« PreviousContinue »
He has thus committed a mistake of about the same magnitude as that of Sir Francis Wronghead, when he said Aye, instead of saying No. But besides the arithmetical errors into which he has fallen, no sound principle is laid down for comparing the relative advantages or disadvantages of the two different plans. The scheme by which he pretends to estimate the expense of the new plan, is peculiarly unsatisfactory; and even if his calculations were correct, they are quite inconclusive. All consideration of compound interest seems to be wholly exeluded, without which, however, it is impossible to enter with any certainty into the complicated details of loans, annuities or sinking funds, on a great scalę. The truth of these observations will appear from a more particular consideration of the scheme. The expense of fedeeming a debt of 12,000,000l., by means of a sinking fund of 5 per cent., is first considered, and it is estimated at 16,800,000l.; the expense of redeeming 16,800,0001.by an annuity of 1 per cent., is next calculated at 43,314,0001. ; and the sum to be redeemed is added (upon what principle we are utterly at a loss to conceive) to the expense of redemption, by which the whole charge is made to amount to 60, 144,000l. It is, however, evidently an error, to add the sum to be redeemed to the charge for redemption, as that charge.cannot possibly be incurred till the original sum be paid. The 16,800,0001. must therefore be deducted; which will reduce the expense to 43,344,000l. The expense of redeeming 12,000,0001., by a 1 per cent. annuity, is next compared with the expense of redeeming 16,800,0001. by an annuity to the same amount ; and it does not require very deep thought to perceive, that it will cost more to redeem the latter sum than the former. The question to be considered therefore is, whether value has been received for the 16,800,0001. It appears that half of that sum has been paid for the interest of the 12,000,0001. during fourteen years, and the other half has been set apart as a sinking fund to redeem the principal. With 16,800,0001., therefore, the interest of 12,000,0001. for fourteen years has been paid, and the principal has been redeemed ; and were we to imitate the exexample of inaccuracy set before us, we should immediately conclude that a great advantage was gained by this plan. But this advantage is merely apparent, and it only shews what a fertile source of error is opened, by adopting such an imperfect mode of calculation.
Indeed, all calculations must be exceedingly lame and inconclusive, from which the consideration of compound interest is excluded. The true nature of the transaction will appear from the following simple considerations. A sum of 12,000,0001. is borrowed, and an annuity of 1,200,0001. is borrowed along with it,
bý by which, in fourteen years, the principal is redeemed, and the interest is also paid. An annuity of 1,200,0001. for fourteen years is therefore given in exchange for a capital of 12,000,0001., and for the interest of that capital for fourteen years. The value of the interest of 12,000,0001. for fourteen years, is exactly 12,000,0001. and an annuity of 1,200,000). for the same period, is worth 24,000,0001. ; so that there can neither be loss nor gain on the transaction. Besides the most ridiculous blunder of adding the sum to be redeemed to the expense of redemption, Lord Castlereagh has forgot to credit the plan with the interest of 12,000,0001. for fourteen years, for which it is evident that the 16,800,0001. pays.
Although, however, the labours of the noble Lord do not appear to us to have been, in the present instance, attended with profper. ous results, we very willingly allow, that great depth and comprehension of judgment have been displayed in the construction of these formidable calculations. His genius seems peculiarly fitted for arithmetical studies, and we discover with pleasure that it is in the most common, and consequently the most useful, sort of arithmetic, that his talents appear chiefly to shine. In this great crisis of human affairs, it is peculiarly gratifying to reflect, that while the French youth are taught almost exclusively to glory in feats of arms, men of rank in this country, with a virtuous distaste for warlike pursuits, are studious to excel in the more innocent, and certainly not less wonderful talent, of speaking for an hour, and saying nothing.
We cannot conclude our remarks on this subject, without observing, that the great debt of this country, and the difficulty of find. ing out new sources of taxation, has not only secured to financial discussions that attention which their importance so well deserves; but it has exalted them among a certain class of politicians above all the grand objects of national policy. The state of a nation's finances is now habitually referred to as a sure criterion of her power ; and from the language often held on this subject, it might be imagined, that the whole duties of a statesman centred in devising easy methods of raising money. During the last war we were told that France was on the verge, and even in the very gulph of bankruptcy, and our own flourishing finances were at the same time brought very oftentatiously under our review. We still hear on every occafion about our proud structure of finance,' &c.; and the praises of Mr Pitt generally bring up the rear of this heavy declamation. Now, if France, since the ruin of her fie nances, has trampled on the necks of all her enemies, and has risen to unexampled preeminence and power, and if Britain, with her flourishing finances, has been unable to prevent the deftruc
tion of her allies, and instead of attaining for herself permanent fecurity, sees every day new perils thickening around her, we may well inquire, what fruits have our flourishing finances produced ? and what has it availed us, that a large revenue has been collected, if it has been lavished on futile or disastrous projects ? So enamoured are these declaimers with taxation, that they seem to consider it as an ultimate object of policy. They do not reflect that it is not so much by raising a revenue, as by a wise application of it, after it is consigned into his hands, that a statelman can either benefit his country, or acquire lasting renown for himself. In illustration of these observations, we might refer to that period of our history when the glorious fabric of European independence was first reared. Those who affisted in bringing about that event were undoubtedly great statesmen; and the wonderful work which they accomplithed is the charter of their wellearned fame. This fame, however, they acquired, not by raising a great revenue, but by working wonders with a small one ; and it is a fame in which none need hope to participate, who with far ampler means have failed in the attainment of much humbler ends; and, instead of rendering England the arbitress of nations, have reduced her to maintain an anxious struggle for her security and independence.
ART. VI. A Portraiture of Quakerism, as taken from a View of
the Moral Education, Discipline, Peculiar Customs, Religious Principles, Political and Civil Economy, and Character, of the Society of Friends. By Thomas Clarkson, M. A. Author of seyeral Essays on the subject of the Slave-Trade. 8vo. 3 vol.
London. 1806. This, we think, is a book peculiarly fitted for reviewing : for
- it contains many things which most people will have some curiosity to hear about; and is at the same time so intolerably dull and tedious, that no voluntary reader could possibly get through with it.
The author, whose meritorious exertions for the abolition of the slave trade brought him into public notice a great many years ago, was recommended by this circumstance to the favour and the confidence of the Quakers, who had long been unanimous in that cause; and was led to such an extensive and cordial intercourse with them in all parts of the kingdom, that he came at last to have a more thorough knowledge of their tenets and living manners than any other person out of the society could easily obtain. The effect of this knowledge has evidently been to exF3
hadefence of tof their own, is dis
cite in him such an affection and esteem for those worthy secta. ries, as we think can scarcely fail to issue in his public conver, sion; and, in the mean time, has produced a more minute ex, position, and a more elaborate defence of their doctrines and practices, than has yet been drawn from any of their own body.
The book, which is full of repetitions and plagiarisms, is distributed into a number of needless sections, arranged in a most unnatural and inconvenient order. All that any body can want to know about the Quakers, might evidently have been told ei. ther under the head of their doctrinal tenets, or of their peculiar practices; but Mr Clarkson, with a certain elaborate infelicity of method, chooses to discuss the merits of this society under the several titles of their moral education--their discipline - their peculiar customs--their religion-their great tenets--and their character; and not finding even this ample distribution sufficient to include all he had to say on the subject, he fills half a volume with repetitions and trifles, under the humiliating name of miscellaneous particulars.
Quakerism had certainly undergone a considerable change in the quality and spirit of its votaries, from the time when George Fox went about pronouncing woes against cities, attacking priests in their pulpits, and exhorting justices of the peace to do justice, to the time when auch men as Penn and Barclay came into the society by convincement,' and published such vindications of its doctrine, as few of its opponents have found it convenient to answer. The change since their time appears to have been much more inconsiderable. The greater part of these volumes may be considered, indeed, as a wilful deterioration of Barclay's apology: and it is only where he treats of the private manners and prevailing opinions of the modern Quakers, that Mr Clarkson communicates any thing which a curious reader might not have learnt from that celebrated production. The laudatory and argumentative tone which he maintains throughout, gives an air of partiality to his statements, which naturally diminishes our relis ance on their accuracy: and as the argument is often extremely bad, and the praise apparently unmerited, we are rather inclined to think that his work will make a less powerful impression in favour of the “ friends,'than might have been effected by a more moderate advocate. With many praiseworthy maxims and principles for their moral conduct, the Quakers, we think, have buţ little to say for most of their peculiar practices; and make a much better figure when defending their theological mysteries, than when vindicating the usages by which they are separated from the rest of the people in the ordinary intercourse of life. It will be more convenient, however, to staţę cur observations
on their reasonings, as we attend Mr Clarkson through his age. count of their principles and practice.
He enters upon his task with such a wretched display of false eloquence, that we were very near throwing away the book. Our readers will scarcely accuse us of impatience, when we inform them that the dissertation on the moral education of the Quakers, begins with the following sentence.
. When the blooming spring sheds abroad its benign influence, man, feels it equally with the rest of created nature. The blood circulates more freely, and a new current of life seems to be diffused, in his veins.
The aged man is enlivened, and the sick man feels himself refreshed. Good fpirits and cheerful countenances succeed. But as the year changes in its seasons, and rolls round to its end, the tide seems to Nacken, and the current of feeling to return to its former level.' Vol. I. p. 13.
This may serve, once for all, as a specimen of Mr Clarkson's taste, and his powers in fine writing, and as an apology for our abstaining, in our charity, from making any further observations on his style. Under the head of moral education, we are inforing ed that the Quakers discourage, and strictly prohibit in their youth, all games of chance, music, dancing, novel reading, field sports of every description, and, in general, the use of idle words and unprofitable conversation. The motives of these several prohibitions are discussed in separate chapters of extreme dulness, and prolixity. It is necessary, however, in order to come to a right understanding with those austere persons and their apologist, to enter a little into these discussions,
The basis of the Quaker morality seems evidently to be, that gaiety and merriment ought, upon all occasions, to be discouraged; that every thing which tends merely to exhilaration or enjoyment, has in it a taint of criminality; and that one of the · chief duties of man is to be always serious and solemn, and con-' stantly occupied, either with his wordly prosperity, or his eternal welfare. If it were not for this attention which is permitted to the accumulation of wealth, the Quakers would scarcely be distinguishable from the other gloomy sectaries, who maintain, that man was put into this world for no other purpose, but to mortify himself into a proper condition for the next ;-that all our feel ings of ridicule and sociality, and all the spring and gaiety of the animal spirits of youth, were given us only for our temptation; and that, considering the shortness of this life, and the risk he runs of damnation after it, man ought evidently to pass his days in dejection and terror, and to shut his heart to every pleasureable emotion which this transitory scene might supply to the unthinking. The fundamental folly of these ascetic maxims has prevented the Quakers from adopting them in their full ex. tent; but all the peculiarities of their manners may evidently be F4