Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

As a specimen of the style and manner of these discourfes, we thall present our readers with the following passage upon the subje&t of suicide.

• There is a practice amongst us, which hath often been the effect of this disquietude,--the practice of self-murder; a practice so common, that every year, every month, every week, nay almott every day, furnithes us with freih examples of it; a practice, which, dreadful and abominabie as it is, hath been honoured by the tear of pity, and even fometimes encouraged by the fanction of public applause. How grievoutly must the spirit be wounded, when that death which it had so long contemplated with horror and averfion, Shall become the object of its defires : the storm of worldly afflictions must beat very hard upon us, when we fly to the grave for a shelter from it. When we cry with Job, Why is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto him that hatb an hcary heart? for I will fieep in the duft, and if thon leek me in the morning. I fall not be found. The good job indeed, notwithstanding these his complaints, submit ted to the heavy judgments of his creator : he knew, (as every wile and pious man must know,) that God only had a right to destroy that being which he had made ; and that our own life is no more ai our own disposal, than that of others. The crime of suicide is doubt less of all wickedness the most dreadful, because it admits not, like other crimes, of reparation or repentance. The deserter may return to the field of battle, and redeem that character by bravery which he had loft by cowardice; but when the fearful unmanly soldier has quitted his post in this life, who fall restore him to his duty? How shall he wipe off the sain of his disobedience, or reconcile himself to his divine commander ? All that can be expected there. fore, from a deed so daring, must be, that we shall rush with added guilt into the presence of our judge; that our scene of misery will only be changed, and instead of the impotent rage and malice of weak man, we shall incur what is infinitely more dreadful, the wrath of the living God. Why does the wicked man fhun dark, ness and folitude, but because there, he knows, man (on whom he trusts) will not be, but God may be there, whom he hath offended ? He is afraid of every part of nature, because every part was made by that Being whom he hath provoked, and for ought he knows may rise up against him, and vindicate their Creator. He is afraid, therefore, where po fear is. The wickedl, says Solomon, fees when no man pursueth. It is part of the curse which attends on guilig that it always makes men cowards ; it makes them see dangers where there are none, and feel calamities which are never inflicted. Since then, my brethren, such and to dreadful are those wounds which are inficted on the spirit of man, what grand specific shall we had to fosten and relieve them ? Surrounded as we are with miseres, both of the foul and body, both natural and acquired; thus bufet with evils and calamities on every fide, to whom Thall we apply for fuccour and redress ? Is there, as the prophet says, no baim in Gilead? is there. no phyfician' there? Let us hear what reason and religion, those great physicians of mankind, will prescribe untc us. And first, then, in regard to natural and corporeal evils, the com

non

mon lot and portion of mortality, it may not be improper to observe the mutual actions of mind and body on each other in this life; which should make us extremely careful to preserve a proper temperament in both. When our weak frame is afflicted with disorders, it is impossible for the soul absolutely to preserve its tranquillity. Not all the affluence of fortune, nor the acquisitions of fame or power, can extirpate the sense of pain. All that the mind can do in regard to the infirmities of nature, is to prevent, if possible, what it cannot cure, and to soften what it cannot remove. Temperance, therefore, may preserve us from many disorders ; and if men were as careful to acquire and preserve health, as they are to accu. mulate riches and honours, they would not so aften lament the want of it.

But those natural and unavoidable evils, which it is not even in the power of temperance and virtue to prevent, refolu. tion and courage should teach us to bear. To thrink beneath the Nighteft touch of calamity, to yield to the softeit preffure, betrays a weakness of soul that debases our nature, an infirmity unworthy of an immortal fpirit. We are placed by our great leader in a post of dander, and it is our duty to maintain it against all opposition, if we hope from him preferment or reward. Let us not, then, be tamely borne down the stream of adversity, but endeavour to stem the torrent. If we refift evil, like the author of it, it will flee from us : let us fight the good fight, exert all our strength, defend ourselves against every attack with all the power we are masters of, and then if we fall, we fall with honour, and if we rise, we rise to glory. But after all, the great preservation of happiness, the only impene. trable armour which can thield us from the blows of fortune, and turn afide the arrows of affliction, is virtue. Nothing can heal the wounded spirit but the balm of innocence : by this alone the health of the foul can be preserved ; by this alone it can be restored. If thou art fatigued with the toils and labours of this life, she will give thee rest; if thou art heavy laden with the afflictions of it, she will refresh thee; he that hath her, need not fear what man can do unto him. Are we sorrowful ? this is joy: Are we poor? this is riches : Are we fick this is health. This, and this alone, can sustain all our infirmities ; this will support us under every calamity, in pain, fickness or adversity, in the hour of death, and in the day of judge ment.'

These fermons are published for the benefit of the widow and family of the author; and we hope most sincerely they will meet with a liberal reception from the public,

ART.

28. 6d.

Art. XV. An Elizy on the Aftual Resources for re-establishing the.' Finances of Great Britain. By George Craufurd, Esq. 8vo.

Debrett. 1785. THIS essay on finance is the production of a native of

North Britain, a gentleman of reputation and figure, who is now occupied, under the auspices of the British minister at Paris, in negociating a treaty of commerce between the courts of London and Versailles How far Mr. Crawfurd is equal to the conduct of fo important a negotiation, we assume not the province of deterınining: but, we will venture to affirm, that the eJay before us, is one of the most fingular productions, in the science of finance, that has appeared in any age or country. Had the essay, which is dated froin Paris, appeared as an anonymous performance, it would have appeared, we must own, in a very questionable shape; and we should have been apt to have considered it as a jeux d'esprit of fome French wit, who was amusing himself with the embarraliments of the British government. But our author is certainly serious; and, in his ardour for the public service, has announced a fyftem, which, if adopted by the administration of Great Britain, would form, in his opinion, a fortunate and glorious æra in the finances of this country.

The national debt he considers as an excrescence on the body politic, and so inherent to the constitution m its nature, that its growth has prevented worse ditorders, and consequently, that any operation to reduce it is impolitic and dangerous, while cutting it off would attack the principles of life.

Thus circumstanced, Mr. Craufurd reprobates the idea of a finking fund, as an expedient equally chimerical and delufive. He condemns the imposition of more' taxes as deftrutive of national energy. Yet he contends, that by loans acting singly, without corresponding taxes, the nation, may go on from year to year, and flourish in induftry, in commerce, and in credit, to the end of time.

Every new tax lessens the produce of the pre-existing taxes, vitiates the circulation of money; and, by impairing the abilities and obitructing the industry of the nation, exhaufts our resources, and involves us deeper in diftress. On the other hand, every tax fuppreffed renders the remaining taxes more productive, augments industry, diminishes the public expence, and, by giving additional scope and energy to the national exertions, ultimately tends to render our public burthens more supportable. This being established in theory, our author's serious counsel to the rulers of the nation, is to the following purpose.- Suppress tax after tax,

by

by degrees, as fast as poffible ; but never attempt, by any surplus of revenue, to reimburse any capital, or to diminiih in any degree the aggregate of the national debt. In any exigency of state alienate some part of the public revenue, and this alienation will procure a loan which will answer abundantly all the occasions of government. Thus we are to look for salvation, without redemption; and, under this

salutary regimen, the abilities of the nation rising in a higher proportion than the annual demands, national credit will Hourish to the latest ages.

Such are the great outlines of this extraordinary system ; but, for the detail of the reasoning, we must refer our readers to the pamphlet itself. The following fhort extract will vindicate us from the charge of misrepresentation.

Every attentive reader may now, with fome degree of precision, draw the consequences naturally resulting from the premises which I have established.

• The suppression of a part of the existing taxes muít, on one fide, augment industry ; and on the other side, decreate the public expences.

. The increase of industry will produce greater abundance to the revenue in the remaining taxes.

• This greater produce will, in the course of time, be equivalent to the amount of the suppressed taxes, and by a natural reproduction, in proportion to the number of representative signs reitored to their generative quality, give sufficient means to defray the annual expences without further loans, ' if my system did not demand, that they should not be defifted from at any time, because it would be checking the greatest good effects, which may be procured from them.

Every increase in the exist'ng taxes muít therefore be turned into further suppressions, until they fhall amount to little more than what is necessary for the payment of the public annuities, and for the establithment of the civil list. The care of

every

adminiftation will then be confined to retaining annual contributions at that point, without any regard to the perpetual increase of annuities granted, le cause a natural increase of riches will provide for every neceffary effort.

• The future resources of Great Britain will then be founded on a sure and folid basis.

• Her credit will also be regenerated as well as preserved in its greateit degree of pertection, and will arise out of that confidence, which her visible reitoration by simple and falutary means inust infullibly create, and which a natural increase of riches will fecure.

• Whatever sums may be wanted on extraordinary occasions will be procured by the alienation of the fmallest poilible annuity, and the increasing produce of the existing taxes will thew, that the national resources are unbounded, while the present constitution of government exists, and while any poilibie increase in population, or extenfion and improvement in industry and commerce can také place.

6

A great

A great financier in this country, we have been informed, on the perufal of Mr. Craufurd's pamphlet, was ready to ask, whether the author was not de anged in bis understanding. But we are far from alking any such question concerning our ingenious author. His reasoning in feveral parts is correct and conclusive; but, with great deterence for the man, we must consider the system, on the whole, as visionary and impracticable.

On such precarious speculation the minifter,, we fear, could not command the necessary loans. The fale of public annuities would give an universal alarm, would be considered as indicating the last stage of financial embarrassment, and would probably haften the catastrophe of public credit.

That period, we trust, notwithstanding our various and multiplied incumbrances, is still remote. The accumulation of our national debt, to use the language of a most ingenious writer,* must be acknowledged to be a great evil; yet it is possible, that the nature of that evil may be in some degree mistaken, and its diftant terrors exaggerated.

FOREIGN LITERATURE.

THERE

Art. XVI. Confiderations sur rOverture de l'Escaut. Par M. Linguet. Svo

28. 6d. cousu. Elmfly. A Londres. 1784. HERE are politicians who affirm, that a state cannot

be happily governed, or its interefts effe&tually pursued without injustice. This assertion is as contrary to found wisdom as it is to equity. For, as in private conduct there is a wide difference between prudence and cunning, fo in the government of states there is an evident distinction between the great maxims of policy which are founded on the general and constant principles of human nature, and the temporary artifices of such rulers as substitute expedient in the room of fystem, and grasp at present and temporary instead of future and permanent advantages. Political societies are under the fame obligations with regard to each other's rights, as the individuals, of which all societies are composed. The law of sovereign states is the law of nature: and in obedience to this law the happiness and the glory of nations will be found to confift. If a private person cannot pass through the world with ease and reputation, nor expect the approbation of his fellow-creatures unless he has the character of an honest man; neither can a nation be free from dangers, alarms,

* Essay on the right of property in land.

and

« ForrigeFortsæt »