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blic sales in pursuance of decrees of courts of justice, and which most familiar to every man of landed property or of business at the purchaser of lands held exempt from the payment of evenue to Government, is to be considered to have succeeded nly to the rights of the former proprietor, and that the transfer ; not to bar any claims of Government to the recovery of the ublic dues from such lands.'* The utmost that the lakhirajrs can reasonably claim, on the score of their long immunity, indulgent terms of assessment, and those should, we think, accorded to them. But it is asserted that special, and therefore unfair tribunals, vhy more so than the Exchequer Court in England ?) have en constituted for the trial, in each case, of the question hether, under existing laws, the assuming lakhirajdar is enled to hold his land free from the payment of revenue for ever. s an argumentum ad captandum, it is also objeeted that the ficers who try these cases hold their situations at the pleasure
the Government, by which, also, they may hope, if they give itisfaction, to be promoted.
To dispose of the last point first :--The judges of the ordinary surts, who have been relieved from jurisdiction in the cases in uestion, (which is the change complained of,) are precisely in he same predicament in relation to the Government as the funconaries who try those cases. They are all brother servants, lave all the same to hope and to fear; and great pains have been aken to assign to the special tribunals at least an equal proporion of the ability and integrity at the command of Government.
Every one at all intimate with the Judicial pages of the Fifth eport, and with later evidence on the state and efficiency (as egards their adequateness to the amount of the litigation to be lisposed of) of the regular courts established by Lord Cornwalis, will easily understand why-upon the breaking down of the attempt made in 1819 to effect the matter in hand by means of their agency-a division of labour has been resorted to. Since • 1793, wrote Sir Henry Strachey, the highest authority, in 1813, things have grown worse and worse,ếcauses have continued to accumulate, the channels of justice are choked, and the judges are overwhelmed with business. He says, in another place, that the Fifth Report.conveys an imperfect notion of the
* Mr Crawsurd is pleased to sneer at this law as six-and-forty years old. It is so, but it has been in force ever since. Would he think the argument which it affords against bis position stronger, if it had been enacted more recently?
• actual state of things. If there were twice as many courts,
there might probably be twice as many causes; and if all ob• stacles of delay and expense in obtaining a hearing were done . away, if the tribunals were really open to all, the number of suits would certainly for a time at least be very much augmented.'
From 1814, down to the present day, the Government of Bengal bas been earnestly, and, especially of late, in some degree successfully, striving to render the general administration of justice commensurate with the wants of the people and its own obligations. It is now made matter of complaint, that the Courts, barely equal, notwithstanding the heavy expense incurred, to cope with the ordinary business, have not been again overwhelmed by crowding their files with all the litigation between the Government, on behalf of the community, and the lakhirajdars; and that distinct means have been provided to dispose promptly of the latter, instead of allowing it to remain festering for an indefinite term of
years. The real grievance is, that a system which works, has been substituted for one under which because the Government of 1793 misconceived the facts as to the extent of the abuse, and miscalculated the means in the powers of the regular courts) of dealing with it-every man calling himself a lakbirajdar would have retained for ever his privilege of enjoying the benefits of society at the expense of the community.
Art.IV.-An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth
of Nations, by ADAM SMITH, LL. D. ; with a Life of the Author, an Introductory Discourse, Notes, and Supplemental Dissertations. By J. R. M'CULLOCH, Esq. A New Edition, in One Volume, Octavo. London : 1838.
THERE are so inany advantages attending the communication T of knowledge, in its several branches, by the republication of standard works, with such corrections as the subsequent advances of science may have rendered necessary, that it is, perhaps, a subject of wonder that it is so little adopted in the present day. We fear that the true reason is to be found, not in any decay of taste or deficiency on the part of the public in estimating the value of those models, but in the superior attraction, both to vanity and indolence, which is affored by the position of an author to that of an editor. It is not only much more dignified, but much easier to produce a substantive essay, than an
adjective commentary. Any one ordinarily informed on the subject of Political Economy, at the present day, knows many facts of which Dr Adam Smith was ignorant; and has acquired from others juster views of some elementary principles than Dr Smith had attained by his own enquiries. And it is natural enough, if he seeks to enlighten the world on the subject, that he should prefer to do so by reconstructing the whole science on a new ground, rather than condescend to the task of pointing out the errors, or adding supplements to the discoveries, of an older writer. He finds, too, no doubt, considerable facilities in adopting the more systematic form. It is more condensed, more artificial, and enables him to place all the points of his theory before the reader in such order as he may deem most convenient. Yet if he wishes to become popular, and to ensure a general reception for the theories which he advances, it would be as well to reflect on the real advantages which attend the other course.
The Treatise on the Law of War and Peace, the Essay on the Human Understanding, the Spirit of Laws, and the Inquiry into the Causes of the Wealth of Nations,' says Sir J. Macintosh, are the works which have most directly influenced the
opinion of Europe during the two last centuries. They are also the most conspicuous landmarks in the progress of the
sciences to which they belong. Now it is certain that, in order to have acquired the proud position thus described, these works must possess certain other qualities besides those of original thought and soundness of reasoning-qualities still more essential to immediate and striking success, and to the full as essential to permanent reputation. Nothing is easier than to point out the errors of Grotius, Montesquieu, Locke, and Smith; but their standard excellence as authors remains unimpaired by the detection of faults or deficiencies in their respective systems. They must have added to their stores of thought and knowledge a peculiar felicity of genius in communicating them; or, although spoken of with respect and admiration, they would never have been extensively read. They each possessed the art of seizing the attention of the general reader, the more, perhaps, from that absence of studied regularity discernible in them all. As the same writer has very profoundly remarked, the apparent defects common to all the four, of want of arrangement and want of precision,
have perhaps contributed in some degree to the specific usefulness of their works; and, by rendering their contents more
accessible to the majority of readers, have more completely blended their principles with the common opinion of mankind. And the same qualities will be found more or less to characterise standard works in general. Unless, therefore, the modern enquirer, who finds much to supply and much to refute in them, is certain also of possessing that power of communicating bis knowledge which has rendered their authors immortal, it must always be a question whether a commentary will not serve his purpose better than a dissertation.
We are sure, at all events, that it will often serve infinitely better the interest of the public. There are limits, po doubt, to the profitable admiration and imitation of great models; but the sin of the present age certainly does not lie in exceeding them. There was a period when the highest ambition of every philosophical student was to add one more name to the enormous muster-roll of commentators on Aristotle. This pedantic fancy of the middle ages has long been a favourite subject of derision with modern wits; and, undoubtedly, much acuteness and intellect were hopelessly lost in the prosecution of that favourite task of centuries. But this arose less from the method which these commentators pursued, than from the unfortunate principle on which they proceeded. Instead of criticising their authority, they treated him as infallible; and this on all the subjects of which he had treated-on physics, of which his knowledge was necessarily small; on metaphysics, where his meaning was unintelligible. But on those topics which the great philosopher of Greece had mastered, and where he had communicated his knowledge successfully, it is doubtful, at least, whether this system of commentary, such as it was, has not been serviceable rather than injurious to the progress of the human understanding. Take, for instance, the Aristotelian logic; considered, not with any reference to those higher pretensions which its admirers advanced for it, but merely as a compendious art of reasoning--a technical mode of arranging arguments and detecting fallacies. Can it be doubted that the faithful preservation of this system, until it became part and parcel of the reasoning process to which the mind was trained throughout the European commonwealth of learning, has been of greater service to education than if each successive commentator had done, as with less reverence for established authority he would, strained his faculties to invent an art of logic of his own; and left the enquirer to choose between a multitude of ingenious and extraordinary systems.
The practical usefulness of Dr Smith's work is undoubtedly no longer what it was. The principles which he advocated with such force of reasoning and illustration, have, to a grent extent, passed into axioms in political science; and form the general basis of commercial legislation in Europe. Nothing more strongly shows the advance of those principles than the mode in which the application of them to any particular subject-matter
is still resisted, by those who have an interest in opposing it. Instead of condemning them in the lump, as heretofore, the antifree-trade reasoner is now almost always employed in discovering ingenious reasons for making this or that species of industry an exception to the common rule. And although it is often complained, with justice, that economical science has had, as yet, very imperfect results, because the advance of governments towards liberal systems of external trade is so precarious and interrupted; yet we are apt to forget how great a mass of far more oppressive restrictions on domestic commerce and the rights of industry have been removed, in almost every part of Europe, since the appearance of Dr Smith's Essay;-a great work, of which no one has so much right as he to enjoy the honour. But his very success has proved an obstacle to the continuance of his popularity. Much of his reasoning is no longer needed, and the greater part of his illustrations antiquated; while, on other parts of his subject, he has been superseded as an authority by newer writers. Yet, since Dr Smith, we have had no popular writer on political economy. Mr Ricardo investigated the fundamental truths of the science with singular profoundness; his theories, while they have led many followers astray, have nevertheless penetrated thoroughly into all subsequent lucubrations on the subject; and he may be regarded, more justly than any other, as the real founder of the school which at present exists in England. But he is not read, nor expected to be read, except by the few who master him for the sake of the subject: his dry and abstract disquisitions have no attraction whatever for the general reader. Mr Malthus, in his first great work, became popular, not merely from the bold truths which he announced, but from the interesting nature of many of the subjects collectively treated in it. His later works, in which his original doctrines are modified by the results of experience, and his errors corrected, wanting all extrinsic aids to popularity, are hardly known at all out of a small circle of students. Besides these, we have had many acute and able writers; abundance of ingenious essayists, each contributing something to our general stock of truth, and exposing some preceding error ; but for the most part so conflicting in principle, so dry in style, so devoid of all outward attraction, as to have made absolutely no impression whatever ; except the indirect and circuitous one which a good thought, however unfavourably launched, is pretty sure to produce in time, when it finds at last an appropriate vehicle. Speaking, therefore, with a view to literary popularity only, the science is now far more unfavourably circumstanced than when the great work of Smith was new. It was then (as far as