The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30
Chapter I. — The Question Stated and its Solution Set Forth
The Question Stated and its Solution Set Forth.
What are the causes of the recent and existing depression in certain branches of our trade?
A very natural and very important question! Various answers have been given to it, but it appears to us that the most simple, the most obvious, and by far the most conclusive has not yet been put forward. No doubt that, of the various causes assigned, most of them have concurred, in a certain degree, to produce the result. But they do not nearly cover all the ground, and some far more efficient factor than any hitherto adduced must be sought for.
|Our Imports and Exports were in 1880||£697,615,000|
|Our Imports and Exports were in 1881||£693,856,000|
|Our Imports and Exports were in 1882||£718,662,000|
|Our Imports and Exports were in 1883||£731,041,000|
|Which divided by 4 gives an average of||£710,293,000|
|Deducting our Imports and Exports in 1884||£685,147,000|
|Leaves deficiency in 1884||£25,146,000|
How then stand the facts? Thus: that during the year 1884 there occurred a sudden drop in our Imports and Exports of no less than twenty-five millions sterling in value. It will, we think, be readily conceded that in explaining the cause of this falling-off in our foreign trade we are, in fact, explaining the main, if not the sole, cause of the trade depression into which we are inquiring. That cause is not far to seek. The great diminution in 1884 of our Imports, and consequently of our Exports, was the natural and necessary result of the improved and fairly good harvest with which this country was favoured in that year. No doubt, at first glance, and by some persons, this statement will be regarded as a paradox. "What!" it will be said, "are we expected to believe that our trade was bad because our harvest was good? That the blessing of comparative abundance has been a source of evil and distress?" Our reply is that the distress is only partial, and will be temporary, whereas the benefits of a good harvest are a gratuitous boon to the entire community, and moreover that, even if it were not so, our statement will be found, on examination, to be perfectly and logically accurate.
|The value of Wheat, Barley, Oats, Peas, Beans, Maize, Flour and Meal imported in 1880 was||£62,339,000|
|The value of Wheat, Barley, Oats, Peas, Beans, Maize, Flour and Meal imported in 1881 was||£60,557,000|
|The value of Wheat, Barley, Oats, Peas, Beans, Maize, Flour and Meal imported in 1882 was||£63,195,000|
|The value of Wheat, Barley, Oats, Peas, Beans, Maize, Flour and Meal imported in 1883 was||£67,040,000|
|Which divided by 4 gives an average of||£63,282,000|
|Whereas in 1884 our imports of the same were||£47,563,000|
|Deficiency in our imports of cereals in 1884||£15,719,000*|
* It is interesting and instructive to observe how faithfully the fluctuations of our imports of cereals are reflected in those of our total foreign trade. Their close connection and correlation could hardly be more forcibly corroborated. If we take the cereal imports and the total foreign trade for the last five years and compare them, we shall find that, reckoning the amounts in millions of pounds sterling, there were
In 1883 Cereals imported 67, total foreign trade 731, in both, the largest.
1882 Cereals imported 63, total foreign trade 719. in both, the 2nd largest.
1880 Cereals imported 62, total foreign trade 698, in both, the 3rd largest.
1881 Cereals imported 61, total foreign trade 694, in both, the 4th largest.
1884 Cereals imported 48, total foreign trade 685, in both, the smallest.
It is well worth noting how simultaneously the amount of our cereal imports and the amount of our aggregate foreign trade have moved up and down in close sympathy with each other.