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require 41 i plows ; D 334; C 2}; Bijt; and A sí parts of a plow. But as in every one of these cases, excepting that of the class F, there are fractions of plows, it follows, he contends, that there muft either be fome part of the ground not completely laboured, according to these classes of divisions, or a greater waste of labour must be incurred in cultivating them than if they had been dia vided. He then, as in class F, proceeds downward to the class E, fuppofing it to be cultivated with five plows, and tries what would be the proportions required in the classes D, C, B, and A, all of which he again finds produce fractions as before, Then he tries D, as cultivated by four plows; and so on downward to B; and, in like manner, he still finds fractions of plows inevitable. Hence he concludes, that it is more economical to have the lands divided as in the class F, than E; that it is more economical to have them divided as in the class E, than D; and so on downward; so that invariably the class A is the least economical of any, and F the most so: of course, he concludes, Jarge divisions of farms are invariably more profitable for the community than smaller ones.
The interence is here, seemingly, very clear and natural; but if, instead of beginning with F, he had chosen to begin with A, and supposed one plow exa&ly fufficient for that class of divisions; he would then have as necessarily found that the higher divisions B, C, D, E, and F, would all have been split into fractions, while the class A alone remained an entire undivided whole; of course, in that case, the divisions according to the class A would have been the best of any; and by proceeding upward to B, and taking it as divided without a fraction, and comparing it with those above is, he would have found that these also would have been reduced to fractions, while it remained entire ; fo that, by following this mode of reasoning, the conclufion would have been directly reversed the class A, in this case, would have been the most economical of all, and F the least fo. The ingenious Author seems to have been fully aware of this inference, and therefore carefully guards against bringing it under view, by avoiding to compare E, when he confiders it as laboured by an exact number of whole plows, with F, which would have produced a fraction allo; and so with respect to D, C, and B; none of which he ever compares, when he confiders them as a unit, with those above them, but merely with those below them.
We are sorry that our duty obliges us to take notice of this mode of reasoning, which we cannot help considering as fomewhat disingenuous, however ingenious it may be, and as tending to mislead, instead of to inform, the well-intentioned reader. We Ih all only repeat, that a man of ingenuity, by an artful choice of the absolute numbers he has admitted into the elements of this calculation, might calily, at pleasure, make the result, by pur
suing the same mode of reasoning, infinitely diversified, so as to draw whatever conclufion he pleased. Truth, however, is but one, and will, in all cases when fully investigated, appear to be the same.
M. Herrenschwand will perceive, that we are so far from admitting that he has demonstrated the advantage of large divisions of land,'as be afferts, p. III, that we do not consider him, in this supposed demonftration, to have said a single word that can affect the question, and though he afterward feems to point at some circumstances of real importance, yet it is done in such an indirect and indecisive manner, that it deserves no farther notice here. In Dhort, we regret that he should have undertaken ta write on a branch of the subject, which it is evident he so little understands, as that of agriculrure, and the circumstances that ought to infuence the extent of the divisions of land so as most to benefit the manufacturing System; for thus we would, for brevity, denote that system of political economy of which he here treats.
His own native good sense, however, on many occasions, induces him to make just conclufions even from fallacious premises. In this class, we include his observations on the importance of manufactures for the encouragement of agriculture, and the necessity of their advancing pari pafsu together; as also of the effential utility of promoting the general well-being of the people, if the minister hopes to augment the revenue of the ftate; both which positions he has illustrated by some strong and juft remarks. But he is much mistaken, if he supposes, as he frequently afferts, that he himself has first discovered these moment, ous truths. We scarcely know a person who has treated that subject, who has not, more or less, admitted them; and we could eafily produce many paffages from modern authors which would thew that they had admitted them, as of equal importance with what he himself ascribes to them.
It would be caly to thew that his reasoning on the conse, quences of men using animal food, when compared with that of vegetables, is also carried much farther than reason or experience will allow ; but it is time to close our remarks on this performance,
On the whole, though we admire the talents of this Author, and are aftaniched at his facility of moulding every fact so as to fuit his fyftem, yet we have too long accustomed ourselves to a mathematical mode of reasoning to be able to admit his plan of demonstration as conclusive. It is poffible, however, that we have as yet too little knowlege of his system to be able to judge of it with absolute precision. He says himself, that hitherto he has rather endeavoured to point out the errors of others, than to exe plain his own principles. Perhaps the time may come when he
will be able to do this last more to our satisfaction than he has
We are glad, however, to find, that he has at length resolved to abandon the plan he has hitherto pursued, of publishing detached effays on this subject, and that he has now determined to apply himself to the great work of developing the prin. ciples of his fyftem, which he means to offer to the world as soon as it shall be completed. We beartily applaud this resolution, and sincerely wish him all the success he can desire. The man who appropriates his time and labour to bring to perfection the knowlege of others, deserves every degree of encouragement that is consistent with the interests of society. Our strictures have been intended to improve, and not to discourage, the Au. thor. When the time arrives, in which we shall be enabled to judge of the whole, it will afford us a very sensible pleasure if we can atone for our present secming asperity, by being convinced that he has bitberto been obscure only by reason of his seeing farther than others, and by alluding to particulars we were not able to understand, because they had not been fully explained. It is our duty to guard as much as possible againft error. It is our highest pleasure to be enabled, by the labours of those whose works come before us, to corre& the prejudices of our compatriots, by unveiling truth, and exhibiting her to mankind in her native purity.
Our beft bow is due to the Author for the refpe&ful manner in which he has mentioned our former remarks. And it will add much to our satisfaction if, on a future occafion, he shall put it in our power to pay him the tribute of applause without any degree of abatement.
ART. IX. Original Letters, written during the Reigns of Henry VI.
Edward IV. and Richard III. by various Persons of Rank or Consequence, &c. &c. Digefted in a chronological Order. With Notes, historical and explanatory. By John Fenn, Esq. M. A. and F. A. S. 2 Vols. 4to. 21. 2s. Boards. Robinsons. 1787:
HE correspondence of private individuals affords, in gene
ral, little that can interest or entertain the public; but if the writers have been famous for beauty of style or brilliancy of sentiment, their letters will doubtless attra& curiosity. In like manner, the epiftolary correspondence of men who have filled any important office of the ftate, or have been engaged in public affairs, will be eagerly attended to: and such communications may likewise furnish materials for the historian, or be the means of elucidating obscure or ill-authenticated records. The collection before us is of this kind. The letters were written by men of considerable consequence, who lived during that pe. riod of time which was remarkable for the quarrels between the
houses of York and Lancaster. Almost the only registers which we have of these distracted and turbulent years are written in characters of blood, Battles and executions were the land. marks of the historian, and the epocbs of the chronologer. One confusion succeeding another, the animosity of party zeal, and the general ignorance of the age, all contributed to obscure the history of these disaftrous times. • Whatever, therefore,' says Sir John Fenn*, in his preface, tends to throw a gleam of light on so clouded an horizon, must be a grateful present to those who would investigate their country's story; and when we have despaired of recovering any important documents of thole disastrous times, the flightett relics of so obscure a season may seem almost as precious as the better preserved remains of periods fully illustrated.'
As to the authenticity of the letters, it is so well establiched, that there is not the least shadow of a doubt concerning them ; for beside the account which the editor gives of his materials t, they have every internal mark of originality. They relate the
tydyngs' of the day, or the family affairs of the writers, in a plain but (to us) uncouth phraseology; they bespeak credit by their total want of ornament. By the artleis manner in wbich they are written, the reader is convinced that they were never meant to serve as records of the times; the events of the moment are told by persons then living; and the manners and usages of the age are painted in the most familiar language, undisguised and unadorned. The characters in Shakespeare's drama are here represented free from poetical fiction and in their own dress. The Lords of York and Canterbury, Salisbury and Warwick, Buckingham, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Hastings, speak for themselves.
The method which Sir J. Fenn has observed in publishing these letters, we shall abridge, from his preface, first observing, that the originals are printed on one side of the leaf, and the transcript, according to the rules of modern orthography, &c. on the opposite page.
* His Majesty was so pleased with this publication, that its Author has fince received the honour of Knighthood.
· These letters were, most of them, written by, or to, particular persons of the family of Pafton in Norfolk (who lived in the reigns of Henry VI. Edward IV. and Richard I11.), were carefully preserved in that family for several descents, and were finally in the possession of the Earl of Yarmouth ; they then became the property of that great collector and antiquary Peter le Neve Esquire, Norroy King at Arms; from him they devolved to Mr. Martin (of Palgrave in Suffolk], by his marriage with Mrs. Le Neve, and were a part of his collections purchased by Mr. Worth [of Dils in Norfolk), from whom, in 1774, they came to the editor.'
The contractions, diale&ts, and modes of spelling and pointing ofed in the original letters, are exactly followed in the copy; and wherever capitals appear in the one, they are continued in the other. The thought of transcribing each letter, and putting it into a modern dress, arose from a hint which the editor received from a respectable friend and antiquary, who was of opinion, that many persons would be induced to read these leta ters for the sake of the matter which they contain, but who, not having paid attention to ancient modes of writing and abbreviations, would be deterred from attempting such a task, by the uncouth appearance of the original. The obsolete words are continued, but the sense is expressed by modern words or phrases, in Italics, between crotchets. The original letters are frequently without either breaks or stops ; tbis confuses the sense, and renders it obscure to persons unaccustomed to read ancient writings : in the transcribed letters, the editor has endeavoured to amend these defe&ts. He hath also, with great industry, supplied the dates of the years when the letters were written, which feldom occur in the originals; the day of the month, or the faint's name to whom the day is dedicated, being generally all the date they have.
With respect to the externals of the MSS. the editor gives a full description; and hath always, where it could be ascertained, given the water-mark of the paper on which each letter was written, the size of the sheet, the seal, and sometimes the manner in which it was folded. Specimens of these, of the handwriting and of the autographs, are given in fixteen copperplates.
The family in whose poffeffion the letters were preserved, from and to different branches of which they were chiefly write ten, was that of Pafton of Caister, in Norfolk; they seem to have been wealthy, powerful in the county, and many of them well acquainted with state affairs : Sir John gives a pedigree of the family down to the death of the last Earl of Yarmouth. As an account of the contents of all the letters in this collection would be tedious, we fall only offer a few general remarks on their utility, &c. That they will prove very useful to the historian is obvious, as in describing the manners of the times, they bring us acquainted with the language of the day, and consequently aflift us in judging of the authenticity of contemporary writings. But as some readers may wish for a specimen of these curious originals, we shall give them the following letter of John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, to his lady, after the unsuccessful battle of Barnet, April 14, 1471, when he retreated with some of his men toward Scotland; but, discovering a design to betray him, he privately withdrew into Wales, to join the Earl of Pembroke, with the intention of strengthening the Queen's army,