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balance of trade, therefore, but the whole amount of trade that was against England.
That the high price of bullion and the great depreciation of the foreign exchanges were in a great degree occasioned by the magnitude of our expenditure on the continent, is obvious from the following facts. Soon after the peace with France was concluded, the price of bullion fell from £5:10. to £4:10s. the ounce, or 22 per cent, and the exchange with Hamburgh became more favourable and gradually rose 22 per cent. or approached as near to par as the market price of bullion had subsided to the mint price of gold.
The experiment of suspending all cash payments, it must be confessed, was a bold one; and, as Lord Liverpool pronounced it, in his reply to Lord Grenville's crimination of a measure which he himself had been a humble instrument in promoting,
of the most memorable among the whole number of the eminent services of that great man whom we all deplore-one that was characteristic of his genius-one that bore the strongest impression of that magnanimous spirit which, knowing the evil interpretation and the obloquy that would be thrown upon the measure, was yet fully prepared to encounter prejudice for the public welfare. He knew the alarm which it must create in its commencement—the strong prejudices that must be excited—the dark forebodings to which so new and formidable a step must give rise ; and, continues his lordship,' while I cannot sufficiently admire and applaud the spirit which, anticipating all those consequences, boldly resolved at once upon the measure, I cannot but regard it as the source of our inost successful efforts in the general cause--as, in no slight degree, the very means of national salvation.'
We verily believe, indeed, on looking back to that portentous time, that had not Mr.
Pitt's comprehensive mind anticipated, what afterwards happened, with regard to the disappearance of specie, but delayed the measure till the evil day came, no expedients, no exertions, no sacrifices on the part of individuals could by any possi. bility have enabled us to struggle through a war unexampled in its duration and expenditure. Every new alarm would have occasioned a run upon the bank; every guinea drawn from thence would have been hoarded, melted, or exported; public credit would have been slaken-all trade and commerce at a stand, and a peace been submitted to on any terms.
On the national debt, loans, and taxes, our observations must be very brief; but we wish to 'notice the erroneous opinions which many entertain of them. When Mr. Hume predicted the bankruptcy of Great Britain whenever her public debt should amount to one hundred millions, we have no doubt a majority of his readers acquiesced in the truth of the prophecy. If any one had then ven
tured to maintain that ten times that sum would one day have been raised by individuals for the exigencies of the state, he would have incurred the suspicion of being a visionary or a madman. A thousand and a thousand times have we been told that this debt could be carried no higher; that it loads, and clogs, and presses down the energies of the nation, and yet in spite of all those ponderous epithets, its weight has increased from year to year, and still the nation is buoyant! It has been represented as the greatest of national evils, and yet none can deny that the nation has continued to flourish. That it has a limit is most certain; but it is as certain that none will pretend to fix the point where that limit is to be placed.*
Debt at the commencement of the American war 1776 135,943,051
Debt at the conclusion of the Anterican war 1783
Debt at the commencement of the Revolutionary war!
1793, Increase during the war
327,469,665 Debt at the conclusion of the Revolutionary war 1801 561,203,274 Increase during the peace
Debt at the commencement of the French war in 1803 601,411,080 læcrease during the war
The establishment of the sinking fund for the redemption of this debt was another proof of that consummate wisdom which will innortalize the memory of Mr. Pitt. Such was the effect of this measure that the 3 per cent. stock, which, at the close of the last war in 1784, was at 5t, rose in the course of 1786 to 76 per cent., and. in 1792 reached 96 per cent. This sinking fund was first fixed at a million a-year; it was afterwards raised to £1,200,000; and in 1793 was still farther increased by the addition of one per cent. on all loans raised subsequent to that period: And as a sinking fund of one per cent. will redeem the principal in 37, 41, or 47 years, according as the rate of interest shall be-5, 4, or 3, per cent., the amount borrowed will always be redeemed in a determined number of years. This circumstance alone should disarm the national debt of its terrors; its practical effects have indeed been satisfactorily proved by a solemn declaration of the legislature;
that the total capital of the funded debt of Great Britain, amounting on the 5th of January, 1786, to £238,231,248:55. 27d. had, on or before the 1st of March, 1813, been wholly satisfied and discharged, the commissioners for the reduction of the national debt having actually purchased £238,350,143:18s. Id., exceeding the aforementioned sum by £118,895:12s. 104d. The objection to loans, that they divert capital from a more beneficial employment in agriculture, trade, and manufactures, is, in some degree, founded. But when we have witnessed the progressive growth of all these branches of our national wealth and power, under the pressure of the very heavy loans which the late contest has compelled us to raise, we find in this circumstance the strongest and most gratifying evidence of the extent of our resources; and that the annual drain on capital already accumulated, great as it has been, has been more than replaced in each succeeding year of war, by the still greater influx of capital created by the productive and renovating powers of this mighty empire.
But the evil may be said to consist in the taxes required to pay the interest of the national debt arising from these accumulated loans; and that taxes are evils, very few, we believe, will be disposed to deny-every one feels their effect-many are grievously
Total funded and unfunded debt 1st of Feb. 1813
Debt 1st of Feb. 1813
L.706,394,209 24,680,872 If to this be added the vast sums that were raised in 1813, amounting to more than 64 millions, together with that raised in the course of the present year, and the whole reduced to sterling money or 5 per cent. stock on each L.100, the total of the national debt unredeemed may be taken at L.600,000,000, bearing an interest of nearly L.25,000,000 sterling
oppressed by them, and the pressure must grow with the growing amonnt to be raised. But even the amount of taxation gives a spur to the national industry, and calls forth national energies. It is true that taxes increase the price of labour, and may on that account, in a certain degree, check the export of manufactures; they affect also the annuitants, or those who have a fixed income; but these are partial evils, from which, even“ universal good cannot be exempt.
Though something odious attaches itself to the very name of a tax, yet a nation without taxes can have reached only a very low degree of civilization, or power. Thomas Jefferson, in his philosophical Messages to Congress,' boastingly demanded who had ever seen a tax-gatherer in America? Professing ourselves among the number of those who experience no very particular degree of affection for our transatlantic - brethren,' we are not disposed to rejoice that this wretched impostor has lived long enough to answer the question himself: we could rather have wished (as far as we are concerned) that our loving kindred had been still permitted to feed on Johnny cake, and hominy, without molestation from the tax-gatherer.
The Message' of Jefferson was merely foolish; but the speech of an English Chancellor of the Exchequer, in which it was declared that taxation had nearly reached its limits, was both unwise and hurtful-unwise because it was known not to be true--and hurtful because, whether true or false, it tended to lower the public credit and the public confidence, by which this country has been enabled to struggle through the contest, and without which all the wealth of the nation would not have availed it at the trying moment when the bank withheld its cash payments. It was not by planting the seeds of despondency that Mr. Pitt taught the people of England to weather the storm. The pilot at the helm should be the last man to hint at danger.
ART. VI. The Velvet Cushion. By J. W. Cunningham, A. M.
Vicar of Harrow. 8vo. pp. 186. London. Cadell and Da
vies. 1814. THE very limited opportunity for the introduction of humour
into serious subjects, has amounted almost to a total exclusion of it from religion; for where the matter enforces the most solemn aitention, we revolt at the impropriety of grotesque illustration : and this forbearance, in unisou with cur best feelings, has been established as a principle of taste, acknowledged by those who are most capable of judging, and respected by all who are influenced by received opinion. Immediately after the Reformation, when polenric
divinity appeared in its lower walks, in defence of the cap and surplice, and the proper postures of devotion, the pulpit became the organ of loud and railing disputation; nor was the same spirit entirely subdued, when controversy was diverted to more important subjects: the infidel was to be combated with his own weapons ; and if ridicule, as in later times, prescribed the method of attack and supplied the want of argument, the sneers were retorted with a quaintness of wit, too nearly allied to petulance and scurrility. And here we may principally boast the improvement of modern controversy ;-with the same arguments to enforce, we have felt the dignity of the subject, and forborne to sport with the solemnity of truth, or even to appear in her defence with unconsecrated ar
But though the subject of divinity is thus secured from profanation, connected as religion externally is with the world, it must create incidental topics of general allusion; and while its ministers are distinguished by situation, by peculiar habits or acquirements, they are exhibited to closer observation in their lives and manners. Few therefore are the representations of dramatic life, in which the clerical character escapes an introduction: it furnishes a ready advocate of virtue, or an enemy of vice; sometimes, as in Richardson, wandering into grave discussions, which, however useful for discipline, are prejudicial to the interest of the narrative; but more generally moralizing with traits of caricature, which, artfully placing the best intentions at variance with conmon sense, provoke a smile at honest simplicity, or broader laughter at ill-judged preciseness. The memory, we fear, of Mr. Abraham Adams is more fondly cherished in his distresses, as the incendiary of bis own manuscript Æschylus, or as the half-drowned king of Bohemia, than as the imtrepid guardian of innocence and virtue. It is hardly to be expected that the writer should withhold the exercise of a favourite talent, that he should conduct us into the tract of merriment, and suddenly shift the humour for the sake of moral consistency, or in exchange for personal eccentricity, preserve the dull propriety of character.
With these prepossessions against the application of wit to religious subjects, and with this scepticism on the practicable union of serious morality with humoroas story, we read the little publication before us. It is an effort to introduce, in a light and cheerful narrative, the important objects of religion, and without any perplexing descant on immaterial controversies, to point out the distinguishing merits of that church which, after all the cavils at the envied opulence of its establishment, after all the imputation on the bigoted protection of the state, owes its principal support