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Here we cut short the description of these unmanageable fists, as the author ought to have done; but the thought was so good, lhat he could not resist the temptation of spoiling it in six more lines. In this part, if we pardon the wedding scene, we must condemn the three siiniles of Old Hodge and his · Dame: they are as sickening as the subject, on which the author seems to dwell with detestable delight. The story of Phæbe Dawson deserves the applause which has been bestowed upon it by former critics: but the inost affecting circumstance connected with it, we learn from the preface,---it was read to the late Mr. Fox on his death-bed, and was the last composition of the kind that engaged and amused the cupacious, the candid, the benevolent mind of this great man,
The third part, “ Burials,' is, in our estimation, the most curious and valuable. The portraits are painted from life in death ; when mani appears what he is. And how does he generally appear in this Christian land? Let us hear a ministe. of the Church, who has had long and ample experience.
What I behold, are feverish fits of strife,
Sick lies the man, bewilder'd, lost, afraid,
No hope the friend, the nurse, the doctor, lend ta
A priest is calld, 'tis now, alas ! too late,
But trust in Mercy, to forgive my sins ;'
. His merits thus and not his sins confest,
He speaks his hopes, and leaves to heav'n the rest.' pp. 96, 97. We are compelled reluctantly to pass over this striking description, without entering into a minute examination of
its parts, all of which are most fearfully interesting. In the wbole course of our reading, we never met with a phrase that chilled us with such horror, as one that occurs in the 16th line- Death's common-place ! And is there indeed a common-place train of thought in death ? and is this which our anthor has given, the faithful expression of it? There is, and this is the faithful expression of it! What reader will not exclaim, “Who then can be saved *?' or rather, “How shall we escape t! We live but from pulse to pulse, from breath to breath; our time is only a series of moments; one of these will be the last ;-eternity is bound up in it! ought not all the rest to be employed in preparing to meet it? that when Death shall break the seal of that moment, we may be ready to seize the prize of immortality, which, missed then, is lost for ever!
There is an inimitable conversation-scene in Cowper's poem on Hope, beginning,'.
Adieu, Vinosa cries, ere yet he sips
•The purple bumper trembling at his lips," &c. by which it would appear, that such sentiments as Mr. Crabbe hears from the lips of dying men, are equally the commonplace train of thought among the living. It will be well worth the reader's while to compare the two passages together; and he will at the same tiare discover the difference and resemblance between the two poets, each in his bappiest vein.
In the lines succeeding the above quotation, p. 98,-in the character of his favourite Isaac Ashford, p. 113,--in bis Youth from Cambridge, p. 130,--and in his Sir Eustace Grey, p. 232, Mr. Crabbe takes special care to mark his abhorrence of sectaries and enthusiasts. We will only make one remark on this: were he better acquainted with those whom he despises and repro Jates, he would find less of 'Death's common-place,' and more of the joy that springs from pardoning love' (13.98) among them, in their last hours, than he finds in his poetical parish ;-for we trust that in his reciorial parisb, his precepts and example, bis fervid zeal and holy faithfulness, induce many, if not all, of his flock, to choose " the narrow way' that leads to eternal life.
That all our extracts from this singular poem may not be coarse and gloomy, we will copy the conclusion of Isaac Ashford's character, which is very natural, and mournfully pleasing.
• At length, he found, when seventy years were run,
| Heb. ii. 3.
'Twas then a spark ofsay not discontent .
" Kind are your laws, ('tis not to be denied,)
Such were his thoughts, and so resign'd he grew
He dropp'd expiring, at his cottage-gate.
And view his seat, and sigh for ISAAC there;
No more that meek, that suppliant look in prayer,
A wise good Man contented to be poor.' pp. 113, 114. The poem of Sir Eustace Grey presents a dreadful dea lineation of the woes and wanderings of a distracted mind. There are some very fine strokes of nature and truth in it, that display the author's profound knowledge of the human heart in its unconverted state. Of conversion he manifests his ignorance only; or else, if he knows what it is, he does not tell. The change wrought in the mind of the insane Sir Eustace, byó a methodistic call, when a sober and rational conversion could not have happened? to him, is either the greatest miracle or the greatest absurdity that we ever read of even in verse. We have not room to expose the contradiction involved in this monstrous story..
'The Hall of Justice' is a tale of excessive horror and abomination; there is a great deal of vigour, but very little poetry in it. We leave the few other pieces to their fortune.. Yol. V.,; , :!
Art. VI. An Inquiry into the State of National Subsistence, as connected
with the Progress of Wealth and Population. By W.T. Comber. 8vo. pp. 389. Priče 9s. Cadell and Davies, 1808. THE laws of production, and the rules which ought to di
rect commerce, in regard to the means of subsistence, form a part of political economy, which fewer persons as yet understand, than almost any other branch of that important science. The great doctrine of freedom is now tolerably well comprehended, in all other departments of trade; it is allowed that the natural and beneficent effects of competition necessarily establish things on the best possible foundation ; and that all interference on the part of governments tends only to disorder and injury. But this doctrine is by no means universally or generally admitted, in regard to the means of subsistence. There are some striking appearances, which at first view seem to distinguish the means of subsistence from ordinary commodities, and to constitute them a species by themselves. It is not a matter of choice, with the consumer of this species of commodities, whether he shall buy them or not. A certain portion of them he must have, and he will give all that he possesses in the world rather than not obtain it. Of all other commodities a man 'is, in a great measure, the master of his own demand. He may be willing to purchase any given quantity, up to a certain enhancement of price, but there is a point at which he will stop. No such point how- . ever exists in regard to the necessaries of life ;-'and consequently no limit is set to the possible augmentation of their price. Further; in-all other commodities, the demand of the consumer admits of a certain delay. He can postpone his satisfaction: if he is of opinion that the price is unreasonably high, and that the dealers will, if he exercise a little patience, be soon obliged to moderate their demands, 'he restrains for a season his impulse to buy, and by this means affords time for competition to produce its effects, and reduce the commodity which he wants to its due and natural price. As to . the necessaries of life, however, the case is totally different. Here the demand of the consumer admits of no delay; he cannot here postpone his gratification in hopes that the price will-fall. In this situation the natural effects of competition may be anticipated.; prices may rise to any extravagance beyond the just and necessary point, and one part of the community may thus perniciously prey upon the rest. "Nor is this all'; the effects attending a failure of supply in the necessaries of life, are among the most dreadful which can attack huinan society. When other commodities, even those which are most highly useful, become deficient, inconve, hience, more or less, is the only consequence. When.bread
becomes deficient, the people must die; society loses its members: misery, excruciating to behold, overspreads the community. Other effects succeed. A body of men, desa perate for want of food, is a troop of wild beasts. By what terrors can you restrain men from seizing whatever they behold, who are pushed forward upon you by the “ king of terrors” himself in his most terrific shape? Society is now torn up from the foundation, anarchy succeeds, the law of the strongest only prevails, and men tear each other to pieces.
The view of these dreadful consequences has tended greatly to embarrass the thoughts of ordinary men on this subject; and has very generally impressed the opinion, that a concern of this unspeakable importance ought not to be left to itself, or to the course of nature, which they are very apt to regard as chance; but that it ought to form a very particular part of the care of government, and be put under regulations which may exclude the possibility of such direful events.
Since the publication of the work of Adam Smith, who made no exception of the necessaries of life from his general rule of freedom in regard to the production and traffic of all commodities, this has been regarded by many persons as one of the points on which he erred. Our legislature have proceeded upon this supposition, and under the influence of the landed nobility and gentry, who predominate in our le. gislative body, have made regulations, ostensibly, and no doubt intentionally, for the more secure supply of the ne: cessaries of life, but in reality, and many would say quite as intentionally on the part of the landholders, to enhance the price of the necessaries of life, and the rent of land. in
The question of policy, therefore, existing on this subject, has remained undecided. The philosophers, on the one hand, have insisted on the doctrine of freedom; they have maintained that the evils which are apprehended, and which afford the pretext for legislative officiousness and mercenary. interference, can only find their real, or at least their best, security, in that freedom which vulgar fears and vulgar interests would impair. The legislators, on the other hand, have stigmatized all this as mere, speculation; assuring us. that we were very much indebted to them for taking so mueh better care of us, than they would have done in listening to the philosophers....
Since the publication of the celebrated work of Mr. Malthus, in which such wonderful conclusions were drawn from the acknowledged relation between population and the means of subsistence, another question has arisen in regard to the laws of production concerning this peculiar class of commo