Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

superior science, genius, rarity of talent, proficiency, redundant or deficient supply of laborers, whether in professional, mechanical, or scientific departments. It certainly never escaped them that the product of the labor of Sir Astley Cooper for a single day may exceed, in exchangeable value, the product of the labor of a ploughinan for a whole year. We have, however, so often dwelt on this subject that we cannot enter into it again. Precision of language is undoubtedly very desirable, and the office of custos verborum is not to be despised : it requires vigilance and skill, in neither of which is Mr. Hopkins deficient: when he errs, his fault is not carelessness but rigidity of discipline.

Chapters iv. and v., on Taxes and Money, display much ingenious reasoning and careful investigation. Mr. H. is decidedly hostile to a free importation of foreign corn, and enforces all the old arguments: but the effect of such a measure on the value of . currency has not perhaps been sufficiently considered.

• There is one subject of paramount importance connected with the free importation of grain into Great Britain, and which, in fact, makes it imperative that importation should be restrained; namely, the national debt, and the interest which must be paid for it. For the interest of the debt an annual value has to be paid, taking it at a round sum, say of 30 millions. These 30 millions, at the present value of money, command a given portion of the annual produce of the land, capital, and labour of the country. Now let us suppose that the value of the whole produce is 150 millions : of this, say 30 millions, or one-fifth, has now to be paid to the national creditor ; but permit a free importation of grain, and have general money-prices consequently reduced to one-half their present rate, so that the whole annual produce of the country shall be expressed by 75 millions, and then the national creditors would have a claim for two-fifths of that produce instead of one-fifth, and consequently the burthen of the national debt would be twice as great as at present.

! While a debt exists, which requires the payment of 30 millions of pounds sterling, annually, in gold, or in paper of equal value with gold, it is of immense importance, that the value of the gold, as compared with food, clothing, &c. be kept down. Restraint upon the importation of grain, and some other articles, and superior facility given to the exportation of manufactures, unburthened by taxes, are evidently the proper means of keeping gold at as low a value as possible; and the circumstances of the country require that these means should be used for that purpose.

• No reasoning on this point can make the case stronger. To propose to bring down prices to the rates in Poland, with

expence of the conveyance of grain only added, wbile 30 millions have to be paid annually for interest of debt, betrays, to say the least of it, inattention to the most important consequences that would result from the measure.

After making the most liberal allowance for the wonderful ability of this country to sustain its burthens, it will not be thought extravagant to venture an opinion, that Great Britain

could

could not bear the incumbrance of her present debt, if the real value of the 30 millions annual interest were to be double what it is at present.

This pamphlet may be advantageously read in conjunction with some of the larger volumes on Political Economy; for it will often be found to contain a good commentary on the texts of Lord Lauderdale, Mr. Malthus, and other writers. Art. 13. Reform in Parliament; a Letter to the Right Hon. George

Tierney, suggesting a practical and constitutional Mode of securing Purity of Election. By John Laurens Bicknell, F.R.S. 8vo. 1s. 6d. Hatchard. 1823.

We cannot say that this pamphlet contains much that is novel in the general observations, and we are sorry to find it remarkable for dictatorial pomposity of style. The author's panacea is the worst that could be suggested, - an oath against bribery, to be taken by the candidates ; and the proposal of such a remedy, together with the comments which accompany it, displays either no very deep knowlege of human nature, or a strange neglect of the caution which such a knowlege should inspire.

POETRY.

Art. 14. Edmond of Ryedale Vale; or, the widowed Bride, a Poem

in Six Cantos. By Frances Elizabeth Dunlop. 8vo. pp. 251. 78. Boards. Sams. 1822.

We think that it must be a sufficient recommendation of this poem to the curious reader to present him with the argument of one of the cantos, and to assure him that the fair writer's poetry is fully equal to her prose. The following is the argument to the fifth canto:

* All the soft and gentle graces, the sweet smiles of winning beauty, the captivating blush of modesty, the tender apprehensions of the feeling heart, again become appropriate to Isabel. - The gem of love is now the first object of the aspirations of the noble Edmond; the dear solace of his most pensive hours, and the sweet enlivener of his solitude. The scene changes.

Isabel is absent. Edmond gone to the wars of Spain. - Dark Bertram planned their calamity. - Bent on his son's marriage with Edith, he resolved on the ruin of Isabel. - Strange events. - Stranger eclaircissement. - Edith and Bertram prove themselves monsters of iniquity. - Isabel again appears.

She rises in the reader's esteem. She convinces her rival, that the satisfaction derived from revenge endures but a moment; but that which is the offspring of clemency is eternal. - Edith's mind is filled with vicious expectation. - The sequel shows how miserable that being must be, whose education tended only to inflame the passions. This was the case with Edith.'

Lest, however, the reader should doubt whether the authoress can maintain an equal elevation when harassed with the difficulties of verse, we shall quote a passage which forms part of a consolatory address to a lady on the death of her father.

• " And

< " And thou, dear Lady Isabel,

Oh! calm those transports which do swell
Within thy breast,

like ocean's wave,
Bearing down forests in its rave;
Or like volcano which doth tear
Earth up, - sends rocks full high in air,
Till 'bove the clouds they seem to soar,
With murmurs loud, and thund'ring roar,
While distant nations, in dismay,
Think heav'n and earth, in wild affray,
Have met in fearful warring hour,
Each horrid missile force to show'r,
Till earth shall from her seat be hurl'd,
And in dread chaos sink the world :
Turn to thy mother, - lady, — see,
She wants inuch comfort now from thee:
Thy father would command thee this ;
I do but speak thy father's wish.
Nerve, nerve thy heart, and bear thee well:
Thy mother sinks, see, Isabel! -
Support her, — comfort her, dear maid ;
(Nor ever by report be't said,
That feebly thou shrunk from the task,
Thy duties and affections ask.
Trust to my care,

- I'll guard thee while
I have an arm for battle's toil.)
She breathes again then see, dear maid,
How soon thy filial care's repaid.
And rouse ye both; thy 'Albert will
Turn from ye each approaching ill." '

MISCELLANEOUS. Art. 15. Naval and Military Anecdotes ; collected to illustrate

'ancient and modern Warfare, and particularly the British Character. Embellished with Engravings. 12mo. pp. 302. 6s. Boards. Sams. 1823. The important and difficult question of the perpetual recurrence of war, not only between human beings but among civilized and Christian nations, is brought forwards and decided with much too great rapidity in the preface to this little volume, were that place to be considered as fitted for such a discussion, or requiring more than a superficial notice of it: but the writer's reasoning is sufficient to bring him to the conclusion which answers his purpose, and in which we cannot disagree with him ; viz. that, by anecdotes of eminent warriors, he will shew that the profession of arms is not irreconcileable with the noblest aspirations of the soul, the finest qualities of the mind, and the tenderest feelings of the human heart.' The chronicler of either antient or modern times finds no difficulty in exemplifying this truth by numerous facts : but it is one of the puzzling inconsistencies attending the horrid state of war, that all these fine qualities and feelings do exist, and

15

occa

occasionally shew themselves in full operation, amid scenes and acts which hourly revolt against them, and set even the first principles of Christianity and morality at defiance.

To fulfil the object above mentioned, to amuse the vacant hours of the soldier or the sailor, and to stimulate them to deeds of heroism and magnanimity, thais publication may serve as a convenient pocket-companion; though a large proportion of its anecdotes, especially those which relate to periods that have already been the theme of history, (for no limitation or order of time is observed,) will not be new to the general reader. The compiler, however, professes to have derived many of his recitals of recent events from original sources, and to be fully provided with materials for continuing the work if it be encouraged by the public.

In our days, the noble daring" of individuals, particularly of our great Nelson, has not been restrained by the consideration that they might be called to account for exceeding their duty : but the following anecdote, which is not new to us, but is perhaps not commonly known or recollected, will shew that “such things have been :"

• In the reign of King William III. one Griffith, a Welchman, had the misfortune (or rather good fortune) to be taken by a French privateer, which not only plundered him of all his fishing tackle and cargo, but carried off his little sloop, and removed him and his crew, consisting only of another man and boy, on board of the privateer. In the night-time, the French watch being under no apprehension from the few prisoners, fell asleep upon the deck, which the vigilant captain observing, made the best of his time; and arming himself with an hatchet, and his man and boy with handspikes, first fastened down the hatches on all the crew below, and fell to work with the watch, whom they killed, before they were well awake, and threw overboard ; Griffith, by this means, became master of the privateer, which, with the crew, the ancient Briton brought into an English port.

· His Majesty was so charmed with the boldness of the action, and the modesty of the Briton, who, instead of growing elato upon it, lamented only the loss of the little sloop, that he caused an inquiry to be made into his character ; and finding he had been a tar from his cradle, and always a bold resolute man, ordered him into his presence, and a twenty-gun ship of war to be given him. He behaved so well in that station, that we find him, pretty early in the next reign, captain of a thirty-gun ship, in one of the neutral ports of Italy, in which was likewise a seventy-gun French man-of-war. The two captains fell accidentally into company together, when the Frenchman indulged in some vain boasting as to his master's naval force; and though he seemed to own that in a general engagement the English were rather more than a match for them, yet he contended, that the French, singly, ship for ship, equal burden, always prevailed by their superior number of men. The bold Briton denied the latter part of the position ; and fired with indignation, told him if he had had the fortune to have met him at sea, he would have proved it by staking his little ship in opposition to his large one. The Frenchman, who looked on his ad- . versary as a kind of British Gascon, who had more

position come,

courage than wit, tempted him yet further ; and at last said he would give

him the opportunity wished for, by following him to sea on the expiration of the neutral hours. Griffith took him at his word, and sailed away, leaving the French captain exulting in his finesse, and joking through the town on the rashness of the fiery Welchman, with whom he promised to return in tow the next day. The two ships met at the place appointed ; Griffith welcomed the Frenchman by a broadside, and after that by another, before the enemy was ready to return the fire. The event of this naval duel, as we may call it, after a long and hot dispute, was, that the Frenchman being obliged to strike, was carried back again in triumph to Leghorn, to the great amazement, as 'well as diversion, of the whole town.

• The brave Briton signified his success to the Admiralty in a letter written with his own hand, more laconic than elegant, and addressed, To their Honours and Glories of the Admiralty. As our valiant captain could fight his ship much better than he could write a letter, it gave as much pleasure to the Board, as the relation of the rise, progress, and event of the hardy action, by the hand of the British consul at that place, did astonishment and wonder. The royal acknowledgment was sent him for his service, and he was ordered home with his prize. Upon his arrival, he was presented with the Queen's pardon in form; which he was going to ihrow at the messenger's head, had not his officers, and some gentlemen who were come to pay him a visit on his landing, interposed. All their endeavors, however, could not make him understand, that in wantonly risking the Queen's ship he had incurred the guilt of high treason ; swearing, “ That he saw no treason in taking an enemy of more than double his force." And though he was pacified when he found he was to command his own prize, yet he would not accept it, unless he had his brave boys to a man along with him. Her Majesty was pleased not only to grant him this favour, but to leave to him also the nomination of his officers.'

This honest antient Briton was ever afterward known by the name of “ Honor and Glory Griffith.

Two instances of heroic humanity' may very properly be introduced on the present occasion:

During the assault of Commodore Thurot on the town of Carrickfergus, in 1760, an incident took place, reflecting at once the highest lustre on the soldier concerned, and evincing the union of consummate courage with noble humanity. Whilst the combatants were opposed to each other in the streets, and every inch was pertinaciously disputed by the British forces, a child, by some accident, escaped from a house in the midst of the scene of action, and ran, unawed by the danger, into the narrow interval between the hostile fronts. One of the enemy, seeing the imminent dan. ger of the child, left the ranks in the hottest fire, took the child in his arms, and placed it in safety in the house from which it had

« PredošláPokračovať »