+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

the solace of his home, and wants to go out
speechifying. That's our Proprietor's Wife's
new mission. Why, you never heard the
Dove go on in that ridiculous way. She
knows her true strength better.

You are mighty proud about your language;
but it seems to me that you don't deserve to
have words, if you can't make a better use of
'em. You know you are always fighting about
'em. Do you never mean to leave that off,
and come to things a little? I thought you
had high authority for not tearing each other's
eyes out, about words. You respect it, don't

I declare I am stunned with words, on my
perch in the Happy Family. I used to think
the cry of a Peacock bad enough, when I was
on sale in a menagerie, but I had rather live
in the midst of twenty peacocks, than one
Gorham and a Privy Council. In the midst
of your wordy squabbling, you don't think of
the lookers-on. But if you heard what I hear
in my public thoroughfare, you'd stop a little
of that noise, and leave the great bulk of the
people something to believe in peace. You
are overdoing it, I assure you.

I don't wonder at the Parrot picking words
up and occupying herself with them. She
has nothing else to do. There are no destitute
parrots, no uneducated parrots, no foreign
parrots in a contagious state of distraction,
no parrots in danger of pestilence, no festering
heaps of miserable parrots, no parrots crying
to be sent away beyond the sea for dear life.
But among you!—

Well! I repeat, I am not going to stand
it. Tame submission to injustice is unworthy
of a Raven. I croak the croak of revolt, and
call upon the Happy Family to rally round
me. You men have had it all your own way
for a long time. Now, you shall hear a
sentiment or two about yourselves.

I find my last communication gone from
the corner where I hid it. I rather suspect
the magpie, but he says, ' Upon his honor.'
If Mr. Rowland Hill has got it, he will do me
justicemore justice than you have done him
lately, or I am mistaken in my man.



THERE is a curious illustration of the mode
in which kings and legislators thought to
make things cheap, in an Ordinance of
Edward the Second, of the year 1314, in
which it is set forth that there is ' an intolerable
dearth, in these days, of oxen, cows,
sheep, hogs, geese, capons, hens, chickens,
pigeons, and eggs; ' and therefore, amongst
other regulations, it is prescribed that twenty
eggs shall be sold for a penny, and that the
eggs should be forfeited if the salesman would
not take that price. Some years before (1274),
the Lord Mayor of London, in a similar
proclamation, shows us how the commerce of
food was conducted, by ordaining that no
huckster of fowl should go out of the city to
meet the country people coming in with
their commodities, but buy in the city after
three o'clock, when the great men and citizens
had supplied themselves at the first hand.
Of course, these regulations did produce 'an
intolerable dearth;' and Edward the Second
had the candour to acknowledge this by a
proclamation of 1315, in which he says, 'we
have understood that such a proclamation,
which at that time we believed would be for
the profit of the people of our realm,
redounds to their greater damage than profit.'
Nevertheless, two centuries and a half later,
the civic wisdom discovered that ' through the
grievous covetousness of poulterers, the prices
of all poultry wares are grown to be excessive
and unreasonable; ' and therefore the Lord
Mayor decrees the prices of geese and chickens,
and commands that eggs shall be five a penny.
(Stow.) In 1597 we learn, that even an
attorney-general could not have the benefit
of such an enforced cheapness; for the
household book of Sir Edward Coke shows
us that his steward expended 4s. 8d. in one
week of May, for his master's family in
Holborn, by daily purchases of eggs at ten
for a groat; while at his country house at
Godwicke, in Norfolk, in the same year, he
daily bought eggs at twenty a groat in

The fact that in 1597 eggs were double the
price in Holborn as compared with the eggs
of Godwicke, is one of the incidental proofs of
an almost self-evident principle, that
commercial intercourse, produced by facilities of
communication, is one of the great causes of
cheapness arising out of equalisation of prices.
But such facilities further lower prices, by
stimulating production. It is to be noted,
that while the Attorney-General, when in the
country, killed his own bullocks and sheep,
and had green geese, capons, and chickens in
profusion out of his own poultry-yard, he
bought his eggs. We have no doubt that his
occasional presence at Godwicke encouraged
the cottagers in the provision of eggs for the
great man's use. He did not produce them
himself, for the carriage to London would
have been most costly. But his purchases
were irregular. When the family went to
Holborn, the eggs had to seek an inferior
market. If no one was at hand, the
production declined. They did not go to London,
to lower the price there, by increasing the

Eggs at ten a groat, even, sound cheap.
But while Coke bought his eggs at ten a groat,
he only paid two shillings a stone for his beef.
Ten eggs were, therefore, equivalent to about
two pounds of beef. In this month of April,
1850, good eggs may be bought in London at
sixteen for a shilling, which shilling would
purchase two pounds of beef. Eggs are,
therefore, more than one half cheaper in
London now than two centuries and a half ago, by
comparison with meat. They are far cheaper