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Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 350, December 1844   By:

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BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NO. CCCL. DECEMBER, 1844. VOL. LVI.

CONTENTS.

The Scottish Banking System, 671

The Milkman of Walworth, 687

Injured Ireland, 701

Singular Passages in the Life of a Russian Officer, 713

Traditions and Tales of Upper Lusatia. No IV. The Moor Maiden, 726

"That's What We Are," 741

Edmund Burke, 745

My College Friends. No. II. John Brown, 763

Nelson's Despatches and Letters, 775

Guizot, 786

EDINBURGH: WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET; AND 22, PALL MALL, LONDON.

To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed.

SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.

BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No. CCCL. DECEMBER, 1844. Vol. LVI.

THE SCOTTISH BANKING SYSTEM.

When any important branch of national polity has been impeached, arraigned, and brought to stand its trial before the bar of public opinion, it is satisfactory to know that the subject has been thoroughly investigated, since a searching investigation alone can excuse a verdict, be it of acquittal or of condemnation. That no man can be twice tried upon the same indictment, is a proud boast of the British constitution. It would be well if the same rule were always applied when mightier interests than those of individuals are at stake!

It is just eighteen years ago since a ministry, feeble in practice, but strong in speculative theory, ventured to put forth its hand against the monetary system of Scotland, under shelter of which the country had improved and thriven to a degree of prosperity never experienced to the north of the Tweed before, and at a ratio which far exceeded that of any other nation in Europe. In the short space of half a century, the whole face of the country had changed. From a bleak, barren, and dilapidated region for such she undoubtedly was for many years subsequent to the last rebellion of 1745 Scotland became, with the shortest possible transition, a favourite land of husbandry. Mosses and muirs, which, at all events since the forgotten days of the Jameses, had borne no other crop than rugged bent or stubborn heather, were subjected to the discipline of the plough, and produced a golden harvest of grain. Woods sprang up as if by magic, from the roots of the old Caledonian forest, to hide the nakedness of the land and redeem the national reproach. The towns and boroughs which had never recovered from the terrible blow inflicted upon them by the failure of the Darien scheme, in which nearly the whole capital of Scotland was embarked, and which had lost the greater and more valuable portion of their trade, and dwindled down into almost hopeless insignificancy began to revive again. New manufactures were established, the older ones were extended; the fisheries rose immensely in magnitude and importance; the mountainous districts were made profitable by the breeding and export of sheep and cattle; and even the rugged shores of the Hebrides furnished for a time a most profitable article of commerce. All this took place in a poor and very neglected country. England for a long time knew little of what as going on in the north; perhaps her eyes were then riveted, with more than the anxiety of a gamester's, upon the great stakes for which she was contending on the red battle fields of Europe. This much she knew, that Scotland could produce in time of need ay, and did produce levies of men, whose high heroic courage, steady discipline, and daring intrepidity, were the theme even of their enemies' admiration; and of these services she was, and is, justly and generously proud... Continue reading book >>


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