Imagens das páginas

In the West India islands, from the time of the appearance of the first joint, the cane acquires à fresh joint nearly every week, for the space of 40 or 50 weeks; whereas in the King of France's botanic garden at Paris, M. Thouin shewed the author a cane which had been brought from America in a pot ten years before ; and which, in all that time, had got only two joints out of the ground. "To know a plant therefore thoroughly, says Mr. Cazaud, we should study' it in the cli, mate to which it belongs.'

From the last article in this volume, the meteorological journal of the royal society, we learn that the variation of the needle, in July 1778, was 22 degrees, 204 minutes.

* The MATHEMATICAL Articles will be reviewed in our

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ART. VI. A fight Sketch of the Controversy between Dr. Priestley

and bis Opponents, on the Subje&t of bis Disquisitions on Matter and Spirit. In a Lercer to a Friend. 8vo. is. Becket. 1780.

HE ingenious artist, who has here undertaken a delinea

tion of the controversy between Dr. Priestley and his Answerers, profeffes in the most modeft terms, to give only a flight sketch, or the mere outlines of the ground on which the metaphysical and religious combatants have exerted themselves. His outlines, however, are far from being deftitute of strong light and thade ; nor is a little warm colouring wanting occafionally. He declares himself to be no disciple of Dr. Priestley, but nevertheless desirous of bearing a willing tribute to his merit;' particularly in exposing the partial, erroneous, and, in one or two well known instances, wilfully false accounts, that have been given of his doctrine, and its tendency.

On the present controversy, says our Author, Dr. Priestley hath had the misfortune of being misunderstood, or misrepresented, beyond any other writer of rank and character in the literary world-unlets, perhaps, we except the most learned and ingenious author of the “ Divine Legation of Moles.” Botha have fallen under the invidious imputation of scepticism: and the religious professions of both have been equally dscredited either by ignorance, which could not comprehend the tenor of arguments that were not confined to the common and beaten track of speculation and logic; or by envy-which, when it fails to destroy a man's claims to learning and genius, will torture its invention, and Scripture too, to make his religion questionable.

Dr. Priestley, he afterwards adds, ' has been accused of a design the most oppofite to his wishes; and that is, to fubvert the doctrine of a future ftate. His enemies-for as'a Prejlyterian he hath many—and as a Socinian more-have preci6

pitately pitately caught at the charge: and some of them were not destitute of that cunning and address which were just suficient to give it the credit they desired. The swarm of Atheistic Libertines, who are not qualified to reason about religion, but only to vilify it, because it is a check on their views, were very eager to adopt as a truth, what his enemies had exhibited as an accusation. They were happy to enroll the name of Priestley in the catalogue of those heroic writers, who, scorning an accommodation with religion, had nobly rejected, in the greatness of their souls, both its duties and its sanctions; and having represented virtue as the mere creature of custom and polity, had given up a future state as the dream of superstition, or the artifice of priestcraft.'

The persons whose writings relative to Dr. Priestley's meta. physical and religious opinions are more particularly noticed in this sketch, are—that original character, the Pries of Nature,' John Buncle, Esq;--the Rev. David Williams, the Preacher in Margaret-Street,' who hath only the secondary honour of coming after John Buncle, Esg;' in this high and self-appointed office ;-the memorable Mr. James Seton ;-the Notorious' -envenomed old Jacobite,' Shebbeare;-Mr. Joseph Berrington ;-the late Dr. Kenrick ;-a Christian ;-Mr. Whitehead; Dr. Horlley ;-Dr. Price ; -Philalethes Rusticans ;-Dr. Duncan ;-the mighty“ Vindicator of the Church of England,” and one or two others.--After briefly reviewing, with much Spirit, and occasionally with humour, the opinions or views of the controversists, the Author discusses the true point in debate between Dr. Priestley and his more sober and rational opponents; principally, to use his own words, with a view to convince the Infidel, that Dr. Priestley is no partizan of his cause, no advocate for any doctrine that hath the most remote tendency to unsettle the laws or fanctions of religion : but on the contrary, that he hath exerted his best talents in fixing them on the only foundation on which they can securely stand, -and that is, the GOSPEL of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, whose resurrection ALONE “bath begotten us again to a lively hope of an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.”

ART. VII. Letters on the Utility and Policy of employing Machines to

foorten Labour ; occasioned by the late Disturbances in Lancalhire. To which are added, some Hints for the farther Extension and Improvement of our Woollen Trade and Manufactures. 8vo. 15. Becker.

1780. THE subject of these Letters forms a considerable branch of

that useful science which explains the principles and caufes of the populousness and wealth of nations. The prac

[ocr errors]

tice of this science, so peculiarly interesting to mankind, is better understood in England than it was by any of the ancient, and than it is by all the modern nations of Europe. Yet by some unaccountable fatality, which it is almost as difficult to believe as to explain, there is scarcely any civilised people who have paid less attention to the theory of political economy than the generality of the inhabitants of this island. The name we have borrowed from the French, as they did from the Greeks; which tends to prove that our continental neighbours preceded us in examining this branch of study; and it is well known that they had established innumerable societies for cultivating it, and had published many voluminous works, containing the result of their reasonings and inquiries; while in England, this important science was comprehended within the narrow limits of a few imperfect treatises *, which merit our attention rather from the particular facts they relate, than from the general principles which they explain.

But respecting this branch of knowledge, as well as many others, it may be observed, that what the French have begun or invented, the English have improved and carried to perfection. We can now boast of two writers in our own language, whose superior merit is allowed by the general consent of Europe, and even of the French themselves, to raise them above the whole class of French æconomists t; and whose penetration and ability have described the internal structure of the political edifice, with a degree of perspicuity and of force, which is equally instructive and convincing. The reader, who has paid any attention to the philosophical principles of government, will immediately recollect the names of Hume and Smith, whose writings, by a felicity rarely allotted to the productions of this island, have passed the seas in safety and with honour; have acquired one uniform character among the thinking part of mankind in every country which they have reached; and while decried by the ignorant prejudice, clamorous faction, and fuperftitious bigotry of a particular party at home, have obtained the general suffrage of philosophers in every corner of Europe.

The great principles of the economical science are so ably and so copiously explained by these invaluable writers I, that

Davenant's Discourses, Perry's Political Arithmetic, Mun, Gee, Law, Child on Trade.

+ The writers upon economy so called.

1 With Hume's “ Essays,” and Smith's “ Causes of National Wealth,” we might class Sir James Stuart's work on “ Political Economy,” if the low and incorrect Ayle and careless arrange: ment of that performance did not disgrace the sensible observations, and deep, yet solid reasonings with which it abounds. Rev. Mar, 1780.



it is scarcely possible to add any new information of importance upon this interesting subject. All that remains to be done, and it is what the judicious Author of the pamphlet before us seems to have done with success, is to apply these principles to particular cases, to call them forth as occasion may require, and to present them in such a point of view as may appear most striking to those whose conduct they are meant to influence. That our Readers may judge of this matter for themselves, we shall insert a specimen of the work, where, speaking of the benefit resulting from the employing of machines, the Author in a plain and popular style, proceeds thus :

• To illustrate this subject, and make it, if possible, fill plainer, let us suppose that there were only two woollen manufactories in this nation, and no foreign commerce; that one of ihese manufactories was situated in the north, and the other in the south; that they employed each icoo hands; that provisions were nearly at the same price in both parts of the kingdom, and they made the same kinds of goods. If these manufactories were 200 miles asunder, their markets would meet about half way, and neither of them would expect to sell their goods beyond this natural line ; because the expence of carriage would be against the manufacture that was sent beyond these limits. Let us suppose, however, provisions to rise in the south, and consequently the price of labour to rise there also; but both to remain the same as at first in the north. The northern manufactory would soon gain upon the southern markets, and instead of 100, would gradually supply 110, 115, 120, &c. miles, while the space the southern manufactory could supply would gradually contract to 90 miles, 85 miles, 80 miles, &c. so that the demand there would be daily diminishing, and the people would begin to leave the south, and go into the north for employment, where the demand would be constantly increasing; and instead of coo, they would have employment for 1500 people, while the other manufactory could scarcely employ sco. The cheapness of the goods made in the north would in time draw all the demand thither, as well as the work-people; and if no measures were taken to prevent it, the southern manufactory would go to ruin, and the other would, on the contrary, increase and be established. All this might be effected, and would certainly be effected by an advantage in the price of labour, if no fteps were taken to counteract that effect; but we will suppose when the southern manufactory was considerably diminished, an intelligent manufa&urer, who had both invention and taste, contrived a fouttle, by means of wbich one man could do the work of two, in the coarse goods, and that he likewise made several improvements in the colours and patterns of the finer goods; and that the people, inhead of abusing him and breaking his shuttles, speedily adopted them, and imitated him in his other improvements ; in this case, as the coarse goods could be made much cheaper, though each separate weaver was paid more for his personal labour, and the fine goods were much more accept. able by being more beautiful, che demand for both would soon return to the south, that for the coarse cheap goods would confderably increase ; the double quantity of work performed on the coarse articles would all be sold, as the goods would be much cheaper than those that were made at the other manufactory of the same kinds ; and double the number of looms being now set up, they would not only employ all the weavers that half the number employed before, but twice the number of work-people, depending upon the quantity of yaro worked up. Twice the quantity of wool would be wanted; twice the quantity of carding; twice the quantity of spinning, &c. so that the number of people employed by this single invention would be exceedingly increased, and this manufactory would more than counterbalance the low price of labour in the north; so far even as to draw back the people that had gone thither from the other, and in return endanger the ruin of che northern manufactory; where every thing and person depending upon the manufactory would languish, and the country be greatly distressed.

ably good

" If, upon an attempt to introduce the shuttles into the northern manufactory ; upon a decline of trade, the mistaken people, instead of receiving them with joy, Mould rise in mobs, and break them to pieces, the total destruction of their manufactory would probably be the consequence, while that in the south would rival them at their own doors, and get all their work-people and their customers.

• By this prudent conduct the southern manufactory would become famous : but should the northern manufactory overcome their prejadices before the people were entirely dispersed, their business might revive; they would have some advantage in the lower price of la. bour; they would probably succeed well in the low-priced goods ; while those in the south would be most famous for the fine ; and in this state the country would become famous, and an extensive foreign commerce might be established and supported to the benefit of the pation for many years. It would however be limited and counteracted by foreign rivals, sometimes lofing and sometimes gaining ground, as the varying price of labour and exertions of ingenuity ihould reciprocally take place; and if the price of labour should gradually rise in this country more than in the neighbouring nations, many articles might be lost ; we might be beaten out of some distant markets, and the manufactory might gradually decline from this circumstance of the price of labour only.

• Fourthly. But supposing the goods to be well and kilfully manufactured, and a very extensive commerce established ; supposing likewise the advancing price of labour was in some measure counter balanced by the aid of machines, and peculiar care and skill in finishing the goods, yet it is possible that by a very general and unsuccessful war, by the advanced prices of freight, insurance, &c. our manufactories might experience unusual ditticolties, and be in great danger of ruin for want of foreign markets to which our manufacturers could have access.

• In such a Itace of things, which I am sorry to observe is nearly our present condition, what is to be done ? Are we to fit camely down, and view with idle and ineffe&tual lamentations our approaching distresses? Or must we exert ourselves like men, and reTolve by the most rational means to avoid them ? It will answer no Q2

« AnteriorContinuar »