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Such is the outline of Mr. Pmkerton's Dissertation; whence it is easy to perceive, that the generally received opinions of modern historians must be refuted, before the facts here mentioned can possibly be established. In this part of the work, he displays great ingenuity and much learning; but he frequently introduces abuse. An author, who has been misted, or has formed false opinions through the misrepresentations or uncertainty of historians, may surely be refuted without being called ignorant, rash, ill advised, &c. Such epithets may induce readers to with-hold part of the applause they would otherwise bestow on a truly ingenious and learned writer.
Mr. Pinkerton has examined with great attention the ancient historians; he has, with judgment, rejected whatever bears the appearance of fable; and he has carefully avoided those etymological rocks and sands on which (to use his own words) many antiquarian (hips have foundered. Yet in tracing the origin of nations, he acknowledges with Sheringham, " Linguarum ccgT nationem, cognationis gentium pracifwum certijftmumque argumentum *ffe>" We hesitate in allowing the similarity of language to avail so much as Mr. Pinkerton thinks it does; it is a good collateral proof, but to rely on it as the prœcipuum certijstmumque, the chief and most certain, would perhaps lead us on those very rocks and quicksands which are to be carefully avoided in exploring the straits of antiquity. We could have wished Mr. Pinkerton to have given us definitions of the terms clothes, body, and foul, of a language, where he fays,' When a speech changes, it is in many centuries, and it only changes clothes, not body andy&a/.'
With respect to our Author's chronology, we perfectly agree with him in thinking that the Scriptures were never intended to instruct us in that science. Indeed the disagreement of different MSS. is a sufficient proof how little the Scripture chronology can be depended on. Mr. Pinkerton's chronological table begins 4000 years before Christ, with the reign of Menes, the first King of Egypt. His thoughts on the deluge are consonant with some of his peculiar opinions which we have noticed on former occasions. He fays, ' the latest and best natural philosophers pronounce the Flood impossible; and their reasons, grounded on mathematical truth and the immutable laws of nature, have my full assent. The Jews believed the earth a vast plain, and that the rain came from a vast collection of waters above the firmament (Genes, i. 7.), as the earth floated on another mass of waters (Genes, vii. 11.); both of which were opened at the Deluge. As such waters are now mathematically known not to exist; and the earth is found spherical; the effeit must cease with the cause.'
As this performance is given as an 'Introduction to the an. cient and modern History of Europe,' we hope to be farther entertained by the futmc-productions of this learned, though singuhr historian, —.
For OCTOBER, 1787.
Art. 22. Remonstrance os the Trench Parliament to the King, of] the
IT will be difficult to read the title of this publication without a smile, and making a whimsical comparison between the panegyrical eulogiums of the North Americans on their great and good ally, who so liberally assisted in rescuing them from an odious stamp duty; and the pathetic remonstrance of bit own parliament against duties of the same nature which he determined to impose on bit ttvn loving subjects! The nature and extent of the kindness on the one part is not yet eventually decided, pnd the event in the present case, is something like a political judgment coming home to political /Craft and moral absurdity! But though it is too late to make any new reflections on the general conduct of princes, it is pleasing to find that it is not yet too late to wisli success to popular efforts toward emancipation. It is quite urnecefory to enter into a subject that has been so convenient to all the public papers, during the long vacation at home.
Art. 23. M. Neckar't Answer to A/. Dt Caknne'j Charge against him in the Assembly of the Notables. 8vo. 2s. 6d. Debreit.
Where a new officer succeeds to a department by the removal of another, his first object is to recommend himself; and be assumes I . some merit by depreciating his predecessors as much as he can. M.
CUL. Neckar, finding himself involved in the censures passed by M^jL'a
lonne on the inaccuracies of former statements of the revenues of France, expostulated with that minister on the subject, in letter's which are here produced : when, not being satisfied with his explanations, he has now, as is usual in such cases, made his appeal to the Public. He is not however unapprifed of the decision likely to be made, where the contest is to be decided by dry calculations: he observes, thst ' already some folks are heard to lay, What are all these quarrels to us? What have they to do with our present interests? The past is gone, and nothing is of less consequence to the nation than to determine whether M. de Calonne or M. Neckar was right or wrong: the question does not deserve that we should undergo the tediousnrfs of such a controversy.'
From the language of this translation, we think ourselves, in some measure, warranted to conclude, without having seen the original, that it has been rather too hastily performed, to do full justice to the pen of the very-able author. «»
Art. 24. The Speech os Mr. Wilies in the House of Commons, May 9th,
talk of defending the Governor-General from the many articles c£
accusation; accusation accumulated against him, by pleading the uniform, successful, and prosperous tenor of his Indian administration, the sentiments entertained of him in the East, and the frequent warm votes of approbation and thankful acknowledgment that he received to the last from his principals. All these, indeed, speak a language totally different from the declamation and acrimony so lavishly displayed in the parliamentary impeachment. It is almost needless to add* that the speech is conceived in terms characteristic of the orator's well-known abilities. **•
Art. 2;. An Examination of Mr. Pi/t's Plan for diminijhing the Publie Deits by meam of a Sinking Fund. 8vo. is. Stockdale. 1787. This, to any one who understands common accounts, will appear to be a plain matter of calculation; (hewing the operation of the) present scheme for buying up the national debt, and in what time it will be effected. +,
Art. 26. Pou-Rou: an historical and critical Enquiry into the Physio* logy and Pathology of Parliaments. Including a new Plan for a constitutional Reform, in two Parts. Recommended to the serious Perusal of all political Societies; Conventions, Delegates, Volunteers, Electors, and Representatives. By a Freeholder. 8vo,' 4s. Boards. Stockdale. 1787.
We are sorry to observe a beginning tendency to introduce those quaint and unintelligible titles to books, which were so common in the last century, but which we thought the sounder judgment os the present age had wisely laid aside. The Diversions ofPurley, and PouRou are recent examples of this sort; both absolutely require an immediate explanation, and convey no idea whatever to the Reader. It appears that this Author, in the course of his reading, had discovered that the Egyptians expressed the executive fewer by the twd syllables Pou-Rou. This, he fays, means populi rex, and not fopulus rex, which last he holds in detestation. We should be sorry to fed this enigmatical mode of making title-pages prevail.
Nothing can be more wild than the ideas of liberty which were, some years ago, propagated in this country, or more chimerical than the plans of reform in the constitution, that have originated in those ideas; and though some men of talents countenanced them from particular views, yet as that delirium is no*v nearly over, we think little more is wanting to bring the people to their fenses, than a small portion of time for observation. The Author of this work has taken the trouble to collect a great many proofs of the ruinous consequences that have resulted to communities and states, by indulging notions concerning government, similar to those that were lately very fashionable. His account of the British constitution, though extremely defective as to its original form, is entirely sufficient to prove that nothing could be more opposite to its spirit than those plans of reform, as they were called, which were so much agitated two years ago. This Author, however, who endeavours to prove that all power resided originally with the King, gives an idea of our early constitution as defective as the system of those who derive all power from the people. A good account of the fundamental principles of the British constitution in its infancy, with an historical deduction of its changes, Rev. Oct. 1787. Z' i» h much wanted. If written without prejudice, by a man sufficiently informed, it would prove a very interesting performance.
This Author's plan of reform consists of certain contrivances to extend the power of the crown, to increase the influence of men of property, and to curtail the power of the people. Strange, that such noxious political weeds should spring up in a land of freedom 1 They should be transplanted to Algiers or Morocco; the foil there will suit them much better. ^L_ n tl.
Art. 27. Thoughts on the Cause of the Increase os the Poor, and 0fj40T ■ Poor's Rates; with some Hints towards a Remedy: offered toThe
serious Consideration of all landed Gentlemen throughout the
Kingdom; and particularly to the Members of both Houses of
Parliament. 8vo. 1 s. Debrett.
This Writer ascribes the increasing burden of destitute poor to the mistaken policy of the landed gentlemen, in aggregating small farms into large ones} and of course refers the remedy of the evil to the authors of it. 'The most natural and obvious cause of the increase of the poor, as well a« their expence, and perhaps the only one to be assigned, I take to be the absorption of the smaller farms into the greater, and the depriving, or not allowing, the common labourer a small portion of land to his cottage.' These have indeed frequently been assigned as the causes of the indigence of the lower orders of the working poor; and their being overlooked is no proof of mistake in the imputation. * The desire of gentlemen and their stewards to ease themselves of trouble, and the avarice of farmers in grasping every thing into their own hands, stems not to have occurred as the chief cause, of which the disuse of some old wise laws first laid the foundation. We need only then have recourse to the same spirit as pervades these old laws, and by adapting it to the present exigency, the remedy will soon follow.' Every one will allow, that so material an alteration in the conduct of landlords could not take place, without producingyixw new consequence; we find a cotemporary increase of poor attended with a greater increase in the price of the smaller articles of provisions, than other causes can naturally account for. There is no wonder, then, that plain understandings, not biassed by personal interest, nor misled by amusing speculations, should suppose a correspondence between these two series of events. Such is the ■case with respect to the writer now before us; and we have only to hope, that in the public assembly of the nation, the public interest will at length swallow up all partial interested modes of personal conduct, instead of trifling with our welfare and aggravating our grievances by political quackery. «■
Art. 18. Proceedings at the Affixes at Thetford, March 18, 1786, and March 24, I787, in the Trial of William Hurry, Merchant, Yarmouth, on an Indictment preferred against him by John Watson, Mayor elect of the said Borough, for wilful and corrupt Perjury: and in the Action against the said John Watson, then Mayor of the said Borough, brought by the said William Hurry, for a malicious Prosecution of him by the above Indictment: with the Substance ef Mr. Partridge's Opening in the first Trial: and the Speeches at
large1 of Mess. Erfkine and Hardiflge in the last. To which are added, a Relation of the Nonsuit in the latter Cause at the Norfolk Assizes in August last; and a Report of the Argument thereupon in the Court of Common Pleas the Michaelmas Term following; and the Judgment of that Court, as delivered by the Lord Chief Justice, when the Nonsuit was set aside, and a new Trial granted. 4to. zs. 6d. Baldwin.
To indict a man of credit for perjury, without just cause, is a very serious affair; and if such a prosecution should be pursued with art, to give it operation in the public opinion ; malice, and that of a very deep nature, is the only inference to be drawn from the transaction. This ugly business originated from the demand of an overcharge of tii.) and in the final result, Mr. Hurry, the claimant, was allowed Jooo/. damages.
The doctrine advanced by the counsel for the defendant, in the prosecution for damages, has been often imputed to the gentlemen of the bar, but we do not much admire the direct avowal of it.—" I flatter myself (hat, as a man, I have some good nature, as a counsel I have none: it is my duty to press forwatd every topic that can make for my client." Such an advocate may be very useful in some cases, but what is the man doing all the while; and what are we to think of him ?—We have been much entertained by Mr. Erfkine's oratory on this occasion. One of his speeches, which has been much and deservedly celebrated, is here fully and, we believe, correctly given..
Art. 29. Supplementary to the Trial of Hurry against Wat/en—A Report of the Argument in the Common Pleas, on a Motion for a new Trial in Trinity Term last; in which the Conduct of the Special Jury, in the giving of their Verdict, was agitated, and the Doctrine respecting the Power of the Court to set aside Verdicts for excessive Damages fully discussed. Together with the final Issue of this long contested Business. 4to. is. Baldwin, &c. 1787. The business of excessive damages is here properly argued and discussed. The final issue was, that Mr. Watson was to pay to Mr. Hurry the sum of 1500/. for damages and costs; and also make to him an apology for his conduct. Mr. Hurry appears to have acted, in this affair, with the moderation becoming a man of honour and character. ■'■ 'J
■' -: Geography.
Art. 30. A clear, comprehensive, yet compendious Introduilion to Geography and Astronomy, for the Use of young Ladies. By Eliza Cumyns, of Brompton. 4to. 5 s. sewed. Dilly. 1787.. Books of Geography are sufficiently numerous; but none of them, in this lady's opinion, are calculated for conveying instruction ei.ther so fully or speedily as might be justly expected. Being herself a tutoress; she has found, by several years experience, that the method here delivered answers the purpose extremely well, and on that account it was printed. Teachers are always partial to their own method; and, in general, it is right that they Ihould be so, if by that mean) they convey instruction more fully dr more expeditioujly. _
The Authoress of the present performance begins with a series of geometrical definitions, necessary to be known before the student can :., ..• Z 2 easily