Images de page


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

squeezed out of the leaves, though they continue soft and pliable, they are taken down. The leaves are stripped off the stem, each of them are neatly rolled up into a bundle, and they are all piled up above each other in a heap. In this situation they become hot, and sweat, and seem to undergo a kind of fermentation. After this, they are squeezed into hogsheads. The hogsheads are so very well packed, that each of them contains 1000lbs. weight of tobacco, and often more.

These hogsheads are then conveyed to the public warehouses, where all tobacco, before it can be exposed to sale, must undergo the inspection of certain men appointed for the purpose. If the tobacco be found good, a note is delivered to the proprietor specifying its quantity and quality. This note he consigns over to the merchant who purchases the tobacco, who has only to show it at the public warehouse in order to get the goods. These notes, indeed, go current in Virginia just as our bank notes do liere. For tobacco, in that country, is often used as a medium of exchange instead of money. If the tobacco is of a bad quality, it is publicly burnt, by order of the inspector. If it be partly good and partly bad, the good is .carefully separated and re-packed, but the bad is burnt. The skill which those negroes, who have been accustomed to the business, display in managing the tobacco-casks, and in hoisting theni on board the vessels destined to carry them to Europe, is very great.

The tobacco is usually carried down the great rivers in flat-bottomed boats, called skids, and from them shipped on board the European vessels. The whole of the tobacco exported pays a certain duty to the American states. By the present laws, no tobacco can be imported into Britain, except from the British colonies in America, the United States of America, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland. It can be imported only in British vessels, and three-fourths of the crew at least must be subjects of Britain, or of the United States. Each cask of tobacco imported cannot weigh less than 450lbs. Tobacco can only be brought into the ports of London, Bristol, Liverpool Lancaster, Cowes, Falmouth, Whitehaven, Hull

, Port Glasgow, Greenock, Leith, and Newcastle upon Tyne. The regulations respecting the importers of tobacco are, doubtless, interesting to those concerned, but they are too numerous to be inserted here, and do not, from their nature, admit of abridgement. We must, therefore, refer the reader to the book itself.

The quantity of tobacco imported annually into Britain is very great; in the year 1798, for instance, it announted to above forty millions of pounds weight. The number of ships, laden with to

, . bacco, which arrived that year in the port of London, amounted to seventy-two. A great part of this quantity, however, is again exported; for instance, the quantity of tobacco imported, in 1796, 25,608,775lbs. the quantity of this delivered out for home consumption, was only 11,490,4+6lbs. the duty paid for which, to government, amounted to 287,2521. !ls. Such is a short abstract of the £ontents of this publication, but sufficient, we hope, to enable the reader to form some tolerable judgeinent of its nature and impor.


[ocr errors]

tance. As a book, containing accurate information, collected with care and industry, it undoubtedly ranks high; but when we consider it as a literary production, it is by no means entitled to the same praises. The author has not been sufficiently accustomed to the art of writing, to be able to arrange his materials in their proper order, or to express himself with case and perspicuity. His descriptions are in general, too tedious and minute, while those characterestic circumstances are often omitted, which serve to communicate precise ideas better than the most prolix narrative. Mistakes in grammar ton, and e: traordinary words and phrases, to which British ears are not accustomed, and probably of American growth, are not infrequent. These faults ought to be attended to and corrected, in case of a second edition. In a work of this nature, intended solely for i:struction, they may, perhaps, be more readily pardoned, but they ought never to be veglected by any person who wishes to


procure readers.

[ocr errors]

or evil

A Maximum ; or the Rise and Progress of Famine. Addressed to the

British People. By the Author of " A Residence in France,” ciuring the Years 1792, 3, 4, 5, &c. &c. 8vo. Pr. 66.

15. 6d. Wright. London. *1801. THOSE persons who have recommended a maximum as the only cure for the Spirit of extortion which, to the disgrace of the country, is daily enciealing in the article of corn, and spreading from that to alinost all other articles of primary necessity, are accused by the author of this tract of being either thoughtless minded. Our readers cannot have forgotten that we are among the number ; and we have found nothing in the book before us, after a very attentive peruial of it, to induce an alteration of our sentia ments on the subject. We were fully aware that the example of France would, in this instance, be adduced as a waruing to Eng. Jand, and therefore we were careful to anticipate the objection, and to thew that the Maximum proposed in this country bore no kind of analogy whatever to the Maximum adopted in France, either in its motive, its oljelt, or its effect. We were fully acquainted with all the facts liere stated by the author relative to the calamities. produced in France by the Maximum. But we shewed that the grand obje&t of that Maximum was not, in fact, to reduce the price of corn, but to reduce the value of, or, rather to give a forced currency to, the aflignats. And it was this compulsion upon the fariner to take paper which he knew to be of no value whatever in exchange for his corn that urged him to destroy that corn rather than expole it io fale; and produced all the calamilies which this

* Take the following instances. “ Otherwise bave impeded very troublesere obstacles," page 214.-" As follow.”. sider it a staple commodity."- Lands will succeed in any branch

ау efculiure," p. 5. Moreover than,” p. 213...“ Luxuriant commodity." Sillage," p. 210.. Wastage," p. 7.-- Antecedent

com's crop,"p). 9.-"Giubbing the Ground," p. 9.


[ocr errors]

To con

[ocr errors]



to raise

author fo strongly and so juftly describes. Previous to the adoption of this measure, corn, if paid for in fpecie, was comparatively cheap, but if paid for in assignats exorbitantly dear; and it is very well known to her to have been a common practice with tradelinen, at that time, when a customer cheapened any article, to ask whether he meant to pay for it in paper or in coin, and to fix the price accordingly. But how can any person of common sense compare a maximum adopted under thele circumstances, with the maximuin proposed to be adopted in England, where paper is upon a par with specie? And where would be the hardihip inposed on the farmer, if it were fixed, as it certainly would be, at fuch a price, as would afford him a very high profit, and an ample compensation for all his labour, expence, and risk ? To draw a comparison between cases, so radically different, is to trifle with the understanding of the public; and betrays much more thoughtlefiefs than is to be discovered in the remarks of those who do not accord in sentiment with the author.

“ The modern innovator”-íhe fays---- whose foberelt speculations are not less rash, than a madman's actions, may prove on paper, by line and rule, that a maximum will remedy a bad harvest." It was surely beneath a lady, who is capable of better things, thus

up a phantom for the mere plealure of Jestroying it. She must have known that no innovator, either sober or drunk, had ever advanced fo preposterous a proposition. We need no ghost come from the grave" to tell us that a maximum will not convert a scarcity into plenty ; but it will prevent avarice from aggravating the evils of scarcity, by extorting from the coníumer an exorbitant and unwarrantable price. Taking the deficiency of corn, at the rate specified in the report of the House of Commous, as equal to two fevenths of an ordinary crop, which is certainly not under-rated, will this writer ailign any reason why the encreased price should be double the ordinary price?. If the cannot, will she say that no measure thould be taken by the legiflature to restrain this inordinate avarice? She seems totally to have forgotten that the fariner is a distinct being from every

other species of trader, who have all an absolute property on the articles in which they deal, while he can only have a qualified and conditional property in the fruits of the earth, which are necellary to the existence of man, and were expressly given by the creator for his support. If this were not the case, and he had a right, as the enerries of a maximum contend, to ask any price he chole for his corn, cither to bring it to market or to withliold it, he would have a right to dellroy ii, and, confequently, to starve the public. This dedu tuo ad absurdum, as the logicians term it, is the best node of proving the exlieno weakness and folly of such an argument. So clearly do we perceive the incalculable evils which will result to the country from the increased and increasing price of provisions, evils of a permanent and most extensive nature, that we are fully imprefled with the conviction, that, without the adoption of foine ipeedy means for checking it, the consequences will be most ruinois. And we confess, in the present fpirit and temper of the times, we can see na meins that will be efiectual but a maximum.


The spirit of extortion which pervades almost every description of traders, at this moment, is most dilgraceful to the nation ; and it appears never to have occurred to our author, that we have the authority of Scripture for pronouncing extortion to be a fin, and extortioners to be finners in the eyes of the Lord. To repress the one and to to punish the others, then, seems to be a religious, as well as a political, duty.

It is not to be wondered at that, proceeding upon a false principle, all the author's arguments should be not only defective but irrelevant. Two or three short extracts will suffice to demonstrate their irrelevance, and, at the lame time, to prove the justice of our alfertion respecting the diffimilarity of the two cases which are stated to be parallel. Diffruft of the afignats, and scarcity of bread, have occasioned a law to oblige the farmers to sell their corn at a certain price, &c.” (p. 5.) 66 Before the decree of the maximum if the lower classes of people in France could procure money, they often had bread” when others went without. (P.7.) “ In France, these monopolies were real-people thought any thing better than affignats ; so they purchafed' and hoarded whatever came in their way--the whole country was playing at Jack's alive' with the

— national paper,

and every one got rid of it, as fast as he could, to his neighbour, for fear it should expire while he held it.” (P. 8.) “ The farmers, wherever they had the opportunity, concealed their grain, fed hogs and poultry with it, or fold it privately." (P. 6.) In these few lines we have the cause and consequence of the French maximum clearly defined ; and a complete proof of the author's fundamental mistake and unwarrantable inferencës.

The panegyric on the farmers, towards the close of the pamphlet, is most fullome and unjust; and favours much more strongly of prejudice than any clamour which bas been excited against them. We have had as much experience of their disposition and character, as the author can possibly have had, and probably more; and the result of our observation is, that, with many honourable excep; tions, they are, as a body, the most discontented, growling, and rapacious set of men in his Majesty's doininions. The observations which accompany this strange panegyric afe most reprehenfible ; but the author's apprehenfions are groundless, for the may rest assured that, in the mind of an English farmer, malice will never prevail over interest; putting religious motives entirely out of the question.

The tract is dedicated to Mr. Reeves to whom some well-deserved compliments are paid; but it is rather too much to be told that his

name will be a pledge for the motives and veracity of the writer." Not that we mean to question either the one or the other; but it surely would be not more unreasonable than unusual to expect that the person to whom a book is dedicated, is to be responsible for its

[ocr errors]



Reflections on the Justice, Advantage, and Nece bity of limiiing, within

a certain Compass, the Price of Wheat, by Legislative Authority, addressed to both Houses of Parliament. By the Author of Dearnels of Provisions, &c. 8vo. Pp. 32. is. Jones. Oxford, Stockdale. London, 1800. THIS writer is decidedly of opinion, that the stock of wheat in the country should be first ascertained, and then its price, and if necessary, its consumption limited, by law. The first of these objects has been attained, by the sixth report of the committee of the House of Commons, which fixes the annual consumption of wheat at seven millions of quarters, and the last year's produce at five; what reliance is to be placed on the documents on which this calculation was founded, we fhall not presume to say; though it certainly appears to us, that both the consumption and produce are under-rated. As to the limitation of the consumption by law, it is a measure unquestionably desireable, though its adoption would be attended with great difficulty. On the limitation of the price, we have already given our opinion; and every day's experience serves to strengthen our conviction, that nothing fhort of a maximum will fuffice to check that diabolical spirit of avarice and extortion which gives to a limited deficiency one, at least, of the worst effects of an absolute scarcity, and derives individual advantage from general distress. The author would have the maximum of wlieat in London ten shillings (little more than one half of its present price!) and in the country nine shillings per bufhel. His suggestions are advanced with fairness and candour, and evidently prove him to be a man of sense and benevolence,

Farther Thoughts on the present State of public Opinzen; being a Con

tinuation of a timely Appeal to the Common Sense of the People of Great-Britain in general, and of tbe Inbabitants of Buckingham Sbire in particular, on the present Situation of Afairs. By J. Penn,

Elg. 8vo. Pp. 204. 5s. Hatchard. London. 1 800. THOUGH Mr. Penn's intentions are unquestionably very good in publishing this work, yet the work itself appears very defective both in plan and execution. We freely confels, indeed, that the plan is to us inexplicable : and the execution is open to a variety of objections. But the author is so truly refpectable, his principles are so found, and his religious and moral character stand fo deservedly high in the world, that we shall not perform the un grateful talk of enumerating his literary defects. Corn Trade. An Examination of certain Commercial Principles in

their Application to Agriculture and the Coru Trade, as laid down in the Fourth Book of Mr. Adam Smith's Treatise on ihc Wealth of Nations; with Proposals for Revival of the Statutes against Foreftalling, &c. 8vo. Pe. 38. is. Stockdale.

London. 1801. THE object of this tract is to thew that the general principles laid down by Adam Smith in respect of the freedom of commerce can.



« PrécédentContinuer »