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comply with the laws, bring him often before the justice courts, under suits for penalties; and thus not only make him pay great sums of his money, gained perhaps with hard industry, but also make him waste the time that would otherwise be employed in the regular course of his business, by dangling after solicitors of excise, petty-fogging attornies, and overbearing justices of the peace. How can the the people be blamed for complaining against such a ruinous system of legislation ?. Nay, these are but small matters in comparison to some of the evils that the people groan under. I have only picked them out, because they can be easily discerned, and sooner told than many other heavier grievances.
It will be alleged that these curbs are necefsary to prevent smuggling. If smuggling cannot be prevented but on these terms, the duties ought certainly to be reduced to such a pitch as to render them unnecessary. The duties are imposed for the general good, and ought to be borne by the commu-. nity at large, not by one clafs of men; and in the present case manufacturers it is certainly the and traders that bear all the part that is really grievous of these excise laws; for the simple amount of the duty is of almost no consideration, in comparison to the hardships incurred in consequence of the regulations imposed for securing them.
With regard to the oaths so universally required in the present system of revenue laws, I think almost any person, on mature reflection, will agree, that they are very pernicious; and I refer the reader for the consideration of that part of the subject to
a paper that appeared in the Bee about eighteen months ago.
I do not present these reflections as invectives against administration, for the present ministry has certainly had great merit in suppressing smuggling; but, unfortunately, it has been done in many cases at the expence of the liberties of the people. It is therefore with a view to turn the attention of the well disposed nrembers of our legislature, towards the remedy of the opprefsion so much felt, that this and my former fheets are offered to the public. The true test of the integrity of a minister, is certainly the attention he pays to the complaints of the people in matters affecting their own welfare. Such complaints are now coming in from all quarters, and upon the proper hearing of them, the stability of a minister ought to depend, and in these days I begin to hope it will.
If the Editor of the Bee indulge me so far, I fhall make some remarks, in a future paper, on the manner in which the effects of smuggling are so much felt, in consequence of the excise duties, in many manufactures carried on in North Britain. TRADER POLITICAL.
Leith, Oct. 1792.
THE TRAVELLER. No. VI. OBSERVATIONS AND OPINIONS OF J. W. SPENCER. Continued from vol. xiii. p. 120.
Ir is difficult for one who has never been out of Britain, to conceive the serenity and settled appear
95 ance of a Valencian sky. Even now, near the middle of winter, the weather is mild, and the air agreeably perfumed with the fragrant odours exhaled from the delicious fruits that are not yet all gathered. The country is rich, fertile, beautiful, and gay. Trees, rising grounds, streams of water, diversify the landscape.
The fruits that are common to this place with Britain, are not all here in greater perfection; but some of them are infinitely superior; and there are others, to which, on being directly transplanted to it, our climate would be immediate death. The time, however, is coming, when ours will rival the first in quality, and when we will be enabled to cultivate even the others with succefs. When peaches were first raised in Italy, all the world was surprised that they could be brought to perfection out of Persia. What would Cæsar and Diodorus Siculus say, were they told that the most esteemed wines in Europe, are produced in Gaul, where they thought vines would not grow? or Strabo, if he knew that figs can be propagated in the north of Scotland? or Lucullus, that cherries will grow almost any where, which in his days were known only in Cerasus and the mild climates of Europe?
It is probable that the fluids of the animal and vegetable kingdoms circulate in nearly the same manuer; and I have ever believed, that there is in, many respects, a much greater similarity between them than is generally imagined. Cause a native of the gold coast exchange habitations with an Es
quimaux, or with an inhabitant of Terra del Fuego,
The Spaniards speak with much gravity and solemnity. I studied hard at their language for a month at Marseilles, and I make myself understood tolerably well. My knowledge of Latin, French, and Italian, afsists me greatly. Of all the languages with which I am acquainted, the Spanish approaches the nearest to the Latin. I stay in an inn, or hotel, if you please, where every person takes me for a German. I live in much the same way as I did at Paris. The waiters are dirty fellows; the cookery is also abominable.
There are no tides in the Mediterranean, and yet many historians relate, that Scipio surprised Carthagena, by entering the bason when it was low water. It seems, too, that his army was quite unac
quainted with the ebbing and flowing of the sea; for he encouraged them by saying, that Neptune had promised to work a miracle in their favour. More than an hundred years after this, Cæsar's ignorance of the spring tides was attended with fatal consequences to many of his fhips and transports in his first expedition to Britain. When they sailed down the Indus to the ocean, the surprise of Alexander the Great and his army, at the flowing of the tide, was more natural than this tale of Scipio. The causes of the tides are not yet understood. They cannot be owing to the influence of the sun and moon, though the times of their return so nearly and so regularly correspond, that they have been long attributed to this cause. Their influence would not extend to great bodies of water only, it would act upon every thing on our globe, which is of lefs specific gravity than water.
Spain is the best situated for commerce of all `the European kingdoms; and though it is too dry and hilly to be fertile, and has no havigable rivers but the Guadalquivir, and that only for sixty miles, it might of itself furnish many articles for exportation. It is nighest the islands and rich provinces of America; and it has the same advantage with respect to India. Before the discovery of the pafsage by the Cape of Good Hope to India, when the commodities of that rich country were brought to Europe by the Indus, the Oxus, the Caspian Sea, the Volga, and the Don; by the Persian gulph, the Euphrates, Palmyra, and Syria; or by the Red Sea, and Alexandria, Spain, by its position, was adVOL. xiv.