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be ranked with the pooreft scribblers in Grub-Street. We think her, indeed, much inferior to a Burney and a Brooke, female writers who have figured so honourably in the stile of romance. To speak as critics, we think her reputation somewhat greater than her just pretensions; though, so far as it is productive of emolument to herself, we are by no means defirous to detract from it. But we can honestly afcribe to her a considerable degree of feeling and sensibility, and no mean efforts in the stile of the pathetic. While thefe qualities are valuable, and while novels continue to be a commodity in so great request, we cannot wish to see the public better served, upon ordinary occafions, than by the author of the Recess.
Art.XII, Criticisms on the Rolliad. Part the Firft. Second Edition,
corrected and enlarged. Svo. zs. 6d. Ridgway, London, 1785.
E noticed the first edition of this humorous and acri
monious publication, in our Review of April 1784. It now appears with some alterations, and many additions. The novelties in this edition are chiefly the dedication to Sir Lloyd Kenyon, the lines on Mr. Dundas in No. 3, all the latter part of No. 8, from the verse
“ With the Queen's leave, your Warren's ivory bed ;" The verfes, &c. on the House of Commons' clock, in No. 9, and the whole of the two concluding numbers.
That the scourge of the writer, or writers of this publication has loft nothing of its severity, will appear from the following character of Mr. Dundas.
- Whofe exalted fout
The Weft he would have starv’d; yet, ever good,
ecure, to make her flourish, as before,
More populous, by losing myriads more.' The additions to No. 8 are upon India matters ; Mr. and Mrs. Hastings, the Tea-act, Mr. Pitt, and Mr. Steele. In the lines where the breakfaits of the present age, and those of our Saxon ancestors, are contrafted, and the effects they are supposed to produce enumerated, there is much good writing and keen fatire. Mr. Pitt's breakfast with Mr. Steele, at Brighthelmstone, is likewise a delicate morsel for the satirical appetite. In the 13th Number, Merlin being asked, why he observes fo.cautious a silence with regard to the opposition side of the house ? falls into a violent paffion; and, after having tried in vain to speak, at last exclaims, -" Tatterdemalions, " scald-miserables, rascals and rascallions, buffoons, depen“ dants, parasites, toad-eaters, knaves, sharpers, black-legs, “ palmers, coggers, cheaters,” &c. &c.
Thus obliquely informing us, that the sole merit of the minifterial writers confifts in calling names, in abuse, without wit or poignancy. The 14th number is dedicated to an account of the education and no-learning of Mr. Rolle. A column is supposed to be erected on the spot where he went to [chool.
On this hallow'd land,
How much great Rolle was fogg’d, how little learn'd.'
Such are the novelties of this edition, which are equal to any thing in the first--the wit flows as easily and abundantly, and the proportion of acid is by no means lessened.
Art. XIII. The Reports of the Commissioners appointed to examine, take,
and fiate the Public Accounts of the Kingdom ; presented to his Majesiy, ard' to both Houses of Parliament; with the Appendixes complete. By John Lane, Secretary to the Commisioners. Volume the Second, 4to. il. is. Boards. Cadell, 1785.
THESE Reports had been published before, each seperately;
as it came from the hands of the commiffioners, though certainly not with such authenticity and correctness as they poffefs in the present form. This volume contains the eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth reports. Of the firft four of these, as well as of the institution of the commission of accounts, and the spirit and tendency of the reports of the commissioners in general, we have already given an account in our Review for April, 1784. What remains for us to do, is to lay before our readers the drift or object of the twelfth report, which concludes the volume before us.
This report relates to the manner of passing the accounts of the treasurer of the ordnance, in the office of the audicors of the imprest. It was presented to his Majesty, upon the 9th of June, and to both houses of parliament upon the rith of June, 1784.
The office of ordnance is governed by a master-general, and a board uuder him, all appointed by separate lettets patent.
The board consists of five principal officers; the lieutenant general, the surveyor general, the clerk of the ordnance, the store-keeper, and clerk of the deliveries ; any three of whom form a board. The duty of these officers, both collectively as a board, and in their seperate capacities, being described, the commissioners proceed to inquire by what general rules the business of the ordnance is conducted in the several departments.
Among other observations, tending to the establishment of such regulations as may form a system of economy, whether of receipt or expenditure in the ordnance «epartment, the commiflioners declare, that it appears from this inquiry,
“That the auditor of the imprest is employed upon the ordnance, as upon the navy and other accounts that have been before us, in little more than comparing different entries of the same sums, and examining the formality of vouchers, and the accuracy of computations and castings : those circumstances of thę account in which the interest of the nation is the most materially concerned, the terms of the contract, and the fidelity of the execution, are not within his seach; the board of ordnance alone are intrusted to decide upon them, and upon the authority of the signature of the board officers he admits the voucher for an expenditure to be true in every circumstance,
except in those which, being considered as the least important, are usually committed to the care of inferior clerks.'
The commissioners have not been able, in the progress of their inquiry into the manner in which the public accounts are audited in this office, to discover, from those which have hitherto come under their consideration, any folid advantage derived to the public, from the examination given to them by the auditor of the imprest; and, for that reason, they have fuggested the propriety of exempting them from his jurisdiction, and the urgent neceffity of relieving the nation from so heavy, and to all appearance fo unneceffary an expence.
In conclusion, the commissioners lay before the public the following important information.
• The office before us is an office of control ; it is instituted as a check
upon the public accounts : the allowance of the auditor being necessary to every article both of the receipt and expenditure, the state of the account, as between the public and the accountant, must continue unknown until the balance is ascertained by the auditor at the completion of his examination; and consequently, that balance, however great it may be, if in favour of the public, remains with the ac- . countant; if in favour of the accountant, remains with the public, until that period. Hence it may be the interest of the accountant to purchase, at a high price, either delay or expedition in passing his accounts; and, should an officer be corrupt, the permission to receive fees and gratuities is an obvious method to obtain it; and, therefore, we are of opinion, that the payment of fees and gratuities by the person accounting, however confined by usage as to the quantum, is a mode ill adapted to the constitution of this office, and to the nature of the business there transacted.
• We do not say, or mean to infinuate, that we have discovered any instance of such abuse in this office; but the mode is open to it ; and a wise government does not wait for the mischief; it guards, as far as human prudence can guard, against the posibility of the evil : it prevents or removes the temptation.
• But there is ancther, and still more weighty reason for a reform in the mode of defraying the expences of this office.
• The service of the presiding officer bears no proportion to the magnitude of his profits. A deputy auditor tells us, in his examination annexed to our eighth report, that the whole business of the office is transacted by the deputy and clerks; from the year 1745 until the year 1781, that is for thirty-six years, he did not recollect that the principal ever executed any part of it: to him, therefore, it was a perfect finecure. The business of the office is of the same kind now it was then; the quantity is increased ; and that increase requires an addition to the number of clerks : but it does not make the interven. tion of the principal officer more necessary; the whole of the business is properly the labour of clerks only; and, therefore, though the present auditors have paid an attention beyond their predecessors, by regulating their offices, accelerating the public accounts, and bringing
up the arrears ; yet Mould men less actiye hereafter fill thefe ftations, they may again sink into finecures, and excellive ftipends be paid every year to oficers unprofitable to the public. In the year 1782, one of these officers received net fixteen thousand five hundred and fixty-five pounds eight shillings and eight pence; the other, ten thousand three hundred and thirty-one pounds, five shillings, and eleven pence : in the year 1783, the one received net fixteen thousand two hundred and thirty pounds four fillings; the other, fixteen thousand three hundred and seventy-three pounds three shillings and four-pence.
The public cannot afford to maintain officers of any description at such an expence. This nation is in debt above two hundred and thirty millions : it raises every year, to pay the interest and charges attending that debt, above eight millions seven hundred thousand pounds; of which above nineteen thousand eight hundred pounds, the bank fee alone, is to be paid every year to these officers, for bufiness from whence the public derive no benefit : and, should additions be made this year to the public debt, unless the legislature will interrole their authority, these fees of office will have their addition likewise : the profits of the auditors of the impreft rise in proportion to the increase of the public distress. Upon these reasons we ground our opinion, that the public good requires that all fees and gratuties, in the office of the auditors of the imprest, should be forthwith abolished ; that the profits of the auditors themselves should be reduced to a reason.' able fiandard ; and that every officer and clerk in the said office should be paid, by the public, a ceitain fixed annual falary, in proportion to his rank and employment, in lieu of all falaries, fees, and gratuities whatsoever : and we continue to adhere to the opinion we have ftated in our last report, seeing no reason to depart from it, that no right is vested in the auditor, either by the letters patent by which he holds his office, or by ufage, that can be opposed to this reduction and regulation.'
The gentlemen, who have acted in this revived commission of public accounts, unite great application and talents for business, with public spirit, political knowledge and invention; and a very pleasing and correct manner of writing. The commissioners of public accounts are the most zealous, diligent, and efficient of all our reformers.
· In the papers that form the appendix, and by far the greater portion of this volume, the facts that the commiffioners allude to, and on which they ground their reasonings, ' are recorded, and properly authenticated.
Art. XIV. An Address to the Landed, Trading, and Funded Interests of England, on the present State of Public Affairs. 8vo.
Is. 6d. Stockdale. London, 1786. THIS publication, which seems to have been written under
the most serious impressions of the present dangerous, and new, and unprecedented situation of Great Britain, contains