Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

me.

*

*

*

*

*

His was

me.

expected, for then, for the first time, I wonderful visitation that had befallen remembered that during my long sleep I thought that I knew, that days and I felt as if I could fly away from months, and years, were rolling over this scene of devastation, and in other me in rapid and noiseless succession. climes seek for fresher skies and more

No sooner had this idea seized my verdant vales. Alas ! alas ! I soon and mind-no sooner did I conceive that I easily gained the top of the rising had indeed slept—that I had indeed bank, and fixed my eyes on the wide lain in silent insensibility, until wood, landscape of a desolate and unpeopled and rock, and river, had dried up, or world fallen beneath the hand of time that

Desolation ! Desolation ! the moon and the stars—and, prepared I knew that it was to be dreaded as a as I was for wonders, I started, as at fearful and a terrible thing, and I had that instant I instinctively turned to- felt the sorrows of a lone and helpless wards that part of the heavens in spirit—but never, never had I conceiwhich the sun was to make his ap- ved the full misery that is contained pearance ; prepared as I was I started in that one awful word, until I stood when I bebeld this huge round bulk on the brow of that hill, and looked hea ving slowly above the barrier of on the wide and wasted world that lay rocks that surrounded me.

stretched in one vast desert before no longer the piercing ray, the dazzling, the pure and colourless light, Then despair and dread indeed laid that had shed glory and radiance on hold of me--then dark visions of woe he world on which I had closed my and of loneliness rose indistinctly beeyes—he was now a dark round orb of fore me, thoughts of nights and days reddish flame. He had sunk nearer of never-ending darkness and coldthe earth as he approached nearer the and then the miseries of hunger and close of his career, and he too seemed of slow decay and starvation, and to share with the heaven and the hopeless destitution—and then the earth the symptoms of decay and dis- hard struggle to live, and the still solution.

harder struggle of youth and strength When I saw universal nature thus

to die

-Dark visions of woe, where worn out and exhausted—thus perish- fled ye? before what angel of light ing from old age, and expiring from hid

ye your diminished heads? The the sheer want of renewing materials, sum of my miseries seemed to overthen I thought that surely my frail whelm mema loud sound, as of one body must likewise have waxed old universal crash of dissolving nature, and infirm—surely I too must be bow- rung in my ears—I gave one wild ed down with age and weariness. shriek-one convulsive struggle—and

I raised myself slowly and fearfully awoke and there stood my man from the earth, and at length I stood John, with my shaving-jug in the one upright. There I stood unscathed by hand, and my well-cleaned boots in time-fresh and vigorous as wben last the other—his mouth open, and his I walked on the surface of a green and eyes rolling hideously at thus witnessbeautiful world—my frame as firmly ing the frolics of his staid and quiet knit, and my every limb as active as if master. a few brief hours, instead of many and By his entrance were these visions long years, had witnessed me extended dispelled, else Lord knows how long I on that broad platform of rock. might have lingered out my existence

At first a sudden gleam of joy broke in that dreary world, or what woes on my soul, when I thought that here and unspeakable miseries had been in I stood unharmed by time that I at store for least had lost nothing of life by the

XB.

*

*

*

[ocr errors]

AGRICULTURE.

“It is a perilous thing to try experiments on the farmer. . .

They may even in one year of false policy do mischiefs incalculable ; because the trade of a farmer is one of the most precarious in its advantages, the most liable to losses, and the least profitable, of any that is carried on.

The cry of the people in cities and towns, though unfortunately (from a fear of their multitude and combination) the most regarded, ought in fact to be the least attended to upon this subject; for citizens are in a state of utter ignorance of the means by which they are to be fed ; and they contribute little or nothing, except in an infinitely circuitous manner, to their own maintenance. They are truly, Fruges consumere nati.' They are to be heard with great respect and attention upon matters within their province --that is, on trades and manufactures ; but on anything that relates to agriculture, they are to be listened to with the same reverence which we pay to the dogmas of other ignorant and presumptuous men.”—BURKE.

THESE were the opinions of an ex- not supply us at so cheap a rate as focellent practical farmer, a statesman reign ones, we ought to be supplied by of the first class, and an individual the latter ; and who shall dare to call pre-eminent for knowledge, experi- its truth into question ? ence, and wisdom. In commencing Of course, the cry of the people of our remarks on Agriculture, we strong- cities and towns is no longer promptly recommend them to the attention ed by hunger and high prices. Up to of our readers.

a recent period, manufactures and If it be at all times necessary to commerce have been in the most listen to the cry of the people in cities flourishing condition; the masters and towns touching this subject with have made good profits; the workcaution and distrust, it is doubly so at men have had very high wagesthe present moment. That which bears have enjoyed greater abundance than the name of Political Economy, but ever before fell to their lot, and greatwhich ought to bear a very different er abundance than has been enjoyed one, has given to the ignorance and by very many people who rank as selfishness of such people with regard gentlemen. Generally speaking, the to Agriculture the garb of science. A inhabitants of cities and towns have body of lecturers and newspaper wri- enjoyed unexampled plenty and prosters, who perhaps never saw a green perity, and yet they have continually field, and who could not distinguish a kept up a cry for the reduction of pod of beans from an ear of barley, the prices of corn. Has wheat then oracularly proclaim that they are in- been unreasonably dear? No! it has finitely more knowing in agricultural not fetched two-thirds of the price matters than the most experienced that it frequently fetched during the agriculturists. They have drawn up a war ; and it has not been higher than string of pretended theorems and de- it often was centuries ago. Have the monstrations, which they assert to be farmers and their servants been in a unerring, and by means of which better condition than the masters and every inbabitant of a town believes workmen in large places ? No! they hinself to be consummately qualified have been in a much worse condition. for giving judgment on the Corn Laws. Why then has the cry been raised ? The city barber can show, while he is Because corn has been ruinously cheap taking off a beard, that the farmer is in various foreign countries. It has an utter stranger to his own interest - not been inquired whether our farmers the draper's apprentice can demon- could afford to reduce their prices, or strate, while he is measuring a yard whether they could produce at as of tape, that to plunge the farmers cheap a rate as those of other nations. into ruin, and strip the landlords of No notice has been taken of the fact, income, would prodigiously benefit the that in these foreign countries the nation. All this is held to be matter of low prices have plunged agriculture proof. There is an authority to refer into deep distress. Political Economy to, which may not be disputed ;-it is needed no such knowledge. Corn was a fundamental maxim of Political Eco- cheaper in Poland, Germany, America, nomy, that if our own producers can- &c., than in England ; this was all that was necessary to be known, and between master and servant. In prothis formed the sole scientific and con- portion as a man is a stranger to a clusive reason why the price here subject, in the same proportion is his ought to be reduced.

opinion on it attended to. Who, in A cry like this, when those who these enlightened days, would pay any raise it taking into calculation the regard to the opinion of the agriculdifference in profits and wages—buy turists on agriculture, of the silk matheir bread in reality at a cheaper nufacturer on the silk trade, or of the rate than the producers of corn, can- iron-master on the iron trade ? No not surely be entitled to much consi- one. The opinion would be dictated deration. Another cause that renders by experience, and therefore it would it the less deserving of notice, is, the be scorned. Not many months since, Economists who guide and mature it some of the Ministers declared in Parare as dishonest as they are ignorant. liament, that they knew they were Their grand object is, not the benefit right in opening a trade, because, alof commerce and manufacture, but though they were opposed by those the promotion of their own wishes engaged in, and perfectly acquainted as a political faction. In the words of with it, they were sanctioned by men Burke" Knowing how opposite a engaged in other trades, and utter permanent landed interest is to their strangers to it. The primary direcschemes, they have resolved, and it is tors of public affairs have lately been the great drift of all their regulations, closet visionaries—men thoroughly to reduce that description of men to a destitute of experimental knowledge, mere peasantry for the sustenance of and having a character for anything the towns, and to place the true effec- rather than ability and wisdom. The tive government in cities among the Ministry and Parliament may have tradesmen, bankers, and voluntary carried into effect, but these menclubs of bold, presuming young per- the Humes—M'Cúllochs, and Bentsons ; advocates, attorneys, managers hams—have formed the plan and laid of newspapers, and cabals of literary down the principle. If the affairs of men.” They care no more for the an empire like this can continue to be interests of the merchants and manu. thus managed without injury, the facturers than for those of the agri- science of government is certainly a culturists; they wish to crush the very different thing from what we latter, merely that they may gain a believe it to be. The year 1825 will triumph for Republicanism.

be long memorable in the annals of In better times, a cry for cheaper England. The worst of its projectors bread, set up by the inhabitants of have not been those of the new comcities and towns amidst prosperity and panies; the most fatal of its bubbles abundance, would have received from have been blown elsewhere than in the Ministry and Parliament the most the money market ; these have not yet marked reprobation. It would have all burst, but burst they will, and been put down at once, not more from fearful will be the consequences. its un-English character, than from The political bubbles, as well as its being hostile to the best interests those of a different character, have inof its authors. But we live in times jured most seriously, some of the betwhen every cry is thought rational ter feelings of the community. A and just that demands change and clamour is kept up in favour of liberainnovation—when it is thought to be lityof a liberal system of trade. idiotcy to act upon old principles, and What, in plain English, is this liberato be satisfied with existing things. lity? Do our merchants, manufacHitherto the theoretic projector has turers, and tradesmen, stand forward been laughed at ; now he alone is to like honest, generous, straightforward be trusted : it is the man of practical men, and say– We have too much knowledge who must not be listened trade-we have more than we desire to. Every one is the master of any - we are willing to give a portion to business save his own. The lawyer France, Holland, &c., without an equitakes upon himself the management of valent? Does any one of them intend foreign politics—the newspaper writer that his liberality shall subtract in the draws up laws for agriculture—the least from his property or income? lecturer lays down systems for trade— No! all who cry up this liberal sysand the surgeon regulates the relations tem of trade expect to make it an instrument of profit. One shilling is to Commerce and Manufactures, it will be given, that two may be received — be merely to disarm them in their una gudgeon is to be thrown away, that natural and disgraceful war against a whale may be obtained. It is de- Agriculture, and to prevent them from clared that this liberality will be ama- working their own destruction. There zingly beneficial to every one, there are, we know, very many merchants, fore it is popular and fashionable. It manufacturers, and tradesmen, who is, in fact, neither more nor less than wish to judge correctly on the quescold blooded, disgraceful avarice. This tion—who are willing to act on the avarice has made one interest seek the maxim, Live and let live-who seek destruction of another throughout the not to distress their agricultural felcountry. The trade which cannot be low-subjects—and who are anxious for touched by the foreigner readily sup- the weal of the whole community. ports what will ruin that which can, Let all such attend to us ; we will not for the sake of the profit; the cotton intentionally attempt to mislead them, or woollen trade, is willing to gain and they will still be free to follow extension by the sacrifice of the silk their own opinions. If there be one or glove trade. While the different whose grovelling, despicable soul can mercantile and manufacturing inte- regard neither countrymen nor counrests thus fight against each other, try, can never look beyond the circle they combine for the ruin of agricul- drawn by its own cupidity, and can ture. When this boasted liberality sigh to gather wealth through the ruin is stripped of its gaudy disguise, it is and misery of his fellow-creatures, hideous, loathsome, guilty, and dan- if there be one such pitiful wretch in gerous beyond description.

the British nation, let us be listened These things ought to make every to even by him. We may say someone regard the clamour against the thing that will gratify his avarice and Corn Laws with distrust, who wishes benefit his pocket. to judge correctly. When he hears We must begin with dividing the these laws called odious, hateful, dis- community into two great bodies--the graceful, &c., and finds that enmity one comprehending the Agriculturists, to them is to be used as a test at the and the other, the Merchants and Maapproaching election, let him turn from nufacturers. The first body, strictly their slanderers to examine their ope- speaking, comprehends, not only all ration. Let him rigidly scrutinize who draw employment from the land, their fruits from their birth to the but all who draw income from it. present moment. Let him ascertain The great landlord is as much a prowhat scarcity they have produced- ducer of corn, as the great manufacwhat trade they have ruined-and turer is of manufactures, or as the what degree of want and suffering they great merchant, calling the latter for have brought upon the inhabitants of the occasion a producer, is of merlarge places. If he find-as find he chandise. His tenants are practically will—that, in the period in which they his junior partners ; with every one have raised corn the most, trade has he finds the chief part of the capital, been in the most flourishing condition, and, if he do not attend daily to the the merchants and manufacturers have business, he lays down the plan for enjoyed the highest prosperity, and its management, and keeps it under the working classes of cities and towns his general superintendence. His inhave been blessed with such abun- come arises from it, and fluctuates dance as they never before possessed with the profits which it yields, like then let him think, as he ought, of the that of his tenants. The agricultural clamour and the clainourers.

body includes the nobility, the counIn our remarks on Agriculture, we try gentlemen, and great part of the shall not array it against Commerce clergy, with their servants. The uni. and Manufactures. We feel equal versities, numberless corporate bodies, friendship for the three, we believe and various public institutions, have them to form a whole; and in throw- large possessions in land, and all ing our shield over the one in its whom these possessions maintain bedinger, we conceive that we likewise long to the agriculturists. A vast nuthrow it over the others. If we oc. ber of the regular inhaliitints of towns casionally turn our weapon against derive their inconna wholly, or princiVol. XIX.

20

pally, from land, and these belong to greater will be the trade and prothe Agriculturists. If the ministers, fits of the merchants and manufacambassadors, judges, &c.; the army turers ! and navy; those who are employed for The agricultural body raises all its the collection of the revenue; the fund- produce at home from its land. The holders ; in a word, all who draw in- trading body buys its commodities, or come from the public-purse, are to be the raw produce from which it fabriclassed at all, a vast number of them cates them, chiefly abroad ; and it buys are paid by, and of course belong to, them principally with foreign raw prothe agriculturists. Taking all this in- duce, or its own manufactures. This to calculation, and looking at Britain buying and selling between the latter and Ireland as a whole, the agricul- body and foreign nations, in which turists include at least half of the ag- neither the former body nor its progregate population.

duce appear to take any share, from Under the terms merchants and ma- the main source of that ruinous delunufacturers, we will here include all sion which prevails on the question, tradesmen, mechanics, &c. The gro- and we must therefore ascertain what cer is practically the co-partner of the regulates their extent, and keeps them importers of tea, sugar, &c. The tai- in existence. lor is a garment manufacturer ; the If the Agriculturists could not sell different tradesmen, mechanics, arti- their surplus produce, they could still zans, &c., are connected with the lead- subsist, although very miserably; they ing merchants and manufacturers, in could still raise food for their own fitting for use, and distributing the consumption, and manufacture for goods of the latter. Our readers will themselves from the produce of their therefore bear in mind, throughout land. With the merchants and manuthis article, that by the terms mer- facturers the case is different. The chants and manufacturers, we mean latter subsist by buying and selling; not only those who commonly bear the they do not grow their commodities, names, but all the members of the or the raw produce from which they community who cannot be classed with are fabricated; if they cannot sell their the Agriculturists ; all who draw em- commodities they cannot buy them ; ployment, directly or remotely, from they cannot procure food ; they cancommerce and manufactures.

not procure these commodities for their The commodities of these gigantic own consumption. It is solely from bodies are, as every one knows, per- their sales to the Agriculturists that fectly distinct, and they reciprocally they are themselves enabled to congive employment to each other. The

sume, not only food, but merchandize Agriculturists employ the merchants and manufactures ; that they are enaand manufacturers to suppply them bled to buy of, sell to, and employ with merchandise and manufactures ; each other. The Agriculturists give and the latter employ the former to an order for cottons to the cotton-masupply them with food and various raw nufacturer, and this enables the latter articles to trade with, or manufacture. to employ the cotton-merchant, the

Every one can see that the agricul- maker of machinery, the dyer, the tural body depends solely on the trad- coal-merchant, &c., and to wear coting body for the sale of its surplus tons himself. Without this original produce ; every one, we say, can see order, none of these could be employed, this, and therefore it is not made a or could wear cottons. matter of dispute. But that the trad- In primitive times, the Agricultuing body depends, in any material de rists contented themselves with the gree, for the sale of its surplus com- produce of their soil ; and then no modities, on the agricultural one, seems merchants and manufacturers could in these days to be denied by almost exist. When the former began to have all. It appears to be imagined that it surplus produce to dispose of, then depends principally for employment the latter came into being ; in proand a market on foreign nations : the portion as their produce increased in doctrine, which a fool ought to be value, in the same proportion merchants ashamed of believing in, is maintained and manufacturers multiplied. If we by every one who thinks himself indi- look through the world at this movidually wise, that, the less the Agri- ment, we find, that where the Agriculturists obtain for their produce, the culturists have no surplus produce,

« AnteriorContinuar »