Imágenes de páginas

while wheat advanced from 60s., tical and experienced, have often as it is evident that his real wages would much of the hypothetical interwoveni have fallen, though, if along with this in their opinions, as the most specularise in the price of wheat the produce tive theorists. Half of these facts are had fallen from four quarters to two, mere inferences, rashly and erroneoushis share of the produce, or of the va- ly drawn. They may have no system lue of the produce, would have been matic hypothesis in their minds, but increased.

they are full of assumptions, without But to conclude this digression, being aware of it. It is impossible that what then becomes of all the inferences men should witness simultaneous or drawn from tables, which exhibit only consecutive events, without connecting the price of wheat, and not also the them in their imagination as causes quantity sold, in support of the doc- and effects. There is a continual protrine, that when wages rise, profits pensity in the human mind to estahlish must fall, and when wages fall, pro- those relations amongst the phenomena fits must rise, since such tables do subjected to its observation, and to not exhibit all the facts on which consider them as possessing the chaprofits can be calculated ?

racter of facts. But in doing this, Let us next suppose that all the cir- there is great liability to error, and cumstances attendant on any particu- the opinions of a man who has formed lar measure or occurrence are faith them from what Lord Bacon calls fully and fully stated, and that all the mera palpatio, purely from what he consequences resulting, not only im- has come in personal contact with, mediately, but ultimately and perma cannat but abound with rash and falnently, not only to a particular branch lacious conclusions, for which he fanof commerce, but to national prospe cies himself to have the authority of rity, are also faithfully and fully sta his own senses, or of indisputable exted: there is still a source of error perience.” to which Practical Political Economists There are two classes of cases in are liable. They are apt

to substitute which mere practical men are most inferences for facts. “ The utility of liable to confound facts and inferences; the distinction between them,” ob- the first is, where an event is preceded serves a sensible and ingenious author, by a single circumstance; the other “is very perceptible in all questions is, where an event is preceded by seof national policy. In public affairs veral circumstances. there is commonly such a multiplicity The first does not occur so frequentof principles in operation, so many ly as the second, nor is it so liable to concurring and counteracting circum- lead us into error; it happens, howstances, such an intermixture of de ever, sometimes, that two events are sign and accident, that the utmost simultaneous or consecutive, to which caution is necessary in referring events wě assign the respective names of to their origin ; while in no subject cause and effect; whereas we either of human speculation, perhaps, is there mistake the one for the other, or rea greater confusion of realities and as gard them in this relation, though in sumptions. It is sufficient for the fact they are both effects of some lamajority of political reasoners, that tent and unnoticed cause. two events are co-existent or consecu. very striking occurrence takes place tive. To their conception, it imme which strongly draws our attention diately becomes a fact, that one is the and interests us, and this has been accause of the other. These remarks companied or preceded by any remarkserve to shew, what at first sight may able event, the mind imperceptiblý appear paradoxical, that those men, unites them as cause and effect. The who are generally designated as prac- flash and report of a gun, the light

[ocr errors]

If any

* " Essays on the Formation and Publication of Opinions, and on other Subjects”“ Essay on Facts and Inferences.” This little volume is much less known than it de. serves to be ; it is distinguished for a clear, successful, and interesting application of in: tellectual and metaphysical inquiries to the most important practical purposes. The subsequent work of the same author, “ Questions on Metaphysics, Morals, Political Economy, &c.” is of very inferior merit; the thought from which it sprung is good, but the plan and execution are very defective.

ning and thunder, are set down as viewed otherwise, they will only lead to respectively cause and effect, by those error and vain or mischievous actions. who are unaccustomed to them. There So with respect to real freedom, and a are many similar instances in Political free constitution ; real freedom must Economy, where two events are re first spring from circumstances which garded as cause and effect, where there enlighten men, and teach and enable is either no such connexion between them to expand their views and wishes, them, or where both are effects pro and to know and appreciate their ceeding from one unobserved cause. rights and capabilities. This will proSometimes the effect is mistaken for duce not only the forms, laws, privithe cause ; what opinion is more com- leges, and protections, of a free conmon than that a free constitution will stitution, but infuse into all these render men enlightened, free, and pros such an animating and influential perous ? This mistaken notion has led spirit, as will, in its turn, act on the to the foolish expectation, that, in or state of the people, and increase their der to give civil, religious, and politi freedom. cal freedom to a state, it was only ne The other class of cases, in which cessary to decree that the power of mere practical men are liable to conthe sovereign should be limited,—the found facts and inferences, comprepeople should be represented, discus hends all those where an event is presion on all topics allowed, &c. The ceded by several circumstances. advocates for this opinion appeal to In such instances a mere practical what they call facts; they appeal to man is apt to be bewildered and led Britain and America ; these countries, astray, especially if it happens (as it they say, have free constitutions, and often does) that his prejudices, or his the people are enlightened, free, and individual interest, lead him to fix on prosperous. The consequence seems one circumstance, without examinato them to follow naturally; the state tion or inquiry, to the exclusion of all of the people is the effect of their con the others, as the only real and effistitution, therefore give the same

cient cause.

Numerous cases of this constitution to other people, and they kind are continually occurring: one will also become enlightened, free, and may suffice. Soon after the establishprosperous.

ment of peace, there was a very great This unfolds to us another source depreciation in the price of agricultuof error, in collecting what are called ral produce, and consequently in the facts; it not unfrequently happens that rent and value of land. What was what has been the cause becomes the the cause of this? The circumstances effect, and it is very necessary to at immediately preceding, were a change tend to the period and circumstances from war to peace—the renewal of of this change in the character of the commercial intercourse with foreign erent. Britain contains the most nu. powers—diminished taxation and exmerous and the best modes of convey penditure—the return to cash payance of any nation in the world, but ments—and two or three abundant it is evident that these must facilitate harvests. Each of these preceding commerce: the inference seems fair events was separately and exclusively and sound; make similar modes of assigned as the cause of the depression conveyance in another country, and its of agriculture: and each party appealcommerce will also flourish. Here is ed to what they called facts. Agriculan instance of misapprehension of ture flourished during war, and while facts, or rather of the connexion be we were shut out from the continent: tween cause and effect, from not at -it languishes now that there is peace tending to the change of character in and intercourse with the continent; consecutive events to which we have the case is clear ; here is double proof alluded. The process seems to be, a -an event occurring under certain certain stimulus given to industry, circumstances, being co-existent with enterprize, and the consequent acqui- those circumstances, and disappearing sition of a certain portion of capital; when they do. The advocates for the these lead to the formation of roads, other opinions argued in a similar canals, &c. and these, in their turn, in manner. Such is the worth of what crease industry, enterprize, and capi- is usually styled facts and experience. tal. The facts viewed in this light and How the real truth is to be obtained connexion are useful and important; in such cases, we shall afterwards in

quire, when we investigate the mode all the other technical combinations of by which the science of Political Eco an antiquated and scholastic policy: nomy can be placed on the basis of the latter, by inspiring, on the one general principles, and those principles hand, a distrust of the human powers, deduced from well-ascertained causes when they attempt to embrace in de and effects.

tail interests at once so complicated This will form the subject of two and momentous; and on the other, a more portions of this Essay, one rela- religious attention to the designs of ting to the general investigation of the Nature, as displayed in the general mode in which we arrive at truth, in laws, which regulate her economy, the principal departments of human leading uo less irresistibly to a graduknowledge, and to the nature of the al and progressive simplification of the evidence on which they are founded; political mechanism. It is, indeed, the and the other, applying the results of never-failing result of all sound phithis general investigation to the de- losophy, to humble, more and more, partment of Political Economy, consi, the pride of science before that Wisdered as a science.

dom, which is infinite and divine ; We cannot better conclude this part whereas, the farther back we carry our of our Essay, in which we have endea, researches into those ages, the instituvoured to estimate, at their real and tions of which have been credulously just value, what are called the facts regarded as monuments of the supeand experience of practical men in Po- riority of unsophisticated good sense, litical Economy, than by the follow- over the false refinements of modern ing quotation from Mr Stewart, in arrogance, we are the more struck which he points out and expatiates with the numberless insults offered to upon the contrasted effects of statisti- the most obvious suggestions of nature cal and philosophical studies on the and of reason. We may remark this, progress and the interests of society, not only in the moral depravity of and which, it appears to us, exhibits rude tribes, but in the universal disa striking and happy instance of exu- position which they discover to disberance of thought, conveyed in his figure and distort the bodies of their peculiarly exuberantand flowing style: infants :—in one case, new-modelling

From these considerations, it the form of the eyelids; in a second, would appear, that in politics, as well lengthening the ears; inathird, checkas in many of the other sciences, ing the growth of the feet; in a fourth, the loudest 'advocates for experience, by mechanical pressure applied to the are the least entitled to appeal to its head, attacking the seat of thought authority in favour of their dogmas; and intelligence. To allow the huand that the charge of a presumptu man form to attain, in perfection, its ous confidence in human wisdom and fair proportions, is one of the latest foresight, which they are perpetually improvements of civilized society: and urging against political philosophers, the case is perfectly analogous in those may, with far greater justice, be re- sciences which have for their object torted on themselves. An additional to assist nature in the cure of diseases; illustration of this is presented by the in the developement and improvement strikingly contrasted effects of statistin of the intellectual faculties; in the cal and philosophical studies on the in- correction of bad morals; and in the tellectual habits in general: the fore regulations of Political Economy.— mer invariably encouraging a predi- Elements of the Philosophy, Sc. Vol. II. lection for restraints and checks, and p. 451-2.



Within a short distance of my own hind to enjoy the luxury of the aged, habitation stands a picturesque old the warmth of the cheerful sun-beams, church, remote from any town or ham, the serene beauty of nature, the fruito let, save that village of the dead con- ful aspect of the ripening corn-fields, tained within the precincts of its own the sound of near and mirthful voices, sequestered burial-ground. It is, how the voices of children and grandchilo ever, the parish church of a large ru- dren, and a sense of quiet happiness, ral district, comprising several small partaking surely of that peace

which hamlets, and numerous farms and cot- passeth all understanding. tages, together with the scattered re And sometimes the venerable Elder sidences of the neighbouring gentry; comes, accompanied by his old faithful and hither (there being no other place helpmate; and then they may be seen of worship within the parish bounda once more side by side, her arm again ry) its population may be seen for the locked within his as in the days of most part resorting on Sundays, by courtship; not, as then, resting on his various roads, lanes, heath-tracks, cop more vigorous frame, for they have pice and field-paths, all diverging from grown old and feeble together; and of that consecrated centre. The church the twain, the burthen of years lies itself, nearly in the midst of a very heaviest upon the husband, for his has beautiful church-yard, rich in old care been the hardest portion of labour. In ved head-stones, and bright verdure, the prime of life, during the full flush roofing the nameless graves - the of his manly vigour, and of her healthchurch itself stands on the brow of a ful comeliness, he was wont to walk finely wooded knoll, commanding a sturdily onward, discoursing between diversified expanse of heath, forest, whiles with his buxom partner, as she and cultivated land ; and it is a beau followed with her little ones; but now tiful sight on Sundays, on a fine au they are grown up into men and wotumn Sunday in particular, when the men, dispersed about in their several ferns are assuming their rich browns, stations, and have themselves young and the forest trees their exquisite ones to care and provide for; and the gradations of colour, such as no lim old couple are, as it were, left to bener upon earth can paiut—to see the gin the world again, alone in their people approaching in all directions, quiet cottage. Those two alone togenow winding in long straggling files ther, as when they entered it fifty over the open common, now abruptly years agone, bridegroom and bridedisappearing amongst its innumerable alone, but not forsaken-sons, and shrubby declivities, and again emer- daughters, and grandchildren, as each ging into sight through the boles of can snatch an interval of leisure, or the old oaks that encircle the church, when the labours of the day are over, yard, standing in their majestic beau come dropping in under the honeyty, like sentinels over the slumbers of suckle porch, with their hearty greetthe dead. From two several quarters ings; and many a chubby great-grandacross the heath, approach the more child finds its frequent way to Grancondensed currents of the living stream; num’s cottage ; many a school truant, one, the inhabitants of a far distant and many a ós toddlin' wee thing, hamlet, the other, comprising the po- whose little hand can hardly reach pulation of two smaller ones, within the latch of the low wicket, but whose å shorter distance of the church. And baby call of “ Alitcherin' noise an' from many lanes and leafy glades, and glee” gains free and fond admittance. through many field-paths and stiles, And now they are on their way togeadvance small groups of neighbours, ther, the old man and his wife. See ! and families, and social pairs, and here --they have just passed through the and there a solitary ed person, who last field-gate leading thitherward to totters leisurely along, supported by the church. They are on their way his trusty companion, his stout oak together towards the house of God, staff, not undutifully consigned by his and towards the place where they shall neglectful children to that silent com soon lie down to rest “ in sure and panionship, but willingly loitering be- certain hope,” and they lean on one

another for mutual support; and would playmates of his childhood, the comit not seem still, as they are thus again panions of his youth, his brothers drawn closer together, as they approach and sisters, pass weekly by his lonely nearer to the term of their earthly grave, and none turn aside to look upunion, as if it were a type and token on it, or to think of him who sleeps of an eternal re-union in a better and beneath. But in the hearts of his paa happier state? I love to gaze upon rents, the memory of their dead child that venerable pair,--ay, even to note is as fresh as their affections for their their decent, antiquated Sabbath rai- living children. He is not dead to them, ment-what mortal tailor--no modern though, eight-and-twenty years ago, one to be sure can have carved out they saw that turf heaped over his cofa that coat of indescribable colour fin-over the coffin of their eldest something of orange tawny with a born. He is not dead to them, and reddish tinge—I suspect it has once every Sabbath-day they tarry a mobeen a rich Devonshire brown, and per- ment by his lowly grave, and even haps the wedding-suit of the squire's now, as they look thereon in silence, grandfather, for it has had a silk lining, does not the heart of each parent whisand it has been trimmed with some per as if to the sleeper below," My sort of lace, gold probably, and there son! we shall go to thee, though thou adown each side are still the resplen- shalt not return to us.” dent rows of embossed, basket-work Look down yonder under those archgilt buttons, as large as crown-pieces- ing hawthorns ! what mischief is conit must have been the Squire's grand- federating there, amongst those sunfather's wedding-suit. And how snowy- burnt, curly-pated boys, clustering towhite, and how neatly plaited is the gether over the stile and about it, like single edge of his old dame's plain a bunch of swarming bees? The conmob cap, surmounted by that little fused sound of their voices is like the black poke bonnet, flounced with rus hum of a swarm too, and they are dety lace, and secured upon her head, bating of grave and weighty matters; not by strings, but by two long black of nuts ripening in thick clusters down corking pins. That bit of black lace, of in Fairlee Copse, of trouts of prodireal lace, is a treasured remnant of gious magnitude leaping by the bridge what once trimmed her mistress's best below the Mill-head; of apples and cloak, when she herself was a blithe the young heads crowd closer together, and buxom lass, in the days of her and the buzzing voices sink to a whishappy servitude; and the very cloak per—“Of cherry-cheeked apples hangitself, once a rich mode silk of ample ing just within reach of one who should dimensions, now narrowed and cur climb upon the roof of the old shed, tailed to repair with many cunning by the corner of the south wall of engraftings, the ravages of time—the Squire Mills's orchard.” Ah Squire very cloak itself, with a scrap of the Mills! I would not give sixpence for same lace frilled round the neck, is still all the apples you shall gather off that worn on Sundays, through the Sum- famous red-streak to-morrow. But mer and Autumn, till early frosts and who comes there across the field tokeener winds pierce through the thin wards the stile ? a very youthful cou. old silk, and the good red hooded cloak ple-Sweethearts, one should guess, if is substituted in its stead. They have it were not that they were so far asunreached the church-yard wicket; they der, and look as if they had not spohave passed through it now, and ken a word to each other this half wherefore do they turn aside from the hour. Ah ! they were not so far asunpath, a few steps beyond it, and stop der before they turned out of the shaand look down upon that grassy hil- dy lane into that open field, in sight lock? It is no recent grave, the dai. of all the folk gathering into the .sies are thickly matted on its green church-yard, and of those mischievous sod, and the heap itself has sunk to a boys, one of whom is brother to that level nearly even with the flat ground. pretty Fanny Payne, whose downcast The little head-stone is half-buried looks, and grave, sober walk, so far

you may read thereon the few from the young miller, will not save words, the only ones ever engraven her from running the gauntlet of their there—“. William Moss, aged 22." teazing jokes as she passes-and pass Few living now remember William she must, through the knot of conspiraMoss. Few at least think of him. The tors. Never mind it, Fanny Payne !


too, but

« AnteriorContinuar »