Obrázky stránek

ftate, uncovered, or any ways protected, it is brought from the moft remote parts, exposed to all sorts of weather, sometimes fix, seven, eight, nine, or even ten weeks on its passage. If the season happens to be wet, the grain is piled in the vessel or float, with a ridge to shoot off the wet, which, continuing some time, the surface becomes one coat of vegetative matter, like a green grass-plat, floating down the current, and which partly prevents the rain penetrating farther than a few inches. The waste and loss, however, must be incredible in wet seasons, and even otherwise ; for the feathered tribe, as the float proceeds along, are their constant customers, even into the very city of Dantzic. Strangè as this may appear, but which the author has been repeatedly an eyewitness to, these people have never yet been prevailed upon to have tarpaulings, or any covering, which would, in a wet seafon, doubly repay them for the first coft,

« The warehouses here are upon an excellent plan, situated upon an ifịand formed by the river Mottlau, running close by the city on one side, aud another branch by what is called the Foreftadt on the other. There are three bridges on each side of the island, at the end of streets over it from the city to the Forestadt. In the night all the bridges are drawn up, excepting the two at the end of the main street, across the centre of the island, communicating betwixt the old city and the Foreftadt. To guard those warehouses are from twenty to thirty ferocious dogs of a large size, amongst which are blood-hounds, let loose at eleven o'clock in the night. To command, and to keep the dogs within their districts, as well as the passengers from harm, at the end of each of the streets leading to the main one are large high gates run across : no light is allowed, nor any person suffered to live on this island. The dogs prowl about the whole night, and create great terror.

Prussia, by the extensive range of coast she has acquired, has certainly secured the means of obtaining a large share of the Baltic trade. But though possessed of these natural facilities, she does not yet seem to have learned the rudiments of that science on which commercial prosperity depends. The narrow notions of Frederic, whose genius, splendid as it was in negotiation and war, never embraced any of the great principles of commercial policy, are still cherished with undiminished attachment the cabinet of Berlin. Qur author, however, speaks much of the great encouragement afforded to industry. And if monopolies and prohibitions are wise expedients for promoting industry, it must be allowed this government is by no means idle. But Prussia must govern herself by other maxims, or be contented with a very subordinate place in the scale of manufacturing and commercial nations.

The third book treats of the dutchy of Mecklenburg, which, on account of its high cultivation, and the quantity of grain it exports, Mr Oddy denominates the Egypt of the North. The


[ocr errors]

imperial city of Lubec is situated in this dutchy; and as it has an easy communication with the North Sea, by means of the Holstein canal, and with the Elbe by that of Stecknitz, it is, in the present state of affairs, a place of great commercial importance.

In the fourth book, the author goes on to Sweden, a country, he says, of but flow progress in the career of improvement. One great cause of her backward state is the unfavourableness of the climate for the growth of grain. This is so great, that Mr Oddy afferts there are scarcely three ripe crops in the space of ten years. She has, however, conliderable resources in wood and iron, and in the fisheries. The Swedish iron is well known to be of excellent quality; there are at present about five hundred founderies in employment, and the annual produce is estimated at about 53,330 English tons. Britain, every where the great encourager of industry, takes more than half of the whole quantity exported.

It has long been a favourite project with the Swedish monarchs, to open a passage through that country between the North Sea and the Baltic. This plan, worthy of Rome in the plenitude of her power, was originally conceived by Gustavus Vafa. Considerable progress has been made towards its accomplishment; and though there are still great obstacles in the way, Mr Oddy is inclined to think they are far from insurmountable. We recollect that Mr Phillips, a very competent judge, expresses the same opinion with confidence in his History of Inland Navigation. The completion of this grand undertaking would contribute much to the internal improvement of Sweden, and, through her, afford the other nations of Europe a passage into the Baltic, independent of the Sound and the Belts.

From Sweden the author proceeds to the dominions of Denmark; and though he is singularly confused in this as in some other parts of his work, there is yet much useful information communicated. The details regarding Husum and Tonningen will be found particularly interesting. This latter port, scarcely known beyond the dominions of his Danish Majesty, till the malignant and absurd policy of Bonaparte had driven commerce from its natural channels, is now become the focus of commercial intercourfe between England and the Continent. It maintains a great trade with different places on the Elbe, and particularly with Hamburgh, having, in fact, become the port of that city lince its blockade. Denmark has, in several refpects, been a gainer by the wars in which the other nations of Europe are or have been lately engaged. In times of peace she is computed to gain nearly four millions of rix-dollars by the carrying trade; but the war has given her an al

moft demand


most exclusive possession of that branch of industry, besides enabling her to prosecute the fishing trade without competition. From Mr Oddy's tables it appears, that, exclusive of the home consumpt, and the transport by land from Norway to Sweden, there was exported in 1802 no less than 411 cargoes, containing about 26,500 tons of fish. The exportation had increased from 256 cargoes to this amount between the years 1799 and 1802.

. Mr Oddy maintains, that the progress of Denmark has not nearly kept pace with the advantages of her situation. Her

people, he alleges, are slow to invent and as flow to imitate, and have not yet acquired that true commercial spirit which generates universál activity and emulation, and carries nations forward by rapid movements in the career of wealth and power. He concludes the account of Denmark with a general view of the commerce of the Baltic, from which we learn, that the share of Great Britain in that trade amounts (leaving grain out of the calculation) to at least two thirds of the whole. This affords a striking view of the interest all these nations have in the permanent prosperity of this country. As the articles sold consist entirely of native productions, the trade is certainly more advantageous to them than to us; but, at the same time, we cannot conclude as Mr Oddy does, in the true spirit of the mercantile system, that all the gains are on their side, and that we have only loss.

The author gives to the fixth book a title to which it assuredly has no claim ; for instead of an account of the Commerce of Germany in general,' as it promises, we have only an account of that carried on by three of its rivers, the Elbe, the Wefer, and the Ems. Upon these rivers, indeed, he is quite at home, and abundantly communicative; and his account of their trade, such as it lately was, and of the commercial viciffitudes of Hamburgh since the French revolution, is very interesting. The Ems being under the protection of Prussia is still open; and short as its course is, the British goods which come into it find their way through every intervening obstacle, even to Italy. It is curious to learn that; by this channel

, some of the indigo which we export, goes even to France to dye cloth for the armies of the great enemy of British industry. So indispensable is our commerce.

The seventh and last book is of a very desultory nature; but its principal object seems to be, to point out the means by which Britain


obtain naval stores and other necessaries without going to the Baltic. This is a favourite fpeculation with Mr Oddy. He is persuaded the Northern powers do not hold us in due esti. mation, that they look upon us as their dependants, and flatter themselves that, by withholding the supply of naval stores, they could at any time crush our power. He maintains also, that they demand extravagant prices from us, upon the supposition that our dependence upon them obliges us to pay whatever they demand. Thinking in this manner, he often expresses great surprise that Britain does not take immediate measures to secure herself against the precarious and selfish friendships of the Scandinavian nations. The following passage, which we select because it is short, will serve to show how he feels and reasons upon this matter.

• It is matter of no small aftonishment that Great Britain, so celebrated for her political wisdom and commercial prudence, which has raised her to power and consequence in the world, chiefly by her mari: time strength, should grossly have neglected cultivating within herself a great part of her naval stores, the very soul and finews of her greatness and preservation, particularly after the many falutary admonitions at an early period, * and the attempt at monopoly by foreign powers, the armed neutrality in 1780, and the confederacy of the North in 1800. Great Britain makes herself dependent, as it were, upon thefe nations for the very articles on which her existence depends, and neglects thofe domeftic resources which she might fo advantageously carry into effect, not only to a national, but individual benefit. P. 489.

With a view to such an improvement of our national resources, he treats, first, of the fisheries; and maintains, that no scheme for their extension will be effectual that does not enable poor people to enter into that trade. Bounties, he says, are of no use ; for they do not enable any one, who has not the means otherwise, to undertake fishing. He proposes, therefore, that boats and tackle should be provided at the fishing stations, and hired out for a sum just sufficient to

pay interest, tear and wear, under the direction of the ministers and elders in the Scotch parishes, and by the superintendants of the poor in England.

He next recommends, in terms of extreme urgency, the cultivation of timber at home, and even proposes compulsory measures for that purpose. This is his great resource, indeed, upon all occasions ; for Mr Oddy is one of those who think that governments ought to interfere in every thing. Meantime, he is of opinion, the timber trade might be advantageously transferred to our North American plantations. The forests there contain abundance of excellent timber, which he says can be brought to this country a great deal cheaper than from the Baltic, with the additional national benefit of employing double the number of seamen, and double the tonnage of shipping. Some details are given upon the subject, which must be extremely valuable to such as may engage



* • The Swedes, in 1703; refufed to let England have pitch and far, unless received in their own ships, at their own price.'

[ocr errors]

in this trade. We were surprised, however, to find the author distinctly admitting, that the price of wood in the countries round the Baltic is regulated by the common principles, after having 80 often complained of the arbitrary monopoly demands of the northern merchants. Some of his reasonings on this point remind us of the declamations of certain French writers against our grievous monopoly of colonial productions.

Great advantages would, in Mr Oddy's opinion, accrue to the empire at large, but particularly to Ireland, from a more extended cultivation of hemp and flax. From personal observation, he asserts that the peasantry of Ireland are in a worse situation than the peasantry of any country in Europe ; and this, in the midst of greater resources than most of them enjoy. He thinks that, by affording every possible encouragement to this species of culture, for which the soil and climate are peculiarly adapted, the condition of this misguided people might be materially improved. With regard to the bounty, Mr Oddy contends that it would be more effective if paid, not when the flax or hemp is brought to a marketable state, but when the ground is sown; for in this way

the cultivator would be remunerated, although his crop should not succeed.

Mr Oddy contends zealously for the cultivation of the waste lands in this island. The vast importations we are obliged to make, while we neglect so many millions of acres susceptible of cultivation, is, he thinks, a circumstance altogether unaccountable. It is much easier, however, to unfold the causes of this evil, than to indicate a remedy ; but this is a discussion into which we cannot at present enter. Our author entertains very sound notions with regard to the corn bounties; and, though not qualified for the subtilties of political analysis, succeeds in proving that they are altogether nugatory and impolitic. A conviction of the inutility of these paltry expedients, may, in time, lead to measures of greater efficacy in this important branch of economical admini. stration. Meantime, we think Mr Oddy's proposal of making this country an entrepôt for grain, merits the attention of those whose duty it is to strengthen the empire by such seasonable and politic expedients as are suggested by the circumstances of the times. The following extract will make our readers acquainted with the author's ideas upon this subject.

• Nature, or rather Providence, has formed this island an impregnable emporium, where all the world, but particularly those who are driven from the trade of Holland and Hamburgh, would readily fly, if we would give them a courteous reception. Situated as we are between the Baltic and the southern parts of Europe, and likewise for the trade


« PředchozíPokračovat »