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quity have so little weight: yet in defiance of all this contemptuous superiority, I must again venture to declare, that a straight line will bear no weight; being convinced, that not even the science of Vasari can make that form strong which the laws of nature have condemned to weakness. By the position, that a straight line will bear nothing, is meant, that it receives no strength from straightness; for that many bodies, laid in straight lines, will support weight by the cohesion of their parts, every one has found, who has seen dishes on a shelf, or a thief upon the gallows. It is not denied, that stones may be so crushed together by enormous pressure on each side, that a heavy mass may safely be laid upon them; but the strength must be derived merely from the lateral resistance; and the line so loaded will be itself part of the load.
The semi-elliptical arch has one recommendation yet unexamined; we are told that it is dif
ficult of execution. Why difficulty should be chosen for its own sake, I am not able to discover; but it must not be forgotten, that as the convexity is increased, the difficulty is lessened; and I know not well whether this writer, who appears equally ambitious of difficulty and studious of strength, will wish to increase the convexity for the gain of strength, or to lessen it for the love of difficulty.
The friend of Mr. M, however he may be mistaken in some of his opinions, does not want the appearance of reason, when he prefers facts to theories; and that I may not dismiss the question without some appeal to facts, I will borrow an example, suggested by a great artist, and recommended to those who may still doubt which of the two arches is the stronger, to press an egg first on the ends, and then upon the sides. I am, Sir, yours, &c.
SOME THOUGHTS ON AGRICULTURE,
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE HONOUR DUE TO AN ENGLISH FARMER
FROM THE UNIVERSAL VISITOR FOR FEB. 1756.
cease to be so, and that the most necessary and most indispensable of all professions should have fallen into any contempt.
AGRICULTURE, in the primeval ages, was the common parent of traffic: for the opulence of mankind then consisted in cattle, and the product of tillage; which are now very essential for the Agriculture was in no part of the world in promotion of trade in general, but more particu- higher consideration than Egypt, where it was larly so to such nations as are most abundant in the particular object of government and policy: cattle, corn, and fruits. The labour of the farmer nor was any country ever better peopled, richer, gives employment to the manufacturer, and yields or more powerful. The Satrapa, among the Asa support for the other parts of the community: syrians and Persians, were rewarded, if the lands it is now the spring which sets the whole grand in their governments were well cultivated; but machine of commerce in motion; and the sail were punished, if that part of their duty was necould not be spread without the assistance of theglected. Africa abounded in corn, but the most plough. But though the farmers are of such famous countries were Thrace, Sardinia, and utility in a state, we find them in general too Sicily. much disregarded among the politer kind of people in the present age; while we cannot help observing the honour that antiquity has always paid to the profession of the husbandman; which naturally leads us into some reflections upon that
Cato, the censor, has justly called Sicily the magazine and nursing mother of the Roman people, who were supplied from thence with almost all their corn, both for the use of the city, and the subsistence of her armies: though we also find in Livy, that the Romans received no inconThough mines of gold and silver should be ex-siderable quantities of corn from Sardinia. But, hausted, and the species made of them lost; when Rome had made herself mistress of Carthough diamonds and pearls should remain con- thage and Alexandria, Africa and Egypt became cealed in the bowels of the earth, and the womb her storehouses: for those cities sent such nuof the sea; though commerce with strangers be merous fleets every year, freighted with corn, to prohibited; though all arts which have no other Rome, that Alexandria alone annually supplied object than splendour and embellishment, should twenty millions of bushels: and, when the harbe abolished; yet the fertility of the earth alone vest happened to fail in one of these provinces, would afford an abundant supply for the occa- the other came in to its aid, and supported the sions of an industrious people, by furnishing sub-metropolis of the world; which, without this sistence for them, and such armies as should be mustered in their defence. We, therefore, ought not to be surprised, that agriculture was in so much honour among the ancients: for it ought rather to seem wonderful that it should ever
supply, would have been in danger of perishing by famine. Rome actually saw herself reduced to this condition under Augustus; for there remained only three days' provision of corn in the city; and that prince was so full of tenderness
for the people, that he had resolved to poison | state, which inclines him to justice, temperance, himself, if the expected fleets did not arrive before the expiration of that time; but they came, and the preservation of the Romans was attributed to the good fortune of their emperor; but wise precautions were taken to avoid the like danger for the future.
When the seat of empire was transplanted to Constantinople, that city was supplied in the same manner; and when the emperor Septimius Severus died, there was corn in the public magazines for seven years, expending daily 75,000 bushels in bread, for 600,000 men.
The ancients were no less industrious in the cultivation of the vine than in that of corn, though they applied themselves to it later: for Noah planted it by order, and discovered the use that might be made of the fruit, by pressing out and preserving the juice. The vine was carried by the offspring of Noah into the several countries of the world: but Asia was the first to experience the sweets of this gift; from whence it was imparted to Europe and Africa. Greece and Italy, which were distinguished in so many other respects, were particularly so by the excellency of their wines. Greece was most celebrated for the wines of Cyprus, Lesbos, and Chio; the former of which is in great esteem at present: though the cultivation of the vine has been generally suppressed in the Turkish dominions. As the Romans were indebted to the Grecians for the arts and sciences, so were they likewise for the improvement of their wines; the best of which were produced in the country of Capua, and were called the Massick, Calenian, Formian, Cæcuban, and Falernian, so much celebrated by Horace. Domitian passed an edict for destroying all the vines, and that no more should be planted throughout the greatest part of the west; which continued almost two hundred years afterwards, when the emperor Probus employed his soldiers in planting vines in Europe, in the same manner as Hannibal had formerly employed his troops in planting olive-trees in Africa. Some of the ancients have endeavoured to prove, that the cultivation of vines is more beneficial than any other kind of husbandry: but, if this was thought so in the time of Columella, it is very different at present; nor were all the ancients of his opinion, for several gave the preference to pasture lands.
sobriety, sincerity, and every virtue that can dignify human nature. This gave room for the poets to feign, that Astræa, the goddess of justice, had her last residence among husbandmen, before she quitted the earth. Hesiod and Virgil have brought the assistance of the muses in praise of agriculture. Kings, generals, and philosophers, have not thought it unworthy their birth, rank, and genius, to leave precepts to posterity upon the utility of the husbandman's profession. Hiero, Attalus, and Archelaus, kings of Syracuse, Pergamus, and Cappadocia, have composed books for supporting and augmenting the fertility of their different countries. The Carthaginian general Mago wrote twenty-eight vo lumes upon this subject; and Cato, the censor, followed his example. Nor have Plato, Xe nophon, and Aristotle, omitted this article, which makes an essential part of their politics. And Cicero, speaking of the writings of Xenophon, says, "How fully and excellently does he, in that book called his 'Economics,' set out the advantages of husbandry, and a country life!"
When Britain was subject to the Romans, she annually supplied them with great quantities of corn; and the Isle of Anglesea was then looked upon as the granary for the western provinces; but the Britons, both under the Romans and Saxons, were employed like slaves at the plough. On the intermixture of the Danes and Normans, possessions were better regulated, and the state of vassalage gradually declined, till it was entirely worn off under the reigns of Henry VII. and Edward VI.; for they hurt the old nobility by favouring the commons, who grew rich by trade, and purchased estates.
The wines of France, Portugal, and Spain, are now the best; while Italy can only boast of the wine made in Tuscany. The breeding of cattle, is now chiefly confined to Denmark and Ireland. The corn of Sicily is still is in great esteem, as well as what is produced in the northern countries: but England is the happiest spot in the universe for all the principal kinds of agriculture, and especially its great produc of corn.
The improvement of our landed estates, is the enrichment of the kingdom; for, without this, how could we carry on our manufactures, or prosecute our commerce? We should look upon the English farmer as the most usefu. The breeding of cattle has always been con- member of society. His arable grounds not sidered as an important part of agriculture. The only supply his fellow-subjects with all kinds of riches of Abraham, Laban, and Job, consisted in the best grain, but his industry enables him to their flocks and herds. We also find from Lati-export great quantities to other kingdoms, which nus in Virgil, and Ulysses in Homer, that the wealth of those princes consisted in cattle. It was likewise the same among the Romans, till the introduction of money, which put a value upon commodities, and established a new kind of barter. Varro has not disdained to give an extensive account of all the beasts that are of any use to the country, either for tillage, breed, carriage, or other conveniences of man. And Cato, the censor, was of opinion, that the feeding of cattle was the most certain and speedy method of enriching a country.
Luxury, avarice, injustice, violence, and ambition, take up their ordinary residence in populous cities; while the hard and laborious life of the husbandman will not admit of these vices. The honest farmer lives in a wise and happy
might otherwise starve: particularly Spain and Portugal; for in one year, there have been exported 51,520 quarters of barley, 219,781 of malt, 1,920 of oatmeal, 1,329 of rye, and 153,343 of wheat; the bounty on which amounted to 72,433 pounds. What a fund of treasure arises from his pasture lands, which breed such innumerable flocks of sheep, and afford such fine herds of cattle, to feed Britons, and clothe mankind! He rears flax and hemp for the making of linen; while his plantations of apples and hops supply him with generous kinds of liquors.
The land-tax, when at four shillings in the pound, produces 2,000,000 pounds a year. This arises from the labour of the husbandman: it is a great sum: but how greatly is it increased by the means it furnishes for trade? Without the
industry of the farmer, the manufacturer could| Who can read of the present distresses of the have no goods to supply the merchant, nor the Genoese, whose only choice now remaining is merchant find any employment for the mariners: from what monarch they shall solicit protection? trade would be stagnated; riches would be of no advantage to the great; and labour of service to the poor.
The Romans, as historians all allow,
Who can see the Hanseatic towns in ruins, nowhere perhaps the inhabitants do not always equal the number of the houses; but he will say to himself, These are the cities whose trade enabled them once to give laws to the world, to whose merchants princes sent their jewels in pawn, from whose treasuries armies were paid, and navies supplied! And who can then forbear to consider trade as a weak and uncertain basis of power, and wish to his own country greatness more solid, and felicity more durable?
FURTHER THOUGHTS ON AGRICULTURE. FROM THE VISITOR FOR MARCH, 1756. At my last visit, I took the liberty of mentionIt is apparent, that every trading nation flouing a subject, which, I think, is not considered rishes, while it can be said to flourish, by the courwith attention proportionate to its importance. tesy of others. We cannot compel any people A thousand Nothing can more fully prove the ingratitude of to buy from us, or to sell to us. mankind, a crime often charged upon them, and accidents may prejudice them in favour of our often denied, than the little regard which the dis-rivals; the workmen of another nation may posers of honorary rewards have paid to agricul- labour for less price, or some accidental improveture; which is treated as a subject so remote ment, or natural advantage, may procure a just from common life, by all those who do not im- preference for their commodities; as experience mediately hold the plough, or give fodder to the has shown, that there is no work of the hands, ox, that I think there is room to question, whe- which, at different times, is not best performed ther a great part of mankind has yet been in- in different places. formed that life is sustained by the fruits of the earth. I was once indeed provoked to ask a lady of great eminence for genius, Whether she knew of what bread is made?
bardy might easily resolve to retain their silk at home, and employ workmen of their own to weave it. And this will certainly be done when they grow wise and industrious, when they have sagacity to discern their true interest, and vigour to pursue it.
Traffic, even while it continues in its state of prosperity, must owe its success to agriculture; the materials of manufacture are the produce of the earth. The wool which we weave into cloth, I have already observed, how differently agri- the wood which is formed into cabinets, the culture was considered by the heroes and wise metals which are forged into weapons, are supmen of the Roman commonwealth, and shall plied by nature with the help of art. Manufacnow only add, that even after the emperors had tures, indeed, and profitable manufactures, are made great alteration in the system of life, and sometimes raised from imported materials, but taught men to portion out their esteem to other then we are subjected a second time to the caqualities than usefulness, agriculture still main-price of our neighbours. The natives of Lomtained its reputation, and was taught by the polite and elegant Celsus among the other arts. The usefulness of agriculture I have already shown; I shall now, therefore, prove its necessity; and having before declared that it produces the chief riches of a nation, I shall proceed to show, that it gives its only riches, the only riches Mines are generally considered as the great which we can call our own, and of which we sources of wealth, and superficial observers have need not fear either deprivation or diminution. thought the possession of great quantities of Of nations, as of individuals, the first blessing precious metals the first national happiness. But is independence. Neither the man nor the peo-Europe has long seen, with wonder and conple can be happy to whom any human power can deny the necessaries or conveniences of life. There is no way of living without the need of foreign assistance, but by the product of our own land, improved by our own labour. Every other source of plenty is perishable or casual.
Trade and manufactures must be confessed often to enrich countries: and we ourselves are indebted to them for those ships by which we now command the sea from the equator to the poles, and for those sums with which we have shown ourselves able to arm the nations of the north in defence of regions in the western hemisphere. But trade and manufactures, however profitable, must yield to the cultivation of lands in usefulness and dignity.
Commerce, however we may please ourselves with the contrary opinion, is one of the daughters of fortune, inconstant and deceitful as her mother; she chooses her residence where she is least expected, and shifts her abode, when her continuance is in appearance most firmly settled.
self exempted from the labour of tilling the tempt, the poverty of Spain, who thought herground, by the conquest of Peru, with its veins of silver. Time, however, has taught even this culture they may indeed be the transmitters of obstinate and haughty nation, that without agrimoney, but can never be the possessors. They may dig it out of the earth, but must immediately send it away to purchase cloth or bread, and it must at last remain with some people wise enough to sell much and to buy little; to live upon their own lands, without a wish for those things which nature has denied them.
Mines are themselves of no use, without some
kind of agriculture. We have in our own country inexhaustible stores of iron, which lie useless in the ore for want of wood. It was never the design of Providence to feed man without his own concurrence; we have from nature only what we cannot provide for ourselves; she gives us wild fruits, which art must meliorate, and drossy metals, which labour must refine.
Particular metals are valuable, because they are scarce; and they are scarce, because the
mines that yield them are emptied in time. But the surface of the earth is more liberal than its caverns. The field, which is this autumn laid naked by the sickle, will be covered, in the succeeding summer, by a new harvest; the grass, which the cattle are devouring, shoots up again when they have passed over it.
Agriculture, therefore, and agriculture alone, can support us without the help of others, in certain plenty and genuine dignity. Whatever we buy from without, the sellers may refuse; whatever we sell, manufactured by art, the purchasers may reject; but, while our ground is covered with corn and cattle, we can want nothing; and if imagination should grow sick of native plenty, and call for delicacies or embellishments from other countries, there is nothing which corn and cattle will not purchase.
not any variation, but what is caused by the uncertainty of seasons.
I am far from intending to persuade my countrymen to quit all other employments for that of manuring the ground. I mean only to prove, that we have, at home, all that we can want, and that therefore we need feel no great anxiety about the schemes of other nations for improv ing their arts, or extending their traffic. But there is no necessity to infer, that we should cease from commerce, before the revolution of things shall transfer it to some other regions!— Such vicissitudes the world has often seen; and therefore such we have reason to expect. We hear many clamours of declining trade, which are not, in my opinion, always true; and many imputations of that decline to governors and ministers, which may be sometimes just, and sometimes calumnious. But it is foolish to
There is some danger, lest our neglect of agriculture should hasten its departure. Our industry has for many ages been employed in
Our country is, perhaps, beyond all others, productive of things necessary to life. The pine-imagine, that any care or policy can keep comapple thrives better between the tropics, and bet- merce at a stand, which almost every nation ter furs are found in the northern regions. But has enjoyed and lost, and which we must expect let us not envy these unnecessary privileges.- to lose as we have long enjoyed it. Mankind cannot subsist upon the indulgences of nature, but must be supported by her more common gifts. They must feed upon bread, and be clothed with wool; and the nation that can fur-destroying the woods which our ancestors have nish these universal commodities, may have her ships welcomed at a thousand ports, or sit at home and receive the tribute of foreign countries, enjoy their arts, or treasure up their gold. It is well known to those who have examined the state of other countries, that the vineyards of France are more than equivalent to the mines of America; and that one great use of Indian gold, and Peruvian silver, is to procure the wines of Champaigne and Burgundy. The advantage is indeed always rising on the side of France, who will certainly have wines, when Spain, by a thousand natural or accidental causes, may want silver. But surely the valleys of England have more certain stores of wealth. Wines are chosen by caprice; the products of France have not always been equally esteemed; but there never was any age, or people, that reckoned bread among superfluities, when once it was known. The price of wheat and barley suffers
planted. It is well known that commerce is carried on by ships, and that ships are built out of trees; and therefore, when I travel over naked plains, to which tradition has preserved the naine of forests, or see hills arising on either hand barren and useless, I cannot forbear to wonder, how that commerce, of which we promise ourselves the perpetuity, shall be continued by our descendants; nor can restrain a sigh, when I think on the time, a time at no great distance, when our neighbours may deprive us of our naval influence, by refusing us their timber.
By agriculture only can commerce be perpetuated; and by agriculture alone can we live in plenty without intercourse with other nations. This, therefore, is the great art, which every government ought to protect, every proprietor of lands to practise, and every inquirer into nature to improve.
CONSIDERATIONS ON THE CORN LAWS.*
By what causes the necessaries of life have I before which all the considerations which comrisen to a price at which a great part of the peo-monly busy the legislature vanish from the ple are unable to procure them, how the present view. scarcity may be remedied, and calamities of the The interruption of trade, though it may dissame kind may for the future be prevented, is tress part of the community, leaves the rest an inquiry of the first importance; an inquiry power to communicate relief; the decay of one
These "Considerations," for which we are indebted to Mr. Malone, who published them in 1808, or rather to his liberal publisher, Mr. Payne, were in the opinion of Mr. Malone, written in November, 1766, when the policy of the parliamentary bounty on the exportation of corn became naturally a subject of discussion. The harvest
in that year had been so deficient, and corn had risen to so high a price, that in the months of September and October there had been many insurrections in the midland counties, to which Dr. Johnson alludes; and which were of so alarming a kind, that it was necessary to repress them by military force.
manufacture may be compensated by the advancement of another; a defeat may be repaired by victory; a rupture with one nation may be balanced by an alliance with another. These are partial and slight misfortunes, which leave us still in the possession of our chief comforts. They may lop some of our superfluous pleasures, and repress some of our exorbitant hopes; but we may still retain the essential part of civil and of private happiness,-the security of law, and the tranquillity of content. They are small obstructions of the stream, which raise a foam and noise where they happen to be found, but at a little distance are neither seen nor felt, and suffer the main current to pass forward in its natural course.
reason to rejoice in our own exemption from the extremity of this wide-extended calamity; and if it be necessary to inquire why we suffer scarcity, it may be fit to consider likewise, why we suffer yet less scarcity than our neighbours. That the bounty upon corn has produced plenty, is apparent,
Because ever since the grant of the bounty, agriculture has increased: scarce a session has passed without a law for enclosing commons and waste grounds:
Much land has been subjected to tillage, which lay uncultivated with little profit:
Yet, though the quantity of land has been thus increased, the rent, which is the price of land, has generally increased at the same time. But scarcity is an evil that extends at once to That more land is appropriated to tillage, is a the whole community; that neither leaves quiet proof that more corn is raised; and that the to the poor, nor safety to the rich: that in its ap-rents have not fallen, proves that no more is proaches distresses all the subordinate ranks of raised than can readily be sold. mankind, and in its extremity must subvert government, drive the populace upon their rulers, and end in bloodshed and massacre. Those who want the supports of life will seize them wherever they can be found. If in any place there are more than can be fed, some must be expelled, or some must be destroyed.
Of this dreadful scene there is no immediate danger; but there is already evil sufficient to deserve and require all our diligence, and all our wisdom. The miseries of the poor are such as cannot easily be borne: such as have already incited them in many parts of the kingdom to an open defiance of government, and produced one of the greatest of political evils-the necessity of ruling by immediate force.
Cæsar declared after the battle of Munda, that he had often fought for victory, but that he had that day fought for life. We have often deliberated how we should prosper; we are now to inquire how we shall subsist.
The present scarcity is imputed by some to the bounty for exporting corn, which is considered as having a necessary and perpetual tendency to pour the grain of this country into other nations.
This position involves two questions: whether the present scarcity has been caused by the Dounty, and whether the bounty is likely to produce scarcity in future times.
It is an uncontroverted principle, that sublatâ causâ tollitur effectus: if therefore the effect continues when the supposed cause has ceased, that effect must be imputed to some other
But it is urged, that exportation, though it increases our produce, diminishes our plenty: that the merchant has more encouragement for exportation than the farmer for agriculture.
This is a paradox which all the principles of commerce, and all the experience of policy, concur to confute. Whatever is done for gain will be done more, as more gain is to be obtained.
Let the effects of the bounty be minutely considered.
The state of every country with respect to corn is varied by the chances of the year.
Those to whom we sell our corn, must have every year either more corn than they want, or less than they want. We likewise are naturally subject to the same varieties.
When they have corn equal to their wants, or more, the bounty has no effect; for they will not buy what they do not want, unless our exuberance be such as tempts them to store it for another year. This case must suppose that our produce is redundant and useless to ourselves; and therefore the profit of exportation produces no inconvenience.
When they want corn, they must buy of us, and buy at a higher price; in this case, if we have corn more than enough for ourselves, we are again benefited by supplying them.
But they may want when we have no superfluity. When our markets rise, the bounty ceases; and therefore produces no evil. They cannot buy our corn but at a higher rate than it is sold at home. If their necessities, as now has happened, force them to give a higher price, that event is no longer to be charged upon the The bounty has ceased, and the exportation bounty. We may then stop our corn in our would still continue, if exportation were per-ports, and pour it back upon our own markets. mitted. The true reason of the scarcity is the failure of the harvest; and the cause of exportation is the like failure in other countries, where they grow less, and where they are therefore always nearer to the danger of want.
This want is such, that in countries where money is at a much higher value than with us, the inhabitants are yet desirous to buy our corn at a price to which our own markets have not risen.
It is in all cases to be considered, what events are physical and certain, and what are political and arbitrary.
The first effect of the bounty is the increase of agriculture, and by consequence the promotion of plenty. This is an effect physically good, and morally certain. While men are desirous to be rich, where there is profit there will be diligence. If much corn can be sold, much will be raised.
The second effect of the bounty is the diminuIf we consider the state of those countries, tion by exportation of that product which it which being accustomed to buy our corn cheaper occasioned. But this effect is political and arbithan ourselves, when it was cheap, are now re-trary; we have it wholly in our own hands: we duced to the necessity of buying it dearer than can prescribe its limits, and regulate its quanourselves, when it is dear, we shall yet have tity. Whenever we feel want, or fear it, we