Page images

of corn has been injured by the rains; but the injury is not serious; and though it has prevented the harvest from being so splendid as was anticipated last month, it will not prevent the enjoyment of abundance, and a comparatively low price of provisions. In any country, but more particularly in one cursed with an unnatural and oppressive corn law, a plentiful harvest is a vast creation of substantial wealth. It fills the pockets of the farmer, who goon transfers a large portion of his gains to the shopkeeper and manufacturer; and, above all, it greatly ameliorates the condition of the bulk of the population, the working classes. On the other hand, as the English corn law has made the trade in grain little better than a gambling adventure, the bounty of Providence will in all probability be the ruin of many corn-merchants who hold foreign grain and flour in bond. The harvest having been very abundant in Holland, Germany, Denmark, Poland, and France, there will be no possibility of re-exporting the foreign corn now in our bonded warehouses, without submitting to an enormous loss. The quantity of foreign wheat in bond at London in the early part of September was 313,852 quarters, besides 106,385 cwt. of flour; and, notwithstanding the falling price, upwards of 30,000 quarters have been liberated in one week, paying the enormous duty of 24s. 8d. A great fall has taken place in the price of grain within the last two months, and especially within the last month. In the middle of July the average price of wheat, according to the official statement, was C7s. 8d. per quarter; in the middle of August, it was 64s. 7d.; and in the middle of September, it was 58s. A further decline will no doubt take place before the close of the month.

Since our last, the two great manufactures of the country, the cotton and the woollen, have experienced a decided improvement. There is an increased demand for goods, and the prices, both of the raw material and the manufactured article, are looking upwards. In London, trade continues very dull. The Baltic timber trade suffers more and more, in consequence of the absurd preference given by our legislature to the bad timber of Canada over the good timber of the Baltic. The corn market, from circumstances above mentioned, is of course heavy.* The wool market, on the other hand, is steady, and prices are looking upwards.

• The market for colonial produce is very flat. Within the last month a fall of from 1s. to M. per cwt. has taken place in sugar, and there i s a similar reduction in Jamaica coffee.

Within the last few weeks higher prices have been obtained in London than the staplers could obtain from their customers in Yorkshire; which may be ascribed in part to the small quantity of German wool brought to the market, and in part to the activity of the manufacturers in the West of England. At the German Wool Fairs this year, the German, Belgian, Swedish, and Russian manufacturers were unprecedently bold and eager in their competition with the English buyers; and the fact is, that the woollen manufactures of the continent, and especially those of Germauy, are rapidly on the increase. That country supplies itself entirely with superior qualities of woollens, and only comes to England for the lower qualities, of which, however, a large quantity is still sent.

The Cotton Manufacture is improving in every branch. There is an increased demand for goods and yarn of all descriptions. About the middle of the month, owing to the great consumption of the raw material, the price of cotton rose in the markets of Liverpool, Glasgow, and London, Is. 4d. per pound ; and, to a certain extent, this advance has been realized on goods and yarns, though in some cases, not quite to the extent of the advance on cotton. There is, however, a strong probability, that the manufacturers will be able to command a price, proportionate to the cost of the raw material. The cotton factors of Lancashire are in full work, and the weavers are also generally employed, though at very low wages; the same may be said of the cotton trade of Glasgow. The spinners' profits continue to be miserably small. At Liverpool, trade has been exceedingly brisk. Large arrivals have been followed by extensive sales, at improving prices. The sale of dyeing wares and woods, which affords a good test of the activity of manufactures, has been slack both in London and Liverpool for several months past; but during the last month a considerable improvement has taken place, at least in the important article of indigo. On the 13th instant, there was an unusually large sale of indigo, comprising 729 chests of East India, and 4 serons of Guatimala, and, with the exception of only 6 chests, the whole sold with spirit at an advance of 3d to 4d per pound on the prices of the sales on the 2d August.

The Woollen Manufacture participates in the general improvement of the country; though the manufacturers of Yorkshire are much harassed and fettered in their operations, by a Trades' Union, unprecedented in its extent and power, and sometimes dictatorial and unreasonsble in its conduct. The demand for the liner kinds of woollens still continues slack, both for the home trade and exportation. There are but few London buyers in the market, and these purcha'se sparingly. For low qualities of woollens, including blankets, flannels, and baizes, the demand is brisk and steady; in consequence of which the price of English wools is looking upwards. The cloth halls of Leeds and Huddersfield are becoming rather bare of goods, and the domestic manufacturers, by whom the coarse woollens arc generally made, are actively employed. Preparations are already making by some of the manufacturers to avail themselves of thes New American Tariff; which will admit the lowest qualities of woollens into the United States, after the 3d of March next, at the trifling duty of 5 per cent, ad valorem. At Rochdale, Bury, and Rosscndale, where flannels and baizes are chiefly made, there is considerably more activity than there has been for the last six months; one of the best proofs and fruits of which is an advance of wages voluntarily made by the masters.

The Worsted Stuff Trade is unusually active, and a great amount of business is weekly done ut the Bradford market. A slight advance has taken place in the price of some kinds of goods, and the rise is expected to become general. The demand is both for home consumption and exportation.

In the United States, trade has been brought to a stand, in the great commercial cities of New York and Philadelphia, by the ravages of the Cholera. So great was the terror of the inhabitants of the former city, that no less than one hundred thousand persons, nearly one-half of the population, quitted their occupations and homes, and spread themselves over the agricultural districts. The shops and stores were closed, and the whole city wore the aspect of gloom and mourning. By the last accounts it appears that the disease was subsiding, and that commerce was beginning again to be attended to. The existence of this disease will, no doubt, continue greatly to depress trade for several months; and no material revival can be expected until the Spring, Jl*htin then; will, no doubt, be an extensive importation of goods from England.

The markets on the eastern coast of South America, have, within the last few months, experienced a wonderful improvement. Owing to the want of confidence in the new Brazilian Government, few goods were sent out to that country for many months after the expulsion of the Emperor. There became, therefore,

a great scarcity of manufactured goods at Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, and Bahia; in consequence of which, the exchange rose in a few months from 22 up to 43. This favourable turn in Jthe exchanges, the continued tranquillity of the country under the new Government, and the improved demand which the Brazilians had for their Coffee in consequence of the partial destruction of the Coffee crops in Jamaica, combined to give an extraordinary stimulus to exportation; and great quantities of British Manufactures have been sent, and are now going to those markets. The increased confidence in the stability of the Brazilian Government, is manifested by the improved price of Brazilian bonds on London, which were at 43$ at the beginning of June, and are now at 52. Trade has also revived at Buenos Ayres, in consequence of the cessation of the civil wars, by which the Argentine Provinces have, for years been afflicted. On the conclusion of peace very few goods were found, and there was speedily a great demand for them ; the natural effect of which lias been a large exportation from this country. In consequence of our excessive and depreciated paper currency, the exchange at Buenos Ayres, was gradually depressed from 47d. down to 7d.; and, the cause not having been removed, the effect st'll continues. The good state of the South American markets, has, of course, produced considerable activity at Liverpool, and been a relief to the manufacturing districts of England,

The prospects for the trade of the couittry, are, on the whole, satisfactory. A heavy load of taxation, and an abominable system of Com Laws arc the main obstacles to mercantile and manufacturing prosperity. So long as the present Corn Laws continue, there can be no reliance on a satisfactory and steady intercourse with the United States; and our manufacturers will find the competition of their European rivals becoming every year more formidable. The abolition of the Com Laws, or even such an alteration of them as would allow the importation of com at all seasons, on the payment of a moderate duty, would give a great stimulus to the industry of the country. A reduction of taxation, and an improvement on the mode of levying it, would be attended with the same beneficial results. The country looks to a reformed Parliament for the realization of these advantages.

Much as the press of England has done in correcting vulgar errors on commercial subjects, much still remains to be done; for not only amongst persons altogether unacquainted with trade, and amongst those who know nothing of it beyond its manual operations, or the set routine of the counting-houseor counter, but amongst extensive merchants, who are also authors and members of Parliament, the grossest ignorance is still displayed of the very elementary principles of commerce. A notable example of this was given the other day at Leeds, where Mr. Michael Thonius Sadler, formerly a linen-draper, but now a linen-merchaut, and one of the Duke of Newcastle representatives in the House of Commons, whilst soliciting the suffrages of that great mercantile town, uttered a sentiment which alone ought to induce the electors to reject him as the representative of their interests. Mr. T. B. Macaulay, M.P., a Commissioner of the Board of Control, who, with Mr. John Marshall, jun. is to represent the borough of Leeds in the next Parliament, had declared—

"As I am for freedom of discussion and of worship, so I am also for freedom of trade. I am for a system under which we may sell where we can sell dearest, and buy where we can buy cheapest. 1 firmly believe that, by just legislation on commercial subjects, a great part of that distress which the people of this country labour under may be alleviated or removed."

We rejoice to find a member of the Board of Control so plainly declaring this important principle of free trade. Let Mr. Macaulay apply the principle to the India and China trade, as we have no doubt he will, and the gigantic monopoly of the East India Company will be annihilated in the first session of the reformed Parliament. A man holding this enlarged view of the true interest of British commerce, is worthy to represent a town whose manufactures ran only flourish in the atmosphere of freedom; and we rejoice to learn, from what we consider the best authority, that his return for Leeds, and that of his liberal colleague, are secure. Mr. Sadler, who addmsed the electors after his honourable competitor, made the following remark on the subject of free trade:—

u As to free trade, he thought it ought to be reciprocal; that if we took the silks, wines, and brandies of France, that country ought to take in rcturntlie woollens and stuffs of England."

Of course Mr. Sadler leaves it to be inferred that if the trade is not reciprocal, it ought not to exist at all; that if France will not " take the woollens and stuffs of England," neither ought England to take "the silks, wines, and brandies of France!" This is one of the most vulgar errors of the opponents of free trade, and an error which Mr. Sadler exhibits in naked ab

surdity. It is astonishing that any man capable of even the lowest operations of reason should not see the folly of acting on such a principle; yet is there a considerable party, both in Parliament and the country, who gravely propound and zealously support it.

It is too well known that France will not admit "the woollens and stuffs of England." By Mr. Sadler's advice, then, we ought to prohibit the " silks, wines, and brandies of France." And how would this mend the matter? It would not induce France to admit English woollens; for we have tried the system of high duties on "silks, wines, and brandies" long enough, in all conscience, without in the smallest degree influencing, except perhaps to confirm, the French absurd anti-commercial policy. We must then either forbid the introduction of French articles altogether, or at least forbid their importation direct from France. In the former case, if the smuggler would allow the prohibition to be of any effect, the English nation would be precluded the use of the only good brandies, and of fine and wholesome wines, for which there is a growing taste in this country. Would this be an advantage? In the latter case, the only effect of the restriction would be, that the brandies and wines of France would be imported from Holland, at a higher price, in order to pay the expense of two voyages. Perhaps this may seem to Mr. Sadler's judgment the greater national benefit; though we are at a loss to conjecture which branch of the alternative would appear to so perverse and eccentric a mind the more eligible.

It is most evident that this system of commercial retaliation is not merely inflicting punishment upon others, but upon ourselves; a practice to which revenge may urge a child or an idiot, but which one would think no grown man, in possession of the reasonable faculty, much less any great and wise government, could by possibility countenance.

It is doubtless highly desirable, for the sake of extending the commerce of England, to form commercial treaties with other nations on the principle of "reciprocity." Such a system Mr. Sadler seems to recommend; yet who so fierce as he in denouncing the "reciprocity treaties" of Mr. Huskisson? Heciprocity, in the ordinary meaning of the word, implies something to be done by both parties; but the "reciprocity" Mr. Sadler demands is one which he must have learnt in his journeys to buy Irish linens, aud which consists in the granting of advantages and facilities by other nations to England, but by no means requires that England should give advantages to them in return. A treaty stipulating that English vessels should be received into Prussian ports on certain advantageous terms, would answer to Mr. Sadler's notion of " reciprocity but if it went on to provide that Prussian vessels should be admitted on equally favourable terms into English ports, it would bo worthy of all execration!

These are the politicians who would sell to every body, and buy from nobody; who would make the English nation eat gold and clothe themselves with gold, seeing that they would fain receive nothing but gold from abroad; who would subject every article which it is worth while to have free, to the fetters of monopoly; who would exclude foreign com

modities, and yet call themselves the friends of the shipping interest; who would shut out foreign vessels from our ports, and yet boast themselves the protectors of the manufacturing interest; who would compel the colonies to buy dear English provisions, and yet pretend to be especial friends to the colonies; who would restrict us at home to the con sumpof high-priced sugar and bad timber, and yet boast of their kindness to the mother country; who would give a monopoly to every interest, and then boast themselves general benefactors; forgetting, meanwhile, that there were at least as many consumers in the nation as producersj and that a system of all-pervading monopoly is nu all-pervading oppression and curse.


The Natural Son.*—This Canto I. of a plebeian Don Juan, is put forth, wc are told, as a pilot-boat or schooner, to ascertain how the trade'Wtnds set in. We hope they may blow favourably; as we shall bo glad to see the full-freighted vessel come up. The Natural Son, with a hundred faults, blemishes, extravagancies, slovenlinesses, indecorums, and deliberate and wilful offences against good taste, is a work to pause on—the production of a vigorous mind in a state of fermentation; and possessed, if we do not natter ourselves, of strength sufficient to work off its own feculence. As if in contempt of all conventional ideas and habitudes, and of the theory of Mr. Shandy senior, the writer names his six-feet hero, George Selwyn Short; brings him into life with the brand of bastardy on his forehead, and places him as a serjeant, wearing a blue uniform, in the London Police! His history and adventures are taken up from, and before his birth. His father is a Scottish Peer, his mother, an Irishwoman, (we presume) who dies in her twentieth year, leaving George About the age when boyhood learns to spell.

The peer is seized with remorse and delirium, and follows her to the grave. George is brought "to a pastoral home," near the town of Lynn, is educated with the sons of the neighbouring gentry, and becomes "a master-spirit of the place," excites the envy of his companions, is upbraided by them for the stigma of his birth,

* Simokin and Marshall, p. SO.

and resolves to leave his aged tutor. Before we get this length in the adventures of George, we meet with enough that is striking to tempt us onward. The journey to London leads to many stanzas of vigorous and beautiful description; and proves that with all his waywardness and perversity, one has a true man to deal with. A day of good walking brings our hero to the Greyhound Inn, where

Calling lustily for lights and supper, he is ministered to, by a mysterious damsel, who stoops to conquer, in guise of the bar-maid; and informs him that "He should have both his supper and his bed."

And then she gathered up her silk attire,
And placed trie lights upon the polished table;

Her well-turned form the sculptor might admire.
And choose it for a model; soft as sable

Was the black lash that veiled her glance of fire, Flashing forbidden beams; would I were able

To trace those subtle shades, half-love—halfhope—

Deep, fond, and melting as an antelope,

Roaming, with its young mate, the desert wide: The soft, voluptuous swimming of the eyes,

The small white hand, the lip like scarlet dyed.
The circling breast, formed to engender sighs

In man's stern being: have ye seen a bride,
Led to the altar, in her virgin dyes,

When ber becoming blushes, like a star t

Light lor her lover's heart V maid.

No beamed the bar.

Her wild romantic features had a shade
Of classic Grecian beauty—such as gleams
From the Medici marble: band nor braid

Fettered her silken hair, that fell in streams. And o'er her neck in rich profusion strayed

~ curls—enriched with beams
1 to sparkle,
then again to

The damsel's character is as changeful in hue as are her tresses, and George, though

He had studied woman's countenance before now, is rather perplexed. His guitar lures back this tassel-gentle. She warns him against enchanting one "to Sappho near allied," and next tells him,

■ When first we met,—for mirth I did intend, Your handmaid to have been at this night's revel.

But now, in sooth, I sue to be your friend:
Touch me that note again, that I may feel

Hie rush of sound upon my soul, and blend
My spirit with the music."

George cannot do less than comply. He sin^ and plays " My heart and lute." This scene will be more approved by the admirer of poetry than the moralist. The effects of music on this susceptible maiden, of duets in particular, are highly inflammatory and dangerous. The whole scene is an exhibition of abused power. The lady who has been parleying with our hero in this dangerous sort, is singing this closing stanza, when a carriage wheels are heard :—

Go-go to the halls of light, stranger,

Where woman's breast is free;
Where eyes that are sunny bright, stranger,

Arc far more meet tor thee.
Then away to the festal scenes of men,
But cast not thy spells in the Haunted Glen.

She springs away, leaving our friend George in a trance, from which he is recalled by the real bar-maid,

Who tended briskly with the supper-tray,
Square, squab, and fiat, and clad in russet grey.

And now

The sad gaze he cast upon the chicken. Were early symptoms that the deer was stricken.

However, by certain appliances he recruits, for

Eftsoons, he swallowed, like a dolphin, down
A little sea of ale, from Scotia good;—

and Berwick's cordial does not, in his case, belie its quality and character. We do not choose to follow George through his haunted slumber, 'i tossing in its tantal web," but rather long to see one who has the power to compose verses like the following, subject all his dreams, whether sleeping or waking, to thorough purification.

There are deep caves where souls long lulled reside.

Peopling the busy chambers of the brain With quick events, that on the stirring tide

Of memory are limned; and voices vain, Lone sounds and shapes, of earth dilate and glide,

And the night-fiend clank* loud her bone-knit chain.

■ • • * *

Pale virioned forms—with lips that have no breath,

Up from the void eternity of sleep,
Float dimly round us, like a misty wreath—


The brow with

vol. II.

Next morning George mounts the box of the Red Rover,

Booked " outside" for the British Babylon , is set down at the Bolt-in-Tun ; and being backed by good interest, is enrolled in the Force, gathers laurels, wins " testy Birnie's sour applause," is promoted to the dignity of sergeant, and yet languishes in the civil service.

Weeks waned I months waned'. and Selwyn's

soul grew tired Of dogging sin, and the street-harlot pale.

One of his adventures we give, which, in truth and pathos, justifies more than we have said in praise of this singular work :—

"One bitter night he paced near Whitehall Stair: The bridge looked lune and tcnantless , the lamps

Cast o'er the murky stream a fitful glare,
Paling the gathered gloom , the vapoury damp

Condensed upon his brow; whilst lonely there,
In dirt-bedabbled drapery, that stamps

The carnal sinner, some poor straggler roved—
Heart-struck and faint—a victim that had loved.

It was a bitter night—a bleak March night,
Rainy and raw—the fog crept to the bone:

In the dim haze, she faded from his sight,
Leaning her head in anguish on the stone

Of the cold granite block : her brow—how white-
How marble pale! why droops she there alon«

Sad and forlorn ( moaning as one in dread,—

Hercloudvd eyes fixed on the river-bed.

Sullen and glazed, and bloodshot,—with the tear
Quenched in their sockets , such a luok of care,

So wild and wo-begoue, seemed past all fear
Of mortal sufferance; for black Despair

Coiled rouud her bosom, desolate and drear, Blasting the founts of hope: she staggered there,

Struck by an icy pang, and bowed her knee,
And gasped and shuddered in her agony.

The veins upon her brow rose purple deep,
Yet ghastly pallid was her lip and skin,

As if her gore grew stagnant: then the steep
She cloinb, and strove the parapet to win:

The last cold shivers through her bosom creep ;— She shrinks—she hides her face, down plunging in:

A stifled shriek, a plash upon the river,

A struggle, and her breath is quenched for ever.

The gushing waters carried her away,

And whirled her, in an under-current, strong Beneath a stranded barge: there, white she lay,

fretting for weeks: in vain the exploring throng,

The men of the Humane, the livelong day, Dragged for the sunken corse with their lifeprong:

One arm was fiercely driven by the flood
Under the keel and fettered in the wood.

They dragged another day—yet vain the searchThat sand-bauk was h«r burial-place: then darted

Forth from their gulfy pools the pike and perch,
And glanced in citclcs round the corse, then

Back to the glassy depths—till, with a 1urchv
The river-shark dashed at it, and disparted
A portion from the breast—and bit away,
A finny glutton, at the human prey.

Then slime, and mud, and shells, fast settled o'er
The decomposing body, and the scent

(fathered together, from the sewer and shore, The land-rats fierce, and down the element

Greedy they dived, and with their keen tusks tort The clotted eyeballs, and the nostrils rent,

And fish, and vennin, and the conger eel,

Fed ravenous, and daily made their meal."


« PreviousContinue »