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Raa Kook would have a very mean opinion of the Editor, indeed, if he believed, that his letter could have any other effect than to make him more slow in doing what he requires. The truth is the paper to which he alludes was given out for insertion, and upon receipt of his letter has been withdrawn, for a time.
The performances of many respectable correspondents have been unavoidably delayed; and strict impartiality requires, that where a marked superiority in point of merit does not appear, attention fhould be bestowed to priority in point of time. It will be the Editor's study to do justice to all his correspondents, as far as he can, and not to fhow undue favour to any individual.
The verses on the death of a mouse, most unfortunately for the writer, recal the idea of another performance on the same subject. This presents a parallel that a young performer fhould with to avoid. Perhaps, on this account, the Editor will do a kind thing if he surprefses them. The love-sick maid fhall have a place when a convenient opportunity
Domine Felix fhall be also indulged.
The letter of B. C. is received. From what goes before, he may see that it is impofsible the Editor can gratify himself by obliging all his correspondents, which he most cordially wishes he could do; many times verses, that are in themselves good, are upon trite subjects; and often performances, on well chosen subjects, are carelessly written. He wishes his poetical correspondents never to forget that what is not excellent, must be accounted bad; what is intended merely for ornament, unless it be really ornamental, should be rejected. What would we say of the person who fhould present his mistress with a ring, in which a rough dia-mond was set as it came from the mine?---fhe could not wear it. A few good thoughts, in a poem carelessly finished, are the same. Though the Editor, therefore, may be obliged to return such, a finished piece by the same hand would be highly acceptable.
The life of the duke d'Aubigny is thankfully received.
The sensible remarks of A. E. I. a subscriber, came duly to hand, and fhall be attended to.
The communications by Hiero and Philo, competition pieces, are-received; and with others will now be sent to the judges without lofs of time.
The second letter of Graham Cannie is received. The second name subjoined to his was entirely an error of the prefs. It ought to have been the beginning of another paragraph. Thanks for his little piece; others in the same strain, carefully touched, will be very acceptable. Queech and Gramio are received.
A spring poet, with some others of lefser note are also come to hand.
The readers of the Bee are respectfully informed, that the ingenious gentleman who gained the premium of two guineas for the translation of a part of Virgil's Georgics, having returned that sum to the Editor, it is hereby again offered as a premium, to be given to the best piece that shall be offered in verse or prose, on any subject, between this time and the 1st of November next. Those who mean to compete for this premium will please to specify their intentions when they send in their papers; and send along with it a sealed note, containing the name and addrefs of the competitor, which fhall not be opened unlefs it prove successful.
LITERARY WEEKLY INTELLIGENCER,
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22. 1792.
ON THE POLITICAL PROGRESS OF BRITAIN,
To the Editor of the Bee.
Dutch prowefs, Danifh wit, and British policy,
THE people of Scotland are, on all occasions, foolish enough to interest themselves in the good fortune of an English minister; though it does not appear that we have more influence with such a minister than with the cabinet of Japan. To England we were for many centuries a hostile, and we are still considered by them as a foreign, and in effect a conquered nation. It is true, that we elect very near a twelfth part of the British House of Commons; but our representatives have no title to vote, or act in a separate body. Every statute proceeds upon the majority of the voices of the whole compound assembly: What, therefore, can forty-five persons accom plish, when opposed to five hundred and thirteen? VOL. vii.
Feb. 22. They feel the total insignificance of their situation, and behave accordingly. An equal number of elbow chairs, placed once for all on the ministerial benches, would be lefs expensive to government, and just about as manageable. I call these and every ministerial tool, of the same kind expensive, because those who are obliged to buy, must be understood to sell*, and those who range themselves under the banners of opposition, can only be considered, as having rated their voices too high for a purchaser in the parliamentary auction t.
There is a fashionable phrase, the politics of the county, which I can never hear pronounced without a glow of indignation; compared with such politics, even pimping is respectable. Our supreme court have, indeed, with infinite propriety, interposed to extirpate what are called in Scotland, parchment barons, and have thus prevented a crowd of unhappy wretches from plunging into an abyfs of perjury. But, in other respects, their decision is of no consequence, since it most certainly cannot be of the smallest concern to this country, who are our electors, and representatives; or indeed, whether we are represented at all. Our members are, most of them, the mere satellites of the minister of the day; and are too often as forward as others, to serve his most opprefsive and despotic purposes.
* "I have BOUGHT you, and I will SELL you," was the answer of a worthy representative to his constituents, when they laid before him instructions for his conduct in parliament." Political disquisitions, VOL. I.
To this general censure, we can produce a few exceptions, but the individuals are so well known, that it would be needlefs to name them.
It seems to have been long a maxim of the monopolizing directors, of our southern masters, to extirpate as fast as possible every manufacture in this country, that interferes with their own *. Has any body forgotten the scandalous breach of national faith, by which the Scottish distilleries have been brought to destruction? Has not the manufacture of starch also been driven, by every engine of judicial torture, to the last verge of its existence? Have not the manufacturers of paper, printed callicoes, malt liquors and glass, been harrassed by vexatious methods of exacting the revenue? Methods equivalent to an addition of ten, or sometimes an hundred per cent. of the duty payable. Let us look around this insulted country, and say, on what manufacture, except the linen, government has not fastened its bloody fangs.
By an oriental monopoly, we have obtained the unexampled privilege of buying a pound of the same tea, for six or eight shillings, with which other nations would eagerly supply us for twentypence: Nay, we have to thank our present illustrious minister, that this trifling vegetable has been reduced from a price still more extravagant. His popularity began by the commutation act. Wonders were promised, wonders were expected, and wonders have happened! A nation, consisting of men who call themselves enlightened, have consented to build up their
* The linen manufacture is the only one that ever was seriously enzouraged by government in Scotland, and that it is well known was done merely to divert the Scots from attempting to engage in the favourite woollen manufacture of England. It was perhaps foreseen that no encouragement would ever establish that as a national manufacture in this country.
windows, that they might enjoy the permifsion of sipping in the dark a cup of tea, ten per cent. cheaper than formerly; though not less than three hundred per cent. dearer than its intrinsic price. A second example of the blessed consequences of an East India company, is about to be exhibited in the course of this winter session. It has been long a great grievance to these "bonourable merchants," that we ourselves can manufacture cotton stuffs, both cheaper and better than the Gentoo articles of that sort which they import into this country. A tax is therefore intended to be laid on the cotton manufactures, equal to a prohibition. I mention this from the best authority *, and I wish to ask my countrymen, whether they are prepared to submit to this last extremity of disgrace and injustice? The object of this statute cannot be revenue, but destruction. This is indeed no new system in the management of this country. In the Excise annals of Scotland, that year which expired on the 5th of July 1790, produced for the duties ont soap, sixty-five thousand pounds. On the fifth of July last, the annual amount of these duties was only forty-five thousand pounds; and by the same hope-ful progrefs, in two years more at farthest, our masters will enjoy the pleasure of extirpating a manufac
*It is well known, that for several years past the East India company have been selling coarse India muslins below prime cost, with the intention of ruining that branch of the manufactures of this country; but in vain. I have not before heard that the bold measure mentioned in the text has been seriously intended; and though, from the manner in which this ingenious correspondent writes, he would seem to be well informed, yet I cannot help doubting, if any minister will ever be so fool hardy as to attempt a measure so extravagantly impolitic. Edit.