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coinages ought to be recommended, as of the very best form which has ever yet appeared.
'As to the obverfe, the decorating a modern prince with a crown of laurel, an ornament never now ufed, is truly childish; as is the Roman armour, and every circumstance not belonging to real life. Want of genius is the only plea an artist can offer for the stupid practice of following models at the expence of nature.
'On the reverse, the poor prefentation of the arms of a country may be confidered as a proof that Europe wants yet fome centuries of eloping from barbarifm. Of all poffible reverfes this must be allowed the moft Gothic, and empty of all thought or defign. Room for the highest elegance ought to be given upon the reverfes of coin, and objects of delight and inftruction delineated.
"The legends ought always to be in the language of the country where the coin is ftruck; for the money is made for it, and not for foreign nations; and every inhabitant ought to be enabled to read the legends of the coin, which is made for him, and every day. paffes through his hands. It is furprizing that, when the fcripture was given in English, the coin was not likewife tranflated: but the night of ignorance drops at once; while it is with many a long and arduous ftruggle that even the dawn of fcience appears.
6 Suppofing, for the fake of a reverie, an alteration in the British coin upon these principles, the obverse might throughout, as at prefent, contain the king's portrait, but without armour, or laurel crown, till he wears them. Around would run the illuftrious title, GEORGE III. KING OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND: the other titles, of which the initials cut fo aukward a figure upon the reverse of our gold and filver, might be left out of the coin without inconvenience.
'But the reverfes, if historical events are not allowed, in imitation of the Roman, fhould be varied, in every fpecies, fomething in this way. The guinea might prefent a figure of Liberty, as the moft precious of our poffeffions, and worthy of the analogy of gold; the legend might be, THE GUARDIAN OF BRITAIN. On the halfguinea, fuppofe an image of Fortitude, THE GUARDIAN OF LIBERTY. The crown piece might bear Liberty, Agriculture, and Commerce, UNITED TO BLESS: the half-crown, the king, a peer, and a commoner, emblematic of our happy conftitution, with the legend, UNITED TO PROTECT. The fhilling might be charged with a fhip of war conveying a merchant veffel, WEALTH AND POWER: the fixpence with an oak in a storm, STRONGER FROM THE TEMPEST. The halfpenny may remain as it is, with regard to the impreffion, only doubling the fize of the coin; the Britannia fhould hold a trident in her right hand, and let the other recline upon the helm of a fhip, instead of holding both aloft, with impertinent articles in each, a posture very Gothic, and unknown to the ancients. What is the meaning of her long fpear? What of her olive branch, with which the fits, like an old lady in a Gothic picture with a flower in her hand? The farthing, of the fize of the prefent halfpenny, might present an hufbandman fowing, with this legend, BY IN
DUSTRY SMALL THINGS GROW GREAT,
But any effectual improvement of our coinage must be left till God help us; together with the more important improvements of the police of London, of our wafte lands, and of parliamentary repreTentation.'
In this extract, the reader will perceive feveral inftances of the attempt at point, which we have noticed above. There is fomething ludicrous in faying, that God must help us, to improve our tafte in coinage; but the author's criticifm on our coin is perfectly juft, and his propofed improvements might be attended to by government with advantage.
Upon the whole, the medallic ftudent has great obligations to the author of the prefent Effay, who is at the fame time, fhort, clear and comprehenfive.
ART. III. An Efay on the Polity of England: with a View to discover the true Principles of the Government, what Remedies might be likely to cure the Grievances complained of; and why the feveral Provifions made by the Legiflature, and those recom, mended by Individuals have failed. 8vo. 6s. boards Cadell.
THE author of this performance difclaims all ideas of party and faction; nor indeed, do we perceive from its tenour that he has any purpose to gain, but that of fubmiting with candour his fentiments to the public. He reprobates the diftinction of the king's friend,' and the friend of the people,' and is willing to clafs himself in the number of those who are friends both to the king and the kingdom.
He employs the firft divifion of his volume, in inquiring into the dangerous tenets of those who seem to wish for the annihilation of monarchy. Under this general head, he treats of the executive power; and from his fcrutiny into this topic, he is led to conclude, that the English government though it bears a monarchical form is effentially a Republic. He then turns his attention to the origin of our conftitution, and to its judicial and legiflative powers. His next care is extended to the rife, the progrefs, and the confequences of the authority and importance gradually acquired by the Houfe of Commons.
His fecond book or divifion, is allotted to the examination of the caution and delicacy which feem to be neceffary in reducing either the prerogative or the influence of the crown. In his third book, he unfolds the nature of the grievances now complained of, with a view not only to difcover the principle from which they originate, but the remedies of which the application is the most likely to be efficacious. Here his difcuffions are ample; and he delivers it as the refult
fult of his reasonings, that if improvements are to be made in our government, they must have a reference to its nature and principles; that a will or authority, independent of the people, is a violence to the fpirit of democracy; that virtue in the commons, and power in the king are indefpenfable principles; that there is a danger, left the executive power by the means of corruption fhould engrofs to itself the whole legiflative authority; that there is a hazard left legislative affemblies, by the operation of faction, fhould exalt themselves into the enjoyment of the executive power; and he is certain with Montefquieu and other writers, that if the executive and legiflative branches fhould be united, there would enfue 4 general anarchy and confufion. But while our author points out thefe evils, he is of opinion that they may be prevented by the deftruction of private views; by abolishing the boroughs, and commanding members to be returned by fuitable diftricts; by fhortening the duration of parliaments; by communicating freedom and frequency to elections; and in fine by drawing a line between liberty and power that fhould be too facred to be infringed upon by the legislative or the executive powers of government.
In his fourth book, our author exhibits a view of the precautions of the legiflature at different periods to remedy the grievances complained of. The ftatutes containing thefe, engage his fcrutiny, and he expofes their inefficiency and partial operation.
In his fifth book, he enumerates the different projects of private politicians to remedy the public grievances, and treats each of them in due form. He canvaffes them in the following feries. 1. An equal representation, or a ⚫ reprefentation proportioned to the number of the people.
2. For adding an hundred members to the counties and the metropolis. 3. For limiting the number of the peerage. 4. For chufing into the miniftry neutral men, and men of capacity, impartiality, and difinterestedness. 5. An equal reprefentation and annual parliaments.' Of all these propofitions, it is the opinion of our author that they are pernicious.
He is alike hoftile to the provifions of the legiflature, and to the plans of private individuals. It is his with that the inhabitants of every confiderable place were fairly reprefented in parliament. He is anxious that the reprefentatives of the people fhould have a common intereft with the community; that they should be removable at the end of every feffion, if their behaviour should be found to be reprehenfible; that the conftitutional boundaries of their duty thould be clearly afcertained; that faction and corruption fhould be banished
from the Houfe of Commons; and that the people confident of the virtue of the Commons should enjoy liberty and happinefs. He is pofitive that our public treasure is profufely fquandered; and he is afflicted that we should be unfuccessful abroad, and diffatisfied at home. He is an enemy to penfions, contracts, loans, fubfcriptions, lottery tickets, and fecret fervice money. He is fcandalized that fome late profecutions fhould have mifcarried, and that the fortunes of many public men should not have been enquired into with fufficient diligence. He is convinced that there is a criminality in the expenditure of the public money; and he is fatisfied that we are governed by men who are deftitute of fufficient, legal, and conftitutional knowledge.
Such in general is the outline of the prefent performance; and as a fpecimen of the compofition of our author we shall lay before our readers what he has remarked concerning the confequences of the power which may be affumed by the Houfe of Commons.
The ftatute of 12 Cha. II. c. 24. having finally abolished the feodal tenures, with all their flavith confequences, which formerly ufed to increase the fplendor of the throne, and, at the fame time, to keep the inferior land holders in fubjection to the lords they held under; let us fee what may now be the power of the House of Com
James I. in preferring Sir John Saville, laid a fure foundation for oppofition to the measures of the crown; and the fubfequent impeachment of the earl of Middlefex in the fame reign, and in the next that of the earl of Strafford, feem to have enfured its fuccefs. By the first, oppofition is infpired with hope; by the last, any minifter must be difmayed with fear.
Bills refpecting the perfonal liberty of individuals may be paffed quietly; but if they relate to the neceffary requifites for giving energy to the measures of government, they have too often met with violent oppofition.
The prefent times, it is to be hoped, are an exception to fuch conduct. In fo momentous a concern, however, it may behove the people to be upon their guard against every poffible danger,
"Numerous connections may be united, and grow into a powerful and formidable faction; private views may fupplant all public virtue, and no one avenue to power be left unattempted. A party, perhaps, may try to feize upon government; and, if very confiderable, the feveral members of it may begin to confider themselves as invefted with royal power, or at least, intitled to hold the fupreme imagiftrate in tutelage. In comparifon of this important object, they may look upon the privilege of propofing laws, and inquiring into the execution of them; of granting money, and the administration of it, as matters of trifling concern. These events, it is hoped, are yet at a great distance. But if it should ever be the lot of this country to endure fo hard a fortune, it may be of use to the prefent generation, in order to guard against the approach of fo
great an evil, to take a short view of its prognofticks. They feem to be thefe. Should the debates in parliainent be conftantly carried on with heat and animofity, and every measure of government be oppofed and thwarted; fhould a faction garble the debates for publication, and editors of new papers be taken into pay; fhould every miniftry, without exception, and without any one direct and fpecific charge brought against them, be grofsly abufed and calumniated fhould the true principles of government, the found maxims of policy, and the real interefts of the community, be loft in the eager purfuit of private intereft or ambition; fhould men, because they are of a particular party, or poffeffed of talents for debate, though endowed only with fuperficial abilities, be fought for, in preference to perfons of real knowledge and integrity, and even brought from other countries to fill the family boroughs; fhould eloquence, the great engine of faction, be confidered of the fame importance as in the days of Cicero, when Rome loft her liberty; ad venality or corruption, (which is indeed the infeparable companion of faction,) become equally prevalent; fhould lawyers, because in the habit of public fpeaking, be brought into both houfes of parliament; and even the highest offices in the law be bestowed, not so much on account of merit in the profeffion, as of certain conduct or connections in parliament; should the qualification required for members to fit in parliament be evaded, and instead of wages being paid by the electors, the most corrupt bribery be practised upon them.
Should the fupreme magiftrate be deprived of many of his prerogatives; fhould a cabal be able to force him to take into his fervice, political, maritime, and military men, utterly difagreeable to him; and the order of things be inverted, and inftead of commanding, he himself be obliged to obey; fhould he be compelled to grant places, penfions, and honours, to the very men that have treated him with indignity; fhould those who have been diftinguish, ed by the royal favour, appear at public meetings to do things known to be offenfive to their fovereign; fhould faction, as in the time of Charles I. call into their aid inflammatory petitions and infiammatory motions in parliament; and even the k-g's own minifters openly attempt to fubvert his authority.
Should the inqufitorial power draw every branch of the execu tive authority into the house of commons, and the inquifitorial confequently become the executive power; fhould the royal prerogative be barely nominal, and actually performed by the ministry; and the miniftry, awed by the terror of impeachment, or of clamorous and pertinacious invective, become afraid of exercifing their functions, and the choice of the ministry, and the direction of their conduct virtually devolve upon the houfe of commons; and that power, which was defigned to watch and impeach any misconduct in the administration, become, in effect, the administration itself, and the inquifitors of its own conduct.
Should the public councils, depending upon the fluctuating ftrength or weaknefs of contending parties, become fluctuating alfo ; and in order to give some stability to government, fome members be