Page images
PDF
EPUB

feffions, individuals there would have judged of their value after a different manner. They know that at home it is neither the exceot of their posseflions, nor the richness of the soil, that conititores the value of an estate, but the number of people it contains. Io transferring an estate, therefore, they mention not the number of its acres, but the number of its people, and according to that number they estimate its value. In Ruflia, therefore, those immense territories we have ac. quired without any inhabitants, upon the posteliion of which we plume ourselves fo much, would not have been accounted of any value at all. Whether does the Rullian or Briton in this case judge most wisely? Mary particulars must be attended to before this quettion can be properly decided. It is only necessary here to remark, that they boch judge from habit rather than from reasoning, and that they are of course equally liable to be mistaken. It is not thus thai mankind Should judge in matters of so much importance.

• From what has already been said, it will appear evident, that al. though America had been contiguous to Britain, so as to have admicred of being united wiib it into one connected kingdom, although it would in that case have been more easily defended and governed than at present, yet on account of the disperfion of our people that would necessarily take place, upon the acquisition of such an extended · territory, the empire must have been weakened, and its industry di. Ininished. · It follows, that as America is ftuated, disjoined from Britain by such a track of ocean, and therefore so much more difficult to be protected or governed, these inconveniences must be felt in a till tronger degree, unless their bad effects are counterbalanced by some favourable circumstances, that have not yet been taken into the account.'

None such however appear, because the interests of different communities will ever be distinct.

• If one man feels that his intereft is hurt by another, he will submit to that as a hardship, so long as he finds he cannot avoid it without subjecting himself to a greater inconvenience, but no longer: and this is ilill more obviously the case with regard to nations. It is is. terefi alone which establishes the rights of government, and power that maintains them.'

As the principles here advanced are ably supported, and will not be easily overturned, they may at least silence those who are not convinced that we can have raised and carried on fuch a busy intercourse with powerful colonies, on mistaken notions : whije others may listen to them, with that kind of reluctant affent that conlilts in making a virtue of nect flity. But all the while, however we inay reason, and however we may act, it is beyond our power to counterwork the natural tendency of causes to produce their certain effects. Physical evils arrive at a crisis which produces their cure; the same course takes place in political evils, (nly as the agency of man operates in the latter, they may. either aggravate them to partial destructions, or bring them to a more gentle and favourable rermination. A different conduct in our commanders, at the beginning of American hoftilities, might

have destroyed the credit of certain confident declarations, which are now as confidently quoted as predictions ; but the moft decisive success could only have retarded events that must after. wards have taken place: And on the principles Mr. Anderson fo ftrongly urges, we have as little reason to be dissatisfied with the event of the contest, as to be satisfied with their execution of the trusts reposed in them. It remains only to act wisely from presenc circumstances.

Our heavy national burdens are consistently with the above passage, ascribed to this distant continental connexion.

• The amount of our taxes has indeed afforded a fubject for much declamation ; but the causes of the great increase of the national expence which occasions these taxes, has seldom been thought of, The preliure of our taxes has been complained of, but it has not been fug. gefed that this pressure bas been greatly augmented in consequence of ihe paucity of our people, which has been in a great measure occa. ioned by the emigrations to America, and our exertions in its defence. When our manufacturers have been thrown out of employment, froin a fagnation of demand in foreign markets, occafioned by the circumftances above-named, inftead of contriving means to alleviate their burthens, and to furnith them with employment at home, allurements have been held out to entice them to the colonies, where taxes were hardly known and prote&tion has been afforded gratis. It does not seem to have been adverted to by those who promoted these measures, that in consequence of the migrations arising from these causes, the taxes on those behind would require to be augmented, and that of course, the evil complained of would be increased, and greater mi. grations become necessary; which, if the same conduct is to be observed, must go on increafing till the total de population of the ftate puis a stop to them.'

The truth of this position depends on what was said before ; for if the former doctrine is accepted as valid, no objedlion remains against this inference from it.

Our Author infifts strongly on the colonies having operated as a continual drain to carry off useful inhabitants from this country; which bas probably been too much the case : and he ascribes the increase of inhabitants there more to this influx, than to the alleged (peedy population among themselves.

• Isis,' says he, ! generally believed," that mankind increase fo much faiter in America by natural procreation, ihan in Britain, that The diminution of the inhabitants of this country bears no fort of proportion to their increase in the colonies, and tha: by consequence the lofs we have suftained by the seitling of America, is much more than made up to us by the gain we reap from the commerce of the colonies.

I dave examined ihis question with atteniion, but have not been able to meet with any fact that tends to corroborate the opinion, anless it be the fingle circumitance of the rapid population of some of the provinces of America. Bus from this circumitance alone, we well know, that no such inference can be drawn. The inhabitants of Lungon, Liverpool, Mancheiter, and many other places in Britain,

have,

have, in like manner, increased in a moft rapid progresion; but no man, because of this circunstance, has ever believed that those places are more favourable for population than others. It is on the contrary well known, that were it not for the continual supplies of people they conftantly draw from the country, the inhabitants of those places would probably diminish instead of increaling. The same inference may be made with regard to the population of America, unless other facts are produced to prove a contrary opinion.

• From the most accurate enquiry I could make, I bave not met with a single circumstance that tends to prove, that the inhabitants of America increase by natural procreation in the smallest degree faster than they do in the country, and distant provinces of Britain. To afcertain this fact, I have enquired after parochial regilters; bus chose of America could not be obtained. And if they could, unless they are kept with more than ordinary care, it would not be safe impli. ciily to rely on them.

• For want of means of berter information, I then had recourse to an expedient, which the reader may easily adopt if he inclines: It was, to put some of the American refugees (who at present abouod in this country) upon recollecting the number of children in such families as they knew in America, whose parents were either dead, or pait hopes of increasing their families; and comparing these with an equal number of families in Britain, in similar circumtances, taken also at random, from the recollection of persons who had never been out of the island. Upon this trial I could find no perceptible advantage on the side of America over the country places and distant provinces (for it was to these places Iconfined my enquiry) in Great Britain. It is not contended that very great accuracy could be obtained by this mode of enquiry; but it is presumed that had the disparity in this relpect been near so great as has been contended for, a fensible difference must have been perceived even by this mode of crial.'

The historical proofs he brings of emigration to America, and the great waste of lives before permanent settlements were formed, which he supposes still to continue under the hard thips endured in extending the settlements westward, may serve his argument better than this mode of comparing the procreative powers in Britain and America; for families of children may be admitted to be as large in one place as in the other, and yet population go on fafter there, from a consideration so obvious, that it is rather a wonder to find it overlooked. When matrimonial connexions are formed, we may conclude cæteris paribus, they may, for any cause that appears to the contrary, be as productive here as in Ameriça: But it is generally argued, that from the difficulties of rupporting a family among us, people are more reluctant in subjecting themselves to the burden; and that hence from living in ceJibacy, families are not so numerous here as in America. Ta ascertain this point we are not to compare twenty families with twenty families, to find their produce of children ; but in parts of each country, as nearly fimilar as can be found, to number one,

(WO

two, or more parishes in each, and from a determinate number of resident inhabitants compare the respective proportions of the married to the single. If this could be easily accomplished, it would then appear how far our Author was justified in the policy he attributes to the Americans. It was the INTEREST of the people in America to induce as many persons as posible to migrate to America, and therefore it has been their study to exhibit as flattering a picture as posible to the public of the falubrity and other excellencies of their country. In the meanwhile this will not be deemed a forced conjecture, and when it met a persuasion of the same nature on this side the Atlantic, it would operate accordingly.

Having shown that great part of our national expences are to be charged to the account of our colonies; the Author also confiders the commercial advantages we are supposed to have reaped from them : but even these he deems fallacious, and flares a case to shew, that from the loss of the numbers who have left this country to settle there, and taking into the account the articles of life consumed by them, the balance is against us. The temptation this connection affords for frequent wars; the waste of people, and the oppressions on the remainder to carry them on; the hazards liberty is exposed to under an extended empire; are all infifted on with great force of argument. The inquiry is no less curious than interesting; and the Author has at the close of it drawn up and recommended a treaty of general pacification, founded on a freedom of trade to America, guaranteed by a confederacy of the European powers : in which he partitions out the American provinces between Great Britain and the new States in that country. But however fair all this may appear to the speculator in his closet; we cannot on the review of them avoid recollecting, that it is interest alone which establishes the rights of government, and power that maintains them.' According to which principle, it is natural to think, that right will be totally out of the question in driving the bargain at a negociation; where each of the con-, tracting parties will insist on the terms their swords have carved out for them.

• He maintains that we have internal resources in this island, and, in the due cultivation of the fisheries round it, to support, at least, an hundred times the number of inhabitants it contains.

ART.

WE

ART. VII. Philological Enquiries, in Three Parts, by James Harris,

Esq. 8vo. 2 Vols, 8 s. 6d. Boards. Nourse. 1781.

E have here a posthumous work of a Writer highly and

deservedly respected in the republic of letters. It was intended by the Author for publication, and the whole of it was printed before his death.

It is divided into three Parts; the first of which is an investie gation of the rise and different species of criticism and critics; the lecond-an illustration of critical doctrines and principles, as they appear in distinguished Authors, as well antient as modern; the third is rather historical than critical, being an efsay on the taste and literature of the middle age.

In the perusal of these Enquiries, the Reader's attention will feldom be fatigued with those metaphysical refinements, and that subtle erudition, with which the Author's Philosophical Arrangements were thought, even by persons well versed in antient learning and metaphysics, to abound too much. On the contrary, he will be pleased with the simple and perspicuous detail of critical speculations, which, though rarely new, are always elegant and curious, and very frequently interspersed with facts, particulars, and anecdotes, deserving to be more generally known than they are.

If any persons, not deeply learned, are desirous of forming themselves to a correct relish of the best models in composition, and to a true judgment in matters of literary tafte, there is icarcely any book that can be more properly recommended to their perurai than that now before us. Amidst many topics of encomium, on which we could enlarge with pleasure, we beg leave to remark that one singular excellence, and perhaps the chief merit of this work is, ihat the character of the Author ftands forth to view in every page ; marked with peculiarities indeed, but peculiarities of the most amiable and respectable kind. As we read, we feem liftening to the conversation of an elegant scholar, a gentleman, a person of the greatest candour, sincerity, and worth ; delirous of impressing his own liberal senciments on the minds of others.

Far from having his mind contracted by that fastidious rzucamilhness, which long habits of admiring the best models aje apt to produce, Mr. Harris is very earnest in recommending the stores of Arabian literature to the attention of the learned in Europe, and takes pleasure in giving, perhaps, more than their just praise to the few writers who deserve to be distinguished amid the darkness of Gothic times. With the fame liberality of mind, he hattens to introduce to public notice the late appearances of clashcal literature, and of good taste, in the dominions of the Empress of Rusija,

Se

« PreviousContinue »