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Our Monthly Retrospect.
A SUBJECT OF GRATITUDE.-In our last month's Retrospect we stated that the most cheering fact we had to record was the prospect of one of the most abundant grain and fruit harvests with which we had been blessed for years. Now, that the expectations then expressed have been realized-when the toil of the husbandman is rewarded with a superabundance of the great staples of human subsistence, and all the broad acres of our vast country are blessed with the providential smiles of "peace and plenty"-it would illy become a periodical of the pretensions of The Guardian, not to make this fruitful subject a leading theme for the Retrospect of this month. Alas! how many are there in this highly favored land who will, amid this shower of blessings, forget the bountiful Hand that has so munificently blessed them! How few in the aggregate will remember, in its practical application, that "GoD is good," and that "when He openeth His hand all His creatures are satisfied"-that "neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." The farmer may toil "from early dawn to twilight gray," may plough and plant, and exhaust all his energies, and yet if it should please Divine Wisdom to withhold "the increase," disappointment, disaster and ruin will follow. From every section of the country we have intelligence that the harvested crops exceed the expectations of the most sanguine. In this county, while the straw in some sections was not so heavy as in other years, the yield will be unusually great. A great many estimates have been made of the probable extent of the crop this year. One puts down the crop of all the States and territories at 158,572,000 bushels, which is 68,000,000 bushels over the crop of 1849. The value of the wheat crop in that year is put down in the census report at $100,000,000. If we value the present crop at $1.25 per bushel it will be worth an aggregate of more than $210,- |
500,000! While the foreign demand with the increase of population at home, will insure the farmer a fair reward for his labor, the hopes of the speculator-the Idler who stands between the producer and consumer-are finally crushed. They have managed to keep up a show of enormous prices in Philadelphia, but the speculators and bread-brokers in the great cities must finally yield to the more healthy and equilibrious pressure from the country. We notice that at Wellsburgh, Ohio, (week before last,) a lot of flour was offered at SEVEN DOLLARS a barrel, for which the holder had refused ten dollars a few weeks before; but the flour would not bring the seven dollars, and the speculator was obliged to leave it "on sale" at the commission house for want of a purchaser.
The weather was exceedingly favorable for housing the wheat harvest. On Friday, the 20th, it was intensely hot, the thermometer ranging at various points from 94 deg. to 100, but on Friday evening we were visited by a heavy rain, with thunder and lightning, and it has continued cool and showery up to the present writing (25th.) The thermometer fell in three days over 30 degs., but it is now excellent weather for the corn and potato crops, which, as a farmer friend remarked to us yesterday, "can almost be seen growing." If it continues warm we will have the heaviest corn and potato crops ever known, and such is the prospect now.
A NATIONAL PLATFORM.-The Philadelphia Ledger suggests that, while so many parties are springing up, each claiming to develop and give utterance to the ideas now at work among the people, a few of our national principles might be carried out a great deal farther than has yet been attempted. Among these it enumerates Education, the means of obtaining which should be placed within the reach of all, free of expense, from A B C to B. A. of a College at least; with a few institutions for even higher cultivation of particular branches of science, and all possible improvements adapted to make the
course of education as practically useful as possible. One effect would be that, there being no pecuniary inducements for the officers to keep an army of students at College, if they did not study, the regulations would be formed and carried out with a view simply to the interests of scholarship. Examinations would be conducted more upon the principles of West Point, a degree would mean something when attained, and the industrious student would not be retarded and ruined by the too common dissipations of a College course, led on by the indolent but perhaps wealthy young man, whom the officers dislike to send home, for fear of cutting down their numbers. Michigan has already adopted this plan, and there is no reason why it should not become universal. Qualification, to profit by the instructions conferred, should be the only pre-requisite to any degree of educational promotion. For the State is always more benefited than even the individual, by his advance in science. As education must be obtained before it can become remunerative, wherever the individual contributes the time and expense of living, the State may safely advance that of instruction, especially as this puts education more within the reach of the masses. In many States the public lands do or might support the expense of this. In all cases the land is so raised in value by the education of the citizens that a tax sufficient would be immensely reproductive.
Another plank in this new platform is the Encouragement of Marriage by every reasonable means, such as donations of the public lands, so regulated as to make a marriage certificate secure a homestead to each couple, when they chose to go and settle upon it; and the discouragement of foreign, luxurious and expensive habits, which, by increasing the expenses of a family, prevent marriage and entail corruption.
A third principle is the elevation of the industrious classes by all just and suitable means, such as the protection of the poor and of the rights of labor by all proper laws from the frauds, corruptions and evil enticements too often successful through misapplied wealth. These, among others, the Ledger very justly considers more truly our American principles than any other handed down from Washington; principles that acted up to, will promote the security and advancement of all nations, and
without which free institutions will never spread to others, if they can even survive among ourselves.
THE LIQUOR QUESTION.-The most interesting question in the moral and legal world during the past month has been the operation of the New York Prohibitory Liquor Law, which took effect on the 4th of July. In the city of New York the law has thus far been inoperative, owing to the quiescent position of Mayor Wood, who declines taking any active measures in its enforcement until its constitutionality has been decided by the courts of highest resort! In Brooklyn, however, Mayor Hall has nobly determined to
force the law and leave the consequences with its framers and the courts who may be called to pass upon it judicially. The Syracuse Journal (which occupies an independent position) says that "whatever may be the fate of the law in the courts, the principle on which it is based has, since the 4th, made many thousands of converts. We form this opinion from the state of things in this city and vicinity, where, in the midst of great excitement over the prosecution of an offender, there has been an universally expressed congratulation of the most total extinction of crime and bestiality, as evinced by the police returns. A contrast has been furnished, during the past few days, of sobriety and good order in those quarters where the practice of these virtues was before unknown, that makes an enduring impression in minds that had not before thought correctly on the subject." The same journal adds that there is an earnest hope and confidence in the breasts of a large majority of the people of that State that the law may be sustained and enforced; but should it go down under the decision of the legal authorities, we have the fullest confidence in the determination of the people that its principle shall be sustained. If there be wrong in the present law, it will be righted; but there is a great principle of justice at its foundation which must and will be perpetuated. The Tribune says: "So far as we can judge from the reports which come to us from all sections of the State, the Prohibitory Law is very generally in operation. It is true the liquor sellers stand out in a few localities, and trample on the law in the hope that the courts may some time or other pronounce it unconstitu
tional: but these persons are not numerous, and they generally reside in the larger cities, a majority of them being in New York. There is very little liquor retailed in the agricultural districts. In the country towns the bars have generally been closed, and the beneficial effects are already beginning to be felt."
by every one in the State who takes an interest in this great cause. Those interested in the traffic are organizing for REPEAL, and the friends of Temperance should prepare to meet them, with a complete organization, and fight for victory under the glorious banner of PROHIBITION.
"THE JUG LAW."-There appears to be a favorable reaction taking place in favor of the "Act for Restraining the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors," passed by the last Legislature of this State, and which its opponents denominate "the jug law," by way of derision. The Liquor men have generally abandoned | the idea of holding whiskey meetings, as they find it does them more harm than good! The more the new law is understood the stronger disposition is evinced to have it enforced. It is not strictly a prohibitory law, for it has no "search and seizure clause" in it. As its title implies, it is a law to RESTRAIN the sale of intoxicating liquors. Is this not greatly needed? Do not our young men need it? Do not neglected wives and abused children need it? Do not intemperate persons need it? Temptation, in its most seductive forms, now meets them at every street corner and cross-roads. They are beguiled and overcome. Go to our prisons. By whom are they filled? By those who are the victims directly or indirectly, of the liquor traffic. Go to our poorhouses. By whom are they filled? Seven-tenths of the thousands supported there are inebriates and those dependant upon them. Go to the Court of Quarter Sessions, and who do you see arraigned there for petty offences and crimes of a higher magnitude? The large majority of them are the victims of strong drink. A reverend gentleman of Philadelphia, recently went with Hon. Judge Kelly to Moyamensing Prison to witness the Court proceedings occasionally held there to save the expense of transporting back and forward the victims of intemperance. On a single afternoon one hundred cases passed under review. Such a miserable throng he had seldom seen. More than sixty of the hundred were females, sent to prison for intoxication. Do we not need a reform, and will not every good citizen lend his aid to give efficiency to our restraining law? The State Temperance Convention, which meets at Reading on the 8th of August, should be attended
THE PORTLAND RIOT.-The committee of investigation, appointed by the Board of Aldermen to investigate the circumstances connected with the recent liquor riot in Portland, Maine, have concluded their labors and published a detailed report, in which they not only exculpate Mayor Dow from all blame, but declare he would have been highly culpable had he done less than he did. "The committee, on a careful and laborious investigation of the whole case, are satisfied that the Mayor and other executive officers of the city did no more in the emergency than their duty or the public service required; and that they would have proved unfaithful to their trust had they done less." Thus is Neal Dow twice vindicated triumphantly.
THE OLD WORLD.
"Sebastopol is not yet taken!" On the 18th of June the Allies made an unsucessful attempt to storm the Redan and Malakoff towers, and were repulsed with a loss of about 5000 men, killed, wounded and missing. There are two stories current as to the cause of this failure. In Paris it was reported that the failure was, in a measure at least, owing to errors committed by the British commanding officers. These errors are described as twc-fold-first, in not having had fascines provided for filling up the trench within in the Redan; and next, in not having immediately apprised the French Commander that they found it necessary to retire. The British on their side say that they took the Redan, but could not hold it because the French failed to silence the Malakoff. The truth of the matter is that the Russian soldiers are much harder to conquer than the allied powers had been led to believe. Not only the officers in command, but the rank and file of the garrison have shown on all occasions the most astonishing coolness and courage. An American surgeon, in the employ of the Russians, writing from Sebastopol, says, "events have proved that the English soldier is much inferior to the French or Russian, and that
with certain exceptions the Russian is as good as the French. Sebastopol," he continues, "will never be taken-it may be blown up by the Russians." This is the opinion we expressed months ago, and we yet see nothing to justify us in changing it.
The latest intelligence announces the death of Lord Raglan, commander-inchief of the British forces in the Crimea, who fell a victim to the climate and an overtaxed mind. He is succeeded by Lord Simpson, who as a commander is almost wholly unknown to fame. The cholera is again making sad havoc among the troops, and the heat of summer is likely to be as fatal as the frost of winter. The destruction of life in this war has already been terrible, and thousands of lives are yet destined to be sacrificed before Sebastopol is taken.
In England the most remarkable event has been the introduction of a bill into Parliament, and its subsequent withdrawal, intended to prohibit Sunday trading. Its introduction by Lord Grosvenor was followed by a meeting or mob in Hyde Park-one of the largest ever seen there-who denounced the bill and its author in the most unmeasured terms. The mob came in collision with the police, and a number of arrests were made, and the rioters taken to prison, but the next day they were dismissed and the obnoxious bill was withdrawn. It is said to have been partly a ministerial measure, and had been supported by a considerable majority of the House, and would have become a law, but for the demonstration made against it by the mob. This is one of the most remarkable concessions to a mob on record, and must finally have a disastrous effect upon the home power of the British government. It was generally conceded by the ministry and lords that the measure was right, but the government lacked the nerve to stand by its own faith. This is conceding more to "democracy" in monarchial England than ever was attempted in this country, and more than can ever be hoped to be achieved by a mob of Americans. The contrast is highly creditable to our own excellent government. Here the general Sunday Law and Sunday Prohibitory Liquor Law, are observed and respected; and everlasting infamy would attach to any Legislature which would bow to the mandate of a mob.
NOTES ON LITERATURE, &c.
It is stated that above 200 eminent scientific foreigners have been invited by a local committee to attend the meeting of the British Association in September next. Among the names are those of Louis Agassiz, Princes Charles and Lucien Bonaparte, Baron Humboldt, M. Leverrier, Baron Liebeg, M. Quetelet, Chevalier Bunsen, Professor Encke, Dr. Freund, &c. The third and fourth volumes of Mr. Macaulay's History are expected to appear in the present year. The concluding volumes of Moore's Life, by Lord J. Russell, are in the press. Tennyson's new volume, so long expected, will soon appear. It contains three new poems of some length-Maud, an Idyl, and a poem on Italy. A grand cavalcade of the students of the University of Leyden has recently taken place, on the occasion of the 280th anniversary of the foundation of that establishment. The town wore all the appearance of a fete. The strange story of Newton's mental aberration, so uncharitably insisted on by Biot, is forever set at rest by new proofs having been discovered of Newton's vigorous and unclouded intellect at the periods of his alleged insanity. It is said that Philip Bailey, the author of "Festus," will visit the United States this fall, on an engagement to lecture before some of our literary societies. Thackeray is making arrangements to again visit the United States to deliver a series of entirely original lectures. James G. Percival, the poet, holds the office of State Geologist of Wisconsin, having been appointed by Governor Barstow about a year ago, since which he has resided there. A newspaper correspondent thus describes him: "His nose is hooked and thin, his eye is gray, his mouth closed, his forehead high and broad, with the shape of unhappy years and torturing thought upon it. His timidity is unconquerable; he is now as bashful as a child-is frightened at his own voice in a strange circle, never speaks until he is addressed, shuns society, and seeks no friends. Devoted to his duties, he spends his days in mineral holes and quarries, and his evenings in recording his observations, and his nights in quiet sleep. He is quite poor, depending upon his profession as a geologist for his support."
The Annual Commencement of Franklin and Marshall College took place in this city on the 25th ult.