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قراءة كتاب The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 277, October 13, 1827

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‏اللغة: English
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
Volume 10, No. 277, October 13, 1827

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 277, October 13, 1827

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 7

Esq. of Albury Park, Surrey, and formerly of Christchurch, subjected his estate in Surrey with a yearly rent-charge of 100l. for the endowment of a professorship in Political Economy, under certain conditions. Mr. Senior, whose name is not unknown to students of political economy, has been appointed first professor, and in his first lecture gives the following illustration of the advantages of the science:—

If we compare the present situation of the people of England with that of their predecessors at the time of Cæsar's invasion; if we contrast the warm and dry cottage of the present labourer, its chimney and glass windows, (luxuries not enjoyed by Cæsar himself,) the linen and woollen clothing of himself and his family, the steel, and glass, and earthenware with which his table is furnished, the Asiatic and American ingredients of his food, and above all, his safety from personal injury, and his calm security that to-morrow will bring with it the comforts that have been enjoyed to-day; if, I repeat, we contrast all these sources of enjoyment with the dark and smoky burrows of the Brigantes or the Cantii, their clothing of skins, their food confined to milk and flesh, and their constant exposure to famine and to violence, we shall be inclined to think those who are lowest in modern society richer than the chiefs of their rude predecessors. And if we consider that the same space of ground which afforded an uncertain subsistence to a hundred, or probably fewer, savages, now supports with ease more than a thousand labourers, and, perhaps, a hundred individuals beside, each consuming more commodities than the labour of a whole tribe of Ancient Britons could have produced or purchased, we may at first be led to doubt whether our ancestors enjoyed the same natural advantages as ourselves; whether their sun was as warm, their soil as fertile, or their bodies as strong, as our own.

But let us substitute distance of space for distance of time; and, instead of comparing situations of the same country at different periods, compare different countries at the same period, and we shall find a still more striking discrepancy. The inhabitant of South America enjoys a soil and a climate, not superior merely to our own, but combining all the advantages of every climate and soil possessed by the remainder of the world. His valleys have all the exuberance of the tropics, and his mountain-plains unite the temperature of Europe to a fertility of which Europe offers no example. Nature collects for him, within the space of a morning's walk, the fruits and vegetables which she has elsewhere separated by thousands of miles. She has given him inexhaustible forests, has covered his plains with wild cattle and horses, filled his mountains with mineral treasures, and intersected all the eastern face of his country with rivers, to which our Rhine and Danube are merely brooks. But the possessor of these riches is poor and miserable. With all the materials of clothing offered to him almost spontaneously, he is ill-clad; with the most productive of soils, he is ill-fed: though we are told that the labour of a week will there procure subsistence for a year, famines are of frequent occurrence; the hut of the Indian, and the residence of the landed proprietor, are alike destitute of furniture and convenience; and South America, helpless and indigent with all her natural advantages, seems to rely for support and improvement on a very small portion of the surplus wealth of England.

It is impossible to consider these phenomena without feeling anxious to account for them; to discover whether they are occasioned by circumstances unsusceptible of investigation or regulation, or by causes which can be ascertained, and may be within human control. To us, as Englishmen, it is of still deeper interest to inquire whether the causes of our superiority are still in operation, and whether their force is capable of being increased or diminished; whether England has run her full career of wealth and improvement, but stands safe where she is; or, whether to remain stationary is impossible, and it depends on her institutions and her habits, on her government, and on her people, whether she shall recede or continue to advance.

The answer to all these questions must be sought in the science which teaches in what wealth consists, by what agents it is produced, and according to what laws it is distributed, and what are the institutions and customs by which production may be facilitated, and distribution regulated, so as to give the largest possible amount of wealth to each individual. And this science is Political Economy.—Senior's Lecture on Political Economy.


The notion of prolonging life by inhaling the breath of young women, was an agreeable delusion easily credited: and one physician who had himself written on health, was so influenced by it, that he actually took lodgings in a boarding-school, that he might never be without a constant supply of the proper atmosphere. Philip Thicknesse, who wrote the "Valetudinarian's Guide," in 1779, seems to have taken a dose whenever he could. "I am myself," says he, "turned of sixty, and in general, though I have lived in various climates, and suffered severely both in body and mind; yet having always partaken of the breath of young women, whenever they lay in the way, I feel none of the infirmities which so often strike the eyes and ears in this great city (Bath) of sickness, by men many years younger than myself."

Wadd's Memoirs.


It is told of a certain worthy and wealthy citizen, who has acquired the reputation of being a considerable consumer of the good things of the table, and has been "widened at the expense of the corporation," that on coming out of a tavern, after a turtle feast, a poor boy begged charity of him—"For mercy's sake, sir, I am so very hungry!" "Hungry!—hungry!—hey!—what!—complain of being hungry!—why I never heard the like!—complain of being hungry!!—Prodigious!!!—why I'd give a guinea to be hungry!!!—why, a hungry man (with a good dinner before him) is the happiest fellow in the world!—There, (giving the boy half-a-crown,) there, I don't want you to take my word for it: run along, my fine fellow, and make the experiment yourself."—Dr. Kitchener.



[Under this head it is proposed, in the future numbers of the MIRROR, to assemble all new and remarkable facts in the several branches of science enumerated above. These selections will be made from the Philosophical Journals of the day, the Transactions of Public Societies, and the various Continental Journals. The advantages of such a division in accordance with the high and enlightened character of the present age, must be obvious to every reader of our miscellany. At the same time it will be our object to concentrate or condense from all other authentic sources such new facts in science as are connected with the arts of social life, and which from being scattered through elaborate and expensive works, might thereby be lost to some portion of our readers. In short, popular discoveries in science, or all such new facts as bear on the happiness of society will be the objects of our choice; neither perplexing our readers with abstract research, nor verging into the puerile amusements of a certain ingenious but almost useless class of reasoners; it not being our object to "ring the changes" on words. Our selections will occasionally be illustrated with engravings; for by no means are philosophical subjects better elucidated than by the aid of the graphic art.]