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discovery or improvement in agriculture, which enables a 'greater quantity of produce to be obtained for the same expense, must have the same effect on profits as if the supply of superior soils were increased, and may, for a considerable 'period, increase the rate of profit.

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Had the inventive genius of man been limited in its powers, and had the various machines and implements used in agriculture, and the skill of the husbandman, at once attained to their utmost perfection, the rise in the price of raw produce, and the fall of profits consequent to the increase of population, 'would have been much more obvious. When, in such a state of things, it became necessary to resort to poorer soils to raise 'an additional quantity of food, a corresponding increase of labour would have been required; for, on this supposition, no 'improvement could take place in the powers of the labourer 'himself. Having already reached the perfection of his art, a 'greater degree of animal exertion could alone overcome fresh obstacles. More labour would, therefore, have been necessary to the production of a greater quantity of food; and it would have been necessary in the proportion in which its quantity was 'to be increased; so that it is plain, had the arts continued in 'this stationary state, that the price of raw produce would have varied directly with every variation in the qualities of the soils 'successively brought under tillage.

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But the circumstances regulating the value of raw produce ' in an improving society, are extremely different. Even there it has, as already shown, a constant tendency to rise; for the rise of profits consequent to every improvement, by occasioning a greater demand for labour, gives a fresh stimulus to population; and thus, by increasing the demand for food, again inevitably forces the cultivation of poorer soils, and raises prices. But it is evident that these effects of this great law of nature, 'from whose all-pervading influence the utmost efforts of human 'ingenuity can never enable man to escape, are rendered less palpable and obvious in consequence of improvements. After inferior soils are cultivated, more labourers are, no doubt, required to raise the same quantities of food; but as the powers of the labourers are improved in the progress of society, a smaller number is required in proportion to the whole work to be done than if no such improvement had taken place. It is in this way that the natural tendency to an increase in the price of raw produce is counteracted in the progress of society. The productive energies of the earth gradually diminish, and we are compelled to resort to soils of a constantly decreasing degree of fertility; but the productive energies of the labour em'ployed to extract produce from these soils, are as constantly aug

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mented by the discoveries and inventions that are always being made. Two directly opposite and continually acting principles are thus set in motion. From the operation of fixed and per'manent causes, the increasing sterility of the soil must, in the 'long run, overmatch the increasing power of machinery, and the improvements of agriculture. Occasionally, however, im'provements in the latter more than compensate for the deterior"ation in the quality of the former, and a fall of prices, and rise ' of profits takes place, until the constant pressure of population again forces the cultivation of inferior lands.'-(M'Culloch's Principles of Political Economy, 1st ed., p. 381; 2d ed., p. 487.) It was not, therefore, reserved for Mr Jones to indicate the influence of improvements on the law of decreasing fertility. But a very large portion of his book is occupied with tedious statements of principles already fully elucidated by others; and which he puts forth with all the air of an original discoverer.

Though we highly prize the talents of Mr Ricardo, and have endeavoured, on all occasions, to do justice to his merits, we are not insensible to his defects; and to suppose, as some appear to do, that his work has fixed and ascertained every principle of the science, and that economists have nothing left but to comment upon and explain it, is altogether absurd. In treating of rent, Mr Ricardo doubtless made discoveries; and has exhibited some beautiful specimens of profound and luminous investigation. Still, however, it is not to be denied that this part of his work is infected with grave errors. He supposed that the effect of improvements, which are so beneficial to every other class, was to reduce rent, and that, consequently, the interest of the landlord was opposed to that of the rest of the community. Mr Ricardo fell into this error from his not adverting to the fact, that, practically, improvements can never be so rapidly introduced as to lower prices; and that though they had such an effect in the first instance, the increase of population that would immediately follow the fall, would again force recourse to new land, and give the landlords the entire benefit of the improvement, which may be regarded as an addition to the quantity of good land. Had Mr Jones been the first to point out this mistake of Mr Ricardo, and to rectify it, he would have done some little service to the science. But to this praise he has not the shadow of a claim. He has barely restated, without acknowledgment, and with an abundant alloy of erroneous notions, what had been published twelve months previously to the appearance of his work, in the second edition of Mr M'Culloch's Political Economy. In this work, there is a chapter on the Improve'ment and Letting of Land' (pp. 452-473), in which the influ



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ence of the former in increasing rent is treated of at considerable length, and distinctly pointed out; at the same time that the identity of the landlord's interest with that of the public, is strongly enforced in that and other parts of the work. It would, therefore, have been quite as well, had Mr Jones, before representing those whom he is pleased to call the followers of Mr Ricardo, as having supported such doctrines, taken the trouble to enquire what they really do support. It is too much to set up a cry of eureka about that which is already in all the shops in town.

The remarks Mr Jones has made on profits, are not more original or valuable than those he has made on rent. He labours hard to show that profits have no natural tendency to fall in the progress of society. But the moment the law of the decreasing fertility of the soil is established, the law of decreasing profits follows as a matter of course. The one is immediately dependent upon the other; and as there neither is, nor can be, any doubt whatever of the existence of the former, neither can there be any as to the existence of the latter. Experience, indeed, independent of all theoretical inferences, is conclusive as to this point; for, though occasionally checked by improvements, it is observed, that in the long run, profits are uniformly reduced according as population becomes denser, and as recourse is had to inferior soils. It may be quite true, as stated by Mr Jones, that countries far advanced in civilisation, and where profits are low, are, notwithstanding, able to employ more additional labourers, and may be adding more to their capital, than those less advanced, and where profits are higher. But what has this to do with the question of decreasing profits? It does not turn upon the absolute amount, or mass of profits realized in a country, but upon the rate or proportion which they bear to the capital by which they are produced. Those who maintain that profits have a tendency to decline in the progress of society, were as well aware as Mr Jones of the obvious truth, that a small profit upon a large amount of capital may form a greater absolute sum than a large profit upon a small capital. But it is clear as demonstration, that countries where profits are high, have, cæteris paribus, the greatest power of accumulation, and consequently, of adding to wealth and population. The capital of Holland is certainly greater than that of the state of New York; but will any one pretend to deny that the latter is decidedly the more prosperous of the two? And for what is she indebted for her pre-eminence, but to her higher rate of profit?

Mr Jones is fond of representing his conclusions as favourable to human happiness, and as holding out consolatory views of the order of the universe. But this is for the most part a very

unsatisfactory mode of reasoning. In the present instance, too, it may be easily shown, that the principles he endeavours to establish would lead to the most pernicious results. Were it really true that the fertility of the soil, or the efficiency of agricultural labour, does not decrease as society advances, it would unavoidably follow, that population would continue to increase in the same ratio at which it increases in newly settled countries, till the space required to carry on the operations of industry had become deficient, when the impassable limit would be attained beyond which no advances could be made, and a most violent change must be effected in the habits of the people. Now, with great submission, it is not, we think, very obvious that mankind would gain much by such an arrangement. It seems to us that their happiness is far better provided for under the existing order of things. The decreasing fertility of the soil is not an absolute, but a relative check only. It may be, at all times, partially overcome by new inventions and discoveries; and the constant pressure of population on the limits of subsistence stimulates the inventive faculty, brings every power of the mind, as well as of the body, into action, and provides for the indefinite advancement of society in arts and industry. This view of the matter has been strongly enforced by the Bishop of Chester, in his excellent work on the Records of the Creation. Those who are familiar with it will not, we suspect, be inclined to question, either the law of the decreasing fertility of the soil, or the law of population, as explained by Mr Malthus, on the ground of their being unfavourable to human happiness, or inconsistent with the goodness of the Deity.

On the whole, we cannot say that we have derived much instruction from Mr Jones' work. His efforts to overthrow the theory of rent have been signally abortive: he has not weakened the authority of a single principle or doctrine involved in it. Those who would overthrow it must go to work differently, and with very different weapons; for, besides showing that, whatever may be the quantity of capital laid out upon the land, the last portion will be as productive as the first, they must also show that there is no difference in the qualities of land, and that a farmer will give as much for an acre of Snowden as for an acre of the alluvial land of Essex. The fact that Mr Jones' book should have attracted any attention, shows how very little the principles of the science are understood. We are not aware that he has added any thing whatever to what was already known. All that he has stated, that is accurate, had been previously stated by others, and might easily have been condensed into a pamphlet of fifty pages.

ART. V.-The Drama brought to the Test of Scripture, and found wanting. 8vo. Edinburgh: 1830.

TH HIS little volume, as its title may lead the reader to expect, is the production of one of that class of persons distinguished by the appellation of evangelical' Christians. Their zeal in denouncing the amusements of society as replete with danger and sin, is abundantly notorious. The present work is dedicated to this pious purpose.

We are induced to notice it, for the sake of exposing, as far as we are able, the erroneousness and misapplication of their zeal. In doing so, we are not actuated by any disrespect for their religious tenets, nor by the slightest feeling of personal acrimony towards themselves. We believe them to be, for the most part, pious and well-meaning persons. But we also believe that they really know not what manner of spirit they are of,' while they raise an outery against such practices of the world, as in their pre-eminent piety they are pleased to condemn. They have long assumed the right (under what authority we have yet to discover) of reprobating the customary recreations of life, and of branding those who participate in them as enemies to God and of true religion. The work before us exhibits a fair specimen of their arrogance and false reasoning, and it may be profitable to all parties to show them in their proper light.

One of the most striking characteristics of the evangelical sect, is their perverse application of Scripture to the practices reprobated by them. There is nothing new, to be sure, in this. It has been the custom of sectaries in every age. But we question whether it was ever more notably exhibited than by those who put themselves forward at the present day, to arraign the amusements of the world. Our author, however, shall speak for himself.

His notice of the drama is prefaced by an attempt to decry worldly amusements' in general. The very sound of the term worldly,' conveys to the ears of this devout person the notion of something contrary to the precepts and spirit of the Gospel. By the Book of Life,' he says, we shall try what is commonly called worldly amusement. His trial is founded on the following passages of Scripture :

'I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.'-John, xvii. 14.

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