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story two years ago about my foretelling the high tide. I really thought there had been no such nonsense left even among the lowest of the people at pri sent.” p. 167. .
“ The territory of Liege is a wretched, lawless, undisciplined country, . and the more so from its situation, as it is surrounded by many little independent states ; so that a criminal may in a few hours take refuge in some other dominion, and be quite safe from the pursuits of justice. The government is divided between the l'rince, Senate, and people : this looks in description like liberty; but in reality is mere licentiousness and anarchy, worse evils than the most absolute despotism. Mrs. Montagu has, I think, given a very lively and exact description of this country, by calling it the Seven Dials of Europe.” p. 213.
“ As much as I had heard of the fopperies of the Popish worship, they appeared to me childish and trifling to a greater degree than I had conceived from any description. In the ornaments of the altars, where there is often such a profusion of riches, nothing is great, nothing that can excite sentiments of devotion, or impress an awful sense of the Divine Being ; but all is glare, and finery, and littleness. I had expected to find some entertainment to my Gothie imagination in the architecture ; but I scarcely met with any church that did not totally shock all my ideas of the sublime, as well in the structure, as in the ornaments. I do not recollect that we met with one truly Gothic. The aisles are all too wide, the light too strong, and consequently that dim perspective, that undefined extent on which you and I have so often conversed with enthu. siastic sensibility, are illumined into littleness, and bounded by feet and inches.” p. 203. . .
The letters from the Continent were evidently written in haste, and merely for the eye of a friend; yet they are often fully equal to the admired productions of Lady M. W. Montague.
We have mentioned Mrs. Carter's cordial attachment to religion in general terms of commendation. Her piety, in conformity with the structure of her mind, was not particu. Jarly fervent ; yet it appears to have been sincere and decided, uniform and operative. It was veined through all her sentiments, and is often unexpectedly disclosed, sometimes in her gayest letters, without effort or consciousness. The fortitude with which she avowed her belief, and asserted the paramount claims of religion, in all companies, is deserving of the highest praise. With this opinion of Mrs. Carter, we were startled, we confess, at finding such an unscriptural, and even ridiculous notion as this, in one of her letters :-". How happy was it for poor Harold, if the disastrous event of this decisive battle at Hastings could expiate the failings of imperfect virtue.” p. 154. Where could Mrs. Carter learn such miserable theology ? Certainly not from the Bible, nor yet from Epictetus ; it is palpably inconsistent, indeed, with many of her own explicit and deliberate avowals of sentiment.
It is, with sincere pain that we notice such glaring inconsistencies in so estimable a person as Mrs. Carter, who was, in general, equally distinguished by her devotion, and her modesty, from the class of beings denominated learned taries. *
The Notes on the Bible might have been spared without detracting fro the real importance of the volume. The Answers to Objections against Christianity are sensible, without exbibiting any features of novelty, or symptoms of extraordinary acumen. The general execution of the Memoir is creditable to the writer's industry and good sense. But we do not very highly respect an author, for his taste, who gravely tells us that Churchill was vo poet; nor for his logical depth, who informs us that “ the passage from this state of existence to another,” is “ usually called, but improperly, death.” Mr. Pennington, however, deserves praise which is seldom due to the modern writers of lives; he has kept the true subject of his Memoir constantly in view; his volume is not a Biographical Dictionary for the eighteenth century, yet he has been careful to furnish the necessary information concerning the several individuals who come successively under notice. · Art. IV. Lord Liverpool's Treatise on the Coins of the Realm. ..
(Concluded from p. 220), HAVING established the point, that one metal only
should be employed for the standard coin of any country, his Lordship proceeds to inquire, what is the metal which should, in Great Britain, be adopted for this purpose. “ This,” he says, “is a very controverted point, and more difficult than any of which I have to treat." In this opinion, however, we cannot concur; because we really think, his Lordship, without any great difficulty, has very satisfactorily proved, that gold is the metal which ought in this country to be exclusively used in the standard coin. "
He first treats the subject as a question of law; secondly as a question of fact, that is, with reference to the practice and opinions of the people.
There is no doubt that, by the law of this country, gold coin is legal tender ; silver, however, is legal tender likewise: originally silver alone was legal tender. Afterwards gold and silver were ordained to be legal tender conjointly. Upon the formation of the gold coin in 1774, when the silver
* As a fair specimen of this class, we could mention a lady, who, on being asked by one of her visitors for a Bible, replied, “Oh! I dare say there is not one in the house, except it is a Greek one. Rr.
coin was in a very debased slate, silver coin was declared, by act of parliament, to be legal tender to the amount of 251. only, except according to its weight. Copper coins are legal tender, in any respect, to the amount of twelve pence merely. Such is the view exhibited by our author of the question of law.
In point of fact, he shows that gold coin has become, in .this country, the sole standard of the medium of exchange, and the sole instrument of exchange in all transactions of great value. In support of this conclusion, he adduces a short bistory of the proportion which the payments in gold and the payments in silver have borne to one another, from the earliest to the present times. From this it appears, that since the year 1717, all payments of considerable magnitude have been made exclusively in gold; and the use of silver coin has been confined to the payment of small sums, or the exchange of gold coins. It thus appears that the law favours the employment of gold coin as the exclusive stand. ard, and the habits of the people adopt it. Debased and wretched as our silver coin is, no great inconvenience is experienced in the internal business of the country, and the par of exchange remains unaffected. This is satisfactory proof that our gold coin is the real medium of exchange, both between the subjects of this realm, and in their transactions with other countries.
Besides these advantages in respect to law and usage, the author enumerates others which are of considerable importance. Gold, on account of its superior value, is a much more convenient medium of exchange, in the great transactions which are common in an age of opulence. It varies much less in its current price than silver, though this is appearance more than reality. Among the metals employed as coin, it is placed at the superior end of the scale of value, whence that scale can be more conveniently graduated than either from the middle or from the lowest extremity. All these points our author excellently illustrates, and satisface torily establishes the doctrine which he teaches.
We find here, however, another strange inelegance or deformity, in respect of arrangement. Before he introduces the third head which he specified in his division of the inquiry into the principles of ccinage, he undertakes an investigation entirely distinct ; Whether or not a seignorage, (or charge for coining) should be imposed on coined money. We will not however follow him in this derangement, but con sider what he advances under his third head, before we take any notice of this separate question.
3. As it is convenient for a country to have coins of different denominations, coins, for example, of a high value for large purchases, and coins of a small value, for inferior purchases; and as our author has already shewn the principles on which the higher coins should be made, it only remains to inquire what are the principles which should direct the formation of the inferior coins. Should they be made of the same metal of which the standard coin is formed, varying only in size, or should they be made of different metals? Lord Liverpool shews the inconveniences which would attend a coinage consisting entirely of the most precious metal, and decides, on very satisfactory grounds, that inferior coins should be formed of a series of metals, which descend in value, as silver, and copper. Gold coin alone, however, being regarded as standard, the other coins are merely representative of gold, and their value is measured by the gold coin. They should, he thinks, be made legal tender, only to the amount of the coin which is next in denomination above them, copper coin, for example, to the amount of a shilling, and silver coin to the amount of a guinea.
Such is the doctrine of Lord Liverpool in regard to the great questions of coinage. His leading conclusions are all correct, and although there was not much difficulty in arri. ving at them, and not much profundity in the illustrations and deductions, yet a large portion of useful information is conveyed which must be new to the great body of readers, and by which the diffusion of just ideas will be promoted. That at his Lordship's period of life, and in his state of health, he has exerted himself so laudably for the instruction of his countrymen, intitles him to their gratitude and esteem. This work affords proof of a mind uncommonly active under the load of years and infirmities which Lord Liverpool sustains, and a mind devoted to liberal and ingenious inquiry, far beyond what is commonly to be met with among those, who, like his Lordship, have spent their days amid the drudging details of office, and in the scramble of ambition.
We may now shortly advert to his Lordship's opinion on the subject of a seignorage. He thinks that no seignorage should be imposed on the gold, or standard coin, but that a seignorage should be imposed on the inferior coins. His doctrine on this point is not satisfactory. His reasons against imposing a seignorage on the gold coin, are the four following:
• Because this principal measure of property would not in such case be perfect.
Because the merchants of foreign nations, who have any commercial intercourse with this country, estimate the value of our coins only 2cording to the intrinsic value of the metal that is in them; so that the British merchant would, in such case, be forced to pay in his exchanges, a compensation for any defect, which might be in these coins; and he must necessarily either raise the price of all merchandize and manu. factures sold to foreign nations in proportion, or submit to this loss.
. Because no such charge of fabrication has been taken at the British Mint for nearly a century and a half past; and, if it were now to be taken, the weight of the new gold coins must be diminished, to pay for this fabrication.
. And lastly, Because these new gold coins would either differ in weight from those now in currency, or, to prevent this evil, the whole of our present gold coins must be taken out of circulation, brought to the Mint, and be recoined.' p. 154, 155.
The first of these reasons, we see, is derived from that mistake in regard to the nature of money, which is so very prevalent, and which we had occasion to consider and ex. pose very lately in our review of Mr. Wheatley's Essay. Money is not a measure of property. This is a delusive phrase, devoid of meaning. Money is a commodity merely, bought and sold like other commodities, and differs from them only in this, that it is much more frequently bought and sold than any other commodity.
The second reason is founded upon a mistake in regard to the practical operation of exchange. A seignorage upon the coin, or even a depreciation to any amount that could be rendered permanent, would have no effect either upon the gains of our exporting merchants, or the quantity of their trade; its sole effect would be to alter their modes of computation. The business between one country and another depends, not upon the gold and silver in the one or in the other, but upon the commodities in the one, which are ready to be exchanged, either mediately or immediately, for those in the other. The gold and silver are only the medium by which this exchange is effected.
The two latter reasons bear no reference to the nature of the case. They relate merely to the practical difficulties of the execution ; to the trouble which would be found in reforming our practice, in effecting the change from the old method to the new. This is a species of reason which the men of practice, the men who have learned only to tread in a beaten course, maintain with wonderful constancy. It is a species of reason, however, which ought, on most occasions, to be treated with contempt. When a regulation of policy is al-, lowed to be intrinsically good, and only certain difficulties oppose its execution, it is the plea of the sluggard, to say that we should not attempt to remove them ; it is voluntarily
* Ecl. Rev. Vol. IV. pp. 27-29.