Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

without distinction of whole blood and half blood, or of consanguinity by the father's or mother's lide.

• 'The descent of real estates, of houses, that is, and land, having been settled in more remote and ruder times, is less reafonable. There never can be much to complain of in a rule, which every perfon may avoid by fo eafy a provifion, as that of making his will; otherwise our law in this respect, is ehargeable with some flagrant absurdities ; such as that an eitate flrall in no wise go to the brother or fister of the half blood, though it came to the deceafed from the common parent; that it hall go to the remotest relation the intestate has in the world; rather than to kis own father or mother, or even be forfeited for want of an heir, though both parents furvive; that the most diftant paternal relation fhall be preferred to an uncle or own cousin by the mother's fide, notwithitanding the eftaté was purchased and acquired by the intestate himself.

* Land not being so divifible as money, may be a reason for making a difference in the course of inheritance, but there ought to be no difference but what is founded upon that realơn: The Roman law made none;'

In his manner our author is diffuse; and he promises more than he is able to perform. The disappointment thus excited is not repaired or compensated by any bold or delicate strokes of cloquence or art. To the cares of compofition, Mr. Paley has attended very little. His language is generalły vulgar; is often ungrammatical; and is, at all times, inelegant.

Art. VI. A Plan for finally settling the Government of Ireland up

on constitutional Principles; and the chief Cause of the unprotperous State of that Country explained. is. 6d. Stockdale. Lon

don. 1785. IN this fenfible pamphlet, the author, after foine prefatory

matter, wherein the conduct of Mr. Fox, in first of all professing a decided intention “ to establish such a principle

of relation and constitution as should prevent future dis

contents from arising" between the two nations, and afterwards abandoning every idea of arrangement and effectual union meets with proper disapprobation, next proceeds to lay his own plan before the public. He very juftly observes that since the abolition of the undefined fupremacy of the English parliament over Ireland in May 1782, there remains no political compact between the kingdoms, and that such a compact should be made as soon as poffible. That “the " three great objects of this constitutional connedion, are

an equality of interests, an equality of privileges, and a “ unity of power.” And, that “ the two firit of these objects

are already in a great part provided for; but the unity of “ power, or unity of defence with Great Britain, continues

yet unsettled.” It is this last that the plan of our author

means

means to establish “ on the most constitutional principles, " without any additional expence to Ireland in the aggregate; " nay, by making an annual faving of 100,000l. which is

now drawn out of the country,” This surely should be a conciliating measure, and highly agreeable to every Irish patriot: As an Irish land-tax as the measure proposed, it is poffible that self-interefted views equally narrow and unfounded, may lead the greater number to condemn without a hearing. Of this the author himself has his fears, and therefore has addressed the public in the following words,

• In the public defence of an Empire or State' all the members of that State ought to contribute ; and when that defence is regulated and defined by a fundamental law, so that it can never be disproportionate to the ability of each member, it never can be a partial grievance. On that principle, the most constitutional supply that Ireland can yield to the common defence of the Empire, and likewise the most advantageous to herself, is a land tax to be rated always according to the rate of the land-tax of England, and never to be expended out of the kingdom.

I am sensible that in proposing a land-tax for Ireland as the most constitutional supply that she can yield to the common defence of the Empire, and the most advantageous to herself, I advance a doctrine in the face of the most deep-rooted prejudices. Ireland, I know, has long regarded her exemption from a land-tax as a peculiar privilege ; but I hope to demonstrate to the plainest understanding, that such an exemption in

any State whatever, is contrary to the fundamental principles of a social union, and has been particularly prejudicial to the prosperity of Ireland. My doctrine and principles though not found in any political writer, either antient or modern, whom I have perused, will, I doubt not, be found in the breast of every man to whom they have been once explained; therefore I must beg of those who are inclined hastily to condemn them, to forbear their censures țill they have perused the arguments I may be able to produce in their favour. To the haity censurers, I must say as Theinistocles said to the old General, who wanted by menaces to deter him from giving those falutary counfels which faved the Athenian State, Strike but hear me. I wish to be the inftrument of good to two nations'.

We, for our parts, think he has clearly made out his propofition ; and it would give us pleasure, did our limits permit, to lay before our readers in detail that chain of ingenious and sound political reasoning which he employs; but for this we must refer to the work itself. It is but justice to the author to say that the variety of matter occasionally introduced evinces a mind intimately acquainted with polity and finance. What he has advanced upon the gradual alteration of the constitution from the feudal times to the present day, and on the impolicy of customs, is not at all known to the herd of politicians. The following palsage is curious ; and if the calculations are founded on goad information, plainly

thews

R2

shews how unequal a Thare Ireland bears of the public burdens, while it proves the injustice of the outcry from time to time raised against Scotland, because of the inequality of her thare.

Scotland' from the firt principle of taxation not having been attended to at the Union, is rated disproportionately as to the land, tax, which is to that of England as i to 41; but in other taxes she bears a full share ; therefore the following itatement will give us nearly the general proportion. The amount of the land-tax of England and Scotland together 42. But the land-tax makes but about one seventh of the taxes raised in Great Britain ; therefore the whole, when compared to the land-tax, will be as 294 to 42. SubItract 41 from 294, Scotland's proportion will be 253. Substract I from 294, England's proportion will be 293. The public burdens of the two kingdonys then ftand nearly, in point of rate, as 253 to 293, or as 6 to 7. I say in point of rate not in point of sums total. Scotland is eased in the malt duty and some other articles; but in the window-lights, the post horse tax, and several excise duties the pays more than her just proportion ; and these exceffes may be found to counterbalance the other abatements. The low rate of Ireland, in regard to public burdens, may be concluded from the following state ment. In Great Britain eight millions of people pay about fourteen millions to government, which is il. 155. per head. In Ireland three millions of people pay about one million to Government, which is 6 s. 8 d. per head. Her burdens then are to thofe of Great Britain not quite so much as one to five.

We are happy when we meet with a work where the rage of party, and the roar of faction give place to cool and dispassionate reasoning, and where the general good appears, the only object in view. It is then only that it can merit unmixed approbation, and only then that we can recommend, it, as we do the present publication, to the serious perusal of every true patriot. ART. VII. An Address to Brian Edwards, Elg. Containing Re

marks on his Pamphlet, entitled, “ Thoughts on the late Proceedings of Government, respecting the Trade of the West India Islands with the United States of America." Allo Observations on some Parts of a Pamphlet, lately published by the West India Planters and Merchants, entituled, “ Considerations on the present State of the Intercourse between his Majesty's Sugar Colonies and the Dominions of the United States of America. By John Stevenson. 8vo. 15. 6d. Nicoll. 'HIS address sets out with intimating, that the author is

convinced, that all future connection between this country and America ought cautiously to be avoided on our part. He is a great friend to Lord Sheffield's plan, and contradi&ts Mr. Edwards's positions, in every instance. He affirins, that this country, will in spite of American refentifient and independency, poffefs at leaft as much of the commerce of that country as will do us good. Speaking of the American war, he says that it was conceived in justice,

and

TH

and that the hostile resistance of America “ was conceived in wickedness, and continued through insanity" (Mr. Edwards had applied this language to Great Britain). The aư: thor takes notice of a speech of Sir Robert Herries in the house of commons, who maintained, that if the Americans were suffered to trade with the West India Inands freely, they would get the greatest part of the carrying trade into their hands. If the bill pafled, it would prove advantageous to him and some other individuals, but as a man of honour, a good citizen, and a member of the house, be found him. felf bound to declare, it would do infinite mischief to the country' Such language, says the author, is expresfive of a clear head and a good heart; and it does great honour to Sir Robert as a man, as a Briton, and as à fenator. He differs widely from Mr. Edwards, in suppofing that the American trade bill, if passed into a law, would liave tended, in a very eminent degree, to the support and encouragement of both ourtrade and navigation. As a specimen of Mr. Edwards's

pofitions and of Mr. Stevenson's reasoning, we shall insert the following. By permitting a direct exportation of sugar to America, says the former, Great Britain will soon find a proportionate increase of the fame staple at her own emporium, while the consumption of her own manufactures will enlarge with the augmentation of her navigation and re

* Pray, Sir, says the latter, allow me to ask, are these ascertained facts? (Mr. Edwards had stated in his tract, that the first duty of a writer is the ascertaining of facts) or ought the whole to be deemed a strain of mere speculativě reasoning, calculated to perplex, or mislead the judgment of your readers? A direct exportation of sugar to America will Soon produce a proportionate increase of the same staple at the British market; while the censumption of our manufactures will enlarge with the augmentation of our navigation and revenues ? What an important sentence! He brings to my mind an anecdote of a man, who offered to produce a dozen of reasons why his friend could not appear in court. “ In the first place, my Lord, (said he to the Judge) he is dead.” That is sufficient (replied his Lordship), you may Spare yourself the trouble of producing the other eleven, &c. He adds afterwards. " If declamation be deemed found argument, and confident affertions pass for ascertained facts, you doubtless have whereof to boaft: but those who rest their assent to every propofition, folely on that evidence which it carries along with it, may probably take the liberty to dispute your claim.

He thinks Mr. Hartley a very improper person for nego ciating a treaty of commerce with the American agents, and

maitains

venue.'

R 3

maintains that the entering into any treaty, with independent America, must be prejudicial to this country.

He thinks the late peace Thameful and injurious to Great Britain, and certainly unexampled in the annals of mankind.

Art. VIII. An Hiftorical and Political View of the Conftitution

and Revolutions of Geneva, in the eighteenth Century, written originally in French. By Francis D'Ivernois, Esq. L. L. D. (late Citizen of Geneva) And translated by John Farrell, A. M. 8vo.

$s. Boards. Cadell. THE history of Geneva illustrates in a very forcible man

ner the truth of the political maxim, that all small republics are destined to perish either through internal dissentions or by foreign conquests. The senate, in whose hands executive government was placed, made gradual encroach. ments on the liberties of the people. The people, high spirited, and impatient almost of the necessary and just re, straints of government could not brook multiplied, and in.creasing acts of usurpation. Altercations and disputes were followed by violence. An appeal was made to neighbouring states : and an armed mediation put a period to the existence of the Genevese republick.

The revolutions of this small state have nothing in them of that fascinating grandeur which attracts the attention even of the vulgar to the fortunes and fate of mighty empires, But as the principles which actuate a stupendous machine may be displayed, and that even with advantage, by a small model; so the nature of government, the operation of the passions, the conflict of the spirit of liberty with overbearing power are more happily displayed by the history of small republicks, where the powers that influence its fate are difcerned in a state of separation from those vast engines which crush with an irrefiftible weight, and bury all diftinctions and forms of government in one ruin.

The performance under review is written with that interest and animation which a person takes in his own cause. In great empires the amor patriæ is enfeebled by the very magnitude of its object ; and dissipated, as it were, and lost among the millions of mankind to whom that object is common. But the village, the town, the province of ones nativity, and the centre of his earliest and warmest passions, is embraced with the warmest and pureft ardour.

Mr. D’Ivernois exhibits at once his own feelings, his manner of writing, and the object of his publication in the address to his moft Chriftian Majesty Lewis XVI. King of France and Navarre, from which the following is an ex track,

• There

« ForrigeFortsæt »