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OF PRICES, RATES OF WAGES, POPULATION, POOR-RATES, MORTALITY,
OTHER STATISTICAL INFORMATION, ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE
FORMER AND PRESENT STATE OF SOCIETY AND OF THE
"Were the benefits of civilization to be partial, not universal, it would
PUBLISHED BY EFFINGHAM WILSON,
To ROGER Lee, Esq.,
MY DEAR SIR,
When travelling on the Continent you cannot have forgotten that we arrived at one general, though, perhaps, partial conclusion, namely, that in the command of the substantial elements of national happiness, in the accumulation of wealth, in the diffusion of intelligence, in moral feeling, and in the enjoyment of civil freedom, our own country might justly claim precedency over any European community. Notwithstanding this, we could not conceal from ourselves the fact, that in many respects England exhibited symptoms of a nation suffering under great internal disorders. To reconcile such apparently contradictory conclusions, formed a subject of perplexing inquiry; it might be that the very advantages we had achieved, were the source of our difficulties, or that they had been neutralized by some accompanying evils not yet discovered, or insufficiently appreciated.
The most remarkable circumstance in our social progress, has been the rapid increase and ascendancy
of manufacturing wealth and population. This is the distinguishing feature of society, and to it, I doubt not, may be traced much of the good and evil incidental to our condition-the growth of an opulent commercial, and a numerous and intelligent operative class-sudden alternations of prosperity and depression-extremes of wealth and destitution -the increase of crime-the spread of educationpolitical excitement-conflicting claims of capital and industry—divided and independent opinions on every public question, with many other anomalies peculiar to our existing state.
Another result of the transition from agricul tural to manufacturing supremacy, has been the creation of not only new interests and new questions of discussion, but also a vast enlargement of the circle of inquirers. Questions of government, of law, of commerce, and industry, are not now agitated and solved by a limited and prescriptive class-the clergy, the educated and learned-but by that powerful and multitudinous body, forming at least nineteen-twentieths of the community, denominated the INDUSTRIOUS ORDERS. No monopoly of intelligence is recognised; the dissemination of opinion, as the vend of commodities, is claimed to be free and unprivileged.
It is to meet in some degree these altered conditions of society, this publication has been designed. My purpose has been, first, to present an