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der such associations as to rob it of all efficacy, or even turn it into an auxiliary of the poison.
This is our sincere opinion of much of Lord B.'s most splendid poetry—a little exaggerated perhaps in the expression, from a desire io make our exposition clear and impressive-but, in substance, we think merited and correct. We have already said, and we deliberately repeat, that we have no notion that Lord B. had any mischievous intention in these publications and readily acquit him of any wish to corrupt the morals, or impair the happiness of his readers. Such a wish, indeed, is in itself altogether inconceivable; but it is our duty, nevertheless, to say, that much of what he has published appears to us to have this tendency—and that we are acquainted with no writings so well calculated to extinguish in young minds all generous enthusiasm and gentle affection—all respect for themselves, and all love for their kind-to make them practise and profess hardily what it teaches them to suspect in others—and actually to persuade them that it is wise and manly and knowing, to laugh, not only at self-denial and restraint, but at all aspiring ambition, and all warm and constant affection.
How opposite to this is the system, or the temper, of the great author of Waverley—the only living individual to whom Lord Byron must submit to be ranked as inferior in genius– and still more deplorably inferior in all that makes genius either amiable in itself, or useful to society! With all his unrivalled power of invention and judgment, of pathos and pleasantry, the tenor of his sentiments is uniformly generous, indulgent, and good-humoured; and so remote from the bitterness of misanthropy, that he never indulges in sarcasm, and scarcely, in any case, carries his merriment so far as derision. · But the peculiarity by which he stands most broadly and proudly distinguished from Lord Byron is, that, beginning, as he frequently does, with some ludicrous or satirical theme, he never fails to raise out of it some feelings of a generous or gentle kind, and to end by exciting our tender pity, or deep respect for those very individuals or classes of persons who seemed at first to be brought on the stage for our mere sport and amusement-thus making the ludicrous itself subservient to the cause of benevolence-and inculcating, at every turn, and as the true end and result of all his trials and experiments, the love of our kind, and the duty and delight of a cordial and genuine sympathy, with thejoys and sorrows of every condition of men. It seems to be Lord Byron's way, on the contrary, never to excite a kind or a noble sentiment, without making haste to obliterate it by a torrent of unfeeling mockery or relentless abuse, and taking pains to show how well those passing fantasies may be reconciled to a system of resolute
misanthropy, or so managed as even to enhance its merits, or confirm its truth. With what different sensations, accordingly, do we read the works of these two great writers !- With the one, we seem to share a gay and gorgeous banquet-with the other, a wild and dangerous intoxication. Let Lord Byron bethink him of this contrast--and its causes and effects. Though he scorns the precepts, and defies the censure of ordinary men, he may yet be moved by the example of his only superior !-In the mean time, we have endeavoured to point out the canker that stains the splendid flowers of his poetry-or, rather, the serpent that lurks beneath them. If it will not listen to the voice of the charmer, that brilliant garden, gay and glorious as it is, must be deserted, and its existence deplored, as a snare to the unwary.
There is a minor blemish, of which we meant to say something also-but it is scarcely worth while-we mean the outrageous, and, till he set the example, the unprecedented personalities in which this noble author indulges. We have already noticed the ferocity of his attacks on Mr Southey. The Laureate had railed at him indeed before; but he had railed
in good set terms; '-and, if we recollect right, had not even mentioned his Lordship's name. It was all, in his exquisite way, by innuendo. In spite of this, we do not mean to deny that Lord B. had a right to name Mr Southey—but he had no right to say any thing of Mr Southey's wife; and the mention of her, and of many other people, is cruel, coarse, and uphandsome. If his Lordship's sense of propriety does not cure him of this propensity, we hope his pride may. For the practice has gone down to such imitators, as can do him no honour in pointing to him as their original. We rather think it would be better, after all, to be called the founder of the Satanic School, than the Master of the John Bulls, Beacons, and Sentinels.
Arr. VI. Report from, and Minutes of Evidence taken before,
the Committee to whom the several Petitions complaining of the Depressed State of the Agriculture of the United Kingdom were referred. Ordered, by the House of Commons, to be printed, 18th June 1821.
The subject discussed in this Report is one of the deepest in
terest and importance. The distresses of the Agriculturists have attained to so alarming a height, that we believe it is now pretty generally agreed, that some measures ought, if possible, to be adopted for their relief. The experience of nearly
seven years has shown the futility of the expectations of those who supposed that the prohibitory law of 1915 would put an end to the distresses of the farmer. So far from having had any such effect, the difficulties with which the occupiers of land have to contend, are at least as great at this moment as they were either in 181+ or 1815; while, owing to the progressive diminution of their capitals, they are less able to make head against them. The Report of the Committee on the State of Agriculture sets out with a distinct admission, that the distress of the tenantry had been established by the best documentary evidence, and by the testimony of the most respectable witnesses. But prices have declined considerably even since the Report was drawn up. In 1820, the average price of wheat, in England and Wales, was 65s. 7d. a quarter, while, in the year ending March 1821, it was only 62s. 50. The increasing pressure is also but too clearly ascertained from the distinct and well authenticated statements that have been made at the numerous public meetings recently held in different parts of England. It is stated, for example, in the Resolutions unanimously agreed to at a meeting of occupiers of land in the county of Lincoln, held at Holbeach on 31st December last, “That the Agricultural difficulties and • distresses have so increased, and are increasing, that the cul• tivation of the land is declining; many farmers must, it is • feared, be ruined; others must leave their farms; and all are • already curtailing the employ of labourers, from their inability • to remunerate the usual and necessary number of hands; and • thus the willing and industrious labourers are compelled either
to work at inadequate wages, assisted by parochial relief, or • become wholly dependent on their parishes for support. '. And it is stated, in the Resolutions submitted to a meeting of the nobility, gentry, clergy, freeholders, and occupiers of land in the county of Sussex, held on the 3d January, by Mr Curteis, the member for the county, and unanimously agreed 10, • That the progressive decline in value of all productions of the • soil during the last three years, has gradually destroyed the • previously acquired capital of the farmer; has, by curtailing • the means of pursuing the usual course of husbandry, deprived • one-third of the labouring population of employment ; reduced
many industrious and highly deserving occupiers to pauperism ; . and, unless specdily arrested, must, in the opinion of this mectsing, be productive of universal ruin.
• That this deplorable state of things is not confined to the occu76.pier of the soil; through him its influence has extended to other • classes; the landlord is in very many instances without his rent, • the clergyman without his tithe, the tradesman without his usual • business, and the mechanic without his accustomed employment.'
Resolutions, of exactly the same import, and couched in equally strong language, have been voted at public meetings of the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, Devon, Herts, Gloucester, &c. &c.; and an immense number of Petitions, praying for the interference of the Legislature, have been presented to Parliament from various subordinate districts of the country.
But, while we unreservedly admit that the agriculturists are at this moment in a state of unexampled distress, and that they are justly entitled to look to the Legislature for assistance, we deny that the measures, of which they recommend the adoption, would afford them any material or effectual relief. A numerous and increasing class of petitioners contend, that the only remedy is to be found in an effectual reduction of the present oppressive and exorbitant amount of taxation; and another large class, whose numbers have, however, declined considerably since last year, contend, that the imposition of additional restrictions on importation is the only sovereign and infallible panacea. If either of these remedies are to be adopted, we hope it will be the first. But although a reduction of taxation would be of the greatest advantage to the community in general, it is not easy to see how it could materially alleviate the pressure of the severe distress under which the agriculturists are now exclusively labouring. It is admitted on all hands, that this distress arises immediately and directly from the low price of corn, and the other principal articles of agricultural produce. But, however injurious taxation may be, and we believe it to be most injurious, it is utterly impossible it should ever become a cause of low prices! But still less can we bring ourselves to believe, that the fall of price has been owing to the inadequate protection afforded to the agriculturists by the corn-law of 1815. On the contrary, we think it may be very easily shown, that the present low price, or, in other words, that the distress in which the landlords and occupiers of land are now involved, is principally, if not entirely, caused by the restriction laid on importation in 1815; and that so long as the restrictive system is maintained, we shall have a constant alternation of oppressively high and ruinously low prices.
Were the freedom of commerce unrestricted, it is plain, that the prices of corn, and other raw products in any one country, could not, however much it had outstripped its neighbours in the accumulation of wealth and population, exceed the prices of those articles in the surrounding countries by a greater sum than what would be necessary to cover the expenses of their importation. Supposing the intercourse between the two countries were perfectly free, the prices of corn of equal quality in Great Britain and France could scarcely ever differ more than
58. or 68. per quarter; for the expense of conveying a quarter of wheat from the northern parts of France to London, and vice versa, does not exceed that sum. If, therefore, we were generally in the habit of importing a considerable supply of corn from France, our prices would usually be about 5s. or 6s. higher than the prices of that country. Even when the crops in Enggland were unusually deficient, or when the customary supply could not be obtained from France, our prices would sustain but a very inconsiderable advance; for, if they were to rise only a little higher, it would immediately suit our merchants to import the produce of other countries in the vicinity, such as the Netherlands, the western part of Germany, Denmark, &c. If we grew nearly our own average supplies of corn, the prices of the two countries would approach almost to a level. “An unusually luxuriant harvest, either in the one or the other, would occasion an instant exportation; while an unusually deficient one would occasion an instant importation. And thus, under a system of perfectly free intercourse, all injurious fluctuations in the prices of corn would be avoided. An abundant harvest would not sink them too low, nor would a scanty one raise them too high.
Nor is this mere theoretical reasoning. The weather, which is found to be unfavourable to the crops of one district, is invariably found to be favourable to those of another district, having a different soil and climate. When moist clay lands suffer from a wet season, the harvests are uniformly rendered more luxuriant in dry, rocky districts. The excess of produce in one part compensates for its deficiency in another; and, except in some anomalous cases, the average produce does not differ considerably. A failure of the crops throughout an extensive kingdom, is a calamity that does not often occur; and no single instance can be produced of a simultaneous failure of the crops throughout the commercial world. On the contrary, it is always found, that when the harvest is unfavourable in one country, it is proportionably favourable in some other quarter. In corroboration of this remark, we may mention, that in 1800, when the crops in Britain were so extremely deficient, they were exceedingly abundant in Spain ; and in September of that year, wheat sold in the great market of Medina de Rio Seco, in the kingdom of Leon, for 36 reals vellon the fanega. (Bullion Report, App. No. 32.) But the harvest of 1803, which was so extremely productive in Britain, was so deficient in Spain, as to cause an absolute famine. • Contagious diseases,' says Bourgoing, (Vol. II. p. 162,) the inclemency of the heavens, and famine, laid waste the whole country.' Above nine millions of fanegas of foreign corn were imported into Spain in 1804;