« AnteriorContinuar »
clufions are thus inverted, must, if he is satisfied it is done on better grounds, rejoice in the event.
The same objects appear to different men as differently as are the tempers of mind with which they are examined. Our present Author, under the influence of his discoveries, seems to estimate things in a candid, good-humoured manner; and, accordingly, declares, that notwithstanding luxury, extravagance, and dilipation, are at a very high pitch, it by no means follows, that they are carried higher now than they were formerly; or that they are of a more wicked nature, or of a more dangerous tendency. It was always the custom to praise the past, and speak ill of the present times; and, therefore, when I hear gentlemen declaiming in this manner, I am no more convinced of the truth of what they advance, than they are themselves by the authors who lived in, and wrote with the fame severity of the manners of the ages, which it is now the fashion to extol so much. Dress is not more expensive; nor are places of public amusement more romerous now, than formerly. Excessive gluciony and drunkennefs, the groffet, and perhaps the most pernicious to population of all others, are by no means the leading vices of the present age: indeed, there are very few, except among the lowest of mankind, who would not be ashamed to be thought guilty of them. In short, when Icast my eye over the several pursuits, fashions, amusements, and vices, of the present age, and compare them with those of former times, as I find them described by the moral writers, who lived in them, I can only conclude that the circuit of these things is changed, but not en. larged ; and that Providence has cast my lot in an age which is as de. sirable as any that have preceded it for many generations.'
We shall conclude this article with producing our Author's sentiments on another subject, concerning which many ingea nious men have widely differed :
Although all arguments drawn from conjecture must submit to the foregoing matters of fact, yet the following ones appear to me fo. forcible, that I cannot help submitting them to the public. It has been urged, that the inhabitants have decreased in country towns and villages, because employment has decreased in those places, and that the decrease of employment has been caused by inclosing commonfields, and putting several small farms into one great one. That both these circumstances may have tended to teffen employment amongst husbandmen, in some parts of the kingdom, I will not dirpute; but I believe, by no means, in thar degree which those, who argue for a decreased population, imagine. The farmer, where he is at liberty to act as he thinks proper, will not be governed by confidering whether his land is open or inclosed, in afligning the proporcion berween arable and grazing grounds, but by the proñits which this or that fate of his land produces : confequently, whether land be inclosed or not, the proportion between the quantity of land which is on tillage, and that which is in grass, will always be determined by the proporcion which the price of corn bears to the price of cattle, as it always was. It is true, great quantities of the newly inclosed common fields
ave been laid down; the reason is plain. For every
acre of common-field land that has been inclosed, there have been in. closed two acres of codamons, and other waste grounds; almost every acre of which has, necessarily, had the plough
thrown into it, in or. der to cultivate and improve it. The price of corn must therefore have funk to nothing, and the price of cattle have risen to an extravagant rate, if other lands had not been laid in to grass to feed them.
It may be farther observed, that hitherto, inclosures have been so far from lefening employment, that they must have greatly increased it. The inclosed commons and waste land, being so much more in quantity than the common fields which have been taken in ; and requiring, at the same time, so much more labour, to bring them into order, than it required to work lands, already cultivated, mult greatly have increased employment. We may add the great increase of labour in fencing and dividing both forts of inclosures, as well as the additional employment of keeping them continually in repair,' and in coltivating continually a quantity of land so much greater than was under cultivation before, as well as keeping a considerable part of that land in a higher state of cultivation: it being well known, and reasonable to suppose, that more care and pains are employed in the cultivation of inclosed lands, than on those which are not inclosed. In short, the whole inconvenience which has arisen from inclosing, and 'which has given rise to all these complaints, is, that where the inclofures have been chiefly, or wholly, of common-fields; employment has declined : whilft it has increased in a much greater proportion, in those parts where the inclosures have been chiefly, or wholly, waste lands; and, consequently, the people have been obliged to remove from one place to another, after their employment.
. With respect to the engrolling of farms, there can be little doubt, but that it has been a real grievance to many individuals; and so, likewise, have many other things been, which have proved very advantageous to the kingdom in general. Every considerable alteration in the internal policy and management of a fate, whether it be for the better or worse, in general, must be a hardship to those individuals who are obliged, in consequence of it, to seek a new employment ; but it does not therefore follow, that every such alteration is for the worse. Whether the change under consideration has been for the better or worse, can only be determined by experience, and the observations of men who are judges of, and conversant in; these matters. Mr. Young, the very ingenious author of many excellent publications' on this subject, and who has certainly considered these things as much, and, perhaps, understands them as well, as any other person in England, is clearly for large farms; and has advanced such arguments in their favour, as seen difficult to confute : and, to his works, I wish to refer those who chuse to inquire farther into this affair. It is obvious enough, that the division of land into small farms, may be extremely proper at one time, and as highly improper at another. Such a division may also be proper in one ftate, and not in another. For example, it would be very proper to encourage it in those states where the form of government is feudal, and where they have no mapufactures or commerce; but it seems very absurd to employ more hands than are necessary, in cultivating the ground, in states which depend chiefly on arts, manufactures, and foreign commerce, for their Rev. April 1781.
support, as is the case with England at present. If that unhappy time hould ever arrive when these are loft, farms will naturally subdivide themselves again, and become as small as they have been formerly.'
Whether this train of reasoning may now be accepted as conclufive or not, we cannot resist the temptation of going one step further in it, to conceive in idea what might be the desponding reflections of politicians at such a time, from the inability of tenants to occupy respectar le farms; and the unhappy obligation on landlords to portion them out into diminutive lots, to suit the narrow circumstances of impoverished cultivators !
As the Writer concludes with an invitation to the parochial clergy to affist him with materials to extend his inquiries into the state of population; we fincerely hope he will receive all the encouragement due to the laudable industry he has manifested in this brief attempt.
Art, III. A Comparative View of the Differences between the English
and Iriso Statute and Common Law. In a Series of Analogous Notes on the Commentaries of Sir W. Blacklione. By William Thomas Ayres, Esq; of the Middle Temple. 2 Vols. 8vo. I 2 S. bound.. Brooke. TITH what propriety this book is intitled a Comparative
View of the Differences between the English and Irish Statute and Common Law, we do not readily comprehend, We think it would have been called with more logical exactness, and certainly with more truth, a Comparative View of the Coins cidences between the Differences. The bulk of the work is borrowed (we will not fay stolen from Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries, with a few scanty Notes, referring to Iriíh Statutes that have been paffed in confirmation, hardly ever in variation, of the English. We sometimes travel through thirty or forty pages together that have been servilely taken from Blackstone, without a solitary Note intervening.
This is Mr. Ayres's differential code (as he somewhat curiously expreffes it) for which he demands the gratitude of the Irith student. His Introduction, we confess, led us to expect more than he has performed. Notwithstanding the aukwardness of his phraseology, there is in the plan something specious. After paying a very handsome compliment to the Commentator on the laws of England, to whom he gives the praise of having first properly methodized the principles of law, and (still more) of having united them to reason. (we question whether panegyric could strain a higher compliment), he observes, that if the ftudy of the law, is rendered more easy to the English Student by its being thus methodized, yet the difficulties to the Irish are very numerous. Although the Constitution of Ireland, when first adopted, was exactly similar to that of England, and the
principles and maxims of Irish jurisprudence coincident with the English common law, yet material differences in both have arisen in process of time, from neceflity and accident...
'A competent knowledge of these differences is essential to every Barrister ; but it too frequently happens, that gentlemen arrive at the bar founded with an ignorance of that differential code with which they ought to be fo peculiarly acquainted, after a severe application to the study of the English law.'
It is not easy to understand what this Author means by alserting, that though the principles and maxims of Irish jurisprudence were once coincident with the English common law, yet material differences in both, have arisen in process of time from necessity and accident. Different statutes in either country may alter, and have altered, the law, in particular points, but the maxims and principles of both (or rather they are one and the fame system) remain unshaken; and that they do so, is the boast and the security of both countries. They are the medium through which even those statutes are construed, The latter must conform to the peculiar necessities of trade, and other subordináte objects of regulation; but the principles of law do not fluctuate : and this the Author himself confesses by tranfcribing fo copicusly from the Commentator on the Laws of England; which we know as little how to reconcile to this position, as we do to his title of the Differences between the Irish and English Statute and Common Law.
The intention of his work is to facilitate the labours of the Irish students. To those who are too poor or too indolent to purchase and to read Blackstone's Commentaries, and the Irish Statutes, it may be of some utility, and may prevent them from arriving at the bar founded with an ignorance fo discreditable as that which Mr. Ayres imputes to too many Irish Barristers. We hope the imputation is as unmerited, as the language which conveys it is ungrammatical and inelegant.
The Differtation contained in Mr. Ayres's Introduction on the contested point of the power of the British Parliament to bind Ireland," is useful as an historical deduction,-and perhaps deserves to be printed separately.
Art. IV. Theatre of Education. Translated from the French of.
the Countess de Genlis. 8vo4 Vols. il. I S. Boards. Cami! dell, &c. 1781. T has long been a subject of complaint, that while the most
ample provision is made for the education of the head, little care is taken to furnish the necessary materials for that of the heart. Elementary treatises on the sciences, though not so per.. fect as might have been expected, have been produced in great
abundance: but the number of works, the immediate object of which is, to form the difpofitions and manners of children and youth, is comparatively small; and of these only a very few are judiciously adapted to answer their end. Whether this deficiency has been owing to the extraordinary difficulty of the task, or to the common propensity-we will not say of authors, but-of mankind, to prefer the splendid to the useful; much praise is due to the writer, who is disinterefted enough to make the attempt, and has ability sufficient to succeed in it.
The Counters de Genlis has had no inconsiderable share of merit, in inventing, and judiciously executing a kind of writing, which is admirably adapted to impress the minds of children and youth with the sentiments of morality. Didactic essays may be of
great use in furnishing young minds with just ideas on moral subjects. Lessons of wisdom and virtue may, with some advantage, be stored in the memory, in the form of fage maxims and refections ; but it is by repeated impressions on the imagination and feelings, more than by the most affiduous repetition of preceptive instructions, that habits of virtue are formed. These effects are produced with great advantage by the moral comedy, of which this writer has given many successful specimens. In common with fable and narration, it exhibits moral truth before the youthful fancy in lively and pleasing colours, and obtains it a free admission into the heart, by combining it with characters and scenes adapted to interest the passions; and beside this, it has the peculiar advantages, of engaging the attention by the gradual unfolding of the plot; giving an air of reality to fiction, by character and dialogue; and affording an opportunity for exercising and improving the powers of memory and speech, in dramatic representation.
The Writer's first design in these comedies appears to have been to teach the lessons of prudence and virtue by examples. Almost every piece is so contrived, as to inculcate fome one moral truth or sentiment, The characters are chofen, with great judgment, to exhibit before young persons engaging patterns of goodness; or to suggest to them the hazard of falling into those lesser errors of conduct which easily admit of correction, rather than to expose to their view those enormities of character, which would shock their moral feelings, and lead them into a premature acquaintance with the worst part of mankind. The pieces are in general suficiently enlivened with incident to render them interesting; and sometimes we meet with scenes which merit the appellation of humorous: the general cast, however, is that of grave dialogue ; and the serious and tender passions are more frequently touched, than the gay and sportive. The language has, throughout the whole, simplicity fufficient to render it intelligible to young persons, and at the