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CONTENTS OF NO. LII.
I. Indications respecting Lord Eldon, including History of the pending
II. Railways compared with Canals and Common Roads, and their Uses
III. Vrai Système de l'Europe relativement à l'Amérique et à la Grèce.
IV. An Essay addressed to Captains of the Royal Navy, and those of the
V. Some Considerations on the Policy of the Government of India, more
VI. Outlines of the principal Events in the Life of Gen. Lafayette.
THE present moment is one of extreme interest. From an increasing commerce, and a florishing state of our national concerns, the lapse of a few weeks has brought on such a state of distress, such an utter want of commercial confidence, as is said to have never before been known, even in the darkest and gloomiest moments of the late war, when "banded Europe stood our foe," and the hearts of the best friends of their country waxed faint.
It is not the object of the present writer to go into a discussion of the causes of this unfortunate change, or to add to the mass of speculations on the best mode of remedy, which are daily accumulating-and of which, if one who confesses himself no "Economist" may be allowed to judge by their contrariety, many must be at least as wild, as the "speculations" of another sort which are supposed to have had something to do with producing it. He merely wishes to take advantage of the present willingness of the nation to enquire, which unfortunately in moments of prosperity does not
Our situation is in every point of view, novel: some of the surrounding nations have materially altered their institutions, and those which yet remain unchanged in form are very different in spirit add to this, laws which for centuries have been considered the bulwarks of the national prosperity have been repealed - encouragements to our artificers, long thought necessary, have been taken away. How all this will eventuate-the increased activity of foreigners on one hand, our altered laws on the other, appears to be about as uncertain as the chemical phenomena to be produced by the mixture of matters, the composition of which should be very imperfectly known. One thing probably will be allowed by all parties, that as our race is to be run under new and untried circumstances, we should come to the conflict as unem
barrassed as possible. We have been showing the world what we could do loaded with incumbrances-on which in its might the nation scarcely wasted a thought, and at the same time those with whom we struggled were bowed down. But things are changedour competitors have been gradually bringing themselves into a situation in which little of advantage is left us, except that arising from the energy of the national character. This, it is true, is inestimable; but no energy can perform impossibilities. It never was perhaps more imperatively the bounden duty of every Englishman, without distinction of party, to join in removing every unnecessary obstruction to the industry and enterprise of the nation.
The administration of law within this realm has been for a number of years the subject of continually increasing complaint, principally, it is true, from those who were, or thought they were sufferers on its account. The law itself, notwithstanding its glorious uncertainty, has been much less the subject of animadversion. Men of information have been fully aware, that in the actual-and if the expression may be allowed, highly complicated situation of society, it is impossible that any written code of laws should embrace the novel and intricate combinations continually arising-and that conflicting arguments are often so nicely balanced, that no ordinary acuteness readily discover where the preponderance ought to lie.
It may justly be assumed that the inconvenience suffered by those actually engaged in law-suits, great as it may be, is by no means equal to that produced by the operation of the present system on the nation at large. Trade is shackled in its remotest ramifications, by the difficulty and delay of effecting a legal adjustment of differences and disputes which must constantly arise; and then, the enormous expense, which may be as great in some cheese or butter bargain of a few pounds, as if an estate of tens of thousands were in dispute, so that an individual often finds it his interest to abandon his just right, because even with a certainty of success, his expenses and waste of time would render that success in reality a loss. The demoralising effect of all this ought not to pass unnoticed. Many a petty debt is contracted, and much unfair conduct takes place, on the speculation that the sufferer will consult his interest, and keep out of a court of law. In criminal matters, the injury is perhaps even greater. After suffering from some petty robbery, to lose time, pay solicitor's fees, &c. not to mention the money which must be distributed among the footmen of justice; it is heaping injustice on misfortune. From hence may be traced much of the dishonesty among servants, which is increasing to an alarming extent, and more especially, where according to the view here taken it might be expected, among the