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In the history of Colonization, the Spaniards stand pre-eminent for a total disregard of all the principles by which a civilized nation should be regulated, whether the interests of the Parent State be considered, or the just claims of the Colonies be examined. Such conduct has borne with it its own punishment. Peter Martyr's observation has been true, not only regarding South America, but Old Spain-" Auri rabida sitis à cultura Hispanos divertit." The agriculture of Old Spain began to decay as the importation of the precious metals increased, and while the jealous and monopolizing spirit of the Mother Country cramped the youthful energies of her Colonies, the falling off in productive industry at home, and the consequent necessity of resorting to other nations for manufactures, left a very small proportion of the precious metals applicable to internal circulation. Spain became as poor in money as in produce, and there is every reason to expect that, by a singular inversion of probabilities, the loss of her South American possessions will eventually lead to the recovery of her domestic resources. In the mean while, however, she has been deprived not only of dominion over, but even of connex tion with, her Colonies. The very race of European Spaniards has been proscribed, and neither community of language, nor of religion, have weighed against the indelible recollections of systematic extortion and misrule.
While Mr. M'Culloch condemns in no measured terms the system by which our Colonial intercourse has been regulated, which he describes as a reciprocity of injuries to the Mother Country and the Colonies, he guards himself against being included amongst those who consider the foundation of Colonial Establishments as, generally speaking, inexpedient." He objects "not to the establishment of Colonies, provided they are placed in advantageous situations; but to the trammels that have been laid on their industry, and the interference exercised by the Mother Country in their domestic concerns." We believe this interference to be in the present state of the world necessary and acceptable at first; and the problem to solve is, a determination of the precise period when the Parent State can withdraw its protection, without subjecting itself, and the Colonies, to the discredit and disadvantage of their falling under the dominion of any other nation.
Whenever this period has arrived, the Colonies will not tolerate interference with their domestic concerns; if indeed the Parent State be a monarchy, they may possibly submit to a nominal allegiance, and such must be the successive euthanasia of the Colonial dominations of Great Britain.
The advantage, however, to Great Britain from extending her Colonization, appears to us more positive than Mr. M'Culloch is disposed to recognize. The concentration of intellectual and physical energies, arising from a high state of civilization, requires a larger area for exercise, than is afforded by the geographical extent of the British Islands. The establishment of Colonies is in fact an augmentation of this area, and offers the only means of finding employment for a population that, from the perfection of our social institution, has a constant tendency to become redundant. It is also manifest, that the interchange of manufactured goods against raw produce, is likely to be carried on with more convenience, and mutual advantage between
a Parent State and her Colonies, than between countries not so connected. This is so eminently the case with Great Britain, that the maintenance of her position in the scale of nations, if divested of her Colonial possessions, seems to us utterly impossible.
In the article on Corn Trade and Corn Laws, a very full account is given of the different laws by which the trade in corn has been regulated, together with an analysis of their effects; and it appears difficult to resist the truth of the proposition maintained by Mr. M'Culloch, that hitherto the restrictions on the regular importation of foreign corn, have failed in preventing fluctuations in price, highly injurious to the interests of the corn growers themselves. The most extraordinary variation in price, is that which took place from 1812 to 1822. In the former year the price of the quarter of wheat was 125s. and in the latter 38s. 1d.-the one almost a famine price to the consumer, and the other a ruinous one to the grower. Mr. M'Culloch says,
"It is thus demonstrably certain that the recurrence of periods of distress, similar to those that have been experienced by the agriculturists of this country since the Peace, cannot be warded off by restricting importationa free trade in corn is the only system that can give them that security against fluctuations that is so indispensable. The increased importation that would take place, were the ports always open, as soon as any considerable deficiency in the crops was apprehended, would prevent prices from rising to an oppressive height; while, on the other hand, when the crops were unusually luxuriant, a ready outlet would be found for the surplus in foreign countries, without its occasioning any very heavy fall."
Mr. McCulloch recognizes the principle of protection to the home grower of corn, provided the duty imposed be limited to the amount of the local taxes that fall upon the land, and he estimates these charges at 6s. the quarter: this he would fix as the duty on importation, and he would on the other hand allow the same sum per quarter as a drawback on exportation. Looking at this question practically, we consider that the interests of domestic agriculture require a much higher rate of protection than a mere countervailing of the local taxes upon the land, and to the proposed drawback, or rather to the bounty under the name of drawback, we object as inconvenient, if it should ever come into operation, and in fact, as utterly illusory.
One of the best executed articles in the work is that of Bordeaux, and we can confidently recommend pages 157 and 158 to all who are purchasers or consumers of claret. These pages embrace every detail that the learned or unlearned can wish for, respecting the various crus, grands, bourgeois, and ordinaires of that wine, in the quality of which, all who love good fellowship, must take a great interest.
Although the character of the work rendered great compression necessary, the reasonings are sufficiently extended to satisfy the understanding; and the merchant or seaman who refers to its pages, will not have to regret the omission of any fact, however minute, which can be required for his practical guidance, and information.
The Dictionary of Commerce and Commercial Navigation will be found equally useful in the library, the counting-house, and the cabin of the ship. It is truly a British work, and we believe could not have been executed elsewhere, than in this metropolis of the Commercial world.
BY LEIGH HUNT.
MAY's a word 'tis sweet to hear,
On May-morning, "This is May!"
Of the brown wood's cottage smoke,
May, the jade, with her fresh cheek, And the love the bards bespeak, May, by coming first in sight, Half defrauds thee of thy right; For her best is shared by thee With a wealthier potency, So that thou dost bring us in A sort of May-time masculine, Fit for action or for rest, As the luxury seems the best, Bearding now the morning breeze, Or-in love with paths of trees, Or dispos'd, full length, to lie With a hand-enshaded eye On thy warm and golden slopes, Basker in the butter-cups, Listening with nice distant ears To the shepherd's clapping shears, Or the next field's laughing play In the happy wars of hay, While its perfume breathes all over, Or the bean comes fine, or clover.
O could I walk round the earth, With a heart to share my mirth, With a look to love me ever, Thoughtful much, but sullen never, I could be content to see
June and no variety,
Loitering here, and living there,
With a book and frugal fare,
With a finer gipsey time,
And a cuckoo in the clime,
Work at morn, and mirth at noon,
And sleep beneath the sacred moon.
A NEW LIFE OF MILTON.*
EVERY man who undertakes to write the life of a distinguished author, should endeavour to do it in a kindred spirit, and his style, in a degree at least, should be adapted to the productions of which it treats: the biography should form a species of consistent and corresponding introduction, so that when the reader has finished it, and enters upon the body of the work, they should seem of a piece, without violent and offensive contrast. However obvious this principle may be, it is not always acted upon, and we may refer to some of the earlier memoirs in the series of poets, of which Milton forms the last part, in proof that the authors of those memoirs had little taste, knowledge, or understanding for the task they attempted to perform. Such is not the case with the Rev. Mr. Mitford, who has written the Life of Milton: he is himself a poet, as well as a scholar; and his preliminary sonnet, with two others addressed to Genoa and Algernon Sydney, (inserted in the Notes,) are written as if he had just risen from the perusal of the productions of the same class by the great subject of his biography. In the same way, the narrative he has supplied of the chief events of Milton's history, (accompanied by acute and often original remarks upon the politics of the time and upon Milton's prose tracts, arising out of those politics,) is composed as if the last piece he had read before he took up his pen was the noble treatise for "the liberty of unlicensed printing." This is as it ought to be.
It was not to be expected that any new and interesting facts would be added. Unlike Shakspeare, who, singular as it may seem, has only had two biographers of any merit-Rowe and Malone, Milton has met with at least nine persons of celebrity and industry to collect and publish circumstances connected with his life-E. Phillips, Toland, Richardson, Birch, Johnson, Newton, Hayley, Todd, and Symmons. No particular of the slightest interest accumulated by these authors has escaped Mr. Mitford, and he has accompanied his summary by notes and illustrations which show that he has made original and accurate researches, and that he has scarcely left a book unread, either connected with the studies of Milton, or with the events of his times, which could throw a spark of new light upon the subject. Such is the character of the notes upon "the Life of Milton:" in the notes upon the poems, we confess, there is a slight exhibition of what Bishop Hall calls "vain learning"-a little ostentation of outof-the-way reading. This has led sometimes to the apposition of passages, not in themselves parallel, merely because they contain the same word; as for instance, where in the first book of "Paradise Lost," it is said that Pandemonium "rose like an exhalation," we are treated in a note with the following line from Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" :
"Did like a shooting exhalation glide."
Pandemonium did not "glide" like "a shooting exhalation," only the word "exhalation" happens to be found in both authors. This is wasting space that might be better filled, and a few (very few) of the notes are in our judgment entirely useless. In the second book of Paradise Lost, two lines occur that rhyme they are repeated at the bottom of the page, and we are there also gravely informed that "the commentators have not observed" upon the circumstance. Why should they? After all, these are trifles, but we are surprised that the excellent judgment Mr. Mitford has shown in "the Life of Milton" did not lead him to avoid such defects, which ought to have expired with the puerilities of the annotators on Shakspeare.
Mr. Mitford, who, we believe, resides in Suffolk, had of course no ready access to the depositories of records in London; and all his predecessors, who might have possessed facilities of the kind, seem to have omitted to examine these important sources of information. How much they have illustrated the life of Shakspeare and his contemporaries is evident from recent experience: Milton's MS Treatise on Christianity was very lately found smothered with
Accompanying his Poetical Works among Pickering's "Aldine Poets."
+ Of course we do not here refer to the very careful and able Lives of Pope and Shakspeare by the Rev. A. Dyce.
dust in the State Paper Office; and we have little doubt that the diligent search of a few years will bring other curious matters to light regarding a person of so much notoriety. The Privy Seals at the Chapter House, and the Patents at the Rolls, ought also to be gone over with care for the same purpose; and we hope that ere long measures will be taken to remove all obstruction to inquiry in those quarters. To show what may possibly be discovered in such places, we will mention a curious fact connected with the Life of Sir Henry Wotton, not noticed by his biographers-that in the Chapter House is preserved an original Privy Seal, granting him an additional pension of 2001. a-year, (besides the 2001. already allowed,) in order to enable him to keep an amanuensis, and to finish without delay the "History of England" he was then writing by order of King Charles I. Of this History we now know nothing beyond "the Characters of some of the Kings of England," and the parallel between the Earl of Essex and the Duke of Buckingham, which are found in the Reliquiæ Wottoniana.
After Mr. Mitford has told us that Milton's mother was 66 a woman of incomparable virtue and goodness," (which we dare say she was, although we are without much evidence on the subject) we were a little disappointed at finding him dismiss Milton's father so briefly, especially as he appears to have been a man possessing much learning and many accomplishments. If John Milton, sen. were the author of "The Six-fold Politician," as has been generally believed, he was a man of great shrewdness and considerable reading; and recollecting the celebrity his son has attained, the chapter" of Poets," abusing them and their art, as it was professed in the year 1609, is remarkable. He was a Puritan, like his son, in the earlier part of his career, and it is a curious and an able part of Mr. Mitford's sketch, where he traces the gradual change in the poet's religious opinions from Puritanism to Presbyterianism, and finally, (in opposition to Dr. Symmons,) not long before his death, to Arianism. We venture to quote the following short extract from "the Six-fold Politician," a rare volume, as a specimen of the style of thought and expression. Milton's father is speaking of writers for the stage, to whom the Puritans were always opposed. "Either," says he, "they write to please idle vain gentlemen and gentlewomen, and so may be placed among the number of shuttle-cocks, tennis-balls, apes, monkeys, baboons, parrots, puppets, and such like, (their office having correspondence to no other use and purpose,) or else they fashion their wits to the pleasing of a vain multitude and rabble of loose livers, and prescribe to the ignorant and simple (very ill disposed of themselves) rules and rudiments of worse living and as the interludes may be termed the school-houses of vanity and wantonness, so these are the school-masters thereof. And methinks they who have tasted of the sweet fountain water running from their academic mother's breasts, by this, if nothing else, should be deterred from their scribbling profession, that they see their writings and conceits sold at a common door to every base companion: but most of their conceits are too dear at that rate.”
Notwithstanding the antipathies of the father, the son knew how to read, admire, and profit by our old dramatists, and we trust, that among the poems of Milton in this edition, will be inserted, besides his "Epitaph," the lines subscribed J. M. S. (i. e. John Milton, Student,) prefixed to the edition of Shakspeare's Plays in 1632, and which are infinitely too good for Jasper Mayne, to whom Malone, in his guess-work, would assign them. One slight deficiency we may be allowed to point out in Mr. Mitford's introduction to Milton's Poems, the supplying of which would have given more novelty to his undertaking: he ought to have furnished us with a brief account of the writers of undramatic blank verse, who preceded Milton, who fell into an obvious error when he supposed that his "Paradise Lost" was "an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming." Lord Surrey, it is well known, had translated the second and fourth books of the "Eneid" into blank verse nearly 150 years before Milton produced his great work, and he was followed by many other writers of eminence.