To the PRINTER
I presume you are impartial enough to give the Farmer’s Reply to the Manufacturer a place in your next week’s paper.
I hoped to have seen a reply to your letter in either of the last two week’s papers, but as I find none, permit me to tell you, that you may display your talents, and call Mr. Arator Prater Oaf, Gothamite and iniquitous too, if that will please you, especially with regard to his objections to the prohibition of the exportation of grain when the price is high, and also to his objections to the laws in favour of the poor. For I assure you, I hope him quite singular in those opinions.
But when you load the Farmers with the odious and black crimes of causing the high price of all sorts of provisions, your charge is too heavy, and your insinuations (false as they are) so artfully calculated to lead the ignorant to rioting and the most mischievous consequences, that they ought not to pass unnoticed.
How these Oafs, or Asses, perform these cunning tricks, you have almost forgot to tell us, and ’tis pity, because it must have been a great curiosity to have known how such silly creatures did so impose upon, and outwit a whole kingdom. I confess you once mentioned exportation, your words are, “while you overgrown Farmers are exporting the produce of the land.” But, pray Sir, did you not know better? Did you not know that ’tis the Merchant, and not the Farmer that exports grain, and that for his own advantage? I hope you’ll not pretend ignorance, because all the long-eared tribe knows this, then how must the good man’s Honesty, not to say Charity shine?
When you roundly assert that “nothing but an eager desire of exorbitant gain is the manifest sole cause of the uncommon and unreasonable high price of all manner of provisions,” and more (indeed the Tenor of your Epistle is much) to the same purpose, may I not ask, in the name of God, to use your good language, What you mean? Have the Farmers any secret machinations to advance the price of their grain, that your great charity will not let you discover? I suppose not. Has not their diligence of late years exceeded any thing known in former ages? Do they hoard up their corn, or omit to bring it to market? No, they employ all the hands they can get, and at advanced wages, to get it there, and what can they do more? Sure good Mr. Manufacturer, that read so much in the good Book, I say, sure you would not have these industrious sett of people stigmatized as Rogues to the Commonality, that deserve hanging more than Rioters and Plunderers, because Providence hath ordered it, that the present crop, though once to all appearances a very fine one, yet produces so little grain, that two hands cannot thrash out so much in quantity as one could do, in other years, and consequently they are not able to bring so much grain to market. And sure a Manufacturer need not be told by the long-eared creatures that ’tis the scarcity of a commodity that advances the price. And I hope your great goodness will pardon then taking a market price for their grain, especially when you consider their advanced rents, short crop of grain, though not of straw, and their extraordinary expences; or otherwise your own practice.
To conclude, I hope you’ll be so good and wise as to talk or wish no more about a good and wise Government, beginning to hang at the wrong end, for, were the Rioters saved, and the Farmers hanged, perhaps you and your friends might escape the better, but pray consider, what would then become of your great Glory and Strength; Or, must not the Farmer support you not only with the necessities of life, but with the materials for your manufacturies too? I am,
But not overgrown, I know none that is.