« PreviousContinue »
next winter; but exclufive of that, the club is the greateft fyftem of œconomy for married families ever yet established.
Oldworth. Indeed! but how fo, pray?
Lady Bab. Why, all the fervants may be put to board wages, or fent into the country, except the footmen-no plunder of housekeepers, or maitres de hotel, no long butcher's bills-Lady Squander protefts fhe has wanted no provifion in her family these fix months, except potatoes to feed the children, and a few frogs for the French governefs-then our dinner-focieties are fo amufing, all the doves and hawks together, and one converfes fo freely; there's no topick of White's or Almack's, in which we do not bear a part.
Maria. Upon my word I fhould be a little afraid, that fome of thofe fubjects might not always be managed with fufficient delicacy for a lady's ear, especially an unmarried one.
Lady Bab. Blefs me! why where's the difference? Mifs muft have had a frange education indeed, not to know as much as her Chapron: I hope you would not have the daughters black-ball'd, when the mothers are chofe: Why it is almoft the only place where fome of them are likely to fee each other.
Enter Sir Harry Groveby.
Sir Harry. I come to claim my lovely bride-here at her favourite tree I claim her mine!-the hour is almost on the point, the whole country is beginning to affemble; every preparation of Mr. Oldworth's fancy is preparing,,
And while the priest accufe the Bride's delay,
Maria. Repugnance would be affectation, my heart is all your ewn, and I fcorn the look or action that does not avow it.
Oldworth. Come, Sir Harry, leave your proteftations, which my girl does not want; and fee a fair ftranger.
Lady Bab. Sir Harry, I rejoice at your happiness-and do not think me fo tastelefs, Maria, as not to acknowledge an attachment like yours, preferable to all others, when it can be had-filer la parfait amour, is the firft happiness in life: but that you know is totally out of the queftion in town; the matrimonial comforts in our way, are abfolutely reduced to two; to plague a man, and to bury him; the glory is to plague him first and bury him afterwards.
Sir Harry. I heartily congratulate Lady Bab, and all who are to partake of her converfation, upon her being able to bring fo much vivacity into the country.
Lady Bab. Nothing but the Fête Champêtre could have effected it, for I fet out in miferable fpirits-I had a horrid run before I left town-I fuppofe you faw my name in the papers.
Sir Harry. I did, and therefore concluded there was not a word of truth in the report.
Maria. Your name in the papers! Lady Bab, for what, pray? Lady Bab. The old ftory-it is a mark of infignificance now to be left out: have they not begun with you yet, Maria?
Maria. Not that I know of; and I am not at all ambitious of the honour.
Lady Bab. Oh, but you will have it-the Fête Champêtre will be a delightful fubject!-To be complimented one day, laughed at the
next, and abufed the third; you can't imagine how amusing it is to read one's own name at breakfast in a morning paper.
Maria. Pray, how long may your ladyship have been accustomed to this pleasure ?
Lady Bab. Lord, a great while, and in all its ftages: They firft began with a modeft inuendo, "we hear a certain Lady, not a hundred miles from Hanover-fquare, loft, at one futing, fome nights ago, two thoujand guineas-O tempora! O mores!"
Oldsworth (laughing). Pray, Lady Bab, is this concluding ejaculation your own, or was it the printer's ?
Lady Bab. His, you may be fure; a dab of Latin adds furprising force to a paragraph, befides fhewing the learning of the author.
Oldworth. Well, but really I don't fee fuch a great matter in this; why thould you fuppofe any body applied this paragraph to you?
Lady Bab. None but my intimates did, for it was applicable to half St. George's parish; but about a week after they honoured me with initials and italicks: "It is faid, Lady B. L.'s ill fuccefs ftill continues at the quinze table: it was obferved, the fame lady appeared yesterday at court, in a ribband collier, having laid afide her diamond necklace, (diamond in italicks) as totally bourgeoise and unneceffary for the dress of a woman of fashion.”
Oldworth. To be fure this was advancing a little in familiarity. Lady Bab. At laft, to my infinite amufement, out I came at full length: "Lady Pab. Lardoon has tumbled down three nights fucceffively; a certain colonel has done the fame, and we hear that both parties keep boufe with Sprained ancles."
Oldworth. This last paragraph founds a little enigmatical.
Lady Bab. Refentment!-poor filly devils, if they did but know with what thorough contempt thofe of my circle treat a remonftrance -but hark, I hear the paftorals beginning. (Mufic behind) Lord, I hope I fhall find a fhepherd!
Oldsworth. The most elegant one in the world, Mr. Dupeley, Sir Harry's friend.
Lady Bab. You don't mean Charles Dupeley, who has been fo long abroad?
Sir Harry. The very fame; but I'm afraid he will never do, he is but half a maccaroni.
Lady Bab. And very poffibly the worst half: it is a vulgar idea to think foreign accomplishments fit a man for the polite world.
Sir Harry. Lady Bab, I wish you would undertake him; he seems to have contracted all the common-place affectation of travel, and thinks himself quite an over-match for the fair fex, of whom his opinion is as ill founded as it is degrading.
Lady Rab. O, is that his turn? what, he has been studying fome late pothumous letters I fuppofe?-'twould be a delight to make a fool of fuch a fellow!-where is he?
Sir Harry. He is only gone to drefs; I appointed to meet him. on the other fide the Grove; he'll be here in twenty minutes.
Lady Bab. I'll attend him there in your place I have it-I'll try my hand a little at naivetè—he never faw me-the drefs I am go
ing to put on for the Fête will do admirably to impose upon him: I'll make an example of his hypocrify, and his graces, and his jage
Sir Harry. My life for it he will begin an acquaintance with you.
Lady Bab. If he don't, I'll begin with him: there are two characters, under which one may fay any thing to a man; that of perfect affurance, and of perfect innocence: Maria may be the best critic of the laft; but under the appearance of it, Lord have mercy!— I have heard and feen fuch things!"
ART. IX. Political Arithmetic: Containing Obfervations on the prefent State of Great Britain; and the Principles of her Policy in the Encouragement of Agriculture. Addreffed to the economical Societies eftablished in Europe. To which is added, A Memoir on the Corn Trade, drawn up and laid before the Commiffioners of the Treafury, by Governor Pownall. By Arthur Young, Efq; F. R. S. Author of the Tours, &c. 8vo. 6s. Nicoll. 1774.
HE ftate of population in this kingdom, has of late been the subject of particular inveftigation: fome of the ablest and most approved writers have maintained its very fenfible decline; and they have grounded their opinion not on fanciful fpeculations or gloomy furmifes, nor have they fupported it by an artificial theory and empty unconvincing declamation. They have taken great pains in collecting the moft accurate obfer vations and well-authenticated facts; and to the induftry, whereby they have furnished themselves with proper materials, they have added equal ingenuity and labour in pursuing the neceffary calculations: and as far as the moft minute and accurate inquiry has yet extended, their principles and conclufions have been abundantly confirmed. Is it not furprising then, that the charge of meer affertions and opinions' fhould be alleged against the evidence propofed by writers of this character; and that they should be illiberally reproached with the humour of blaming the present and admiring the past,' as if they lamented an evil which had no existence but in their own melancholy imagination? It is natural to expect that a reflection of this kind, which often recurs in the performance before us, fhould be fupported by an induction of facts, which would leave no room to doubt that thefe gentlemen complain without caufe. For our own part, we have no predilection in favour of any system; but fhould be happy to find that the evidence preponderated on the fide of the intereft and profperity of our country. Mr. Young, however, though he has made many tours, and found great fatisfaction in the furvey of the flourishing ftate of agriculture, manufactures, and population, seems to have referved facts for his own ufe and to give the public only fufpicious principles and unfatisfactory declamation. He in
forms us indeed in his Appendix, that he has taken great pains. in procuring lifts for his own fatisfaction. I fhall continue (fays he) to collect them, and doubt not being able to convince the public, as far as any authority, except directly numbering the people, will allow, that the numbers, fo far from declining, advance confiderably; which may be seen by the great increase of births in very many places fince the reftauration.' But till thefe lifts are fufficiently perfect to be laid before the public, we must judge according to the evidence with which we are already furnifhed. Advance in the price of labour and increase of employment, in the branch of agriculture particularly, feem to us very doubtful principles: in fome places, we are fatisfied, they are contrary to fact and obfervation; and were they more general and certain, they do not appear fufficient of themselves to eftablish the Author's favourite opinion. It would not be difficult to retort most of the reafoning and conclufions founded on thefe principles on the Author himself, and to evince the decline of population from many of the numerous and boasted improvements in agriculture, to which he afcribes its increafe. And yet from thefe doubtful, partial, and fallacious principles, the Author fomewhat too confidently determines, that the facts upon which the arguments for our depopulation are founded, are abfolutely false; that the conjectures annexed to them are wild and uncertain, and that the conclufions which are drawn from the whole, can abound in nothing but errors and mistakes." And in the fame high ftrain, having fummed up all the figns of depopulation in decrease of shipping-decline of manufacturesdecline of agriculture-and a general fall of prices, he concludes, Whenever therefore we hear of other caufes of depopulation, such as engroffing farms, inclofures, laying arable to grafs, high prices of provifions, great cities, luxury, celibacy, debauchery, wars, emigrations, &c. we may very fafely refolve them into a ftring of vulgar errors, and reft affured that they can have no ill effect, while the five great caufes mentioned above do not fubfist.'
The main defign of this work is to reconcile the feeming contradiction, and to confirm the paradox included in the above paragraph. On our Author's views and principles, nothing that is an apparent check to population, fuch as debauchery and celibacy, not to add the engroffing of farms, and the advance of the means of fubfiftence; nothing that evidently lays wafte population, fuch as wars, emigrations, and great cities, very properly denominated the graves of the human fpecies,' does it any injury. Let all the buxom breeders in the kingdom emigrate, or all the males undergo an operation that may make them harmless, and population will ftill flourish. Population (fays the Author) is a fecondary object; and as the section to
which this title belongs contains fome curious remarks, we fhall felect fome of them for the amusement of our Readers :
• What I would here inculcate is the idea (in cafe of a fuppofed competition) of keeping population ever fubordinate to agriculture. If a measure is beneficial to the latter, give no attention to those who talk of injuring population. If you a primarily from an idea of encouraging populoufnefs, you may injure husbandry; but if your first idea is the encouragement of the latter, you cannot hurt population. If this idea was acknowledged to be juft, there would be no neceffity for a dif cuffion of it but as many are of a very different opinion, it is neceffary to urge a right conduct, though upon motives apparently deceitful. I have before mentioned, that application of the foil to be moft beneficial, which yields the greatest neat profit in the market. Aye, fays another, provided it be food for man, thereby promoting population. But I admit of no fuch provifion and I am clear, that the population of a country will be moft advanced by the farmer's growing rich, whether by hops, madder, or woad, as well as corn: but granting the truth, ftill let the farmer act as he finds beft, because he had better increase his wealth than the nation's people.
6 The farmers are defirous in fuch and fuch districts to convert their arable lands to grafs-No; they are told, that will injure population. This reafoning is all on false principles. Do not the husbandmen best know what their lands are proper for ? If they defire a change, is it not plain they do it for their own intereft? Will they not grow more wealthy from hence? Will they not proportionably encourage and confequently increase all the claffes that depend on and are connected with them? And how can a conduct in fuch a train, be in the end an injury to population?
M. de Mirabeau has obferved in France, and I have repeatedly made the fame obfervation in England, that great farms are of far more advantage to hufbandry than fmall ones: the fame gentleman tells us, no matter; fmall farms are the most beneficial to population—I have proved this to be false, from the regifter of all the farms on more than 70,000 acres of land in various parts of the kingdom. But granting they are right, yet the advantages of agriculture are never to be opposed on that pretence; for a good fpirited, and accurate cultivation, carried on by wealthy farmers, is of more confequence to the nation than population. This whole matter is reduced fimply to this; national wealth raised by induftry, is more advantageous to a nation than an increase of people. Why are you ftrenuous for population? It can only be with views of national defence. But the number of people in a modern ftate, is by no means the measure of strength: this is wealth alone. Men were never