Page images

into rhyme with great facility: but we could wish for more originality in those thoughts. He is not sufficiently wild and inaccurate to make us expect better productions from future efforts. Through 46 songs in smooth measures, well rhymed, we looked in vain for novelty; in his epistles, and even epigrams, we sought unsuccessfully for wit or humour; and in his sonnets, our search for poetical imagery was equally fruitless..


In every page, the author is perpetually extolling the innocence and felicity of a peasant's life. His shepherds, and even his clowns, are Arcadian. He never omits to censure the Great, (of whom, we should suppose, he can know but little,) as miserable tools of a courtslaves of a high degree-rapacious rulers of the blood-stained earthplagued with the noise of the town-with pride,-ambition,-dependence on a monarch's smiles, &c. &c.

Many of the songs, and other pieces, of this poetic inhabitant of Carlisle, are written in the neighbouring dialect of Scotland, and may be thought to resemble that of the late Roby Burns: but it would be flattery to compare his genius with that of Burns.


Art. 56. Observations on the Political State of the Continent, should France be suffered to retain her immense Acquisitions; in which is reviewed her whole System of Aggrandizement, and the probable Advantages which she will derive from the Subversion of Italy, and the Possession of Belgium, on the Return of Peace. 8vo. pp. 147. 3s. 6d. Debrett.

[ocr errors]

These very sensible observations are thrown into an epistolary form, as being best suited to the desultory and unconnected manner in which they are written. The author is a strenuous advocate for a continuance of the war, rather than that France shall be allowed to retain a degree of power which would prove incompatible with the future security of Europe. Few of the arguments are new, yet the letters are replete with considerable information in several particulars relative to the powers on the continent *.


In the first letter, he says Every state has, in my opinion, its own physiognomy, if I may be allowed to use the expression, peculiar to itself: and as Lavater endeavoured to delineate the characters of the mind of man by the most striking features of the countenance, 1, with the map in my hand, study the peculiar cast of every state, by their physical geography, which includes the nature of its inhabitants and it appears to me, that a person well versed in this study, is less liable to err in his deductions, than the physiognomist already mentioned. Hence we may ascertain the genuine features of real and apparent strength; of fierceness and formidability; of rapacious inclinations and imperious sway; of inactivity, impotence, &c.'


Speaking of the advantages which France yet enjoys unimpaired, he says, She still retains her situation, soil, and climate; her circumference; her interior shape; her natural productions; her

[ocr errors]

We must bear in mind that these observations were made in the year 1798.-The article has been mislaid.

unity t

unity; and the same pliability of disposition among her inhabitants. What of all these has France lost by the revolution? Is the world lifted off its hinges, and France moved farther to the South or the North? Has an earthquake changed her situation and homogeneous shape?'

It is but fair to give the reader a specimen also of the able writer's candour: He tells his correspondent; You have expressed a desire to be made acquainted with my thoughts on the actual situation of affairs, and what I may suppose to be the future expectations of the several states of Europe from a peace concluded with France. If you expect to find my observation totally devoid of error, you expect too much.'

The pamphlet, however, contains many sensible and important remarks.

Art. 57. Constitutional Strictures on particular Positions, advanced in the Speeches of the Right Hon. W. Pitt, in the Debates which took place on the Union between Great Britain and Ireland, on the 23d and 31st of January 1799. By Willoughby, Earl of Abingdon. 8vo. IS. Barnes.

In this short treatise, the doctrine of the necessity of a supreme unlimited power being vested in governments is combated. In a letter from the late Sir William Jones to the noble author, (a copy of which appears in this publication,) is the following passage: "My wishes have been uniformly the same, to keep the three powers in our state within their just limits, measured by the equal balance of the law." The opinion of the great Earl of Chatham respecting the omnipotence of Parliament is quoted, and also the protest of the Lords on the Re


It is very generally believed that the present is by no means an eligible time for the discussion of abstract questions on political power; and especially of those in which the rights claimed on behalf of the people clash with the authority claimed for governments. It seems indeed a duty incumbent on men in high power, at this time, to advance such principles only as have a tendency to tranquillize the public mind. We decline entering into the present discussion, farther than to observe that unlimited powers, and a free constitution, appear to us to be contradictory terms.

Art. 58. Arguments for a Coalition against France. 8vo. IS. Hatchard. 1799.

After having pointed out the danger to other European powers from the extended dominion of France, this writer exhorts them to unite in their common defence, and not to be disheartened by the failure of preceding confederacies. He argues, justly, that a coalition formed from motives of fear and necessity, and for the purposes of defence, is much more worthy of reliance than a coalition originating in ambitious and greedy motives, in which each party has an interest separate from that of his confederates.

Late events, we hope, will assist the reasoning of this author, and encourage that general exertion which he recommends, in order to confine the power of France within such limits, as shall be consistent with the safety of the rest of Europe.


Art. 59. Principles of Taxation. By William Frend. 8vo. 18. 6d. Ridgeway. 1799.

Mr. Frend assumes, as the only correct principle of equitable taxation, that all subjects of the state shall be required to contribute to the public service in a just proportion to their means; and he asserts that this principle has not been followed in the income-tax, notwithstanding that it is specifically expressed in the preamble to the bill. He accuses the Minister of being unjust to the middle classes, and draws the following contrast between that gentleman and a noted character: (T. Paine :) The one would bring the poor and the rich together by levelling the rich; the other would increase the distance between the poor and the rich, by demolishing the middle class.'

Mr. F. remarks that Since, in all countries, there are some depending upon charity for support, and others are in possession of every enjoyment, there must be a certain income, which will exactly keep a man, his wife, and two children; and, if from this income any thing is taken away, the family is deprived of necessaries. Such a family also stands in need of unproductive capital; namely, cloaths, furniture, bed, &c. without which, the man's personal industry, and consequently the state, would be injured. On such a man the state could not consistently make any demand, much less on the man who depends on others for support.'

In this country, he supposes, an income of 30l. a-year from pcrsonal industry, with 201. unproductive capital, should distinguish the class of non-contributers to the state.

The contributers then, or they whose means are greater, may be compared with ease to each other. From the yearly income of any individual deduct thirty pounds, the remainder is a superfluity," a fit object of taxation. From his unproductive capital deduct twenty pounds, and the remainder is a superfluity, a fit object of taxation. Then, if the taxes on these superfluities are made proportional to the superfuities, the relative situation of the parties taxed is preserved, and they are after the payment of the tax in the same proportion to each other, as they were before the payment of the tax.'

On this scale of taxation, the author has given a table, and also tables of the comparative effect of Mr. Pitt's tax. Both the plans, perhaps, run too much into extremes. In Mr. Frend's calculations, the annual produce of industry is estimated as worth only one year's purchase; and in Mr. Pitt's calculations, the annual produce of industry is estimated at as many years' purchase as is given for land, or for perpetuities. It is evident on the one hand, that a man hav ing 2001. capital, without a profession or other means of obtaining more, is in a worse situation than a man without capital who has an occupation which produces to him annually 2001.,- and cannot afford to contribute so much. On the other hand, to exemplify the difference of situation between landed property producing 2001. per aunum, and industry producing the same sum; supposing land to be worth 20 years' purchase, and that the tax demanded the whole of income; then the landed proprietor would remain worth 38001. while the industrious man would be without means of subsistence. Of their former relative situations, no proportion would remain.

Mr. Frend has observed that, if the relation between a man with 6ool. productive capital, and the man with an income of 30 l. a-year from personal industry, could be ascertained, the proportion of the tax on productive capital to that on income from personal industry, might be also ascertained :-but this proportion he has not explained. The profits of industry may perhaps fairly be reckoned as equivalent to an annuity for years, but certainly ought not to be rated at as many years' purchase as an annuity for life. If the number of years were agreed, the proportion between the produce of landed estates and the produce of industry might be established.

There seems to us much propriety in leaving a certain quantum of property untaxed, as being necessary for subsistence; and in rating all above that quantity as superfluity, properly the object of taxation. Yet a more correct principle of deduction is mentioned in the latter part of Mr. Frend's pamphlet; where he proposes to fix a sum for a single man, an increased sum for a man and his wife, and a farther increase for every child under twenty-one years of age.

This small treatise appears to us, on the whole, to be of great utility; as well in promoting the inquiry, as in the advances which the author has made towards the discovery of the principles of equitable taxation. The real worth of a constitution,' says Mr. F. may be discovered from its mode of taxation: the nearer it approaches to the state of equal representation, the higher will be the principle of honour in that country, the more equitable will be its taxation."

With respect to some other observations on taxes as connected with representation, it is necessary to remind the author that, where customs and excise are established, no individual can escape taxation.


Art. 60. A Treatise on the Art of Painting, and the Composition of Colours, containing Instructions for all the various Processes of Painting. Together with Observations upon the Qualities and Ingredients of Colours. Translated from the French of M. Constant de Massoul. Published and sold by the Author of the Original, at his Manufactory, No. 136, New Bond-street, where Ladies and Gentlemen may be furnished with every Article necessary for Painting and Drawing*. 8vo. pp. 240. 4s. Debrett.

"Into our houses, places, beds, they creep,

They've sense to get what we want sense to keep!"

M. Constant de Massoul has taken some pains to produce a small volume on the art of painting, which he has culled from Fresnoy, Depiles, Leonardo da Vinci, and others who have discussed this subject; thus claiming, with true Gallic finesse, the meed bestowed on original exertions. Not less enterprizing on the score of gal lantry, he has paid his addresses to Dr. Dossie's Handmaid to the Arts. Deing a man of honour, he conceals the amour: but the process of making colours, so ostentatiously detailed, furnishes us with a clue to discover the intrigue; and from the tints, blushes, and the adoption of rouge, we pronounce his mistress to be a coquette.—

An ingenious mode of advertising the contents of a shop.

In short, this artful essay on the art of painting is extremely well calculated for tyros of the pencil, novices possessed of more money than genius, who, dazzled by the radiance of a splendid apparatus, close their eyes against the conviction which results from the use of a few simple colours in the hands of a professor of decided merit.

Men, whose cor.ceptions are warmed by a real sense of the beauties of nature and the attainments of art, delight in chastity of style. Red, blue, and yellow, are the three primitive colours; no more are wanted; judgment to compound, contrast, and harmonize, will en large the scale; and combinations ad infinitum will be produced by true science, whose object has been uniformly to create the most interesting effects by the most simple means. This doctrine is exemplified in the best specimens of both antient and modern masters, and is the practice invariably pursued from the infancy of colouring in the essays of Cimabue, to its maturity in the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds.

But lo and behold! gallantry and finesse are laid aside, the chemist and the scholar are dismissed, and the colour-grinder appears and makes his best bow! M. de Massoul's manufactory introduces to the notice of the public several French artists of eminence, and several French artists of eminence introduce M. de Massoul's manufactory to their friends.-This reminds us of what was said in consequence of the mutual praises alternately bestowed on each other, by a couple of indifferent poets:

"So two poor Rogues, when both their credits fail,
To cheat the world, become each other's bail.-"

We are always grieved when the names of men of talents are prostituted to the sordid views of dealers in any line.

Art. 61. A Plen, preceded by a short Review of the Fine Arts, to preserve among us, and transmit to Posterity, the Portraits of the most distinguished Characters of England, Scotland, and Ireland, since his Majesty's Accession to the Throne. Also to give Encouragement to British Artists, and to enrich and adorn London with some Galleries of Pictures, Statues, Antiques, Medals, and other valuable Curiosities, without any Expence to Government. By Noel Desenfans, Esq. 8vo. pp. 60. is. 6d. Law. 1799.

The object of Mr. Desenfans is sufficiently expressed in his title page. The mode in which he proposes to accomplish it is by appropriating the British Museum to the purpose,-among others, not excluding that to which it is at present confined,-of receiving portraits of eminent men and specimens of antient art. The expence of the institution, he suggests, should be defrayed by the curiosity of the public, in the same manner as the wealth of the Royal Academy is annually increased by an exhibition.-In the review of the Fine Arts, we observe several ingenious and judicious remarks, expressed in language which it would be ungenerous to criticise, were it sufficiently defective to require animadversion: but this is not the case. It is to be remembered that the writer is not a native of this country: but, by having lived nearly thirty years' among us, he writes English as well as the generality of our pamphleteers.



« PreviousContinue »