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"And what of this new book, the whole world makes such a rout about? Oh! 'tis out of all plumb, my Lord ;-quite an irregular thing ;—not one of the angles at the four corners was a right angle;—I had my rule and compasses, my Lord, in my pocket.—Excellent critic!
“ And for the epic poem your Lordship bid me look at ;upon taking the length, breadth, height, and depth of it, and trying them at home upon an exact scale of Bossu's ;—'tis out, my Lord, in every one of its dimensions.-Admirable connoisseur !
“Grant me patience, just heaven! of all the cants which are canted in this canting world ;-though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst,—the cant of criticism is the most tormenting."
M. RICARDO, ESQ.
SIR, AMONG the duties we owe to society is that of endeavouring to counteract the effects of representations, which are likely to lead to the investment of capital in undertakings that might prove ruinous to those whose property becomes embarked in them; and there are few more entitled to our approbation than he who stands forward to expose the absurdity of schemes, which, though plausible, and to those incapable of judging correctly, apparently sound in principles, are yet delusive and without solid foundation.
In replying, therefore, to the objections of one who has stepped publicly forward to oppose a proposition, which, at first sight, certainly appears liable to be classed among projects of this kind, it becomes the respondent to give his opponent credit for motives of the most praiseworthy nature, provided that opponent has, in the first place, taken all possible opportunities of enabling himself to judge correctly of the proposition on which he pronounces his opinion; and provided, also, that his judgment be fair and just. But should it be evident, to a degree which renders it impossible to close our eyes against and shut out the perception, that instead of EXAMINING and drawing his conclusions from facts, such opponent has been unjust enough, not merely to suffer pre-conceived notions and prejudices grossly to bias his opinion, but also to misrepresent, mis-state, mis-quote, and falsify, common justice demands that the party he condemns should be allowed to enter his protest against a judgment, that cannot be less ungenerous than it is unjust.
In support of a proposition I advanced, as capable of an application, which, in my opinion, would be publicly beneficial in an important degree, I had a treatise of about 100 pages printed some time ago; and as the application of the principle which this pamphlet treated on, appeared to warrant it, the three words “ On Insular Defence” were impressed on its title page. But as I intended it for my friends, and not for the public, I had the words “FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION ONLY,” displayed on the cover.
In conformity with this precaution it was never published, advertised, nor sold; and has been seen only by those whose curiosity (expressed or implied) induced me to give it them. Understanding from a friend, that you wished to have more correct information as to my opinions on the subject it treated on, than common report gave, I put a copy of it into his hands for your perusal; which copy (or another) it appears you have in your possession.
In this treatise, I recommend the adoption of a method of transmission, by which it appears to me, that TIME may be saved in a degree that will be most important; and ExPENSE in a proportion that will be far from unimportant.
Under the hope of gaining attention to the proposition, I attempt to shew that in addition to advantages of a commercial nature, it will confer upon us the paramount benefit of impregnability, and render nugatory any attempt to subject us to the horrors of war, in the way we should have experienced, had Napoleon succeeded in his meditated attempt to invade us. And after giving a general view of the subject, so as to render it apprehensible by my friends, and endeavouring to make them see that the proposition was not impossible as related to practical application, I conclude, by urging its adoption on a short line; that those points which only practice can resolve might be ascertained; for the reason, that - on being once proved and found to answer for a few miles, the principle would become invaluable to us." With a view to this, “aud owing to an opportunity there given to prove it for a few miles, prior to incurring any very large outlay,” I recommend the formation of a Company to put it in practice between Brighton and Shoreham; stating that “should any person feel desirous of taking shares, it will be best first to witness and experience the operation of the principle which is in practice at Brighton ;” and as Shoreham is named above a dozen times, I considered it impossible that my object could be mistaken.