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is suffering all manner of affliction. though their lineaments are imprinted Her story is given at full length. on our memory, are drawn with skill, Many misfortunes had befallen her vigour, and effect. The besetting dansince they parted; but through all the ger into which the author of a work vicissitudes of her fate, she had re- like the present is most apt to be bemained true to the man by whom her trayed, is that of representing his chavirgin heart had been subdued. There racters as influenced by motives altois some pathos in the meeting with gether alien to the whole habits of Shireen, but more in that with Selim. their mind. Orientals drawn by an Selim is a prisoner, and condemned European are always likely to have by Nader to death. Ismael exerts all an unnatural tinge of Europeanism in his influence to procure his pardon, their modes of thought and action. but in vain. Stung to madness by The poles are not more opposite than this, he determines to share the fate of a Hindoo or Persian is, in the whole his friend-beards Nader to his face, cast and structure of his mind, to an and bares his neck to the executioner. Englishman. They acknowledge no The heart of the great chieftain, ale common principles of right and wrong. beit unused to the melting mood, Their motives, their tone of sentisoftens at the sight of so much disin- ment, and consequently their actions, terested friendship. Selim is pardon are altogether at variance, and must ed, and Ismael made happy by the be judged of by a different standard. hand of his first love.
In a work of Eastern fiction, a writer Such is the termination of the third cannot look into his own heart, to volume, but we rejoice to say, that learn what feelings any given circumshould his first attempt be successful stances would excite in those whom -of which we entertain no doubt he delineates. If he does, he will draw the author intimates his intention of Europeans, not Asiatics. continuing his labours, and presenting In this respect, however, the vigius with a continuation of the life of lance of the author has been unceathe Kuzzilbash. In this we trust he sing; and though in one or two inwill not disappoint us. We trust he stances we think he has not been emi. will go on as he has begun, and intro- nently successful in avoiding the error duce us to the hearths and homes of we have mentioned, we do not hesitate Khorasan ; picturing, with the skill of to assert that his failures have both which he has already given abundant been fewer and more venial than those specimens, all interesting particulars which are abundantly discernible both of the habits, modes of thought, and in Anastasius and Hajji Baba. We domestic life, of the various tribes now bid farewell to the Kuzzilbash, a which own the dominion of the Shah. book we have read with greater inte
Of the characters delineated in these rest than any which has recently isvolumes, we have said little ; yet not sued from the press. We anticipate because little deserved to be said. In for it a wide popularity; but should truth, many of them are excellent. we be deceived in this, we shall not Nader, Ibrahim, Omer Khan, Foujee hesitate to attribute our error rather to Allee, and several others whose names the obtuseness of the public, than to we cannot at this moment recall, any want of merit in the work itself.
THE USURY LAWS.
The conviction is very generally law, he gives them ample power to entertained, and loudly uttered, that extort whatever they may wish withthe House of Commons-speaking of out it. His measure annuls the Usury it as it is for the time composed in re. Laws in the most material parts of spect of persons-has, in so far as their operation. Well, separating his knowledge and wisdom are concerned, absurdities from what he seeks to acgreatly lost the confidence of the coun- complish, no individual has been found try. Never did any House of Com- amidst his senatorial brethren to make mons exist, since this generation came an effort for protecting the reputation into being, which was so much ridi. of the House from the disgrace and culed on the score of ignorance and ridicule they must bring upon it. His imbecility, and so much feared on that opponents are gained. One has his of pernicious principle and measure, objections wholly removed, another as the present one. The conduct which finds his scruples greatly weakened, this House has displayed touching the and a third will say nothing. All seem projected change of the Usury Laws, to be delighted that a pretext is affordproves, that the character it has ac- ed them for ranging themselves with quired is by no means an undeserved the “ liberal and enlightened.” one. Mr P. Thompson, the worthy We are well aware, that a defence parent of the change, feels, as he of the Usury Laws made by an angel frankly owns, an intense longing for from Heaven, would not have the the total repeal of the laws in ques. smallest weight with the House of tion; but being seized with a paroxysm Commons, or certain of the Ministers; of “conciliation” and “liberality,” he and we are not undertaking to write throws out the weather-beaten flag of such a defence, in the hope that we compromise, and proposes a measure can make any impression on either. which is to satisfy all sides. He will We are free from all such folly. Mr content himself with taking a part to Thompson's Bill, we imagine, will satisfy himself and his friends; and pass the House we bave named, supa he will generously leave a part to sa« ported by Ministers, and without en. tisfy his opponents. How does the countering anything worthy of being munificent man make his division ? called opposition. A few Members will He actually seizes the lion's share- make long speeches in favour of it, he monopolizes the operation of the consisting of assertions and assumpUsury Laws, and leaves to his oppo. tions, and evading the merits of the nents a name and mutilated form ute question-a few more will, following terly worthless! He will abolish the the example just set by Mr Goulburn, laws in so far only as they vitiate con laud these speeches very extravagantly tracts and impose penalties; that is, a few more will renounce the errors he will abolish them in so far only as and heresies they have so long cherishthey have material effect. In making ed, and dilate on the transcendent wise the division, Mr Thompson commits dom they and their brethren are disabsurdities truly indescribable. He playing a few more will grumble a will not punish usurers, whatever may litile-and then it will be sent in tribe their extortions, but he will not umph to the Lords. We know not suffer them to recover by law more that it will have worse success with than five per cent. He places a law the latter. But we find nothing in in the Statute Book, the violation of this to scare us from our undertaking. which he not only exempts from all A vast portion of the community knows, punishment, but declares to be highly alas ! from bitter experience, that in meritorious. He states it to be an in these days the sanction of both Minifallible principle, that all men have a stry and Parliament is no evidence clear and undoubted right to obtain as that a change of law is wise in prinmuch interest for their money as pos- ciple, and will be salutary in operasible, and yet he prohibits them from tion; and it will listen impartially to asserting this right by law. He, howe both sides. If we can prove that the ever, is careful that his absurdities enemies of the Usury Laws are comshall do no injury to his object; while pletely in error in their leading prinhe refuses to usurers the aid of the ciples, and are in utter ignorance touch
ing various essentials of the question, this preamble" That the repeal of we shall not write in vain, even though the 37th Henry VIII. had not been we create no impediments to their suce attended with the hoped-for effects, cess. We shall strengthen those feel. but that usury had more and more ings, which, if we are not greatly abounded, to the utter undoing of mistaken, will speedily make mighty many gentlemen, merehants, occuchanges and innovations amidst seats piers, and others, and to the hurt of in Parliament.
the commonwealth.” We derive much comfort from the In 1625, the rate of interest was reknowledge, that if we err on this quese duced by law to eight per cent; the tion, we err in reputable company. preamble of the Act assigns these as Saying nothing of various foreign the reasons." Whereas there is at names of the first eminence, we think this time a very great abatement in as Bacon, Locke, Child, D'Avenant, the value of land, and in the mer. Adam Smith, the late Lord Erskine, chandizes, wares, and commodities of &c. thought. Here is an assemblage, the kingdom, both at home and also which comprises philosophy, learning, in foreign parts, whither they are talent, and practical knowledge, quite transported; and whereas divers subsufficient to shield us from disgrace. jects of the kingdom, as well the gena It may be very true, that no authori. try as merchants, farmers, and trades, ties on any subject ever existed, until men, both for their necessary occa. these great living men were born, who sions, for the following of their trades, call themselves the only authorities on maintenance of their stocks, and emall subjects; and that the names we ployments, have borrowed, and do bora hare cited are below contempt, when row, diverse sums of money, wares, compared with those of Bentham, merchandizes, and other commodities, M'Culloch, Thompson, Warburton, but by reason of the said general fall Brougham, &c. All this may be very and abatement of the value of land, true, but if we doubt it we shall be and the prices of the said merchandizes, pardoned by those whose favour we wares, and commodities, and interest covet.
on loan continuing at so high a rate as Mr Thompson proves that he is ten pounds in the hundred pounds for very poorly qualified for attempting a year, doth not only make men un. to change the Usury Laws, by the ige able to pay their debts, and continue norance he manifests touching their the maintenance of trade, but their origin. He asserts, that they origina debts daily increasing, they are forced ted in superstition. It is, however, to sell their lands and stocks at very due to him to say, that he has been low rates, to forsake the use of merled into this error by the great teach chandize and trade, and to give over ers of the school to which he belongs; their leases and farms, and so become he only repeats what they printed for unprofitable members of the commonthe use of their pupils.
wealth, to the great hurt and hinderLaws against usury existed in the ance of the same." Roman empire many centuries before Now for the effects which were be. they were known in this country. lieved to flow from this reduction of They were re-considered, altered, ex interest. Sir Thomas Culpepper, in a tended, and enforced on public grounds, treatise written some years afterwards, in the most enlightened days of the states," This good success doth call Empire, by the greatest of its children. upon us not to rest here, but that we From such an example they were in bring the use for money to a lower troduced into this country. To what rate, which now, I suppose, will find our Usury Laws owed their birth, is no opposition, for all opposition which in truth of no moment, for their esta before the statute was made against it, blishment was in reality for some time is now answered by the success; and a mere matter of experiment. In 1545, most certainly the benefit will be much the interest of money was fixed by sta- greater to the commonwealth, by calltute at ten per cent. This statute con- ing the use for money down from tinued in force for seven years, and eight to six, or even five per cent, was then repealed. Then for nineteen than it was from calling it down from years the interest of money had no le ten to eight per cent." gal limit. Then the statute of 1545 Sir Josiah Child, an eminent mere was restored by Queen Elizabeth on chant, writes,-" In 1635, within ten
years after interest was brought down from time to time, by experience, been to 8 per cent, there were more mere found very beneficial to the advancechants to be found upon exchange ment of trade, and improvement of worth each a thousand pounds and lands,” &c. &c. upwards, than were formerly, that is We have said abundantly sufficient before 1600, to be found worth one to prove, 1. That the Usury Laws had hundred pounds each. That in 1621, their origin in public necessity; they before the reduction of interest, the were enacted to remove great and current value of land was twelve years manifest evils. purchase, which soon after rose con- . 2. That they were re-enacted, after siderably higher."
having been for some time abolished, Cromwell reduced the rate of in because it was believed their abolition terest from 8 to 6 per cent in 1651, had been prolific of individual and and the reduction was confirmed, after national injury. the Restoration, on these grounds, And, 3. That they have been again “ Forasmuch as the abatement of in- and again, at distant intervals, disterest, from ten in the hundred, in cussed, revised, and confirmed by the former times, hath been found, by greatest men of different periods, solely notable experience, beneficial for the upon principles of individual and pubadvancement of trade, and improve lic benefit, and without any reference ment of lands by good husbandry, to superstition and prejudice. with many other considerable advan- And now, what are we to think of tages to the nation," ---" and that Member of the House of Comwhereas, in fresh and recent memory, mons, who attempts to destroy these the like fall, from eight to six per laws, on the ground that they are the cent, hath found the like success to offspring of superstition and prejuthe general contentment of the nation, dice; and what are we to think of his as is visible by several improvements," law-making brethren who support &c. &c.
him? In this House intellect marches · Touching the effects of this reduce in a very odd manner, and knowledge tion, Sir Josiah Child thus speaks, displays itself in a manner equally « Now, since interest has been for odd. twenty years at six per cent, notwith We have said this much of the oristanding our long civil wars, and the gin of the Usury Laws, because assergreat complaint of the dulness of tions like this of Mr Thompson have, trade, there are more men to be found in these distempered times, infinitely upon the Exchange now worth ten more weight than valid evidence of thousand pounds, than were then of pernicious nature and effect. The one thousand pounds.
capacity of our present race of law“ Which ever way we take our destroyers is capable of very little, bemeasures, to me it seems evident, that yond heaping slanders on the laws since our first abatement of interest, they wish to destroy; and the cons the riches and splendour of this kinga viction of those, by whose aid they dom are increased above four (I may work, can scarcely comprehend anysay above six) times as much as they thing save such slanders. were. Our customs are much im The following are the great objects proved, I believe above the proportion of the Usury Laws. To keep the of six to one, which is not so much price of the loan of money at the lowan advance of the rate of goods, as by est rate, compatible with the just the increase of the bulk of trade. If rights of the lender-to make it the we look into the country, we shall same to all borrowers, the poor as well find lands as much improved since the as the rich, and thereby to protect the abatement of interest as trade in cities. mass of the community from scarcity 1, and those I converse with do per of loans-to keep it from sudden and fectly remember, that rents did gene- violent fluctuations, and make it, as rally rise after the late abatement of far as possible, the same in all times interest."
and circumstances-and to prevent In 1714 the rate of interest was lenders of money from taking unjust finally reduced to five per cent, on the and ruinous advantages of borrowers, ground that," the reducing of in- and place both on an equality. terest to ten, and from thence to eight, of course, to prove that these laws and thence to six in the hundred, hath are erroneous in principle, the usurers ought to prove, that what they are commodities of trade : taking this as intended to do ought not to be done. their fact, their inference is, that They ought to prove that scarcity of money ought to be treated by law loans to the mass of the community- like such commodities. Their strength sudden and violent fluctuations in the lies principally here. This fact and rate of interest-a high rate of interest inference are with them irresistible -a rate of interest varying according evidence, that the Usury Laws ought to person, favouring the rich, and to be abolished, independently of other ruinously high to the less wealthy, are reasons. things highly beneficial, or at the least, Now, is it a fact in reality, or is it not pernicious. They ought to prove a fiction miscalled a fact, that money that lenders of money should possess is a commodity similar to other com baleful advantages over borrowers. Do modities? If the fact be demolished, they prove this? They do not attempt nothing, of course, can save the poor it ; on the contrary, they own that the inference. Men of common sense are state of things, which the laws are well aware, that in regard to this intended to prevent, ought not to be. question, money employed as trading
At any rate, the usurers ought to capital is a perfectly different thing prove, not by assertions of their own, from money employed in making loans. but by evidence tendered by the com- Money employed in buying and selle munity at large, that these laws oper. ing land, merchandize, manufactures, ate perniciously. Do they cite such &c. is a commodity like other com. evidence? No. A Parliamentary commodities, and so the law treats it. mittee examined witnesses, and re- When so employed, it is exempted ported on the Usury Laws in 1818; from the operation of the Usury Laws, and not one of the witnesses, even of and its owner may charge any rate of those who were hostile to the laws, interest whatever. had ever heard it remarked, that this But money as a loan differs wholly country, as a great commercial one, from commodities of trade, in both was subject to inconvenience in con- nature and circumstances. Speaking sequence of their existence. Previously generally, the price of the commodity to the last few years, not a complaint is regulated by the intrinsic value, was made against these laws by the and it is the same to all; but the community, but, on the contrary, the price of the loan of money is regu. belief that they were highly beneficial Jated by the credit of the borrower, was universally entertained. In late and to almost every borrower it varies. years, a very few petitions were pre- The poor can buy the commodity as sented to Parliament against them; easily and cheaply as the rich ; but but they were manifestly dictated by the difficulty of procuring the loan is other things than practical suffering. increased, and its price is raised, in Up to the present hour, the com- proportion to the poverty of the bormunity at large has never made the rower. The commodity is an article least complaint, and this forms the of barter, and all who traffic in it can most decisive proof imaginable, that obtain about the same rate of profit, the Usury Laws, at any rate, have and can proportion their selling to not operated injuriously. To abolish their buying price, so as to make it laws of such gigantic and incessant commonly yield them a profit ; but operation, in the teeth of a proof like the loan is a thing which is only lent this, is, in our poor judgment, what to be returned-borrowers can only would be proposed only by the most gain about the same rate of profit from crazy theorist, and what would be employing it, while each has to pay, attempted only by a government re- for the use of it, a different price from gardless alike of its duty and its re. what is paid by the others. They putation.
cannot alter their rate of profit, as the As the usurers cannot plead any of price for the use of it is raised to the rational and valid reasons, which them. The profit derived from traf. alone can justify the abolition of laws ficking with the commodity is often the of great operation, what do they plead ? greatest when the price is the highest; They naturally take their stand chiefly the profits derived from the loan com. upon abstract principle. Casting prac- monly fall as its price rises. tical effects to the winds, they affirm But it is with reference to its effects that money is a commodity, similar to amidst the community that we must