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These consequences of peace, however, it will be said, are unavoidable. True : but they are the consequences of peace, they are produced by that transition from war to peace which has at once taken a customer for millions sterling out of the market of labour and consumption, and thrown into it thousands of competitors for agricultural and manufacturing employment. They are as clearly the consequences of that revulsion which is asserted to have had no operation in producing the present derangement in all sorts of prices and property-as the absolute inability of the Government to come to the aid of the suffering classes is the consequence of that defalcation of their means which was forced upon them by the House of Commons, and upon the House of Commons by the clamours of the country.
Whether Parliament can devise the means of alleviation, is what we would not willingly decide beforehand in the negative; though, we confess, our hopes are very faint of any immediate and sensible good from legislative interference. The revision of the Poor. Laws—a work now of crying necessity-may lead to such corrections and improvements in that system, as shall at once extend its efficacy and lighten its almost intolerable burden. But this is an operation for distant-comparatively distant-effect. To the actual pressure of the moment, what remedy could even a reformed House of Commons apply that would not ultimately resolve itself into taxation ?
Of this we may be tolerably sure: that if, after the most anxious consideration of every plausible suggestion, Parliament should reluctantly come to the conclusion that there is nothing effectual to be done till the tide shall turn in our favour ; ihe House of Commons will be held up to detestation, as insensible to the distresses of their constituents: while, on the other hand, indications are not wanting that all the batteries of political economy are ready to open against any plan of relief which may be found liable (as what plan for such a purpose must not be?) to objections of theo retical science, and that any assistance which should be proposed to be given to individuals on the part of the public, would be stigmatized as a project of corruption.
In the midst of all these difficulties, however, one duty there certainly is which Government and Parliament are both competent and called upon to discharge. They cannot stay the pestilence; but they can take care that, while it rages, the city is not plundered. They cannot (would to God they could !) charm away the embarrassments of the rich, and the privations of the poor; but they may, and they MUST, save both the poor and rich from the common curse and misery of a Revolution.
Mr. David Hume, nephew to the historian of that name, has written to us respecting the anecdote of his kinsman, extracted, in our last Number, from Mr. Silliman's Travels. That anecdote he has shown to be false, by unquestionable dates, and by a circumstance related in the Manuscript Memoirs of the late Dr. Carlisle, an eminent clergyman of the Scottish Church,' and friend of the historian. The circunstance, interesting in itself and decisive, upon the subject, we transcribe, in the words of the Manuscript, from the letter before us: • When David and be (the Hon. Mr. Boyle, brother of the Jate Earl of Glasgow) were both in London, at the period when David's mother died, Mr. Boyle bearing of it, soon after went into his apartment, for they Jodyed in the same house, where he found him in the deepest aftliction, and in a flood of tears. After the usual topics of condolence, Mr. Boyle said to him, 6. My friend, you owe this uncommon grief to your having thrown off the principles of religion : for if you had not, you would have been consoled by the firm belief, that the good lady, who was not only the best of mothers, but the most pious of Christians, was completely happy in the realms of the just." To which David replied, “ though I throw out my speculations to entertain and employ the learned and metaphysical world, yet, in other things, I do not think so differently from the rest of mankind as you imagine.”.
Mr. Silliman relates the anecdote on the authority of a very venerable and respectable man to whom he was introduced at Edinburgh, who was an early and intimate friend of Dr. Witherspoon, and to whom those letters on the education of children which are printed in Witherspoon's Works were originally written.' This person, who may probably be easily recognized at Edinburgh, is stated to have been well acquainted with Hume. On his authority Mr. Silliman contradicts the received opinion of the composure with which the sceptical philosopher died. Mr. D. Hume expostulates with us for having lightly given credit to the anecdote which we extracted, as if we had acted from bigotry. We believed the anecdote, and in that belief quoted it,-not to detract from the character of Hume, but as showing in what manner the philosophy which he sent abroad restored the sting to death. The story concerning his own death we did not extract, knowing, whether true or false, how very little such stories are worth, how often they are feigned, and how easily delirium is interpreted according to the notions of the bystanders.
Mr. Hume requires, as he has a right to do, that we shall repair the wrong which we have done to his uncle's fame. The publicity which we gave to the anecdote, we cheerfully give to the refutation of it: this refutation will reach Ainerica; when Mr. Silliman will see that he has been misinformed, and will doubtless correct the statement which be has sent into the world.
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