Matthew to the 9th Lord Kinnaird, 27 March 1864
(MS100/2/bundle702, pdf image)
Matthew writes once again to advise Kinnaird on how he should treat one of his tenants, Mr Gardiner. In true Matthew form, he cannot resist diverting in a postscript to what can only be a very tangential matter – the economic laws of supply and demand and its effect on the price of grain. He repeats a view also put forward in Schleswig-Holstein – that large Republics like the United States are unsustainable, and “dismemberment” of the United States is inevitable.
Gourdiehill, March 27/64
Mr. Gardiner called at Gourdiehill on some business with my son. I met with him out of doors & conversed with him for some time. I was struck with his change of look, his face livid & thin, every way as if his liver was seriously affected. Whether it is owing to anxiety or something else I know not, but were he my tenant I would come to some fixed definite arrangement with him without delay. From his appearance I would say that it would be hazardous to have the affair unsettled. The man cannot do any good in his present position. Delay will I think make things worse for both parties. No doubt he is a good clever & attentive farmer. I remain,
[To] The Right Hon. Lord Kinnaird.
P.S. It is possible that I have stated my fears of Mr. G.’s health too strongly.
I have not much hope of the value of grain rising much till population in civilized nations increase considerably. Through extended & superior tillage, free trade & improved facilities of conveyance, the product of Cereals has exceeded the consumpt, & the same will follow in animal products, till population come to balance food production. In N. America, every year of the war, while it kills off the greater part of the Irish & German immigration saddles the N. States with 6 millions more of annual interest of the incurred war debt, & grain must continue to be exported to balance this, which the extreme riches of the Mississippi Valley is quite able to afford under the extended facilities of culture by steam. The aggressive war of the N. States is thus the worst enemy of the British landlord. It is impossible for wide extended Republics to exist. Man is not sufficiently moral for such, & the present disruption is merely a necessity, which, if America is to continue republican government, must go on to further dismemberment.
The vast export of manufactured goods from Britain under the new facilities of steam power must stimulate the food exporting countries to a vast increase of grain & food production, & thus free trade is only coming to work. P.M.
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Last modified: 12 February 2019