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duced a garter, with which he attempted to bind his Ma- should thus give admission to enemies. A servant was at jesty's hands. James freed his left with a violent exer- last dispatched round by the turnpike, who assured his tion, exclaiming, “ I am a free Prince, man! I will not Majesty that it was the Duke of Lennox and the Earl be bound !” Ruthven, without answering, seized him by of Mar who were so clamorous for admission. The the throat with one hand, while he thrust the other into hammers were then handed through below the door, and bis mouth, to prevent his crying. In the struggle which the bolts speedily displaced. When these noblemen were ensued, the King was driven against the window which admitted, they found the King unharmed, amid his brave overlooked the court, and, at that moment, Henderson deliverers. The door, however, which entered from the thrust his arm over the Master's shoulder and pushed up turnpike, had been closed upon a body of Gowrie's rethe window, which afforded the King an opportunity of tainers, who were calling for their master, and striking calling for assistance. The Master, thereupon, said to through below the door with their pikes and halberds. Henderson, “ Is there no help in thee? Thou wilt cause The clamour from the town continued, and the voices us all to die :” and tremblingly, between excitement and from the court were divided,- part calling for the King, exertion, he attempted to draw his sword. The King, part for their provost, the Earl of Gowrie. Affairs, perceiving his intent, laid hold of his hand; and thus however, soon took a more decided turn. They who asclasped in a death-wrestle, they reeled out of the closet saulted the door grew tired of their ineffectual efforts, and into the chamber. The King had got Ruthven's head withdrew; and almost at the same moment the voices of under his arm; whilst Ruthven, finding himself held down Bailies Ray and Young were heard from the street, callalmost upon his knees, was pressing upwards with his ing to know if the King were safe, and announcing that hand against the King's face, when, at this critical mo- they were there, with the loyal burgesses of Perth, for his ment, John Ramsay, the page, who had heard from the defence. The King gratified them by showing himself at street the King's cry for help, and who had got before the window, requesting them to still the tumult. At the Mar and Lennox, by running up the black turnpike for command of the magistrates the crowd became silent, and merly mentioned, while they took the principal staircase, gradually dispersed. In the course of a few hours, peace rushed against the door of the chamber and burst it open. was so completely re-established, that the King and his The King panted out, when he saw his page, “ Fy! strike company were able to take horse for Falkland. him low! he has secret arinour on.” At
which Ramsay, This bird's-eye view of the occurrences of the fifth of ( casting from him the hawk which still sat upon his hand, | August will be found correct in the main. Although
drew his dagger and stabbed the Master. The next mo- some details have been necessarily omitted, they are suffiment, the King, exerting all his strength, threw him from cient to establish a preconcerted scheme between the brohim down stairs. Ramsay ran to a window, and called thers against the King, but of what nature, and to what upon Sir Thomas Erskyne, and one or two who were purpose, it would be difficult, without further evidence, with him, to come up the turnpike. Erskyne was first, to say. Of all the people that day assembled in Gowrie's and as Ruthven staggered past him on the stair, wounded house, not one seems to have been in the secret. Henand bleeding, he desired those who followed to strike the derson, to whom an important share in the execution of traitor. This was done, and the young man fell, crying, the attempt had been assigned, was kept in ignorance to “ Alas! I had not the wyte of it."
the last moment, and then he counteracted, instead of furThe King was safe for the meantime, but there was thering their views. Even with regard to Cranstone, still cause for alarm. Only four of his attendants had the most busy propagator of the rumour of the King's reached him; and he was uncertain whether the inces- departure, it is uncertain whether he may not have spread sant attempts of Mar and Lennox's party to break open the report in consequence of the asseverations of his masthe door by which the chamber communicated with the ter; and we have his solemn declaration at a time when gallery, were made by friend or foe. At this moment the he thought himself upon his death-bed, that he had no alarm bell rang out, and the din of the gathering citizens, previous knowledge of the plot. The two Ruthvens of who were as likely, for any thing the King knew, to side Freeland, Eviot, and Hugh Moncreiff, who took the with their provost, Gowrie, as with himself, was heard most active share in endeavouring to stir the citizens up from the town. There was, besides, a still more imme- to mutiny to revenge the Earl and his brother, may have diate danger.
been actuated, for any evidence we have to the contrary, Gowrie, whom we left attempting to force his way solely by the feelings of reckless and devoted retainers, into the house, was met at the gate by the news that his upon seeing their masters fall in an affray whose origin brother had fallen. Violet Ruthven, and other women and cause they knew not. To this evidence, partly nebelonging to the family, were already wailing his death, gative, and partly positive, may be added the deposition screaming their curses up to the King's party in the of William Rynd, who said, when examined at Falkland, chamber, and mixing their shrill execrations with the that he had heard the Earl declare,-" He was not a fierce din which shook the city. The Earl, seconded by wise man, who, having intended the execution of a high Cranstone, one of his attendants, forced his way to the and dangerous purpose, should communicate the same to foot of the black turnpike, at which spot lay the Mas- any but himself; because, keeping it to himself, it could ter's body. " Whom have we here?" said the retainer, not be discovered nor disappointed.” Moreover, it does for the face was turned downwards. “ Up the stair !" not sufficiently appear, from the deportment of the Master, was Gowrie's brief and stern reply. Cranstone, going that they aimed at the King's life. He spoke only of up before his master, found, on rushing into the cham- making him prisoner, and grasped his sword only when ber, the swords of Sir Thomas Erskyne, and Herries, the King had made his attendants aware of his situation. the King's physician, drawn against him. They were At the same time, it was nowhere discovered that any holding a parley in this threatening attitude when Gow- measures had been taken for removing the royal prisoner rie entered, and was instantly attacked by Ramsay. The to a place of security; and to keep him in a place so open Earl fell after a smart contest. Ramsay immediately to observation as Gowrie-house, was out of the questurned upon Cranstone, who had proved fully a match tion. Without some other evidence, therefore, than that for the other two, and having wounded him severely, to which we have as yet been turning our attention, we forced him finally to retreat.
can scarcely look upon these transactions otherwise than All this time they who were with the Duke of Lennox as a fantastic dream, which is coherent in all its parts, had kept battering at the gallery-door of the chamber with and the absurdity of which is only apparent when we ham mers, but in vain. The partition was constructed of reflect how irreconcilable it is with the waking world boards, and as the whole wall gave way equally before around us. the blows, the door could not be forced. The party with The letters of Logan of Restalrig throw some furt!
on the other hand, were afraid to open, lest they light upon the subject, though not so much as cou
wished. Of their authenticity little doubt can be enter- are inseparably connected, and have been rendered more tained, when we consider the number and respectability interesting, by a late attempt to implicate the Presbyteof the witnesses who swore positively to their being in rian party in the Earl's guilt. We are not a little astoLogan's handwriting. It appears from these letters that nished that such an attempt should have been made at Gowrie and Logan had agreed in some plot against the this late period, when we recollect, that notwithstanding King. It appears, also, that Logan was in correspond all the ill odour in which the Presbyterian clergymen ence with some third person who had assented to the en- stood at court, not one of the thousand idle rumours to terprise. It would almost seem, from Logan's third letter, which Gowrie's enterprise gave birth tried to direct that this person resided at Falkland : “ If I kan nocht suspicion towards them. The sole grounds upon which win to Falkland the first nycht, I sall be tymelie in St such an accusation can rest for support, are the facts — Johnestoun on the morne.' And it is almost certain That Gowrie's father was a leader among the Presbytefrom the fifth letter, that he was so situated as to have rians, and his son strictly educated in that faith ; that oral communication with Gowrie the Master of Ruth- shortly after his arrival in Italy, he wrote one letter to a ven: “ Pray his lo. be qwik, and bid M. A. remember | Presbyterian minister ; and that some of the Edinburgh on the sport he tald me.” It does not appear, however, clergymen manifested considerable obstinacy in throwing that any definite plan had been resolved upon. The sea discredit upon the reality of the conspiracy. The two excursion, which Mr Lawson, in his History of the former are of themselves so weak, that we pass them over, Gowrie Conspiracy, supposes to have been contemplated the more willingly, that we shall immediately point out with the design of conveying James to Fast Castle, was the motives from which Gowrie acted, and the sort of only meant to afford facilities for a meeting of the con-assistance upon which he really relied. The conduct of spirators with a view to deliberation. Logan's fifth let- the clergymen admits of an easy explanation. James, ter is dated as late as the last day of July, and yet it does whose perception was nearly as acute as his character was not appear that the writer knew
at that time of the Perth weak, was fully sensible of the ridicule to which he had project. Taking these facts in conjunction with the hair-exposed himself, by allowing his desire of money to lead brained character of Gowrie's attempt, it seems highly him into so shallow a device as Ruthven's. In addition probable, that although some scheme might be in agitation to this, he wished, upon all occasions, to appear as much with Logan, and perhaps some other conspirators, the out of the hero as possible. The consequence was, that his rage of the fifth of August was the rash and premature edition of the story was so dressed up, as to render it inundertaking of two hot-blooded fantastical young men, consistent, first, with his well-known character ; secondly
, who probably wished to distinguish themselves above the with the most distant possibility of his having been derest of their associates in the plot.
ceived with the Master's pretences; and, thirdly, with the The very scanty information that we possess respecting depositions of the witnesses. Inconsistencies so startling the character and previous habits of these two brothers, were sufficient to justify some preliminary scepticism; is quite in accordance with this view of the matter, and and if ever there was an occasion, where it was allowable goes a good way to corroborate it. They are allowed, on openly to call a king's word in question, it was when all hands, to have been men of graceful exterior, of win- James demanded, not merely that his party should hyponing manners, well advanced in the studies of the times, critically profess a belief which they did not entertain, brave, and masters of their weapons. It is not necessary but that they should, daringly and blasphemously, mix surely to prove at this time of day, how compatible all up this falsehood in the solemn services of devotion. A these qualifications are with a rash and headlong temper, short time, however, was sufficient to convince the most completely subject to the control of the imagination-a incredulous of the truth of the conspiracy, stripped of the turn of mind bordering upon frenzy. A man of quick adventitious circumstances which the King linked with perception, warm feeling, and ungoverned fancy, is, of all it; and the obstinate recusancy of Bruce the clergyman others, the most fascinating, when the world goes smooth is sufficiently accounted for, by James's insisting upon ly; but he is of all others the most liable, having no prescribing the manner in which he was to treat the matguiding reason, to err most extravagantly in the serious ter, and by that individual's overstrained notions of the business of life : being “ unstable as water,” he is easily guilt incurred by a minister, who allowed any one to dieirritated and lashed into madness by adverse circumstances. tate to him concerning the mode in which he was to conHow much Gowrie was the dupe of his imagination, is duct public worship. evident from the fondness with which he clung to the de- But Gowrie relied upon the support of no faction, relusions of the cabala, natural magic, and astrology. Arm- ligious or political. His sole motive seems to have been ed (according to his own belief) with powers beyond the a fantastic idea of the duty incumbent upon him to recommon race of man, doomed by his stars to achieve venge his father's death. He is reported, on one occasion, greatness, he laughed at danger, and was ready to neglect when some one directed his attention to a person who the calculations of worldly prudence alike in his aims, had been employed as an agent against his father
, to bave and the means by which he sought their attainment. The said, “ Aquila non captat muscas."
Ruthven, also, extrue state of his brother's mind is pourtrayed, incidentally, pressly declared to the King, when he held him prisoner by Logan, in his first letter :-“ Bot incase ye and M. A. in the closet, that his only object was to obtain revenge R. forgader, becawse he is somqhat consety, for Godis for the death of his father. The letters of Logan (exsaik be very var with his rakelese toyis of Padoa ; ffor he cept in one solitary instance, where a scheme of aggradtald me ane of the strangest taillis of ane nobill man of disement is darkly hinted at, and that as something quite Padoa that ever I hard in my lyf, resembling the lyk irrelevant to the purpose they had on hand) harp on this purpose.” This suggests at once the very picture of a string alone, proving that Gowrie and his friends seek young and hot-blooded man, whose brain had been dis-only" for the revange of that cawse." The only mem tracted, during his residence in Italy, with that country's bers of the conspiracy who are known to us, are men numerous legends of wild vengeance. Two such charac- likely enough to engage in such a cause, but most une ters, brooding conjointly over real or fancied wrongs, likely to be either leaders or followers in a union, where were capable of projecting schemes, against which the the parties were bound together by an attachment to cele most daring would remonstrate ; and, irritated by the tain political principles. The three conspirators are, the coldness of their friends, were, no doubt, induced to un- Earl and his brother, such as we have already described dertake the execution alone and almost unassisted. them, and Logan of Restalrig, a broken mans retainer
It only remains to enquire what was the object which and partisan of Bothwell—a maintainer of thieves and Gowrie proposed to himself, in his mad and treasonable sorners—a man who expressly objects to communicating attempt, and upon
whose seconding he was to depend, their project to one who he fears“ vill disswade us fra suppose his design had succeeded ? These two enquiries owr purpose wt ressounes of religion, qhilk I can never
abyd." And if any more evidence were required, to show the animal, as if aware of its danger, instantly took to how little Gowrie relied upon the Presbyterians, we fight, but not quickly enough to prevent the ant-lion from might allude to his anxiety, that Logan should sound his seizing the bag of eggs between its formidable pincers; the brother Lord Home-a Catholic.
mother made every effort to withdraw herself from her In short, every thing leads us to the opinion we have and was retained by her enemy. Instead, however, of saving
dangerous foe, and in her struggles, the bag became loosened, already announced, that the Ruthvens were instigated to her own life, which she could easily have done by running their enterprise by feelings of private revenge alone, and off, she instantly turned and seized the bag between her that they did not seek to make any political party sub- jaws, and struggled to retain her lost treasure ; the enormous servient to their purposes. It is to this isolated nature strength of the ant-lion was too great for her power, even of their undertaking—its utter want of connexion with though stimulated by the full force of maternal instinct, and
the eggs were consequently drawn under the sand; she rethe political movements of the period—that we attribute
tained her hold, and rather than relinquish that, without the circumstance of its history having so long remained which life was a burden, she suffered herself to be buried unknown, and are satisfied that much of that history must alive with her progeny. It was now that Bonnel comever remain a riddle. It is with it, as with the adven- passionated her fate, and rescued her from the jaws of death, tures of the Iron Mask, and that whole class of events but he could not restore to her the bag of eggs so tenaciouswhich seem political, merely because they befall persons ly held by the ant-lion. She lingered at the spot where the who rank high in the state. They generally appear more
eggs were buried, regardless alike of her own danger and
the efforts of Bonnel to remove her from her enemy, by mysterious than they really are, because, if no chance unveils them at the time, they
stand too far apart from all pushing her off with a piece of twig.” other transactions, to receive any reflected light from
The following duel between two bees reminds us them.
strongly of the single combat between Burley and Bothwell ; nor is the non-chalant attitude of the victor
unlike Dandy Dinmont singing “ Johnny Cope" over the The Family Library. No. VII. The Natural History prostrate body of Dirk Hatteraick:
of Insects. Volume first, pp. 313. London. John “ On those fine spring days, in which the sun is beautiMurray, 1829.
ful and warm, duels may often be seen to take place between
two inhabitants of the same hive. In some cases, the quarThe publisher of the Family Library is (we speak it rel seems to have begun within, and the combatants may with reverence) like a man who has an immense store
be seen coming out of the gates eager · for blows.' Someof information, and is in an immense hurry to utter it
times a bee, peaceably settled on the outside of the hive, or all, so does not wait to finish one subject before he begins walking about, is rudely jostled by another (* do you bite
your thumb at me, sir?") and then the attack commences, another, but taking up half-a-dozen at once, weaves them each endeavouring to obtain the most advantageous posiall into one variegated chain of discourse. Like Cæsar, tion. They turn, pirouette, throttle each other; and such who could at one moment keep the fingers of four secre- is their bitter earnestness, that Reaumur has been enabled taries panting after him in vain, or like a dear friend to come near enough to observe them with a lens without of our own, of happy memory, who could in one and causing a separation. After rolling about in the dust, the victhe same breath, tell a sturdy capitalist the price of stocks, elongating it, in the attempt to sting, thrusts its weapon
tor watching the time when its enemy uncovers his body, by groan out to some yellow Nabob a remark on the liver between the scales, and the next instant its antagonist complaint, and rehearse to an elderly lady a fragment of stretches out its quivering wings and expires. A bee canlast Sunday's sermon, with a downward and austere drag not be killed so suddenly, except by crushing, as by the of one extremity of his mouth, while the other was pucker- sting of another bee. Sometimes the stronger insect proed up and sliding out an arch compliment to his blushing duces the death of the vanquished by squeezing its chest. cousin,—so Mr Murray pushes into your hand a history After this feat has been done, the victorious bee constantly of Painters, and before you know what you are about, remains, says Reaumur, near his victim, standing on his crams after it a history of the nation who were forbid to
four front legs, and rubbing the two posterior ones to
gether.” “ make unto themselves the likeness of any thing in
We feel strongly tempted to lay before our readers Heaven above or earth beneath,”—then tosses you a his
some account of the wars and Olympic games of the tory of Napoleon Bonaparte, and while you are busy ants : but being in a sentimental mood at present, we catching it, he all at once darts a history of Insects at prefer quoting the description of the preparations made your unguarded knowledge-box.
by the females of that industrious race for entering upon Somebody or other published not long ago “ The Ro
the duties of matronhood. And by our hopes of a good mance of History.” It is a pity he paid so little atten
wife we swear it, these gentle creatures seem to tear off tion to the history of insects, for theirs is a page in the their wings, the badge of maidenhood, with less reluctgreat volume, which, when traced by such a sympathi
ance, than a girl of mortal strain lays aside the gay dress zing hand as the author of the little volume now before in which she has flirted with a hundred beaux, to put us, outdoes every other in wild and varied interest. We are hurried in these pages from the calm creations of the ed wife of an honest man:
on the plain household garb, and sit down the unsolicitarchitect, to the stormy workings of the marshalled host ; and again from the fierce wars to the faithful loves which colonies, and at first do all the work of neuters; in this par
“ The females which escape are destined to found new moralize the song. This is no exaggeration, as we shall ticular resembling the mother wasp : but prior to their conspeedily prove by a few stories, which if told of two-structing a new habitation, they make themselves voluntary legged “ human mortals,” would each have been of them- prisoners, by throwing off their wings. So extraordinary selves sufficient to have given interest to an “ historical
a dismeinberment requires to be supported by the testimony novel.” Take first a trait of maternal affection in that of an eye-witness. Accordingly Huber, who made the exmost amiable and fascinating creature the spider :
periment, states, 'that having induced an ant to mount a “ A spider, to be met with under clods of earth, may fre- straw, he placed it on a table sprinkled with a little earth,
and covered it with a glass bell : scarcely did she perceive quently be seen to carry a silken globe full of eggs, fixed to its body. The tenacity of affection exhibited towards this, extended her wings, with some effort bringing them before
the earth which covered the bottom of her abode, when she its sole treasure, is truly touching; nothing, not even its life, is valued in comparison with this little globe. If an
her head, crossing them in every direction, throwing them attempt be made to deprive it of this valued deposit, it stre
from side to side, and producing so many singular contornuously resists : take it away entirely, and the insect re
tions, that her four wings fell off at the same moment in his mains motionless and rooted to the spot, stupified and me
presence. After this change, she reposed, brushed her cors
let, traversed the ground, evidently seeking for a place of lancholy; restore it, and you restore the animal to life; it
shelter.'” eagerly seizes it, and runs off to place it in a securer spot.
* Bonnel threw one of those spiders, to whose abdomen For the benefit of those who love to trace nations the bag of eggs was attached, into the den of the ant-lion. I gradually advancing in civilization through the hunting pastoral, and agricultural stages, it may be interesting to right, and of which we have often revolved all the adknow, that the ants have attained to the second : vantages. From the preacher, therefore, it is argued,
“ The ants keep and feed certain other insects, from which we cannot expect to hear much that is new; and to the they extract a sweet and nutritious liquid, in the same man- iteration of what we already know, however important ner as we obtain milk from cows. There are two species these truths may be, we always listen with diminished of insects from which the ant tribe abstract this juice the interest, and not unfrequently with listlessness, or even aphides, or plant-lice, and the gall insects. In the proper season, any person, who may choose to be at the pains of with impatience. All this may be admitted without watching their proceedings, may see, as Linnæus says, the derogation from the praise of the preacher, and the utility ants ascending trees that they may milk their cows, the of preaching, since it is not less important to remind, than aphides. The substance which is here called milk is a sac- to instruct, us of our duty; nor less difficult to combat charine fluid, which these insects secrete ; it is scarcely in the passions successfully, than to convince the underferior to honey in sweetness, and issues in limpid drops from standing. In printed discourses, however, other excelthe body of the insect, by two little tubes placed, one on each lences will be required, since they are necessarily deside, just above the abdomen. When no ants happen to be at hand to receive this treasure, the insects eject it to a dis prived of those adventitious circumstances which give tance, by a jerking motion which, at regular intervals, they interest to a spoken exhortation. Even if intended exgive their bodies. When the ants, however, are in attend clusively for the family fireside on a Sabbath evening, we ance, they carefully watch the emission of this precious expect to find in them more novelty of arrangement, fluid, and immediately suck it down. The ants not only more elegance of composition, and a closer train of consume this fluid when voluntarily ejected by the aphides, reasoning, than might be necessary or proper for the but, what is still more surprising, they know how to make them yield it at pleasure; or, in other terms, to milk them. pulpit. And it is only when we have good reason to On this occasion, the antennæ of the ants discharge the believe that they may nevertheless be generally useful, same functions as the fingers of a milk-maid : with these that we feel ourselves called upon to suspend strict critiorgans moved very rapidly, they pat the abdomen of an cism, and excuse mediocrity, in a volume of sermons. aphides first on one side and then on the other; a little drop We had lately occasion to remark, in reviewing a of the much-coveted juice immediately issues forth, which work on much the same plan with that now before us, the ant eagerly conveys to its mouth.”
that we did not think the publication of Communion But this is not all :
Services either necessary or desirable. If translated into “ The yellow ants collect a large herd of a kind of aphis, a foreign language, Mr Carstairs' book might indeed which derives its nutriment from the roots of grass and command a partial circulation among those who are igother plants. These milch kine they remove from their native plants, and domesticate in their habitations, affording, little chance of its becoming very popular at home. The
norant of the usages of our church, but we fear there is as Huber justly observes, an example of almost human industry and sagacity. On turning up the nest of the yellow young divine needs no formulary for an exercise so plain ant, this naturalist saw one day å variety of aphides either and so familiar to him ; and the Christian layman canwandering about in the different chambers, or attached to not, either with his family or in his closet, enter into the roots of plants, which penetrated into the interior. The the proper spirit of discourses which are addressed imants appeared to be extremely jealous of their stock of cattle ; mediately, and intended,'we may say, exclusively, for those they followed them about, and caressed them, whenever who are just about to take into their hands the symbols they wished for the honeyed juice, which the aphis never re- of the atoning sacrifice. Of the important truths, and fused to yield. On the slightest appearance of danger, they the very texts which must constitute the principal part took them up in their mouths, and gently removed them to a more sheltered and secure spot. They dispute with of a communion service, what Christian is ignorant, other ants for them, and, in short, watch them as keenly as who requires even to be reminded of those remarkable any pastoral people would guard the herds which form passages, save at a time when they derive almost miracuwealth."
lous energy from the presence of the consecrated elements By the Goddesses! were we not the Editor of the of communion ? Besides, the author of such a volume is Edinburgh Literary Journal, we could wish to be an in- little more than its editor, for it will necessarily contain sect!
much that is not particular to him, but common to every Seriously speaking, however, this is an excellent book minister in the church. of its kind, and admirably fitted to make part of a family Such are our objections to this volume, or rather to library. Its style is neat and unostentatious. There is such works in general. But we should be doing justice pretixed to it a general description of the structure and neither to Mr Carstairs' merits, nor to our own feelings, characteristics of insects, sufficient to serve as an intro- did we stop here. We do not see how his task could duction to entomology. The body of the work contains have been executed more judiciously than he has done it. a great fund of solid information regarding these curious His style is both chaste and elegant; and in the six discreatures, and the warmth and interest with which it is courses which this volume contains, we find a variety of communicated, though to some they may seem over- illustration, a force of application, and a fervour of devostrained, are the very features of the book which recom- tion, which are well calculated to impress us with a good mend it to us, as they must have a strong effect in ex- opinion of the author's talents and principles. He is ap, citing a love of study in the young mind. We could have parently a scholar, and evidently a man of taste ; and wished that more attention had been paid to classifica- should he again appear before the public in a literary cation, which, without taking from the book one jot of its pacity, we shall take up his volume with no small deinterest, would have greatly enhanced its value, by ma- gree of prepossession in its favour. king it an introduction to systematic knowledge. But be this as it may, the work is well worthy the attention Political Economy. An Enquiry into the Natural Grounds and patronage of all parents.
of Right to Vendible Property or Wealth. By Samuel
Read. Edinburgh: Printed for the Author ; and sold Scottish Communion Service. By the Rev. A. G. Car- by Oliver and Boyd. 1829. 8vo. Pp. 398.
stairs, minister of Anstruther, Wester. Edinburgh. John Anderson, jun. 1829.
Political ECONOMY, that science which professes to
investigate the laws which regulate the production and It has been id of Sermons generally, that they ad distribution of wealth, could not arrive at any perfection mit of less originality than any other species of compo- in a state of society, where the natural course of things sition. The preacher comments on passages which have was interrupted and constrained by factitious enactments
. been illustrated before, or he labours to establish truths Its laws had not their free course under the Roman sewhich we already believe, and to recommend a particu- public, which, though free itself, lived upon the plunder lar line of conduct which we have long known to be of other states ; and still less had they their free course
under the empire. They had not their free course under structed comprehensive systems of political economy. the feudal system, which gradually grew up out of the They differed in some slight degree, but not more than anarchy and confusion consequent upon the downfall of was to be expected in two inventors of a science, arriving the empire ; and which, in fact, was no civil system—but at nearly the same conclusions from different startingan uncontrolled and organised army, permanently en- places. Gournay had been educated as a merchant, while camped in Europe, and arbitrarily appropriating the pro- Quesnay's life had been almost exclusively spent among ducts of honest industry. These laws did not even begin the agricultural part of the community.
The systems to operate till about the sixteenth century, when the in- of both are, doubtless, deficient; but they have the merit subordination of powerful vassals had shaken the feudal of being the first who viewed the science in all its exfabric, and wealth and knowledge in the hands of the tent--as comprehending at once the question respecting middle class had fairly thrown down some of its fortifi- | the source of national wealth, and that respecting the cations. It was not till after the Reformation that the most efficacious way of making it available for the leindividual began to count for something, and that govern- gitimate ends of government. ments, feeling the old pillars of their power falling away Through the intercourse kept up between the literati from beneath them, began to look round for other de- of this country and those of France, the progress which fences. Schemes of finance on the one hand, and projects Political Economy made there was laid before the inhafor increasing national and personal wealth on the other, bitants of Great Britain in detached essays, and particucame now to be discussed, and with interest. The science larly by Tucker and Hume. But Sir James Stewart of Political Economy is coeval with the new order of Denham and Dr Adam Smith (both of them nearly things, and has kept pace with its progress. Italy, while about the same time) were the first who gave complete it was free, and then England and Holland, were the first views of the science. Sir James's work is by no means countries in which such speculations were entered upon. destitute of merit; but the superior genius and originality The Feudal System had never taken deep root in Italy; of the “ Wealth of Nations” threw it so completely into and in the other two nations it had met with the rudest the shade, that it is now scarcely ever mentioned. Smith's shocks. In all of these countries, we find early discuss work went wellnigh to exhaust the subject.
He estasions on monopolies, the freedom of the sea, and financial blished the great source of wealth to be labour, aided and operations. There is much that is valuable in their old perfected by the division of labour, the accumulation of works on this subject ; but in all of them the question is capital, and the invention of machinery. He established treated partially, without reference to general principles, the laws by which the wealth thus produced was divided or its bearing upon cognate subjects. These states, as among the community; and made a bold guess at the they were the freest, were also the most flourishing, in proportions. He defined value and price, and nearly exEurope ; and it is not in the day of success that man is hausted the subject of the nature and effects of a circuladisposed to take far-searching views into futurity. It is ting medium. If he did not originate, he carried far tothe unfortunate, who, in order to avoid still greater de- wards its solution, the question respecting the requisites pression, looks anxiously about, and lays deep schemes. of a standard of value, the possibility of a perfect stand
It was about the close of the seventeenth century, and ard, and the best substitute. In the finance department, in Scotland-at that time impoverished by a long-continued he threw a great deal of light on the hitherto obscure state of anarchy, and doubly sensible of its poverty from question, what were the means least oppressive for the its intimate connexion with a proud and opulent neigh- subject, and most available for raising the necessary supbour—that the first scientific attempt was made to ascer plies for government. In addition to all this, he rentain the generative principle of national wealth. The dered the intricate question of public credit much more person who undertook this task was Paterson, the planner manageable. of the Bank of England, and projector of the Darien From the time of Adam Smith to Malthus, little was Scheme. We may, on some other occasion, return to the done, except to give a better arrangement to his materials, consideration of his works, and their effects upon the sub- and occasionally more distinctness to the enunciation of sequent commercial enterprise of Scotland ; at present, his doctrines; or to lop off certain redundancies in the the thread of our narrative forces us to attend to a man way of metaphysical discussions and statistical details, of much more questionable genius, and much more equi- which at times obscured and retarded the progress of his vocal character. Law of Laurieston, a person of sanguine argument. Malthus has distinguished himself in the disposition, but of a clear calculating head, had early science mainly by his having been the first to suggest the turned his attention to speculations on the commerce of new and generally received theory of rent, and by his money. He had extended and corrected his notions on disquisitions on the principles of population. The orithe subject, by all the information he could obtain from ginality of his views on this latter subject has been with the goldsmiths of Edinburgh, who then conducted all the justice called in question ; and the value of his application comparatively limited money transactions of Scotland ; of them to questions of general politics, is more than and he had published a work on the subject about the doubtful; but there can be no question of the service he time of the Union. Obliged to fly the country by the has rendered to political economy, by making the investiunhappy consequences of a duel, he arrived in France at gation an integrant part of that science. The good he a period when the disordered state of its finances had has done, by his attempt to introduce definitions into, made its rulers ready to catch at any chance of retrieving the science is more ambiguous. Definitions are of use in themselves. Law's ideas on the subject were consonant mathematical science, where any deficiency of expression to his character the plan he proposed for restoring the may be checked to the eye; but in those sciences which shattered circumstances of France, being nothing else treat of abstract conceptions, not palpable to the senses, than gambling on a large scale; but the case was urgent, they lead astray from the truth of nature, by substituting and it was adopted. It is not our part to enquire cu- the arbitrary conceptions of an individual. - The merits riously how much of the failure which ensued was owing of Ricardo consist chiefly in his having corrected several to radical defects in the scheme, and how much to the inaccuracies of his predecessors, in his having communi. childish avarice of the government—it is enough that cated more precision to the several doctrines, and in his the bubble burst, leaving the French with a taste for having given a more strictly logical connexion to the financial speculations, and an overpowering necessity for whole. prosecuting them.
Thus, then, the science stands at present. It has been Having thus got to France, and our object being with objected to it by some, that it lowers the tone of the inthe science alone, we pass unnoticed mere practical finan- tellect, and accustoms it to a narrow-minded and mechaniciers, however acute, to come to Quesnay and Gournay, cal way of viewing great national questions. This obtwo philosophers, who, much about the same time, con-jection proceeds upon a misconception of the science. It