Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

venge, for, no man of spirit could possibly receive such treatment without resenting it. She goes to bed and dreams of challenges and hostile, encounters on Wimbledon Common * and Battersea Fields. She sees the parties on the ground and awakes in terror, fancying that she has heard the report of the pistol. · Enough has been said to show the disadvantageous effect of female presence upon the dispatch of public business in Parliament. Is it of any advantage to the female herself? A sensible woman, of a well cultivated mind, may naturally wish the national debt paid off, because she has learned that it is a millstone about the neck of the country, which depresses all its energies; but what pleasure can she derive from a debate upon the Sinking Fund, by which that payment is to be affected ? She may like to hear about French silks, and the prices of cats and canaries.* These, however, are only a few faint and straggling lights that seldom occur to cheer the listener through the gloom of debate. She may naturally like to ride in a fine carriage drawn by fine horses, and attended by servants in fine liveries; but what pleasure can she derive from superintending the building of the carriage, the rearing and keep of the horses? Nowhere can a female 'appear to less advantage than in the field of politics. We can accompany her with pleasure to plays or masquerades, and follow her through all the mazes of the dance; but all her charms cannot elicit rapture from political disquisition. The highest praise of a female, who devotes herself to that ungrateful study, is to hear herself pronounced a woman of a masculine mind..

FROM PETRARCA.
Let thou and I stand here aside,

O Love! and gaze upon
Yon creature, in her glorious pride,

Yon spirit of the sun!
Look, what a dew of loveliness

Around her presence flows !
Mark how with pearls and woven gold

Her splendid vesture glows !
How softly those small feet she moves-

How softly those meek eyes
Glance brightness through the cloister'd woods

Of this fair Paradise !
The new-sprung grass, the gem-like flowers,

That strew the ancient shade
Of yon dark oak, implore her foot

To press them ere they fade.
With sparkles from her radiant eyes

The very air seems bright,
And the pure sky more purely glows,
Rejoicing in her light!

C. M. W.

* Wimbledon Common was the scene of the duel between Mr. Canning and the late Lord Castlereagh-- Burdett and Paul met hard by :-Battersea Fields, of the meeting between the Duke of Wellington and Lord Winchelsea.

+ It was stated in debate last session, in the House of Commons, that at the election for the Borougli of Penryn, forty pounds were given for a tom cat, and ten pounds for a canary bird. The cat was not a tortoiseshell tom cat, but the cat and Canary had votes.

EMANCIPATION AND MR. WILMOT HORTON.' Ir would be idle to deny that a great deal of distress exists at the present moment, but the question for consideration is, as to its extent. Is itin greater proportion than might be reasonably expected under the circumstances of the country? A prevailing topic is in every ones mouth, and it is swelled into an importance that very often does not belong to it; and if it be really of paramount interest, as in the instance of the present distress, its difficulties are aggravated by the clamour with which it is surrounded. There are several causes that have a strong tendency to produce the present embarrassment, and one of the most prominent of them, probably, is the late deficient harvest : an occurrence that, we think, has not had its due weight in the calculation, at least not from reasoners generally on the subject, whilst, on the other hand, there are a few individuals who have run riot upon this point, and some of them assert that the diminished demand in the country, in consequence of the bad harvest, is equal to fifty millions. From the nature of the calculation it is exceedingly difficult accurately to define the actual amount, but from the means within our reach, which enable us to form an opinion upon it, we should state that the deficient wheat crop of the last year has reduced the consumption of manufactured goods in the home market to the amount of 10,000,0001. It must be also recollected that the harvest on the Contineat was very deficient, particularly in France, which must likewise have operated against the foreign trade of the kingdom. When corn is dear, all other articles of human subsistence increase in price, and since the late harvest meat has been much above its average value. The means of the great proportion of consumers are limited within a narrow compass, and the purchase of dear provisions must, in a great degree, incapacitate them from buying manufactured goods; and so long as provisions continue at their present rate, the great proportion of purchasers must come reluctantly into the markets that are supplied from our manufactories. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer had come down to the House of Commons, with a proposition for increasing the taxes towards defraying the current expenses of the year to the amount of 10,000,0001. the pressure upon the people would have been instantly appreciated; but the tax upon industry, produced by an unfavourable season, although it comes more subtlely, does not come with less certainty, than a direct impost from the Treasury Bench. Our home trade alone, we think, may be estimated to have suffered a diminution of 10,000,000l. by this single circumstance. The documents we have examined, and which bring us to this conclusion, would justify us in stating a higher amount; but the object of such an investigation, after arriving at the principal fact, is to keep it strictly within the boundary that the data have marked out. That we have done, making large allowances for several circumstances connected with the calculation. The conduct of the Americans in framing their tariff, although its evil effects are beginning to be severely felt by themselves, has had a considerable influence in temporarily embarrassing British commerce. Smugglers are already proving to the Americans the inefficacy of their restrictive attempt, but some time must elapse before their operations can be carried into complete effect, or the legislature of the United States learn the true policy of a great nation, by giving facility to its industry and encouraging competition. The internal dissensions, and the unsettled situation generally of the new Governments of South America, is another and no unimportant cause of the present commercial difficulties. From the first dawn of the independence of those states, they have been looked to by our manufacturers as large consumers of British productions, and that they will ultimately becoine so there is every reason to expect; but at present disappointment has followed all the anticipations that have been entertained respecting English intercourse with them, and this disappointment has arisen from the over-heated imaginations of those who have been dealing with them, and from circumstances inherent in newly-formed Governments. We are now confining ourselves purely to the commercial trans

July.-VOL. XXVI. NO. CIII.

actions between this country and the recently recognised states, without reference to the mining speculations, and the loans that have been sent out to their treasuries; and in this comparatively narrow view of our connection with South America, an influential if not a prominent source of present distress may be marked out. At the commencement of their independence, and even when that event was only in prospect, the most extravagant notions of the powers of consumption of those Transatlantic states were entertained, and that the inhabitants were capable of disposing of any quantity of British goods, without regard to their poverty, their civil commotions, the condition of society among them, and a variety of other causes that attach generally to new independencies, and especially to those in question. The war in the East of Europe has also combined in temporarily crippling our commercial transactions. When political events were in abeyance between the belligerents, the unsettled state of affairs there was not severely felt; at least goods continued to go out in almost their usual quantities, and we are persuaded that individuals who are the most largely interested in the Turkey trade did not expect a warlike result. When that unlooked-for result ar. rived, the local commercial stagnation was greater than it would have been if less confidence had been entertained. The consequence of this war is, that markets can only be reached by circuitous routes, communication is interrupted, and demand lessened by the poverty occasioned by military spoliation. The political situation of Portugal is another cause of the diminished consumption of the manufactured productions of this empire. As coinpared with some other causes, this may not account for a considerable reduction of demand ; but the regularity with which that trade was carried on, and the old commercial connection between the two countries rendering it almost a domestic one, in the opinion of those engaged in it, as far as security went, the chasm that late events have produced has been felt beyond even the intrinsic importance of the intercourse. The late changes in the mercantile policy of this empire have had some effect in producing momentary stagnation. An alteration from a vicious to a wholesome system, as the one · now pursued most undoubtedly is, may, for a time, cause a certain por

tion of difficulty, by turning the old channels of trade into new courses. Even the transit from a system, the principle of which was to fetter commerce, and, by encumbering it with unseemly regulations, was constantly throwing it into the extremes of excitement and depression, to another that tends to liberalize and extend it, may have a momentary unfavourable inAuence; at any rate, in localities which assist in augmenting the general depression. The increased use of, and extraordinary improvement in machinery since the peace, is probably the most prominent feature in the present situation of Great Britain. The other causes to which we have referred are, for the most part, temporary; the last is permanent, and must necessarily be very closely connected with the title of this article. .

Having noticed some of the leading circumstances that enable us to account for the present mercantile embarrassment, we shall proceed shortly to the more direct consideration of the subject before us, which, with redundant population and over-production, is now so largely claiming the public attention. In entering upon it at all, we are aware that it is a question that exposes us to every kind of misrepresentation, more, probably, than any other that can be raised, as, indeed, is proved in the valuable publication upon our table; but we shall fearlessly and honestly give our opinion, even if it should be at variance with that of every other person who has written or spoken upon this intricate subject. Whatever shades of difference may exist between us as to the advantages of emigration, we think the country is under deep obligations to Mr. Wilmot Horton for the zeal with which he has applied the powers of an able mind to the consideration of it; - and whether his scheme shall be ultimately acted upon, or not, we shall be

always prepared to offer him our tribute of gratitude, if it were only for the - valuable information his efforts have promulgated. One of the difficulties, in dealing with this question, is, that it is beset by a certain class of philanthropists, if they are to be so called, who are troubled with a logophobia, and shudder at the term political economy, as if the application of its principles at any time, or under any circumstances, involved inevitable and immediate destruction. Among this class is Mr. Sadler, who certainly in an evil hour quitted the retirement of private life, in which he was most respectable, to launch into politics, that he must already have found a thorny path, and in no instance more so than in his lucubrations respecting the Emigration Committee, upon which Mr. Horton has so justly and successfully animadverted. Mr. Sadler's anxiety to attack political economists, through the medium of that Committee, makes him lose sight even of its indefatigable industry, and has caused him to misinterpret its intentions, so as to lay him prostrate at the feet of his political antagonist, when the opportunity arrived for him to defend himself and those with whom he acted. We quarrel not with any man's philanthropy, however ill-judged, in our own opinion, it may be, and we claim, in return, freedom from misrepresentation, if we should put forth doctrines that may be startling to some minds. In discussing national objects in honest sincerity, the comfort and happiness of the great mass of the community must be the first and most anxious wish of those who promote such discussions; and if, in our course, we should use expressions, or advert to circumstances, that may to some ears savour of coldness towards the sufferings of others, we shall do so reluctantly, but without flinching. The chief object of politics ought to be to give the greatest portion of permanent happiness to the greatest portion of human beings. In the furtherance of this object, we will exercise the soundest discretion that is rendered to us, and we will not be turned aside by sickly humanity, or any other bugbear that interested or short-sighted persons may set up.

We have no positive objection to emigration, provided the expense be kept within due limits. Advantages would attend it, and colonization, under the present circumstances of the country, is desirable for ultimate objects; but we confess that we cannot see its immediate beneficial result. In our judgment, it cannot be held out as a panacea for the present difficulties of the country. A redundant population and over-production are relative terms, and are either permanent or temporary evils, and a strong line of distinction must be drawn between England and Ireland. If the pressure of population be temporary, as we believe it is, the difference of time that will be required to recover from it in one country and the other will be very great, although the germs may be, and we should say are, laid in both for the more efficient employment of the productive classes. We will endeavour to explain the distinction that we draw, in this particular, between the two islands. The population of England has become redundant by the temporary causes that we have noticed, and by the improvement and extended use of machinery. This sort of redundancy, or, in other words, want of demand for labour, has repeatedly occurred before, but then we are told by those who are interested in retaining high prices, that the employment of machinery has so diminished the demand for manual labour, that artizans must continue a drug. We believe that Mr. Horton can have no such apprehension. His views of commercial affairs are much too sound for him, we think, to entertain any such opinion, whatever may have led him to look so anxiously to emigration from England. It must be recollected that, under improved and improving management, and other altered circumstances of the world, the cost of production in various instances is not ascertained. In our great manufacture of cotton, for instance. Five years since, it was confidently stated, upon high practical authority, that cotton could not be brought to market, to leave any profit to the grower, under 6d. per lb. The same description is now to be bought at 31d. A variety of other productions might be quoted as illustrative of this position. The truth is, there never was a period when things were more rapidly finding their level than at present; and we are satisfied that, if the circumstances of the present times are honestly dealt with, they will tend to the advantage and happiness of every class of society-every department of the State will become less artificial; and if incomes are lowered, expenses will be lowered with them. The operation of decreasing the cost prices of raw materials, and of rendering manufactured articles cheap by the extension of machinery, are certain means of opening new sources of industry. As commerce becomes more unrestrained, new wants will be created ; and those who have formerly only been customers for articles of necessity, will in time become consumers of luxuries. That a certain time will be required for bringing about these events, or completing a state of things that we believe to be now in progress, we are ready to admit, and that a great deal of individual suffering will, in all likelihood, occur; but if we light upon extraordinary times, we must take the prosperous and adverse circumstances together; and we deem it the especial, although a negative duty, of public men, not to attempt remedies where time and events alone can work relief. The effort necessarily creates impatience, and the disappointment consequent upon it produces excitement that, at any rate, is better avoided. If encouragement had not been given to this impatience, in the question of the Silk Trade, by the present Ministers, when they came into office, we are convinced that it would now be in a different state to what it is. An outcry was renewed by the silk manufacturers when they thought that they could make it with effect; and they were but too successful with Mr. Huskisson's successor, who in a degree departed from his system, to which deviation may be attributed, to some extent, the present stagnation in that branch of industry. Interference occurred at the very moment when it ought to have been avoided. It encouraged the cavillers against liberal commerce; it embarrassed those who were friendly to it in the silk manufacture, and who were applying an honest and enterprising spirit of competition against foreign rivalry, and showed to all that Government were not acting upon settled principles. The consequence is, that alteration has been constantly expected, and that which all the respectable houses in the silk trade require most-a permanent measure, has been denied to them; they are still uncertain as to the course that will be pursued next year.

The effects arising from this and other causes are well known as to the silk manufacture. Its unsettled state has rendered masters reluctant in pursuing it with that activity which they would have done; even those most clamorous against the destruction of their monopoly. This inactivity on the part of the masters, arising in a great measure out of the uncertainty they feel in pursuing their trade, and which of necessity checks those vigorous efforts which can alone secure successful competition, has, in its result, fallen heavily upon the workmen, by producing a lessened demand for their labour; and destruction of property, and other excesses, have taken place, by reason of which increased activity has occurred at Lyons within the last month or six weeks. English competition is not at this moment so much dreaded there as it was. We do not refer to this transaction at present with any other view than that of pointing out the danger of attending, and at this moment in particular, to false representations and interested clamour. We have but little fear that the State vessel will not right, but it must be by keeping her head to the wind, and by a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull altogether; not by the commander following the advice of any one of the crew who may offer it, and who, from interested motives, wishes the course to be changed.

Great deviations from the former line of policy of this empire have occur.. red within these few years, greater within these few months; and if the national pre-eminence is to be maintained, still more important deviations must be in prospect. As to their ultimate success, every thing depends upon the manner in which they are pursued. They must be acted upon in the true spirit of the uncompromising principle-the public good.

To return from this short digression to the more immediate object before us. We cannot bring ourselves to believe that England is in a situation to render it imperative upon, or even desirable for her to encourage emigration upon a scale that would have an effect upon her population. As far as partial measures go for the purpose of colonization, it is useful; and at that point it appears to us wise to stop, under the especial situation of this country, as re

« ElőzőTovább »