7 FEBRUARY 1852, Page 14


ALL authorities agree that the present rise in the price of corn is likely to continue. The consumption in Ireland is increasing, both of wheat and Indian corn. There has been a demand for ex- port to Holland ; and although that demand has slackened, it is pretty certain to revive, because there is an extensive failure of

i corn in the German states. Belgium is likely to appear in the English market. France is looking to her own supplies, and will not have more than enough for herself, if so much; and she will then look to Egypt ; where the miserable system of agriculture under which the Fellahs groan, permitting no elasticity of produc- tion, renders the export-profit of the merchant death to numbers. The supplies from the Black Sea have been forecalculated, and are not expected to be excessive ; neither are those from America. A new difficulty also is felt in the corn-trade : the immense fluctuations, the immense scale of the transactions, and the long duration of low prices, have pressed very hard on the means of the dealers, have caused extensive bankruptcies, have swept away some capital in the trade, and have deterred other capital from being brought into it so freely as the promising state of the market might have led one to expect. There is thus a de- ficiency of capital to make the best use of the present hour, by col- lecting grain and holding it till higher prices repay the merchant and opening stores relieve the want at its greatest pinch. Probably this deficiency of capital, so far as it exists, may check the rise of price in our market ; and if so, the real price should be higher than it appears to be from the "quotations "; a conclusion warranted by the general course of the export&

We notice that the supplies from the country markets during the last week have been short. The farmers are perplexed. The present advance of profits might be supposed to be very pleasing to them ; but they are not quite satisfied. It is to be remembered that the farmer too often anticipates the return of his corn crop, and that some fortunate dealer or lender gets the profit of the rising market. Some of the farmers, too, have been simple enough to look for a step backwards to restored protection, and they grudge a present prosperity which may take the word of complaint out of the mouth of less farseeing farmers, while it must confirm that horrid rascal "the consumer" in his love of free trade. Very deep and keensighted fellows even discern in the rise a manoeuvre of the Whig Ministers : for we have heard in one of the most agricultural of counties a suspicion that Lord John and his friends had been using their pocket-money to tamper with the corn- market. A philosophy of less obvious unsoundness makes some pru- dent farmers, who are able to do so, hold back in expectation of "war prices "; and many who do not keep an eye elevated to so ulterior a prospect, are bent on waiting for the turning-point of prices before they sell. At any rate we may be sure that the farmers will not keep down prices. And if the Irish are not likely to consume so much as they might have done when mouths were more numerous, neither will they have grown so much more as sounder agricultural economy was expected to teach them, since they who might have had so much energy and intelligence have preferred to emigrate.

The active-brained farmers who foresee war prices may not be wholly in the right, and yet not wholly in the wrong ; and it is quite possible that this country may have to test the value of the assurance that there is no fear of dependence on foreign countries for supplies of the vital commodity. We believe that there needs be no such fear of dependence while English industry maintains its supremacy ; while we have commodities desired in the markets of the world, we can command returns in the markets of the world : but recent events point out important considerations for statesmen who are above the vulgar reliance on dogmas. Will England maintain her full industrial efficiency and supremacy, when her industrial system is torn by intestine discords ? The question is important, and is not to be settled by any dogmatic appeal. Again, although " self-interest" will always bring custom to any dealer in commodities better and cheaper than those of an- other, still political influences can throw many impediments in the way even of mercantile enterprise and self-interest; and that trade will always be the freest and fullest where it is facilitated by a good understanding politically. In the conduct of our international friendships or enmities, any Government for the time being can do much to impede or expedite the trade on which we rely for so con- siderable a portion of our supplies ; and it does not need much cogitation to discover which countries they are that it most con- cerns us to keep in good understanding. We are not now speaking of treaty stipulations, which are as often restraints or traps as they are facilities or aids ; still less should we rely on mere official friendships, often treacherous, still oftener barren. Our great safe- guard is a thorough conviction among food-growing communities, that it is profitable and pleasant to deal with us—that we are friends to be trusted and customers to be courted. The Govern- ment for the time being which neglects to obtain for us that valua- ble conviction, fails to secure for the working of free trade a fair chance ; the Government that procures and maintains that solid alliance, does more than one which scatters over the globe the most brilliant and triumphant protocols or despatches.