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in life, have no opportunity of examining matters of this kind with their own eyes, and who, from the stations in government they occupy, must be supposed to be under the fascinating influence of artful men, who, with a view to promote their own emolument, may find a temptation to represent facts in such a light, as may best suit their pose. Without derogating, therefore, from the abilities of these gentlemen, or attributing to them any sinister motives, for giving the report they gave, we may freely investigate their opinion; and from the facts that have been afsigned by them, examine how far it is properly founded. The only fact they have alleged as a foundation for these momentous conclusions is, that Britain does not at present produce food enough for its inhabitants, communibus annis. Now, without stopping to inquire if this fact be sufficiently authenticated, it requires but a very small degree of knowledge in rural economics, to perceive that no such inference can be drawn from it, although it were true; and a very slender knowledge of history will be sufficient to prove its fallaciousnefs from experience. The following plain fact, that can be sufficiently authenticated by thousands of witnefses now alive, will clearly prove, that though a nation fhould not at present be capable of maintaining one hundredth part of its people, by its own produce, yet, in a very few years, by judicious management, it may be pofsible to produce enough for all its own people, and much to spare to afsist others who have occasion for it. The fact is this:
Not a great many years ago, many hundreds of acres of ground, in the neighbourhood of the town of Aberdeen in Scotland, were in such a deplorable state of barrennefs, that they could not have been let at the rate of one filling an acre. While in this state, the produce of an hundred acres could, scarcely have been sufficient to sustain one person for a year. The same land has been so much improved of late, as now to yield a rent at the rate of from three to six pounds Sterling an acre *. It was formerly a barren waste only, consisting of stones and bogs, with scarce a pile of grafs upon it. It now carries the most luxuriant crops of corn; so that, on many occasions, the produce of one acre, would be sufficient to sustain
* Observe, it is the Scots acre that is meant, 4 of which are nearly equal to 5 English, and neither ti.hes nor poor's rates are paid out of it.
two persons for a whole year. In this case, therefore, those fields, which at one period would have required a hundred acres to subsist one person, could now subsist two hundred persons abundantly. This is a fact directly in point, and clearly proves the futility of the reasoning that has been here adopted.
It does not indeed seem that the gentlemen of the committee have reasoned with great consistency, even upon their own principles, when they look towards America, as the only pofsible preservative for the people of this country. If they had reasoned justly, they should first have ascertained what is the present produce of that country, and how much of it can be spared; now if it fhould, upon this investigation, have appeared, that their spare produce did not exceed what would be sufficient to main-tain 100,000 persons for a year, (and make this more or lefs at pleasure, it alters not the case,) it would follow, that if ever the population of America shall increase to 100,000 more than at present, the spare produce would all be wanted for themselves; and that if it should increase to 200,000 beyond its present population, it would then also fall fhort of food for its own people, and could of course spare nothing for Europe. What a deplorable state should we then be all in War would then be a humane exercise,— and we should be reduced to the necefsity of cutting each others throats, out of charity and brotherly love. Was it in this manner that the Austrians, Turks, and Rufsians reasoned? If so, we can no longer accuse them of barbarism.
It is probable these gentlemen did not reason thus :-Pofsibly they concluded, that though America did not at present produce much more than enough for its own people; yet it still was capable of improvement, and might be made to produce more. All this is well ;but why fhould America be the only country capable of improvement? It is wonderful to see that men of talents in other respects, fhould suffer themselves so easily to become the dupes of their own prejudices, or the culleys of artful prompters.
Not only may ground be so much meliorated by human industry, as to sustain many more than it can at present support; but, what will appear more singular, when that industry is withdrawn, it will revert to its former sterility,
and become incapable of sustaining a population, greatly inferior to that for which it formerly produced abundance and to spare. We know for certain, that Spain, about three hundred years ago, contained not lefs than twenty-five millions of people, who were abundantly supplied with food from the produce of their own fields. At present, eight millions of people are often reduced to the danger of starving for want of food. How absurd then is it to reason from the present state of the produce of any country, to its possible future produce! By injudicious fiscal regulations, the present produce may be diminished to an astonishing degree ;—by a wise and judicious policy, it may be augmented beyond the power of calculation.-Let us no longer then be amused with such chimerical reasoning, nor shut our eyes against the clearest light. Our industry has been, in too many cases, reprefsed by laws grounded on such absurd reasoning.-Let us expose its futility! Let us examine, with the spirit of men endowed with rational powers, the tendency of every fiscal regulation, that is to be obligatory upon us. Where their tendency is pernicious, let that baneful tendency be exposed, that thus a check may be given to the empire of folly, and the miserable consequences that it ingenders may be diminished.
From the facts above stated, without having recourse to many others that might easily be adduced, we are authorised to pronounce, without hesitation, that the inference drawn by the committee of privy council, from the single fact on which the whole was grounded, is totally erroneous; and that, though the present produce of Britain, should fall far fhort of what is necefsary to sustain its whole inhabitants, it might still be capable of rearing abundance to supply a much greater number of people, should it ever become necefsary to do so. As well might I say, that a farmer, who rents a thousand acres of rich pasture-land, on the banks of the Severn, but who does not find it his interest to rear a single acre of corn, but is obliged to purchase what he wants for the subsistence of his family from another quarter, could not, if it were necessary, find subsistence from his own farm, in corn, as well as other articles? One would imagine, that such a mode of reasoning was only calculated for the meridian of
Feb. I. those times, when decrees were thought necefsary to compel merchants to bring so many ounces of bullion into the country, for every decker of hides, or pack of wool; or when the king, out of the abundance of his wisdom, and provident care for the welfare of his poor people, thought it necefsary to regulate the price of oxen and fheep, of pigs, turkies, and capons, because they could not judge of such mighty matters themselves.
THE Communication respecting Mr Thomson, the author of the Seasons, is received, and fhall appear very soon.
The Editor is under great obligations to a very respectable correspondent for the Will, and some other picces, which shall be attended to with all pofsible care.
Though the Editor has some doubts if the correspondent who signs J. C. B-----mm [the other letters are too indistinctly written to be read] has ever read the Bee, he has no other objection to the printing it, but that he is afraid his readers would object to it. He will make the best use he can of the advices this correspondent is so obliging as to offer.
B. C. Is respectfully informed that his letter has been received, and that, agreeable to his request, the papers he wishes for, will be left at the Bee Office to be delivered to his order.
The competition piece, with the motto, "Vale! longum vale!" is received, and fhall be duly attended to.
The valuable communication from a correspondent at Gottenburgh, is received, and will appear at a convenient time.
The ingenious correspondent who complains of some of his pieces being sent to the Bee without his permifsion, and wishes his signature to be supprefsed, may be afsured that his request fhall be punctually complied with. When his time permits, the Editor will be glad to hear farther from him.
It will give the Editor much pleasure to see the gentleman who favoured him with some Lines, &c. that he desires may not be otherwise noticed. The continuation of them will be very acceptable.
The remarks on Arbitrations are received, and fhall appear as soon as pofsible. It is no small recommendation to our mode of publication, that a difference of opinion, in matters of this kind, only gives room for a more liberal discussion, and fairer elucidation of the subject.
The Phenix-bunter has improved very much by the gentle hint that was given him. Could writers of verses be sensible of the difference that a due degree of attention makes on their compositions, they never would send them off too hastily.
The Editor is much obliged to J. T. for his flattering letter. He will see that seamen are not entirely overlooked. Any thing that can contribute to the preservation of that useful body of men, will be thankfully received. The substance of his letter fhall have a place as soon as pos sible.