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THE RUSSIAN AND AMERICAN TARIFFS.
If the Emperor of Russia could only compel his sixty millions of serfs to contribute as liberally to the national exchequer as the same number of intelligent freemen would willingly do, he would find it a comparatively easy task to annex Turkey, and at the same time extend his influence over Western Europe. Fortunately for us, an enslaved people cannot furnish a large revenue ; nor is it likely that Nicholas will ever find him- self in such a financial predicament as that of President Pierce, even if he were to reduce his tariff to as moderates rate as that of the United States. Considering the Czar's very great anxiety to promote commerce, as mani- fested by his reduction of import-duties on British goods, it is rather re- markable that our tmdn-w. ith Russia should exhibit such marks of decline as it has lately done. The only inference must be, either that the people of Russia cannot afford to purchase foreign goods to any large extent, or that the duties are still so high as almost to become prohibitory. What- ever the cause may be, our Russian customers only take at the rate of about 4d. worth per head per annum of English goods; while the free, in- telligent, industrious people of the United States, in addition to the abund- ance which they create at home can afford to take no less than 15s, worth per head per annum. In Other words, the commercial capacity of tha United States, taking into account the difference in population, is as 45 to 1 compared with Russia.
Among the papers presented to Parliament last session by her Majesty's command, was a return of the rates of duty levied upon the principal articles of British and Colonial produce and manufactures, in 1846 and 1853, by the tariffs of foreign countries in which changes were made within that period. The largest portion of the return is taken up with the list of reductions which have taken place in the Russian tariff between 1846 and 1853. Anxious to show how favourable he is to the extension of trade the Czar appears to have made a sweeping reform of the customs-duties, the reductions ranging from 11 to 90 per cent on certain commodities; although the relief in many cases must be merely nominal, as the rates are still too high to admit of much trade. As might naturally be expected, the worst parts of the new Russian tariff are those which relate to the staple manufactures of Lancashire. On printed cali- coes formerly prohibited, the duty now ranges from 48. bid. to 9s. 3,td. per pound ; which must be quite sufficient to protect the Russian manufac- turer from all danger of Mr. Hoyle, or any other famous Lancashire printer, doing much business in Muscovy. On cotton twist there has been a reduction from 658. to 518. lop. per hundredweight; but as the new duty is about as much as the total cost of the raw material, we cannot look for any great increase of our. exports from Hull to St. Petersburg. On woollen manufactures the reductions range from 11 to 60 per cent ; but even with all that improvement; the tariff.still remains high enoug4 to prevent the West Riding from profiting much by the change. The lowest rate of duty on that class of goods is the one levied on carpets; which was formerly 48. 8d., and is now 18. 10Id1 per pound. On low-priced carpets this is not much less than 100. per cent. From that comparatively moderate amount of protection the rates ascend to 3s. 81d. per pound on stockings and nightcaps, 68. &I. on merinoes and mousselines-de-laine, and 88. lid. on cloths and cassimeres, till they reach the exorbitant figure of 29s. 7id. per pound on woollen shawls and hand- kerchiefs. Against such an amount of protection it would be vain for any Norwich or Paisley shawl-manufacturer to contend; Whatever they may think of the Emperor's wish to promote trade, they must feel that he has taken the most. cffictual means to prevent the introduction of their com- modities into his dominion& In the list of countries given in the return from which we have been quoting the United States does not appear, because no change has taken clime in its tariff since 1846, the year in which the present scale of duties "Came into operation. A very short time, however, must elapse before the American tariff is reformed. The great increase of trade within the last few years has yielded so large an amount of revenue that the Govern- ment is puzzled what to do with the surplus, and how to prevent a simi- lar accumulation in future. As all duties must be paid in coin, and as there is no useful mode of disposing of a surplus under the present law, the withdrawal of so large a sum as 30,000,000 dollars from the circulation mods to make money scarce ; which is another reason for lowering the taFiff so as to relieve the people from the most burdensome of the present taxes on consumption. It may be asked, why does not the Government pay off the Federal debt, and thereby restore the money to circulation? Hut, unfortunately, the holders of the stock will not accept payment ; as the loans were made for definite periods, the bondholders can. compel Government to pay them the stipulated dividend on the amount of stock they hold till the legal period expires. The whole of the debt, on the 1st of January 1853, amounted to 66,151,692 dollars ; and no less than two-thirds are held by European capitalists, among whom American securities have been in great favour during the last four or five years. From a statement which appeared in the Albany Register a short time ago, showing the amount of American Federal, State, Municipal, and Corporate Stocks held in Europe, with the increase which had taken place during the four years ending 1st July 1852, it appeared that the aggregate sum at the latter period was 261,200,000 dollars ; the greater portion of which is owing by the Government, and the States of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, and Louisiana. Those American journals which are opposed to free trade attribute the large increase of importations during the last few years to the speculation caused by the sale of American stock in Europe : and in proof of this, they point to the fact that while the imports of the United States have increased to the extent of 110,000,000 dollars since 1848, the increase of "indebtedness" to Europe has been considerably more than that sum,—as shown by the amount of stocks held on the 1st July 1853, which was 122,000,000 dollars more than the amount held on the 1st July 1848. But if that had been the main cause of the increased trade, one would hardly expect to find the New York markets in so healthy a state as they seem to be at present. The latest reports speak of the state of trade as "extremely cheering." Stocks of goods appear to be moderate, and there is no tendency in prices to give way. How long these symp- toms of prosperity may last it is difficult to estimate. If there has been an unnatural expansion of trade, the increasing tightness of the money- market there, and the rise in the price of provisions, will soon bring things to a crisis.
The increase which has taken place in the import-trade of the United States since 1847 is far more remarkable than what we have witnessed in this country during the same period ; indeed, we question if anything equal to it ever happened since the beginning of commerce. The New l'ork Herald gives the following statement of the value of merchandise imported, and the amount of revenue collected, in each of the last seven years ending June 30th.
COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES Years. Imports.
1847 dollars 116,257,595 IMPORTS AND REVENUE.
Duties on Imports. dollars 23,747,864 1848 . , „ 140,851,902 „ 31,757,070 1849 .... „ 132,565.108 „ 28,346,738 1850 „ 164,032,033
„ 207,618,003 „ 49,017,568 1852 .... „ '195,072,695 „ 47,339,326 1853 „ 250,000,000 „ 59,000,000
An increase of more than 150 per cent- in the customs-duties in seven years! Only fancy such a phenomenon in Great Britain without any attempt to reduce the duties on importation, so as to relieve the Chancel- lor of the Exchequer from the charge of so large a balance ! Last year the surplus in the United States exchequer was nearly 11,000,000 dollars ; 1 and the estimated revenue from customs for the year 1852-'3 was 49,000,000 dollars—it proved to be 59,000,000. No wonder that the Secretary of the Treasury finds it necessary to plan measures to submit to Congress for the purpose of making such alterations in the tariff as will prevent the revenue from rising much beyond the expenditure in future. "The tariff must be altered,” says the New York Herald, "so as to relieve the people from onerous and unnecessary taxes, and the Treasury from the fatal burden of an injurious surplus. On this point we believe that all par- ties are of one mind. The only point on which diversity of opinion may be anticipated, and which calls for the calm consideration of reflective and practical minds, is, how are alterations to be effected ? What du- tiable articles are to be admitted free ? On what articles is tbe present customs-tax to be diminished or removed altogether ? " The same paper lays down an excellent rule for the basis of the proposed changes— "Whatever articles are in general demand here, and can be produced elsewhere more cheaply than in this country, should be admitted at as low a rate as is consistent with the absolute wants of the Government. On no other principle than this can a change in our customs-duties be expected to produce substantial and abiding benefit ; and we are happy to add, that, so far as we can judge, by no other principle will the Ad- ministration be guided in the measure it will propose."
To the people of England the question is one of very great interest, indeed almost of as much importance as our own tariff-reform. Last year our exports to the United States amounted to 16,600,0001., and it is said that this year will show a considerable increase. If the duties on our ma- nufactures, some of which are still far too high, can be brought down to a moderate rate, we may anticipate a greater expansion of our trade with the United States than has ever yet been witnessed.
AUSTRALIAN AND DORSETSHIRE DIETARIES.
The latest quotations of the rate of labour at Melbourne show that "good farm-labourers obtain 25s. to 35s. per week, with rations; plough- men, 308. to 40a. per week, with rations." To an English peasant, who has never been accustomed to anything in the shape of good living, the word " rations " may not convey any very definite notion. He will hardly suppose that it means ten pounds of flour, ten pounds of meat, two Pounds of sugar, and a quarter of a pound of tea per week to each per- son.. At preeent.prioes in this country, the same quantity of food would cost. not less than 10s. ; which is more than a labourer in some of the Southern counties can earn for the support of himself and family. Ten pounds of meat per week gives an annual consumption of 520 pounds for each person. This is more than five times the estimated average amount of meat consumed per head by the population of Great Britain. Were the consumption of tea and sugar to rise to the same extent in the United Kingdom as it is among the agricultural labourers of Australia, we should require about 26,000,000 hundredweight of sugar annually, which at Ss. per hundredweight of duty, would yield 6,500,0001. to the revenue ; while the consumption of tea would rise from 64,000,000 pounds to about 400,000,000 pounds per annum. Some of the doleful letters from unfortunate or fainthearted emigrants speak of the "awfully hard work" which the gold-diggers must go through in order to obtain a living : but what pity can we bestow upon any man who has it in his power, by becoming a labourer, to earn 25s.. to 3.5s. a week, and as much wholesome food in addition as he could pur- chase with his entire wages in England ? "A Dorsetshire Clergyman," in the Times of Wednesday, gives an abstract of the income and expendi- ture of a labourer in that celebrated county ; from which we learn that Sir John Tyrell's "agricultural prosperity" has not yet penetrated to the most important section of the agricultural interest. The case given by the Clergyman is that of a man with a wife and four children. He earns 8s. a week as day-labourer, and his wife 13. 6d. by weeding or milking. The table of expenditure presents a melancholy contrast to the list of provisions furnished to the colonial labourer.
WEEKLY EXPENDITURE. a. d.
House-rent 1 0 6 pounds of bread daily 7 5 pound of candles 0 4 Soap 0 4 1 ounce of tea (I 3 94
This small balance of 2d. a week is all that is left for clothes, fuel, edu- cation, and other items. As for meat, cheese, butter, or milk, the Dorset labourer must not dream of indulging in such luxuries. Where the Aus- tralian labourer has two pounds of sugar and four ounces of tea to himself, the Dorsetshire peasant must be content with one ounce of tea for him- self and family, and no sugar at all. It would be interesting to compare the amount of work performed by a score of starved labourers confined to Dorset rations with what the same number of stalwart Australians would go through in the same time. A few months ago the Emigration Com- missioners were said to be at a loss to get the vessels for Australia suffi- ciently filled with emigrants : surely they have never been to Dorset- shire