POLITICAL AND DOMESTIC CONDITION OF
*UNDER this title, the reader is presented with the statistics of the greater part of the civilized world, as well as with their political views, or at least with what Mr. BROWNING thinks their political -views ought to be. France, Russia, Prussia, Austria, are reviewed
in their territorial, numeriosl, financial, and military aspects, and briefly dismissed. Great Britain is examined upon the same points, but at greater length. The political opinions and views of the author may be characterized as neither very new nor very profound, but sensible and moderate; perhaps rather inclining to the Juste Milieu, with a disposition to pin his faith to certain authorities,• and take what they have told him for gospel. The value of the book does not thereforeconsist so much in its philosophical exposi- tion, as in its historical sketches and its exhibition of facts. It is clear, pleasant, and even gossiping to read; but its uses are as a work of reference. The numerous tables inserted through- out the volume are well arranged, intelligible, and readily under- stood : how far they will be available in practical researches, can only be told upon trial. In this, as in other cases, the end must try the book. It often happens that very imposing tables, when examined, either have not the fact wanted, or tell it incorrectly.
The sections of the volume, as divided by the author, are six- fold. The first embraces a sketch of our foreign policy since the Revolution; from which Mr. BROWNING concludes, that we ought never to interfere with Continental squabbles, that we should maintain a large and well-equipped navy, and that our whole policy should be insular and English. The second section contains reviews of the statistics and politics of the four leading Powers of Europe; the result of which is comfortable. The strength of Russia, Mr. BROWNING conceives, is overrated, and she has no power for aggressive war. The policy of Louts PHILIP is pacific; and if Austria and Prussia were inclined for war, their financial resources, the restless state of many of their provinces, with the disjointed nature of their territories, the ease with which they could be invaded by France, and the difficulty of defending
them, render peace desirable if not indispensable. The third division is devoted to the population of Great Britain; or, as the author expresses it, to "the expansion of numbers and power of ' maintenance, and to the prospective effect of the increase of population." The view is Anti-Malthusian : the text from wii:ch the author preaches is " Dwell in the land, and verily ye shag be
fed"—get families, and somehow or the other shall feed them. The fourth part relates to the Poor-laws; the new bill to regulate which, Mr. BROWNING approves of; aril to facilitate its working in the agricultural districts, he suggests the employment of redundant labourers in cultivating waste lands. This is a scheme which theoretically has great advantages: if paupers be employed in manufactures, they displace pro tanto the labour of some one else ; if in raising food, all they produce is clear gain. But there are countervailing drawbacks, which seem almost to render the plan impracticable. The right of private property in lands might perhaps be met by the Legislature: but agriculture requires a constant supply of labour for its operations; unlike those of manufactures, they cannot be suspended for an indefinite period, and recommenced—when they are ready to do, they must be done ; but as there exists no law to retain men in workhouses, it is probable that they might get employment elsewhere, or absent themselves at the very time they were wanted. In the fifth part, the monopoly of the Bank, and our currency, coin, and monetary system, are treated of. The author is averse to the privileges of the old Lady of Threadneedle Street, and to a gold or silver standard, or to both : he woull have an amalgamation— coins of gold and silver mixed together. The sixth and last sec- tion treats of our Finances. In this part there is nothing par- ticularly new or comprehensive. The writer advocates the prin. ciples which tire now generally received. He would abolish the taxes on raw materials, remit some of those interfering with manufactures, reduce those which are too high, and simplify the modes of management and collecting in the Customs and Excise. To accomplish this—the items are not all given—would involve a nominal loss of seven millions and a half; of which, two mil- lions and a half would, he calculates, be made up by increased • consumption ; about two millions more could be supplied by the extension of the tax on Legacies an Wills to Real Property : another two millions might be gained by retrenchments in various . ways, and one million by the " expansion of the natural re- sources,"—that is, the increase of the population—of people born to be taxed.