Billeder på siden

ing kingdom. In some respects, England is more happily fituated for commerce than Ireland. It poflefles an easier communication with Hola land, Germany and the Baltick. But Ireland enjoys a happier fituation for trade with the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the world.

The wealth of Ireland, it is said, is that of England: and in the fame language of friendthip they are called fifter-kingdoms. In an enlarged sense the wealth of every nation is that of another. The wealth of one country circulates by a thousand changels to others, and especially to those to which there is easy access. And while London is the seat of government, of polite refort, and of varied pleafuré, Great Britain will doubtlefs participate largely in the encreased wealth of Ireland. The firft of these considerations begins already to lose its force. The authority of the British Legislature over Ireland becomes, every day, more and more limited and partial. The eyes of the nations are turned to the determinations of the Irish Parliament. England waits their decisions as a rule for her own. " Whatever sum the gross hereditary, revenues of Ireland (after dedučting all drawbacks, re-payments, or bounties granted in the

nature of draw-backs) shall produce annually; over and above a " fum to be fixed, is to be appropriated towards the support of the « naval force of the empire, In such manner as the Parliament of Ireland Jhall direct!" Behold the beginning of a new executive government! Will the Irish Parliament stop here? Will they not proceed from one degree of power, according to the nature of succes. ful ambition, to another, until at length there shall be an irreconcileable interference between the new and the old authority? The embarrassments that must arise from this new order of affairs we forbear to conjecture. The point to be illustrated, for the present, by these observations, is, that whatever advantage London pofseffes over Dublin, from its being the seat of government, has diminished, and must continue to dininish. Power and wealth will nourish arts and various pleafures in the Irith capital ; and the prerogatives of the British Metropolis will, of course, be gradually reduced.

These things appear to be the natural consequences of caufes antecedent to any of the late fluctuations in the British Cabinet : and therefore it would be injustice to charge the present embarrassing fituation of affairs on the present administration. The part they have to act is and unprecedented in the history of Europe. Ireland is to be connected with Great Britain, not as a dependent province, not by such an union as has conjoined and incorporated England and Scotland, nor by representation in one common coun. cil or congress, as the Achæan states of old. The union to which the language of the day points, is an union, as it were, of complaisance. It is commonly said,“ that they are fister king“ doms; and that the strength of the one is the strength of the “ other." But filters are often rivals : and thus it will prove with England and Ireland.

It is evident that in the present arduous fituation of affairs the British Cabinet can attempt no other thing than to retain Ireland either by force or favour; or entirely to give her up, leaving the royal


hame as a pageant to grace and give the authority of cuftom and imagination to the decitions of the Irish parliament. To attempt the fubju. gation of an armed island in the present age and flourishing condition of the houle of Bourbon were an enterprize suited only to the phrenzy of knight errantry. If a connection is bought by favour, it appears that it muit be purchased by unbounded conceffion. It might admit of a doubt whether it would not be for the interest of Biitain to leave Ireland wholly to herself, and to pursue the tracts of commerce wherever they dould open. The advantages bought from a connec tion with Iveland are not those of extended authority and ambition but of commerce, advantages which can be obtained to a greater exr tent, and with equal eate, otherwise than by an unlimited indulgence to the growing and endless demands of that kingdom. . Suppote that Great Britain, instead of binding herself to give a preference to the produce and inanufactures of Ireland, should receive, duty free those of other countries, her own being received into them, op equal terms; would not advantages accrue to her from such arrangements, ase much iuperior to those the derives from her connection with Ireland, as thole countries might be superior in wealth and population to that island ? For Example: If we fhould receive, German in tead of Irith linens, on condition that our woollen and iron inanufactures thould be admitted on like terins into Germany, would not our profits be great, in proportion to the riches of Germany, compared with thore of Ireland ?

But it will readily occur that if Ireland is not with Great Britain she may, on various occafions, be against her; and that a wife legislature will not only have respect to the prosperity of the state in times of peace, but to its safety in time of war. - This topic would lead us into unbounded speculation. It is impossible for us at pre

fent to enter upon it any further than to observe that the actual and
effective union of separate states depends wholly on their difpofitions
and their interests. Treaties and compacts when they are not animats
ed by these, are like bodies without souls. The great bond of

the nations about a century and an half ago, was rer
ligion; but this bond is now loosened ; and if it were not, the actual
state of Irciand would render this bond a subject of as great anxiety,
perhaps to England as of confolation. The sameness of language,
and origin, the similarity of manners, sentiments, customs, and arts,
formed a poweriui bond of union, in antient times, among the
kates and colonies of Greece, when lofs and gain was not the only
objects of contention and of glory among itates and princes. There
circumstances are in the present period of extended cöminèrce and
intercourse, but of little confideration, and the progress of human
affairs every day makes them of less. The grand mover- of nations
is interest; and as this varies, the conduct of nations varies also.
It is therefore scarcely posible that such political arrangements can
be made by any human fagacity or forefight, as that Ireland, in all.
circumstances should combine her forces, with those of England.
• The grand objects which the legislature will no doubt have in view.
in the settleinent to be made with the neighbouring kingdom, ate
1. The effect which that settlement is likely to produce on our


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Political Constitution. 2. Its effects on our situation in case of War, 3. Its effects on our Commerce. It is to this last object alone that our legislators appear hitherto to have attended. The other two are not less worthy of their notice, and no doubt they will obtain it.

M ARCH. In the course of this month, the English House of Commorts have exhibited a wholesome symptom in the political constitution, in their jealousy of ministerial influence and encroachment in the election of members of parliament. Their decision concerning the Westminster election proves, that a concern to preserve its own privileges, and consequently those of the people, is yet a powerful principle in that affembly.

On a day appointed to take into consideration the necessity, and the mode of a parliamentary reform, the Speaker was not able to muster so many members as to ballot for ' a committee for trying a contested election This fact needs not any comment.

The spirit for improving the refources that yet remain to this country, continues to form a feature in the aspect of the times. The fisheries on the coaft of Scotland Itill draw general attention, and excite pretty general hopes. Various hints have been suggested for the cultivation of this boundless field : ' among these, the most folid, judicious, and useful, are those which occurred to the EARL of D

a nobleman who happily converts the calm purfuits and conquests of frience to the advantage of his country.

[ocr errors]


The late movements on the continent appear, at first glance to denounce war: bút, we continue to be of opinion, that they will, without bloodshed, terminate in peace. The Emperor seems to be defirous of an honourable prerext for retreating from ground on which he did not expect to meet with such vigorous resistance.

The Americans, without fleets to oppose, and without money to bribe the Algerires, are severely annoyed in their trade to the Mediterranean.

N. B. The conclusion of Buffon on Minerals is unavoidably

poftponed till our next.

Communications for THE ENGLISH REVIEW are Requested to be sent to Mr. MURRAY, No. 32, Fleet Street, London, where Subscribers for this Monthly performance are defired to give in their Names.

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

ART. I. Remarks upon the History of the Landed and Commercial

Policy of England, from the Invasion of the Romans to the Ac;
cesfion of James the First. 2 vols. 12mo. 6s. Boards. Brookea

AGRICULTURE and commerce, which are subje&ts of

high moment in every country whatsoever, are peculiarly so in Great Britain. As they are the sources of wealth, grandeur; and population, it is the happiest policy of a nation to encourage them; and while the eye of the politician ought perpetually to be directed to them, it is amulitig to the philofopher to observe their influence upon manners and fociety. To these topics our Author has applied with a figo bal industry, and his remarks are a valuable accession to our historical collections.

Building upon antient authorities, the compiler of these volumes describes the inhabitants of our island in the three conditions in which mankind are supposed to appear in the progress of civilization. In different districts he exhibits them in the Atates of favages, thepherds, and huf. bandmen. But though they had shewn themselves in these conditions before the invasion of the Romans, yet their rudeness he considers as very great. For though the cultivation of corn was known among them, it was chiefly practised by settlers from Gaul. But after the invasion and conquests of the Romans, the Britons advanced confiderably in civility. They paid a greater attention to land, became accuftomed to trade, and acquired a considerable skill in manufactures.

Upon these points our Author is very learned and ingeENG REV, vol. V. Ap. 1785.



[ocr errors]

nious. He then passes to the confideration of the landed and commercial policy of England under the Anglo-Saxon go. vernment. Here he could tread upon ground more secure; and it is to be observed that he has made an admirable use of the Anglo-Saxon laws, and the older monuments of our hiftory. But while he canvaffes the varying situation of land among our Saxon progenitors, it is to be regretted that he has not entered into the dispute whether it was directed or not by the great law of feodal tenure. This question, so much agitated among Antiquaries was a part of his subject ; and we think he was well qualified to enter into it, and to throw a light upon a point which so many ingenious men have considered as so obscure from the double darkness of antiquity and barbarism.

Leaving the Saxon period of our history, our author delivers his observations upon the landed and commercial policy of England from the Norman conquest to the accession of Henry III. He conceives that the Normans were not much more improved than the Saxons; and it is his opinion that from the conquest till the reign of Henry III. there were few regulations and little of that fpirit, which are calculated for the promotion of industry, and the extension of internal wealth. He even imagines that the commercial connexion which was formed between England and the tranfmarine dominions it acquired apon the Norman invafion was of slender service to our trade and manufactures. For few commodities could be exchanged to the advantage of both countries; and the antient servitude had not lost its rigour. The profession also of arms, and the broils between the crown and the barons engendered a malignant opposition to the arts which improve and embellish life.

After speculating upon the Norman times our Author continues his remarks from the accession of Henry the third to the reign of Henry the seventh. Here he has occasion to enumerate the advantages of the great charter, and the charrer of the forest, "upon which the liberties of England were founded. He appeals also to the pofterior charters and statutes which contributed with a peculiar energy to encourage agriculture and cominerce by securing the rights of property, and the political privileges of the subject. He treats of the introduction of the Flemish weavers into England, and of the improvements which were made in the woollen manuFacture. He examines the rise of the jealousy entertained against the Hanse Towns, and details the steps which were formed in England to accelerate their ruin. He describes the emolument which England received from the number of Jews who came to reside in it; and from whom it learned


« ForrigeFortsæt »