Page images

Ters in a new light, and endeavours to evince that it has a

the English, I bring to Europe the information which I have acquired, and I hope to open its eyes to danger by a work in. tended to raise its disgust againit the insatiable greediness of England. When America escaped from her, she threw herself on Asia, and, if he had not been opposed by France, would have obtained Indostan, from whick, however, I know the would have been completely expelled, if the war had continued two or three years more. Be it far from me to rekindle its fiames! But if the love of peace, always so desirable for the interests of humanity, opposes the application of violent remedies, which in the political constitution, as well as the human, are sometimes alone capable of suddenly restoring the equilibrium, let us at least employ those secrets of art, which, acting more gently, and not less certainly, can by winding channels restore the vigour of the constitution without any inconvenient shock : in a word, without troubling the repose of Europe, let us profit by the divisions of Asia, which, judiciously directed by our intrigues, will be sufficient to destroy, in this part of the world, the construction of those chains, which the English are there forging for Europe.'

We Thall make no comments on the declaration which we have transcribed; it is a proof of the good intentions of some of our neighbours. They ought to be made publie, in order to be guarded against; but, before this time, the effects have suficiently explained the views and designs of those appointed to conduct the machinations. MONTHLY CATALOGUE.

POLITICAL The Policy of the Tax upon Retailers considered: or, a Plaa in Fa

vour of the Manufacturers. Svo. Is. 6d. Wilkie. HE author of this pamphlet examines the tax upon retaile tendency to prove advantageous to the public. He begins with citing the authorities of political and commercial writers in support of the opinion, that in a populous and manufacturing country, retailers ought to be considered as a detrimental clais of idlers; and consequently, that the reduction of their number, by some judicious regulation, would operate towards promoting the national wealth and prosperity. He is of opinion that retailers ought to be considered as a detrimentral class of idlers in a double respect : first, as withdrawing their industry from the general stock, and secondly, as deriving their fubfiit. ence not from foreign countries by means of trade, but from the industry of their fellow-subjects. Proceeding upon the supposition that there are in the whole kingdom two hundred


thousand retailers, and that one hundred thousand of them were, by a judicious tax, to be reduced to apply themselves to manual labour, they might, he thinks, be computed to gain a fhilling a day at an average, which, allowing three bundred working days in the year, amounts to the sum of one million five hundred thousand pounds. This, he observes, would be a great addition to the annual national stock, or a real augmentation of the general wealth. But at present, the more they gain, it is so much the worse for the nation, as those gains are chiefly derived from their industrious fellow-subjects, who are consequently less able to sustain other burdens.

For ascertaining the immense fums which are levied upon the people by retailers, he supposes the two hundred thousand retailers to gain by their present business, at an average, two shillings a day, and reckoning, as before, three hundred shopdays in the year, this will annually amount to fix millions of pounds. But this medium profit being in his opinion computed far too low, he thinks that the annual sum levied by the retailers upon their fellow-subjects, may be jusly estimated at above ten millions. He is therefore of opinion, that the tax upon retailing shop-keepers will be found to have the most falutary effect of any financial regulation introduced within these twenty years.

The author next starts a question, whether these pretended oppreffed retailers, as he calls them, are not themelves the oppressors. He observes, that though the nation at present enjoys profound peace, though the feas are now open, freights lowered, and insurance diminished, yet many articles in retail. shops are still fold at war prices.

Éxorbitant as are the retailer's profits in London, according to the author's representation, they are yet more enormous in the country-towns, where many retailers furnish a bad commodity at a higher price than a better commodity may be bought for in the capital, or in some of the great cities. He thinks, that were the country shopkeepers to deal fairly with their cuf. tomers, they ought to furnish as good a commodity, and as cheap, as could be purchased in the capital or elsewhere; making an allowance of a small advance for the additional charge of carriage; though this additional charge, he thinks, is more than counterbalanced by the lowness of rents, and the cheapness of living in the country. The author, at what he considers as a moderate computation, estimates these overcharges of the retailers to exceed iwo millions of pounds annually; an effect which he imputes chiefly to the too great number of retailers throughout the kingdom. For he obferves, that where confumption is bounded, the same profits that will attord a comfortable subfistence to one hundred thousand people, will not maintain two hundred thousand.

The author afterwards considers what would be the consequence, were the present number of retailers diminished one.


F 2

half. Supposing the number of purchasers, and the quantity of commodities purchased, to remain the same as at present, he observes that the retailers who fold those commodities would, one with another, have double the business ; consequently if they now can live upon their profits, they would then live equally well were they to lower their profits one-half; and in the same proportion that those profits were lowered, would the purchasers have commodities cheaper. Therefore, fuppofing the sum total of the retailer's annual profits to be ten millions, were their number diminished one-half, they would be just as tich with an annual profit of five millions, and the community would be eased of an annual burden of five millions.

Our author's opinion, that the number of shopkeepers throughout the kingdom is too great, we believe, will not be disputed ; but we cannot so readily agree with him, when he imputes the dearness of commodities in the country universally to this cause. For we are of opinion, that in many parts, this deárness proceeds from the want of competition. With respect to the political operation of the retail-tax, in the light in which it is viewed by the author, there appears no probability that it can prove, in any degree, so efficacious as he has endeavoured to represent; and we think, that should it tend to the immediate production of those effects which he considers as its natusal result, the tax might juftly be deemed yet more oppressive than it has hitherto been considered, even by its warmest OPPO • nents. The reduction of the number of retailers in the capital, and in large cities, provided that no immediate distress enfaed, and population was not ultimately affected, might, we doubt not, prove an advantage to the public. But we shudder to think of the consequence which the author fupposes, that one hundred thousand persons, accustomed, as he represents, to habits of idlenefs, and unacquainted with the practice of any manual art, should be driven from their shops, where they have hitherto maintained their families, to seek for subsistence by a recourse to occupations of which we must suppose them to be incapable. Our author's idea of the operation of the tax, however, we can only consider as a hypothetical speculation in politics. Its immediate efficacy towards the purpose he mentions would affect great a number of individuals as to prove a national calamity; and if retailers can at present live by the profit of their shops, the opinion seems not very probable, that any great diminution of this class of inhabitants will ensue, as a necessary consequence of the tax in question. Speech of George Dallas, Efq. Member of the Committee appointed

by the British Inhabitants residing in Bengal, for the Purpose of preparing Petitions to bis Majesty and both Houses of Parliament, praying Redress against an Äå of Parliament, c. 8vo. 1s. 6d. Debrett.

This Speech was delivered at a meeting held at the Theatre, in Calcutta, on the 25th of July laft. Mr. Dallas is a member



of the committee appointed by the British inhabitants residing in Bengal, for the purpose of preparing petitions to his majesty and both houses of parliament, praying redress against the late act relative to the affairs of India. He describes this act as pregnant with mischief of the most alarming nature with regard to the liberty and property of British subjects, who return with fortunes from the East. That it is even a direct violation of Magna Charta, and tends to the establishment of a despotism equally odious with that of the star-chamber. After painting this subject in strong colours, Mr. Dallas proceeds to suggest the pernicious consequences which may result from the operation of the act, should it not be repealed. But he professes to entertain the utmost confidence that the British legislature will comply with the prayer of the petition ; and for this purpose, he is not a little flattering in his encomiums on some of the principal characters in the nation. The Speech is undoubtedly plausible and animated; but discovers a juvenility of declamation, intermixed with classical apostrophes not perfectly suitable, we may suppose, to a promiscuous audience in the East Indies.

Şubjoined is an Appendix, containing the Proceedings of the Meeting held at the Theatre in Calcutta ; with the Speech of Philip Yonge, Esq. the Sheriff, to the same purpose as that of Mr. Dallas; and the Resolutions which were proposed, and unanimously agreed to, for carrying the object of the meeting into effect.

PO E T R Y. Translation of Hunting ford's First Collection of Monoftrophicse

8vo. 15. 68. Dilly, We cannot compliment this gentleman on the success of his undertaking. The last poem is thus rendered :

O Greece! in ancient times so much admir'd,

Who bọth in arms and arts have borne the sway;
With poetry and music first inspir'd;

Who foster'd heroes with thy genial ray:
Favour'd of heav'n! bless’d land! I thee adore ;

Accept my song-farewell-I Say no more. Surely there never was a more "lame and impotent conclue fion. Yet, flat and infipid as the two last lines are, the prea ceding ones have no right to triumph over their associates.dea fects. The first has no kind of excellency to boast of, the fecond is ungrammatical, the third not quite intelligible (as we know not who were infpir’d), and the fourth nonsensical ; for to fofter heroes with a ray' is a similar absurdity to that in the Rehearsal, of! grasping a storm in the eye of reafun.' Most of the poems are undoubtedly rendered in a style 'rather fuperior to that we have quoted, but not in such a manner as to confer any additional celebrity on the Monoftrophics, F 3



[ocr errors]

The Exodus, a Poem. By the Rrv. Samuel Hayes, M. A.

We first meet with some good advice addrefled to ambitious
monarchs, but such as has been given over and over again, to
very little purpose, time immemorial. The only peculiar cir-
cumstance in this part of the poem is, that the riches of those
kings is supposed to be chiefly employed in ornamenting their
tables, and that their soldiers stand around their thrones in
order of battle.

« Though wealth on wealth be in your coffers stor’d,
Exhauftlefs fund to deck the splendid board;
While round your thrones the marshallid legions fland,

Obsequious flaves to ev'ry fell command.'
Many rhetorical flowers are as conspicuous in the present as
the last performance of Mr. Hayes. "We are told that

throughout the land Infectious vermin rankle,' Miriam, watching Moses' wrapt in verdant fedge,' and observant of the Fates,' fees Thermutis going to bathe herself, or, according to the following elegant periphrasis,

in the refreshing flood To check the fervour of the throbbing blood.' After we are told that 'the whirlwind sweeps along the sky, we expect in the next line some terrible instance of its effects;

• And the parch'd duit distorts the trembling eye.' Instead of houses overthrown, or forests laid waste, the consequence is merely such as the traveller may experience any summer day on the Illington turnpike; for we cannot suppose the eye would be more . distorted' by Egyptian than English duit. ' Moses

"arins with faith the fuctuating fenfe.' His rod, inftead of affuming, caught a ferpent's figure.! It likewise breaks tyrannic force.' Pharaoh reprehends Aaron for his vain parade of words, and worshipping not an ideal God, but an • ideal name;' a mode of adoration not very in. telligible. Instead of proscribing Mofes, he

the bold offender's life proclaim'd.' The Ifraelites are promis'd the hospitable plains of Canaan,' a country of which they acquired poffeffion by force of arms. Notwithstanding these defects and blunders, there are feveral paffages in the poem of a better kind, though not of sufficient merit to intitle the author 10 a freehold on Parnassus; but the long leafe he has taken of the Killingbury cftate will probably atone for that disappointment.

See Vol. lvii. p. 77:

« PreviousContinue »