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continue to obtain whatever he deserves ; but let

it not be presumed that a prize granted at Rome, SIR

Dec. 8th, 1759.

implies an irresistible degree of skill. The com. In questions of general concern, there is no petition is only between boys, and the prize giren law of government

or rule of decency, that for, to excite laudable industry, not to reward conbids open examination and public discussion. I

summate excellence. Nor will the suffrage of shall

therefore not betray, by a mean apology, the Romans much advance any name among
that right which no man has power, and, I sup- those who know, what no man of science will
pose, no wise man has desired to refuse me; but deny, that architecture has for some time dege-
shall consider the Letter published by you last nerated at Rome to the lowest state, and that the
Friday, in defence of Mr. M—'s* design for a Pantheon is now deformed by petty decorations.
new bridge.

I am, Sir, yours, &c,
Mr. M.

proposes elliptical arches. It has
been objected that elliptical arches are weak:
and therefore improper for a bridge of commerce,
in a country where greater weights are ordina-

LETTER IN. rily carried by land ihan perhaps in any other


Dec. 15th, 1759.
part of the world. That there is an elliptical
bridge at Florence is allowed, but the objectors It is the common fate of erroneous positions,
maintain, that its stability is so much doubted, that they are betrayed by defence, and obscured
that carts are not permitted to pass over it. by explanation; that their authors deviate from

To this no answer is made, but that it was the main question into incidental disquisitions,
built for coaches; and if it had been built for and raise a mist where they should let in light.
carts, it would have been made stronger : thus Of all these concomitants of errors, the Letter
all the controvertists agree, that the bridge is too of Dec. 10th, in favour of elliptical arches, has
weak for carts; and it is of little importance, afforded examples. A great part of it is spent
whether carts are prohibited because the bridge upon digressions. The writer allows, that the
is wcak, or whether the architect, knowing that first ercellence of a bridge is undoubtedly strength:
carts were prohibited, voluntarily constructed a but this concession affords him an opportunity of
weak bridge. The instability of the elliptical telling us, that strength, or provision against de-
arch has been sufficiently proved by argument, cay, has its limits; and of mentioning the Monu-
and Ammanuti's attempi has proved it by ex- ment and Cupola, without any advance towards

evidence or argument.
The iron rail, whether giit or varnished, ap- The first excellence of a bridge is now allowed
peurs to me unworthy of debate. I suppose to be strength; and it has been asserted, that a
every judicious eye will discern it to be minute semi-ellipsis has less strength than a semicircle.
and trifling, equally unfit to make a part of a To this he first answers, that granting this posi-
great design, whatever be its colour. I shall only tion for a moment, the semi-ellipsis may yet have
observe how little the writer understands his own strengih sufficient for the purpose of commerce.
positions, when he recommends it to be cast in This grant, which was made but for a moment,
whole pieces from pier to pier. That iron forged needed not to have been made at all; for before
is stronger than iron casi, every smith can in- he concludes his Letter, he undertakes to prore
form him; and if it be cast in large pieces, the that the elliptical arch must in all respects be suse-
fracture of a single bar must be repaired by avior in strength to the semicircle. For this daring
new piece.

assertion he made way by the intermediate paraThe abrupt rise which is feared from finn cir- graphs ; in which he observes, that the concerily cular arches, muy be easily prevented, by a little of c-semi-ellipsis may be increased at will to any deex'ension of the abutment at each end, which gree that strength may require: which is, that aa will take away the objection, and add almost elliptical arch may be made less elliptical, to be nothing to the expense.

made less weak; or that an arch, which by its The whole of the argument in fivour of Mr. elliptical form is superior in strength to the seinad M- is only that there is an ellip:ical bridge circle, may become almost as strong as a semi

Florence, and an iron balustrade at Rome ; circle, by being made almost semicircular. the bridge is owned to be weak, and the iron That the longer diameter of an ellipsis may be palustrade we consider as mean; and are loth shortened, till it shall differ little from a circle, s that our own country should unite two tollies in indisputably true; but why should the writer a public work.

forget the semicircle differs as little from such an The architrave of Perail', which has been ellipsis? It seems that the difference, whether pompously produced, bears nothing but its en- small or great, is to the advantage of the semitablature, and is so far from owing its support circle; for he does not promise that the elliptical to the aritul section of the stone, that it is held arch, 'with all the convexity that his imagination together by cramps of iron; to which I am afraid can confer, will stand without cramps of iron, and Mr. M must have recourse, if he persists in melted lead, and large stones, and a very thick arch; his ellipsis, or, to use the words of his vindicator, assistances which the semicircle does not require, forms his arch of four segments of circles drawn and which can be yet less required by a semi from four different centres.

ellipsis, which is in all respects superier ia That Mr. M— obtained the prize of the strength. architecture at Rome, a few months ago, is will- Of a man who loves opposition so well, as 10 ingly confessed; nor do his opponents doubt be thus at variance with himself, little doubt can that he obtained it by deserving it. May he be made of his contrariety to others; nor do I

think myself entitled to complain of disregard Mr. Myine.

from one, with whom the performances of anti


quity have so little wright: yet in defiance officult of execution. Why difficulty should be all this contemptuous superiority, I must again chosen for its own sake, I am not able to disventure to declarc, that a straight line will bear cover; but it must not be forgotten, that as the no weight; being convinced, that not even the convexity is increased, the difficulty is less ned; science of Vasaui can make that form strong and I know not well whether this writer, who which the laws of nature have condemned to appears equally ambitious of difficulty and stuweakness. By the position, that a straight line dious of strengih, will wish to increase the conwill bear nothing, is meant, that it receives no vexity for the gain of strength, or to lessen it for strength from straightness; for that many bodies, the love of difficulty. laid in straight lines, will s'ipport weight by the The friend of Mr. M-however he inay cohesion of their parts, every one has found, who be mistaken in some of his opinions, does not has seen dishes on a sheli

, or a thief upon the want the appearance of reason, when he prefers gallows. It is not denied, that stones may be so facts to theories; and that I may not dismiss the crushed together by enormous pressure on each question without some appeal to facts, I will bor: side, that a lravy mass may safely be laid upon row an example, suggested by a great artist, and them; but the strength musi be derived merely recommended to those who may still doubt which from the lateral resistance; and the line so of the two arches is the stronger, to press an egg loaded will be itself part of the load.

first on the ends, and then upon the sides. I am, The semi-elliptical arch bas one recommenda. Sir, yours, &c. lion yet unexamined; we are told that it is dif





AGRICULTURE, in the primeval ages, was the cease to be so, and that the most necessary and common parent of traflic: for the opulence of man- most indispensable of all professions should have kind then consisted in cattle, and the product of fallen into any contempt. tillage; which are now very essential for the Agriculture was in no part of the world in promotion of trade in general, but more particu- higher consideration than Egypt, where it was larly so to such nations as are most abundant in the particular object of government and policy: caitle, corn, and fruits. The labour of the farmer nor was any country ever better peopled, richer, gives employment to the manufacturer, and yields or more powerful. The Satrapa, among the Asà support for the other parts of the community: syrians and Persians, were rewarded, if i he lands it is now the spring which se's the whole grand in their governments were well cultivated; but machine of commerce in motion; and the sul were punished, if that part of their duty was necould not be spread without the assistance of the glected. Africa abounded in corn, but the most plough. But though the farmers are of such famous countries were Thrace, Sardinia, and utility in a state, we find then in general too Sicily. much disregarded among the politer kind of peo- Cato, che censor, has justly called Sicily the ple in the present age; while we cannot help ob magazine and nursing mother of the Roman peo. serving the honour that antiquity hrs always ple, who were supplied froin ihence with almost paid to the profession of the husbandman ; which all their corn, both for the use of the city, and naturally leads us into some reflections upon that the subsistence of her armies: though we also occasion.

find in Livy, that the Romans received no incon. Though mines of gold and silver shruld be ex- siderable quantities of com from Sardinia. But, hrusted, and the species made of them lost; when Rome had made herself mistress of.Carthough diamonds and pearls should remain con- chage and Alexandria, Africa and Egypt became ceiled in the bowels of the carth, and the womb ber store souses: for those cities sent such nuof the sea; though commerce with strangers be merous fleets every year, freighted with corn, to prolibited; though all arts which have no other Rome, that Alexandria alone annually supplied object than splendour and embellishment, should twenty millions of bushels: and, when the hır. be abolished ; yet the fertility of the earth alone vest happened to fail in one of these provinces, would afford an abundant supply for the occa- the other came in to its aid, and supported the sions of an industrious people, by furnishing sub-metropolis of the world; which, without this sistence for them, and such armies as should be supply, would have been in danger of perishing mustered in their defence. We, therefore, ought by famine. Rome actually saw herself reduced not to be surprised, thai agriculture was in so to this condition under Augustus ; for there re. much honour among the ancients: for it ought mained only three days' provision of corn in the rather to soem wonderful that it should ever city; and that prince was so full of tenderness

for the people, that he had resolved to poison state, which inclines him to justice, temperance, himself

, if the expected fleets did not arrive be- sobriety, sincerity, and every virtue that can fore the expiration of that time; but they came, dignify human nature. This gave room for the and the preservation of the Romans was attri- poets to feign, that Astræa, the goddess of jusbutea to the good fortune of their emperor; but tice, had her last residence among busbandmen, wise precautions were taken to avoid the like before she quitted the earth. Hesiod and Virgil danger for the future.

have brought the assistance of the muses in When the seat of empire was transplanted to praise of agriculture. Kings, generals, and Constantinople, that city was supplied in the philosophers, have not thought it unworthy their same manner; and when the emperor Septimius birth, rank, and genius, to leave precepts to posSeverus died, there was corn in the public maga- terity upon the utility of the husbandman's prozines for seven years, expending daily 75,000 fession. Hiero, Attalus, and Archelaus, kings of bushels in bread, for 600,000 men.

Syracuse, Pergamus, and Cappadocia, have comThe ancients were no less industrious in the posed books for supporting and augmenting the cultivation of the vine than in that of corn, though fertility of their different countries. The Carthey applied themselves to it later: for Noah haginian general Mago wrote twenty-eight voplanted it by order, and discovered the use t'iat lumes upon this subject; and Cato, the censor, might be made of the fruit, by pressing out and followed his example. Nor have Platn, Xe preserving the juice. The vine was carried by nophon, and Aristotle, omitted this article, which the offspring of Noah into the several countries makes an essential part of their politics. And of the world: but Asia was the first to expe- Cicero, speaking of the writings of Xenophion, rience the sweets of this gift; from whence it says, “ How fully and excellently does he, in was imparted to Europe and Africa. Greece that book called his ‘CEconomics,' set out the and Italy, which were distinguished in so many advantages of husbandry, and a country life !?? other respects, were particularly so by the er- When Britain was subject to the Romans, she cellency of their wines. Greece was most cele- annually supplied them with great quantities of brated for the wines of Cyprus, Lesbos, and corn; and the Isle of Anglesea was ihen looked Chio; the former of which is in great esteem at upon as the granary for the western provinces ; present: though the cultivation of the vine has but the Britons, both under the Romans and been generally suppressed in the Turkish domi. Saxons, were employed like slaves at the plough. nions. As the Romans were indebted to the On the intermixture of the Danes and Normans, Grecians for the arts and sciences, so were they possessions were better regulated, and the state likewise for the improvement of their wines; the of vassalage gradually declined, till it was en. best of which were produced in the country of tirely worn off under the reigns of Henry VII. Capua, and were called the Massick, Calenian, and Edward VI.; for they hurt the old nobility Formian, Cæcuban, and Falernian, so much by favouring the commons, who grew rich bị celebrated by Horace. Domitian passed an edict trade, and purchased estates. for destroying all the vines, and that no more The wines of France, Portugal, and Spain, should be planted throughout the greatest part of are now the best; while Italy can only boast of the west, which continued almost two hundred the wine made in Tuscany. The breeding of years afterwards, when the emperor Probus em- cattle, is now chietly contined to Denmark and ployed his soldiers in planting vines in Europe, Ireland. The corn of Sicily is still is in great es. in the same manner as Hannibal had formerly teem, as well as what is produced in the northern employed his troops in planting olive-trees in countries: but England is the happiest spot in Africa. Some of the ancients have endeavoured the universe for all the principal kinds of agri to prove, that the cultivation of vines is more be- culture, and especially its great produc.of com. neficial than any other kind of husbandry: bul, The improvement of our landed estates, is if this was thought so in the time of Columella, it the enrichment of the kingdom; for, without is very different at present; nor were all the an- this, how could we carry on our manufactures, cients of his opinion, for several gave the prefer- or prosecute our commerce ? We should loo's ence to pasture lands.

upon the English fariner as the most usefa. The breeding of cattle has always been con- member of society. His arable grounds not sidered as an important part of agriculture. The only supply his fellow-subjects with all kinds of riches of Abrahun, Laban, and Job, consisted in the best grain, but his industry enables him to their flocks and herds. We also find from Lati- export great quantities to other kingdoms, which nus in Virgil, and Ulysses in Homer, that the might otherwise starve: particularly Spain and wealth of those princes consisted in cattle. It Portugal; for in one year, there have been es. was likewise the same among the Romins, till ported 51,520 quarters of barley, 219,731 of malt, the introduction of money, which put a value 1,920 of oatmeal, 1,329 of ryc, and 153,343 of upon commodities, and established a new kind wheat; the bounty on which amounted to of barter. Varro has not disdained to give an 72,433 pounds. What a fund of treasure arises extensive account of all the beasts that are of from his pasture lands, which breed such innuany use to the country, either for tillage, breed, merable flocks of sheep, and afford such fine carringe, or other conveniences of man. And berds of cattle, to feed Britons, and clothe manCalo, the censor, was of opinion, that the feed- kind! He rears flax and hemp for the making ing of cattle was the mosi certain and speedy of linen; while his plantations of apples and mehod of enriching a country.

hops supply hiin with generous kinds of liquors. Luxury, avarice, injustice, violence, and am- The land-tax, when at four shillings in the bition, take up their ordinary residence in po-pound, produces 2,000,000 pounds a year. This pulous cities; while the hard and laborious life arises from the labour of the husbandman: it is of the husbandman will not admit of these vices. a great sum: but how greatly is it increased by The honest farmer lives in a wise and happy the means it furnishes for trade? Without the

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industry of the farmer, the manufacturer could | Who can read of the present distresses of the have no gools to supply the merchant, nor the Genoese, whose only choice now remaining is merchant find any employment for the mariners: from what monarch they shall solicit protection? trade would be stagnated; riches would be of Who can see the Hanseatic towns in ruins, no advantage to the great; and labour of nowhere perhaps the inhabitants do not always service to the poor.

equal the number of the houses; but he will say The Romans, as historians all allow,

to himself, These are the cities whose trade ensought, in extreine distress, the rurai plough; abled them once to give laws to the world, to Io trumphe! for the village swain

whose merchants princes sent their jewels in Retired to be a nobleman again.

pawn, from whose treasuries armies were paid,

and navies supplied! And who can then forbear FURTHER THOUGHTS ON AGRICULTURE.

to consider trade as a weak and uncertain basis

of power, and wish to his own country greatness FROM THE VISITOR FOR MARCH, 1756. more solid, and felicity more durable ? Al my last visit, I took the liberty of mention

It is apparent, that every trading nation flouing a subject, which, I think, is not considered rishes, while it can be said to flourish, by the cour with attention proportionate to its importance. tesy of others. We cannot compel any people Nothing can more fully prove the ingratitude of to buy from us, or to sell to us. A thousand mankind, a crime often charged upon them, and accidents may prejudice them in favour of our often denied, than the little regard which the dis- rivals; the workmen of another nation may posers of honorary rewards have paid to agricul- labour for less price, or some accidental improveture ; which is treated as a subject so remote ment, or natural advantage, may procure a just. from common life, by all those who do not im- preference for their commodities ; as experience mediately hold the plough, or give fodder to the has shown, that there is no work of the hands, ox, that I think there is room to question, whe- which, at different times, is not best performed ther a great part of mankind has yet been in- in different places. formed that life is sustained by the fruits of the

Traffic, even while it continues in its state of earth. I was once indeed provoked to ask a prosperity, must owe its success to agriculture ; lady of great eminence for genius, Whether she the materials of manufacture are the produce of knew of what bread is made ?

the earth. The wool which we weave into cloth, I have already observed, how differently agri- the wood which is formed into cabinets, the culture was considered by the heroes and wise metals which are forged into weapons, are supmen of the Roman commonwealth, and shall plied by nature with the help of art. Manufacnow only add, that even after the emperors had tures, indeed, and profitable manufactures, are made great alteration in the system of life, and sometimes raised from imported materials, but taught men to portion out their esteem to other then we are subjected a second time to the ca. qualities than usefulness, agriculture still main- price of our neighbours. The natives of Lomtained its reputation, and was taught by the bardy might easily resolve to retain their silk at polite and elegant Celsus among the other arts. home, and employ workmen of their own to

The usefulness of agriculture I have already weave it. And this will certainly be done when shown ; I shall now, therefore, prove its neces- they grow wise and industrious, when they have sity ; and having before declared that it produces sagacity to discern their true interest, and vigour the chief riches of a nation, I shall proceed to to pursue it. show, that it gives its only riches, the only riches

Mines are generally considered as the great which we can call our own, and of which we sources of wealth, and superficial observers have need not fear either deprivation or diminution.

thought the possession of great quantities of is independence. Neither the man nor the peo- tempt, the poverty of Spain, who thought herof nations, as of individuals, the first blessing precious metals the first national happiness. But

Europe has long seen, with wonder and condeny the necessaries or conveniences of life, self" exempted from the labour of tilling the There is no way of living without the need of ground, by the conquest of Peru, with its veins foreign assistance, but by the product of our own of silver. Time, however, has taught even this land, improved by our own labour. Every other culture they may indeed be the transmitters of

obstinate and haughty nation, that without agrisource of plenty is perishable or casual. often to enrich countries : and we ourselves are may dig it out of the earth, but

must immediately Trade and manufactures must be confessed money, but can never be the possessors. They indebted to them for those ships by which we send it away to purchase cloth or bread, and it now command the sea from the equator to the must at last remain with some people wise poles, and for those sums with which we have enough to sell much and to buy little to live shown ourselves able to arm the nations of the upon their own lands, without a wish for those north in defence of regions in the western he things which nature has denied them. misphere. But trade and manufactures, however

Mines are themselves of no use, without some profitable, must yield to the cultivation of lands kind of agriculture. We have in our own in usefulness and dignity.

country inexhaustible stores of iron, which lie with the contrary opinion, is one of the daugh- his own concurrence; we have from nature only Commerce, however we may please ourselves useless in the ore for want of wood. It was never

the design of Providence to feed man without ters of fortune, inconstant and deceitful as her mother; she chooses her residence where she what we cannot provide for ourselves ; she gives is least expected, and shifts her abode, when her us wild fruits, which art must meliorate, and continuance is in appearance most firmly settled. drossy praat "which labour must refine.

are valuable, because they Cincinnatus.

re scarce, because the


mines that yield them are emptied in time. Lut not any variation, but what is caused by the unthe surface of the earth is more liberal than its certainty of seasons. caverns. The field, which is this autumn laid I am far from intending to persuade my counnaked by the sickle, will be covered, in the sue- tryinen to quit all other employments for that of ceeding summer, by a new barvest; the grass, manuring ihe ground. I mean only to prove, which the cattle are devouring, shoots up again that we have, at home, all that we can want, and when they have passed over it.

that therefore we need feel no great anxiety Agriculture, therefore, and agriculture alone, about the schemes of other nations for improvcan support us without the help of others, in ing their arts, or extending their traffic.' But certain plenty and genuine dignity. Whatever there is no necessity to inter, that we should we buy from without, the sellers may refuse; cease from commerce, before the revolution of whatever we sell, manufactured by art, the pur- things shall transfer it to some other regions ! chasers may reject; but, while our ground is Such vicissitudes the world has often seen; and covered with corn and cattle, we can want no- therefore such we have reason to expect.' We thing; and if imagination should grow sick of hear many clamours of declining trade, which native plenty, and call for delicacies or embellish- are not, in my opinion, always true ; and inany ments from other countries, there is nothing imputations of that decline to governors and which corn and cattle will not purchase. ministers, which may be sometimes just, and

Our country is, perhaps, beyond all others, sometimes calumnious. Eut it is foolish to productive of things necessary to life. The pine- imagine, that any care or policy can keep comapple thrives better between the tropics, and bet- merce at a stand, which almost every nation ter furs are found in the northern regions. But has enjoyed and lost, and which we must expect let us not envy these unnecessary privileges. to lose as we have long enjoyed it. Mankind cannot subsist upon the indulgences of There is some danger, lest our neglect of nature, but must be supported by her more com- agriculture should hasten its departure. Our mon gifts. They must feed upon bread, and be industry has for many ages been employed in clothed with wool; and the nation that can fur- destroying the woods which our ancestors have nish these universal commodities, may have her planted. It is well known that commerce is ships welcomed at a thousand ports, or sit at carried on by ships, and that ships are built out home and receive the tribute of foreign coun- of trees; and therefore, when I travel over tries, enjoy their arts, or treasure up their gold., naked plains, to which tradition has preserved

It is well known to those who have examined the name of forests, or see hills arising on the state of other countries, that the vineyards either hand barren and useless, I cannot forbear of France are more than equivalent to the mines to wonder, how that commerce, of which we of America ; and that one great use of Indian promise ourselves the perpetuity, shall be congold, and Peruvian silver, is to procure the wines tinued by our descendants; nor can restrain a of Champaigne and Burgundy. The advantage sigh, when I think on the time, a time at po is indeed always rising on the side of France, great distance, when our neighbours may deprive who will certainly have wines, when Spain, by us of our naval influence, by refusing us their a thousand natural or accidental causes, may timber. want silver. But surely the valleys of England By agriculture only can commerce be perhave more certain stores of wealth. Wines are petuated; and by agriculture alone can we live chosen by caprice ; the products of France have in plenty without intercourse with other nations. not always been equally esteemed; but there This, therefore, is the great art, which every gonever was any age, or people, that reckoned vernment ought to protect, every proprietor of bread among superfluities, when once it was lands to practise, and every inquirer into nature known. The price of wheat and barley suffers to improve.


By what causes the necessaries of life have before which all the considerations wmcn com risen to a price at which a great part of the peo- monly busy the legislature vanish from the ple are unable to procure them, how the present view. scarcity may be remedied, and calamities of the The interruption of trade, though it may

dissame kind may for the future be prevented, is tress part of the community, leaves the rest an inquiry of the first importance; an inquiry power to communicate relief; the decay of one

* These “ Considerations,” for which we are indebted in that year had been so deficient, and corn had risen . lo Mr. Malone, who published them in 1909, or rather to so high a price, that in the months of September and Oc. his liberal publisher, Mr. Payne, were in the opinion of tober there had been many insurrections in the mid and Mr. Malone, written in November, 1766, when the policy counties, to which Dr. Johnson alludes; and which were of the parliamentary bounty on the exportation of corn of so alarming a kind, that it was necessary to reprew became naturally a subject of discursion. The harvest them by military force.

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