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formed of its state, the security it offers, the principles on which it proceeds, and the method in which it makes its calcu. lations : and the great design of this publication is to give that information-an information which is rendered the more necessary by the multitude of bubble societies which were some time ago established, and some of which are still existing in this kingdom.
The Doctor then proceeds to inform us, that in consequence of fome propofitions which he made to the society about four years ago concerning the methods by which they then kept their accounts, and determined annually their profits; a more strict and determinate mode of doing each was adopted, by which mcans the society has ever fince been enabled to keep constantly under its eye the true state of its affairs, the expences of management it can afford, the progress of the balance in its favour from year to year, and the clear amount remaining on hand of all the profits it has made from the time of its first eftablishment.
In 1776, a particular inquiry was made into the state of the society, by the method which had been proposed by the Doctor, when it appeared that a much smaller proportion of the persons aflured had died than the calculations fupposed; and that the society poffeffed then a surplus of income (or an income more than was necessary to enable it to make good its engagements, and to bear the expences of management) equal to 2400 l. per annum, nearly, and a surplus of stock equal to 30,000 l. In these circumstances, the society, not willing to continue any exorbitant profits, determined to reduce all the payments for assurances on single lives one tenth. They likewise resolved at the same time to return the whole overplus of the payments which had been made by the members, over and above those which they would have made had this reduction taken place at the time of their admission. Equitable as this latter measure appears, Dr. Price seems to think that a repetition of it might have a very pernicious tendency with respect to the affairs of the Society, and ought not to be adopted on any similar future occafion, let the state of the society be ever so flourishing. We are however given to understand, that what is here faid relates only to future opportunities of making reductions in the terms of admiffion. The annual profits of the society considerably exceeded the reduction, together with all the expences of management; and the fums which have been returned to the different members are short of the excess of the surplus ftock above 30,000 l. which fum, together with the succeeding annual profirs, the society have placed out on interest, as a fund to secure it from any contingencies which may hereafter arise from seafons of extraordinary mortality, which would bring on the society extraordinary expences. This stock, so placed out, the 5
Doctor allows, must give full security to the Public, and make the society a permanent benefit to it.-Dr. Price adds, “When I speak of full security, I must be understood to mean all the security that property in the public funds can give. It is earnestly to be wished, that this was greater than it is; but though greater might be obtained, yet in an undertaking of this kind it is scarcely reasonable to aim at it. The failure of the Public funds will be the commence. ment of a new æra in this kingdom, of which, like the end of the world, we can now form no conception; and were every one to act with a view to its being so near as perhaps it is, there would be an end of most of the business and traffic of the nation.'
While we reverence the great learning and extensive abilities of Dr. Price, we cannot help lamenting, in some degree, that foreboding spirit which so frequently leads him to turn the dark side of our national affairs to public view. It has been afked, “ What purpose can such sentiments, and such assertions, serve? If the failure of our public funds be as certain as the Doctor seems to think it, they can answer no purpose whatever but that of bringing our ruin fafter on; and even if it be not, they may, by alarming the people more immediately concerned, in duce them to act in such a manner as would render that dread. ful calamity inevitable. Can Dr. Price reflect on the almost numberless families which that tremendous period must reduce, in an instant, from case and affluence to the utmost extreme of penury and distress, without trembling at the thought that he may have been the means of plunging them into it some years before it would otherwise have happened, and possibly, in some measure, the cause why it ever happened at all?” In truth, weighty as we acknowledge the Doctor's opinion will be with many persons, and is, in many cases, with ourselves, we can by no means subscribe to the inference which he draws in this instance; and we think that many substantial reasons may be urged why a national bankruptcy (which we sincerely with and hope is at a very great distance), though it would undoubtedly lay many aMuent families in ruins, and reduce numbers,
• To this objection, however, Dr. Price may, perhaps, with great appearance of justice reply, “ That he has not endeavoured to excite the apprehenfions of his countrymen, without having the most falutary ends in view; that he has, at the same time that he warned us of our danger, pointed out the means of avoiding it, viz. by a timely reformation of our impolitic and ruinous public measures :" and he may add, “ That, so far, he has acted as did the good prophets of old, who, when they denounced the wrath to come againit a wicked people, exhorted them to avert the Divine judgments by REPENTANCE, and the amendment of their WICKED WAYS."--Those who do not totally diffent from the Doctor's political principles, and who do not form estimates of a different and opposite kind, will candidly allow to this apology its due weight.
who now enjoy happiness and independence, to poverty and distress, would not bring with it the consequence which he predicts; namely, the destruction of trade. On the contrary, we are inclined to think, that in this would consist the only bright part of the picture. A calamity of the kind we are speaking of must undoubtedly throw many adventurers into that track, who before were above it, as the only way in which they could hope to employ the ruins of their fortune in earning a livelihood, or in endeavouring to regain their former situation and consequence. It must moreover be considered, that the hand which annihilates the principal, wipes off the interest also : the taxes, therefore, which have been levied to pay that interest must cease of course; the necessaries of life which pay those taxes would return, in some measure, to their original value; the manufacturer could afford to work at a lower rate, and we should be enabled, by our misfortunes, to undersell our more wealthy neighbours; and who is it that does not fly to the cheapest market? Such, it seems reasonable to conclude, would be the consequences of a national bankruptcy to trade : what its effects would be in respect to arts and sciences,-on our consequence as a nation, and, above all, in the calamities and miseries in which it would involve individuals, it is the duty of every good man (like Dr. Price) to pray that we may never know them.
The Doctor proceeds to make some observations which particularly respect the society in whose business Mr. Morgan is engaged, many of which may also be very interesting to the public at large. And, first, it appears, that the tables which the society use at present in making their calculations, are founded on the rate of mortality which happened amongst the inhabitants of London, taken in the gross, during 23 years, from 1728 to 1750: a period of time which included two years, namely 1740 and 1741, of greater mortality than has ever been known in London since the plague in 1665. In consequence of this, the values of assurances on lives are given in these tables somewhat too bigh for the inhabitants at large even of London itself; and much too high for the better part of the inhabitants. The Doctor allows, that there were good reasons for the society's beginning with such tables; but he thinks, and in our opinion with great reason, that as it is now established in some degree of security, and has better grounds to go upon, it would be right to calculate and use new tables, founded on observations which will give the value of life-assurances, not among the bulk of people in London, where life is particularly thort; but among mankind in general. And in order to this, he observes, that the decrements of life at every age, as deduced by Dr. Halley from observations at Breflaw in Silesia, or those deduced by himself from the Bills of Mortality at Northampton
and Norwich, are nearly the mean decrements between those in great towns and in country parishes and villages; consequently, as the society assures town and country lives indiscriminately, these are the observations by which it should be guided. Perhaps the Doctor ought to have added if the number of lives which it assures in country parishes be equal, or nearly so, to the number of lives which it assures in town; for if this be not the case, the results of calculations made from those tables may be very favourable or very detrimental to the interests of the society
What follows must be understood with the same restriction. But, says our Author, observations more proper for the use of this society than even those above mentioned may now be obtained. I mean those furnilhed by the Register of mortality established a few years ago at Chefter, under the direction of the ingenious Dr. Haygarth.-Chester is an old and very healthy town, of moderate size, which has continued much the same as to populousness for a long course of years, and these are circumstances which render it a situation particularly fitted for Thewing the true law that governs the waste of human life in all its stages. The register which has been established there is more minute and correct than any other; and is, perhaps, the only one which gives the difference between the chances of living among males and females, and from which it is possible to compute, with any degree of precision, the values of lives before five and after seventy years of age. Tables, therefore, of the values of life annuities, assurances, and reversions, calculated from this register, would be a valuable acquisition, not only to the society more immediately under consideration, but also to the public in general.
Dr. Price goes on to observe, that it would greatly aftist and expedite the business of the society, and at the same time do confiderable service to this branch of science, if tables of the values of two, and also three joint lives were computed, agreeable to the best observations, true to three decimal places at least : for without fuch tables it is impossible to find, in many cases, the true values of assurances, and particularly of assurances on survivorships for terms. He observes, that there are now no such tables extant. Mr.Simpson's table in the Select Exercises, p. 266, is adapted only to London ; and gives the values only to one place of decimals. And the table in his own Treatise on Reverfionary Payments, p. 328, is calculated from M. De Moivre's hypothesis, which, although it agrees nearly with the Breslaw and Northampton obfervations in the middle stages of life, differs fo widely from all real observations before twenty and after seventy years of age, as to be totally improper for use. He therefore earnestly recommends it to the society to direct that such tables as are here Rev. June, 1780.
described, may be calculated; and observes, that the expence of such calculations can be no object to them, notwithftanding in doing it they will not only contribute greatly towards the speedy and accurate execution of their own business, but confer also a very great obligation on the Public at large. He adds fome other observations, but which, though they are of very confiderable importance to the interests and well-being of the society, as they in no wise relate to the Public, we shall forbear to mention.
We should next have proceeded to give some account of the very curious and interesting Esay on the present State of Population in England and Wales, which is annexed to this performance, had we not observed that the Doctor has announced the reprinting of it with some additions in a separate publication. We shall therefore take some future opportunity of laying an account of it before our Readers; and conclude what we have to say at present with observing, that Mr. Morgan's performance is one of those many laudable, and we may add, successful attempts which have been lately made towards stripping the more useful parts of learning and science of their terrifying and disgusting appearance, caused chiefly by the use of technical terms, and professional phrases; which have hitherto deterred so many from astempting them.
Art. VI. Eastern Eclogues : Written during a Tour through Arabie,
Egypt, &c. in 1777. 410. 2 s. 6 d. Dodsley. 1780. PEREANT qui ante nos noftra dixerunt! was an exclama
tion of one who could find no image in the storehouse of imagination, but what had been pre-occupied by some former writer. Indeed, while a writer confines himself to subjects that have been treated before, or describes scenes already known, it will be difficult to introduce sentiment or imagery that shall be totally original. In poetry, this difficulty is peculiarly obvious. It too frequently happens that poets attempt to paint what they never saw, and to describe what they never felt. Hence they are in a great measure confined to general ideas, such as will in fome degree occur to every one. When, therefore, we found ' it had been the fortune of our Traveller to be tempted, by a near approach to the scenes which he has described, to sketch from the life,' we formed expectations very different from what generally accompany the sight of a new publication. Sorry are we to say, that our expectations have by no means been gratified. There is nothing either in the sentiments or imagery which seems peculiar or appropriate to the characters or scenes which he has described. Nor do we meet with any thing, if the opening of the third eclogue be excepted, which