Page images
PDF
EPUB

the Bank of England was furnished with money by private perfons, either such as placed their money at intereft, or such as deposited it in the Bank with a view to dispose of it at pleasure. It was upon a capital so formed, that the bank negotiated afterwards, and derived considerable profit from making it circulate in commerce at the Exchange of London. All these objects combined enabled the Bank to lower the exorbitant interest of money, which had taken place during several years, and to pay to its proprietors, all costs deducted, a dividend probably much more confiderable than the interest which was then common at the Exchange.

Such, according to our Author, are the principles by which the operations of the Bank are still directed, with some modifications that arise from incidental circumstances. The funds of the proprietors of this bank are subject to the disposal of government, and all its negociations elsewhere are supported by its own credit. Our Author Thews, that this credit ought to have for its basis public utility; and he points out some of the principal circumstances that are necessary to render such an establishment useful, and without which, he thinks, it must be rather, in the issue, prejudicial to the public. We refer our Readers to the Work itself for these details, which are instructive, and furnish matter of serious reflection. Our Author's great principle is, that all paper-circulation, that does not represent a capital really existing in a bank, is prejudicial in the issue ;-and that more especially with respect to a nation, the prosperity of whose inhabitants depends upon the activity of their commerce, it is necessary that money alone Mould be the measure of those things that are the objects of commerce. He thinks, that in order to render the Bank of England a useful establishment, its fund Thould reft upon a capital furnished by the government or a society,- that this capital should be fufficient to supply what the exigencies of commerce often require, -chat, for this purpose, one part of this fund should lie inactive in the bank, to be ready for discounting bills, advancing money on the public revenues, &c. while the other circulated in the public in current specie, or at least in paper, representing not the credit of the Bank, but its solid contents.

According to our Author, the multiplication of circulating specie by bank notes and paper credit, instead of delivering from poverty, only disguises misery for a while. He also observes, that money is debased in proportion as the paper-signs that represent it, are augmented. It retains no longer that primitive value that was annexed to it. He thinks, that the bank, whose capital is in circulation, exposes to danger the fortunes of individuals, and makes an ill use of the confidence which the public has in it, -and that when it sends into circulation by its

credit,

credit, or its notes, a fum beyond its capital, it heightens the price of provisions, and becomes detrimental to society in many respects.

To estimate the prejudice occasioned by this ideal money, our Author examines the progreslive augmentation, that has taken place in the price of things, including in this estimate, houses, lands, the salaries of workmen, as well as victuals, and mercantile wares. But to build his calculations on folid ground, he does not take for his basis the price of things, as it was some years before the erection of the Bank of England, but goes as far backward as the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, because it was then that filver coin was regulated upon the footing on which it is at present; and also, because, during the whole reigns of her fucceffors, notes or paper credit were in use. Our Author then supposes, that in the time of Queen Elizabeth, there were four millions of specie, chat circulated in England, and this account of the matter is generally adopted. He farther supposes, that these four millions were equivalent to five, on account of the difference between the population of England at that time, and its present population. This sum represented the riches of the nation at that period, and was sufficient for every object of commerce. About a century after, the current coin in England was valued, by fome able calculators, at eighteen millions and a half; which were then insufficient, if we judge by the credit and paper that were admitted, probably since the conclusion of the reign of Elizabeth, or fince the reign of James I. The price of things being tripled since the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the quantity of money, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, mult have been tripled also, in order to represent the value of things, as they were at the former of these periods. Farther, commerce, in its progress, has comprehended new objects, and thus created new wants: these objects require an augmentation of specie in order to their being continually represented. Again, the national debt, in proportion as it increases, requires a greater mass of money, or of something equivalent to money, in order to its being represented in the commerce of stocks, that is constantly carried on in London ; besides, there muft also be a representation, not only of the objects of commerce, but also of ihe taxes and charges, which increale in proportion to the augmentation of the national debt. To support this heavy burthen, England is obliged to have recourse to ideal money, that is, paper credit. According to the most probable opinion, says our Author, England poffeffes, at present, eighe teen millions in real specie, and fifteen millions in circulating paper; and he thinks, that if this great mass of paper had not been introduced, the real fpecie of eighteen millions would have represented nearly what the thirty millions in fpecie and paper represent at this day, as all prices must have been proportionably regulated in consequence of this. He makes afterwards several reflexions on the interest of money, and its variations in England, and draws from them fome serious conclusions with respect to the use which this nation has made of its credit. The general truth that results from the discussions contained in this firit part of the Second Volume is, that losses and inconveniencies may be occafioned by banks, which greatly exceed the advantages they are capable of procuring to the societies where they are erected.

In the second part of this volume, which we expect from this well-informed writer, with impatience, he promises us a full account of what he understands by circulation, and some reflexions relative to that object. He also proposes, in this second part, to treat concerning the origin of Lombards, of ancient and modern ufury, or interest of money, of credit between individuals, of public credit, or of the origin of the present debts of almost all the powers of Europe, and of the influence, which these different objects have upon the general mass of national means.

of with

have been produced by bills of exchange, in favour of which branch of commerce, our Author implores, with a kind of ardour, the protection and countenance of sovereign princes and states, and desires, that they would act in concert in pub. lishing, with respect to that most useful and important object, uniform regulations, that may be observed in all countries. This discussion will be followed by our Author's ideas concerning the balance of trade, in which he folves the interesting question proposed, at the entrance of his work, viz. Whether commerce is not become too extensive, and (consequently) contrary to the true interefts of mankind? Our ingenious Author propofes tarther, to add some reflections relative to the true and eflential interests of the different European states, to thew that the real riches of every community confist in the number, industry, and manner of living of its inhabitants; and consequently, that whatever is prejudicial to good morals and population, is contrary to the crue interests of humanity. All this will be followed by a Supplement to our Author's first volume, containing discoveries relative to the money of the ancients, which have come to his knowledge fince the publication of that volume.

ARTE

T

ART. XV. Observations sur la Nature et sur le Traitement de la Rage, suivies

d'un Precis Historique et Critique des divers Remedes, qui ont eté employés jusqu'ici contre cette Maladie.- Observations concerning the Nature of Madness, and the Manner of treating it, &c. By M. PORTAI, Professor in the Royal College of France, Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences. 8vo. Paris. 1779. HIS small work is divided into two parts. The first,

which relates to the nature of the disorder, is subdivided into seven articles, which contain the division of madness into its various kinds—the circumstances relative to spontaneous madness-an account of the symptoms of the disorder— some anatomical details concerning the opening of bodies.- Observations on the different symptoms of the hydrophobia-fa&ts, which throw some light upon the manner in which madness is communicated, and inquiries concerning the seat of the disorder. --The second part, which relates to the manner of treating this disorder, contains the researches and opinions of M. Portal, concerning the local treatment-blood-letting - bathing and potions--the use of mercury-emetics, purgatives, and antispasmodics: all which is followed, by observations on the cases of some persons that have been bitten by mad animals, and have experienced the happy effects of M. PorTal's method of cure. This work, though not exempt from some defects, is instructive, and must be uleful.

at

ART. XVI. Epilogo della Vita del Cavaliere Antonio Raffaello Mengs, &c.-A

Compendious Account of the Life of the late Chevalier ANTONY RAPHAEL MENG), First Painter to his Catholic Majesty, Member of the Academies of Rome, Bologoa, Florence, Parma, Genoa, &c. By CHARLES JOSEPH RATTI, Director of the Academy of Genoa, &c. Folio. 1779.

THE Abbé Winkelman, who was, certainly, both in learnthe head of that class, never spoke of the late M. MENGS, without a kind of enthusiasm, and called him constantly the modern Raphael. It has, nevertheless, been affirmed, and by some who had it from the mouth of that great artist, that he was not born with a genius for painting, and that he applied himself with diligence to that fine art, rather from a regard to the authority of his father, than from taste and inclination. Be that as it may, his success was illustrious; and his works will place him in the rank of those, whose pencils have been as much under the impulse of genius as under the guidance of art. The gallery of Northumberland House, and the University of

Oxford,

Oxford, exhibit two sublime specimens of the talents and merit of this eminent artist. It was bold, to attempt a copy of the School of Athens (Pindarum quisquis ftudet æmulari, &c.), but it was glorious to execute it in such a manner, as to prevent our regretting the impoflibility of seeing the original in England.

MENGS (according to our Author, who has written his life in an instructive manner, and with a noble simplicity) was born at Ausich, a little town in Bohenria, near the confines of Saxony, the 12th of March 1728. His father, Ismael Mengs, was a Dane, a painter also of note, in miniature and enamel, and died, in the year 1764, Director of the Royal Academy of Dresden. He designed his son for his own profession, from the very moment of his birth, and gave him the names of Antony and Raphael, after Corregio, and the grand artist of Urbino; this ftep was not prudent, for had MENGS proved a mean artist, these names would have rendered him ridiculous. But this was not the case : young Mengs made a rapid progress under the care of his father, who was his master; and his reputation soon spread throughout Europe. He died last year, at Rome, and has not left behind him an highly eminent history painter, either in his own country, or in Italy, France, or Germany. It is with singular pleasure that we find ourselves authorised to except Britain. Kauffman and Cipriani kindly came to adorn the temple of the arts in our isle: but they found Reynolds, Weft, and many other distinguished artists, sacrificing with fuccess to genius and the graces, and enriching their native land with the noblest productions of the pencil.

The Chevalier Mengs left behind him, a treatise concerning painting, written in German, and a lift, in Italian, with ample remarks, of the pictures in the Escurial, which are both pubJilhed at the end of M. RATTI's work.

TH

ART.

XVII. Deux Memoires sur la Fertilité de la Palestine.-Two Memoirs con

cerning the Fertility of Palestine. By the Abbé GUENEE, HESE two Memoirs, composed by the learned and in

genious Author of the celebrated Letters of the Portuguese Jews to M. De Voltaire, and not yet published, were read to the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres at Paris, and were communicated to M. De Guignes; and it is to the account given of them by this learned man, that we are indebted for that which we here lay before the public. The subject treated in these Memoirs, is of consequence to the cause of religion, as several infidels, and more especially Voltaire, have drawn from the pretended sterility of the land of Judea, difficulties and objections againft the authority of the facred writings.

« PreviousContinue »