Reading34-1 (dragged) 20

Reading34-1 (dragged) 20 - Reading 34-1 21 Each year during...

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21 Reading 34-1 Each year during this decade the United Kingdom ingested about 70,000 tons of re f ned sugar, which replaced about 80,000 tons of wheat in energy value. The wheat was worth during that decade an average of £10.5 per ton. Wheat was roughly in balance during the 10 harvests 1783–92, and the United Kingdom imported during that period an average of less than 15,000 tons, or about 0.5 percent of production, of which most came from Ireland. In most years an extra 80,000 tons of wheat would have been available from the Baltic, from the Americas, and from Ireland. The entire sugar effort, costing the British about £5–6 million net per annum, replaced wheat, which would have cost not much more than £800,000 net per annum. Such is the price, not just of addiction, but of corruption. The corruption was not only of the consumers, poor addicts that they were, nor of the slaves, degraded by the system which needed them, nor of the slave owners, objects of both hatred and contempt, but of the whole mercantile system as it existed at the end of the American Revolution. Whig mercantilism (“par1i- amentary Colbertism”) became suspect to the generation that made peace with the Americans; indeed had not the Whig policy led to the loss of America? The Elder Pitt had said so; was this not enough for his son,
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