« ZurückWeiter »
Milton and Burke, their lives and their labours, are luminously treated by Mr. Fry, who condenses into a comparatively narrow compass the matured fruits of extensive reading and profound reflection. When men with such powers - energetic, lofty, and diversified - undertake the influential and responsible office of public lecturers, diffusing through the mass the light they have acquired from studious contemplation of the great men of past times, the most salutary results must follow in the improvement and moral elevation of the people.
The approaching season of the Italian Opera furnishes a legitimate opportunity for examining the errors that have been committed in past seasons, for sounding the causes of success, and exhibiting the sources of failure. The writer of an ingenious brochure on the subject has accomplished this desirable object"), and although we cannot always agree with him in his musical criticisms, we can recommend his pamphlet to every body interested in the inquiry it unfolds. He is well acquainted with the merits of the question, and brings to its discussion ample resources of anecdotical, personal, and scientific information.
The remarkable trial of the Earl of Stirling for forgery has produced from an English lawyer a complete history of the case, full of legal commentaries and circumstantial statements, which, thus thrown into a narrative form, have something of the effect of a serious and thrilling romance. 13 We must not venture into the intricacies of this
strange and mysterious history:—but whoever has any curiosity about such matters, ought to read this ingenious and able publication.
A new work upon the natural history of quadrupeds has been commenced by Mr. Martin, with a profusion of splendid embellishments by Harvey.lt The first part affords a brilliant promise of the ability with which it will be executed; and certainly, taking into consideration the number of the engravings and the beauty of the typography, it is one of the cheapest and most elegant serials of the million that fret the eyes of the gazers into the book-windows of the metropolis.
The celebrated systems of Geography of Malte Brun and Balbi, abridged and blended into one luminous work, are in course of publication in Edinburgh.15 This may be justly described as a great national undertaking and as the most complete publication of its class extant. The information, enriched from the labours of recent travellers, and the accumulating records of scientific bodies, is brought down to the latest date, and no pains have been spared to render it into a comprehensive and popular shape.
Mr. Croly's miscalled Life of Burke 16 — written at a period of excitement, in a style of congenial fustian- has reached a second edition. The work originally appeared in Blackwood's Magazine, to which it was exactly suited by its fiery and tempestuous spirit; but in the sober form of volumes, where
12 The Italian Opera in 1839: its latest Improvements and existing Defects impartially considered: By the Author of “ The Star of La Scala," &c. London: J. Alfred Novello. 1840.
13 Remarks on the Trial of the Earl of Stirling, at Edinburgh, 29th April, 1839, for Forgery. By an English Lawyer. London: Edward Churton. 1840.
14 Part I. A Natural History of Quadrupeds and other mammiferous Animals, fc. By WILLIAM CHARLES LINNÆUS Martin, F. L. S., with upwards of 1000 Engravings on Wood. London: Whitehead & Co. 1840.
15 Part I. Malte Brun's and Balbi's Systems of Geography abridged; with numerous Tables of Population and Statistics, and a copious Alphabetical Index. Edinburgh : Adam & Charles Black. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans. 1840.
Memoir of the Political Life of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke, with Extracts from his Write ings. By George Crowy, LL.D., Rector of St. Stephens Walbrook, London. 2 Vols. London: Thomas Cadell. Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons.
we have the whole before us at once, it loses its disturbing charm, and drops down into mere sound and fury. We can easily comprehend how small doses of such drastic compounds could have been taken at monthly intervals, but we cannot bring up our imagination to the feat of swallowing the whole at once.
One of the best fictions of the day — “ The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer,” ?? which originally appeared in the Dublin University Magazine has fluttered out of its chrysalis state, and taken wings of green and gold. This is a clever, lively, and sagacious tale, well worthy of redemption from the perishable shell of a magazine; and if all our contemporaries who rejoice in fiction, were to indulge their readers with such stories of real life as this, instead of surfeiting them with highway horrors and threadbare humour, there would be less occasion for a work like the Monthly Chronicle to trim the sails, and steady the course of the periodical craft.
The works-or rather a selection from them--of Sir E. Lytton Bulwer, in monthly volumes 18, after the current fashion, with handsome embellishments, is now in course of issue. “ Rienzi” the first volume – is well got up at a low price. When the publication has advanced a little farther, it will demand a more elaborate notice. A pretty little volume of excerpta from a variety of sources, appropri
“ Deliciæ Literariæ," 19 forms an acceptable book of table-talk. It is not unskilfully compiled, and is replete with a variety of styles and topics.
The tournament at Eglintoun Castle, - commemorated in a multitude of ways, in poems, pictures, tales, and songs - is at last fairly chronicled in blue and silver, a book truly for the boudoir, reviving all the shapes and legendary fascinations of chivalry in a manner worthy of the theme. 20 Whether the people have enough of feudal blood lingering in their veins to have their enthusiasm excited by this venture is perhaps questionable ; but the book is a jaunty morsel, and will at least fill a small space gracefully amongst the bijouterie of the drawing-room.
A new and improved edition of Mr. Smith's little manual for the government of persons concerned in public meetings has just reached us.21 Order is the soul of all popular assemblies, which, instead of being productive of utility, would terminate only in confusion and tumult if their proceedings were not governed by fixed rules. In this valuable essay all the necessary regulations are clearly laid down, and it may be strongly recommended to the attention of every person engaged in public transactions.
17 The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, with numerous Illustrations by Phiz. Dublin: W. Curry
1$ Rienzi, the last of the Roman Tribunes. By Sir E. L. BULWER, Bart. M.P. M. A. London: Saunders & Otley, 1840.
19 Deliciæ Literariæ : a new Volume of Table Talk. London : Simpkin, Marshall, & Co. 1840.
20. A Right Faithfull Chronique of the Ladies and Knights who gained Worship at the grand Tournay holden at his Castle. By the Earl of EGLISTOUN. London: Saunders & Otley. 1840.
21 The Chairman and Speaker's Guide. Second Edition. By Thomas Smith, Author of “ Evolution of Numbers," &c. London: Longman and Co.
& Co. 1840.
FINANCIAL POLICY OF THE WHIGS.* SINCE the failure of the attempt to work the people of England up to a No Popery crusade against the religion and liberties of their Irish brethren, the Tories have been obliged to shift their ground, and open their batteries of abuse against the government from another quarter.
Driven by very shame from the cover of their old established fictions about Popish plots, unholy leagues with O'Connell, and insidious designs against the Church and Protestant religion; compelled, sorely against their will, to admit the fact which could no longer be denied, of the tranquillity of Ireland; forced also to hold their tongues about Chartism, after the triumphant refutation of all their attempts to fasten this offspring of their AntiPoor Law agitation upon the shoulders of government; they seem to have taken refuge in the intricacies of finance, and entrenched themselves to the teeth behind rows of figures and a long array of parliamentary documents and statistical facts. The bankrupt condition of the revenue under the incapable management of a Whig Chancellor of the Exchequer is now the burden of their song; and the salvation of the country from all the evils which threaten to overwhelm it, is to be worked out, it appears, not as heretofore by the “ loyalty” of a Bradshaw or “ ardent Protestant feeling" of a Jezebel M.Niele, but by the “ profound financial knowledge” of those singularly small gentlemen, Messrs. Goulburn and Herries.
Figures we are told cannot lie good; but those who use figures can: and by a little dexterous mis-statement of premises and shuffling of facts, there is scarcely any proposition which a practised hand will not undertaké to prove, were it even to make Messrs. Goulburn and Herries
eminent statesmen, and demonstrate their superiority over men to whom they are scarcely fit to be copying clerks.
There is a maxim much acted upon by certain penny-a-line writers, and adopted, we believe, from time immemorial as one of the sacred canons of the Grub Street dynasty. It is this — When you are reviewing a poem, take for granted that the author meant it for a work of science; and when you have to deal with a work of science, assume that it was intended for a poem. Follow this rule, and it shall go hard with you but you shall prove Milton a blockhead and Newton a driveler, causing thereby in the reader's mind a vast conceit of your own superior knowledge, sagacity, and discernment. Something very like this maxim has been practised by Tory orators, great and small, in their attacks upon Whig financial policy. It is but to assume that Negro Emancipation and Penny Postage were intended as financial measures, and formed part of a series of financial operations, and nothing is easier than to make out a triumphant case. What can be so clear as that the National Debt is larger than it would have been, if we had enjoyed the blessing of a Tory government, in which
The figures throughout this Article are taken from Porter's Progress of the Nation, which is a standard authority on all subjects of a financial and statistical nature, and from the Parliamentary Tables published by the Board of Trade.
case our twenty millions would have remained in our breeches' pocket-and in which case, they fo get to add, the crime and curse of slavery would have still disgraced the Statute Book of England ? What plainer, than that the revenue would have been in a more flourishing condition, if, what they are pleased to call “ the Penny-postage folly” had been rejected, and the greatest boon ever granted by a government to the moral and intellectual wants of the humbler classes of the community withheld ? It needs no prophet to tell us this. We see no occasion for shouts of Io triumphe ! to celebrate this mighty discovery, Lord Melbourne's government, we should think, may be well content to take the responsibility of any financial embarrassments which these great and glorious measures may have occasioned, along with the immortal honour of having proposed and carried them.
This much might suffice, if our only object were to expose the weak and flimsy fabrications, with which the Government has been attacked by the tools of party. At the present time, however, when a good deal of anxiety exists in the minds of honest and well-meaning men, on the subject of the financial condition and prospects of the country, it may be well to go a little deeper into the matter, and discuss the financial policy of the Whigs upon principles somewhat different from those which we should require, if we had no other task in hand than to answer a speech from Mr. Goulburn or a leading article of the Times.
The leading principle of Whig financial policy may be stated in a few words. It is simply this -- to reduce taxation to the minimum limit required for meeting the engagements to the national creditor, and providing for the different departments of the public service. Previous to the year 1831 it had been a financial maxim of every Chancellor of the Exchequer to keep taxation very considerably above the limit of expenditure, with a view to effecting a gradual reduction of the National Debt. The excess of income over expenditure during the fifteen years of peace, ending with 1830, amounted to 39,550,9521., or, on an average, to the annual sum of 2,636,7302.; at which rate, 190 years would be required to cancel the debt incurred during twenty-four years of war. The Whigs on their accession to power in 1830 adopted a different line of policy, which the following illustration may serve perhaps to render generally intelligible:-Suppose a man to succeed to an estate of 20001. a year, burdened with a mortgage of 20,0001., on which he has to pay for interest the annual sum of 1000l. It is evident that if he wishes to improve his fortune he must adopt one or other of these two plans : either he may apply a portion of his income annually in paying off the mortgage, or he may apply the same sum in improving his estate. It is obvious that he may become richer, either by his mortgage diminishing while his income remains stationary, or by his mortgage remaining stationary while his income increases. Which of these two plans it may be most advisable to adopt, must depend altogether upon the circumstances of the
If the estate is one which admits of great improvements being effected by a small outlay, it is obviously better policy to lay out whatever money he has to spare on improvements than to apply it in paying off the mortgage. Now this is just what the Whigs have done. They say, the mischief done by taxation in crippling the course of commerce and imposing shackles on industry always entails upon the country a pecuniary loss greater than the pecuniary benefit accruing to the Treasury from the tax. To impose surplus taxes, therefore, for the purpose of paying off the National Debt, is bad policy; it is better to allow the relative amount of the debt to be reduced by the capital and resources of the country outgrowing it, than to seek to iminish its absolute amount by keeping up a load of oppressive taxation.
On this principle the Whigs have steadily acted. The average annual amount raised by taxation, which for the three years 1828, 1829, and 1830, preceding their accession to office, had been 52,006,0001., was reduced for the six years 1831–1836, to 46,822,2201. During the same period taxes to the amount of 7,116,623l. were remitted; deducting from which 879,8021., the amount of new taxes imposed, we find for the total remission of taxation during these six years the annual sum of 6,236,8211. This extraordinary reduction the Whigs were enabled to effect, partly by adopting the principle of financial policy above referred to, and partly by the exercise of the strictest economy in every branch of expenditure and department of the public service.
The current annual public expenditure of the country, exclusive of the fixed charge of about 29,000,0001. for interest on the National Debt, which on the average of the ten years 1820—1830 amounted to 22,501,1101., was reduced, on the average of the eight years of Whig administration ending with 1839, to 17,333,0001.
Some part of the praise, as we esteem it, or blame, as it is considered by those who impute all the misfortunes of the country to “ democratic impatience of taxation,” of this reduction belongs no doubt to the Duke of Wellington's Administration, who, impelled by the force of public opinion and the vigilance of an honest and active opposition, had already entered on the career of retrenchment. Not only, however, did the Whigs on their accession to office exhibit the rare spectacle of a party acting when in power upon the principles which they professed in opposition, but they carried their reductions to an extent far exceeding what the Duke of Wellington's Ministry had pronounced the ne plus ultra of economy.
The following Table may be interesting, as showing some of the principal items of public expenditure in which reductions have been effected :
Average of 1820-1828. D. of Wellington's
5,976,000 5,605,000 4,474,000 Army
8,060,000 7,350,000 6,632,000 Ordnance
1,427,000 1,591,000 1,369,000 Total for Defence
15,463,000 14,546,000 12,475,000 Salaries in public Departments 3,358,000 3,087,000 2,850,000
A saving of upwards of 800,0001. annually has also been effected by the Whigs in the cost of collecting the revenue. In the last year of the Duke of Wellington's Administration, the difference between the gross amount of the revenue collected, and the net amount paid into the Exchequer, without taking into account drawbacks, was 4,875,000l. In the year 1839 the difference amounted only to 4,042,0001., showing a reduction of 833,000l., effected chiefly by the abolition of a number of minor offices in the Customs and Excise, which in the good old days of Toryism afforded the most fertile source of ministerial patronage.
The following list of taxes which have been remitted by the Whigs since they came into power, will show what an extensive relief they have been enabled to afford to the commerce and industry of the country :Printed cottons, repealed
£ 550,000 Coals and slates, repealed