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This volume contains many curious particulars ; especiaily relative to our late unhappy contest with the American colonies. Art. 65. Considerations on the bigh Price of Grain, and other Ar
ticles of Provision, for a Number of Years back ; and Propofi. tions for reducing them : with occasional Remarks. By Catharine Phillips. 8vo. pp. 90. 15. 60. Phillips. 1792.
Being addressed by a female on points of deep investigation, seemingly so remote from the usual objects of female attention, we pause at the novelty, until we can resolve within ourselves in what style it becomes us to receive such a rarity.
When a lady condescends - but fofily! we should recollect that we are now addressed by a woman of understanding, and, as we believe, of a persuasion correct enough to disdain the frippery of common-place compliments, tending to the exclusion of renfe. Such a writer, who describes herself as ' a decrepid old woman,' might correct our style, by hinting that woman is the co-relative of man, gentlewoman of gentleman, and lady of lord. Alas! Mrs. Phillips may add the present confufion in titles to the many instances which fhe produces of the growth of luxury. These distinctions might be preserved in the days of our grand-parents, but they are now obro. lete. Among us, every woman is a lady; gentlewoman has sunk into a term of degradation ; and good woman, strange to add, would be received as an insult.
When a lady condescends to introduce any thing like argument into conversation, false politeness with holds the generality of men from presuming to controvert her opinion; and whatever may be their thoughts, they conceive that it would be ungentleman-like not to conceal them, under a Certainly, Madam!" or some other complimentary phrase, equally disingenuous :- but when she prints her sentiments, and offers them to the public, she appears before a tribunal that is above this duplicity, and which has more true respect for her than to treat her like a child : she waves the pretensions of sex, and rests on the abstract merit of her argumens.The female friend before us stands on this ooly tenable ground.
Mrs. Phillips is a very sensible and incelligent woman, and may acquit herself with credit in a conversation on this subject : but her knowlege and observation, though he has collected most of the popular causes afligned for the dearnefs of provisions, do not combine the many complex circumstances that enter into the increase of prices. Suffice it to hint to her, that prices have progressively risen, ihrough all generations of our ancestors, as far back as hiltory can reach; and that they will continue so to do, while the quansity of current fpecie increases; which it always does, especially fince we have found the way to the American mines. When we say that provisions are dear, the meaning is, that money is cheap; though the bulk of mankind always find it scarce enough, while taxation drains it out of their hands. Luxury is another wide drain ;
for while manufactures render the conveniences of life plentiful, we are sufficiently disposed to enjoy as many of them as we can procure. Who will use wainscot or deal furniture, when it can be made of mahogony? Who will eas barley bread, where wheat is to be had? There is no end to these queftions; and the good senie of individuals mult draw the only boundary line that can be prefcribed.
Things are easily rectified in Mrs. P.'s opinion ; thus - Reduce the prices of meat and drink, and the poor rates will also be reduced, which for many years have been a beavy load upon the landed interest.' Quantity and competition alone can regula:e free prices: but were they reduced, is it so clear that a reduction of the poor rates would naturally follow? Alas! we have our doubo; and those who know most of human nature are not quice so fanguine, This peculiar hurthen which we alone have taken up, is oor like Æsop's burtben, it will not grow lighter bv time. To plead lor benevolence to the poor, argues goodness of heart: but Mrs. P. appears yet to learn, that giving to the poor is the abuse of charity. The aged and disabled have an irresistible claim for support : but gifts to the rest make them idle, vicious, greedy, and in solear. The writer of this article has abundant opportunity to study the dispofition of the poor in a corfiderable town, that is amply provided with charitable hequells; and can boldly affirm, that the weakness or vanity of such donations has a strong tendency to deprave them. To provide then with employment is true charity, and tends to the cultivation of virtuous principles among them.
Mrs. P. obferves, li may reasonably be conjectured, that an iocrease of population may have tended to enhance the price of provisions in this nation; but whether the improvements in agricul. ture, and the inclosing of so much common land, as hath of late years been the cale, may not be supposed a balance for the increase of its inhabitants, I submit to consideration *' In this she acts pru. dently; for it is futile to apprehend an increase of inhabitants beyond what the country can conveniently feed; and yet Mrs. P. leans to fuch an opinion, by descending to notice private extravagance and waste, which are only objects of private consideration. Thus: 'I Thall say but litile upon the general use of Eait India tea, as tending to increase the price of provisions, because it is to no purpose, so wedded are all ranks of people to this custom: but it certainly has conīderable weight. A valt quantity of butter is consumed (rather to the injury of the people's conftitutions), which advances the price of that article of provifion t.' Were is not that articles are raised in proportion to their consumption, and that plenty makes cheapness, we should be of the lame opinion. Would le discourage dairies? People will eat.
We may well suppose tithes to excite Mrs. P.'s refeniment, as detrimental to improvement; and yet, considering the validity of her objections to them, the expresses herself with becoming temper. liis ftrange that the clergy do not themselves endeavour to remove fo great a stumbling-block between the people and the church !
We cannoc but smile when Mrs. P. lamenting the waste of victuals in great families as injurious to the nation, instances ftew. ing hams for their essence, and throwing the flesh away, or giving it in the dogs, as a very condemnable waste of good meat I.
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this remark, she is a better housewise than a politician. If the rich will have hams to waste in this ridiculous manner, so much the better for their country: one hog furnishes but two hams; and if this call for hams encourages the breed, there is all the rest of the carcase for the market and the salting-trough.
As Mrs. P. takes a wide range, we shall follow her to a circumftance, which, the believes, has occurred only to herself; and this is the great waste of land in cutting canals for inland navigation ; though the admits that the keeping of many horses is faved by this mode of conveying goods *. If these canals save the keeping of as many horses as the ground which they occupy would feed, the objection to them is so far removed: but others, with more plausibi. lity, have objected to them, as enbancing the price of neceffaries in low country places, by facilitating the carriage of them to other markets : but cheapness, in such places, is no evidence of prosperity; and if the easiness of conveying away their produce raises prices to an average, its tendency must be to stimulate cultivation, and to rouze the torpid natives to activity :-nothing prospers under a general ftagnation.
We cordially join with this zealous matron in all her extensive wishes to promote the welfare of the community; and we approve many of her hints for cultivating and planting waste and barren lands, for which, we understand, that diftinguithed gardener Miller is her guide and authority: we should thus gain much more land than is loft in roads and canals. The danger in these speculations is by taking partial views ; by mistaking the symptoms of a disorder for the causes ; and by fixing the attention on the most obvious and grievous, when all ought to combine in the inveftigation.
THEOLOGY and POLEMICS. Art. 66. A port and plain Exposition of the Old Testament, with
devotional and practical Reflections, for the Use of Families, By the late Rev. Job Orton, S. T. P. Published from the Author's MSS. by Robert Gentleman. Vols. V. and VI. 8vo. 125. Boards. Longman.
Mr. Gentleman has now brought this work to a conclusion. These last two volumes are executed in the same'manner as the preceding, of which we have already given a general account't. Licile more seems necessary to be now added. The expository part of this performance will probably be, to some readers, the least satisfactory. We conceive that, for the sake of brevity, (which was a leading object,) the editor must have considerably abridged what the author had prepared for his congregation; which, not being by him intended for the press, is not to be suppofed what it would have been had he himself prepared it for the public eye. The reflections, at the end of the chapters, constitute the most valuable part of the publication. These appear to be entire, transcribed from the author's short-hand, excepting a few small corrections, which
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+ See Rev. vols. Ixxix. and lxxxi. and New Series, vol. ii. Rev. Aug. 1792.
must be universally considered as allowable and necessary. They are natural, plain, practical, and highly characteriftic of the author. 'There, we are well assured, he himself wilhed, in some form or other, to be made public.
At the close of the book of Daniel, is a sermon on chap.ix. 24—27, concerning the seventy wecks, which contains a clear and useful interpretation of that illustrious prophecy of the Meffiah.
We observe, in the editor's advertisement, prebxed to the last volume, an apology for the omission of his Memoirs of tbe Autbor, which had been promised in the proposals. Materials for thele, it feems, have been collected by a clergyman of the church of England, and put into the hands of Dr. Kippis, who had purposed to give fome account of Mr. Orton, under the article of Dr Doddridge, in the Biographia Britannica. When this appears, Mr. Gentleman informs his subscribers, (of whom he has a very respectable lift,) that he will furnith them with a copy of it, at a small expence, so printed as to be bound up with this work at any future time. We shall be happy foon to announce it to the public, and hope to find it as true a portrait of Mr. Orton's character, as the engraver has given of his perfon, in the last volume of this work. Art. 67. Thoughts on the Necefiry and Means of a Reform of the
Church of England. By a Friend to Religion and his country. 8vo. is. 6d. Johnson. 1792.
By several expressions in this pamphlet, it appears to be the production of a Member of the establithment: but the roughness with which the clergy are treated may, on the other hand, be thought to indicate its author to be some violent separatist. To the clergy, the abounding of vice is attributed, and the church is described as an Augean ftable, which requires for its cleapling the Herculean arm of reformation. The choice of persons de itined to the clerical office, the mode of their introduction to livings, the asual methods of riting to the highest dignities in the church, the unequal diftri. bution of its revenues, the mode of paying the clergy, and the al. most cotal want of discipline among them, are boldly reprobated by this author. After condemning ibe things that are, be proceeds 10 fhew us how he apprehends things fwould be. Two plans of reform are offered to the confideration of ine public. The firit chiefly respects the lopping off redundancies, and equalizing the remain. ing revenues of the church, so that no clergyman should have less than 100l. per annum, with a house and garden, and no one more than sool. per annum, except the bishops, who are to be allowed from 10001. to 2cool. and the two archbishops 30col. annually.
The other plan of reform proposed, is, that no one system of opi. nions nor mode of worthip be established, nor made che favourite of she state. With this lacier idea, the author informs us, he was Mocked when it was first proposed : bus, after attentive confideration, he is convinced of its equiry and fuperior advantages. Muck may be faid for it by gentlemen of pure speculation : but we are of opinion, that many changes must take place is this idaod, before such a tho:ough reform can be aade.
The The author writes with a good intention, and has uttered several bome truths: but, in some of his facts, he is not quite accurate. When he says that our present Metropolitan was the son of a butcher, he is mistaken. His uncle was a butcher at Gloucester, but his father was a farmer, or grazier, as we have been credibly informed. When the biographer writes his life, these circumftances will be related, not as things which degrade, (for no circumstances of birth can degrade a great mind,) but as having contributed to display his virtues, and, of course, to exalt his cha. sacter:
" Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow;
The relt is all but leather and prunella." Art. 68. Vindicie Landavenfes : or, Strictures on the Bishop of
Landaff's late Charge, in a Letter to his Lordship. 4to. Is. 6d. Cadell, &c. 1792.
The author of these frictures manifests a moft candid and liberal mind; and though we are not convinced by his arguments, we have been highly pleased with the Chriftian temper with which he proposes them. He endeavours to justify the test and corporation acts by comparing the state to a club, which latter, he observes, has its rules: but the question is not, whether a club or a state should or should not have laws and regulations, but whether it be politic to frame more restrictive laws than the object avowed in the social compact, whether of a club or a nation, requires? If an agricul. tural society were to be formed, would it be wise to make it the first rule of admiffion, that every member profeffes his belief in the sexual system of Linné, or in the doctrine of phlogiston? since a man may be a good farmer, without a koowlege of either. In like manner, an individual may be a good member of the state, and able to do his king good service as a citizen, though he cannot believe all the Thirty-nine Articles; and the question here is, Ought the government to exclude men from the duties and privileges of good citizens, on account of points of belief which cannot affect their good citizenship?
We should willingly reason more at length with this amiable writer, would our limits permit. He concludes his (trictures with this truly Christian exhortation : · Let us baoish anger and evilspeaking, and study peace with all mens assured, that one breach of the law of love is of more importance in the light of God than a thousand speculative errors which disturb not the quiet of others, or a thousand speculative truths, which have no influence on ourselves.' Art. 69. Sermons, by Thomas Matter, D.D. Minister of the
Old Church, Dumfries. 8vo. Pp. 404. 6s. Boards. Moore, -Leadenhall-street. 1791.
These discourses, as we learn from the editor's advertisement, were composed without any view to publication, and appear nearly in the fame state in which they were delivered. A few of them are on moral topics, which are treated in a plain and useful Kk 2