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" To these must be added, according to the distance and de
scription of grain, from 4s. to 6s. a quarter for bringing the o produce to market, and incidental expenses on the same. It will be observed, that this estimate applies only to the provinces in the vicinity of Dantzic. Had it applied to those south of Warsaw, the cost of bringing grain to market would have been at least double.
We have next to call the attention of our readers to the following extracts from a communication, addressed by Messrs Almonde and Behrend of Dantzic, to their correspondents in London, in October 1824. These gentlemen are largely engaged in the Dantzic corn trade. They have agents in every part of Poland ; and are intimately acquainted with the state of the country. We ought also to observe, that Messrs Almonde and Behrend had no idea whatever that their communication was to be made public, and intended it merely for the private information of their friends in this country.
After giving an account of the quantity of grain warehoused at Dantzic, Koenigsberg, Elbing, and other ports on the Baltic, Messrs Almonde and Behrend proceed as follows:
- The corn trade having now lingered in a depressed state for upwards of six years, the results of this unfortunate cir. ' cumstance to the whole northern continent, and more parti• cularly to this country, have been extremely disastrous. The - penury of the agriculturists having been driven to the highest
pitch, production has gradually diminished ; and as the higher • classes have also felt the pressure of this general impoverish' ment, our commercial intercourse with the Western parts of
Europe has experienced a serious diminution. It is generally " thought that the consumption of British Colonial produce and manufactures does not, at present, exceed one half of what it was before this unfortunate crisis of the corn trade took place.
• The price of wheat at which the Prussian farmer can af- ford to pay the moderate taxes of this country, is calculated,
by the best economists, at about 35s. the Winchester quarter; - but the landed proprietors in Volhynia, from which province ' we get the bulk of good wheat, cannot supply the ports on the
Baltic at less than 38s., as they have nearly 14s. a quarter to o pay for freight, duties, and charges on account of the con• veyance down the Vistula. Hence it appears, that our prices
have, for these five years past, been under the cost of production ; which accounts sufficiently for the considerable decrease which is observed in the extent of the Polish supplies and
our home produce. It has been rumoured that our Govern'ment intends to retaliate, or at least to meet the present pro
«hibitive system of the western countries, by a similar measure, • as regards several expensive articles of importation, which 6 are not in the number of the immediate necessaries of life;
but little good is anticipated from such a measure, as it would 6 perhaps tend to annihilate trade altogether.'
The information collected by Mr Jacob in his tour, corroborates in every respect the statements in this letter. He found that the quantity of grain in the warehouses at Dantzic, Elbing, &c. had been rapidly diminishing; and that the cultivators were gradually withdrawing land from tillage, and employing it in the feeding of sheep, the wool of which met with a comparatively advantageous sale. It appears, from the tables furnished to Mr Jacob, that the average price of wheat at Warsaw, from June 1796 to June 1820, had been 33s. a quarter, and in the ten years from 1815 to 1824, it had been 31s. But when Mr Jacob was there last year, the price was as low as 14s. 9d.! In consequence of this extraordinary fall, the distress of the agriculturists had approached to a maximum. And Mr Jacob mentions, that he was assured by Count Mostoski, the minister of Finance, who has an estate near Warsaw, that the cost price of wheat in that neighbourhood was, at the very least, twice as much as it was then selling for-a statement which was confirmed by all the other individuals with whom he had any conversation on the subject; and which was indeed proved be. yond all controversy, by the embarrassments in which the proprietors and cultivators were universally involved, and by the conversion of tillage land to pasture.--(Report, p. 38.)
It is thus established, by evidence which it seems impossible to controvert, that the present prices of corn in Poland are greatly under the cost of production, and that consequently, they must speedily rise. And assuming, as we are entitled to do, that 30s. a quarter is the lowest price for which any considerable quantity of wheat for exportation can be permanently raised in the corn growing provinces in the vicinity of Warsaw, its minimum cost price, when brought to London, according to the data furnished by Mr Jacob, would be as under.
Cost of wheat at Warsaw per quarter,
stowing, and securing it by mats . .
Brought over, 38 6 Expenses at Dantzic in turning, drying, screening and
warehousing, and loss of measure . i 2 0 Profit or commission, as the case may be, to the merchant at Dantzic
. Freight, primage, insurance,' and shipping charges at Dantzic and in London
8 0 Cost of the wheat to the English merchant , 500
It ought, however, to be observed, that the premium paid the underwriters does not cover the risk attending damage from heating or otherwise on the voyage ; and it ought farther to be observed, that the freight from Warsaw to Dantzic, and from Dantzic home, is here charged at the lowest rate, or at the rate which is paid for the carriage of the trifling quantities that are at present exported. Mr Jacob supposes that a demand for as much wheat as would be equal to six days consumption of that grain in England, or for 216,000 quarters, would raise the cost of freightage on the Vistula from 30 to 40 per cent. : And as such a demand could not certainly be supplied without resorting to the markets in the provinces in the neighbourhood of Cracow, it is clear its minimum cost to the London merchants could not, under such circumstances, amount to less than from 52s. or 53s. to 55s. or 575. a quarter.
We have dwelt so long on the circumstances connected with the Corn Trade of Poland, that we must be comparatively brief in our notices with respect to the state of that trade in other countries. Next to Dantzic, Hamburgh is perhaps the greatest corn market in the north of Europe, being at once a depôt, as well for large quantities of Baltic corn, as for the produce of the countries traversed by the Elbe. But the excess of wheat exported from Hamburgh over that which is imported, is much less than might have been expected, and amounts, on an average of the last ten years, to only 48,263 quarters a year. The average price of wheat at Hamburgh, during the six years ending with 1822, was 47s. 4d. a quarter. Bohemian wheat is occasionally forwarded by the river to Hamburgh; but the charges attending its conveyance from Prague amount to full 175. a quarter, and effectually prevent its being sent down, except when the price is excessively high.
Mr Jacob mentions, that the quantity of wheat exported from Denmark in the six months which followed the abundant harvest of 1824, amounted to only 57,561 quarters; and he doubts whether there were 20,000 quarters in store in that kingdom
last October. (Report, p. 10.) Undoubtedly, however, a greater quantity of grain would be obtained from Denmark were our ports constantly open. And perhaps we might be able, did our prices average from 50s. to 555., to import in ordinary years from 180,000 to 200,000 quarters of wheat from Denmark, and the countries intersected by the Weser and the Elbe.
Amsterdam is merely a depôt for foreign corn: a very small part only of its consumption is supplied from corn of the growth of Holland, so that prices there are entirely dependent upon the prices at Dantzic and the other great Northern markets.
It appears, from the accounts given by the Marquis Garnier in the last edition of his translation of the · Wealth of Nations, that the price of the hectolitre of wheat at the market of Paris, amounted, on an average of the nineteen years beginning with 1801, and ending with 1819, to 20 fr. 53 cent. ; which is equal to 30 fr. 80 cent. the septier, or taking the exchange at 25 fr. to 45ș. 6d. the quarter. Count Chaptal, in his valuable work, Sur l'Industrie Françoise, (tom. 1. p. 226), published in 1819, estimates the ordinary average price of wheat throughout France at 18 fr. the hectolitre, or 42s. 10d. the quarter. The various expenses attending the importation of a quarter of French wheat into London' may be taken, at a medium, at about Ys. a quarter. France, however, has very little surplus produce to dispose of; so that it would be impossible for us to import any considerable quantity of French corn without occasioning a great advance of price.
We regret that we are possessed of but few authentic details with respect to the state of the corn trade at Odessa on the Black Sea, the only port in Southern Europe from which any considerable quantity of grain is exported. We believe, however, that the fertility of the land in the vicinity of Odessa has been most grossly exaggerated; and, owing to the difficulty of the navigation down the Dniester, corn from the Polish provinces to the south of Cracow, has to be conveyed to Odessa, at an immense expense, in waggons! According to the returns made by the British Consul, the average price of hard wheat at Odessa last year, when there was very little foreign demand, amounted to about 20s. a quarter; and, according to a statement given in a late number of the Westminster Review, said to have been obtained from the best mercantile authority in Odessa, the average price of both hard and soft wheat in that market, for the eight years ending with 1824, amounted to 22s. 410. Owing to the distance of Odessa, and the difficulty of navigat
VOL. XLIX. NO. 88.
ing the Black Sea, the charges on account of the importation of wheat from thence to London are rated as high as 22s. 6d. a quarter. It appears, therefore, that the lowest cost price of Odessa wheat, in the English market, would amount to about 4.5s.; but the quality of average Odessa wheat being fully onesixth inferior to the quality of average English wheat, it could not, it is plain, be sold in ordinary years in the London market except when the average price of English wheat was equal to or above 53s. or 54s. a quarter.
It appears, from the consular returns, that the prices of wheat last year at New York and Philadelphia may be taken, on an average, at from 34s. to 35s. a quarter. But they were then unusually low; and as the cost of importing a quarter of wheat from the United States into England, amounts to from 129. to 14s., it is seen that no considerable supply could be obtained from that quarter, were our prices under 50s, or 52s. a quarter. The usual price of wheat in Canada, when there is a demand for the English market, is about 40s. a quarter; but taking it as low as 35s., if we add to this 12s. a quarter as the expenses of carriage, it will make its cost price in Liverpool 475.; and being spring wheat, it is not so valuable by about 6s. a quarter as English wheat.
We think that, by this investigation, we have completely established two most important points. First, that the total quantity of all sorts of grain imported into Great Britain and Ireland, in the event of our ports being thrown open, could hardJy, under any almost conceivable circumstances, exceed from one-twentieth to one-twelfth part of our entire consumption; and, second, that the price for which such foreign corn could be obtained, could not, in ordinary years, be less than 50s, a quarter; and would most probably range from 52s. to 57s.
Now, it appears from the official accounts laid before the House of Commons, that the average price of wheat in England and Wales, for the ten years ending with 1825, amounted to 66s. 11d. a quarter; and, lest we should be accused of overstating the ordinary importation price of foreign wheat, we shall estimate it at the low rate of only 48s.; and shall suppose, that though it were burdened, as we shall subsequently endeavour to show it ought to be, with a duty of 5s, or 6s. a quarter, it might, notwithstanding, be sold on an average for 53s. or 54s. And even on this most reasonable hypothesis, it is evident, in the event of the ports being thrown open, under the above mentioned duty, that there is no reason whatever to suppose that prices would be reduced more than from 13s. to 14s. a quarter below the average of the last ten years, including of