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executed. It is amusing to find that the dress of the females in these pictures is exactly similar to the mode Grecque of the present day; a proof of the accuracy with which our ladies of fashion have copied the models of antiquity.
Mr. Thompson's book joins to its local observations a considerable portion of political and statistical remark : but, in noticing the author's indulgence towards others, we must add that he cannot be said, like Bonaparte's General, Lefebvre, to be sevère sur lui même, since he has taken very little trouble in arranging his materials, or in correcting his composition, After a rather full account of the harbour of Messina, he comes gravely forwards (p. 219.) with a paragraph commencing,
Messina is a sea-port;' his memory is so treacherous with regard to the studies of his youth, as to allow him to write on all occasions Dyonisius instead of Dionysius; and his style throughout is that of a familiar letter to a friend, colloquially easy, and occasionally incorrect. These and other inaccuracies form material drawbacks on the value of a sketch which, short as it is, possesses a claim to attention in the modesty and candour of its author,—The volume has the addition of a map and several views, of which the most striking represents the city and harbour of Messina.
ART. VII. The Speech of Mr. Johnstone, on the third Reading of
the Bill for preventing the Gold Coin of the Realm from being paid or accepted for a greater Value than the current Value of such Coin ; commonly called Lord Stanhope's Bill ; delivered
19th July 1811. 8vo. pp. 111. Booker. ART. VIII. A Review of the Controversy respecting the high Price of
Bullion, and the State of our Currency. 8vo. pp. 119. 35. Budd. Art. IX. The Lack of Gold, or an Inquiry into the State of
the Paper Currency of England, under the Operation of Lord
Stanhope's Act. 8vo. Pp. 48. 25. Longman and Co. Art. X. Substance of a Speech made by Henry Parnell, Esq.,
29th May 1811, in the Committee of the whole House of Commons, to which the Report of the Bullion Committee was referred.
8vo. pp. 60. 28. Budd. ART. XI. The Depreciation of the Paper-currency of Great
Britain proved. By the Earl of Lauderdale. 8vo. pp. 196. 6s. Longman and Co. Art. XII. Farther Considerations on the State of the Currency:
in which the Means of restoring our Circulation to a salutary State are fully explained, and the Injuries sustained by the public Treasury, as well as by the national Creditor, from our present pecuniary System, are minutely detailed. By the Earl of Lauderdale. 8vo. Pp. 218. 6s. Longman and Co. 1813. The Bullion-question has been destined to exhibit a striking instance of the transient nature of the interest which is
excited excited by any particular discussion, in this age of revolutionary wonders. Three years ago, an acquaintance with this intricate subject, and the power of canvassing its leading arguments, were considered as a kind of necessary preliminary to the occupation of a place in a respectable circle : while the number of pamphlets published on it (little short of a hundred) gave ample evidence that the city, and the writingclasses, rivalled the parliamentary end of the town and the fashionable politician in eagerness of discussion. Yet this powerful impression has disappeared, at first before minor topics, and latterly before that which rises superior to all, - the decision of the fate of France and of Bonaparte. Among the many fortunate results of recent events, none is more cheering to the mind of the merchant or the political economist, than the prospect of redressing the inequality of our exchange, and the consequent disorder of our circulating mediumt; and we may now fatter ourselves with being enabled to suspend our sweeping disbursements on the Continent, and with retaining in Great Britain the metallic treasures which are imported from the other side of the Atlantic. We have accordingly been induced, by the approach of this much desired change, as well as by the merit of several tracts hitherto unnoticed by us, to dedicate another article to the merits of the Bullion-question: but, aware that its discussions are among the least inviting topics of periodical criticism, we shall endeavour to exhibit with brevity the substance of each pamphlet, and to confine 'our extracts from them to matters of permanent utility.
I. Of Mr. Johnstone's speech, if it be lawful to compare small things with great, we would say as Dr. Johnson said of Paradise Lost, that to be the best performance of its kind it wanted only to be the first. Mr. J. has shewn himself much better acquainted than most publishers of speeches, with the topics fit to be introduced or to be left out; and no person should be deterred from taking up this tract by an apprehension of dryness of detail or argument. The style of it is neat, and the materials are very judiciously selected. The Hon.Gentleman was connected in politics with Mr. Perceval, but had no hesitation in differing from him on this question, and in deprecating the expected measure of making bank-notes a legal tender. - Recurring to the history of our paper-money, he recapitulates the act of 1775, which prohibited the circulation of notes under sl., and which remained in force till the stoppage of the Bank in 1797. He next mentions a circumstance less generally understood, viz. that every country-banker is bound by law to pay his notes in eash if demanded; and that any magistrate may, in case of a refusal, levy the amount at the end of a week by distress and sale of goods. It was on
the existence of this obligation, that Mr. J. built his hope of enforcing the return of cash-payments; and country-bankers having long enjoyed the benefit of a wide circulation, it was but fair, he observes, that they should submit to the loss attendant on its diminution. This, we admit, may be true : but, in saying it, Mr. J. was certainly not aware of the extent of commercial embarrassment which would have been produced by such a measure. To his other propositions, such as that of confining the future circulation of paper to notes of 15l. and upwards in London, and of rol. and upwards in the country, we have no hesitation in subscribing.
'This speech is deserving of attention both for accurate state ments, and for general reflections on the causes of the misfortunes of banks. How gradually, says Mr. J., do the necessities resulting from our own improvidence, and the difficulty of tracing back our steps, alter our opinions, and induce our assent to measures formerly regarded with the utmost reprobation! Too close a connection with and too liberal an advance to Government have uniformly first discredited and ultimately ruined most banks. Governments, in their dealings with banks, resemble that class of customers who, to pay one bill, demand permission to discount another. In France, depreciation was rapid because paper was issued as a capital for the war-expences; in England, slow, because it is issued only as the interest of that capital. At the time of the Suspension Act in 1797, the Bank-direction contained persons (Mr. Winthrop and others) who were brought up in the sober school of mercantile economy: they entertained no wild notions of extending trade by papercredit; and, foreseeing dangerous consequences, they solemnly protested against the proposed measures. The reasonableness of their apprehensions appeared by the proceedings of the year 1812 ; in which the Bank found it necessary to come forwards and purchase Exchequer bills to a large amount, for no other purpose than to prevent their depreciation. — The history of our North American colonies, adds Mr. Johnstone, is full of instruction to us. After the substitution, above a century ago, of paper for specie in each of these states, the depreciation of the former speedily followed, and gradually proceeded in its course during thirty years ; until Parliament in 1764 passed an act to deprive it of its character of legal tender. Much mischief, however, had been done, and many contracts were eventually discharged with a much less value than had been contemplated on making the previous bargains. It is consolatory to find that the difficulty of exchanging this currency for specie was less serious than it was apprehended it would be; since in the short space of fourteen months, paper was almost entirely withdrawn and replaced by the precious metals.
From these general observations, Mr. J. returns to the die rect object of debate, and endeavours to prove the existence of depreciation in our paper-currency by conclusions drawn from returns at the Stamp-office. Regretting that the want of discrimination in the manner of keeping the books at that office precludes all investigation before the year 1804, he presents us with the following estimate for four years :
Bank of England- Country-bank- Total paper.
currency. 1807 £17,500,000 26,500,000 44,000,000 1808 17,500,000 24,500,000 42,000,000 1809 20,000,000 29,500,000 49,500,000 1810 23,000,000 33,000,000 56,000,000 He censures Mr. Rose for leaving country-bank-notes wholly out of his comparative estimates of the amount of our currency at different periods : but he has himself omitted to make any allowance for the blank caused by the almost total exportation of our gold coin. With these calculations, Mr. J. connects another of equal interest, viz. the progressive rise of the price of commodities, and lays before his readers a short abstract of Şir George Shuckburgh's tables. In these tables, the middle of the sixteenth century is assumed as a standard æra, because it was subsequently to that date that the influx of specie from the American mines materially affected our prices. Dr. Smith dwelt on the price of corn as the great index of the value of money: but to this Sir George added the price of day-labour, of butcher's meat, and of twelve miscellaneous articles. Combining these various considerations, Sir G.S. estimated that the commodities which, in the year 1550, might have been bought for 300l., would, in 1675, cost 210l.;- in 1700, 238l. ; - in 1740, 2871.; - in 1760, 3421. ; - in 1770, 3841. ; — in 1780, 4271.; - in 1790, 4961. ; - in 1795, 5311.;- in 1800, 562;- and in 1810, according to Mr. Johnstone's computation, 820l. Though partial objections may be made to the accuracy of these conclusions, they are in substance correct, and exhibit a striking picture of the progressive deterioration of the condition of annuitants, and of all whose property or income depends on the value of money. The next part of Mr. Ji's pamphlet may serve in confirmation of what we have always maintained ; that our trade was not, until autumn 1810, so much excluded from the Continent as many among us imagined. Mr. Johnstone gives in a few lines the table of our continental exports and imports. The value is real, not official. *
* By official value, is meant the value affixed in the Custom-house books to merchandise, by the package, according to an old schedule of computation. Official value is, in general, sixty per cent. below real value.
Exports to the Continent. Imports from the Continent. In 1825 £20,400,000 £21,700,000 1806, 17,500,000
19,800,000 When treating this part of his subject, Mr. Johnstone comments with great severity on the fluctuating-conduct of the Board of Trade, in granting licences at one moment and withholding them at another. The controul assumed by that Board had the serious disadvantage of favouring London merchants at the expence of those of the outports, who could not so soon become aware of the varying dispositions of Government; and who, on applying for licences, were often told that as many as were decmed sufficient to supply the market had already been granted; or, when they obtained licences, and conveyed instructions to their correspondents abroad, they generally found themselves anticipated by the London merchants. Nay, it often happened, he says, on the occurrence of a large importation from the Baltic or elsewhere, that a mass of mercantile interest was applied to stop the issue of farther licences for such goods; with the view, on the part of the importers, of deriving a large profit at the expence of the home-consumers.
The subsequent estimate, though it has no direct reference to the matter in discussion, is important as shewing the rapid increase of a particular branch of manufacture; a great part of which went, we believe, to Spanish America.
Export of cotton manufactured goods to all parts of the world, in 1865, 8,700,000l.;- in 1806, 9,900,00ol. ;--in 1807, 9,800,00ol. ; - in 1808, 12,800,00ol.; in 1809, 18,600,oool. ; - in 1810, 18,000,000l.
Another calculation, displaying the value (real, not official,} of our total exports and imports for five years, is deserving of insertion :
Total imports. Total exports.
53,500,000 50,500,000 1808 45,700,000 50,000,000
1809 59,800,000 66,000,000 If, for the sake of computing the distribution of our exports, we take a particular year, 1807 for example, and calculate by
. After the Orders in Council.