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VI. ON THE STATE OF THE COUNTRY in December,
1816. By the Right Hon. Sir J. SINCLAIR, Bart,... 457 VII. STATEMENTS respecting the EAST-INDIA COLLEGE,
with an Appeal to Facts, in Refutation of the Charges
VIII. SUBSTANCE of a SPEECH addressed to the House of
OF COMMONS, adopted by the Society of the FRIENDS
X. PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS on the MANAGEMENT of the POOR, and the Laws relating to them. By the Rev. THOMAS JEE. [Original]
..... 563. XI. ON NATIONAL PREJUDICES, their good and bad Ef
fects. By JOHN BURROWS, Esq. Christ Church, Ox-
THE paper here presented to the reader under the title of Defence of Economy against the Right Honorable Edmund Burke, together with another containing a Defence of the same more useful than welcome virtue against the Right Honorable George Rose, were written as long ago as in the year 1810. At that time the joint destination of the two papers was-to form a sequel to a tract of no great bulk, having for its title Hints respecting Economy. For its subject it had taken the whole of the official establishment, and for its objects two intimately connected practical operations, viz. minimizing official pay, and maximizing official aptitude: operations the mutual subservience of which, in opposition to the universally convenient, universally received and acted upon, and in truth but too natural opinion, of their incompatibility, was maintained. The circumstance, by which the publication of it, and in some degree the completion of it was suspended, was the expectation of obtaining certain documents, which in the way of exemplification and illustration afforded a promise of being of use. Meantime the turn of affairs produced some incident or other, by which the author's attention was called off at the moment to some other quarter; and thus it is that altogether the three papers have been till now lying upon the shelf.
As to the two objects in question, so it was, that the plan, which had presented itself to the author as that by which both of these objects might be secured, and the only one by which either of them could be so in any degree approaching to perfection, having the misfortune to find itself reprobated with one voice by the two distinguished statesmen abovementioned, the removal of the impediment opposed by so strong a body of authority, presented itself of course as an object of endeavour altogether indispensable.
In the order at that time intended, a statement of the principles which had presented themselves as claiming the direction of practice would have preceded the examination here given of the principles which it was found necessary to combat: hence the reference which may here and there be found to portions of matter, which neither in any other place in which they could be referred to have made, nor in this place can make, their appearance. By a change in the order thus originally intended, that one of the two defences which will here be found, (for in the present receptacle there was not room for the other) cannot, it will therefore be evident enough, but appear under more or less of disadvantage. But to the rendering them perfectly intelligible as far as they go, it did not seem that to either of them any of the matter which belonged to that by which they had been designed to be preceded was necessary and, by the forms of warfare, especially considering the situation and character of the person against whom it was unavoidably directed, the attention of many a reader (it has been supposed) may be engaged, whose perseverance would not carry him through the dry matter of a sort of didactic treatise, the principles of which are in a state of irreconcilable hostility to the personal interest of that class of persons which forms the subject of it, to which it cannot but look for the greatest number of its readers, and without whose concurrence, how far so ever from being accompanied with any degree of complacency, it could not at any time be in any degree carried into effect.
At the time when these papers were penned, not any the slightest symptom of official regard for public economy was it the author's good fortune to be able any where to recognize; every where it seemed an object of contempt: of contempt not only to those who were profiting, but to those who were and are the sufferers from the want of it. Under this impression, the wonder will rather be how the author's perseverance could have carried him so far into the subject as it did, than how it should happen that by the sense of a slight deficiency, the suspension should have been commenced, and, by a series of intervening avocations, have been continued. At present, in this respect, for a time at least, matters seem to have undergone some change. Surely enough, if it does not at the present, small indeed must be its chance of obtaining any portion of public attention at any future point of time. But should it happen to the two, or either of them, to obtain any portion of favourable regard, the more favourable, the greater will be the encouragement afforded for the labour necessary to the bringing the plan to that degree of maturity which would be necessary to its producing any assignable effect in practice.
Short as it is, in the intimation above given of the nature of the
plan, one circumstance will already be but too undeniably visible, viz. that not only without any exception in respect of the first of its two connected objects, viz. minimizing official pay, but likewise, and with very little exception in respect of the other, viz. maximizing official aptitude, nothing can be more irreconcilably opposite to the particular interest of that class of persons, without whose concurrence no effect whatever could be given to it. Yes; even in respect of this latter object: for, if, in the instance of every office, so odd an effect as that of an exclusion put upon all who were not the very fittest for the office, or even upon all who were not flagrantly unfit for it, were to be the result, an exclusion would thus be put upon all those, for whom, and their connections, and the connections of those connections, and so on, for whom gentlemen are most anxious, because in every other way they find it most difficult to provide. But if on the part of the plan in question the objection is grounded on the opposition of interests, and consequent unwillingness were to be regarded as a proof of impracticability, it would be a proof, not only that in government nothing good will ever be done, but moreover that in government in general, and in our own in particular, of all the good that has ever been done, the greater part has not ever been done. Among the points on which government turns, some there are relative to which the interest of the ruling few, be they who they may, coincides with the universal interest; and as to all these points, in so far as it happens to them to know what that same universal interest is as to all these points, gentlemen's regard for that same universal interest may be reckoned upon without much danger of error or much imputation on the score of credulity. Unfortu nately, under most governments, and under this of ours in particular, other points there are, in which that partial and sinister interest is in a state of implacable hostility with the universal interest: and of this unfortunate number are the two just mentioned: and, so far as this hostility has place, so far is the universal interest, as being the least condensed, sure of being overpowered by, and made a constant sacrifice to, that which is most so.
In this state of interests, the subject-many may deem themselves particularly happy, when, to make up a provision worthy of the acceptance of a member of the ruling few, nothing more than the precise amount of that same sum, with the addition of the expense of collection, is taken out of the pockets of the subject-many. An unfortunately more common case is where for each penny put into the privileged pocket, pounds to an indefinite number must be, and are accordingly, taken out of all pockets taken together: from privileged ones in this way with more than adequate compensation, unprivileged, without any thing at all. Thus it is, that, while wars