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in view would confer the greatest benefits, determined to fupport he pretensions by force of arms. From a comparative view of the roa Tources and strength of the Dutch and the emperor, it is probable, that in a contest in arms victory would ultimately declare itself in favour of the latter. But it is not the respective force of these contendo ing powers that will decide the quarrel, but the interference of neighbouring states and princes. The eyes of Europe, therefore, are not more turned towards Austria and Holland, than to France, Pruffia, Ruffia and England. The contending parties, aware of this, endeavour to conciliate favour, by a few of moderation. France and England, exhausted by the late war, are in a state whichi naturally feeks for repose. England feems determined to observe å ltrict neutrality. France, interested to check the aggrandizement of a neighboyring monarch, who pofleffes claims on part of her dominions, la bours to prevent an appeal to arms, by all the artifices of intrigué and negotiation. If, however, such an appeal should actually be made she is bound by policy as well as by treaty, to' espoule the cause of the Republic. Yet even in that case the French queen, with her numerous party, might find means, by influencing the appointment of military commanders, and otherwise, to protract the preparations for war; and to divert or lighten the blow when ready to be struck. Whatever quarrels have existed between the Dutch and the king of Prussia, certainly that monarch, in case of hostilities, would take an active part in favour of the Republic. Every paffion that influences his mind points and impels to such a conduct: his love of military glory: bis jealoufy of the emperor: his attachment to kindredthe probable prospect that the house of Brandenburgh will one day give
stadtholder to the United Provinces. I: would lead into too nice and tedious a discussion to consider the different pasfions and intereits that a war between the emperor and the Dutch would probably excite and effect in the princes and cities of Germany. It is said, and with probability, that the greater number would elpouse the cause of the emperor. Spain and Naples, with the duke of Parma and other Italian princes, would adhere to the standard of France. Sweden, almost a French province, would incline to the same fide. The king of Sardinia would endeavour to observe a strict neutrality.
But the power on which the publick eye, on the occafion in question, was chiefly turned, is that of Pruilia : that power, which in 1979 mediated between Austria and Bavaria the peace of Teschen. The vicinity of Russia to the Turkish dominions and to Sweden, the remembrance of past, and the dread of future hostilities, naturally determined the czarina to side with the emperor against the Dutch, under the protection of France, the ally of the Swedes and Othmans. The liberty indulged by Sweden to France, of constructing an arsenal, and magazine at Gottenburgh, with the ambitious interinarriage of the Bourbons with the royal family of Portugal, were circumstances, no doubt, which stimulated the jealoufy of the Russians, and induced them to declare themselves, at so early a Itage of the contest, on the lide of Austria. The empress, who makes no scruple to declare her fentiments on all subjects without reserve, has uniformly faid, that the emperor's claim to a free navigation of the Schelde is natural, just and reasonable.
Such was the aspect of Europe in 1784, wák regard to the great object which fixed her attention; viz. the contest between the Dutch and the Austrians. 'Numberlefs other occurrences, as: uftral in the
ever-varying scene of human affairs, diverfified the year under review : but as these are not bound together by any principle of conrection, we pass them by, for the prelent, refolved, at the faine time, to recall such of them to the mind of the reader as may be brought, by a'natural' affociation, into any of our future views and fpecula* tions.
But it would be unpardonable in us to omit, what will distinguish. the year 1784 in the eyes of posterity more than the conclufion or the commencement of the most important wars, the ascent of fo many aerial voyagers in the aerostatic machine. The tales of Icarus and 'Dædalus have led some speculative men to imagine that, as nå. tions, whole species of animals, and various arts have perished in the gulph of time, fo, aerial navigation is not a novelty in fact, although it be fo to our own knowledge. In Aulus Gellius we read of a pigeon framed by Archytas, and mounted into the air by means of an inclosed fpiritus aurce. In modern times Lord Bacon, and after him BiMop Wilkins, threw out hints for rifing into the air, on the prineples of exhausting the common atmospheric air out of their thin metal lic balls. But, as there is a preffure of air, the weight of a tun, on every surface of a foot square, balls of the neceffary levity and thinnets would have been crushed and broken by the circumambient-fluid in which they were destined to float. It was necessary, therefore, for the purpose of ascending into the atmosphere, that a species of air Thould be discovered fpecifically lighter than the common atmofpheric air, but equally elastic. Different kinds of such 1pecies of air were in fact discovered by Black and Cavendish. One discovery leads to another; and the progress of knowledge beeomes, in its course, more and more rapid :
Mobilitate viget viresque acquirit cando. It was reserved for the glory of Montgolsier to confine Gaz within à balloon, and to mount it into the skies.
This invention has drawn, and still continues to draw, universal attention and admiration. An ascent in an air balloon unites those qualities which are the most fitted to raife sublime conceptions in the human mind: the immeasurable beighth and expanse of the heavens ; the courage of the person who ascends; and the triumph of huma! knowledge over nature. The glory of philosophy, ailuming thus a visible form, is deeply impresled on the breast of 'erery fpectator. And on such occafions we all feel the connection between philofophy and humanity. When the balloon is seen to rise, as if in defiance of the power of gravitation, what spectator does not feel his mind leirene, or would not with rather to conquer nature by art, than to fubdue kingdoms by the horrors of war? As the discovery.of things ineceffarily precedes that of the utes to which they inay be applied, so the air balloon will be resorted to, in process of time, for various purposes of business, health and pleasure.--As there is no period of the world, with which we are acquainted, fo enlightened as the present, so there is none when the hopes of men concerning the future
extent of human power were so fanguine. There are philofophers, high in well-merited reputation, who fcruple not to predict, that the time will arrive, when nature shall be to obedient to man, that he will not only possess the power of removing diseases, but even of prolonging Hife.
As we are naturally disposed, in contemplating any operation or course of events, to apprehend or to search for an operating power Cor cause, it has been one of our objects, in our njonthly review of the political state of Europe, to indulge conjectures concerning the Springs, and anticipations concerning the effects of the various occurrences which fall under our oblervation. As the principles of moral conduct are as fixed and invariable as the laws which govern the natural world, similar lituations and fimilar movements may be fupposed to produce fimilar effects. As the fame seasons, in the great order of nature, with little variation, produce the same weather and the fame fruits, so the fame operations of the human mind, and the actions to which they give birth, with little variation, have produced, and will produce, the fame events. It is on this ground, and not on that of any vain pretence of being acquainted with the secrets of the different cabinets of Europe, that we indulge a vein of fpeculation on the more important events that prefs upon our notice. What would appear most reasonable to conjecture, or mof just to conclude, to plain, unbiassed common sente; it is that we mix, as a seasoning to the dry details of simple narration. Nor are the anticipations of the general sense of mankind always or often disappointed. As a spectator, placed at a proper distance from the scene of an engagement, is better qualified than a person of equal skill, who is engaged in it as an actor, so the general observer, whole paffions are not inflamed, nor his understanding blinded by the ever-varying intrigues of courts, is better fitted to form a judgment concerning the general result of any comprehensive conjuncture of affairs, than the courtier who is vertant in all the wiles and mysteries of state.
Although the shifting scene under review has often falsified our conjectures, and disproved our inforination with regard to particular objects, yet in our general conclusions concerning general subjects; a faithful adherence to the common sense of mankind, in opposition to subtlety and refinement, has uniformly conducted us to the truth. On this principle we ventured to affirm, that vigour of councils and an indifference to the thrcats and parade of the volunteers would effectually restore good order in Ireland ; that the genius of the Scorch nation did not incline them to political innovation; that the military preparations of the emperor had undoubtedly an objects and that that object was to reclaim what had been torn by violence from his ancestors ; that he would not relinquish his claim to a free navigation of the Schelde; that France and England, if poffible, would observe with regard to the contest between the Dutch and the semperor a neutrality, or interpose only by mediation ; that the king of Prullia would appear on the side of the Dutch Republic; and that the emperor would be supported by the empress of Russia.
* Communications for The ENGLISH REVIEW are requefted to be sent to Mr. MURRAY, NO. 32, Fleet-street, London, where fub: Joribers for this montbly perforinarst are defired give in their name:
For MARC H, 1785.
ÁRT: Í. Án inquiry into the Rise and Progress of Parliament; chiefly it
Scotland ; and a Complete System of the Law concerning the elections of the Representatives from Scotland to the Parliament of Great Bria tain. To which is added an Appendix, containing several curia ous Papers and Instruments; and full Copies of the Election Statutes. By Alexander Wight, Esquire, Advocate, S. S. A.
4to. Il. Isi Boards. Edinburgh, Creech. London, Cadell, THIS performance commences with a short account of
the origin and conftitution of the English Parliament. But unfortunately for our author he has adopted the opinions of Dr. Brady and other factious writers, who having enjoyed pensions from the crown, were interested to exalt the prerogative. His sketch, accordingly, is exceedingly erro
neous and imperfect : And having been milled into impro** per notions concerning the English parliament, he applies
them to the Scottish conftitution; and thus in whatever relates to antiquity lie is involved in absurdity and con-' fusion. He flattérs himself that he been enabled to row considerable light upon the ancient constitution of the parliament of Scotland. But instead of having made any discoveries with relation to this subject it does not appear that he was even decently acquainted with the books in which it has been treated. He puts forth his strength to discredit the position, that the Scottish boroughs were represented of old in Scotland. Yet there is no opinion that is better founded : And what is remarkable, the very arguments which he produces to support his error, are decisive proofs of it. In this respect, he resembles Dr. Brady; an author who was far superior to him in penetration ; and who was equally Eng. Rev. Vol. V. Mar. 1785. L unscrupulous
unscrupulous in misrepresenting laws and records in order to support his theories.
"As this general censure against our Author is very strong, it is neceflary to illustrate it by an example. In the course of his argument, he singles out as an adversary, Dr. Stuart, the historian of Queen Mary, who in an appendix to the life of that princess has exhibited a platform of the Scottish government. Among a variety of passages in opposition
to that writer, which seem to be uniformly ill founded, Mr. Wight, with a degree of exultation that is unusual to him makes the following remarks.
• The Author of ** Observations concerning the Public Laci, and the Constitutional History of Scotland, lays it down dogmatically, that none of the King's tenants in capite were 6 admitted to the Scottish parliament but such as were por• felled, at least of a single knight's fee ; and with a confide
rable degree of acrimony, blames Dr. Robertson for admitting all such tenants to that honour without distinction. I suspect, • however, that the reverend Doctor's opinion is the best • founded of the two. le was part of the duty of every tenant . in capite to attend in the King's great council, hový trifling • foever lois ettate might be ; and as by the act 1425. cap. 52.
all the freeholders of the King within the realm were declared to • be bound to attend the parliament; so the partial difpenfation given to the small freeholders in the time of James 11. and to be immediately taken notice of, was confined to such as had not 20 l. per annum. Indeed, the lands in Scotland were never a's in England, divided into a certain number of knights fees; nor was any particular quantity or value of land distinguished, • by that appellation. And although some old charters are be found which bear a grant of land for the service of one
more knights or milites, the instances are not very frequent.'
These remarks are so wild, that it is altogether surprizing how any writer could trifle so egregioully. Dr. Stuart when treating of fiefs had occasion to observe, that theknight's fre might be divided into fixty fragments; and that no such tenants in capite could be admitted into parliament upon account of their poverty. His position is clearly put, and aceording to the feudal rules it is right to a demonflration. A knight's fee consisted of parts which were regalar and irregular. The regular fragments of the knights fee were called its members, and they comprehended eight parts. The terin regular was applied to these eight parts, because their proprietors were bound to perform all the duties of the fee. Now the parts which were irregular included from the ninth fraction to the fixtieth; and the proprietors of thcfe were too low in life to be of any confideration. Of con