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he hath built us a synagogue ;' and besides a beautiful exhibition of the facts and characters contained in the story, he presented his audience with a beautiful dissertation on the origin, progress, and influence of synagogue worship. But he touched every thing with the hand of a master.
We highly commend the spirit and design of the writer of this little book, though we cannot, and we are sorry for it, speak highly of the execution, or approve of many of the opinions he has expressed.
Just Published. The Second Annual Report of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, with an Appendix.
The Scottish Congregational Magazine. New Series. No. IX.
The End of Living and the Gain of Dying to the faithful Servant of Christ. A Sermon on occasion of the death of the Rev. Greville Ewing. By Ralph Wardlaw, D.D.
Conferences of the Reformers and Divines of the early English Church oa the Doctrines of the Oxford Tractarians.
Biblical Cabinet-Annotations on some of the Messianic Psalms, from the Commentary of Rosenmüller, &c.
Facts and Feelings illustrative of Interior Religion, accompanied by Memorials of Madame Guyon, Fenelon, and other spiritual Persons. By Mary Ann Kelty.
Proceedings of the General Anti-Slavery Convention, held in London from Friday, June 12th, to Tuesday, June 23rd, 1840.
A Dictionary of Science, Literature, and Art. General Editor, W. T. Brande, F.R.S.L, and E. Part 8.
The Farmers' Encyclopædia. Part I. By Cuthbert W. Johnson, Esq. The Pictorial Edition of Shakspere. Part 36. Anthony and Cleopatra. The Archæologist. No. I.
Ward's Library-Essays on the Christian Ministry, selected from American Publications, with a Preface by W. H. Murch, D.D.
Canadian Scenery Illustrated. Part 17.
History of British Forest Trees, indigenous and introduced. By Prideaux John Selby, F.L.S., M.W.S., &c. Parts II. and III.
The Objects of the Voluntary Church Society stated and defended. A Lecture. By the Rev. Walter Scott, President of Airedale College.
Dissent and its Inconsistencies. By Alfred B. Evans.
Animal Magnetism : its History to the Present Time, with a Brief Account of the Life of Mesmer. By a Surgeon.
A Review of the late proposed Measure for the Reduction of the Duties on Sugar so far as it relates to Slavery and the Slave Trade, addressed to Sir T. F. Buxton, Bart. By Joseph Beldam, Esq.
Wealth not Happiness, or Vain Expectations destructive to Peace. By Miss Mary Ann Everitt.
Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul. By the Rev. Octavius Winslow.
FOR NOVEMBER, 1841.
Art. I. History of the Corn Laws. By J.C. Platt. London: Charles
Knight and Co.
UR Corn Law system is evidently destined to engage public
attention for some time to come. Recent events have rendered this matter of certainty, and given the utmost fixedness and determination to the views and purposes of the mass of our people. It is no longer a vague and intangible notion which is floating in the public mind, but a veritable principle which it has long been searching after, and which, having found, it rests in, with all the assurance of truth, and the certainty of effecting its ultimate adoption. For several years past an impression has extensively prevailed that there was something radically unsound in our commercial system,--some great and all-pervading error which weighed down our energies, and rendered unproductive the skill and industry of our people. What this error was, and how it might be corrected, was matter of dispute. Men equally honest and equally intelligent differed on these points, and proposed and argued for theories which were subversive of each other. Some even denied the existence of any such general error, and attributed the commercial derangements which have been experienced to temporary causes, against which no skill could provide. Amidst these conflicting speculations, however, the public mind has been steadily advancing towards the truth. It has occasionally wavered, has sometimes mistrusted the soundness of the conclusions which were being forced upon it, and has been ready occasionally to relinquish
all hope of obtaining an effectual remedy for the evils under which it was suffering. Still it has moved onward, and its progress, when measured by years rather than by months, has been cheering and hopeful. Numerous circumstances have occurred to facilitate its advance in the right direction. The symptoms of disease in the ' body politic' have developed themselves more distinctly, and in an aggravated form, notwithstanding the partial remedies which have been applied. Our commerce has declined, large bodies of workmen have been thrown out of employ, and political discontent consequent on social disorganization and want has stalked through the land. This fearful and ominous state of things has riveted public attention, and given rise to inquiries more searching and extensive than had previously been directed to the subject. The result has been a deep and thorough conviction that the alarming distress which prevails in our manufacturing districts is self-created, and therefore criminal,—that it is the result of an artificial and most impolitic legislation, which has closed against our industry many of the markets of the world, and raised up competitors where a more enlightened policy would have insured remunerative customers. The predominance of class interests in our legislature has caused the welfare of the many to be sacrificed to the temporary advantage of the few, and we have consesequently exhibited at this moment amongst our population, the extremes of wealth and poverty,- exorbitant rents with unremunerated labor,—immense competition for every farm which is to be let, with large manufacturers discharging workmen by hundreds, and contemplating the conveyance of their machinery and capital to other and more productive countries. The short-sighted and selfish policy of our landowners has been
formidable opponents to our manufacturers throughout the continent of Europe, until at length the competition is become so severe and alarning as to press upon the means of subsistence, and to threaten the speedy annihilation of our national greatness and power. The restricted limit within which the proverbial industry of our people is permitted to employ itself is now regarded—and justly so—as the radical source of most of the financial difficulties which we are experiencing. The folly of imposing restraints where God has left us free is now vastly augmented by the large proportion of the people who are wholly dependent on the extension of our commercial relations. This proportion has increased at an astonishing ratio during the last century. From 1700 to 1831, 'the population of Lancashire increased 800 per cent.; War' wickshire 251 per cent. ; Staffordshire 250; and Nottingham• shire 246; whilst the principal agricultural counties during 'the same period increased only 84 per cent. There is a con'stant stream of emigration from the agricultural into the
manufacturing districts. From 1821 to 1831, the immigration ‘into Lancashire averaged 17,000 a year. On the one hand ' in the rural districts we have a population fully equal to the existing demands for its labor, and requiring outlets for the increase of its numbers; and on the other, in the manufacturing districts, there is a population whose consumption confers a much higher value upon agricultural produce, and where, by extending the field of employment, room is made both for the expansion of the agricultural and non-agricultural population.' Such being the altered state of our population, a corresponding change is obviously required in our commercial policy. Fiscal regulations which may formerly have worn the appearance of wisdom, are now clearly hostile to the welfare and happiness of the people, and must be modified if the means of subsistence are to be kept within their reach. We are no longer an agricultural people, and it is the height of folly as well as the grossest cruelty to perpetuate, in our altered circumstances, the system which landowners formerly framed for their own exclusive benefit. This common sense view of the matter is now spreading rapidly through the country, and it is well for the people, that the exigencies of the Melbourne administration compelled them, at the eleventh hour, to put into the substantive forin of a ministerial budget, some approximation to the only wise and righteous view which can be taken of the matter. Å failing revenue is an imperious but instructive monitor, and in the present instance it has wrought well for the people. Additional taxes had previously been tried and failed, the elasticity of our national resources was gone, and nothing was left to supply the necessities of the exchequer but a revision of our whole commercial policy.
Such were the circumstances under which the Melbourne administration brought forward their celebrated budget; and none of our readers need be informed of what followed. The monopolists took the alarm, and availing themselves of the growing unpopularity of the ministry, succeeded in carrying a No-confidence vote. Then followed the dissolution, and an appeal to the country. The queen nobly discharged her duty to an impoverished and suffering people, but it was too late. Confidence was not to be recovered by a single act. The Melbourne administration had sealed its fate beyond redemption, and the constituencies refused in consequence to make the sacrifices which were necessary to retain it in power. They had been refused the protection for which they had earnestly and repeatedly prayed, and now that the hour of trial came they shrunk from the hazards which that trial involved. The monopolists, on the other hand, put forth all their strength, and more than their usual craft, and thus
obtained a decisive, though as we verily believe only a temporary triumph. One advantage will result from their victory. The old enemies of English freedom will again stand out to public view as the advocates of class interests, and the sworn foes to popular rights. The delusive professions which have been forced upon them during their exclusion from office will be detected and exposed, and the genuine blood of Toryism will be seen yet flowing in their veins. The policy of Sir Robert Peel is not to be mistaken. It has already oozed out notwithstanding his studied secresy, and will soon be seen in all its hollowness. One thing is certain—a starving people will gain nothing from the Tory premier, who looks only to the chapter of accidents, in the desperate hope that something will turn up to enable him to stave off the period of concession to popular demands.
In the meantime it rests with the people to say how long, and to what extent, Sir Robert shall succeed. They have the power to compel his submission, and we trust it will not be long before they use it. A severe struggle is impending, for which it becomes all patriotic and christian men to prepare themselves. The ministers of religion have done nobly in combining their testimony against the monstrous injustice of taxing the bread of the poor, in order to raise the incomes of the rich. Upon this ground the battle is to be fought, and who can doubt the issue.
Our corn laws constitute the most palpable and revolting feature of that aristocratic system of legislation, which presses so heavily on the community. Its influence is most widely felt, the evils growing out of it are most easily traceable to their source, and public attention is therefore riveted on this as the first and most monstrous specimen of a numerous class. The leaders of the people will do well to keep their attention fixed in this direction. It will give a definiteness and practical aim to their efforts, which must greatly contribute to their
It will serve to remind every man in the empire of his personal stake in the discussion. The poorest laborer-the most destitute mechanic-when he looks upon his half famished wife and children, will thus be taught to execrate a system which diminishes his supply of the staff of life, and renders useless to him the bountiful gifts of an overruling providence.
Under these circumstances, it is obviously of importance that the whole history and bearings of the corn monopoly question should be clearly understood. To judge from many statements of the bread-taxers, we might conclude that the present system has come down to us from a remote antiquity,—that its details as well as its principle were commended by the experience of many generations,—that our national prosperity had, in a word, grown out of it, and would wither and die if the profane hand of modern improvement were permitted to modify any of its