« PreviousContinue »
Income from land at '112,000,000l.; and to this he adds the income from Mines, Irish and West India Absentees, and the profits from Foreign Trade, making in the whole 135,000,00ol. Our attention, however, is chiefly directed to the income from land, as the basis of taxation; and he represents the landed proprietary as suffering both in their consequence and in their pockets, by endeavouring to relieve themselves from the contributions due to government. The result of this attempt is stated ; and it is shewn that it is the advantage of the possessors of the National Income to pay their taxes directly rather than circuitously; that production, not consumption, is the natural source of public supply; and that, though an income tax properly laid may be the most beneficial of all taxes, it is requisite, in order to possess this character, that it should be drawn from the Real National Income. It is here proposed that
« The value of the rent of land, in all existing leases of whatever kind, should be registered in the County Towns of the Counties where the lands are situated, and that the rent specified in all new leases should be registered within a month after their date in those Towns, and be published three times in the newspapers of the County Town, or in the London Gazette, with penalties upon those who should omit to comply faithfully with such clauses, and rewards to those who should discover any fraud either in the Lessor or Lessee. The Capital of the National Income being thus ascertained, a Tax ad valorem on this Capital, at the discretion of Parliament, would, from year to year, connect the Public Supply with it in a just proportion. By this Constitutional Law, which might justly be stiled The Golden Rule of Finance, the Legislature would have a real Politicometer constantly and truly indicating the rise or the decline of the National Prosperity, sought for in vain from the amount of the Exports and Imports.''
The following is Dr. Gray's mode of obviating an objection which may be made to his system, if the national resources be considered arithmetically rather than physically :
- You have, they say, estimated the National Income from Agriculture at 112 millions, of which one-fourth, or 28 millions, is paid to the Land-proprietors, and one fifth of this fourth, which is one twentieth of the whole, or 5,600,0col. were to be always appro. priated to the defence of the State, no other tax whatever would be necessary. But how is this possible, since even our Peace Establish: ment is computed to require triple this sum ? Much more then would it be insuficient for the expences of a war. This appears a formidable objection ; but when scrutinized, it will, I think, be found to have no solidity. That ten times as much money is now requisite for the support of government as was necessary an hundred ago, is not owing to government's being more wasteful or more powerful, but to the present absurd structure of taxation, with all its scaffolding, which is more expensive than the structure itself.
This This scaffolding of our present system of taxation has quite encum. bered the Nation with superfluous circulations, which, instead of contributing to the opulence either of the State or of individuals, have a tendency to undermine that of both. To descend to particulars in regard to these superfluous circulations would fill a folio volume ; but from one or two instances, as from a sample of corn, one may form a judgment of the heap. A gentleman of gocol. a year has a place under Government, I shall suppose of icool. a year, making his whole income 10,000 l. out of which, in consequence of the Income Act, he pays 1000l. to the Exchequer. Here is an example of 2000 l. of useless circulations, 1000l. paid and 1000l. paid back, and both payer and receiver remain in the same situation as if no circulation at all had taken place. The annual sums paid to the public creditors amount to about tweniy millions ; but those sums arise from twenty millions of taxes, consequently here are 40 millions paid and received, which would have no existence were there no National Debt. But when it is considered that taxes on consumption have the effect of superadding to the price of the thing consumed twice or thrice; or four times as much as the taxes themselves had, these 40 millions of superfluous circulations, which the National Debt occasions, may well be presumed to add 80 millions more to the general mass of circulations. Were the Nation then to be without debt, these 120 millions of superfluous circulations would be annihilated; and the people in general might eat and drink, and be clothed and lodged, just as well as at present.'
To abandon the true principle of taxation, in the science of politics, is said to be as foolish as it would be to reject the mariner's compass in the art of navigation : Dr. G. labours, therefore, to establish and to enforce the exercise of this prina ciple. With the view of diminishing the pressure of taxation, he recommends,-territorial improvement, with direct and liberal aids from government, as this must make the territorial income more productive,--to extend our fisheries,-to render money less productive,-to alter wholly the system of artificial money,—and to establish a rule for connecting the public supply, for ever, in a just proportion with the territorial or national income.
Much good sense is evinced in this pamphlet : but, in matters of finance, this country has departed so far from the line of political prudence, and the error is now become so inveterate, that we can cherish little hope of seeing lupa plan of taxation adopted. Yet, in particular points, he may still be useful.
coupeeing bons plan of taxation
For MARCH, 1802.
derstanding of the most difficult Passages of the New Testament, and
8vo. pp. 330. 6s. Boards. Rivingtons, &c. 1800. There is no fault to which preachers and scriptural commentators
& are more prone, than that of forcing texts of Scripture beyond their natural meaning ; and, with greater ingenuity than prudence, making the expressions of Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles, to denote much inore than they ever intended them to convey. Thus the Scriptures have not only become a nose of wax, which various Divines have squeezed into different shapes, but Infidels, availing them. selves of this practice among the ministers of the Christian Religion, have attacked the Gospel as inculcating doctrines which are indefensible. The inconveniencies attending the system of double, treble, and quadruple meanings, should instruct divines in the policy of abandoning it ; and, instead of searching after latent doctrines and re. mote allusions, should induce them to be contented with the sense which obviously presents itself. Had this argument operated into thiebettet intelliger would have been spared the trouble of composing the essay before us; the design of which is to shew that those ex. pressions in the Gospels, which preachers and commentators in general consider as having at least a reference to the end of the world, and to the coming of Christ to Judgment, relate entirely to the destruc tion of Jerusalein, and to the Coming or Manifestation of the Mes. siah. Consistently with his hypothesis, Mr. N. endeavours to prove that the former part of the Sermon on the Mount alludes to the peculiar sentiments of the Jews respecting the Messiah ; and to corroborate his opinion that the prophecies of Christ, which are usually interpreted to refer to the end of the world, point only to the destruction of the Jewish polity and Mosaic economy, he reminds his readers of our Saviour's repeated declaration, that the existing generation was not to pass away before their fulfilment. He says that the end mentioned in Matth. xxiv. 6. Mark, xiii. 7. and Luke, xxi. 9. can mean only the end of the Jewish government; and thouglı Matthew says “ the end of the world," the reader is reminded that, in the original, it is the end of the age; that is, ' of the period during which the Jewish Church and State were to last. By the adduction of parallel passages, Mr. Nisbett proves that the expressions Coming of the Son of Man— the Day when the Son of Man shall be revealed seeing one of the Days of the Son of Man and the Kingdom of Heaven,ếare only different forms of expression ; all signifying the Coming of the
with former writers , Mr Nisbet
Messiah. Mr. N., however, does not sufficiently explain what is meant by this Coming; which he ought to have done, since Christ even in his ministry speaks of and refers to it as a thing or event which was to happen in a short space of time : but we may expect that this will be hereafter accomplished ; since, though the volume before us has been composed (as we are informed at the conclusion) (under uncommon infirmity and personal affliction,' the author purposes, if he should meet with encouragement, to publish an additional volume. On this intimation, it is our duty to observe that, if it be natural for men of reflection to beguile painful moments by composition, they should reflect, before they print, that to dilate their discussion is not the way to satisfy their readers. Mr. Nisbett might have greatly compressed his matter, without the smallest detriment to his doctrine. Mo Art. 17. An Essay on the Sign of the Prophet Jonah : intended to
remove the Deistical Objection concerning the Time of our Saviour's Burial: by attempting to prove that the Prediction relates to the Duration of his Ministry upon Earth. By Isaac James. With a Letter to a Friend on Rev. xxii. 6–12. intended to shew that it was not Jesus Christ who forbade Joha to worship him. 8vo. 1S. 6d. Button. 1802.
Those expressions in the discourses of Christ, which unequivocally refer to the duration of his interment, are with little difficulty reconcileable with the fact : but, if Matt. xii. 384-40. be supposed (as it generally is) to allude to the same event, objections of a formidable magnitude occur. The words In three days, or within (for thus peta, rendered after, may as well be translated) three days, do not imply the full completion of three natural days, but “ three days and three nights" can signify nothing less. Hente, in the passage here discussed by Mr. James, he contends that our Saviour did not refer to his death and resurrection, and propose to specify the exact time which was to elapse between the one and the other, but that, in pointing out the Sign of Jonah to the Pharisees, Ke alluded to the duration of his public ministry. By three days and three nights, he supposes Christ to have meant three years; astronomically observing (that which was not known in our Saviour's time) that at the pole there is but one day and one night in a year.' By the heart of the earth, he understands Palestine adducing various quotations to prove that it has been thus esteemedy in one of which, it is piously remarked. that, as “the world is a found table, it was fitting that the Gospel, that great dish for men's souls, should be set in the midst of the board (Judæa), that all the guests round about may equally reach at it.” Not satisfied with such reasons, Mr. James thinks that Pales. tine may be regarded as the heart of the earth, because it was central to the four great monarchies; and because theuce, as from the heart, divine knowlege flowed to the other parts of the globe.—Some pains have been taken to support the hypothesis exhibited in these pages; and if it does not produce full conviction, it is at least ingenious.
Mr. James is less successful in his letter than in his essay.
at the ordinary Visitation of that Diocese in July 1801. By
Modern episcopal Charges have embraced political as well as religious considerations; and the peculiar circunstances of the times bave been thought to demand ihis line of conduct from their right reverend authors. The respectable writer of the present discourse has conformed to the usual practice: but his reflections respecting politics are very concise, and the substance of his address to his clergy is truly serious and apostolical. We coincide in opinion with this elevated and universally esteemed, ecclesiastic, that to popery must in a great degree be attributed the origin of that revolutionary spirit, which has gone so far towards the subversion of the ancient establishments of religion and civil government :' but we were surprized that, after having assigned so obvious and efficient a cause for the effects which have taken place in France, he should advert to the doubtful (and, if true, impotent) circumstance of a conspiracy to overturn altars and thronts.
The Bishop of Durham very justly observes, (and we wish that the remark had its due weight in all countries where Christianity is professed,) that the maintenance of opinions unfounded on the authouty of the Gospel has given occasion to some minds to reject its most valuable evidence' This was no doubt the source of Deism in France. It was not because their minds were ' naturally averse to religion,' as the Bishop supposes, (for there are no minds, we believe, of this description,) but because the doctrines, which they were called to swallow as parts of Christian Faith, outrage all sense and reason, that the majority of men of education and reflection in France prosessed themselves infidels. When the corruptions of Christianity are pronounced by its very ministers to be parts of its essence, we must pity rather than condemn those who are seduced into error.
Nothing can be more consistent with the functions of a Christian Bp., than the advice which Dr. Barrington here offers to his Clergy, to lead their congregations to the cultivation of spiritual religion; which he defines to be a sincere devotion of the mind to God, humble resignation to all his dispensations, and an universal and unvaried obedience to his will. He inculcates on the ministers of a spiritual religion, their professional obligations to an exemplary and holy life; and he explains to the candidate for orders, the bent of mind which, in his situation, he may fairly consider as a motion of the Spirit. “If (says he) the candidate for orders be influenced by a clear and determined disposition to do all the good in his power, by an earnest wish to promote the interest of Christianity, a zealous hope of rendering his conduct in the ministry, by his purity and usefulness, conducive to the glory of God, and the edification of his Church; if such be his disposition, he may justly consider himself as called to the ministry by the Holy Spirit. This is a liberal and intelligible explanation; making the phrase being moved by the Spirit to mean no more than acting under a strong sense of rectitude and duty.–Some of the Quakers, we believe, understand no more by this favourite expression,
If we cannot admire the Bishop's criticism in his note at p. 6, por assent to the justness of his representing (p. 15) faith as the end of all religion / we highly applaud the general spirit and tendency of this episcopal exhortation.