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him for much amusement and information. We hope, too, that at no very distant period it will be in our power to speak of another Russian novelist, who bas just risen upon the literary horizon, and to bear our testimony to the merits which seem to announce a distinguished reputation for Lazhetchnikov.
Art. V.-The Times, January 7th, 1833. A KIND of demi-official vindication of the Prussian system of commercial policy was published in the number of the Times which we have placed at the head of this article. It was principally, we believe, intended as a reply to the remarks we made on that system in Article XI. of our Number for May last year. Such of our readers as take any interest in these matters will probably remember that our article had a twofold object in view, first, to show that Prussia was endeavouring to establish an anticommercial and anti-social system, by attempting to raise at home products which she might more cheaply and advantageously buy from others; and second, that she was endeavouring to force this system on the surrounding German states; and that in pursuance of this, the most objectionable part of her policy, she had prevailed on some of the sovereigns in her neighbourhood to assign to her the privilege of collecting their customs duties, and even of appointing Prussian officers for that purpose. These were our statements, and we now repeat them. The writer who has replied to us takes no notice of the policy of Prussia towards the other German states. He knows that the facts we stated are incontrovertible; and he prudently enough has left it to others to show how a state that allows its revenue to be collected by foreigners can be deemed independent. In fact, this defender of the commercial policy of Prussia does not say a single word in its vindication, unless his attacks on the British system may be regarded as such. He does not say that Prussia has done well; but that whatever may be her errors, they are outdone by those of England. Although, however, we admit that many parts of our commercial policy are exceedingly objectionable, we altogether deny that it possesses that exclusive character which now belongs to the Prussian system: all the world knows that during the last ten years we have been progressively relaxing the restraints previously laid on importation, while the Prussians have been as constantly augmenting theirs.
The Prussian vindicator complains of our high duties on many articles. But he forgets that our duties must be high, because though the population of England does not differ materially from that of Prussia, her inhabitants must pay at least ten times as large
an amount of taxes! The question is not whether our duties are high, but whether they are inposed for the sake of protection, or in order to benefit ourselves at the expense of foreigners. Now, except in a few instances, which are every day becoming rarer, we contend that they are entirely imposed for the sake of revenue. The vindicator complains, for example, of our high duties on tobacco, and we are firmly of opinion that they would be more productive were they reduced, but is this duty, like the Prussian duties on coffee and sugar, imposed in order to force the growth of some worthless substitute at home? No such thing! The apologist should have known that the growth of tobacco in the British dominions is prohibited; and that if we do not import tobacco from Prussia, it is because it is quite inferior to that of Virginia, and not on account of discriminating duties. He also complains of our high customs duty on hops ; but he forgets that the hops raised at home are burdened with an oppressive excise duty; and it is no part of sound policy to put foreigners in a better situation than ourselves. The great articles of import into England from Prussia, are corn, wool, timber, and wine. As might be expected, the vindicator is loud in his complaints of our corn laws, and we certainly are not of the number of those who will undertake their defence. At the same time, however, we must say that he has singularly misrepresented, or is exceedingly ignorant, of the operation and influence of these laws. We imported between the 15th of July, 1828, and the 1st of July, 1831, no fewer than 7,263,184 quarters of foreign corn, exclusive of 1,812,905 cwt, of foreign flour. Of these imports, wheat, of which the greatest part was supplied by Prussia, formed 4,620,020 quarters, the average duty paid upon this immense importation being exactly 6s. Id. per quarter! The average price of wheat in England during the period referred to, was about 64s., so that the duty was really under 10 per cent. No doubt the duty on foreign corn bas been for several months past very high, but this is quite immaterial to Prussia; for our prices are at this moment so low, that though our ports were open at a fixed duty of os., we should hardly import a single bushel. We admit, and have contended, that our corn laws are pernicious; but they are so in a far greater degree to the home growers and consumers than to foreigners.
With respect to wool, what has Prussia to object to? We admit it at a duty varying from }d. to 1d. per lb.: If this do not satisfy her, she must be very unreasonable.
The timber duty is certainly most objectionable. But the Prussian apologist ought to know that it was supported by a faction in parliament, in despite of the efforts of the government and
the country to get it modified. Can he make the same apology for the existence of any one duty in the Prussian tariff?
The duty on wine, 5s. 6d. a gallon, is perhaps too high. But it is neither partial, nor imposed to encourage the wine manufacture here. On what pretence, therefore, do the Prussians object to it?
The vindicator says that brandy is a considerable article of export from Prussia. It may be so; but we venture to affirm that though the duty on brandy were reduced to 5s. a gallon, or wholly repealed, not a drop of Prussian brandy would come into England so long as we are not excluded from France. Prussia may complain of our duties on corn and timber; but when she sets about objecting to our duties on brandy, tobacco, and beer, she is interfering with what concerns her as little as our duties on tea. Even of some of the great northern articles, such as hemp, flax and bristles, on which our duties are either nominal, or moderate in the extreme, we get but little from her. Russia can, and does, supply them, and many others, on lower terms; so that the entire repeal of the duties on them would not really be of the least advantage to Prussia.
The Prussian apologist objects also to our navigation laws, and with as little reason as he objects to our tariff. We treat Prussian ships exactly as we treat British ships, and as we treat the ships of all other countries, with which we have reciprocity treaties. We conceive it necessary for the purposes of defence to prohibit vessels built abroad, unless captured during war and legally condemned, from obtaining the privileges of British ships ; and we extend this rule to others. If this be a hardship on the Prussians, it is also one on our own merchants, who are obliged to use the dearer ships. But we deny that there is any hardship in the case.
And we have no doubt that the vindicator knows as well as we do, that Prussian ships are unable to come into successful competition with British ships; so that our law has either no influence on them, or none that is material.
We think we have sufficiently repelled the attacks on our commercial policy, made by this defender of Prussia. We are ready, however, to admit, that in many respects it is objectionable, and we are most anxious to see its defects removed, and to have it rendered more in accordance with the liberal spirit of the age. But its defects afford no vindication of the policy of Prussia. Our charge against that power is, that while England has been for several years relaxing her restraints on importation, and lowering and sometimes repealing the duties on most foreign products, she has been pursuing quite an opposite system; and that to enforce her anti-social policy in the north of Germany, she has,
VOL. XI. NO, XXII.
partly by cajolery and partly by influence of a less resistible sort, prevailed on some of the smaller powers to adopt her tariff, and to allow the customs duties within their dominions to be collected by Prussian officers! Let the Prussian vindicator show that this is not the fact; and then his pathetic complaints about our unreasonable duties on herrings and small beer may be listened to. It is something worse than ludicrous to attempt to vindicate the policy of Prussia by referring to the example of the United States! Is Europe to be told, and by a diplomatic agent too, that the king of Prussia is the President of the Germanic body; and that if Bavaria should recede, as she ought, from the Prussian system, she is to be coerced like Carolina? If the mysterious allusion to the United States do not mean this, what does it mean?
We are truly sorry that Prussia should have identified herself with this miserable policy. It is now renounced in England, in America, and even in France. So intelligent a government as that of Prussia ought not to have taken the exploded errors and pernicious absurdities of the prohibitive system under its protection. And still less ought it to endeavour to propagate its pestilent heresies by measures subversive of the independence of other states, and which cannot fail to lead to serious difficulties,
ART. VI.-Römische Geschichte, von B. G. Niebuhr. Dritter
Theil. (Niebuhr’s Romau History, Vol. III.) Svo. Berlin.
1832. PRECISELY five years have clapsed since our critical labours were directed, for the first time, to this most remarkable work of the present century Though one of our most distinguished scholars had already, in a leading journal, done justice to the high merits of Niebuhr, attention had not been sufficiently attracted to the subject, and we stood almost alone in the critical world as the fraak recognizers of the justness of his views and the soundness of his reasonings. In the interiin, the appearance of Messrs. Hare and Thirlwall's excellent translation has afforded the means of judging to a more numerous class of readers; and we are now in frequent enjoyment of the pleasure which must ever be felt by a generous lover at seeing the charms and the merits of the object of his affections more and more acknowledged every day, and receiving continual marks of homage. Niebuhr's fame may now be regarded as placed beyond the reach of danger: even his most startling hypotheses and conclusions will gather strength by trial; and though Micali, in Italy, has appeared as his rival in the portion of his work which treats of the ante-Roman times, and a distinguished traveller of our own country threatens to overturn the fabric he has erected, we confess that we are without fears
for the result, and have no doubt but that it may be said of the Roman history as of the Roman people, that
Duris ut ilex tonsa bipenpibus
Ducit opes, animumque ferro. We have deemed it not unbecoming thus to express our continued aud firm conviction of the justness of Niebuhr's views, and our gratification at seeing the number of his admirers daily augmented, at the moment when for the fourth, and unhappily the last time, we are preparing to give an account of his labours in the field of Roman history. It also adds much to our gratification to transcribe the following testimony to his merits from one of our most distinguished contemporaries, who has lately made the amende honorable to his illustrious manes in the most ample manner.
“A work which, of all that have appeared in our age, is the best fitted to excite men of learning to intellectual activity; from which the most accomplished scholars may gather fresh stores of knowledge; to which the most experienced politicians may resort for theoretical and practical instruction; and which no person can read as it ought to be read without feeling the better and more generous sentiments of his common human nature enlivened and strengthened."
It is almost superfluous for us to say that these sentiments have our most hearty concurrence. They express the truth, and nothing more than the truth; and in the whole compass of literature there is not a work, the perusal of which will invigorate our moral feelings and enlarge our political views to the same extent as that under consideration. How wide the difference, for example, between Niebuhr and Gibbon! We rise from the perusal of the Decline and Fall of Rome with feelings of disgust and aversion to our species, when we see even their best actions ascribed to the meanest and most ungenerous motives; while the History of early Rome sets before us men as they really were; some acting from the noblest, some from the basest, the great majority from mixed motives. The effect produced by the whole is pleasing and consolatory; for we see that the image of God is not totally effaced, and that history presents a sufficient number of characters whom we may safely admire and praise. Some of these shall soon appear on the scene.
We could almost fancy that Niebulir liad Gibbon and Hume in his eye when he wrote the following passage in the commencement of the present volume:
“ It is a common and a paltry piece of malignity, on the part of the enemies of the memory of great men and great actions, to place the