreign manufactories, of “ profit on his capital than the other French division of labour in their work, of skill and 5 capitalists are making on theirs, and I cannot perseverance in their workmen, and of enter“ suppose a man of common sense would act prise in the masters, together with the com. “ upon such a principle.”
paratively low estimation in which the master * Are the committee to understand, that manufacturers are held on the Continent, and " although a French manufacturer pays half with the comparative want of capital, and of " the wages to his men in France which our many other advantageous circumstances detailed * manufacturers do in England, yet that his in the evidence, would prevent foreigners from 4 wages being on a par or level in general with interfering in any great degree by competition " the other wages in France, will render his with our principal manufacturers; on which « profits on a par with them, and consequently subject the committee submit the following evi. “ he would not undersell the English merchant dence as worthy the attention of the house:" by lowering his profits below the average rate “ I would ask whether, upon the whole, you “ of profits in France ? _Precisely so. I believe, “ consider any danger likely to arive to our * in point of fact, there is no such difference; “ manufactures from competition, even if the “ but he could not undersell the English manu. “ French were supplied with machinery equally “ facturer unless he took lower profits than all “ good and cheap as our own ?-They will s other producers in France were making. I“ always be behind us until their general “ night illustrate this by what takes place every " habits approximate to ours; and they must “ day in England, where you never find the pro “ be behind us for many reasons that I have
prietor of rich land, in order to get rid of his " before given. produce, offering it in Mark-lane at a lower
1 “ Why must they be behind us ?-One other * rate than that which is got by a farmer or “ reason is, that a cotton-manufacturer, who * proprietor of the very worst land in the “ left Manchester seven years ago, would be “ kingdom."
1" driven out of the market by the men who are “ Would it not produce a larger sale if the - now living in it, provided his knowledge had « French manufacturer were to sell at a less
“ not kept pace with those who have been dur* price ?_Supposing that to be so, the greater " ing that time constantly profiting by the pro- the sale, the greater would be the loss of “ gressive improvements that have taken place " profit.”
" in that period : this progressive knowledge It is the opinion of many of those who objects and experience is our great power and ad. to the exportation of machinery, that Great" vantage.” Britain owes her present superiority in manu- ! It should also be observed, that the constant, factures solely to the excellence of her machinery; nay, almost daily improvements which take place but the evidence already noticed, as well as that in our machinery itself, as well as in the mode of Mr. Martineau and others, would incline of its application, require that all those means your committee to believe that many other cir- land advantages alluded to above should be in cumstances had tended to produce that effect, constant operation; and that, in the opinion of and that if the exportation of machinery was several of the witnesses, although Europe were generally permitted, English engineers would possessed of every tool now used in the United supply the greater part of the world, without Kingdom, along with the assistance of English endangering her present superiority. “My artisans, which she may have in any number, “reasons,” Mr. Martineau says, “ for forming
• By Mr. Alexander Galloway,