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“EXPERIENCE," says Dr Johnson, system when reduced into execution. " is the great test of truth, and is per- The result is so curious, its lessons so petually contradicting the theories of pregnant with instruction, its warning inen." “ If an empire," said Napo- of coming disaster so terrible, that we leon, “ were made of granite, it would gladly avail ourselves of the opening soon be reduced to powder by po- of a new year, to portray them in a litical economists." Never was tliere few paragraphs to our readers. a period when the truths stated by The first great change which took these master minds were so clearly place in British policy was in 1819, by and strikingly illustrated as the pre- the famous Bank Restriction Act, sent; never was there an epoch when passed in that year. Every one knows the necessity was so fearfully evinced that the obligation on the Bank of of casting off the speculative dogmas England to pay in specie, was sus of former times, and shaping our pended by Mr Pitt in February 1797 ; course by the broad light which expe- and that under that system the emrience has thrown on human trans- pire continued to rise with all the actions. If this is done, if wisdom is difficulties with which it was surlearnt by experience, and error ex- rounded, until in the latter years of pelled by suffering, it is yet possible the war it bore without difficulty to remedy the evils; though not be- annual expenditure of from fore a frightful and yet unfelt amount £110,000,000 to £120,000,000 annuof misery has been encountered by the ally. But under the new system people.
introduced in 1819, the currency was For the last thirty years, the liberal restricted by imposing on the bank the party have had the almost uncon- obligation of paying its notes, when trolled direction of the affairs of the presented, not in gold or silver, but in nation. One by one, they have beat
The currency was down all the ancient safeguards of based on the article in commerce British industry, and given effect to most difficult to keep, most easy of the whole theoretical doctrines of the transport, most ready to slip awaypolitical economists. So complete has the most precious of the precious been their ascendency in the national metals. The result has been that the councils—so entire in general the ac- nation,-which, with a population of quiescence of the nation in their 18,000,000 of souls, raised without direction, that without one single ex- difficulty £71,000,000 annually by ception All their doctrines have been taxes, and from £30,000,000 to carried into practice ; and the year £40,000,000 annually by loans in 1847 exhibits a fair, and it may be 1813, 1814, and 1815, of which at presumed average result of the liberal least a half was sent abroad, and
VOL. LXIII.-NO, CCCLXXXVII.
wholly lost to the nation-is now, with some of the regulations of this famous a population of 28,000,000, not able act may have proceeded from national to raise in round numbers above animosity, they are all as wise as if £51,000,000 on an average of years dictated by the most deliberate wisdom. by taxation, and is brought to the As defence is of much more importance verge of ruin by the purchase of than opulence, the act of Navigation £33,000,000 worth of foreign grain is perhaps the wisest of all the comin 1846 and 1847, and the expendi- mercial regulations of England." * It ture of £35,000,000 in 1816, and appears from
the parliamentary £25,000,000 in the first six months tables compiled by Mr Porter, that, of 1847 on domestic railways, every while the British tonnage with the shilling of which last sum was spent Baltic powers had increased from at home, and puts in motion industry 1801 to 1821, under the protective within the nation.
system, to a very considerable degree, The next great change was made theirs with us had declined during the in the year 1821, when the recipro- same period; under the reciprocity syscity system was introduced by Mr tem, our tonnage with them had on the Huskisson. This subject has acquired whole decreased to a third of its former great importance now, from the amount, while their shipping with us avowed intention on the part of had, during the same period, quadrugovernment, scarcely disguised in the pled. It further appears, from the same opening speech of this session of Par- tables, that the great increase which liament, to follow up the labours of hastaken place during the same period, the committee which made such labo- has arisen from the prodigious growth rious inquiries last session, by a bill of our colonial trade, or increase of for the total abolition of the Naviga- the countries with whom we had tion Laws. We shall not enlarge on concluded no reciprocity treaties, but this subject, the vastness and impor- left them on the footing of the protectance of which would require a sepa- tion of the old Navigation Laws. And rate paper. Suffice it to say, there- though the profits of shipping of all sorts fore, that here too, experience has have received a vast addition, from the decisively warned us of the pernicious enormous importations consequent tendency of the path on which we upon Sir R. Peel's free-trade meahave entered, and of the truth of sures, yet the returns of these years Adam Smith's remark, that “though prove that the greater part of this
* Wealth of Nations, vol. ii. b. iv. c. ii. p.
195. + Table showing the British and Foreign tonnage with Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Prussia since the Reciprocity treaties with these powers in 1821.
British Foreign British Foreign Britisli Foreign Tonnage. Tonnage. Tonnage. Tonnage. Tonnage. Tonnage. Tonnage. Tonnage.
1821 23,005 1822 20,799 1823 20,986 1824 17,074 1825 15,906 1826
8,508 | 13,855 61,342 5,312 3,969 79,590 37,720 13,692 13,377 87,974 7,096 3,910 102,847 58,270 22,529 13,122 117,015 4,413 4,795 81,202 56,013 40,092 | 11,419 135,272 6,738 23,689 94,664 151,621 53,141 14,825 157,910 | 15,158 50,943 189,214 182,752 16,939 / 15,603 90,726 22,000 56,544 119,060 | 120,589 42,602 1,035
88,004 5,357 55,961 67,566 145,742 38,991 1,364 | 110,817 3,466 57,554 86,734 175,643 49,270 2,582 109,228 5,535 106,960 | 111,470 229,208 53,337 3,166 114,241 6,327 103,067 | 112,709 237,984 46,795 977 |113,025 3,368 83,009 88,198 210,254 37,218 1,385 98,979 5,499 59,837 87,202 145,499
-PORTER's Parl. Tables, vols. i. to xii., p. 50 each vol.
increase has accrned to foreign states opposition, for two years; and when and powers, which may at any at length the evil had risen to such a time turn the maritime resources height that it could no longer be thus acquired against onrselves. endured, the leading agitator, after Suffice it to say, as an example of being convicted in Ireland, was libethis truth, that of the ships which, rated, in opposition to the opinion of in 1846, imported four million nine a great majority of the twelve judges, hundred thousand quarters of corn by the casting-vote in the House of into the British harbours, no less Peers of a Whig law-Lord. British than three - fourths were foreign liberality, when the season of distress vessels, and only one - fourth Bri- came, was extended to the famishing tish. Nevertheless, so insensible are Irish with unheard-of munificence ; political fanatics to the most deci- and while the Highlanders, who sufsive facts, when they militate against fered equally under the potato failure, their favourite theories, that it is in got nothing but from the never failing the full knowledge of these facts that kindness of British charity, Ireland, government are understood to be pre- besides its full share of that charity, pared to introduce, even in this received a national grant of TEN MILsession of parliament, a measure for LIONS STERLING, of which no less than the abolition, or at least the essential eight millions were borrowed by Great abrogation, of the Navigation Laws. Britain. The third great change made during
What have been the results ? Ilas the last quarter of a century has been crime decreased, and industry imin the government of Ireland. Here, proved, and civilisation advanced, if any where, the liberal system has under the liberal system? Has atreceived its full development, and tachment to the British government has had the fairest opportunity for become universal, and hatred of the displaying its unmixed blessings. stranger worn out, in consequence of The Catholic disabilities, which we the leniency with which they have had been told for thirty years were been treated, and the unparalleled the main cause of its distressed con- generosity with which their wants dition, were repealed in 1829. A have been supplied? The facts are large measure of parliamentary re- notoriously and painfully the reverse. form-larger than the most vehement Hatred of the Saxon was never so Irish patriots ventured to dream of general or so vehement; idleness and was conceded in 1832. Corporate recklessness were
so widereform succeeded in 1834 ; the Pro- spread ; destitution was never so unitestant corporations were dispossessed versal; life and property was never of power; the entire management of so insecure,—as after this long system all the boroughs of the kingdom was put of concession, and these unparalleled into the hands of the Romish multi- acts of private and public generosity. tude ; and a large portion of the county The Irish Repealers declare, that magistracy were, by the appointment though Ireland, like England, has of successive liberal Lords Chancellor, been blessed with an uncommonly drawn from the better part of those of fine harvest, there are four millions the same religious persuasion. The of persons in that country in a state Protestant clergy were deprived of a of hopeless misery; and supposing, fourth of their incomes to appease the as is probably the case, that this Romish Cerberus; and, to avoid the statement is exaggerated, the authenvexation of collecting tithes from tic reports to Parliament on the state persons of a different religious belief, of the poor prove that there are above they were laid directly as a burden on two millions of paupers, or a full the land; Maynooth was supported by fourth of the population, in a stato annual grants from government; the verging on starvation. A new so-called system of national education was modi- Coercion Bill has been brought into fied so as to please the Roman Catho- Parliament in consequence of the great lic clergy. Monster meetings, where increase of crimes of violence, and, sedition was always, treason often, above all, of cold blooded murders; spoken, headed by O'Connell, were and on the necessity that existed for allowed to go on, without the slightest its introduction the present Secretary
of State must speak for himself. Sir entirely new basis by the act of George Grey said, on November 30, 1832. We do not propose at present 1847, on moving the first reading of to resume any part of that great the Coercion Bill, that during the six debate, in which at the time this Mamonths ending October 1846, the gazine took so prominent a part. We heinous crimes of violence over Ire- have seen no cause to change any of land stood as follows:
the opinions then expressed, and only “ Homicide,
68 pray God that the predictions their Attempts upon life by firing at made may not be too faithfully veri
55 fied. As little shall we inquire wheRobberies of arms,
207 ther the changes which have since Firing into dwelling-houses, 51 ensued, and under which the nation is For the six months ending October 1847, now so grievously labouring, are or the number increased to
are not to be ascribed to the constiHomicides,
96 tution of government as then framed, Attempts upon life by firing at
and the urban ascendency whieh the
126 bestowing of two-thirds of the seats in Robberies of arms,
the House of Commons upon towns Firing into dwelling-houses, 116
necessarily occasioned; we are content It would thus be seen that there was a to accept the constitution, as newfearful increase in the amount of these modelled by the Reform Bill, as the four classes of crime. The whole of constitution of ourselves and our Ireland was implicated in the shame and children, and to support it as such. disgrace consequent upon this large We know that by it the government increase of crime. Looking at the police of the country is substantially vested returns for the month of October, (for in the majority of eight hundred thoufrom that period it was that those crimes commenced to increase at such a fearful sand electors. We aim only at ex. rate,) he found the following results for plaining facts and dispelling illusions the whole of Ireland :
to these electors. Suffice it to say,
therefore, that, whetherthe Reform Bill Homicides,
has worked for good or for evil as reFiring at the person,
32 Firing into dwelling-houses,
gards the industrious classes; wheRobberies of arms,
ther it has substituted or not substi118
tuted moneyed for landed ascendency; Making a total of cases, 195
whether or not the first devil has Looking at the districts in which these
been expelled, but straightway he has
returned with seven other devils worse crimes were committed, he found that the total number of all those crimes com
than himself, and the last state of mitted in three of the counties of Ireland, the man is worse than the first-in i. e., Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary, was any of these cases the liberal party to the whole of Ireland as 139 to 175, or have got nothing to say, and have no that 71 per cent of the whole amount of title to complain of the results which crime was committed in those three coun- have followed. They got every thing ties, which did not include more than 13
their own way; they remodelled the per cent of all Ireland.”
constitution according to the devices Such has been the result of liberal of their own hearts; and if they are government during twenty years in now suffering, they are reaping the Ireland. And it is particularly worthy fruits of the seed which they themof notice, that the three counties in selves have sown. which this unenviable pre-eminence But of all the innovations of the of atrocious crime exists, viz., Clare, liberal party, that of which the conseLimerick, and Tipperary, are pre- quences have been most disastrous cisely those in which the Romish within the sphere of their immediate faith is most inveterate, and the influence, and which have now been authority of the priesthood most demonstrated in the most decisive unbounded.
way by the results of experience, are The next great change introduced the changes they have made on our by the liberal party, was by the car- West India colonies. They exhibit a rying through of the Reform Bill, and series of alterations so perilous, so settling the constitution upon an irrational, so disastrous, that we do