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• Oh! 'twas an unaccustomed sight,
A pitying look to see;
That prayers were poured for me!
Who never bent the knee ;
Who never prayed, scarce wept before.
And called her charms divine :
So poor a love as mine.
My spirit bends to thine;
And taught a stony heart to feel.
The world could ne'er subdue,
What force could never do:
The fallen to renew :
Thy recompence in Heaven is sure.' These touching lines are followed by Sketches, which breathe much of the spirit and tenderness of Crabbe. Though the volume is certainly not free from the faults of juvenile composition, we may recommend a perusal of it to the lovers of poetry. Art. 14. The Dream of Youth ; a Poem. Crown 8vo.
Boards. Cadell and Davies. This · Dream of Youth' possesses, we are afraid, somewhat too much of the wandering and desultory nature of dreams in general, to be perfectly intitled to the latter part of its appellation, a poem.
We allude to the arbitrary and unlicensed scope which the author has taken, in variety of versification as well as of matter; and which, though it may be well adapted to display his skill, is rather too trying to the patience and understanding of the reader. In a volume of less than 100 pages, we have as much alteration of stanza as the English language can well admit in such moderate limits; and we cannot give our approbation to the manner in which the effort has been accomplished. The dream, Jikewise, bears too strong an impression of the writer's thoughts having been occupied with Lord Byron during the day, to escape the charge of violent imitation. A few of the separate pieces, howe ever, may lay claim to something like mediocrity.
48. 6d. POLITICS. Art. 15. A free Trade essential to the Welfare of Great Britain ;
or an Inquiry into the Cause of the present distressed State of the Country, and the consequent Increase of Pauperism, Misery, and Crime. To which are added, some Observations on Two Letters to the Right Hon. Robert Peel, M.P., by one of his constituents. By John Clay. 8vo. pp. 80. 35. Sherwood and Co. 1819.
Mr. Clay's pamphlet is less comprehensive than its title suggests; since it contains scarcely any attempt at the discussion of a free trade generally, but a number of arguments in favour of a free trade in corn: - arguments called forth by a project entertained in the last year, but which, we hope, is now at rest, that of imposing additional discouragements on the import of foreign corn. In so populous a country as England, where the consumption regularly exceeds the produce, the land-holders may be said to receive a permanent premium in the certainty of selling their corn at a price above that of other countries. This advantage, now enjoyed for above half a century, is owing to the extension of our productive industry: for example, in manufacturing districts, the rent of even indifferent land, says Mr. Clay, is from 31. to 51. per acre; and the great rise in the value of land in Lancashire and the West Riding of York is owing to the manufacturers who, to the number of more than 40,000, have become freeholders in these populous districts. What a short-sighted calculation, then, would it be on the part of the landed interest to aggravate the burden of the mercantile and manufacturing classes, and to oblige them, which would be the case were such oppression increased, to emigrate, and leave the burdens of the state to be borne by a diminished population !
The landed interest, observes Mr. Clay, are aware that their gain by the corn-laws becomes, in a great measure, lost to them by the poor-rate; and they have manifested, ever since the peace, the greatest anxiety to be relieved from the latter. They do not, however, seem to be aware that such relief would naturally follow the abolition of the corn-laws; in which case the English poor would be no more in want of parish-relief than the poor of France or any other country. In the debates on the corn-laws in the spring of 1815, Mr. Baring urged a progressive decrease of the restrictive limit (sos.) on the import of foreign wheat ; and this decrease a subsequent writer* proposed to be at the rate of 25. per quarter per annum: but we are so impressed with the necessity of proceeding gradually, that we should be satisfied with an abatement of is. per quarter annually; and this to take place only according as the more oppressive of the taxes on agriculture should be removed.
In Ireland, the lower orders have experienced all the evils of our corn-law system. The land-holders now obtain a much higher
* Major Torrens on the Corn-Trade, Letter to Lord Liverpool, p. 346. See Rev. vol. lxxx. p. 439.
price for their corn than before the Union, in consequence of the market of England being open to them, while it is shut to the continental grower : but this rise has pressed heavily on the peasantry; who pay greater rents for their potatoe-grounds, and receive no increase of wages, because no increase takes place in the demand for labour. We are informed by Mr. C. that the distress of the labouring classes in England, and in the sister-island, in, duced him to enter on the study of political economy; when he was not long in discovering that the general rule, that wages rise together with a rise of the necessaries of life, is not applicable to the present state of our manufacturers. They labour, at least in the great branches of woollens, cottons, and hardware, for a foreign market, and are in course obliged to bring down their price to the price of foreign competitors. Nothing therefore is more fallacious than the demand of a monopoly for our corna growers, on the plea that our manufacturers possess a monopoly of the home-market. The letter of the law may give it to them, but it is the lowness of their price alone that can secure it.
Mr. Clay combats (p. 22.) with equal success the arguments for rendering this country independent of foreign nations for a supply of the necessaries of life; arguments which are extremely spe. cious, but not tenable against the higher consideration that, in provisions, as in every thing else, commerce should be left to its free course. The evils of interfering with that course exceed all previous calculation; and one reduction in the price of wages leads unfortunately to another, the workmen being obliged to extend their hours of labour, by which they increase the existing evil of an over-stock of goods. It is thus that our distress has acted on other countries, particularly the Netherlands and Germany; where the loudest complaints are made of the low price at which our manufactures are introduced ; and the cause of which is sought, not in the pressure of necessity, but in a deliberate plan to overthrow the manufactures of the Continent.
The conclusion of this pamphlet contains several remarks on the two Letters from Oxford to Mr. Peel, reported in our Numbers for April and August last. Mr. Clay is, on the whole, a temperate and liberal reasoner, but unluckily a novice in the art of composition; his pamphlet exhibiting no division of his matter into chapters or sections, and indeed very little idea of connection or arrangement. Art. 16. Observations on the Means of deriving from Flax and
Hemp manual Employment for Labourers of every Age. Addressed to the Committees of Parliament on the Poor-Laws ; to the Magistracy: to the Clergy, Churchwardens, Overseers, and other Guardians of Parochial Poor: to the Cottager and rural Population ; and to the Sheriffs, Committees, and Individuals having the Care of Prisons. Second Edition. 8vo. pp. 67. Longman and Co. 1819.
After some general remarks on the magnitude of the existing distress, and the necessity of devising additional means of employH4
ment for the poor, this writer proceeds to the proper subject of his pamphlet ; a subject of a peculiar nature, and which is probably new to the majority of our readers : we mean the inferiority of the old method of preparing flax by steeping it in water, compared with the new method of making it into sheaves, and stacking it in the fields like corn. An acre of ground produces from two to three tons of dried stem; which, when prepared on the old plan, would not have yielded, in flax for the weaver, above five hundred weight, or a tenth of the gross weight ; while, by the new plan, the quality is better and the quantity much greater ; the stem yielding by exact analysis the following proportions in 100 parts: Tops, 4; chaff, 46 ; roots, 17; fibre, 32 ; loss, 1.
As no doubt exists of the superiority of the new method of stacking the flax in the field, the great question is how the fibre can be best obtained from it : for this purpose several machines have been contrived, but they were in general complicated and expensive; till Mr. Lowder, of Lansdown-place, Bath, obtained some time ago a patent for a decorticator, a small machine of cast iron, occupying little more space than a cottage-stool, and calculated, according to the writer of this pamphlet, (whom we suspect to be Mr. Lowder himself,) to afford the greatest facilities in the employment of the poor. We are told that
A lad of sixteen may dispatch from three to four pounds of flax-stem in an hour, without fatigue: a second may brush the produce for the spinner in the same time; and a third prepare and supply fresh stem for the breaker. Thus every set will daily employ three persons, men, women, or children, and as the breaker requires the greater exertion, the breaker and the brush may be worked alternately. If thirty pounds of stem be the quantity calculated to be broken daily by one set of machines, ten sets of machines, employing thirty persons, will break 300lbs. of stem daily; or forty tons and a half annually. If the paupers, or persons dependent, directly or indirectly, on parochial relief, be calculated at one in seven of the population, and the work of one pauper five be available, 300,000 persons may be found applicable to this employment; and their labour, when the plan is generally introduced, would reduce the poor's rate four millions sterling annually, and provide for the farmer the profitable cultivation of from one to two hundred thousand acres of land (now unproductive), for the growth of a material hitherto imported from foreign countries at an annual expence of two millions sterling.'
Could the preparation of flax afford employment only to 30,000 instead of 300,000 paupers, the relief would be very great. The Board of Agriculture, without pledging itself for the accuracy
of Mr. Lowder's calculations, recommended (p. 45.) the use of the decorticator in the cottage of the labourer, as well as in work-houses and penitentiaries. If we do not subscribe implicitly to the doctrines of those who consider it as desirable to produce every thing within ourselves, we cannot doubt the advantage of saving the freight of such bulky commodities as flax and hemp ; and it appears that, of the total consumption in Great Britain,
(above 70,000 tons,) nearly two-thirds are imported. This consideration, and the healthy nature of the employment, are certainly material recommendations, and render it gratifying to learn that, at the national school of Bath, which consists of nearly 500 boys and 200 girls, a selection of children is made, who work in alternate sets on the decorticator and other processes of flax.'
In the course of his arguments for the employment of the poor on labour of a new kind, this writer exhibits the following computation of the surprizing increase of machinery during the present age. • In 1792 the population of Britain and Ireland was about
15,000,000 ; and the manual labour was computed at onefourth of the population, or nearly
4,000,000 The power of machinery was computed at nearly threefourths of the population, or
11,000,000 In 1817, the population was calculated at 18,000,000 ;
the manual labour of men, women, and children, at one-third of the population, or
6,000,000 But the power of machinery was computed at the surprizing amount of
200,000,000 being an increase of nearly twenty-fold in 25 years.'
This pamphlet contains some good materials, but is surcharged with no slight stock of extraneous matter, relative to the state of our currency, the history of our poor-laws, &c. Art. 17. Observations on Payments and Receipts in Bank of Eng
land Notes, reduced to their Value in Gold; and on the Conse. quences which would have resulted to the Nation, if this System of Currency had been instituted at the passing of the Bank., Restriction Act; together with Remarks on Subjects connected with these. By Thomas Martin. 8vo. pp. 70. Longman and Co. 1819.
Mr. Martin, whose residence appears to be at Allerton, near Liverpool, is one of the few writers who dissuade the resumption of cash-payments, and who recommend a continuance of a banknote currency : but with the qualification that, instead of the present plan of considering paper and specie as of equal value, the notes should be made payable at the market-price of gold : thus, if gold sells in the market for 41. 2s. instead of 31. 18s. per ounce, the bank-note of 2os. should, according to his project, pass for only 195. He follows up this idea through a variety of ramifications, and maintains that its adoption would procure for us all the advantages that are expected from a return to cash-payments, without any of the hardships attendant on that measure. These hardships consist not merely in the narrowing of mercantile discounts, and the consequent scarcity of money, but in the increased pressure of taxes; augmented as they virtually will be by a measure that is calculated to raise the value of the currency in which they are paid. Mr. Martin's arguments are by no means devoid of weight: but still we cannot deem them of sufficient force to counterbalance the many inconveniences of having two currencies of different value.