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be allowed to imply a considerable degree of literary refinement in a people who can supply a market for them. This little volume modestly comes into the world without the name of its author. We understand this, however, to be Signor Mariotti, an Italian gentleman, already favorably known here by a course of lectures, which are considered as exhibiting a nice discrimination of the beauties of his native literature. The poems before us are mostly in the form of ballads, or rather lays, compounded somewhat of the Provençal style and that of the old Norman fabliaux. Their subjects are borrowed in part, indeed, from these Norman themes; and one, not the happiest among them in its execution, from our own history, being dedicated to the Lady Arabella Johnstone, of Pilgrim memory. We select a few stanzas from the first poem in the book, in which Richard Coeur-de-Lion's squire, Blondel, discovers the place of his master's confinement, by chanting the verses of a favorite song.
"Tutto tace, la pace discende
Si tenero, sì puro
Il labbro sorridea,
Che un primo sguardo, un riso,
"Era il canto che il pianto solea
"Ma ecco, accetto al cospetto Divino E salito del bardo il dolore ;
Non è l'eco del monte vicino,
Non è il suon che sul lago si muore;
Dalle torre la voce del Sir;
'Deh! se così si mostri
"Lieve, lieve, sul greve aer fosco
Dio clemente gl' invia nel martir.”
pp. 7, 8.
Another chanson is occupied with the subject, if we recollect aright, of one of the ancient fabliaux ; in which, the Crusader, Raoul de Couci, having ordered his heart after his death to be carried to his mistress, the messenger unfortunately falls into the hands of the lady's husband, who causes the said heart of her true knight to be regularly dressed, and served up to her, whether as a pâté de foie gras, or what other savoury mess, the minstrel doth not say. The lady's lament on the discovery, concludes with a stanza striking enough;
"Dio vincente, Tu vieni; conosco
Egli è teco, m' accogli con Te!"
- pp. 26, 27. There are several other pieces, suggested by passing topics, executed with much grace and facility, and discovering, apparently, much skill in the management of the versification. This is a point, however, on which it would be perilous for a foreigner to decide. But it is obvious to any one, that there is a rich vein of poetic sensibility in the author, which we trust will not be suffered to lie neglected. We may add, that his turn of thinking has, to our apprehension, an air of originality quite pleasing, from a certain English coloring, mixed up with the Italian in these little pictures, and derived, no doubt, from his familiarity with good English models.
The volume is very beautifully got up and printed at the press of the University in Cambridge, the uncommon accuracy of which, in foreign languages, as well as the vernacular, may well be a subject of congratulation to every scholar.
The Principles of Political Economy, by HENRY VETHAKE, LL. D., one of the Professors in the University of Pennsylvania, a Member of the American Philosophical Society, &c. Philadelphia: P. H. Nicklin and T. Johnson. 8vo. pp. 415.
PROFESSOR VETHAKE's treatise gives a very comprehensive view of the topics embraced by the science of political econo
my. He arranges them in a distinct method; and the space and importance assigned to each topic specifically treated of is, generally, in sufficiently just proportion. We say generally, for there are exceptions. The tariff question and banking, for instance, occupy very great space, owing no doubt to the special interest excited by these subjects at the present time. Other exceptions also grow out of the author's particular views and theories. The all-important and decisive influence of the national genius and habits of thinking and action, and prevalent maxims and principles of conduct, whereby the impulse given to affairs triumphs over disturbing causes from without and within, is not presented in its just magnitude. Where the concerns of a nation are conducted in a deep, strong, favorable current of the national energies and impulses, progress may be made notwithstanding the mismanagement of the sails, oars, and rudder. This is precisely and preeminently the case in the United States, where the spontaneous, productive, onward energies are in greater activity than in any other country.
Though the author does not wholly overlook this part of his subject, he does not, it seems to us, exhibit it in sufficiently bold relief. Some writers on economy, as our readers are aware, maintain, that the natural current of industry and action is so precisely in the right direction, that any attempt to shape the course and accelerate the progress, retards the navigation; in other words, that there is in every community a sort of divine, unerring, economical instinct, which is to be respected as sacred, and which never can be assisted by effort or science, the truest science being to regard it as tabooed mystery, not to be touched or approached without profanity. Now we do not find fault with Mr. Vethake, for not falling more into a blind worship of what is mysteriously and unintelligibly called, the natural state or course, that is, rest or motion, of things. To this he is sufficiently inclined. On the contrary, whatever the doctrine adopted may be, whether the writer maintains, on the one hand, that all the beautiful fabric of civilized society is a spontaneous growth from the instincts and unguided and unassisted propensions of individuals, and that any attempt to direct or stimulate these instinctive tendencies only embarrasses them; or, on the other hand, that all that civilized man is, and does, and has, is artificial, forced, invented, the result of design, of nature working according to art and science; that the artificial state of man is his natural state; and that, in regard to economy as well as morals, there is no possibility of the Let me alone policy, in the extreme sense, since the not doing is as positive an act, and fraught with as positive consequences as the doing, and that all the acts and
neglects of the legislature, the judiciary, the executive, the police, the municipal corporations, the religious, charitable, commercial, agricultural and economical, scientific and literary associations, have a direct or remote, and never remitting influence upon the productive faculties and economical well-being of the community; whichever of these general views a writer on economy may adopt, it is incumbent on him to go on and trace out the operation of the causes, whether originating in instinct or reason, in the conduct of individuals, or combinations of men, or governments, and show how they bear upon the general welfare. Now we apprehend that it will be found, that, what are sometimes in a loose phraseology called the moral causes, that is, the character, in other words, habits, opinions, maxims, principles of action, prejudices, tastes, antipathies, and predilections, of the inhabitants of a country, will have a powerful, and usually a predominating influence upon the general welfare. Here is the power, the steam if you please, on which the whole progress depends; and the functions of the fireman and engineer, are no less essential than those of the pilot and the captain. The pilot may carry you out of the course, or run you aground; but if he direct the helm so as to preserve the course, it will be to no purpose, unless the propelling power is maintained. Now in economy, it is the great propelling power, the individual, national man, that has been too little considered; and, though Mr. Vethake has given him more attention than a majority of authors on the same subject, still he occupies too little space.
Mr. Vethake adopts many of the leading free-trade doctrines, and the whole of the argument, which he considers to be a demonstration. He, however, dissents from the dogmas of the straitest sect in some particulars. He is in favor of duties on imports sufficient to give stability to the national industry, so that it may not be alternately established and broken up on the succession of war and peace; and he thinks, if a discrimination is made in levying duties, it ought to be so made, as to favor the production of articles of necessity and for national defence. He also thinks literature and science should be encouraged. This is opening a common ground, from which the tariff party, and the free-trade party, may start; and, such a common ground being once established, the animosity between the two parties will soon cease, though they should not precisely agree. This is a most desirable result, no less for the quiet and welfare of the country, than for the progress of political economy.
Again, on the subject of the poor-laws, Mr. Vethake dissents from the school with which he most generally coincides in
doctrine, their creed being, that all compulsory provision for the poor is radically and totally pernicious. They eulogize private charity, and of course mendicity, the school of vice and crimes, and the most baneful canker of a community. The practical doctrine of this school is, that only the humane shall be saddled with the support of the distressed. Mr. Vethake thinks some public provision may be expedient, though with an apparently hesitating deference to the shallow dogma just mentioned, which grew out of the abuses in the administration of the English poor-laws. It is the usual effect of a flagrant public abuse, when once detected, to give rise to a very extravagant, and often absurd, opinion in the opposite direction.
We began to note what appeared to us to be erroneous or inconsistent positions and doctrines of the author, for the purpose of expressing our dissent in noticing the work; but our list swelled too fast. Many of these are the common-place standard forms of words, that float down the dull current of political economy again and again, with each successive explorer of this Niger of the sciences; such as, that a regulation of government cannot create capital, but only divert it from one course to another; that the capital of a country is a fixed quantity; that the value of the circulating medium, whether greater or less in quantity, and whatever in kind, always bears a certain proportion to the whole capital of the community; that population has a natural tendency to increase more rapidly than food and clothing; that banks can expand, that is, augment, circulating medium at pleasure, though Mr. Vethake says, not indefinitely; that facility of credit is identical with augmentation of the amount of currency; that one employment is as useful to the community as another; that there is a natural period for introducing the useful arts into a community. Most of these will be esteemed to be obviously erroneous, we think; some will hesitate at the first, namely, that a legislative act cannot create capital, which seems plausible and is often repeated, and yet clearly erroneous; for not only legislative acts, but the judicial administration of the laws, the invention of a useful machine, and a thousand other influences that work through the community, create capital by increasing or giving greater effect to industry.
There are not wanting inconsistencies in the positions and doctrines; the most glaring of which is, the condemnation of government bills of credit, or what used to be called continenlal money, and yet very much extolling the Sub-treasury project. It is palpable, that a treasury bank, and a treasury circulating medium, is nothing more nor less than government paper money. And no doctrine is better settled, than that govern