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The description of the Greeks is executed in a more ambitious style, but is also very well done.
It is impossible to furvey their prefent condition without pity, or their character without some contempt. Like their ancestors, they are till fond of throwing the disc or quoit ; like them, the olive still forms a material article of their food. But the pleasing delusion can be car. ried no further. On longer and closer intimacy, he finds the modern Greek smooth but deceitful; boasting but cowardly; vain yet abject, and cringing under the moft infulting tyranny ; light and capricious without invention ; talkative without information ; and equally bigoted with the Spaniard or Italian, but without the same real warmth of devotion to excuse it.
• There is no doubt but that the glories of his ancestors ferve; by the contrast, to render his vices more prominent. Had we not been early taught to admire Grecian courage, wisdom, and talents, we might look upon the meanness of the present race with less emotion. But who can think, without regret, that the descendants of the conquerors of Marathon are cowards and Naves ; that for so many centuries not a fingle poet has arisen in the country of Homer; and that the place of Plato and the Philosophers is supplied by ignorant prieits; and of their scholars, by a still more ignorant people? The Greeks of this day present, in their moral character, the fame spectacle as that of a man to whom Heaven has granted the doubtful blessing of very long life. But however debased in a moral point of view, the Greeks still retain much of what we may suppose to have been their former physical character. Few amongft them are deformed or ugly; but, on the contrary, those from the Morea and the wettern islands of the Archipelago are in general remarkably stout, with broad shoulders and thick necks ; whilst those of the other islands, and from Conftantinople, Smyrna, and the coafts of Afia, fupply by the elegance what is deficient in the ftrength of their make. Their phyfiognomies are expressive, but still less fo than those of the Turks ; and the women, when young, are generally beautiful and sprightly, but their beauty is of short duration. They are fond of wearing flowers on their head ; and a robe fitting close to the body, and flowing loose behind, forms the Asiatic part of their dress; the remainder being very similar to that used by women in England or France. The men dress in short jackets and vests, with loose trowsers, which come just below the knee ; and the common people, like the Turks, have the legs bare, with only a pair of slippers on the feet. They seldom shave the upper lip; which, with their bufay hair, and a little red cap on the crown of their heads, serves often to give them a wild look, but never a dignified or martial air.
• Eve. Turkish oppression, however, cannot entirely destroy the naa tural cheerfulness of their dispositions, inspired by the fine climate under which they live. They are fond of songs and dancing; and there are few, even of their smallest vefsels, which have not on board at leait one musician, furnished with a small violin or rebeck, and sometimes the
Spanish Spanish guitar. Upon these, when becalmed amongst the islands, or failing with light breezes along the coast of Greece, they play wild, and often not unpleasing airs ; and when a favourite tune is touched, the mariners join their voices in concert. The firit part of the English tune of “ God save the King,” is very popular with the Greeks at Smyrna ; but the second is either beyond their abilities, or not suited to their taste. It is said, indeed, that they seldom retain the second part of any European tune.' II. 218–222.
From Smyrna our author went to Constantinople, where he made but a short stay, and then returned to England by sea.
We cannot close this article, without once more recommending Mr Semple's work to the attention of our readers, and returning our thanks to that gentleman himself for the pleasure we have received in accompanying him on his tour. It will give us great satisfaction to meet him again and join his party, as soon as his avocations may lead him to set out upon another excursion into foreign parts.
ART. VII. A short Inquiry into the Policy, Humanity, and past:
Effects of the Poor Laws. By one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the Three Inland Counties. 8vo. London. 1807.
W ITHOUT meaning to derogate from the importance of those
political laws by which civil liberty is secured, we may be permitted to observe, that mankind have generally appeared a little too fearful of the tyranny of their rulers, and somewhat too indifferent about their ignorance. With respect to the leading objects of civil liberty, this may, perhaps, be right. It requires no great depth of thought to provide against the undisguised outrages of despotism; and accordingly, where the spirit of freedom has prevailed, legislators have been generally successful in devising effectual securities for the enjoyment of those privileges which are essential to freedom. In the more delicate arrangements of internal policy, 'however, ignorance may be fully as mischievous as bad intention; it is of little importance that legislators are elected according to the forms of a free constitution, if they do not know how to direct their power to the only proper and rational end, the happiness of the people ; and as a statesman, whose mind is enlightened with liberal notions of policy, can have no imaginable motive to withhold from mankind the benefits of his wisdom, the welfare of the people may, in many important points, be more successfully promoted under an absolute government, where the legislators are well in.
structed, than under a free government, where they are ignorant or incapable. It is a very great mistake to ascribe all the miseries of mankind to malignant abuses of power; a very great portion of the mischief which has resulted from misgovernment, may be referred to the injudicious attempts of their rulers to ameliorate their condition. The schemes of Frederic of Prussia, and of Joseph of Austria, for the encouragement of commerce, were singularly pernicious and absurd, and produced, undoubtedly, a great deal of individual distress; yet, it cannot be doubted, that their intentions were to encourage commerce, although it would have been much for the advantage of their subjects that they had exercised a less watchful superintendance over their concerns. In endeavouring also to provide a decent subsistence for the poor, the English legislature, with the most benevolent anxiety for their welfare, are generally acknowledged to have aggravated their misery, instead of having relieved it.
The mischiefs which their ill-judged efforts have brought upon society, clearly show the importance of that science, which professes not so much to benefit mankind by exhibiting for their choice perfect patterns of political constitutions, as by enlightening those who administer the systems that are established. There is no doubt that the authors of the English poor laws were actuated by the purest and most upright intentions; and yet the practical evil which has flowed from their erring benevolence, has scarcely fallen short of what tyrants have contrived to accomplish.
The present publication seems to have originated in the best intentions, and if we had nothing to do but with the design and motives of the work, we should feel it to be our duty to bestow on it unqualified praise. The author frequently displays a very laudable anxiety for the welfare of the poor ; he seems to have bestowed no common attention on the subject; and we can only lament, that his zeal (at least as far as this performance is concerned) should have been so unproîtably directed. His views on the poor laws, and on all the great questions connected with that important subject, are wild and impracticable, founded entirely on narrow notions, or exploded errors; and the projects of reformation which he recommends, would infallibly aggravate the evils which they are intended to remedy, by adding to that mass of paltry devices and artificial regulations by which the great arrangements of society are already too much obstructed. Although we must do him the justice to say, that his mind is not tainted with any illiberal antipathy to Mr Malthus, yet he appears to have perused his work with a predetermined resolution to misunderstand his views. We really scarcely can refrain fro:11 sympathizing with that eminent philosopher, who, though he his
enlarged the boundaries of science, and entitled himself to the rare commendation of having added to that class of important truths which have only to be explained in order to command out immediate assent, yet seems destined to be either the sport of misconception, or the object of the most indecent and acrimonious abuse.
Our author seems also conversant in' Dr Smith's writings, and really to understand the plainer doctrines of political economy, when they are brought to bear on a particular case ; but he is sure to bewilder himself in general speculation : his delusions are not even plausible : and although' he may have made himself familiar with a few elementary principles of the science, he certainly has not imbibed any thing of the spirit of that enlightened philosophy which has dawned upon modern times. Accordingly, all his schemes of reformation consist en tirely of artificial regulations and restraints ; he tears to pieces the natural order of society, without the smallest compunction as if there could not be a fitter subject for the experiments of thoughtless projectors. Nothing, however, is so amusing as the great affection which this learned justice professes, on all occa. sions, for penalties.' "The whole of his complicated machinery is to be kept right by means of penalties, if any of his devices and regulations fail in their intended object, those who are entrusted with carrying them into effect, are to be loaded with heavy penalties; the zeal and vigilance of the many others, who are created by his plan, are to be stimulated by penalties ; if the discretionary power, which makes such a conspicuous figure in all his arrangements, is abused; he has again recourse to penalties ; penalties, in short, like the warm water and phlebotomy of the renowned Sangrado, appear to be cònsidered by our author as an infallible specific for the most obstinate disorders that can afflict the body politic. · As it appears to us that the absurdity of this work wifi generally prove an effectual antidote to the errors which it contains, we propose to give but a very brief summary of its contents, pointing out, as we proceed, the various delusions into which the author has been betrayed. 'We shall then venture to lay before our readers a few general observations on the important subject on which it treats.
The greater part of those' reasoners who are in the habit of misunderstanding and misrepresenting Mr Malthus, would have some chance of attaining clearer views on the subjcet of population, if, instead of indulging themselves in rambling declamation, they would attend to the very simple proposition from which his doctrines' are deduced, namely, that the hunian race have a tendency to increase faster than food can be provided for them. If his proposition be true, then it necessarily follows, that the only
effectual encouragement which can be given to population is to increase the agricultural produce of a country; and if population be increased without a corresponding increase of food, they must starve, or, at least, be reduced to the most extreme misery. Our author, however, has found out that Mr Malthus proposes to repress the population by artificial checks; and he sets out immediately with declaiming in favour of a redundant population, showing how intimately it is connected with national strength, and quoting Bacon and Locke on the subject. He then proceeds to observe, that the population of a country is not limited by the quantity of food which it produces, but that it may support a greater population by importing corn; and that a commercial and manufacturing country, by exchanging its manufactures for the produce of an agricultural nation, can easily procure an addition to the quantity of subsistence which its own territory will produce. The number of its inhabitants, therefore, depends, ac cording to our author, not on the quantity of food which it produces, but on the demand for men, and on the high price of labour.
Now, we do not recollect that Mr Malthus has any where ventured to assert, that an additional population cannot be subsisted on imported corn ; so that his doctrines are no way affected by this statement of our author's; and as to the quibble about population not depending on the relative quantity of food, but on the demand for labour, it will be sufficient to observe, that if population depends on the demand for labour, the demand for labour depends on the relative quantity of subsistence. It is not money which really constitutes the wages of labour ; but it is what money can purchase, namely, the necessaries and conveniences of life. Without a sufficient quantity of corn, therefore, for the food of the labourer, how could there be any demand for labour, when there could not be funds for its paya ment? Notwithstanding, however, our resources from imported corn, there is another circumstance which fills our author with various alarms for the population. Owing to the favourable state of society which prevails in Britain, the labourer, he observes, will not marry unless his wages are such as to enable him to command a competent quantity of the necessaries and even the luxuries of life. High wages, he appears to imagine, discourage population. He is never at a loss, however, for a scheme, and accordingly proposes, that, to encourage the labourer to marry, a poor rate should be imposed in order to make up his wages to the sum necessary for that purpose, as if an increase of popula. tion could be supported by donations of money. Another not-able effect which would follow from this device would be, thai as high wages raise the price of our manufactures, and thus dis. G 4