« ForrigeFortsæt »
which would certainly encourage the lender to venture, in such a time of danger, what was indispensably necessary for the exigences of the public.
Besides; this is a method for raising a sum of money, that, with the ordinary taxes, will in all probability defray the whole expense of the year: so that there is no burden laid upon our posterity, who have been sufficiently loaded by other means of raising money; nor any deficiency to be hereafter made up by ourselves; which has been our case in so many other subsidies.
To this we may add; that we have no example of any other tax, which in its nature would so particularly affect the enemies of his Majesty's government. Multitudes of Papists and Nonjurors will be obliged to furnish a double proportion out of their revenues towards the clearing of that expense, which by their open and secret practices they have been instrumental in bringing upon their fellow-subjects.
I shall only mention one consideration more; that no other tax is so likely to cease as this is, when there is no further occasion for it. This tax is established by a House of Commons, which, by virtue of an act of parliament passed a few years ago, must consist for the most part of landed men; so that a great share of the weight of it must necessarily fall upon the members of their own body. As this is an instance of their public spirit, so we may be sure they would not have exerted it, had there not been an absolute necessity: nor can we doubt, that for the same reasons, when this necessity ceases, they will take the first opportunity of easing themselves in this particular, as well as those whom they represent. It is a celebrated notion of a patriot, who signally distinguished himself for the liberties of his country, that a House of Commons should never grant such subsidies as are easy to be raised, and give no pain to the people, lest the nation should acquiesce under a burden they did not feel, and see it perpetuated without repining. Whether this notion. might not be too refined, I shall not determine; but by what has been already said, I think we may promise ourselves, that this additional tax of two shillings in the pound will not be continued another year, because we may hope the rebellion will be entirely ended in this.
And here, I believe, it must be obvious to every one's reflection, that the rebellion might not have concluded so soon,
had not this method been made use of for that end. A foreign potentate trembles at the thought of entering into a war with so wealthy an enemy as the British nation, when he finds the whole landed interest of the kingdom engaged to oppose him with their united force; and at all times ready to employ against him such a part of their revenues, as shall be sufficient to baffle his designs upon their country: especially when none can imagine, that he expects an encouragement from those, whose fortunes are either lodged in the funds, or employed in trade.
The wisdom, therefore, of the present House of Commons has by this tax, not only enabled the king to subdue those of his own subjects, who have been actually in arms against him, but to divert any of his neighbours from the hopes of lending them a competent assistance.
No. 21. FRIDAY, MARCH 2.
Qualis in Eurotæ ripis, aut per juga Cynthi,
Hinc atque hinc glomerantur Oreades; illa pharetram
Ir is not easy for any one, who saw the magnificence of yesterday in the court of Great Britain,1 to turn his thoughts for some time after on any other subject. It was a solemnity every way suited to the birth-day of a princess, who is the delight of our nation, and the glory of her sex. Homer tells us, that when the daughter of Jupiter presented herself among a crowd of goddesses, she was distinguished from the rest by her graceful stature, and known by her superior beauty, notwithstanding they were all beautiful. Such was the appearance of the Princess of Wales among our British ladies; or (to use a more solemn phrase) of "the king's daughter among her honourable women." Her Royal Highness, in the midst of such a circle, raises in the beholder the idea of a fine picture, where (notwithstanding the diversity of pleasing objects that fill up the canvass) the principal figure immediately takes the eye, and fixes the attention.
The author rises with his subject. This panegyric is extremely well written.
When this excellent princess was yet in her father's court, she was so celebrated for the beauty of her person, and the accomplishments of her mind, that there was no prince in the empire, who had room for such an alliance, that was not ambitious of gaining her into his family, either as a daughter, or as a consort. He who is now the chief of the crowned heads in Europe, and was then king of Spain, and heir to all the dominions of the house of Austria, sought her in marriage. Could her mind have been captivated with the glories of this world, she had them all laid before her; but she generously declined them, because she saw the acceptance of them was inconsistent with what she esteems more than all the glories of this world, the enjoyment of her religion. Providence, however, kept in store a reward for such an exalted virtue; and, by the secret methods of its wisdom, opened a way for her to become the greatest of her sex, among those, who profess that faith to which she adhered with so much Christian magnanimity.
This her illustrious conduct might, in the eye of the world, have lost its merit, had so accomplished a prince as his Royal Highness declared his passion for the same alliance at that time: it would then have been no wonder that all other proposals had been rejected. But it was the fame of this heroic constancy that determined his Royal Highness to desire in marriage a princess whose personal charms, which had before been so universally admired, were now become the least part of her character. We, of the British nation, have reason to rejoice, that such a proposal was made and accepted; and that her Royal Highness, with regard to these two successive treaties of marriage, showed as much prudence in her compliance with the one, as piety in her refusal of the other.
The princess was no sooner arrived at Hanover, than she improved the lustre of that court, which was before reckoned among the politest in Europe; and increased the satisfaction of that people, who were before looked upon as the happiest in the empire. She immediately became the darling of the Princess Sophia, who was acknowledged in all the courts of Europe the most accomplished woman of the age in which she lived, and who was not a little pleased with the conversation of one in whom she saw so lively an image of her own youth.
But I shall insist no longer on that reputation which her Royal Highness has acquired in other countries. We daily discover those admirable qualities for which she is so justly famed, and rejoice to see them exerted in our own country, where we ourselves are made happy by their influence. We are the more pleased to behold the throne of these kingdoms surrounded by a numerous and beautiful progeny, when we consider the virtues of those from whom they descend. Not only the features, but the mind of the parent, is often copied out in the offspring. But the princess we are speaking of takes the surest method of making her royal issue like herself, by instilling early into their minds all the principles of religion, virtue, and honour, and seasoning their tender years with all that knowledge which they are capable of receiving. What may we not hope from such an uncommon care in the education of the children of Great Britain, who are directed by such precepts, and will be formed by such an example!
The conjugal virtues are so remarkable in her Royal Highness, as to deserve those just and generous returns of love and tenderness, for which the prince, her husband, is so universally celebrated.
But there is no part of her Royal Highness's character which we observe with greater pleasure, than that behaviour by which she has so much endeared herself to his Majesty; though, indeed, we have no reason to be surprised at this mutual intercourse of duty and affection, when we consider so wise and virtuous a princess possessing, in the same sacred person, the kindest of fathers and the best of kings. And here it is natural for us to congratulate our own good fortune, who see our sovereigns blessed with a numerous issue, among whom are our heirs male in two direct descents, which has not happened in the reign of any English king since the time of his Majesty's great ancestor Edward the Third, and is a felicity not enjoyed by the subjects of any other of the kings of Europe who are his contemporaries. We are like men entertained with the view of a spacious landscape, where the eye passes over one pleasing prospect into another, till the sight is lost by degrees in a succession of delightful objects, and leaves us in the persuasion that there remain still more behind.
But if we regard her Royal Highness in that light which
diffuses the greatest glory round a human character, we shall find the Christian no less conspicuous than the princess. She is as eminent for a sincere piety in the practice of religion, as for an inviolable adherence to its principles. She is constant in her attendance on the daily offices of our church, and by her serious and devout comportment on these solemn occasions, gives an example that is very often too much wanted in courts.
Her religion is equally free from the weakness of superstition and sourness of enthusiasm. It is not of that uncomfortable melancholy nature which disappoints its own end, by appearing unamiable to those whom it would gain to its interests. It discovers itself in the genuine effects of Christianity, in affability, compassion, benevolence, evenness of mind, and all the offices of an active and universal charity.
As a cheerful temper is the necessary result of these virtues, so it shines out in all the parts of her conversation, and dissipates those apprehensions which naturally hang on the timorous or the modest, when they are admitted to the honour of her presence. There is none that does not listen with pleasure to a person in so high a station, who condescends to make herself thus agreeable, by mirth without levity, and wit without ill-nature.
Her Royal Highness is, indeed, possessed of all those talents which make conversation either delightful or improving. As she has a fine taste of the elegant arts, and is skilled in several modern languages, her discourse is not confined to the ordinary subjects or forms of conversation, but can adapt itself with an uncommon grace to every occasion, and entertain the politest persons of different nations. I need not mention, what is observed by every one, that agreeable turn which appears in her sentiments upon the most ordinary affairs of life, and which is so suitable to the delicacy of her sex, the politeness of her education, and the splendour of her quality.
It would be vain to think of drawing into the compass of this paper the many eminent virtues which adorn the character of this great princess; but as it is one chief end of this undertaking to make the people sensible of the blessings which they enjoy under his Majesty's reign, I could not but lay hold on this opportunity to speak of that which ought, in justice, to be reckoned among the greatest of them.