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A SHORT VIEW OF THE PRESENT?…

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A SHORT VIEW OF THE PRESENT? STATE OF THF ISLE OF MAN. Saltis Populi, suprerna Lex. It is a certain truth, that human nature was plunged, for many ages, into a state nearly ap- proaching to that of brutes, and in some respects much inferior and in all countries that are civi- lised, not merely a long space of time, but adven- titious circumstances and happy events, together with the gradual improvements of skill and po- licy, have conspired to raise mankind to the en- joyments of rational and social life. It happens to have been the fate of this little Island, for the space of above three centuries to have been rescinded, as it were, from its neighbouring country, to have lost the protection of Majesty, and the blessings which flow from a well-founded Government. Its fate hath been yet harder, by huving, amidst the ravages of war, been despoil- ed of its ancient records, existing- for a while without fundamental laws at length recovering them by oral tradition, from the mouths of ig- norant men, and thus putting them together, a crude and undigested heap, add to this, that no attempts have been at any time made by its Lords, to improve their country, to extend their traffic, to encourage their industry. Shut out as it were from all social advantages, depiived of the means as ell as the privilege of commerce with its neighbouring countries, they have en joyed, unnoticed, the bounties of nature, dealt to them wiih too frugal a hand. Of late years some i'ew adventurers amongst: the natives, hav- ing been shewn the way by sirangers living with them,allure-dby g!ariil prolits, and denied the benefits of a fair trad; have been tempted to carry on a clandestine one. But this trade, for thefwisest reasons, hath been totally suppressed by the Legislature of Great Britain. The increas- ing profits of this clandestine trade hath drawn many foreigners hither, and invited more and more of its natives to embark in it, and some few of the n, perhaps a dozen at most, had en- riched themsel ves cons idera hi y, when all Lbso- lute stop was put to it. This trade employed some hundreds of the poorer sort in different branches, and it introduced luxury uid plenty, and made money circulate in (he principal towns in the Island; but the far greaternumberof peo- ple who inhabited villages, the mountains, and the vallies, were strangers to the trade and its advantages an industrious hardy race, paliens operum, parvoque assueta, whose most luxurious draughts were lIJik, and whose daily food was sought for in the bosom of the deep. It is now feared hy many amongst them, who have been taught to live otherwise, that they must again return to their primitive state, be re-plunged into Uieir original ignorance and rusticity; that for want of trade they must want also specie for their common mtercourse of life; that they must supply each other's necessities, by exchanging commodities, and relapse at once into poverty and barbarism. A little reflection on the nature of man in general, on the desire of knowledge when once the-seeds of it are sown, oil the expe- rience of past agd, and the natural tendency of all hufnan affairs, will evince at once the weak" ness of this apprehension. The communications which they have had, of late years, with their neighbouring countries, and the conversation of strangers residing in their own, have opened their minds, enlarged their ideas, and given them R lions of trade, of agriculture, and manufac in which they are daiJy improving, as their'seve- sal,itt)ilities will permit. The- merchants who have enriched themselves by trade, are now pur- chasing large tracts of uncultivated lands, and improving them at great expense. An emulation seems to arise amongst them who shall be the greatest and best farmer, The growth of wheat, 1)1 flax, and the manufacture of linen cloth in the last year, were treble of what they have been ever before, and the produce of next year, by all appearances, will exceed this tenfold. This spi- rit will naturally diffuse itself through the coun- try, and warm the breast of evvirv individual. The plt-d->i:res of gain drawn Houi industry are parti- cularly sweet, and the prospect of it peculiarly alluring. Naked and wild as the country now is, not one- third of it. known to culture, it will soon wear a diifefeiit face, when five love of improvement, by these examples, spreads amongst its inhabitants; and spread it now must till some degree of per- fection is attained. How far indeed the assist- ance of the Legislature of Great Britain may in- crease and accelerate their improvements; how far indulgence's in trade, when they are seen to deserve them, may open their views, enlarge their plan of manufactures, ati(I tend to the easier Increase of people and of wealth, is left to the wisdom of the British Parliament to determine. It must however, be presumed, that an Island situated as this is, and capable of affording so many advantages to Bi itaii) by its number of in- habitants (near 25,000), by its skill in maritime iiffaifg, by its liifieries, by its growing industry by its unshaken loyalty at all times, to the pre- sent happy establishment, may be worthy of the Legislature's more immediate care. Enough hath, been done to restrain its illicit trade; an effectual stop is put to it by the regulations al- ready .made, .so effectual as to make the revival of it impossible But what is yet more effectual than the several laws, is the prospect of their own interest, which is now seen in their obedi- ence to them. The effects of a trade in opposi- tion to the laws of Britain, have been visibly in- jurious to the general good of the country. True it is, that it bath enriched « few, and very few, whilst it hath taken hundreds from their natural bent of industry, and rendered them, hy their luxury and extravagance unfit almost to return to better means of subsistence. It hath called away the attention of the most considerable amongst them from their country's interest to the pursuits of their own private gain, and they have been contented to see around them barren mountains, and uncultivated deserts, whilst they have enjoyed the prospect of real or imaginary wealth. A more pteasing scene is now in view the native merchant will not desert his country, an;! since traOic is 110, more, is now .beginning-to cultivate his land; nature plead" hard for its native soil, and the joys for improving it exceed all he hath ever known; a national ardor begins to prevajjji in the place of an unnatural commerce he now looks ahoct him, and wishes to see every thing flourish, which may tend to the common happiness and comfort; whilst he studies to make his own and every one's property more va- luable, he wishes to see it secure and permanent; he is desirous to introduce plenty and peace with it, and with this view he looks towards the laws of his country as the sole foundation on which he can secure property and quiet possession.

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