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( ) Discourses on several important Subjects of Christianity : in most

of which the Form of an Oration is attempted, by a Concealment
of the Method. By the Rev. Daniel Turner, A. M. 8vo. 6s.
in Boards. Robinson.
THE
*HE title-page of this collection of Discourses is undoubt-

edly intended to give us expectations of something new in form at least, if not in spirit. We cannot allow, however, that a mere Concealment of Method constitutes the Form of an Oration. But, were we inclined to allow such a position, we must observe, that the method of these Discourses is not at all more concealed than that of modern Discourses in general, delivered from the pulpit. The multiplied divisions, and particularly subdivisions of our forefathers, have for many years been out of u@; but method is, and must be still retained by all who understand composition; and an attentive hearer or reader will be disappointed, if not able to discern it without unusual application. It is the best preservative against false or defultory reasoning in the composer, and the fureft auxiliary to remembrance in those who are addressed. Elegance of composition requires that the joinings of the piece ihould not be too numerous, clumsy, or obtrusive to fight; buc by no means that they should be absolutely concealed. The author of these Discourses has, therefore, in our judge ment, set out on a wrong principle; but it is nearly the best thing we have to concede in favour of the composition of the first half of this volume, that we can accuse him of no particular adherence to it.

Though he incurs little blame on this point, instances of loose, or of false reasoning too frequently occur; and sometimes little violations of grammar : aukward, obscure, and affected phrases, too often deform the style; and we were particularly struck with the wild profusion, or rather confusion of mixed and discordant metaphors. We are prepared to produce examples, more than sufficient, of all the imperfections we have mentioned ; but as the author, in the latter Discourses, has been considerably more correct, and may be induced, by the intimations we have given, to bestow a careful revision on his second volume, which we hope may not yet be printed, we shall content ourselves with exhibiting a specimen of a certain nauseous and canting style, to which we have the utmost aversion. Notes of mellifluous gratitudePait, present, and future, sweetly linked together-How precious is our Jesus ! -Love-exalting page, &c.'

The volume before us contains seventeen sermons, the subjects of which are as follow,-1. On Contentment. II. The

Chrif.

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Christian contrasted with the Mosaic Dispensation. III. The Danger of halting between two Opinions. IV. The Cham racter of Christ's Friends, stated and examined. V. Marks, whereby we may know if that Character be our's. VI. Chriftian Fortitude. VII. An Enquiry into the Nature of reli. gious Meditation. VIII. The Objects of religious Meditation. IX. The Divine Exemplar. X. On the Firit Commandment. XI. On the Second Commandment. XII. On the Third Commandment. XII. On Vows. XIV. A Delineation of the viral iuous Character. XV. The Rewards of Virtue at Death. XVI. The Rewards of Virtue in a futura State. XVII. The Nature and Consequence of impious Principles.

In the thirteenth Sermon, on Vows, Mr. Turner has criti. cally examined the nature of Jephtha's vow; and has, we think, established his own notion of it, against the common opinion of commentators, on solid grounds. A short extract will give our readers some idea of the preacher's particular sentiment.

What had misled them (the commentators) is, that the Septuagint and Vulgate, render the words of Jephtha, « « Whatsoever cometh forth to meet me,” in the masculine, as if he had faid-whosoever, or what person foever cometh forth, whereas the original is really indeterminate. Again, they did not attend to the particle used, which should be taken in the disjunctive sense, or, inftead of the conjunctive' and. This is what some judicious critics have since clearly shewn to be the right signification both here and elsewhere: so that Jephtha's words should be rendered “ Mall surely be the Lord's, or I will offer it for a burnt offering.” That is, if it be a human creature, he or she fall be consecrated to the service of God, as some sort of Nazarites were ; or if a beast, it shall be offered up for a burnt-offering if it be fit for it; if not, it shall be exchanged, at the pleasure of the priek, for another that is so.'

This Sermon, and those which fucceed it are, upon the whole, better written than those preceding. Though we should not recommend any of them as models of fine writing, or even of eloquence, to which, from the title, they ought to have fome claim, 'it would be unjust to deny, that many of them contain a great deal of good matter, and that all are written with a pious earneltness, which may render them conduciye to Chriftian edification. For which reason, as well as because the author has published them partly with a view to acquine

. fome aid toward the education of a numerous young family, we heartily with them many readers.

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Å Treatise on the Administration of the Finances of France. By

Mr. Necker. Translated from the genuine French Edition, 1784, by Thomas Mortimer, Eja. Tbree Volumes. 8vo. 1l. Is. in Boards. Johnson. T was a subject of admiration in Europe, to see an obscure

man, without pretensions, titles, or connection, at the head of the administration of the finances, in a kingdom whose nobles are eager for employment in the service of the sovereign. Yet mons. Necker maintained his station, if not with dignity, at least with the credit of profound attention, and inflexible integrity; and France owes to these qualities, and to the humane attentions of madame Necker, some very salutary regulations. If we look more nearly into the subject, we sufpect it will appear, that our author was more diftinguishable as a financier than a statesman; he was an exact accountant rather than a great minister, as he has been oftentatiously called. While confined to his office, he excited no jealousy; when be aimed at a seat in the council of state, he soon fell. His fall, however, seems to be marked with none of the chasacteristics of a great mind. In his introduction, he complains of it, and complains with a feminine weakness : his tears are said to have been drawn for the loss which the flate has fur. tained; but the mind which feels its own dignity will permit no consideration to detract from it. He

may regret his fall, and the misfortunes of his country; but he will be still himfelf, unruffled and unmoved.

As a financier, moni. Necker acquired much credit. He provided resources for the first years of an expensive war, without additional taxes, and left more ample supplies in the treafury than he found in it. It has been indeed suggested, that, by these exertions, the strength of the state was so much weak ened as to require supplies more than equivalent in the subsequent period; but there is much reason to think, that those suggestions are rather the shafts of calumny, aimed at the only part where a wound could, without danger of detection, be inflicted. We know the wonderful effects of order and re. gularity in every department of this kind; and we see nothing in his actions which may not be accounted for by these, joined with the details which we meet with in the volumes before us They are indeed rich in the treasures of political arithmetic : the facts are valuable, because they are probably very near the truth; but it is for facts only that we esteem them. The rea fections are often trilling and jejune ; sometimes erroneous. We have many works on political arithmetic in our own lana : Veli LXI. Feb. 1786.

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guage, of a much higher value with respect to their reafoning,

In the introduction, filled with much egotism, and fome very trifling subjects, our author displays what a minister of -finance ought to be ; and what he was. A man of real dignity does not speak of himself; but we shall not dwell on it; for we own that it has diminished our respect for moní. Necker, He then proceeds to an account of all the taxes in France. The particulars are not easily understood by an English reader ; so that we may observe that they exceed five hundred and eighty-five millions of livres * These are followed by gene. sal reflections on the extent of the taxes; and this chapter is distinguished by candour and humanity. Our author does not feem to be well informed on the fubject of the British taxes, their comparative burthen on the poor, or the quantity of circulating fpecie. We think that he is mistaken on all these fubjects ; but they are of little consequence to his general argument. The expences in collecting the taxes is then examin. ed, and found to be about 104 per cent: we suspect that, confidering every circumstance, England is not so cheaply served. The two next chapters are on the favings which might be stil! made in the collection ; but these regulations are local, and would not be easily understood : our author's plans, perhaps by the superior weight of influence, were only partially tried, and, after trial, were rejected. The two following chapters are on the conversion of all t

the taxes into a land or a poll-tax. The former of these contains some very judicious reflections ; but we have seen them already in vasious shapes : the next chapter is on the number of revenue officers. Mons. Necker then proceeds to the population of the kingdom, which he thinks amounts to twenty-five, or nearly twenty-fix millions of inhabitants. But we much suspect his data ; for the strange disproportion of bisths in the years 1773 and 1774, which, in the latter year exceeded the former by 39,170, an excess not progressional, or in any way accounted for, leads us to doubt grcatly of the accuracy with which the lifts are kept. In the year 1777, the births 'exceed those of the preceding and fực: ceeding years, by above fifty thousand. The causes of the variation of population, which mons. Necker mentions, will

* Instead of actually reducing the several sums, we shall add an easy rule for this purpose. Strike off from the number of livres the two figures on the righe hand, multiply the rest by 4, increase the product by one-tenth of itself, and the sun is the answer required.' Thus 100,oco livres is equal to

4000 6. 4400; for 100,oloa X 4 = 4000, and 4000 + or 4000 + 400 440

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not account for these great disproportions, nor these sudden changes. We shall extraci the following chapter entire, as it recapitulates the whole.

-The whole extent of the kingdom, exclusive of Corsica, consists of twenty-fix thousand nine hundred and fifty-one square leagues, twenty-five to a degree ; confequently, of two thoufand cwo hundred and eighty-two, two-fifths toises, (French fathoms) per league.

• Its population consists of twenty-four millions fix hundred seventy-fix thousand inbabitants *.

« This allows nine hundred and fixteen individuals, for every {quare league.

• Its taxes amount to five hundred and eighty-four millions, four hundred thousand livres t, which is twenty-one thousand fix hundred and eighty four livres per square league.

• And twenty-three livres, thirteen fous, eight deniers per head, for persons of all ages, and of both sexes.'

Mons. Necker then enumerates the taxes, immunities, population, extent, and principal resources of each generality, into which the kingdom is divided. The facts in this chapter are numerous and valuable ; and the exactness of the returns in general cannot be suspected.. But there is much reason to think that the population is exaggerated; that of the city of Paris, in particular, estimated at about fix hundred and fifty thousand, should certainly be much reduced, if we would come near the truth. Next follows an account of the extent, taxes, and population of Corfica, and the colonies. Corfica, we find, does not produce a sufficient income to defray the expences of its civil establishment. The first volume concludes with general obfervations on the reform of the taxes, which we cannot abridge: indeed they are chiefy local, and not distinguilhed by their depth ; nor are they of that general comprehensive nature, as to be easily applied to other countries.

In the second volume, the first object is a proposal to equalize the taxes on salt. This substance forms a very confiderable source of the French revenue ; though, as usual, when taxes are carried so high, the means of raising a supply is often de. structive to it. The contraband trade in salt exceeds the greatest expectations; and the brigades, to preveort this trade in general, we find amount to twenty-three thousand men. The whole of the subject is well and clearly explained. The tobacco tax is next explained, which, like all the other French

Twenty-four millions eight hundred thousand inhabitants, including Corfica, whose population conlists of one hundred and twenty-four thousand fouls.'

+ Five hundred and eighty-five millions, including the taxes paid by Corsica, whick amount to fix hundred thousand livres.'

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