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and others at 800,000 ;, but Mr. Dallaway reduces it to 400,000, in his computation, including the suburbs, Pera, Galata, and Scutari. It is certain that Constantinople never equalled ancient Rome, either in wealth or in the number of inhabitants : it may also be fairly presumed, that it was inferior to London in opulence; and whether its population was ever equal to that of the British metropolis is at least problematical.

A critical enquiry into all the circumstances which might either promote. or impede the wealth and population of the cities most celebrated in history would require a long dissertation, and afford matter for a large volume. But it would certainly lead to the conclusion, that not one of them, except an-. cient Rome, ever equalled London in wealth, or surpassed it in population. This cursory sketch, however, may perhaps not be unacceptable to the readers of the Northern Star. The antiquary carefully examines the spot where some petty chieftain in past times exercised a barbarous sway over a small district; it cannot therefore be unentertaining to direct a share of our attention to those places which were once the seats of the highest human power and magnificence, and have left imperishable memorials on the pages of his

tory.

J. B.

CONVERSATION RENEWED.

[Continued from page 289.) Mrs. Mortimer.--You are welcome home, my dear: I little expected when our conversation was interrupted at your last visit, that it would be a month before we met again.

Miss Willis.--Nor did I, my dear Madam; still less was I aware that I should spend that period in London; it is one, however, which I cannot regret, for there is so much to see in London, it furnishes so much to remember and speak of, that one can never repent giving it a portion of one's time, although I should by no means like to live in it.

Mrs. M.-Very true, my dear; and I am impatient to hear your account, of what you “saw, felt, heard, and understood," as the grammar says; pray oblige me by putting the first last and the last first, by telling me if you saw the royal wedding.

Miss W.-I did, and was much gratified by it, not merely as a grand spectacle, (which it certainly was on a confined scale,) but because it brought me as it were into a personal knowledge of the parties, by enabling me to see and hear them perfectly.

Mrs. M.-Well, child, what did you think of them ? how did they look ? how did they behave?

Mi88. W.-I found the Queen (though certainly a plain woman), yet for a person so far advanced in life, possessing a very agreeable countenance, and by no means of a dark complexion, as I expected; her hand and arm are very beautiful, but her person is all of a lump as it were, and she moves with difficulty, but when seated and at ease, is by no means devoid of grace; · VOL. II.

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and there is something pleasing, and even affecting, in the manner in which she receives the attentions of her family, who are all so torid and portly, óne oan scarcely believe such a little woman could be their mother.

Mrs. M.--How did the bride look?

Miss W.-Very well, indeed; she is the perfect picture of health and good-humour, but so plump! and so drest! it was impossible for a country novice like me to look at her, yet impossible to help it, for 'there is an attraction in her smile more fascinating than beauty. By the way, the Duchess of Gloucester is really very handsome indeed, though on a large scale; when she wished her sister much happiness she burst into tears, and even with her utmost struggling was compelled to indulge in them for a short time :-indeed it was plain that every branch of the royal family was affected; no one can bear the thoughts of parting with a sister whose affection and kindness, talents, cheerfulness, and good temper, have endeared her in a most singular manner to every one who approached her.

Mrs. M. What a pity she should marry!-and yet these are qualities that ought to ensure a kind return; only one cannot help thinking that at her time of life, when habits are fixed, connections formed, and the family union so happily cemented, that I will say no more upon it however :-go

Miss W.-The Duke of Sussex was not prese nt at the marriage, but he came just before in all haste to give his sister a most affectionate hug ; there is an air of great frankness and good humour about him; he is idolized by every body; he presides at so many charities and does so much good-indeed I like him prodigiously,

Mrs. M.-Yes; both the Dukes of Kent and Sussex have done abundance of good from supporting both with their presence and their purses

the charitable institutions with which the metropolis abounds, and the latter is really an excellent speaker. I like to hear a good public speaker exceedingly, but I own I am soon wearied and disgusted by any one who comes: short of my expectations,

Miss W.-Surely, you are too fastidious, Madam; but we will say no more on this subject, for the newspapers will tell you all the history of the dresses and ceremonies better than I can.

Mrs. M.--Did you see the Panorama of Rome?

Miss W.-0 yes ! it was one of the first places I flew to, but whether I had raised my expectations too high, or the mistress of the world is 50 shorn of her rays" as now to show a “ diminished head, I know not, but it is certain that I had gazed in disappointed anxiety for some time before I felt as I expeoted I should feel : in time, however, I grew interested, and the distant aqueduct, the remains of the Colossus, the Campo Vaccini, Trajan's Pillar, and, in short, al! I traced of ancient Rome reconciled and eventually gratified me.

Mrs. M.--Then the present appearance is not striking.
Miss W.-By no means; in my eyes at least. There are so many

domes *besides St. Peter's that the eye is wearied with them; fine old buildings apz pear turned into stately dwellings for the lowest orders of society; and all

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the country surrounding the city is so barren and mean, that one cannot persuade themselves that it is in Italy, the garden of the world. The finest works of man could never atone to me for such a dearth in the productions of nature. But it is evidently changed in every way: the walls which once inclosed this mighty city and her numerous inhabitants, are now marked by stone fences running out like the walls of a sheep-walk in Derbyshire on the high moors, with no more traces of man or his works, but an air of still greater desolation, because they issue from his immediate abode.

Mrs. M.—That I can readily conceive, for the solitude of a crowd is sickening to the heart. Did you see Mr. West's new picture ?—by the way, our country-man, Mr. Chantrey, was elected a member of the Royal Academy during your stay in town.

Miss W.-He was, and you may be certain I did not neglect to claim both him and Rossi as my towns-men, both eminent sculptors, nor Jackson, who is also become an R. A. as my county-man. I saw Mr. West's picture, and was panic struck and charmed by it, but it is a work of such vast comprehension, that I shall refer you for an account of it to a most excellent book on the subject written by Mr. Carey, which is considered an admirable critique, and has received more attention from persons of rank and knowledge than any work which has appeared in the world for a long time.

Mrs. M.-I am glad of it, for he is a clever man and a very independent one; I shall read his work with pleasure for I am sure he speaks what he believes, and understands too, better than any other critic on art now living.

Miss W.-I went also to the British Gallery, which I was told contained better pictures and more of them than it had done for the last five

years, and although I am not a judge of art, I confess I was much pleased.

Mrs. M.-It is not likely you should be a judge, my dear, for knowledge of art is a work of time and intimate acquaintance with the best productions ; tell me, however, what pleased you best, for you have naturally a good eye and a discriminating taste ; you have also the power of listening, which few young ladies possess.

Miss W.-I was much struck with a gigantic angel by Allston, the countenance beamed with majesty and benevolence; a magnificent landscape by Hofland representing “ Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion,” and an exquisite picture by Howard called the “ Apotheosis," in which the Princess Charlotte it represented ascending to heaven with her infant in her arms; and I was assured that these were decididly the best pictures in the room. There were many beautiful landscapes; a sweet picture by Wilkie, called “Duncan's wooing," from a Scotch ballad, and, in short, I spent some of my most delightful hours in this place, where I also saw two pictures (the last from his easel), by Ibbetson, whom I think you rank among your acquaintance.

Mrs. M.-You are right, my dear. I knew him well and regret him sincerely. Miss W.-Pray give me some account of him?

[To be continued.]

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OBSERVATIONS ON THE USURY LAWS.

40-40-40-20-4** *0.40-40-4o.

To the Editors of the Northern Star. I OBSERVE with great satisfaction that Mr. Serjeant Onslow is again bringing forward his motion for a repeal of the Usury-Laws. Of his ultimate success there can be no doubt whatever, from the general and increasing diffusion of correct views upon these subjects. Nothing, I conceive, is wanting to make any one come to a just conclusion upon this question, but a fair and candid examination of it; and as it seems to be the duty of the di. rectors of the periodical press to exert their influence in dispelling ignorance, in removing prejudice, and in directing the attention of the public to subjects intimately connected with the general welfare, I have thought that the following observations might not be inconsistent with the design of your Miscellany. They cannot lay claim to much originality, being in fact derived for the most part from Mr. Benthamos excellent, and indeed, unanswerable “Defence of Usury," a work in which that eminent writer, unquestionably the first political philosopher of the present day, (in spite of his unfortunate book on parliamentary reform,) has treated the subject according to his usual exhaustive method, and is, I apprehend, considered by most pera: sons who are competent to judge, as having set it finally to rest. It is one thing however, to establish a principle in them, and another to reduce that theory to practice. For the latter purpose, it is necessary not only to bring together arguments addressed to the philosophical enquirer, but to enlighten the public mind, to attract the attention, and remove the prejudices of the people at large.

There are, perhaps, few branches of human knowledge in which the progress of enlightened and scientific enquiry during the last age has occasioned so great and surprising a change, as in political economy. The old system of restrictions which allowed nothing to run in that free course which nature intended for it, and which on every occasion called in the interference of governments, to prevent their subjects from pursuing their own interests in their own way, is now happily in a good degree exploded, at least from the speculations of men of science ; and their inåuence, though tardy in its operations, is continually becoming more and more perceptible in the deliberations and proceedings of the legislature. Mankind are daily more disposed to admit the truth of this grand and comprehensive maxim, to which every fresh discussion, every new speculation upon these subjects seems to tend as its conclusion, and wirich may be said to comprise the whole marrow of political science, that liberty and security are the summum bonum in politics

, and that governments and legislators, if they would content themselves with keeping

the peace, and, by a wise system of external and internal policy, securing to each individual the fruits of his own industry, might safely leave the rest to the operation of laws established by a higher authority, of laws which they may thwart but cannot abrogate, of prineiples inherent in the constitution of man, and the nature of things.

This important principle has been ably enforced by many eminent writers, and by none more successfully than by the illustrious Adam Smith Never

theless there seem to be some passages in his invaluable work which breathe a very different spirit; and among these, I am disposed to class the favourable opinion which he expresses of the laws enacted in most countries to fix a legal rate of interest for money. It is the design of the following observations to examine the grounds of this opinion, and to shew by an application of A. Smith's own principles, that to the general rule which he elsewhere so strongly recommends, this particular case is by no means an exception.

In the first place, if we admit the truth of the maxim above stated, as a general principle, it is obvious that the advocates of a legal rate of interest must consider this as an exception to the general rule. There is therefore strong prima facie evidence against their opinion in the close analogy which subsists between this and all other commercial transactions. What is the reason why we object to the regulating system in other cases? Why do we consider it as absurd in the magistrate to step between the buyer and seller, to tell them what shall be the price of their commodity ? Certainly because we conceive it to be an affair in which he has no concern, with which he can be only imperfectly acquainted, and which will be more effectually and advantageously regulated by the dictates of individual interest.

We consider it as extreme folly for anyone to pretend to say, though you are willing to give so much for this commodity, yet you shall be severely punished if you presume to offer more than so much ; and in what respect is it less absurd for him to pretend that he understands the value of money, and the consideration to be paid for the use of it, better than the man who is to be benefited by it? It would seem, therefore, at first view, that the two cases are exactly parallel; and hence, unless some other circumstances peculiar to the case in question can be pointed out to justify a departure from the general rule, it is obvious that it will also fall equally under its operation. Let us then examine the peculiar circumstances which have been alleged with this view.

The arguments in favour of restrictions on the interest of money, may be reduced to the five following:—First, the prevention of usury; secondly, the prevention of prodigality; thirdly, the protection of indigence against extortion; fourthly, the protection of simplicity against imposition; and fifthly, that it serves as a check to the temerity of projectors.

1. With regard to the first of these, it has been justly observed, that to' bring it as an argument, is in fact a begging of the question. may mean either the taking a greater interest than the law allows, or the taking of a greater interest than it is usual for men to give or take. In this last sense, which, independently of law is plainly the only one, usury depends entirely upon custom; since there can be no natural fixed price for the use of money more than for the use of any other thing. The price of all other commodities varies according to the proportion between the supply and the demand; so that what is to-day exorbitant, that is to say, what is to-day more than it is customary to give or take, from a change of circumstances may to-morrow become the fair and reasonable price; that is, it may be no more than what a man with a rational view to his own interest and advantage will deem it wortii his while to give. In exactly the same way the price of money varies; to-day there may be a great deal of money in the

For usury

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