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phy is of a higher strain, and may command our respect both for its truth, and for the feeling with which he has expressed it.
• How other men,' says he, 'may stand affected in reading I know not; sure I am that in writing it often lifted up my soul in admiring and praising the infinite wisdom and bounty of the Creator in maintaining and managing his own work, in the government and preservation of the universe, which in truth is nothing else but (as the schools speak) continuata productio, a continuated production : and often did it call to my mind those holy raptures of the Psalmist, “O Lord, how glorious are thy works, and thy thoughts are very deep: an unwise man doth not well consider this, and a fool doth not understand it." I must confess that, sometimes looking stedfastly upon the present face of things both at home and abroad, I have often been put to a stand, and staggered in mine opinion whether I were in the right or : and perchance the state of my body, and present condition in regard of those fair hopes I sometimes had, served as false perspective glasses to look through. But when again I abstracted and raised my thoughts to an bigher pitch, and as from a vantage ground took a larger view, comparing time with time, and thing with thing, and place with place, and considered myself as a member of the universe and a citizen of the world, I found that what was lost to one part was gained to another, and what was lost to one time was to the same part recovered in another, and so the balance, by the Divine Providence overruling all, kept upright. Qui ad pauca respicit de facili pronunciat, saith Aristotle : he that is so narrow eyed as he looks only to his own person or family, to his own corporation or nation, or the age wherein himself lives, will peradventure quickly pronounce that all things decay and go backwards, which makes men murmur and repine against God under the name of Fortune and Destiny. Whereas he that, as a part of mankind in general, takes a view of the universal, compares person with person, family with family, corporation with corporation, nation with nation, age with age, suspends his judgment, and upon examination clearly finds that all things work together for the best to them that love God.'
With this feeling founded upon wise observation, and sustained by piety, did Hakewill combat the then prevailing notion of the progressive deterioration of mankind. The stream of opinion took a different direction in the last century. A shallow and self-sufficient generation had then arisen, who proclaimed themselves to be the only philosophers; their metaphysical, moral, and political discoveries were offered to the world with all the impudence of quackery, and like a quack's nostrums they were received for a season with fatal confidence. That season is gone by; bitter disappointment has brought with it humility; we are now but too feelingly convinced that no violent and sudden amelioration in society is possible, and that great and sudden changes are evils in them.. selves and in their consequences; but it is not the less certain that the general condition of the world may be improved, and
especially that part of it in the improvement of which we are most nearly concerned: it is not the less certain that of the moral and physical evils which afflict mankind, many, very many, are remediable ; and that if any country be
an unweeded garden
That runs to seed,' the fault lies in those who should cultivate it, not in the soil or climate.
A proud statement of the strength and prosperity of the British empire has lately been laid before the public; and although sums which ascend from hundreds of thousands of millions to billions look as if they were calculated in Portuguese reis rather than in pounds sterling, and seem at first to stagger or confound belief, the detail from which they are deduced is in many parts officially accurate, and, in all others, approximates to the reality; nor can the general result be controverted that the wealth and power, and resources of this empire, form a phenomenon to which no parallel can be found in the history of the world. The public are indebted to Mr. Colquhoun also for another work, not less curious than his late important compilation, but leaving upon the reader's mind a very different impression; his treatise upon the Police of the Metropolis. That treatise lays open the extent to which crimes are carried in the huge capital of this mighty empire--a frightful extent, -yet it relates only a part of the wickedness of the community, and that part only which is cognizable by human laws : how large a portion then remains untold! Of the poverty also which exists among us we have a faithful statement, as far as it can be expressed by numerical figures; the sum of existing wretchedness is not to be numbered: its intensity every man may estimate by what has fallen under his own notice if he be not one of those who keep aloof from the contemplation of human misery; but its extent is known only to Him unto whom the prayers and the groans of the miserable ascend.
The solid, substantial, permanent welfare of a nation is not to be estimated by extent of dominion, or greatness of population, or amount of revenue, or of national wealth. This outward prosperity might be, like the antediluvian earth, as Burnet has imagined it in his magnificent philosophical dream, a fertile and beautiful surface,
- but only a surface,--only a crust which enveloped the waters of the abyss, and which never appeared more flourishing than at the moment when, because of the iniquity of the inhabitants, the abyss was broken up, and all things swept away by the foredoomed, inevitable, and avenging deluge. Is this our case? Is Britain cancerous in her vital parts? They who believe in our political reformers would answer in the affirmative; and if the common weal were delivered over into the hands of these practitioners they would prove the inveteracy of the disease by destroying the patient. With their knife of radical reform, and their Irish Catholicon, they would make quick work! A saner mind, a riper judgment, a sounder philosophy, would give a different reply. There are diseases in the body politic; but none which stand in need of the knife and the cautery. Diet is more needful than medicine; and where medicine is required, alteratives, not drastics, ought to be administered.
Since man has ceased to exist in the patriarchal state,--that golden age to which the earliest poets, and the most widely-diffased traditions refer,--he-has no where, nor at any period, existed in so favourable a condition as in England at this present time. The fine arts have been carried to higher perfection in Italy, and in Greece; a far greater population has been supported in China and in the Netherlands ; more magnificent works of public utility have been executed in the ancient republics ; greater triumphs over physical circumstances have been obtained in the Low Countries, and in Egypt, which a Dutch traveller beheld with feelings of natural pleasure, because in many points of art and nature it appeared to him the Holland of the Eastern world; in industry England has been rivalled by the Dutch ; and in bold commercial enterprise she has been equalled, or, perhaps, surpassed, by Carthage in old time, and by Portugal in the age of her glory. But when every thing is considered which contributes to the moral and intellectual improvement of the individual, and the general wellbeing of the community, certain it is that England stands alone, and is conspicuously blest above all countries either of the ancient or the modern world. The world, indeed, through all the evils with which it has been inflicted, has been progressive in good; but the insular situation of England, its geographical position, its laws, its institutions, its history, and the national character which these circumstances have combined to form, have made it of all parts of the world, the most prosperous and the most happy.
But every stage of society brings with it its attendant evils; the body politic may be plethoric like the body natural: there is a state of prosperity which, like overfeeding, disposes the system for inflammatory diseases, or makes it break out in blains and blotches. As no political change, whether from peace to war, or from war to peace, can occur without immediate inconvenience and injury to some branches of the community, far less can any material alteration of manners take place without some detrimental consequences, more or less dangerous in proportion as the class which is affected is more or less numerous. Now, that the change of manners which has taken place in England during the present reign is greater than was ever produced during the same number of years, in any known
period of history, will appear manifest upon consideration. For although no event has occurred of equal magnitude to the disa covery of America, and no invention like that of printing, society was not at that age organized as it is at present: the different classes of men, as they were then connected, might be compared to links in a chain, the blow which struck fire from those at the one end, or broke them in pieces, would produce no vibration at the other : the state is now more artificially and intimately combined ; it resembles a spider's web, in which the slightest impact upon any one of the threads is felt throughout the whole. Probably more than a century elapsed before half the people in the old world learnt that a new one had been discovered: there was a time when, in the remoter parts of the British islands, the subjects knew not under what'sovereign they lived, and the same habits and manners which had prevailed under Queen Elizabeth existed under Queen Anne. But now the rapid intercourse which commercial activity has created, has given wings to fashion and folly, and the politics of Paris and of London are canvassed in every pot-house where the English language is spoken.
Let us then examine what are the classes of society which have been injuriously affected during the great moral revolution of the last half century; this inquiry will lead us to consider what old evils have been diminished among us; what new ones have sprung up; what has been done toward diminishing the sum of human misery, and what remains to do in this great work, which is one of the worthiest employments of enlightened man.
The higher ranks are, in many respects, improved. That true nobility of feeling and intellect, as well as manners, which was found at the Court of the Tudors, does not, indeed, peculiarly distinguish the nobles of the present age; this is because the circumstances of those times tended to produce a chivalrous exultation of character, and because the advantages which were then confined to men of family are now open to the whole middle class, and the gentleman has risen to that honourable standing-ground which was formerly reserved for the knight and baron. Nor should it be forgotten that the Woodvilles, the Howards, the Sackvilles, the Sidneys, and the Grevilles of that age were gifted individuals, who, in any age, would have arisen to the same height above their contemporaries. But the nobles of the present race have the advantage of their predecessors in one very material circumstance; though their heads may neither be so long, nor in all instances so well stored, the owners have the comfortable certainty of feeling them safe upon their shoulders. In reality, there are but two great divisions of society in England,—the educated and the uneducated. The former, whatever may be their respective degrees upon the scale, necessa
rily partake the more decorous manners, and the increased huma. nity of an improving age. In what manner has the latter and larger division been affected?
A well graduated commonwealth has been aptly compared to a pyramid; the peasantry are its base; they are the most numerous of the uneducated classes: but, though the most prolific of the whole population, they are probably the least progressive in number, for it is from them that the large demands of war are chiefly supplied; and the continual and more extensive consumption of life which cities and manufactories require. If, however, their numbers had augmented in a much greater ratio than is actually the case, the far greater and appalling increase of the poor rates in the agricultural counties would demonstrate that the condition of the peasantry during the present reign has been deteriorated; and that either the feeling of becoming pride has diminished, which formerly withheld them as long as possible from applying for parochial aid, or that the necessity which drives them to it has become more pressing. Both causes have co-operated; the moral evil results from the physical one ; fellowship in degradation takes away the sense of shame, and the more claimants there are upon the eleemosynary funds which the law has provided, the more they will be.
• The national debt,' says Sir Thomas Bernard, “ with all its magnitude of terror, is of little moment when compared with the increase of the poor rates. In that instance, what is received from one subject, is paid in a greater part to another; so that it amounts to little more than a rent charge, from one class of individuals to another. But the poor's rate is the barometer, which marks, in all the apparent sunshine of prosperity, the progress of national weakness and debility; and as trade and manufactures are extended, as our commerce encircles the terraqueous globe, it increases with a fecundity most astonishing; it -grows with our growth, and augments with our strength ; its root, according to our present system, being laid in the vital source of our existence and prosperity.'
This, however, is no new malady ; like causes have in oth countries, and in this country at other times, produced similar effects; though the effects have perhaps never existed in so great a degree as at present, nor has there been, in other instances, a barometer by which the degree could be ascertained as certainly as it is now by the poor rates.
The great and rapid increase of national wealth has always been attended by a correspondent pressure of distress upon the peasantry. It was thus in Portugal when Joam III. succeeded his father Emanuel, the most fortunate prince that ever sat upon a European throne : he was master of Ormuz, of Goa and of Malacca in the east-thus commanding the whole trade of the Indian seas;