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brought into place, and others, going out, be gratified with penfions ; should prodigality univerfałły prevail, the public accounts; year after year, remain unsettled ; every minister, and every parliament Prore unwilling to correct this or any other abufe of trust in relation to the public ion y : defaulters and peculators be connived at and protected ; and few men appear desirous to leffen the fund, of which must miglit hope to be partakers, and the national debt be increased with lots and disgrace to the nation.
Should a party, in opposition to ministry, raise a violent out-cry, and threaten impeachments ; and to appease them, should the king change his ministry; should change succeed change; but all changes of men cause little of no change in measures, and in whatever hands, this party or that party; whig or tory, the natioo receive no real advantage.
• Should the national force become feeble and unfuccessful, and its councils fo fluctuating, that no nation would enter into alliance to affift us ; fhould those things which onght to be transacted secretly, be discussed publickly, and in consequence almost every scheme be frustrated ; should debate and delay take place of decision and difpatch, our enemies be put upon their guard, and the most favourable opportunities for public advantage and honour irretrievably loft.
"I say, should such things unfortunately happen, we may again, perhaps, as in the time of Charles I. find a set of men forward to erect themselves into a formidable party, and bold enough to declare, that their practices are constitutional; and that the nation can only be governed by some great and powerful party, or what they may call a coalition or connection of parties, Such times, it is hoped, are yet far remote: but whenever they arrive, if they fall ever happen, let it be confidered, whether, when the strength of the • ftate has become only the power of private citizens,' the conflitution would not be lost; whether, if our force were dilunited, it might not be easily broken ; and foreign and domestic enemies alike overpower the strength of the nation ? and whether it could ever be advisable to annihilate monarchy, for a system of government, which promises a want of uniformity of conduet, and consequently of allies; a want of Secrecy, unanimity, and decision in resolving; and of dispatch, firength, qigour, and consistency in execurion (and without these circumstances, no protection can be afford ed); and which, finally, making that percenary which ought to be honorary, encourages parties, incites fačtion, and promotes profifon.
"Whenever these things Thall come to pafs (if unhappily for us they ever do come to pass), and the nation thall enjoy beither the firength of inonarchy, nor the virtue of democracy, we may be afTured such will be certain figns that the principles of government are corrupted; and we need not wonder, if our doininions at a dis. tance be lost, or those nearer home revolt; that disturbancc prevail in every quarter ; and, in a inart so plentifully fiored with prefere ment, fo great a trafic be carried on for places and renfione in a
word, that the profits and emoluments of a rich and noble kinga dom, like the spoils of a conquered country, be divided among the very persons, to whom it looks, in vain, for fecurity and protection.
In tormer times, when the nation was divided into ditterent parties, court and country, roundheads and cavaliers, petitioners and abhorrers, whigs and tories, royalists and republicans, each fide carrying their opinion to excess ; violent tories were for absolute monarchy, violent whigs for no monarchy at all, but a democracy only ; and, as a humourous writer states it, that between two thieves, whig and tory, the nation was crucified.
At length, both parties were convinced by bitter experience, thať either extreme was pernicious. The royalists discovered, that absolute monarchy was tyranny; the republicans, that a democracy was tyranny and anarchy both. No longer governed by passion, reason resumed hef feat; each' fide relaxed from the rigidness of their former principles; and, instead of facrificing their country to their party, they agreed, at the Revolution, to facrifice their party to their country. The two parties were to be melted, as it were, into one. The cause of liberty was not to be built on the narow mean basis of party, but on the broad folid foundation of the public good. The odious distinction of whig and tory was to cease; and we were to enjoy the benefit of the monarchical as well as the democratical branch of the constitution.
• Let us then follow the example set at the Revolution. Let us not attempt to subvert ; let us rather use our endeavours to support the constitution ; a noble fabric, the pride of Britain, the envy of “ her neighbours, raised by the labour of so many centuries, re"! paired at the expence of fo many millions, cemented by such “ profufion of blood :" and which has stood the fiege of so many ages, and so many adverfaries, domestic and foreign.
· Let us improve upon the plan established at the Revolution. Let us not only prevent the crown from doing harm, but enable it to do good. Let us give due weight to the house of commons, but let it not be such as to defttoy the balance of the constitution. Let us more strongly confirm two of the first principles of the government, by endeavouring to procure strength for the monarchical power, and virtue for the democratical.
It is our opinion that the author of the work before us, is governed by motives of public virtue. But in general we imagine that he is too favourable to the power of the crown. It also appears to us, that he is not always fufficiently informed with regard to constitutional points ; and it is obvious to us that what he has written on the inbject of feodal tenures is exceedingly lame and imperfect. His errors, how.. ever, though they are often very palpable proceed not from design or any improper intention. He is a real friend to his country; and the impression he every where communicates of his integrity is most commendable.
As a writer or composer he affects not any share of praise. Nor are his talents in this line of any importance. He 5
writes without art, and with no knowledge of composition. His manner is open ; his arrangements unskilful; his diction familiar. He is a good citizen; but without any pretensions to philosophy, or literature. His reading is choice without being extensive.
His views are liberal without being practicable. The goodness of his heart is more apparent than his judgment; and his judgment is better than his penetration. He has a natural fund of good sense ; but it is unassisted by any discernment in business and affairs. His ensibility as a subject and a man afford the most entire fatiffaction; but he no where exercises any force of genius, or any depth of political wisdom.
ART. IV. Travels into Poland, Rufra, Sweden, and Denmark. In
terspersed with historical Relations and political Inquiries. Illustrated with Charts and Engravings. By William Coxe, A. M. F. R. S. Fellow of King's College, Cambridge ; and Chaplain to his Grace the Duke of Marlborough. 2 vols. Royal 4to. zl. 2s. boards, T. Cadell.
(Concluded from our Reviecu of March.) N his second volume Mr. Coxe gives a full and interesting
account of the Revolution of 1762, which placed the present Empress Catherine on the throne of the Ruffias. His history of Prince Ivan, who at his birth was appointed Great Duke of Russia, who, in the first year of his age, fucceeded to the Crown, and in the same year, was deposed by the Empress Elizabeth ; who was imprisoned for life, and put to death in his 24th year, exhibits a melancholy picture of human nature, unimproved by education. The anecdotes of Count Munich, a skilful and gallant military officer, who fuftained a rigorous banishment of 20 years, with an unbroken spirit, while it amuses by the display of a scene as new and as wild as almost any in romance, serves eminently to illustrate the power of religion to raise the anind above the depression of prolonged suffering.
Mr. Coxe has been attentive to the objects that came within the reach of his inquiries, and they are highly worthy of attention. The new code of Russian laws-the present State of cultivation in the Russian empire--the different ranks of society, nobles, clergy, merchants, burghers, and peasants-academies of sciences and arts, literature-popu. lation, and revenues-military, naval, and commercial affairs-mines, canals-and the state of religion. While he treats these subjects, among various folid observations, and much interesting and useful information, the reader is.
every where ftruck with the wife policy and liberal views of the present Empress, who is solicitous to extend fully as much liberty to every denomination or class of her subjects as they are capable of receiving, or as is confiftent with the authority of a despotic gevernment..
The following mode of affefling merchants; merits the attention of legislators :
• The merchants are distributed into three claffes. The first com prehends those who have a capital of 2000l:; the second, those who possess 1000l. ; and the third, those who are worth rool:
• By the 47th article of the celebrated manifesto of graces, as it is called, which the Empress conferred upon her subjects, at the conclusion of the Turkish war in 1775; all persons who chuse to enter themselves in any of these classes, are exempted from the poll-tax, upon condition of paying annually one per cent. of their capital employed in trade to the crown. The extent of their capitals, however, is not rigoroufly inquired into, for it entirely depends upon the merchants to name che ostensible fum which they are supposed to be worth ; as a perfon poffeffing above 2000l. may enrol himself in any of the inferior classes, or even in that of the burghers, if he chures to pay the poll-tax rather than one per cent. of his capital, and be entitled to no more privileges than they enjoy.
• This alteration in the mode of assefling merchants, is produce tive of great advantages both to the crown and to the subject; the foriner receives, and the latter cheerfully pays, one per cent. of their capital, as well because they are by that means exempted from the poll-tax, as because they are also entitled to additional immunities. It is also a just impost, as each merchant pays according to his fortune; if his profits increase, his affeflment increafes ; if they diminish, his contribution proportionably diminishes. With respect to the general interests of the nation, it must be confidered as a master-piece of judgment and found policy. It excites industry by holding up to the people a principal of honour, as well as interest, to be derived from the augmentation of their capital ; and it af fords an additional security from arbitrary impositions, by pledging the good faith of government in the protection of their property. It is likewise productive of another very effential public benefit, by creating, as it were, a third estate, which, as it increases in wealth, in credit, and in importance, must by degrees acquire additional privileges, and gradually rise into consequence and independence.'
The peasants of Russia are divided into two classes. I: Peasants of the crown. 2. Peasants belonging to individuals. The former inhabit the Imperial demesnes, and form about the fixth part of all the peasants in Russia. Being under the protection of the Sovereign, whatever oppreffions they may suffer from Imperial officers or bailiffs, they enjoy a greater degree of fecurity and protection than the peasants belonging to the nobles. Many of them have been franchised, and permitted to enrol themselves among the
merchants and burgesses. Peasants belonging to individus als, are the private property of the landholders, as much as implements of agriculture, or herds of cattle; and the value of an estate is estimated, as in Poland, by the number of boors, and not by the number of acres.
The following account of the means by which Russian peasants may obtain liberty, and the advantage that is taken therefrom by the Empress, to extend the sphere of liberty in her dominions, furnishes an exaniple of the prudent manner in which that great Princess mixes a necessary regard to the privileges of the 'noblès, with a strong desire to confer the blessing of freedom on the great body of her subjects.
“ A peasant may obtain his liberty, 1. by manumission, which, upon the death of the master; is frequently granted to those who have served in the capacity of his immediate doinesticks ; 2. by purchase ; 3. by serving in the army or navy; for a peasant is free from the moment of his enrolment, and continues fo whenever he obtains his discharge : and in all these cases, the Empress has facilitated the means of obtaining freedom, by waiving several rights of the crown, which, in some measure, obstructed this acquisition of liberty. Although her Majesty cannot alter the fundamental state of property, by conferring upon the peasants, as individuals, any material privileges which might infringe those of the nobles ; yet she has not neglected their interests, but has issued several laws in their favour, which have given them fome alleviation.
" By allowing them to settle in any part of her dominions, and to enrol themselves among the burghers or merchants, according to their respective capitals, she has given a stability to their freedom, and afforded the strongest incitements for the exertions of industry. She has repealed those oppreifive laws, which forbad, in certain diltricts, all peasants to marry without the consent of the Governor of the province, or the vayvode of the town, who usually exacted a present from the parties. The Empress, by abolishing this tax upon the rights of humanity, has wisely removed, as far as lay in her power, every obstacle to marriage.
Among Mr. Coxe's remarks, and the facts he relates in his Travels into Sweden, we meet with these :~He makes it appear probable, from a striking affinity between the Hungarian and Lapland languages, that the Hungarians and Lapa landers are descended from one common stock, the Huns. For this information he is indebted, as he is for what is moit valu. able in his publication, to certain authors, who wrote in Latin, and who are but little, if at all, known in this country. He gives a succinct narrative of the changes in the form of the Swedish government; and particularly of the nature of the constitution established at the Revolution of 1772. In opposition to Mr. Sheridan, who, in his “ History of the late Revolution," afferts, that the King of Sweden is, “no Ens. Rev. May, 1785