Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

feelings:—such a tiling must be resisted with all bis might. .Referring to the early part of the last century, an eminent writer has observed as follows: "Some of ibe counties in the neighbourhood of London petitioned the parliament against the extension of turnpikeroads into the remoter counties. Those remoter counties, they pretended, would be able to sell their grass and corn cheaper in the London-market than themselves, and would thereby reduce their rents and ruin their cultivation." (See Rees's Cyclopedia,) It is difficult to pourtray the feelings which arise on meeting with a fact like this upon record, or to attempt to describe the character of these petitioners without placing them at once in a low scale of human beings; but, with respect to the merit and absolute necessity of these proposed roads, it is not easy to conceive a better argument in their support than that which visibly arises from what was so ridiculously stated, in this instance, as the grounds upon which they were op. posed. From the circumstances of the case it becomes evident, that these petitioners possessed the advantage of such roads as enabled them to carry their produce to market; that they possessed this advantage exclusively to the prejudice and injury of others; that, availing themselves of this advantage, they had unreasonably raised their rents and price of produce, which they now said would be reduced if the proposed roads were opened.—It would be a bad compliment to the understanding of the reader to eater into any thing like a grave argument, to prove the ridiculousness of such reasoning. The mind naturally turns from it ungratified.

The more enlightened principles of political economy soon became better and more generally understood. Improvements continued to be made in the public roads, and new ones were every where formed. The apprehensions even of these petitioning monopolists were proved to be delusive: none of the imaginary evils which had haunted their minds appeared. Their rents and cultivation continued to advance. The country was greatly benefited, the circumstances of the people were greatly improved. Wheel-carriages were every where introduced, and the cruel system of pack-horse-carriage was grndually left off. The public roads were kept in better repair, the country increased in wealth and power, aud every thing went

on prosperously" The superior advan. tagesof inland navigation were however in this country, as yet, unknown. At length, about 1755, the late Duke of Bririgewater conceived the idea of a canal from his coal-mines in Worslcy to Manchester, and in a few years his scheme was carried into execution. This brings us to a new a?ra in the history of this country. The spirit of honourable speculation which had long been on the alert, suddenly appeared in full activity. In a few years, canals and public roads were forming in every part of the kingdom. Under these favourable auspices, the interests of agriculture and commerce continued to advance with a progress beyond former example. The last liltv. five years have produced a series of interesting events: to this kingdom they form a period of great trial: more than thirty years of this time, this country has been engaged in prosecuting the most expensive and destructive wars, with a prodigious waste of blood and treasure. The industry, fortitude, and exertions, of the people, seemed to rise above all their difficulties: Great Britain apparently increased in wealth and in power; her commerce rapidly advanced to a pitch of prosperity unequalled and unrivalled. During this eventful period, betides the improving of public works, of harbours, estuaries, navigable rivers, tideways, &c and the forming of new works for public accommodation, on (he most extensive scale, upwards of one hundred navigable canals and rail-ways were completed in (he United Kingdom, constituting an extensive and connecting system of three thousand miles of inland navigation.

The eagerness with winch plans for forming canals are now embraced, after past experience, is the best proof of their merit, whether considered with respect to public advantage, or individual remuneration. They have invariably had the effect of reducing the price of the necessaries of life. On the opening of a canal in some districts, the price of coal has declined more than 60 per cent.; and the carriage of produce and other freight has, in numerous instances, been reduced in a still greater proportion.

In the present age, the great public benefit derived fro"ni inland navigation, is unquestioned; yet, by introducing a line ol canal into a country which, from time immemorial has been subject to a fixed and settled order of things, the populatiun of which will be so distributed, being the effect of time and experience,

as as to be equally apportioned in every part according to the actual productiveness of the soil, or, in other words, in proportion to the local means of sub. sistence; by intioducing ■■< line of canal into such a country partially, the natural equilibrium of circumstances which time and experience had previously fixed, will oe thereby destroyed ; those districts immediately adjacent to the canal will become more benefited by it than others; the land in those districts connected with the canal will rise in value; but this benefit will not reach, in an equal degree, to those districts at a distance. The extension, therefore, of inland navigation into every part of a country, manifestly becomes an object of the bigliest national importance. Every department, every district, every class, of the community, would thereby be infinitely l>entfited: industry would every where receive a new stimulus; the face of the country would be changed for the better. By giving a maximum of advantage to every part, it would cause 'agriculture every where to flourish, and vast tracts of land, otherwise unproductive, would be cultivated. The tendency of inland navigation is to produce these effects.

Every real friend of his country will bear with pleasure that plans are now actively on foot for the opening of new navigable canals in various parts of the country; and, it appears, that a considerable share of the public attention, in this part of the country in particular, is engaged in the design of a canal, which is proposed to pass through the county of Derby, so rich in ores and valuable minerals. Detraction, however, is busy. A set of individuals, acting from motives 'which require no interpretation, endeavour to throw discredit upon these speculations. Unlike their predecessors, the petitioning monopolists before-mentioned, these individuals employ the meanest artifices to accomplish their purposes. Without the frankness of ihe former, but inheriting all their avarice, folly, and ignorance, they endeavour to conceal the whole under the mask of hypocrisy; a method peculiar to themselves. They tell the public, that •chemes are on foot for forming new canals, docks, bridges, Sec. but that these Schemes are " visionary," and the public are warned of the consequences of embarking in them. The promoters of them are described as "men with their hands fall of money," nnd "who are ready to

embark in any scheme that offers, however visionary;" and, after thus describing the liberal and public-spirited adventurers of the day, these alarmist* endeavour to throw a stigma upon their designs. Paragraphs for this purpose have been industriously foisted into the public prints in various ways, and it has been with regret observed, that an article of thisdescription appeared in that excellent and widely-circulated work, the Monthly Magniine, (see page 579 oFtha last volume.) The article here referred to is, in fact, but an extract from others, or from the prototype of others which have appenred in various public papers. The authors, however, in their eagerness to impose upon the public, have inadvertently drawn aside the veil which was to have concealed their designs. It begins thus: "A scheme has been projected for making a canal over the High Peak," (observe, over the High Peak :) "to open a nearer and more expeditious channel of conveyance between the metropolis, Manchester, and Liverpool:" (the public will be glad to hear this, yet this is not its only object, but it would not suit their purposes to mention any other:) "in the course of which canal there are four miles and a half of tunnel through limestone rocks:" (Reader, be not surprised; but the truth is, that none of the tunneling proposed will have to pass through an inch of limestone rock). After noticing some disadvantage which, they say, the proposed line will experience in lockage, when compared with the existing line to London, (for it is still inconvenient for them to inform the public that it embraces any other object,) they proceed again in the like strain. "The adventurers seem not to have considered th-.it there is already a canal communication between the several places before-mentioned, and that, in point of distance, it will be shorter than theirs."—What? how is this? Is the existing line the shorter? We were just now told that the projected one, that the new line, was to be nearer and more expeditious. They would do the public a service by explaining this. But this it not all: they say, that if upon the proposed line the tolls are high, "then but few goods will pass, since the existing canals take only a moderate toll, and would of course take less rather than lose the trade." What shifting! what artifice! "A few grains of honesty" would have saved them all this trouble. "Alas 1 they have them not!" What moderation

tool ton! It it not enough to tell the public * hat these schemes are "visionary." and tu describe tins adventurers as "meu waii their hands lull of money, and ready to embark in any scheme that offers, however visionary;" that, in this instance, the existing line is shorter to London than the proposed one will be J that there will be four miles and a half ,*f tunneling through "limestone rocks," (although they know well, that not an inch of the tunneling will hate to puss through limestone.) This is not sufficient; after having done all they Could in the way of misrepresentation, they _ find it necessary to resort to the last act of despair! They must threaten too! "They must hold out the threat that existing canals will lower their tonnage! "What? Have they really begun to contemplate the possibility of being reduced to such an alternative? This, no doubt, ■will make some impression upon the public. After this, these insidious warfters of' the public cannot fail of being per-i fccily understood.

To those who are able to appreciate its resources, and the advantages of its situation, few counties in the kingdom will appear so promising for the supply. ing of a thoroughfare line of canal with ample trade as the coonty of Derby. A practicable, and even favourable, line has been discovered; and, by inspection of the map, and the various navigable and other communications which it may ultimately lead to, the advantages likely to result from it, will be evident to every one. It would benefit this part of the country infinitely, but its benefits would «lso be felt in remote parts. Intersect, ing an extensive mining district, and opening a direct and immediate communication forty tniles nearer than by the existing 'line between the maritime, the extensive agricultural and commercial counties on the east and west, few canals have held out equal prospects of ultimate remuneration.

"Are they the friends of their country who oppose these plans for "improving its resources? Tbey seem not to have considered that mercantile capital is, in fact, ho national wealth, until it has been realised in improving the resources of the court try; nor do they seem to have considered the'irreparable mischief which may follow, if their endeavours to throw impediments in the way of these schemes succeed. If capitalists be prevented flora laving out their money in this coun

try in such speculations as promise the) fairest advantages, can it be expected that any surplus capital will remain in it. A celebrated writer on this subject proceeds thus: "The capital that is acquired to any country by commerce, or manufactures, is all a very precarious and uncertain possession, till it has been secured and realised in the cultivation and improvement of its lands. A merchant is not necessarily the citizen of any particular country. It is in a great measure indifferent to him in what place he car* rres on his trade, and a very trifling disgust will make him remove his capital; and, together with it, all the industry which it supports, from one country tt» another. No vestige now remains of the great wealth said to have been pos>essed fcy lite greater part of the lianse Towns, except in the obscure histories of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries."*

Surely no intelligence could be mora gratifying to the well-wisher of his country than to hear that capitalists are now embarking in schemes for improving its resources. We see annual grants of the public money, (the produce of the taxes) to make canals, roads, &c. in the Highlands of Scotland, for the avowed purpose of creating labour there, as a means of keeping the people from emigrating. The present is the proper time and season for opening works of this kind, in every part of the kingdom. At the present extraordinary crisis, while commerce is interrupted, and trade is reduced and embarrassed, thousands of labouring and industrious people thrown out of employ, and thus bereft of the means of supporting themselves, arc sinking in almost every part of the kingdom under the heart-rending necessity of parochial relief. It will cheer, it will gladden, the heart of every good man to hear, that, to save the labouring class from the evil* which are collecting over them, individuals, vyith ample means, actuated by the most honourable sentiments, the love of their country, are now engaging in plans for affording the industrious poor the means of honourable subsistence, by opening canals, &c. in various parts of the kingdom: thus, realising to the country, in the only possible way, and t* the labouring class in a peculiar manner, tlie reward of their former industry.

Stwkport, Amicus Patjii*.

Jan. 23, 1811.

[merged small][ocr errors]

For the Monthly Magazine.

Critical Remarks Oh Shakespeare.

Midsummer Night's Dream.
Act I Scene 1.

———Mjr gracious duke, This man hath witched the bosom of my

child; Thou, thou, Lysandcr, thou hast given her

rhimes.

BY rhimet, seem to be meant some kind of metrical charms, and not .merely love-verses, which Lysander is afterwards charged with singing by moonlight at Hermin's window. So Rosalind, in As You Like It, Act iii. Scene 6. " I was never so be-rhimed since Pythagoras's time, when I was an Irish rat, which I hardly remember."

The human mortals want their winter here, &c Act II. Scene 2.

** Shakespeare, without question, wrote," says Dr. Warburton, " winter heryed," that is, praised or celebrated. The word is to be found in Spenser's Calendar. Sir Thomas Hanmer, witli far superior judgment, proposes to read "winter cheer." And Dr. Johnson, yet more happily, " wonted yenr;" though he still thinks Titania's account confused and inconsequential; and, therefore, in imitation of Scaliger's experiment upon the Gallns of Virgil, he ventures upon a transposition of the lines, containing, it must be allowed, much display of inge. nuity. There is, however, no occasion for carrying critical temerity so far. Titanin enumerates the various calamities with which the earth was afflicted, in consequence of the quarrel subsisting between her and Oberon; and apparently closes the account with observing, that "the human mortals want their wonted year." She immediately adds, not by way of consequence, but as resuming the subject:

"No night is now with hymn or carol blest,
Therefore the Mown, the govcrness of floods.
Pale in her anger washes all the air,
And through this distemperature we see
The seasons alter," &c.

That is, we are perpetually disturbed with thy brawls; therefore, our hymns and carols are neglected: therefore, the moon, the governess of floods, is offended: therefore, no longer adored, and pale in her anger, she washes all the air: therefore, the seasons alter, &c Here is surely a regular series of deductions. Dr. J. supposes the devotion of the human, nut of the fairy, race, to suffer interruption; and Lis construction is, «' Men find no

winter; therefore, they sing no hyrrtn»; therefore, the moon, provoked by this omission, alters the seasons;"—^bat is, the alteration of the seasons produces the alteration of the seasons. This is clearly erroneous.

"The honey-bags steal frorrl the humble

bees, And for wax-tapers crop their waxen thighs. And light them at the fiery glow-wurm's

eyes." Act III. Scene 1.

"I know not," says Dr. Johnson, " how Shakespeare, who commonly derived his knowledge of nature from his own observation, happened to place the glowworm's light in his eyes, which is only in his tail." But is it not evident that Shakespeare purposely sacrificed, in this instance, physical accuracy of description to poetical effect? Who would advise, or could approve of, any alteration I And what poor duty cannot do, Noble respect takes it in might, not merit. ActV. Scene 1. The meaning is, that a generous mind takes the laborious effort, or endeavour, to please in lieu of merit. Dr. Johnson proposes to read, " takes not in might but merit." This is plausible, but it is not Shakespearian phraseology.

This drama exhibits an extraordinary mixture of humour and invention, of poetry and pathos, of negligence and absurdity. We may conjecture, from the title of Midsummer Night's Dream, bestowed upon it by the author, that Shakespeare himself was not insensible of its wild and fantastical complexion. Yet it contains scenes of distinguished excellence, and many passages which the inspiration of the highest genius only could dictate.

Merchant Of Venice* Act IP. Scene 1.

-For Affections,

Masters of passion, sway it to the moo*
Of what it likes or loaths.

This passage has been deemed very difficult, and it has given rise to numerous alterations and conjectures. Mr. Ma. tone's is the last and best. He understands, by affection, the disposition of the mind; and, by passion,corporal sensation: that is, the inclinations of the mind govern the acts of the body. A similar distinction prevails in a passage in All's Well that Ends Well.

Come, come, disclose The state of your affections; tor your pit

sions Aavc to tut; full spPCKbcd.''

Males

It seems extraordinary that the character of Shylock should ever hare been re

farded as allied to comedy. Yet we now, that, before Macklin appeared, it was represented, or rather mis-represented, by Hippesley, the Shuterofhis time, in a style of merriment. And very recently, Mr. Cooke, who is an excellent comedian, but whose powers in tragedy are very limited, has attempted to introduce something of comic effect into his performance of this character, which cannot be approved by those who remember the deeply-tragic colouring ^of Macklin.

Look how the floor of heaven <

is thick enlayed with pattens of bright

_, g0,d'

There's not the smallest orb which thou be

hold'st, But in his motion like an angel sings, Still quiring to the young-eyed chcru

bimst
Such harmony is In immortal souls j
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Act V. Scent i.

Dr. Warburton changes, erroneously be* yond a doubt, souls to sounds. Dr. Johnson rightly explains the passage, by interpreting harmony to be the power of perceiving harmony; as music in the soul is the quality of being moved with concord of sweet sounds. But he alters, without necessity, and by a deviation from the true meaning, " immortal souls" to "the immortal soul./' The purport of the passage is, "Such power of deriving bliss from harmony resides in the immortal souls of men, as well as in angels and cbcrubims; but we cannot exercise it in the present inferior state of existence.

As Yoo List's It.— Act II. Scent 7.

And then the Justice

In fair round be'lly with good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wfse saws and modern instances,
And so he plays his part.

Dr. Warburton observes, that Shakes. peare uses modern in the double sense, that the Greeks used xatvo« both for reran »nd obsurdus. But mudern is not used by Shakespeare either for rccrns or abuirdui, but for slight or trivial; as in this very play, Act iv. Scene 1: "And betray themselves to every modern censure."* So in King John, "And scorns a modern invocation." And in All's Well that Ends Well. "Her insuit runing with ber modern grace;"' and in Macl/tth (to quote no 'farther examples,) Mu>tntY Mao, No, 3io»

"Where violent sorrow seems a modem ecstacy." The meaning is, That the justice has collected a great number of common-place maxims, which he is forward and eager to apply to every slight and trivial occasion.

Blow, blow, thou winter wind}
Thou art not 90 unlcind

As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,

Altlio" thy breath be rude. &. lb.

Various attempts have been made to correct the fifth line of this stanza, but with very ill success. Dr. Warburton would fain persuade us to read, "thou art not sheen;" that is, shining or smiling. Sir Thomas Hanmer, by a dangerous and unwarrantable license, changes the whojo line to "thou causest not that teen.'* Dr. Farmer proposes, "because the heart's not seen.*' And Mr. Musgrave, "because thou art fore-seen." After all, perhaps, the only alteration necessary may be teen for seen, and the sense will thenjhe, " Because, though thou art pain, thou art not sorrow; though thou art a sharp and bitter evil, still thou art a natural and not a mental one."

Will you sterner be

Than he that dies ana lives by bloody drops 1

Act III Scene 5. After several learned notes on this passage, and proposals of amendment, we) have a common-sense explanation of it in three lines by Mr. Toilet, viz. " He who lives and dies by bloody drops, continues to the end of life in the office of an executioner." So, Act v. Scene 3, of this play, we read, ■ »

"Here will I live and die a shepherd."

Many will swoon when they do look .of

blood, There is more in it—cousin 1—Ganimede!

Act W. Scene 3. "Celia, in her first fright,'' says Dr. Johnson, "forgets Rosalind's character and disguise, and calls out, Cousin! Then recollects herself, and says, Ganimede!" And, in her fright too, it may ha remarked, she is very near blubhing the secret of Rosalind's love for Orlando. "There is more in it." These are genuine touches of nature.

This is a very interesting and beautiful comedy. The pastoral ami forest scenery, connected with the Fable, gives it a wild and romantic air. The characters are natural,'and delineated with skill and felicity. That of the melancholy Jnquej, is altogether original,, and jCuhihilsy^x"i?' "qflnit*

« ZurückWeiter »