« PředchozíPokračovat »
scruple to acknowledge that it was Mr Clerk who had suggested the manoeuvres by which he had obtained the victory of the 12th April 1782. These facts, we have no doubt, may still be established; and it is pleasing to observe, that they rather serve to explain, than to contradict, the particulars related by Mr Cumberland. It is not very likely that a scheme of such magnitude should suggest itself, for the first time, in the gaiety of a conversation at table ; but if it had been recently communicated to the noble Admiral, it is abundantly natural that the accidental mention of breaking lines of infantry in land battles, should lead him to speak of it; and if he did not happen to mention with whom the suggestion had originated, it was equally natural for Mr Cumberland to suppose that it had that moment presented itself.
Soon after this, Mr Cumberland was induced to undertake a private mission to the Court of Spain, of which he has introduced a very long and languishing account, and for the trouble and expenses of which, he complaing very vehemently that he has received no compensation on the part of the British Government. Our tribunal is not competent to the determination of such causes. Nor would any tribunal, we suppose, think it expedient to hazard an opinion upon the statement of one of the parties. There are some little pieces of good description interspersed in the dull diplomacy of the hundred quarto pages to which the Spanish biography is extended ; and a curious account of a wonderful gypsey actress at Madrid, which we regret not being able to extract.
Upon his return, Mr Cumberland had soon to witness the demolition of the Board of Trade, in consequence of Mr Burke's Reform Bill; and was deprived of his secretaryship, on a compensation scarcely amounting to a moiety of what was taken away. Upon this diminished income he retired with his family to Tunbridge Wells, where he has oontinued ever since to reside, and to amuse himself by writing essays, comedies, novels, and these memoirs.
There is little in the subsequent part of the book that seems to require any detail. The author criticizes his own works with considerable candour and acuteness, and with little more than a natural partiality. He assures us, that the Israelites never made him any acknowledgment for the exertions he made in their favour; and this strain of ingratitude seems to have gone far to ruin them in his good opinion. He gives a long account of the retirement and death of Lord Sackville ; and runs into a very silly and splenetie rhapsody on the fame of the Young Roscius, whose gains and popularity' have evidently afflicted him more than was necessary. He praises the poetical labours of Sir James Bland Burges and Mr Hayley; and informs us, that Junius is savage ;
Sterne, frivolous and pathetic; and Edmund Burke, graceful in his
anger, and musical even in his madness. The volume closes with a tribute to the filial piety of his youngest daughter.
We will pronounce no general judgment on the literary merits of Mr Cumberland ; but our opinion of them certainly has not been raised by the perusal of these memoirs. There is no depth of thought, nor dignity of sentiment about him ;-he is too frisky for an old man, and too gossiping for an historian. His style is too negligent even for the most familiar composition ; and though he has proved himself, upon other occasions, to be a great master of good English, he has admitted a number of phrases into this work, which, we are inclined to think, would scarcely pass comment even in conversation. I declare to truth'—with the greatest pleasure in life'_ she would lead off in her best manner,' &c. are expressions which we should not expect to hear in the society to which Mr Cumberland belongs ; laid, ' for lay, is still more insufferable from the antagonist of Lowth, and the descendant of Bentley ;
-querulential' strikes our ear as exotic ;-locate, location, and locality,” for situation simply, seem also to be bad, and intuition,' for observation, sounds very pedantic, to say the least of it. Upon the whole, however, this volume is not the work of an ordinary writer; and we should probably have been more indulgent to its faults, if the excellence of some of the author's former productions had not sent us to its perusal with expectations perhaps somewhat extravagant.
mer. ART. IX. European Commerce, shering new and secure Channels
of Trade with the Continent of Europe : detailing the Produce, Manufactures, and Commerce, of Russia, Prussia, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany; as well as the Trade of the Rivers Elbe, Weser, and Ems: With a General View of the Trade, Navigation, Produce and Manufactures, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ; and its unexplored and improveable and interior Wealth. By J. Jepson Oddy, Member of the Russia and Turkey or Levant Companies. 4to. pp. 622. London, 1805.
A BOOK containing such a mass of commercial information as
is here presented to us, must be interesting at all times to a country like Great Britain ; but, in the present state of our trade, it acquires a new and extraordinary value. The hostilities which have shut us out of the ports of the South, have added prodigiously to the importance of those which are still open in the North; and
as these are now the great inlets through which the tide of our commerce is poured over the continent of Europe, we listen with particular interest to all those details or observations by which we may be enabled to secure or to enlarge their advantages.
The author has taken great pains with this work, and has laboured, by minute directions and innumerable tables, to make it practically useful. He certainly has not failed altogether in this aim ; but it is necessary, we think, to premise, that his attainments appear to us to be by no means of a high order, and that his judgments seem frequently to be perverted by the doctrines of an exploded system of political economy. The general view which we propose to give of the plan and contents of the book, will enable our readers, however, to judge for themselves of its pretensions.
The work is divided into seven books, of which the first is appropriated to Russia. The progress which this great country is destined to make among the nations, cannot fail to interest the philosophical observer; and there is something extremely grand in the prospective view of her commercial and political advancement. If Russia only attains one third of the population that is common, ly possessed by countries at all favourably situated, she will still reckon a hundred and twenty-five millions of inhabitants ; and there is reason to think that this multiplication is going on with considerable rapidity. Mr Tooke estimates the whole population of the empire at thirty-six millions ; but Mr Oddy thinks it may now be carried, without fear of exaggeration, to forty millions The growing prosperity of this empire is materially assisted by the systematic efforts of the Government to facilitate commercial intercourse between all its parts. Canals are made, from time to time, to connect the numerous rivers which fall into the seas upon its extremities. Thus the Beresinsky and Oginsky canals open an easy communication between the ports of the Baltic and those of the Euxine ; and the canal of Vishney Volotoshok connects the Gulf of Finland with the distant harbours of the Caspian, Some idea of the increasing industry of Russia may be formed, by comparing the number of vessels of all kinds that passed through this famous canal, which joins the Neva and Wolga, in the years 1787 and 1797. In the former, the number was 2914 barks, 357 half barks, 178 boats, and 1984 floats, paying 24,689 rubles of toll or duty; in the latter, 3958 barks, 382 half barks, 248 boats, and 1676 floats, paying 34,192 rubles.
The articles for exportation consist chiefly of iron, wood, hemp and flax, both raw and manufactured, tallow and grain. The exportation of wood was some years ago prohibited, on account of the great waste in the forests; but it has again been permitted, YOL. VIII. Ņo. 15.
under certain restrictions. By adopting proper regulations for the management of the forests, Mr Oddy thinks this article might be rendered one of the most productive and permanent staples of Russian commerce. Hemp and flax, and their products, constitute, at present, the most important part of the annual exports. The value of these exported in 1802, amounted to 21,176,432 rubles. From the tables produced by Mr Oddy, it appears that agriculture is rapidly advancing; for, in 1793, the value of grain exported was only 3,121,597 rubles ; whereas, in 1802, it had increased to 11,196,245.
Mr Oddy gives a very full account of the different seaports in Russia, accompanied with tables to illustrate the history and actual state of their trade. Archangel, as is well known, was the chief place of trade, till Peter the Great created a new city, which produced a complete revolution in the commerce of the North. Three parts of the whole trade of the empire is now carried on in the Baltic. St Petersburgh, or Cronstadt and Riga, are the principal ports in this sea; but there are several others which share the benefits of that commercial spirit so assiduously encouraged by the Government. In the Black Sea, Odessa has, by unremitted exertions on the part of the Government, become a place of considerable importance, and bids fair to rival, in time, the most flourishing marts of the Baltic. Our author, indeed, is inclined to think, that the trade of the Baltic is destined to undergo, at no distant period, a revolution similar to that which took place in the trade of the White Sea after the building of Petersburg. At present, however, the foreign trade of Russia in this sea is nearly confined to the provinces of the Turkish empire, from which considerable importations are annually made.
It is impossible to examine the author's tables and statements of the foreign trade of Russia, without being struck with the immense advantages which she derives from her intercourse with Britain. Her sales to this country, it appears, are nearly equal to all her other sales put together. Notwithstanding all this, there is, according to Mr Oddy, a strong jealousy entertained by that power, of our naval superiority, and a manifest desire on her part to underrate the value of the connexion. If this be really true, which we much doubt, at least in the extent stated by Mr Oddy, it must follow, that the Government is much in the dark regarding the true interests of the country; for it cannot be doubted that her commerce is nourished and upheld by the preponderance of the British navy. What else is it that brings the peculiar articles of Russian produce into demand ? What would become of the trade in these articles, and of the industry that ministers to it, were the maritime power of Britain reduced to a level with that of
other states ? The inference is obvious and irresistible. We
are, however, inclined to think that our author's remarks upon
this subject refer more to the spirit which animated the latter part of the wayward administration of Paul, than to the present times. Both countries, we hope, have, since that period, attained such notions of the points then in dispute, as will in future secure their adherence to more pacific and accommodating maxims.
The productions, manufactures, and commerce of Prussia are treated of in the Second Book. The possessions of this power extend nearly four hundred miles along the southern coasts of the Baltic, embracing several fine rivers and convenient harbours. It is partly through these that our manufactures and colonial productions are now conveyed to the interior of the continent. The rivers communicating with Koningsberg, open a safe inland navigation, even to the Black Sea. Through this channel the British Turkey trade may be safely carried on, and at a cheaper rate, than by the Mediterranean. 'Riga, however, in the dominions of Russia, possesses, as the author has shewn, greater facilities for this branch of trade; for the goods shipped there get much sooner into the current of the Dnieper, which conveys them straight to Odessa. Stettin upon the Oder affords another wide channel for our commerce with the continent. This fine river runs through a great part of the North of Germany, and there are several canals which connect it with the Elbe and other rivers. So long, therefore, as the trade by the Elbe and the Weser is interrupted, our author considers Stettin as one of the most convenient and extensive inlets for British merchandize.
Dantzic is the chief grain market of the North. A late traveller * estimates the amount of all the grain exported from this place, in the year 1803, at 34,149 lasts, each containing eightyfour Winchester bushels. But in Mr Oddy's tables for the same year, we find the amount stated at 68,278 lasts, each rated at eighty-six bushels. This wide variation (though we have no doubt of Mr Oddy's superior accuracy) serves to shew with what caution such statements ought always to be received. The following extract exhibits a curious contrast between the negligence that prevails in bringing the grain to Dantzic, and the anxious precautions with which it is guarded when warchoused there.
• All kind of grain conveyed to Dantzic, but particularly that from a great distance, is brought down in vessels, or rather floats, clumsily put together, of different dimensions and descriptions, according to the rivers or places they are first sent out from ; and, what will appear very extraordinary, without any covering but that of the canopy of heaven. In this I 2
* Mr Carr-Northern Summer,