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prejudiced enough, or ignorant enough, to institute any such comparison with the ranks immediately above them, and below the highest; because in these, until corruption has destroyed it, refinement must always be expected to prevail in its purest state. But these too would swiftly feel the debasing effects of exaltation, if the wholesome checks under which they lived were removed."
The review of a work entitled “ Plans for the Government and Liberal Instruction of Boys in large numbers, drawn from experience,” was to us interesting. But the chief interest was derived from the extracts from the book; and as we have the same book, and propose soon to do as the Edinburgh Review has done,-lay it before our readers,—we at present forbear further remarks upon it.
The fourth article details at some length, and remarks with some severity upon the policy pursued by the British government, or rather the agents of the British government, in regard to the different powers of Western Africa.
“ The many small conflicting powers between whom the Gold Coast was formerly divided, have, by recent events, been condensed into two great interests. One is that of the interior kingdom of Ashantee, whose armies, within the last fifteen years, have repeatedly overrun, and reduced to a tributary and dependent state, all the nations of the coast. The opposite interest is that of those nations now rallied under the leading standard of Fantee, and eagerly seeking the opportunity to shake off the yoke. Britain, in plunging into the vortex of African politics, has attached herself to this last confederacy, and is now following its fortunes.”
The reviewers then attempt to show that this policy is a mistaken one ; that the Fantees and their native allies are the most barbarous, most cowardly, and least faithful of the tribes of Western Africa; and that the Ashantees are more powerful, more civilized, and offer far greater advantages to British commerce than those tribes to which they have allied their interests.
The State and Prospects of Ireland form the subject of the fifth article. The reviewers inquire into the causes of those violent political and religious contentions, which have so long disgraced and agitated the country; and into those of the extreme poverty and wretchedness of the people. Under the first of these heads they enumerate Catholic Disabilities-Government and Magistracy-anu Church Establishment and Tithes. It is contended, that full and entire emancipation-emancipation in law and and in fact—is an essential preliminary measure, before attempting, by other means, to calm the fury and sooth the desperation of their crowded and starving population. It is shown that the magistracy, and the administration of the laws, are in a deplorably defective state; that there are two kinds of justice, one for the rich and another for the poor, both equally ill administered; that the highest class, from the difficulty and danger of discharging the duties of the magistracy faithfully, decline it; and it falls into the hands of those who are poordy educated, and who prostitute it to the worst of purposes. But the church establishment is the greatest source of the discontent and disaffection, and of the poverty and misery of Ireland. Of the seven mil. lions of Irish population, six millions are Catholics; and, of the remain
ing million, not more than half are of the establisbed church. Yet, small as this fraction is, the establishment for Ireland costs little less than that for the whole of England. This evil alone, if the spirit of the nation is not broken by long oppression, is sufficient to make them frantic, and prevent their being patted with affectionate condescension and soothed to quietness, till the cause of it is removed. Among the causes of the extreme wretchedness and squalid poverty of the Irish peasantry, besides those above enumerated, is to be reckoned the great increase of population for the last century, compared with the capital of the country.
“ If the amount of capital be increased without a corresponding increase taking place in the population, a larger share of such capital will necessarily fall to each individual, or, which is the same thing, the rate of wages will be proportionally increased; and if, on the other hand, population is increased faster than capital, a less share will be apportioned to each individual, or the rate of wages will be proportionally reduced. The well-being and comfort of the labouring classes are, there. fore, especially dependent on the proportion which their increase bears to the increase of the capital that is to support and employ them. If they increase faster than capital, their wages will be progressively reduced; and if they increase slower than capital, they will be progressively augmented. In fact, there are no means whatever by which the command of the labouring class over the necessaries and conveniences of life can be really augmented, other than by accelerating the increase of capital, or by retarding the increase of population; and every scheme for improving the condition of the poor, not founded on this principle, or which has not for its object to increase the ratio of capital to population, must be wholly and completely ineffectual.
“The principle we have now stated, goes very far indeed to explain the cause of the misery of the Irish peasantry. It is certainly true that there has been a considerable increase in the capital of Ireland during the last hundred years; though no one in the least acquainted with the progress of the different parts of the empire, has ever presumed to say that this increase has been either a third or even a fourth, so great as the increase of capital in England and Scotland during the same period. But the increase of population in Ireland as compared with its increase in Britain, has been widely different from the increase in the capital of the two countries, or in their means of maintaining and supporting population. According to the tables given in the Parliamentary Reports, the population of Britain amounted, in 1720, to 6,955,000, and in 1821, it amounted to 14,391,000, having a little more than doubled in the course of the century. But from the same Reports it appears, that the population of Ireland, whose capital had increased in so very inferior a proportion to that of Britain, amounted to a very little more than two millions in 1731, and to very near seven millions in 1821; having nearly quadrupled in less time than the population of Britain took to double !
And facts and data are brought forward to show, that Ireland, sunk as she is in beggary and destitution, is the most densely peopled country in the world. The reviewers investigate, at some length, the causes which have occasioned this extraordinary increase of population, compared with capital, and point out the means by which they may be
counteracted. But we are obliged to pass over all these, as well as the sixth article of the Review, on the “ Court of Chancery,” and the seventh, on “ Letters illustrative of English History."
The eighth article is on a subject frequently discussed in the Edinburgh Review,-" The Criminal Law of Scotland,”—and calls again for a revision of the system, states the evils of its present organization, and answers objections to improvements which have been before proposed. The ninth is a frightful picture of the Slavery of the British West India colonies, as it exists, both in law and practice. The reviewers, as they have often and with some effect done before, make their eloquent and powerful appeals to the British nation to interfere and spare humanity the enormities practised by the colonists upon their slaves.
“We believe that, on this subject, the hearts of the English People burn within them. They hate slavery. They have hated it for ages. It has, indeed, hidden itself for a time in a remote nook of their dominions : but it is now discovered and dragged to light. That is sufficient. Its sentence is pronounced ; and it never can escape; never, though all the efforts of its supporters should be redoubled,-never, though sophistry, and falsehood, and slander, and the jests of the pothouse, the ribaldry of the brothel, and the slang of the ring or fives' court, should do their utmost in its defence,-never, though fresh insurrections should be got up to frighten the people out of their judgment, and fresh companies to bubble them out of their money,-never, though it should find in the highest ranks of the peerage, or on the steps of the throne itself, the purveyors of its slander, and the mercenaries of its defence !"
In the tenth article facts are stated to show that the less the duty on Coffee is, within certain limits, the greater the consumption; and that the increase of consumption, when the duties are low, is so rapid as to yield the greatest revenue to government when the duties are least. They believe, that by reducing the duties on coffee to a third or fourth of their present amount, the government may increase the wealth, comforts, and enjoyments of a large class of the community, and effectually check that adulteration of coffee which is now practised to a very great extent; and that they may do all this not only without any sacrifice of revenue, but even with a considerable addition to its amount !
The next article is a very interesting one on the state of Hayti. It shows, conclusively, by authentic facts, that the natural increase of population, even under the disadvantages of a long and sanguinary struggle for the attainment and maintenance of independence, is far greater than in the slave colonies; and that the enemies of abolition must waive their objection, “ that the numbers could never be kept up without importation.” Hayti is 'represented not only in a flourishing condition in regard to population, military force, commerce, and revenue; but as improving in civilization and the arts and refinements of civilized life.
“ The following is part of a letter from General Inginal, Secretarygeneral to the President; and it will be seen from its tenor how much attention is paid there to the greatest of all subjects which can occupy the attention of rulers, that in which all others are indeed compressed, the Education of the people. It also marks that the improvement of agriculture and commerce is rapidly increasing—and it displays the good spirit which prevails with respect to foreign aggression.
I can assure you, sir, that being perfectly convinced that education and agriculture are the chief sources of the strength of states, the Government of the Republic does not neglect any thing which can promote these two objects; and I can announce to you with great satisfaction, that both in their progress answer fully to the care bestowed on them. The number of youth of both sexes who study in the elementary schools and in the upper classes, is prodigious. In all our towns, the schools kept by private people, and the national schools, are much increased, and they are found in all the large villages of the interior. I am myself astonished at the happy change which has taken place in public education, and which is daily taking place in the improvement of morals—all which is effected tranquilly and with satisfaction, under the mild influence of a truly paternal government.'
The last article is a short notice of Mr Brougham's pamphlet on the Education of the People. The Edinburgh Review has taken up the subject of education, for the last year or two, with a zeal and a power which cannot fail of their results upon the condition of the systems of public instruction in England. The truth of the maxims, that “ knowledge is power,” and that“ knowledge is essential to freedom,” has long had a speculative assent. We are glad to perceive that the belief begins to affect the practice ; and that knowledge is beginning to be diffused with a zeal which shows men in earnest.
North American Review for April, 1825. Besides reviews and notices of several popular works, as Redwood, Butler's Reminiscences, Professor Everett's Orations, &c. this number contains an account of the Insurrection of Tupac Amaru in Peru, in 1780 and 1781. This person was a descendant of the ancient Incas, and well qualified for the undertaking. The contest was fierce and bloody, and threatened the downfall of the Spanish power in Peru; but though of so much importance, was scarcely heard of in Europe till mentioned by Humboldt.
Another article relates to the vindication of Count Pulaski from a charge of gross neglect of military duty, on a certain occasion, during our revolutionary war. This charge appeared in Judge Johnson's Biography of General Greene, and was repelled with great indignation, by a brother officer of the count, in a pamphlet, which is the subject of the review. There can be no doubt that the charge was entirely groundless. The reviewer takes the opportunity of doing that honour to the memory of this gallant officer, which it so well deserves from every American writer.
A very elaborate article, occupying more than fifty pages, is devoted to the History of Modern Astronomy, and the advancement
of the science during the last half century, by various astronomers in England and France. We have not space to enter into any analysis of this, which we recommend to our readers, as the most learned and comprehensive article which has ever appeared in any American periodical publication within our knowledge.
An article on Napoleon's Codes of Law, gives an account of their character, and the mode in which they were drawn up. It appears that the emperor did much more than merely to command the services of
learned men for this purpose. The articles were separately discussed before the Council of State, at which he was almost always present, and participated in the discussion, and that with ability apparently not inserior to that of any of the counsellors.
In general, we are disposed to agree with the sentiments advanced in the several articles of this number. We think, however, that in one instance, the impression likely to be given to the public to be erroneous; we refer to the notice of Garnett's Lectures on Female Education. We omit particulars at present, as we intend to make this book the subject of a particular notice.
The Westminster Review for January, 1825. This Review is conducted with less talent than either the Edinburgh or Quarterly. The present number contains an article on the works of Dallas and Medwin, respecting Lord Byron. From some internal evidence, we suspect it to be the work of Mr Hobhouse. The writer stigmatizes Mr Dallas, sen. as ungrateful and greedy ; not content with spunging Lord Byron during his life, but eager to make the most of his remains. He contradicts Mr Dallas' statements in many instances; but we have not room to go into the details of this squabble, which is rather disgusting. Medwin's work is handled with still greater severity. The reviewer prints many of Medwin's assertions with an opposite column containing the fact. We find no reason to alter materially the opinion which we gave in our own review of this work; except, perhaps, that we incline to think Medwin a greater blackguard, than before.
A work on the French Monarchy, Dibdin's Library Companion, and Letters from an Absent Brother, are reviewed in that style of severity, which is so popular with the British journalists. A new number of Moore's Melodies is treated with great favour. A notice of the Penal Code of Louisiana, we shall take occasion to treat of at greater length than our limits, in this place, will permit.
An article on Contagion and Sanitary Laws is interesting, as any thing tolerably written on that subject must always be. Though we agree in general with the writer, we think him rather too confident, and not sufficiently aware of the uncertainty and difficulty of reasoning on medical subjects. His doctrines are in the main the same with those of Dr Smith's Etiology and Philosophy of Epidemics, which we had occasion to notice in our number for November 1st, 1824.
The most entertaining articles are an attack on Mr Southey and his Book of the Church, and a severe criticism of an article on Panegyrical Oratory, published in the Quarterly Review. We cannot but be somewhat amused, when we see our old enemies, the British periodicals, turning and rending each other with such zeal and execution.
Triumphs of Intellect; a Lecture delivered October, 1824, in the Chapel of Water
ville College. By Stephen Chapin, D. D. Professor of Theology in said College.
Waterville. 1824. 8vo. pp. 3i. UNDER this captivating title, we expected to find sketched some of the great achievements of mind in modern times, in extending its empire more widely beth over itself and over the material word. Or, we thought