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all. He never sees at one glance more of a any of those who have in this age directed question than will furnish matter for one flow- their attacks against the last restraint of the ing and well-turned sentence; so that it would powerful, and the last hope of the wretched. be the height of unfairness to charge him per- The whole history of the Christian religion sonally with holding a doctrine merely because shows, that she is in far greater danger of that doctrine is deducible, though by the closest being corrupted by the alliance of power than and most accurate reasoning, from the pre- of being crushed by its opposition. Those mises which he has laid down. We are, there who thrust temporal sovereignty upon her fore, left completely in the dark as to Mr. treat her as their prototypes treated her author. Southey's opinion about toleration. Imme. They bow the knee, and spit upon her; they diately after censuring the government for not cry Hail! and smite her on the cheek; they punishing infidels, he proceeds to discuss the put a sceptre into her hand, but it is a fragile question of the Catholic disabilities, now, thank reed; they crown her, but it is with thorns; God, removed, and defends them on the ground they cover with purple the wounds which their that the Catholic doctrines tend to persecution, own hands have inflicted on her; and inscribe and that the Catholics persecuted when they magnificent titles over the cross on whicn
they have fixed her to perish in ignominy and “They must persecute,” says he, “ if they pain. believe their own creed, for conscience'sake; The general view which Mr. Southey takes and if they do not believe it, they must perse of the prospects of society is very gloomy; but cule for policy; because it is only by intole- we comfort ourselves with the consideration rance that so corrupt and injurious a system that Mr. Southey is no prophet. He foretold, can be upheld.”
we remember, on the very eve of the abolition That unbelievers should not be persecuted, of the Test and Corporation Acts, that these is an instance of national depravity at which hateful laws were immortal, and that pious the glorified spirit stands aghast. Yet a sect minds would long be gratified by seeing the of Christians is to be excluded from power most solemn religious rite of the church probecause those who formerly held the same faned, for the purpose of upholding her politi. opinions were guilty of persecution. We have cal supremacy. In the book before us, he says said that we do not very well know what Mr. that Catholics cannot possibly be admitted into Southey's opinion about toleration is. But, on Parliament, until those whom Johnson called the whole, we take it to be this, that every- “the bottomless Whigs” come into power. body is w tolerate him, and that he is to tole. While the book was in the press, the prophecy rale nobody.
was falsified, and a Tory of the Tories, Mr. We will not be deterred by any fear of mis- Southey's own favourite hero, won and wore representation from expressing our hearty that noblest wreath, “ Ob cives servatos.” approbation of the mild, wise, and eminently The signs of the times, Mr. Southey tells us, Christian manner, in which the church and the are very threatening. His fears for the country government have lately acted with respect to would decidedly preponderate over his hopes, blasphemous publications. We praise them but for his firm reliance on the mercy of God. for not having thought it necessary to encircle Now, as we know that God has once suffered a religion pure, merciful, and philosophical- the civilized world to be overrun by savages, a religion, to the evidences of which the and the Christian religion to be corrupted by highest intellects have yielded-with the de doctrines which made it, for some ages, almost fences of a false and bloody superstition. The as bad as Paganism, we cannot think it inconark of God was never taken till it was sur-sistent with his attributes that similar calami. rounded by the arms of earthly defenders. In ties should again befall mankind. captivity, its sanctity was sufficient to vindicate We look, however, on the state of the world, it from insult, and to lay the hostile fiend pros- and of this kingdom in particular, with much trate on the threshold of his own temple. greater satisfaction, and with better hopes. The real security of Christianity is to be found Mr. Southey speaks with contempt of those in its benevolent morality, in its exquisite who think the savage state happier than the adaptation to the human heart, in the facility social. On this subject, he says, Rousseau with which its scheine accommodates itself to never imposed on him even in his youth. But the capacity of every human intellect, in the he conceives that a community which has adconsolation which it bears to the house of vanced a little way in civilization is happier monrning, in the light with which it brightens than one which has made greater progress. the great mystery of the grave. To such a system The Britons in the time of Cæsar were happier, it can bring no addition of dignity or of he suspects, than the English of the ninetcenih strength, that it is part and parcel of the com- century. On the whole, he selects the generamon law. It is not now for the first time left tion which preceded the Reformation as that lo rely on the force of its own evidences and in which the people of this country were betthe attractions of its own beauty. Its sublime ter off than at any time before or since. theology confounded the Grecian schools in the This opinion rests on nothing, as far as we fair conflict of reason with reason. The can see, except his own individual associabravest and wisest of the Cæsars found their tions. He is a man of letters; and a life des arms and their policy unavailing, when op- titute of literary pleasures seems insipid to posed to the weapons that were not carnal, and him. He abhors the spirit of the preseni gene ibe kingdom thai was not of this world. The ration, the severity of its studies, the poldness victory which Porphyry and Diocletian failed of its inquiries, and the disdain with wnich it u gain is noh, to all appearance, reserved for regards some old prejudices by which his own
rind is Scla in bondage. He dislikes an ut- many with bread maat eyther of beanes, peaterly unenlighwned age; he dislikes an inves- son, or otes, or of altogether, and some acornes tigating and reforming age. The first twenty among. I will not say that this extremity is years of the sixteenth century would have ex- oft so well to be seen in time of plentie as of actly suited him. They furnished just the dearth; but if I should I could easily bring quantity of intellectual excitement which he my trial; for albeit there be much more requires. The learned few read and wrote grounde eared nowe almost in everye place largely. A scholar was held in high estin.a. then hath beene of late yeares, yet such a lion; but the rabble did not presume to think; price of corne continueth in each town and and even the most inquiring and independent markete, without any just cause, that the artiof the educated classes paid more reverence to ficer and poore labouring man is not able w authority, and less to reason, than is usual in reach unto it, but is driven to content himself our time. This is a state of things in which with hörsc-corne; I mean beanes, peason, otes, Mr. Southey would have found himself quite tares, and lintelles.” We should like to see comfortable; and, accordingly, he pronounces what the effect would be of putting any parish it the happiest state of things ever known in in England now on allowance of
“ horsethe world.
corne.” The hcloty of Mammon are not, in The savages were wretched, says Mr. Sou- our day, so easily enforced to content themthey; but the people in the time of Sir Thomas selves as the peasantry of that happy period. More were happier than either they or we. as Mr. Southey considers it, which elapsed Now, we think it quite certain, that we have between the fall of the feudal and the rise of the advantage over the contemporaries of Sir commercial tyranny. Thomas More, in every point in which they “ The people,” says Mr. Southey,“ are worse had any advantage over savages.
fed than when they were fishers." And yet in Mr. Southey does not even pretend to main- another piace he complains that they will not tain that the people in the sixteenth century eat fish. “They have contracted,” says he, were better lodged or clothed than at present. “I know not how, some obstinate prejudice He seems to admit that in these respects there against a kind of food at once wholesome and has been some little improvement. It is indeed delicate, and everywhere to be obtained a matter about which scarcely any doubt can cheaply and in abundance, were the demand exist in the most perverse mind, that the im- for it as general as it ought to be.” It is provements of machinery have lowered the true that the lower orders have an obstinale price of manufactured articles, and have brought prejudice against fish. But hunger has no within the reach of the poorest some conve- such obstinate prejudices. If what was forniences which Sir Thomas More or his master merly a common diet is now eaten only in times could not have obtained at any price.
of severe pressure, the inference is plain. The labouring classes, however, were, ac- The people must be fed with what they al cording to Mr. Southey, better sed three hun- least think better food than that of their andred years ago than at present. We belicve cestors. that he is completely in error on this point. The advice and medicine which the poorest The condition of servants in noble and weal- labourer can now obtain, in disease or after thy families, and of scholars at the Universi- an accident, is far superior to what Henry the ties, must surely have been better in those Eighth could have coinmanded. Scarcely any times than that of common day-labourers; and part of the country is out of the reach of pracwe are sure that it was not better than that of litioners, who are probably not so far inferior our workhouse paupers. From the house to Sir Henry Halford as they are superior to hold book of the Northumberland family, we Sir Anthony Denny. That there has been a find that in one of the greatest establishments great improvement in this respect Mr. Southey of the kingdom, the servants lived almost en- allows. Indeed, he could not well have denied tirely on salt meat, without any bread at all. A it. “But,” says he,“ the evils for which the more un wholesome diet can scarcely be con- sciences are the palliative, have increased ceived. In the reign of Edward the Sixth, the since the time of the Druids in a proportion state of the students at Cambridge is described that heavily outweighs the benefit of improved lo us, on the very best authority, as most therapeutics." We know nothing either of the wretched. Many of them dined on poutage diseases or the remedies of the Druids. But made of a farthing's worth of beef with a little we are quite sure that the improvement oť salt and oatmeal, and literally nothing else. medicine has far more than kept pace with the This account we have from a contemporary increase of disease, during the last three cenmaster of St. John's. Our parish poor now turies. This is proved by the best possible eat wheaten bread. In the sixteenth century evidence. The term of human life is decideilthe labourer was glad to get barley, and was ly longer in England than in any former age, often forced to content himself with poorer respecting which we possess any information lare. In Harrison's introduction to Holinshed on which we can rely. All the rants in the we have an account of the state of our working world about picturesque cottages and temples population in the “golden days," as Mr. Southey of Mammon will not shake this argument. No calls them, of good Queen Bess. “The genti- test of the state of society can be named so litie,” says he, “commonly provide themselves decisive as that which is furnished by bills of sufficiently of wheat for their own tables, mortality. That the lives of the people of this whvlest their household and poore neighbours country have been gradually lengthening durir some shires are inforced to content themselves ing the course of several generations, is as with rice or barley; yea, and in time of dearth, certain as any fact in statistics, and that the lives of men should become longer and longer, gence in what they thought an exquisite repast; while the physical condition, during life, is be- and that a dropsy of a peculiar description coming worse and worse, is utterly incredible. was produced by the hard fare of the year.
Let our readers think over these circum- Dead bodies were found on the roads and in stances. Let them take into the account the the fields. A single surgeon dissected six of sweating sickness and the plague. Let them these, and found the stomachs shrunk, and take into the account that fearful disease which filled with the unwholesome aliments which first made its appearance in the generation to hunger had driven men to share with beasis. which Mr. Southey assigns the palm of feli- Such extremity of distress as this is never city, and raged through Europe with a fury at heard of in England, or even in Ireland. which the physician slood aghast, and before we are, on the whole, inclined to think, though which the people were swept away by thou- we would speak with diffidence on a point ou sands. Let them consider the state of the which it would be rash to pronounce a posinorthern counties, constantly the scene of rob- tive judgment, without a much longer and beries, rapes, massacres, and conflagrations. closer investigation than we have bestowed Let them add to all this the fact that seventy- upon it, that the labouring classes of this two thousand persons suffered death by the island, though they have their grievances and hands of the executioner during the reign of distresses, some produced by their own improHenry the Eighth, and judge between the nine- vidence, some by the errors of their rulers, are teenth and the sixteenth century.
on the whole better off, as to physical comforts, We do not say that the lower orders in Eng. than the inhabitants of any equally extensive land do not suffer severe hardships. But, in district of the old world. On this very account, spite of Mr. Southey's assertions, and in spite suffering is more acutely felt and more loudly of the assertions of a class of politicians, who, bewailed here than elsewhere. We must take differing from Mr. Southey in every other into the account the liberty of discussion, and point, agree with him in this, we are inclined the strong interest which the opponents of a to doubt whether they really suffer greater ministry always have to exaggerate the extent physical distress than the labouring classes of of the public disasters. There are many parts the most flourishing countries of the Conti- of Europe in which the people quietly endure nent.
distress that here would shake the foundations It will scarcely be maintained that the lazza- of the state ; in which the inhabitants of a roni who sleep under the porticos of Naples, whole province turn out to eat grass, with less or the beggars who besiege the convents of clamour than one Spitalfields weaver would Spain, are in a happier situation than the Eng- make here, if the overseers were to put him lish commonalty. The distress which has on barley-bread. In those new countries in lately been experienced in the northern part of which a civilized population had at its com. Germany, one of the best governed and most mand a boundless extent of the richest soil, prosperous districts of Europe, surpasses, if the condition of the labourer is probably hapwe have been correctly informed, any thing pier than in any society which has lasted for which has of late years been known among many centuries. But in the old world we must us. In Norway and Sweden the peasantry are confess ourselves unable to find any satisfac. constantly compelled to mix bark with their tory record of any great nation, past or prebread, and even this expedient has not always sent, in which the working classes have been preserved whole families and neighbourhoods in a more comfortable situation than in Eng. from perishing together of famine. An expe- land during the last thirty years. When this riment has lately been tried in the kingdom of island was thinly peopled, it was barbarous. the Netherlands, which has been cited to prove There was little capital; and that little was in. the possibility of establishing agricultural colo- secure. It is now the richest and the most nies on the waste-lands of England; but which highly civilized spot in the world; but the proves to our minds nothing so clearly as this, population is dense. Thus we have never that the rate of subsistence to which the labour known that golden age which the lower orders ing classes are reduced in the Netherlands is in the United States are now enjoying. We have miserably low, and very far inferior to that of never known an age of liberty, of order, and of the English paupers. No distress which the education, an age in which the mechanical scipeople here have endured for centuries, ap- ences were carried to a great height, yet in proaches to that which has been felt by the which the people were nct sufficiently nume. French in our own time. The beginning of rous to cultivate even the most fertile valleys. the year 1817 was a time of great distress in But when we compare our own condition with this island. But the state of the lowest classes that of our ancestors, we think it clear that the here was luxury compared with that of the advantages arising from the progress of civili. people of France. We find in Magendie's zation have far more than counterbalanced the Jour nal de Physiologie Expérimentale, a paper on disadvantages arising from the progress of a point of physiology conneeted with the dis- population. While our numbers have intress of that season. It appears that the inha- creased tenfold, our wealth has increased a bitants of six departments, Aix, Jura, Doubs, hundredfold. Though there are so many more laute Saone, Vosges, and Saone et Loire, people to share the wealth now existing in the were reduced first to oatmeal and potatoes, and country than there were in the sixteenth centuat last to nettles, bean-stalks, and other kind ry, it seems certain that a greater share falls 10 of herbage fit only for cattle; that when the almost every individual than sell to the share next harvest enabled them to eat barley-bread, of any of the corresponding class in the sixmany of them died from intemperate indul- 1 teenth century. The king keeps a more spler
did court. The establishments of the nobles this is the state of society in which the great
more magnificent. The esquires are proprietors have devoured the smaller! richer, the merchants are richer, the shopkeep- The cure which Mr. Southey thinks that he ers are richer. The serving-man, the artisan, has discovered is worthy of the sagacity which and the husbandman have a more copious and he has shown in detecting the evil. The ca. palatable supply of food, better clothing, and lamities arising from the collection of wealth better furniture. This is no reason for tole in the hands of a few capitalists are to be rerating abuses, or for neglecting any means of medied by collecting it in the hands of one ameliorating the condition of our poorer coun- great capitalist, who has no conceivable mo. trymen. But it is a reason against telling tive to use it better than other capitalists,-the them, as some of our philosophers are con- all-devouring state. stantly telling them, that they are the most It is not strange that, differing so widely wretched people who ever existed on the face from Mr. Southey as to the past progress of of the earth.
society, we should differ from him also as to We have already adverted to Mr. Southey's its probable destiny. He thinks, that to ail amusing doctrine about national wealth. A outward appearance, the country is hastening slate, says he, cannot be too rich; but a peo- to destruction; but he relies firmly on the pie may be too rich. His reason for thinking goodness of God. We do not see either the this, is extremely curious.
piety or the rationality of thus confidently ex. - A people may be too rich, because it is the pecting that the Supreme Being will interfere tendency of the commercial, and more espe- to disturb the common succession of causes cially, of the manufacturing system, to collect and effects. We, too, rely on his goodnesswealth rather than to diffuse it. Where wealth on his goodness as manifested, not in extrais necessarily employed in any of the specula- ordinary interpositions, but in those general tions of trade, its increase is in proportion to laws which it has pleased him to establish in its amount. Great capitalists become like the physical and in the moral world. We rely pikes in a fish-pond, who devour the weaker on the natural tendency of the human intel. fish; and it is but too certain, that the poverty lect to truth, and on the natural tendency of of one part of the people seems to increase in society to improvement. We know no well the same ratio as the riches of another. There authenticated instance of a people which has are examples of this in history. In Portugal, decidedly retrograded in civilization and pros. when the high tide of wealth flowed in from perity, except from the influence of violent and the conquests in Africa and the East, the effect ierrible calamities-such as those which laid of that great influx was not more visible in the the Roman empire in ruins, or those which, augmented splendour of the court, and the about the beginning of the sixteenth century, luxury of the higher ranks, than in the distress desolated Italy. We know of no country of the people.”.
which, at the end of fifty years of peace and Mr. Southey's instance is not a very fortu- tolerably good government, has been less pros. nate one. The wealth which did so little for perous than at the beginning of that period. the Portuguese was not the fruit either of The political importance of a state may demanufactures or of commerce carried on by cline, as the balance of power is disturbed by private individuals. It was the wealth, not of the introduction of new forces. Thus the the people, but of the government and its crea- influence of Holland and of Spain is much tures, of those who, as Mr. Southey thinks, diminished. But are Holland and Spain poor. never can be too rich. The fact is, that Mr. er than formerly? We doubt it. Oiher counSouthey's proposition is opposed to all history, tries have outrun them. But we suspect that and to the phenomena which surround us on they had been positively, though not relatively, every side. England is the richest country in advancing. We suspect that Holland is richer Europe, the most commercial, and the most than when she sent her navies up the Thames; manufacturing. Russia and Poland are the that Spain is richer than when a French king poorest countries in Europe. They have was brought captive to the footstool of Charles scarcely any trade, and none but the rudest the Fifth. inanufactures. Is wealth more diffused in History is full of the signs of this natural Russia and Poland than in England? There progress of society. We see in almost every are individuals in Russia and Poland whose part of the annals of mankind how the indusincomes are probably equal to those of our try of individuals, struggling up against wars, vichest countrymen. It may be doubted, whe- taxes, famines, conflagrations, mischievous ther there are not, in those countries, as many prohibitions, and more mischievous protecfortunes of eighty thousand a year as here. tions, creates faster than governments can But are there as many fortunes of five thou- squander, and repairs whatever invaders can sand a year, or of one thousand a year? There destroy. We see the capital of nations increas. ure parishes in England which contain more ing, and all the arts of life approaching nearer people of between five hundred and three and nearer to perfection, in spite of the grossest thousand pounds a year than could be fourd corruption and the wildest profusion on the in all the dominions of the Emperor Nicholas. part of rulers. The neat and commodious houses which have The present moment is one of great distress. been built in London and its vicinity, for peo- But how small will that distress appear when ple of this class, within the last thirty years, we think over the history of the last forty would of themselves form a city larger than years;-a war, compared with which all other •he capitals of some European kingdoms. And i wars sink into insignificance; taxation, such as the most heavily taxed people of former times what, in the time of Oliver Cromwell, times could not have conceived; a debt larger had been thought intolerably oppressive. To than all the public debts that ever existed in almost all men the state of things under which the world added together; the food of the peo- they have been used to live seems to be the ple studiously rendered dear; the currency necessary state of things. We have heard it imprudently debased, and imprudently restored. said that five per cent. is the natural interest Yet is the country poorer than in 1790? We of money, that twelve is the patural number fully believe that, in spite of all the misgo- of a jury, that forty shillings is the natural vernment of her rulers, she has been almost qualification of a county voter. Hence it is constantly becoming richer and richer. Now that, though in every age everybody knows and then there has been a stoppage, now and that up to his own time progressive improvethen a short retrogression ; but as to the ge- ment has been taking place, nobody seems to neral tendency there can be no doubt. A sin reckon on any improvement during the next gle breaker may recede, but the tide is evi- generation. We cannot absolutely prove that dently coming in.
those are in error, who tell us that society has If we were to prophesy that in the year 1930, reached a turning point,—that we have seen a population of bfty millions, better fed, clad, our best days. But so said all who came beand lodged than the English of our time, will fore us, and with just as much apparent reacover these islands; that Sussex and Hunting. son. “ A million a year will beggar us,” said donshire will be wealthier than the wealthiest the patriots of 1640. “ Two millions a year parts of the West-Riding of Yorkshire now will grind the country to powder," was the cry are; that cultivation, rich as that of a flower- in 1660. “Six millions a year, and a debt of garden, will be carried up to the very tops of fifty millions !” exclaimed Swift; “ the high Ben Nevis and Helvellyn; that machines, con- allies have been the ruin of us.” “ A hundred structed on principles yet undiscovered, will and forty millions of debt!” said Junius; be in every house ; that there will be no high-"well may we say that we owe Lord Chatham ways but railroads, no travelling but by steam; more than we shall ever pay, if we owe him and our debt, vast as it seems to us, will ap- such a load as this.” “Two hundred and pear to our great-grandchildren a trifling forty millions of debt!" cried all the statesencumbrance, which might easily be paid off men of 1783 in chorus ; "what abilities, or in a year or iwo, many people would think us what economy on the part of a minister, can insane. We prophesy nothing; but this we save a country so burdened ?" We know that say-If any person had told the Parliament if, since 1783, no fresh debt had been incurred, which met in perplexity and terror after the the increased resources of the country would crash in 1720, that in 1830 the wealth of Eng. have enabled us to defray that burden at which land would surpass all their wildest dreams; Pitt, Fox, and Burke stood aghast to defray it that the annual revenue would equal the prin- over and over again, and that with much lighter cipal of that debt which they considered as taxation than what we have actually borne. an intolerable burden; that for one man of On what principle is it, that when we see no10,0001. then living, there would be five men thing but improvement behind us, we are te of 50,0001.; that London would be twice as large expect nothing but deterioration before us ? and twice as populous, and that nevertheless the It is not by the intermeddling of Mr. Soumortality would have diminished to one-half they's idol, the omniscient and omnipotent what it then was; that the postoffice would bring State, but by the prudence and energy of the more into the exchequer than the excise and cus- people, that England las hitherto been carried toms had brought in together under Charles II. ; forward in civilization; and it is to the same that stage-coaches would run from London to prudence and the same energy that we now York in twenty-four hours; that men would look with comfort and good hope. Qur rulers sail without wind, and would be beginning to will best promote the improvement of the ride without horses, our ancestors would have people by strictly confining themselves to their given as much credit to the prediction as they own legitimate duties; by leaving capital to gave to Gulliver's Travels. Yet the predico find its most lucrative course, commodities tion would have been true; and they would their fair price, industry and intelligence their have perceived that it was not altogether ab- natural reward, idleness and folly their natural surd if they had considered that the country punishment; by maintaining peace, by defendwas then raising every year a sum which ing property, by diminishing the price of law, would have purchased the fee-simple of the and by observing strict economy in every derevenue of the Plantagenets, ten times what partment of the state. Let the government do supported the government of Elizabeth, three this—the people will assuredly do the rest