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quity have so little weight: yet in defiance officult of execution. Why difficulty should be all this contemptuous superiority, I must again chosen for its own sake, 'I am not able to disventure to declare, that a straight line will bear cover; but it must not be forgotten, that as the no weight; being convinced, that not even the convexity is increased, the difficulty is lessened; science of Vasari can make that form strong and I know not well whether this writer, who which the laws of nature have condemned to appears equally ambitious of difficulty and stuweakness. By the position, that a straight line dious of strength, will wish to increase the conwill bear nothing, is meant, that it receives no vexity for the gain of strength, or to lessen it for strength from straightness; for that many bodies, the love of difficulty, laid in straight lines, will support weight by the The friend of Mr. M- however he may cohesion of their parts, every one has found, who be mistaken in some of his opinions, does not has seen dishes on a shelf, or a thief upon the want the appearance of reason, when he prefers gallows. It is not denied, that stones may be so facts to theories; and that I may not dismiss the crushed together by enormous pressure on each question without some appeal to facts, I will borside, that a heavy mass may safely be laid upon row an example, suggested by a great artist, and them; but the strength must be derived merely recommended to those who may still doubt which from the lateral resistance; and the line so of the two arches is the stronger, to press an egg loaded will be itself part of the load.
first on the ends, and then upon the sides. I am, The semi-elliptical arch has one recommenda- Sir, yours, &c. tion yet unexamined; we are told that it is dif
SOME THOUGHTS ON AGRICULTURE,
BOTH ANCIENT AND MODERN;
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE HONOUR DUE TO AN ENGLISH FARMER
FROM THE UNIVERSAL VISITOR FOR FEB. 1756.
AGRICULTURE, in the primeval ages, was the | cease to be so, and that the most necessary and common parent of traffic: for the opulence of man- most indispensable of all professions should have kind then consisted in cattle, and the product of fallen into any contempt. 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 farly 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 Satrapæ, 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 the glected. 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 peo Cato, the censor, has justly called Sicily the ple in the present age; while we cannot help ob- magazine and nursing mother of the Roman peoserving the honour that antiquity has always ple, who were supplied from thence with almost paid to the profession of the husbandman ; which all their corn, both for the use of the city, and naturally leads us into some reflections upon that the subsistence of her armies: though we also occasion.
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 supply, would have been in danger of perishing mustered in their defence. We, therefore, ought by famine. Rome actually saw herself reduced not to be surprised, that agriculture was in so to this condition under Augustus; for there remuch honour among the ancients: for it ought mained only three days' provision of corn in the rather to seem wonderful that it should ever | 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 be- sobriety, sincerity, and every virtue that can fore the expiration of that time; but they came, dignify human nature. This gave room for the and the preservation of the Romans was attri- poets to feign, that Astræa, the goddess of jusbuted to the good fortune of their emperor; but tice, had her last residence among husbandmen, wise precautions were taken to avoid the like before she quitted the earth. Hesiod and Virgil danger for the future.
have brought the assistance of the muses in When the seat of empire was transplanted to praise of agriculture. Kings, generals, and Constantinople, that city was supplied in the philosophers, have not thought it unworthy their same manner; and when the emperor Septimius birth, rank, and genius, to leave precepts to posSeverus died, there was corn in the public maga- terity upon the utility of the husbandman's prozines for seven years, expending daily 75,000 fession. Hiero, Attalus, and Archelaus, kings of bushels in bread, for 600,000 men.
Syracuse, Pergamus, and Cappadocia, have comThe ancients were no less industrious in the posed books for supporting and augmenting the cultivation of the vine than in that of corn, though fertility of their different countries. The Carthey applied themselves to it later: for Noah thaginian general Mago wrote twenty-eight von planted it by order, and discovered the use that lumes upon this subject; and Cato, the censor, might be made of the fruit
, by pressing out and followed his example. Nor have Platn, Xe. preserving the juice. The vine was carried by nophon, and Aristotle, omitted this article, which the offspring of Noah into the several countries makes an essential part of their politics. And of the world: but Asia was the first to expe- Cicero, speaking of the writings of Xenophon, rience the sweets of this gift; from whence it says, “How fully and excellently does he, in was imparted to Europe and Africa. Greece that book called his 'Economics,' set out the and Italy, which were distinguished in so many advantages of husbandry, and a country life!" other respects, were particularly so by the ex When Britain was subject to the Romans, she cellency of their wines. Greece was most cele- annually supplied them with great quantities of brated for the wines of Cyprus, Lesbos, and corn; and the Isle of Anglesea was then looked Chio; the former of which is in great esteem at upon as the granary for the western provinces; present : though the cultivation of the vine has but the Britons, both under the Romans and been generally suppressed in the Turkish domi- Saxons, were employed like slaves at the plough. nions. As the Romans were indebted to the On the intermixture of the Danes and Normans, Grecians for the arts and sciences, so were they possessions were better regulated, and the state likewise for the improvement of their wines; the of vassalage gradually declined, till it was enbest of which were produced in the country of tirely worn off under the reigns of Henry VII. Capua, and were called the Massick, Calenian, and Edward VI.; for they hurt the old nobility Formian, Cæcuban, and Falernian, so much by favouring the commons, who grew rich by celebrated by Horace. Domitian passed an edict trade, and purchased estates. for destroying all the vines, and that no more The wines of France, Portugal, and Spain, should be planted throughout the greatest part of are now the best; while Italy can only boast of the west; which continued almost two hundred the wine made in Tuscany. The breeding of years afterwards, when the emperor Probus em- cattle, is now chiefly contined to Denmark and ployed his soldiers in planting vines in Europe, Ireland. The corn of Sicily is still is in great esin the same manner as Hannibal had formerly teem, as well as what is produced in the northern employed his troops in planting olive-trees in countries: but England is the happiest spot in Africa. Some of the ancients have endeavoured the universe for all the principal kinds of agrito prove, that the cultivation of vines is more be- culture, and especially its great produc.of corn. neficial than any other kind of husbandry: but, The improvement of our landed estates, is if this was thought so in the time of Columella, it the enrichment of the kingdom; for, without is very different at present; nor were all the an- this, how could we carry on our manufactures, cients of his opinion, for several gave the prefer- or prosecute our commerce? We should look ence to pasture lands.
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 might otherwise starve: particularly Spain and wealth of those princes consisted in cattle. It Portugal; for in one year, there have been exwas likewise the same among the Romans, till ported 51,520 quarters of barley, 219,781 of malt, the introduction of money, which put a value 1,920 of oatmeal, 1,329 of rye, and 153,343 of upon commodities, and established a new kind wheat; the bounty on which amounted to of barter. Varro has not disdained to give an 72,433 pounds. What a fund of treasure arises extensive account of all the beasts that are of from his pasture lands, which breed such innuany use to the country, either for tillage, breed, merable Hocks of sheep, and afford such fine carriage, or other conveniences of man. And herds of cattle, to feed Britons, and clothe manCato, the censor, was of opinion, that the feed- kind! He rears flax and hemp for the making ing of cattle was the most certain and speedy of linen ; while his plantations of apples and method of enriching a country..
hops supply him with generous kinds of liquors. Luxury, avarice, injustice, violence, and am The land-tax, when at four shillings in the bition, take up their ordinary residence in po-pound, produces 2,000,000 pounds a year. This pulous cities; while the hard and laborious life arises from the labour of the husbandman: it is of the husbandman will not admit of these vices. a great sum: but how greatly is it increased by The honest farmer lives in a wise and happy 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 | Who can see the Hanseatic towns in ruins, no advantage to the great; and labour of nowhere perhaps the inhabitants do not always service to the poor.
equal the number of the houses; but he will say The Romans, as historians all allow,
to himself, These are the cities whose trade enSought, in extreine distress, the rural plough;
abled them once to give laws to the world, to Io triumphe! for the village swain
whose merchants princes sent their jewels in Retired to be a nobleman * again.
pawn, from whose treasuries armies were paid,
and navies supplied ! And who can then forbear FURTHER THOUGHTS ON AGRICULTURE.
to consider trade as a weak and uncertain basis
of power, and wish to his own country greatness FROM THE VISITOR FOR MARCH, 1756. more solid, and felicity more durable ? At my last visit, I took the liberty of mention
It 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 Nothing can more fully prove the ingratitude of to buy from us, or to sell to us. A thousand 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
Traffic, even while it continues in its state of earth. I was once indeed provoked to ask a
prosperity, must owe its success to agriculture; lady of great eminence for genius, Whether she the materials of manufacture are the produce of kner of what bread is made ?
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 bardy might easily resolve to retain their silk at polite and elegant Celsus among the other arts. home, and employ workmen of their own to
The usefulness of agriculture I have already weave it. And this will certainly be done when shown ; I shall now, therefore, prove its neces- they grow wise and industrious, when they have sity; and having before declared that it produces sagacity to discern their true interest, and vigour the chief riches of a nation, I shall proceed to
to pursue it. 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- tempt, the poverty of Spain, who thought her
Europe has long seen, with wonder and conple can be happy to whom any human power can self exempted from the labour of tilling the deny the necessaries or conveniences of life. There is no way of living without the need of ground, by the conquest of Peru, with its veins foreign assistance, but by the product of our own of silver. 'Time, however, has taught even this land, improved by our own labour. Every other obstinate and haughty nation, that without agrisource of plenty is perishable or casual.
culture they may indeed be the transmitters of Trade and manufactures must be confessed money, but can never be the possessors. They often to enrich countries : and we ourselves are may dig it out of the earth, but must immediately indebted to them for those ships by which we send it away to purchase cloth or bread, and it now command the sea from the equator to the must at last remain with some people wise poles, and for those sums with which we have enough to sell much and to buy little; to live shown ourselves able to arm the nations of the upon their own lands, without a wish for those north in defence of regions in the western he things which nature has denied them. misphere. But trade and manufactures, however
Mines are themselves of no use, without some profitable, must yield to the cultivation of lands kind of agriculture. We have in our own in usefulness and dignity.
country inexhaustible stores of iron, which lie Commerce, however we may please ourselves useless in the ore for want of wood. It was never with the contrary opinion, is one of the daugh- the design of Providence to feed man without ters of fortune, inconstant and deceitful as her his own concurrence; we have from nature only mother; she chooses her residence where she what we cannot provide for ourselves ; she gives is least expected, and shifts her abode, when her us wild fruits, which art must meliorate, and continuance is in appearance most firmly settled. drossy metals, which labour must refine.
Particular metals are valuable, because they + Cincinnatus.
are scarce; and they are scarce, because the
mines that yield them are emptied in time. But not any variation, but what is caused by the urthe surface of the earth is more liberal than its certainty of seasons. caverns. The field, which is this autumn laid I am far from intending to persuade my coun. naked by the sickle, will be covered, in the suc- trymen to quit all other employments for that of ceeding summer, by a new harvest; the grass, manuring the ground. I mean only to prove, which the cattle are devouring, shoots up again that we have, ai home, all that we can want, and when they have passed over it.
that therefore we need feel no great anxiety Agriculture, therefore, and agriculture alone, about the schemes of other nations for improv: can support us without the help of others, in ing their arts, or extending their traffic. But certain plenty and genuine dignity. Whatever there is no necessity to infer, that we should we buy from without, the sellers may refuse; cease from commerce, before the revolution of whatever we sell, manufactured by art, the pur- things shall transfer it to some other regions :chasers may reject; but, while our ground is Such vicissitudes the world has often seen; and covered with corn and cattle, we can want no- therefore such we have reason to expect. We thing; and if innagination should grow sick of hear many clamours of declining trade, which native plenty, and call for delicacies or embellish- are not, in my opinion, always true ; and many ments from other countries, there is nothing imputations of that decline to governors and which corn and cattle will not purchase. ministers, which may be sometimes just, and
Our country is, perhaps, beyond all others, sometimes calumnious. But it is foolish to 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 There is some danger, lest our neglect of nature, but must be supported by her more com- agriculture should hasten its departure. Our mon gifts. They must feed upon bread, and be industry has for many ages been employed in clothed with wool; and the nation that can fur-destroying the woods which our ancestors have nish these universal commodities, may have her planted. It is well known that commerce is ships welcomed at a thousand ports, or sit at carried on by ships, and that ships are built out home and receive the tribute of foreign coun- of trees; and therefore, when I travel over tries, enjoy their arts, or treasure up their gold. naked plains, to which tradition hus preserved
It is well known to those who have examined the name of forests, or see hills arising on the state of other countries, that the vineyards either hand barren and useless, I cannot forbear of France are more than equivalent to the mines to wonder, how that commerce, of which we of America; and that one great use of Indian promise ourselves the perpetuity, shall be congold, and Peruvian silver, is to procure the wines tinued by our descendants; nor can restrain a of Champaigne and Burgundy. The advantage sigh, when I think on the time, a time al no is indeed always rising on the side of France, great distance, when our neighbours may deprive who will certainly have wines, when Spain, by us of our naval influence, by refusing us their a thousand natural or accidental causes, may timber. want silver. But surely the valleys of England By agriculture only can commerce be perhave more certain stores of wealth. Wines are petuated; and by agriculture alone can we live chosen by caprice ; the products of France have in plenty without intercourse with other nations. not always been equally esteemed; but there This, therefore, is the great art, which every gonever was any age, or people, that reckoned vernment ought to protect, every proprietor of bread among superfluities, when once it was lands to practise, and every inquirer into nature known. The price of wheat and barley suffers to improve.
CONSIDERATIONS ON THE CORN LAWS.*
By what causes the necessaries of life have 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 in that year had been so deficient, and corn had risen to to Mr. Malone, who published them in 180s, or rather to so high a price, that in the months of September and Oce his liberal publisher, Mr. Payne, were in the opinion of tober there had been many insurrections in the midland Mr. Malone, written in November, 1766, when the policy counties, to which Dr. Johnson alludes; and which were of the parliamentary bounty on the exportation of corn of so alarming a kind, that it was necessary to repress becamo naturally a subject of discussion. The harvest them by military force.
manufacture may be compensated by the ad- | reason to rejoice in our own exemption from the vancement of another; a defeat may be repaired extremity of this wide-extended calamity; and by victory; a rupture with one nation may be if it be necessary to inquire why we suffer scarbalanced by an alliance with another. These city, it may be fit to consider likewise, why we are partial and slight misfortunes, which leave suffer yet less scarcity than our neighbours. is still in the poseession of our chief comforts. That the bounty upon corn has produced They may lop some of our superfluous pleasures, plenty, is apparent, and repress some of our exorbitant hopes; but Because ever since the grant of the bounty, we may still retain the essential part of civil and agriculture has increased : scarce a session has of private happiness,-the security of law, and passed without a law for enclosing commons and the tranquillity of content. They are small ob- waste grounds: structions of the stream, which raise a foam and Much land has been subjected to tillage, noise where they happen to be found, but at a which lay uncultivated with little profit : little distance are neither seen nor felt, and suf Yet, though the quantity of land has been fer the main current to pass forward in its natu- thus increased, the rent, which is the price of ral course.
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 go But it is urged, that exportation, though it invernment, drive the populace upon their rulers, creases our produce, diminishes our plenty: that and end 'in bloodshed and massacre. Those the merchant has more encouragement for exwho want the supports of life will seize them portation than the farmer for agriculture. wherever they can be found. If in any place This is a paradox which all the principles of there are more than can be fed, some must be commerce, and all the experience of policy, conexpelled, or some must be destroyed.
cur to confute. Whatever is done for gain will Of this dreadful scene there is no immediate be done more, as more gain is to be obtained. danger; but there is already evil sufficient to Let the effects of the bounty be minutely condeserve and require all our diligence, and all our sidered. wisdom. The miseries of the poor are such as The state of every country with respect to cannot easily be borne: such as have already corn is varied by the chances of the year. incited them in many parts of the kingdom to an Those to whom we sell our corn, must have open defiance of government, and produced one every year either more corn than they want, or of the greatest of political evils--the necessity less than they want. We likewise are naturally of ruling by immediate force.
subject to the same varieties. Cæsar declared after the battle of Munda, When they have corn equal to their wants, or that he had often fought for victory, but that he more, the bounty has no efiect; for they will not had that day fought for life. We have often buy what they do not want, unless our exuberdeliberated how we should prosper; we are now ance be such as tempts them to store it for anoto inquire how we shall subsist.
ther year. This case must suppose that our The present scarcity is imputed by some to produce is redundant and useless to ourselves; the bounty for exporting corn, which is consi- and therefore the profit of exportation produces dered as having a necessary and perpetual ten- no inconvenience. dency to pour the grain of this country into other When they want corn, they must buy of us, nations.
and buy at a higher price; in this case, if we This position involves two questions: whether have corn more than enough for ourselves, we the present scarcity has been caused by the are again benefited by supplying them. bounty, and whether the bounty is likely to pro But they may want when we have no superduce scarcity in future times.
fluity. When our markets rise, the bounty It is an uncontroverted principle, that sublatâ ceases; and therefore produces no evil. They causâ tollitur effectus : if therefore the effect con cannot buy our corn but at a higher rate than tinues when the supposed cause has ceased, it is sold ai home. If their necessities, as now that effect must be imputed to some other has happened, force them to give a higher price, agency.
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 It is in all cases to be considered, what evenis failure of the harvest; and the cause of expor- are physical and certain, and what are political tation is the like failure in other countries, and arbitrary, where they grow less, and where they are The first effect of the bounty is the increase of therefore always nearer to the danger of want. agriculture, and by consequence the promotion
This want is such, that in countries where of plenty. This is an effeci physically good, and money is at a much higher value than with us, morally certain. While men are desirous to be the inhabitants are yet desirous to buy our corn rich, where there is profit there will be diligence. at a price to which our own markets have not If much corn can be sold, much will be raised. risen.
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 occasiones. 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