Images de page

Son. 275

ficularly to dissuade him from the indulgence of his passion for Laura, to which he was as much a slave after her death, as he had been during her life, the holy father makes use of every argument that can be drawn both from religion and morality. Would he have omitted the strongest of all arguments; would he have forgot to urge that Laura was the wife of another, and consequently that his passion was a crime in the fight of God and man?

'g'a. Convinced, as we must be, that the love of Petrarch was a virtuous passion ; we shall find, from the works of the poet, that he ardently desired to be united to Laura in marriage, and was even in the near prospect of that happiness.

Amor con quanto sforzo oggi mi vinci:
E se non ch'al defro cresce la speme
l' cadrei morto, ove piu viver bramo.

Son. 65
Già incomminciava a prender securtade
La mia cara nemica à poco a poco
De suoi sospetti ; e rivolgeva in gioco
Mie pene acerbe, sua dolce honeftade :
Preso era 'l tempo dov'amor fi fcontra
Con caftitate ; e a gli amanti e dato
Sederh insieme e dir che lor incontra.
Tranquillo porto havea mostrato amore
A la mia lunga e torbida tempefia.
Tempo era omai da trovar pace.'

Son. 276. The translated fonnet with which we were beft pleased is the third of the translator, on the Prospect of Valchiusa,

• Thou lonely vale, where in the fleeting years

Of tender youth I breath'd my am'rous pain ;
Thou brook, whose filver streams receiv'd my tears,

Thy murmurs joining to my forrowing strain,

I come, to visit all my former haunts again !
O green-clad hills, familiar to my fight !
O well-known paths, where oft I wont to rove,

Musing the tender accents of my love !
Long use and sad remembrance now invite,
Again to view the scenes which once could give delight.
Yes, ye are still the fame. -To me alone

Your charms decay; for she, who to these eyes
Gave nature beauty, now for ever gone,

Deep in the filent grave a mould'ring victim lies !' This is a kind of poetry, the production of which requires some of the qualities of a man of sense, but not one of those we denominate imagination, sensibility, vigour, and enthusiasm. M3


Son. 277.

Art. VIII. Elcys on the following Subjects ; Wealth and Force of

Nations; Authenticity of Osian ; Accompanyment; Existence of Body; Fortification ; Battle. By Charles M'Kinnon, Ejq. 8vo. gs. boards.

Creech, Edinburgh, 1785. IN these Essays, which are written in loose and unconnected

fentences, as if they were so inany aphorisms, and which appear to be the memorandums of a student, taken down from the mouth of his preceptor, we have not been able to discover one sentiment that is new, except in the dedication and preface ; quotations from which, by way of specimens of our author's abilities, we shall lay before our readers. Upon page 133 the word DEDICATION is printed, and stands folus upon that leaf. On page 135 Mr. M'Kinnon proceeds :

• The opinions in the following sheets were formed long before they were put into writing. I kept them by me for some time, and I print them now much against my will, merely because of an accident which left me answerable for their errors, and would have transferred any merit they had. The first treatise stood originally in less than a page, and had no figures ; but, having seen that no reputation or capacity could fecure a man from being charged with the most vulgar errors, I found myself forced to spread it : I added, too, fome applications of its principles. The second was, from the fame reason, made from the first, much longer than I could have wished. In these cir. cumstances, it is surely very unpleasant to me, who have never ferved, to print on military subjects; but, at least, I am not obliged to inquire whether heaven is defended by infinite artillery, or whether the devil charged in column.'

The following forms part of the author's preface to his Obfervations on Fortifications.

• The progress of the civil sciences has always been whimsical : that of the military sciences has been at least as whimsical; I think rather more so. The military sciences have been cultivated by men of great abilities. No doubt, there were heroes and inventors, when men fought with stones and clubs, and defended themselves in huts, dens, or trees. But then, from the time of Guftavus Adolphus (and we might go further back) there is a list of soldiers, whose names are not men. tioned but with veneration : in the others, there is a very long list of names which are mentioned with equal regard : Within that period, Rapin has been held a great historian, and Petty a great financier, and, on this so called science, no discovery has ever been made by a great general, nor by one who shewed genius on any other subject.

In this collection of observations, wholly taken from the writings of other men, we have one of the most palpable instances of the cacoethes scribendi, that has ever been exhibited to the world.

ART. Art. IX. Letters on exceffive Taxation. From a Philanthropiff, to

bis Royal Highness George Prince of Wales ; the Right Honourable Wil. liam Pitt, first Lord of the Treasury, and Chancellor of his Majesty's Exchequer; and several other Noblemen of the first Dillinction with an Address to the People of Great Britain. 8vo. 2s. 6d. Printed

for the Author, and sold by Fryer, London, 1785. THIS appears to be the production of an inventive but an

eccentric and ill-regulated mind. It seems, the author has written several letters to Mr. Pitt, and offered several hints on the subject of finance and taxation; some of which letters and hints have been favoured with a slight degree of attention from that young minifter, whom he accuses of pride, arrogance, self-sufficiency, &c.

• I only value men for their fuperior worth, virtue, and abilities, pot for their titles, exalted stations, wealth, or family blood; no further than the laws of subordination require, which are essential to good government.

• Divested of all vain ideas, I must beg leave to draw a line respecting superiority. --Suppose you are immaculate ; are you sure there is but one? I cannot think your supernatural ability gives you any confirmation you are the only one. Should you inherit infinite wisdom; could you presume you are the infinite Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ? Would you engrofs the omnipotence of the unity in trinity and trinity in unity, and center the infinite wisdom of the whole Godhead in your single breast? You must concur with me, so vain a presumption could not be admitted of. Since it is allowed there are three in heaven, what authority have you to circumscribe them to one on earth ? Solomon {ays, there is wisdom in many ; I wish to do justice to your extraordinary abilities, therefore shall suppose you Solomon the second. Can you expect to see the queen of the east come to pay her adoration to you, for stripping your people of the means of existence? Will she admire complaining in your streets, and your houses filled with mourning? as heaven, earth, and Solomon, the first admitted of the plural, I cannot see how you are justified in your contempt of me; which naturally must lead me to some further comparative observations. First, respecting the infatuation of the other side of the Tweed-high-blood-your's in elevation far exceed, yet may not be more pure--your predecessors had an opportunity of enjoying ease and intemperance, which occafions disease-mine were laborious and abftemious, which is inftrumental to purity- fo that, in a physical sense, you have little cause for exultation, I for envy-you have the advantage of education - I experience--you theory-I practice--you have studied languages and books—I books and men-you have been upwards of twenty years on the theatre of the world - I more than forty-you was born to fortune and friends—I 'to indigence, and by industry must acquire what I get.

• You, by fortune, friends, and situation, are sought after, Aattered, and idolized-), from scanty circumstancés, an vlified, traduced, and


misrepresented--reflect which has the advantage in acquiring wisdom ; we need not, like Saul, resort to Endor, or raise the body of Samuel, to solve that.

• You, like the splendid fun-flower, with the appendages of state, may look down with scorn and indignation on a poor violet, that can scarcely raise its head above the surface of the earth, and drouping, bent by a load of bitter essence, extracted from that preponderoas flower, which has much the advantage as to external appearance and magnitude, but as to its fuperiority, in fragrance or efficacy, to the disease in question, will admit of a doubt-I cannot think but that there is some justice in the metaphor, and bears some analogy to your conduct as a minister'.

Our author proceeds to give a sketch of those vicissitudes of life, which tend to render the understanding more perfect by the experience of misfortune, of which, it seems, he has had his full share.

Having thus given our readers a general view of this writer, as a man, we go on to lay before them fome specimens of his abilities as a financier. His general maxims, that the collection of taxes should be fimplified as much as possible, that taxes should not be compulsive, if poflible, but voluntary, and therefore laid, not on the neceffaries, but the luxuries of life, are juft. He proposes a plan for an annual lottery, by which government will have the whole use of the money, from year to year, without one farthing of expence, or any funded debt.

Admitting the tickets are issued on Lady Day 1784, and the last inftalment paid in by the latter end of Oētober 1784, the lottery to finish drawing January 1785, the prizes to be paid the beginning of November 1785; the lottery being annually, government will receive the last instalment for the second lottery before it will have occasion to pay the prizes for the first ; so that it will have the use and interest of the money for three quarters of a year or more ; and, great part of the time, will have the money of two lotteries in possession before it pays the prizes of one; which will be considerably more than the whole sum of one lottery being given to government.

- Comment. Though I am no advocate for lotteries, it is by far more conftitutional than partial taxation, and less ruinous than the Commutation Bill or Shop Tax will be, which was enforced to enrich a mercantile company, at the expence of beggaring a whole kingdom, or at least the most valuable part of it. This brings to my mind an observation of a celebrated politician, “ Merchants may grow rich while a nation grows poor.

The metropolis being supplied with malt liquor cheaper than the major part of the kingdom, the most indigent part, as our author justly observes, already pay after the rate of fourpence per pot, by the pennyworths, the farthing on the pint being added. He therefore proposes a tax on porter, which he thinks will be less oppressive, and more conftitutional, as it is by no means compullive or partial.


[ocr errors]

But our author has yet in reserve a plan, by which, if he is patronized by his countrymen, he will bind himself, under the severest penalties, even of limb and life, for it would appear that he could not fuffer essentially by the forfeiture of goods, to find resources that shall remove every obnoxious tax, diminish the enormous public debt, and establish a system that will prevent, in future, its accumulation, even in war. This he declares in the strongest and greatest variety of phraseology, in his address to the people of Great Britain ; in a letter to the Prince of Wales ; in sundry letters to Mr. Pitt; in one to the Duke of Marlborough ; in one to the Duke of Bedford; in one to the Duke of Devonshire ; in one to the Earl of Egremont; and in one to the Earl of Lonsdale.

This plan the minister requested to have in writing. But it is neceffary, the author tells us, for very particular reasons, that it should at present remain a secret. As a change of ministry might affect his system, he wishes to place it in the hands of the people : and for this purpose, that a patriotic association


be formed among his countrymen, for the confideration of it, he advises them to select one man out of every county, of the greatest honour and property, in whom they can place confidence: This association being formed, he will lay his plan before them, and convince them of its practicability, as well as its being equal to the great ends proposed.

In all this project of an association there is the greatest extravagance; yet, it is possible, that the projector may have conceived some ideas not unworthy of attention..

ART. X. The Whole Proceedings of the Meeting held at the Theatre in

Calcutta, on the 25th of July, 1785, to take into Consideration An A& for the Better Regulation of the Affairs of the East-India-Company, and of the British Dominions in India, & c. Together with the Resolutions of the said Meeting, and the Speeches of Mel. Dallas and Purling. To which are annexed the Resolutions agreed on by the Officers of the Third Brigade, fationed at Cawnpora.

Calcutta printed, London reprinted, 8vo. Is. 6d. Richardson, THE HE act of the 24th of his present Majesty, commonly called

Mr. Pitt's East-India-Bill, for the better regulation and management of the affairs of the East-India Company, and of the British poffeffions in India, and for establishing a court of judicature for the more speedy and effectual trial of persons accused of offences committed in the East-Indies, excited, among the British inhabitants of that country, that general alarm which was to be expected from a law, which compelled che fervants of the company, on their return to Great Britain, to deliver in, upon oath, an inventory of their whole property,


« PrécédentContinuer »