Page images
PDF
EPUB

retain our corn, and feed ourselves upon that the good of the bounty is certain, and evil avoidawhich was sown and raised to feed other nations. ble; that by the hope of exportation corn will be

It is perhaps impossible for human wisdom to increased, and that this increase may be kept at go further, than to contrive a law of which the home. good is certain and uniform, and the evil, though Plenty can only be produced by encouraging possible in itself, yet always subject to certain agriculture; and agriculture can be encouraged and effectual restraints.

only by making it gainful. No influence can This is the true state of the bounty upon corn: dispose the farmer to sow what he cannot sell; it certainly and necessarily increases our crops, and if he is not to have the chance of scarcity in and can never lessen them but by our own per- his favour, he will take care that there never mission.

shall be plenty That, notwithstanding the bounty, there have The truth of these principles our ancestors been from time to time years of scarcity, cannot discovered by reason, and the French have now be denied. But who can regulate the seasons ? found it by experience. In this regulation we In the dearest years we owe to the bounty that have the honour of being masters to those who, they have not been dearer. We must always in commercial policy, have been long accounted suppose part of our ground sown for our own the masters of the world, Their prejudices, consumption, and part in hope of a foreign sale. their emulation, and their vanity, have at last

The time sometimes comes, when the product of submitted to learn of us how to ensure the all this land is scarcely sufficient; but if the bounties of nature; and it forms a strange viciswhole he too little, how great would have been situde of opinions, that should incline us to repeal the deficiency, if we had sown only that part the law which our rivals are adopting. which was designed for ourselves?

It may be speciously enough proposed, that “But perhaps, if exportation were less en the bounty should be discontinued sooner. Of couraged, the superfluous stores of plentiful this every man will have his own opinion; years might be laid up by the farmer against which, as no gencral principles can reach is, will years of scarcity.”

always seem to him more reasonable than that of This may be justly answered by affirming, another. This is a question of which the state that, if exportation were discouraged, we should is always charging with time and place, and have no years of plenty. Cheapness is produced which it is therefore very difficult to state or to by the possibility of dearness. Our farmers at discuss. present plough and sow with the hope that some It may however be considered, that the change country will always be in want, and that they of old establishments is always an evil; and that shall grow rich by supplying. Indefinite hopes therefore, where the good of the change is not are always carried by the frailty of human nature certain and constant, it is better to preserve that beyond reason. While therefore exportation is reverence and that confidence which is produced encouraged, as much corn will be raised as the by consistency of conduct and permanency of farmer can hope to sell, and therefore generally laws. more ihan can be sold at the price of which he That, since the bounty was so fixed, the price dreamed, when he ploughed and sowed. of money has been much diminished: so that

The greatest part of our corn is well known the bounty does not operate so far as when it to be raised by those who pay rent for the ground was first fixed, but the price at which it ceases, which they employ, and of whom few can bear though nominally the same, has, in effect and in to delay the sale of one year's produce to another. reality, gradually diminished.

It is therefore vain to hope thai large stocks of It is difficult to discover any reason why that grain will ever remain in private hands; he that bounty, which has produced so much gooil

, and has not sold the corn of last year, will with diffi- has hitherto produced no harm, should be withdence and reluctance till his field again: the drawn or abated. It is possible, that, if it were accumulation of a few years would end in a vaca. reduced lower, it would still be the motive of tion of agriculture, and the husbandman would agriculturc, and the cause of plenty; but why apply himself to some more profitable calling. we should desert experience for conjecture, and

If the exportation of corn were totally prohibit-exchange a known for a possible good, will not ed, the quantity possible to be consumed among easily be discovered. if by a balance of probaus would be quickly known, and being known bilities, in which a grain of dust may turn the would rarely be exceeded; for why should corn scale-or by a curious scheme of calculation, in be gathered which cannot be sold ? we should which, if one postulate in a thousand be crrotherefore have little superfluity in the most neous, the deduction which promises plenty may favourable seasons; for the farmer, like the end in famine ;-if, by a specious mode of uncerrest of mankind, acts in hope of success, and the tain ratiocination, the critical point at which the harvest seldom outgoes the expectation of the bounty should stop, might seem to be discovered; spring. But for droughts or blights, we should I shall still continue to believe that it is more never be provided; any intemperature of seasons safe to trust what we have already tried; and would reduce us to distress, which we now only cannot but think bread a product of too much read of in our histories; what is now scarcity, importance to be made the sport of subtilty would then be famine.

and the topic of hypothetical disputation. What would be caused by prohibiting expor The advantage of the bounty is evident and tation, will be caused in a less degree by ob- irrefragable. Since the bounty was given, mulstructing it, and in some degree by every deduc- titudes eat wheat who did not cat it before, and tion of encouragement; as we lessen hope, we yet the price of wheat has abated. What more shall lessen labour; as we lessen labour, we is to be hoped from any change of practice? An shall lessen plenty.

alteration cannot make our condition better, and It must always be steadily remembered, that I is therefore very likely to make it worse.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

FROM THE MALICIOUS AND SCANDALOUS ASPERSIONS OF MR. BROOKE, AUTHOR OF GUSTAVUS VASA,

WITH A PROPOSAL FOR MAKING THE OFFICE OF LICENSER MORE EXTENSIVE AND EFFECTUAL.

BY AN IMPARTIAL HAND

[ocr errors]

It is generally agreed by the writers of all par- they make no scruple of avowing in the most ties, that few crimes are equal, in their degree of public manner, notwithstanding the contempt guilt, to that of calumniating a good and gentle, and ridicule to which it every day exposes them, or defending a wicked and oppressive adminis- and the loss of those honours and profits from tration.

which it excludes them. It is therefore with the utmost satisfaction of This wild passion, or principle, is a kind of mind, that I reflect how often I have employed fanaticism by which they distinguish those of my pen in vindication of the present ministry, their own party, and which they look upon as a and their dependents and adherents, how often certain indication of a great mind. We have I have detected the specious fallacies of the ad- no name for it at court ;

but

among themselves vocates for independence, how often I have soft- they term it by a kind of cant-phrase, a regard for ened the obstinacy of patriotism, and how often posterity. triumphed over the clamour of opposition. This passion seems to predominate in all their

I have, indeed, observed but one set of men, conduct, to regulate every action of their lives, upon whom all my arguments have been thrown and sentiment of their minds; I have heard away; which neither flattery can draw to com- - and P—, when they have made a vigopliance, nor threats reduce to submission; and rous opposition, or blasted the blossom of some who have, notwithstanding all expedients that ministerial scheme, cry out, in the height of either invention or experience could suggest, their exultations, This will deserve the thanks of continued to exert their abilities in a vigorous posterity! And when their adversaries, as it and constant opposition of all our measures. much more frequently falls out, have out-num

The unaccountable behaviour of these men, bered and overthrown them, they will say with the enthusiastic resolution with which, after a an air of revenge, and a kind of gloomy triumph, hundred successive defeats, they still renewed Posterity will curse you for this. their attacks : the spirit with which they conti It is common among men under the influence nued to repeat their arguments in the senate, of any kind of frenzy, to believe that all the though they found a majority determined to con- world has the same odd notions that disorder demn them; and the inflexibility with which their own imaginations. Did these unhappy they rejected all offers of places and prefer- men, these deluded patriots, know how little we ments, at last excited my curiosity so far, that I are concerned about posterity, they would never applied myself to inquire with great diligence attempt to fright us with their curses, or tempt into the real motives of their conduct, and to us to a neglect of our own interest by a prospect discover what principle it was that had force to of their gratitude.. inspire such unextinguishable zeal, and to ani But so strong is their infatuation, that they mate such unwearied efforts.

seem to have forgotten even the primary law of For this reason I attempted to cultivate a self-preservation; for they sacrifice without nearer acquaintance with some of the chiefs of scruple every flattering hope, every darling enthat party, and imagined that it would be neces-joyment, and every satisfaction of life, to this sary for some time to dissemble my sentiments, ruling passion, and appear in every step to conthat I might learn theirs.

sult not so much their own advantage, as that of Dissimulation to a true politician is not diffi- | posterily. cult, and therefore I readily assumed the charac Strange delusion! that can confine all their ter of a proselyte ; but found, that their prin- thoughts to a race of men whom they neither ciple of action was no other, than that which' know, nor can know; from whom nothing is to

on his own experience. He must therefore often and that an anvil is forged. But as it is to most depend upon the veracity of others, as every man traders of more use to know when their goods depends in common life, and have no other skill are well wrought, than by what means, care has to boast than that of selecting judiciously, and been taken to name the places where every maarranging properly.

nufacture has been carried furthest, and the But to him who considers the extent of our marks by which its excellency may be ascersubject, limited only by the bounds of nature tained. and of art, the task of selection and method will By the places of trade are urderstood all ports, appear sufficient to overburden industry and dis- cities, or towns, where staples are established, tract attention. Many branches of commerce manufactures are wrought, or any commodities are subdivided into smaller and smaller parts, till are bought and sold advantageously. This part at last they become so minute as not easily to be of our work includes an enumeration of almost noted by observation. Many interests are so all the remarkable places in the world, with such woven among each other as not to be disen- an account of their situation, customs, and protangled without long inquiry; many arts are in- ducts, as the merchant would require, who being dustriously kept secret, and many practices ne- to begin a new trade in any foreign country, was cessary to be known, are carried on in parts too yet ignorant of the commodities of the place and remote for intelligence.

the manners of the inhabitants. But the knowledge of trade is of so much im But the chief attention of the merchant, and portance to a maritime nation, that no labour consequently of the author who writes for mercan be thought great by which information may chants, ought to be employed upon the means of be obtained ; and therefore we hope the reader trade, which include all the knowledge and pracwill not have reason to complain, that, of what tice necessary to the skilful and successful conhe might justly expect to find, any thing is duct of commerce. omitted.

The first of the means of trade is proper eduTo give a detail or analysis of our work is cation, which may confer a competent skill in very difficult; a volume intended to contain numbers; to be afterwards completed in the whatever is requisite to be known by every counting-house, by observation of the manner of trader, necessarily becomes so miscellaneous and stating accounts, and regulating books, which is unconnected as not to be easily reducible to one of the few arts which having been studied heads; yet, since we pretend in some measure in proportion to its importance, is carried as far to treat of traffic as a science, and to make that as use can require. The counting-house of an regular and systematical which has hitherto been accomplished merchant is a school of method, to a great degree fortuitous and conjectural, and where the great science may be learned of ranghas often succeeded by chance rather than by ing particulars under generals, of bringing the conduct, it will be proper to show that a distri- different parts of a transaction together, and of bution of parts has been attempted, which, showing at one view a long series of dealing and though rude and inadequate, will at least pre-exchange. Let no man venture into large busiserve some order, and enable the mind to take a ness while he is ignorant of the method of regumethodical and successive view of this design. lating books; never let him imagine that any

In the dictionary which we here offer to the degree of natural abilities will enable him to suppublic, we propose to exhibit the materials, the ply this deficiency, or preserve multiplicity of places, and the means of traffic.

affairs from inextricable confusion. The materials or subjects of traffic are what This is the study, without which all other ever is bought and sold, and include therefore studies will be of little avail; but this alone is every production of nature.

not sufficient. It will be necessary to learn In giving an account of the commodities of many other things, which however may be easily nature, whether those which are to be used in included in the preparatory institutions, such as their original state, as drugs and spices, or those an exact knowledge of the weights and measures which become useful when they receive a new of different countries, and some skill in geograform from human art, as flax, coiton, and metals, phy and navigation, with which this book may we shall show the places of their production, the perhaps sufficiently supply him. manner in which they grow, the art of cultivating In navigation, considered as part of the skill of or collecting them, their discriminations and va- a merchant, is included not so much the art of rieties, by which the best sorts are known from steering a ship, as the knowledge of the seathe worst, and genuine from fictitious, the arts coast, and of the different parts to which his car. by which they are counterfeited, the casualties goes are sent; the customs to be paid; the by which they are impaired, and the practice by passes, permissions, or certificates to be prowhich the dainage is palliated or concealed. We cured; the hazards of every voyage, and the true shall likewise show their virtues and uses, and rate of insurances. To this must be added, an trace them through all the changes which they acquaintance with the policies and arts of other undergo.

nations, as well those to whom the commodities The history of manufactures is likewise deli- are sold, as of those who carry goods of the same vered. Of every artificial commodity, the man- kind to the same market; and who are therefore ner in which it is made is in some measure to be watched as rivals endeavouring to take addescribed, though it must be remembered, that vantage of every error, miscarriage, or debate. manual operations are scarce to be conveyed by The chief of the means of trade is money, of any words to him that has not seen them. which our late refinements in traffic have made Some general notions may however be afforded : the knowledge extremely difficult. The merit is easy to comprehend, that plates of iron are chant must not only inform himself of the various formed by the pressure of rollers, and bars by denominations and value of foreign coins, lo the strokes of a hammer; that a cannon is cast, I gether with their method of counting and re

ducing; such as the milleries of Portugal, and facturer. Much of the prosperity of a trading the livres of France; but he must learn what is nation depends upon duties properly apportioned; of more difficult attainment; the discount of so that what is necessary may continue cheap, exchanges, the nature of current paper, the prin- and what is of use only to luxury may in some ciples upon which the several banks of Europe measure atone to the public for the mischief done are established, the real value of funds, the true to individuals. Duties may often be so regucredit of trading companies, with all the sources lated as to become useful even to those that pay of profit, and possibilities of loss.

them; and they may be likewise so unequally All this he must learn merely as a private imposed as to discourage honesty, and depress dealer, attentive only to his own advantage; but industry, and give temptation to fraud and unas every man ought to consider himself as part of lawful practices. the community to which he belongs, and while To teach all this is the design of the Comhe prosecutes his own interest to promote like mercial Dictionary; which though immediately wise that of his country, it is necessary for the and primarily written for the merchants, will be trader to look abroad upon mankind, and study of use to every man of business or curiosity. many questions which are perhaps more pro- There is no man who is not in some degree a perly political than mercantile.

merchant, who has not something to buy and He ought therefore to consider very accurately, something to sell, and who does not therefore the balance of trade, or the proportion between want such instructions as may teach him the things exported and imported; to examine what true value of possessions or commodities, kinds of commerce are unlawful, either as being The descriptions of the productions of the earth expressly prohibited, because detrimental to the and water, which this volume will contain, may manufactures or other interests of his country, as be equally pleasing and useful to the speculatist. the exportation of silver to the East Indies, and with any other natural history; and the acthe introduction of French commodities; or un- counts of various manufactures will constitute no lawful in itself, as the traffic for negroes. He contemptible body of experimental philosophy. ought to be able to state with accuracy, the The descriptions of ports and cities may instruct benefits and mischiefs of monopolies, and exclu- the geographer as well as if they were found in sive companies; to inquire into the arts which books appropriated only to his own science; and have been practised by them to make them the doctrines of funds, insurances, currency, monecessary, or by their opponents to make them nopolies, exchanges, and duties, is so necessary odious. He should inform himself what trades to the politician, that without it he can be of no are declining, and what are improveable; when use either in the council or the senate, nor can the advantage is on our side, and when on that speak or think justly either on war or trade. of our rivals.

We therefore hope that we shall not repent the The state of our colonies is always to be dili- | labour of compiling this work; nor flatier our gently surveyed, that no advantage may be lost selves unreasonably, in predicting a favourable which they can afford, and that every opportu- reception to a book which no condition of life can nity may be improved of increasing their wealth render useless, which may contribute to the and power, or of making them useful to their advantage of all that make or receive laws, of all mother country:

that buy or sell, of all that wish to keep or imThere is no knowledge of more frequent use prove their possessions, of all that desire to be than that of duties and imposts, whether customs rich, and all that desire to be wise. paid at the ports, or excises levied on the manu

PREFACE

TO THE TRANSLATION OF

FATHER LOBO'S VOYAGE TO ABYSSINIA.*

The following relation is so curious and enter-| dible fictions : whatever he relates, whether taining, and the dissertations that accompany true or not, is at least probable; and he who it so judicious and instructive, that the trans- tells nothing exceeding the bounds of probalator is confident his attempt stands in need of bility, has a right to demand that they should no apology, whatever censures may fall on the believe him who cannot contradict him. performance.

He appears by his modest and unaffected The Portuguese traveller, contrary to the narration, to have described things as he saw general vein of his countrymen, has amused his them, to have copied nature from the life, and reader with no romantic absurdities or incre- to have consulted his senses, nat his imagina

tion. He meets with no basilisks that destroy For an account of this book, see the Life of Dr. with their eyes; his crocodiles devour their Johnson, by Mr. Murphy.

prey without tears; and his cataracts fall froin

the rock without deafening the neighbouring from the temper of his religion ; but in the inhabitants.

others has left proofs, that learning and honesty The reader will here find no regions cursed are often too weak' to oppose prejudice. He with irremediable barrenness, or blessed with has made no scruple of preferring the testimony spontaneous fecundity; no perpetual gloom or of father Du Bernat to the writings of all the unceasing sunshine; nor are the nations here Portuguese jesuits, to whom he allows great, described either devoid of all sense of humanity, zeal, but little learning, without giving any or consummate in all private and social virtues: other reason than that his favourite was a here are no Hottentots without religion, polity, Frenchman. This is writing only to Frenchor articulate language ; no Chinese perfectly men and to papists: a protestant would be polite, and completely skilled in all sciences : he desirous to know, why he must imagine that will discover what will always be discovered father Du Bernat had a cooler head or more by a diligent and impartial inquirer, that wher- knowledge, and why one man whose account is ever human nature is to be found, there is a singular, is not more likely to be mistaken than mixture of vice and virtue, a contest of passion many agreeing in the same account. and reason; and that the Creator doth not ap If the Portuguese were biassed by any partipear partial in his distributions, but has balanced cular views, another bias equally powerful may in most countries their particular inconveniences bave deflected the Frenchman from the truth; by particular favours.

for they evidently write with contrary designs : In his account of the mission, where his vera- the Portuguese, to make their mission seem city is most to be suspected, he neither exag- more necessary, endeavoured to place in the gerates over-much the merits of the jesuits, if strongest light the differences between the Abyswe consider the partial regard paid by the Por- sinian and Roman church; but the great Lutuguese to their countrymen, by the jesuits to dolfus, laying hold on the advantage, reduced their society, and by the papists to their church, these later writers to prove their conformity. nor aggravates the vices of the Abyssinians; Upon the whole, the controversy seems of no but if the reader will not be satisfied with a great importance to those who believe the Holy popish account of a popish mission, he may have Scriptures sufficient to teach the way of salrecourse to the History of the Church of Abys- vation ; but, of whatever moment it may be sinia, written by Dr. Geddes, in which he will thought, there are no proofs sufficient to defind the actions and sufferings of the missiona- cide it. ries placed in a different light, though the same His discourses on indifferent subjects will in which Mr. Le Grand, with all his zeal for the divert as well as instruct ; and if either in these, Roman church, appears to have seen them. or in the relation of father Lobo, any argument

This learned dissertator, however valuable shall appear unconvincing, or description obfor his industry and erudition, is yet more to scure, they are defects incident to all mankind, be esteemed for having dared so freely, in the which, however, are not too rashly to be immidst of France, to declare his disapprobation puted to the authors, being sometimes perhaps of the patriarch Oviedo's sanguinary zeal, who more justly chargeable on the translator. was continually importuning the Portuguese to In this translation (if it may be so called) beat up their drums for missionaries who might great liberties have been taken, which, whether preach the gospel with swords in their hands, justifiable or not, shall be fairly confessed, and and propagate by desolation and slaughter the let the judicious part of mankind pardon or contrue worship of the God of peace.

demn them. It is not easy to forbear reflecting with how

In the first part the greatest freedom has been little reason these men profess themselves the used, in reducing the narration into a narrow followers of Jesus, who left this great charac-compass; so that it is by no means a translateristic to his disciples, that they should be tion, but an epitome, in which, whether every known by loving one another, by universal and thing either useful or entertaining be comprised, unbounded charity and benevolence.

the compiler is least qualified to determine. Let us suppose an inhabitant of some remote In the account of Abyssinia, and the conand superior region, yet unskilled in the ways tinuation, the authors have been followed with of men, having read and considered the precepts more exactness; and as few passages appeared of the gospel, and the example of our Saviour, either insignificant or tedious, few have been to come down in search of the true church. If either shortened or omitted. he would not inquire after it among the cruel, The dissertations are the only part in which the insolent, and the oppressive; among those an exact translation has been attempted; and who are continually grasping at dominion over even in those, abstracts are sometimes given souls as well as bodies ; among those who are instead of literal quotations, particularly in the employed in procuring to themselves impunity first; and sometimes other parts have been confor the most enormous villanies, and studying tracted. methods of destroying their fellow-creatures, Several memorials and letters, which are not for their crimes but their errors—if he would printed at the end of the dissertations to secure not expect to meet benevolence engaged in mas- the credit of the foregoing narrative, are entirely sacres, or to find mercy in a court of inquisition, left out. he would not look for the true church in the It is hoped that after this confession, whoever church of Rome.

shall compare this attempt with the original, if Mr. Le Grand has given in one dissertation he shall find no proofs of fraud or partiality, will an example of great moderation, in deviating I candidly overlook any failure of judgment.

« EelmineJätka »