« AnteriorContinuar »
navy 150,000 men, exclusive of merchant vessels ; this is nearly half a million of men for the sole purpose of war, out of a population of fifteen or sixteen millions. In this proportion, France proper, independent of its allies, should be able to keep up a military and naval establishment of more than a million of men. Considering how many men the manufactories and commerce of England, and the enormous luxury of servants employ, it appears evident that its efficient popu- : lation bears a very high proportion to its nominal
Respecting the poor-laws much anxiety has been expressed as to a practical substitute; for, although the country might do without them, as the example of Scotland shews, yet it is not pretended that parish assistance could be discontinued suddenly. The prodigious extent of waste land appears to me to offer the most natural substitute. The nation has perhaps two hundred thousand destitute families subsisting wholly, or in part, on its bounty; it has, on the other hand, about twenty millions of acres uninclosed, and nearly useless. The cultivation of one-twentieth part of that land would afford employment and subsistence to the two hundred thousand families of
paupers. aware that
obstacles must be overcome; yet the remedy seems abundantly equal to the evil. The present generation of poor once provided for, those born after a certain period of years might, with justice and good policy, be left
families: of whom 896,000 employed in husbandry ; 1,129,000 in trades and useful arts; the remaining 519,000 families are
; composed of the very poor, the very rich, and the professional. See Quarterly Review, No. XVI.
WALES-ANÈCDOTE OF MR. H.-FRUIT.
to their own exertions, as in other countries, and particularly in Scotland.
We were shewn in the Vale of Clwydd the house of Mrs. Piozzi, better known as the friend of Dr. Johnson under the name of her first husband, Mr. Thrale. She is a widow for the second time; and is represented as of a lively agreeable society. Another house was pointed out to us, that of a Mr. Hughes, who was a poor clergyman, and is now in the receipt of an income of L. 75,000 sterling a-year from the rich Anglesea copper-mines, discovered a few years ago on a barren piece of land, of which he was in part proprietor. Lord Uxbridge, who owns a part of the ground, was in treaty for his share a short time before the discovery of the mine, and they had agreed upon a sum (a very small one), when Lord U. neglecting to meet the parson on a day appointed to finish the business, the latter, offended, would not give him another meeting, and the sale did not take place. Mr. H. bought this estate in the Vale of Clwydd for L. 250,000 sterling, being upwards of 5000 acres of very rich land, at L. 48 an acre. Land in this place rents from L. 2 to L. 3, 10s. an acre. Labour is 2s. a-day, and nothing found. Poor-rates have been lately 2s. in the pound. This climate is not favourable to fruit; with
proper care some is produced at great expense; but this is not within reach of the bulk of the people. To make up for this deficiency, tlte English have raised to the rank of fruit that wild berry (gooseberry), known in France by the name of groseille à masquereau : they have in fact made it a fruit, having so improved it by cultivation as to bring it to a respectable size and taste. I measured some three inches and a quarter in circum
ference. Strawberries are better here than in America, and perhaps than in France. The sterility of the climate in point of fruits seems to have passed into their names: most of the smaller ones are composed of berry and some designative addition tacked to it. The names of birds partake of this sterility :--gold-finch,-bull-finch,-chaff-finch, -green-finch, and all the finches of the grove.
Although poor in these respects, the English language is one of the richest in Europe. Johnson's Dictionary contains nearly 37,000 words, while the French Dictionary of the Academy has not quite 30,000. Johnson* has many obsolete words, but there are full as many now in use which he has not. The Spanish language is said to have 30,000, and the Italian 33,000. The English adopt new words more readily than the French do; their best speakers in Parliament introduce them sometimes, and they are naturalized on their authority. The lan
Taking 100 pages of John- The Dictionary of the French son's Dictionary, some of each Academy, edition of Nismes, of the different letters, I have 1786, with Supplement, taking found
118 pages in the same way, and 15910 substantives
calculating on 80 words for 10142 verbs
every page of the Supplement, 8444 adjectives
gave 18716 substantives 2288 adverbs
4803 adjectives 36784 words.
29712 words. In both cases words with different meanings have been taken in the account for one only. Many words in Johnson's Dictionary have twenty or thirty distinct meanings ; ( to make ) has fifty-nine meanings, ( to run ) sixty-six. In the Dictionary of the Academy, a most wretched performance every way, the differences and shades of sense of each word are so inaccurately and absurdly marked, that it is impossible to ascertain the different meanings of which each word is capable.
guage of the English court was half Norman French till Henry VIII. It did not acquire a homogeneous and regular form till Shakespeare and Bacon; and although it has been improved and enriched since that time, yet the style of Shakespeare is not old compared to other writers of the same period, much less so than Sully and Montaigne's. To the multitude of words ending in s the English language owes that prevailing hissing sound which is remarked by foreigners. Opening Johnson's Dictionary at random, I found generally three words in each page terminated in ess, making about 3000 words; and besides these, the third person singular of all verbs terminates in s; as also the plural and possessive case of all nouns.
The general sound of the language is in other respects meagre and hard; it does not flow, but proceeds by jerks, and with a tone by no means harmonious and pleasing to the ear. The English themselves have no idea of that general effect; none can judge of it properly but those, who, not understanding the language, attend solely to the sounds; and I now speak of it from recollection of what I felt before the sense took up my attention, and before habit had familiarized my ear to the sound. The French language, under similar circumstances, appears, I understand, dull and inarticulate, wanting accent and elasticity, and not sufficiently sonorous. Among the modern languages the Italian alone deserves to be called musical, and perhaps the Spanish. The Russian and Swedish are said to have softness. The English, however, makes up for its poorness of sound by capacity and vigour; it is highly descriptive, and possesses a great range of expression. The French is eminently elegant, clear, and simple. The intricacy
of our nicest feelings might be best described in the one, their depth and energy in the other; and the French has perhaps the advantage in treating didactic subjects. A comparative estimate of the two languages, word to word, and idiom to idiom, the summing up of their means, and an accurate return of their respective forces, would naturally produce a good dictionary of the two languages, which at present is not in existence. It would be a work to undertake in old age, when no livelier interest or pursuit remains ; a daily occupation,a quiet and durable sort of amusement, which you may be sure not to survive; the only friend and companion, perhaps, to solace your last
years. Returning to fruit, from which the above may possibly be considered as an unwarrantable digression,-apples are scarce, knotty, and stunted; people in America would not think it worth while to gather them. Cider, however, is good here, but dear, and in those parts of the country we have visited cannot be the common drink of the inhabitants; which is not to be regretted, beer being a more wholesome beverage. I am pleased to find that ardent spirits have not superseded malt liquors among the labouring class to the degree I had been led to expect. There are certainly many fewer rum drinkers here than in America. Working-people are not saturated with alcohol; and have not here that spirituous atmosphere constantly emanating from the pores of one half of the males, and a considerable portion of the females of that class in America, which assails your nose two or three steps off whenever you approach them. It is not uncommon for labourers to use in the course of the day a pint of rum, and many of them a quart; a dose which would kill outright any person not ac