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er in chief of the squadron under whose orders such officers are serving; the commander in chief is to transmit to our minister, resident at the seat of government of the state to which the said ships belong, or to the Lords of the Admiralty. Such a mode of ling, it must be obvious to every one, wiłłapply but a slow and inadequate remedy to the evil; for, whilst the tedious process is taking place, the seamen will have sailed in the ships to which they have deserted, and even should they return to the ports of the power to which the ships belong, means will easily be found to effect the escape of the offenders, without any means of redress being left to us—a fatal instance of the mischievous tendency of our relinquishing any part of our long established right of sovereignty on the ocean. But, though we can neither approve of the concession thms made to the Americans, nor of the recall of an admiral who has so meritoriously deported himself, we must consider both as necessary consequences arising out of the wretched and pusillanimous policy of our late incapable ministry. They had gone so far in their concessions to the American government,
and the public faith was so far pledged by
them to the performance of such timid stipulations, that it might prove injurious to otr national character, for any administra
tion succeeding to the reins of government,
to absolve the country from the wretched obligation, or avoid recalling a meritorious officer, who, on so important an occasion, had conducted himself with such ability, firmness, and sound discretion.
question.—Why not simply prove that instruction does not, or cannot promote morality and virtue; that this is not exemplified in a neighbouring nation ; and that Parochial Schools do not tend to convey the instruction stated to be so requisite. You attack the wording of the preamble, but you do not make these words the ground work of your observations. You forget your text, and make a commentary on some other chapter or verse. Instead of proving the falsehood of the proposition contained in the preamble, you proceed to describe a picture of domestic happiness in Hampshire. A comfortable house, a meat and well trimmed garden; an affectionate father, and a wife and children equally affectionate. Then you fly off into a comparison of population and taxation ; the description of a Scotch cabbin ; a bed of heath; a cale yard. All this is very fine, but is it to the purpose It proves that the Hampshire man though he could not read or write, was moral, virtuous, and a good member of society; but, does it prove that there would not be many more such members of society if instruction were more general * The Scotchman, though he could both read and write had a poor hovel; a bed of heath, and a cale yard; but, was this owing to the time lost in his education, and is it not probable that this state of poverty was much alleviated by reading in his bible, that there is another and a better world The preamble of the bill, which gives you so much offence, says not a word about superior industry, comfort, neatress, and cleanliness. I grant that in these respects the English are superior to any nation I know. Having said this much, I would wish to narrow the question to the words or meaning of the preamble, which has caused so much ill blood between you and my countrymen the Scotch; namely, whether the Scotch be really more moral and virtuous than their neighbours the English; and, if they are, whether this superiority arises from their better education or not I was born in Scotland, and there spent the greatest part of my life. I have been at different times, and for many months together in various parts of it. I have been for some years over a considerable part of this kingdom, and have also been over a good deal of England. I have thus had an opportunity of comparing the morals of the three nations. I need not say to which I give the preference. My origin will at once inform you. But, Mr. Cobbett, if you will not believe me, will not the concurring testimony of all travellers who have been in Scotland have any weight?
Will not their calendars ef crimes, compa
ratively small, produce conviction ? Is not a Scotch regiment, as you know, notoriously much less given to drunkenness and marauding than an English one? You attribute the increase of poverty and vice to increased taxation. I do not deny that a man who is poor has more temptation to commit crimes, than if he enjoyed comfort and independence; but, I assert, that whether poor or rich, in misery or in affluence, the more uninstructed a man is in religious and moral duties, the more is he apt to become unprincipled, and 1he more will crimes prevail. I will likewise venture to assert, that unless a man can read, he cannot be properly and effectually instructed in religion and morality. Going to church once a week, and hearing a sermon couched in fine language, one half of which he does not understand, will not, I apprehend, contribute much to enlighten him. The parents not able to read themselves, and not endowed with much elo§. cannot convey adequate notions on the subject. But, you will say they hold up a good example, and example is better than precept. So it is, Mr. Cobbett, but both united are better than either separately. I agree with you that the great body of the people, labourers and mechanics, have nothing to do with learning, and that knowledge does not consist of words, but of things, facts, ideas. Surely, therefore, a man who can plough and harrow as well as his neighbour, and can at the same time read, has a chance of being better informed than the man who cannot read. I know that reading will not make a better ploughan or mechanic ; but, I do think that if properly directed by parents and teachers, as in doubt it would be, reading might have a very considerable effect in forming the morals. If religion and morality were carefulo into a young man from his incy, to the period when he goes from under the eye of his parents into the world, (and this I have asserted can only be effectually done by learning him to read), I am of opinion that the impression would remain for a long time, and it is at this early and inexperienced period that vice makes its most successful approaches. You are of opinion, that the ... of parents will induce a sufficient number to give their children a proper education; and that, therefore, they should be left to themselves. I am of the very same way of thinking, but then, I conceive that the facility of education should be - *"... in other words, parochial schools slottid be established, that such as do choose may instruct their children, and every cocouragen:cat should be held out to them to
do so. You accuse most of the Scotch who have written to you on the subject, of not answering your remarks on the grants of public money, to build bridges and make roads in certain districts of Scotland. Had I your abilities,” Mr. Cobbett, I would tnot be afraid to meet you on this ground; but, I confess I do not see how it can affect the argument. Whether these sums have or have not been granted properly, the question of morality and virtue arising from instruction must remain the same. Were I so situated that I could make the proper references, or had I such a good memory, or such a good library by me as you have, Mr. Cobbett, I have no doubt but I could stumble upon grants of public money for the improvement of harbours, roads, streets, &c. &c. in England, and probably to a much greater amount than the sums you allude to.—I am your obedient servant,--DUN Scotus.-Ireland, Oct. 10, 1807.
BAGGAGE WAGGONs. SIR,-While my horses were baiting at a small inn in a village, I took up a provincial paper, and the first thing that
caught my eye was an advertisement or no
tice, that in pursuance of the mutiny act lately passed, the quarter session of Hampshire had ordered the allowance to be increased to farmers, whose waggons or carts should be pressed to carry military baggage. I immediately thought that an innovation had been made in the former mutiny act, merely to put money into the pockets of “ the landed interest,” at the expence of the public at large. At the end of the next fifteen miles, I paid my annual visit to an old tenant, whose circumstances enable him to live very comfortably; and as he is not prone to grumble like the generality of farmers, I am inclined to give credit to what he says. I knew that his neighbourhood was usually filled with military, and therefore congratulated him on the increased allowance he was to receive. He shook his head, saying in a low tone scarcely audible, “ I wish they would carry their own baggage.” I observed he spoke this with more than usual earnestness, and as the pay was much greater per mile than he received for fetching coals for a friend of mine living in the neighbourhood, I pressed him to tell me why he was dissatisfied. “The truth is, Sir," he replied, “no pay they can fairly give us, will compensate for the mischief we receive. Why, Sir, this summer my crops though not quite so abundant as my neighbours, ripened exceedingly well, and were cut in as fine weather as a farmer could wish for, I had just begun to carry when a summons came for two of my waggons (I had but three) to be at a town three miles off early on the following morning, and there to.
take up military baggage, and carry it so far.
that my teams could not return till the day after. On the third day a drizzling rain set in, and continued (more or less heavy) for five or six days. Thus my harvest was retarded, and I was at the expence of keeping my harvestmen at least ten days longer than I should have done, and the appearance of my corn is se much injured, that I must either submit to sell it at a very inferior price, or consume it in my own family. Another time they overloaded one of may waggons so much, that the best horse I ever had died in their service. And all this too, Sir, when at the very place where my waggons take up the baggage, there are not less than thirty or forty, sometimes more, horses with a proportionate number of waggons and drivers kept by government, doing nothing, except now and then carrying coals (for the contractor) to the barracks. The injury too they do a farmer in making his men restless and discontented is incalculable.—One would think, Mr. Cobbett, that to a government, disposed, as I believe the present to be, to economy, it would be necessary only to mention an opportunity of saving expence, and at the same time relieving an industrious part of the community from an irksome service, But it has been recommended to some of our rulers, that the employment of the waggon trainin carrying a part, if not the whole of baggage, attached to regiments passing within a reasonable distance from the stations where those corps are quartered, would be a considerable saving to the public at large, and, to the farmers in particular, and yet no alteration has taken place.—Perhaps, the recommendation was not made to the heads of the proper department, and therefore was disregarded. It is certainly no easy matter for a plain dealing man to know where, and how to recommend any improvement in the minor concerns of government. And, as no publication is so likely as yours to be read by the persons, whoever they may be, under whose superintendance such an alteration as I have alluded to, would come, I take the liberty of requesting you either to insert this letter, or to put my ideas on the subject in your own more forcible language, at your earliest convenience.—H. H.Oct. 14, 1807.
idominion • OF THE SEAs. . . Sin,--The subject of the laws and rights of nations being, in my opinion, much
misconceived, permit me to use my endeavours to place it in its proper light. That nations have rights as well as individuals,
and laws, too, cannot for a moment be doubted; but that these cannot be enforced
nor observed with the same rigour as those
of private persons, arises from the different relations which states and individuals bear to each other: in the one, the makers of the laws are the subjects of them; with the other there is a protecting power which can en
force their observance. The essence of every national law is, that it shall not bend, to the will of any individual; the law of nations, on the contrary, is for ever liable to, that unjust controul, and this it is which has caused some men to deny that it has any ex
istence. The rights of nations, like those of individuals, arise, from their acquisitions in society, and such is the nature of man, that
it is not always requisite to scrutinise too se
verely into the origin of these acquisitions; though it is at all times justifiable to resist, the encroachments of power, whether public
or private ; for, though time may legalize
the acquisitions of conquest or fraud, nothing, can diminish their original injustice. To
deny the rights and the laws of nations would
be to realize that savage state of nature,
which has hardly ever existed but in the
warm region of a poetical fancy, and yet to
attribute to them any higher origin than the
tacit or express conventions of society arising
from a sense of interest, is to seek for, in
mctaphysical refinement, that which exists
only in practical convenience. These max
ims referred to the conduct of Great Britain. in asserting the Dominion of the Seas, and violating the rights of neutral nations, will, I
trust, justify her in a departure from the ge
neral principles of the laws of nations ;
which not being capable of being considered
in any other light than a compact among a
few individuals, cease to be binding upon
the rest when they are so far violated by one
as to affect their common or individual safe
ty. I remain, &c.—W. Burtoon.--No,
7, Somerset Street, Portman Square.
ever, that he solemnly assures me, that he meant, first possession, Iam beund to belil've him, although all our lexicographers and writers good and bad, and indeed all men women and children (himself only excepted), foolishly suppose with me that the word Occupancy means not first but present or actual possession.—It did indeed appear to me, that if he actually meant first possession, two claimants, the one relying upon his having been the first possessor and the other upon the ground of his being the actual occupant, would, upon resorting to your correspondent's rule, be puzzled to ascertain to which of them it awarded the right.— But he says that “that rulebeing that occupancy or first possession confers right, he cannot
see any puzzle in the business", and then he
puts the following case to shew that all would be perfectly clear.—“ If a ship (whose master is A.) occupy a certain station in the River Thames and is dispossessed of it by force by another ship (B. being her master) there are two claimants, the first occupant and present occupier.”—We should I think expect to bear A. maintain that his ship had the first possession, and that therefore he was entitled under the rule, whilst B, with equal plausibility would reply, that self same rule says the right is with me as the occupant.—But, Sir, only observe with what consummate dexterity the framer of this wonder-working rule, in pronouncing judgement eclipses the renowned Solomon,
whose fame suffers not less in the compari
son with your correspondent than does that of Solon with the brewer and great modern
law-giver Whitbread.—“ My rule being"
(says R. R.) that (what?) “ that first pos
“ session confers right, the first occupant
“(A) has the right,” so that you see, Sir, he here finds it convenient to drop that half of his rule, under which B. would be entitled,
and that rule is no longer occupancy or
first possession, but first possession only.— “But,” he proceeds, “if the first ship had left the station, and the other had taken possession of it, and the first had returned and claimed it, the present occupier (B)
would clearly be entitled to retain it.” Upon what ground? A. will say, “ you told me in the former case that I had the right,
because your rule gives it to the first posses. sor, and, lo! I was in this latter case also the first possessor.' No, no, says the judge, you are not Mr. A. “because, in abandoning the station you relinquished your right to it, and it again became in common.” How can that be rejoins A. seeing that when a man of the name of Iłroc, asserted in oppos:tion to your doctrine, that a first possessor
could not transmit the right which he acquired by such possession; you, Mr. Judge, did positively assert, that “ it was neror stated by you that the right ceased with the possession.” You may, A. would probably add, tell me again and again, as you have done in p. 571, that “it is much better to resort at once to reason, for a rule to ascertain the justice or injustice of an action, than to resort to human courts; " but after the sample of reason which you have exhibited, I shall be foolish enough to seek for justice from a court and jury. Such, Mr. Cobbett, are the contradictions and absurdities into which these sticklers for the freedom of the seas aniformly fall!! Having after the above manner cleared the ground (as he says) from the impediments, your correspondent comes to the discus. sion of the principle of the right, and from his stile of “clearing the ground" it was to have been expected that his reasoning upon the principle would have beamed upon us with all the radiance of the meridiau sun. He presumes that “I confound occupancy of “ dominion with occupancy of the matter “ which confers dominiou,” and says, p. 571, that “the distinction which he takes between dominion over the earth and over the sea is this, in the one the right to the sovereignty is acquired by the possession or occupancy of the soil itself, in the other case no right to the sovereignty is acquired, because the sca is not capable of being actually possessed from its nature"; but he some how or other forgets to point out the one thing needful, which is what that quality in the nature of the sea is, which renders it incapable of being actually possessed aud prevents one nation from acquiring a sovereignty over other nations with respect to it.—At present his assertion is a merely gratuitous oneAlthough however the sea is incapable of being actually possessed from its nature, yet the gentleman contends that all nations have a right to it by occupancy! Nay, that a certain portion of this self-same sea may belong Exclusively to nations !! What that certain portion is he does not, however, define, but it extends it seems “ as far as “ may be necessary for navigating their ves“sels.” Here again I must candidly contess that I am unable to comprehend what he means.—There is certainly something which intercepts the sun's rays, possibly my dulness. He surely cannot intend that as it is necessary, for instance, for the English, the French, the Dutch and many other nations to steer one and the same course in going to their respective settlements abroad, at least, for a considerable part of the passage, so the sea through which they navigate their vessels in going there belongs Exclusivkly to each of them . If I were , not afraid that he would call it an unwarrantable presumption (as he did my well intended supposition
that he meant present and not first posses
sion,) I should imagine his meaning to be that so much of the sea as any particular vessel covers for the time being belongs exclusively not to the nation to which the vessel belongs but to the owner of the vessel. But then we should be at sea again, for want of knowing what there is in the “nature of “ the sea," seeing that it admits of partial occupancy and of “ exclusive right" as to a certain portion of it, which, constitutes an obstacle to a dominion as extensive as we contend for. Why, for example, may not the king upon this ground of occupancy, be entitled to the sovereignty of the Bristol Channel, because English vessels occupy it, as much as to the sovereignty of England because England is occupied by Englishmen. What is there, I ask, in the nature of the thing which stands in the way of the right? Let it not be understood, that I am placing our claim to the dominion of the sea, upon the ground of occupancy, for I have said so much upon it only to show that, there is nothing substantial, in the distinction which hath been ta
ken;–The gentleman bath not ventured.
to touch upon that part of my former lette, where, (after showing that all the cases which he had stated were inapplicable to the point in dispute, inasmuch as the right there was, under the guarantee of some established law,) I brought the question to a focus in the following proposition:—Suppose, that when all things were in common, two individuals... or two tribes, were equally desirous
of possessing any particular unoccupied spot.
or territory, watural reason would not dictate that it belonged to one of them rather than to the other; and there would be no established law in such a state, to be appealed to or to which either would be bound, to submit 2 I asked him which he supposed would decide the point but roRce That question he has not attempted to answer.—It shall be conceded to him that the sea was, like the earth, originally in common and (for argument's sake), that the sea unlike the earth did not ‘‘ from its nature" admit of a sovereignty being acquired in it by occupancy inerely; would it follow that this nation cannot have acquired a right to such a sovereignty by any other means or upon any other ground 2. Is the writer ignorant that other nations have sought and struggled
of the country. the situation of Europe at present, impe:
selves possess that very sovereignty which we have conquered Is he indeed ignorant that after such a contest, Right to the ob. ject contended for, is with the conqueror? Does he discern aught of reason or natural justice in the outcry raised against us by the vanquished nations for maintaining that do: minion which they strove to secure for themselves, and which they will contend for once again if by suffering that dominion to slacken in our grasp they discover any chance of success? Why did he not, I ask him, join issue with me upon the proposition which I laid down instead of evading it by the subterfuge that that proposition formed a part of what was said about the “ expediency of the measure ?" When in a farm yard I have been an observer of a battle between two cocks, it has often amused me to see one of them after being beaten, and after
running from his opponent as fast as his legs
could carry him, stop when at a safe distance and crowdefiance. So, Sir, does this Mr. R. R.
thing to the contrary.—What the deuce
should decide the point as to the right (in the absence of positive law) but reason 2. The question is, as between ourselves, who has the true conception of the thing, he with his reason or I with mine Why did he not apply his reason in commenting upon the proposition which I stated in my last letter?—He assures me that it is much better to imbibe reason “ at the pure source of “ the stream " I thank him heartily for his information, and in return advise him sincerely before he writes a third time against our right to the Dominion of the Sea, to repair once inore to that same stream, and (as the common people say) mend his draught.—I remain, Sir an admirer of your patriotic exertions and your well wisher,
—WRoc.—Lincoln's Inn, 'October 21. 1807. ‘i’ in he Air MiY. SIR, I believe it has excited the sur
prise of a great Fart of the community, that ministers have not before this time carried,
either Mr. Windham's, or some other per
manent plan irto execution for the defence No one will deny, but that
hard with us in order that they might them- |riously calls for a measure, the effects of