Page images
PDF
EPUB

Art. 54. Lovers' Vows, or the Child of Love. A Play. In Five Acts.

Tranlated from the German of Kotzebue : with a brief Biography of the Author. By Stephen Porter, of the Middle Temple. 8vo. 28. Hatchard.

We have already noticed two translations of this affecting but illo". constructed play. The present belongs to the class of literal, not amended, versions, and approaches very nearly in quality to that of Miss Plumptre. From the prefixed biography, we transcribe a paragraph.

• Kotzebue was born at Weimar, in Saxony, a city which has long been considered as the most refined in Germany, as far as relates to the manners of its inhabitants; and is at present particularly famous for a seminary of education for young men of rank, which af. fords the students the double advantage of acquiring the most ex.' tensive learning, and of improving their manners-by a constant in. tercourse with the Court of the reigning Duke, at present one of the most polished in Europe.--His predilection for the Drama displayed itself while he was very young ; for in his youth he not only wrote, but performed in several private theatres, though, we believe, he never yet appeared on the public stage. He was educated under the celebrated professor Musæus; and early betook himself to the profession of the Law, which he practised with considerable success, filling various eminent stations, till

, at length, he was appointed President of the high College of Justice, in the Russian province of Livonia, where he wrote a great number of his dramatic works, as well as his other miscellaneous compositions. The cabals of a party in Livonia, who envied his superior talents, compelled him, after some years, to resign his high situation; when, fortunately for the admirers of genius and learning, he resolved to devote himself entirely to literary pursuits, and accordingly repaired to the Court of Vienna, where he was shortly after appointed, “ Director and Dramatist of the Imperial Theatre ;” a place which he has ever since filled with pleasure to himself, and the greatest satisfaction to the Emperors he has lived under.'

· It would be well, in order to prevent collision, if translators were to announce the works which they undertake, previously to publication : : one of the least meritorious of Kotzebue's plays has in this instance obtained the honour of triple translation.

Tay Art. 55. Poems on various Subjects. By R. Anderson, of Carlisle.

Small 8vo. pp. 227. 35. 6d. Boards. Clarke. 1798. It has been said that “ there are writers for every reader, and; readers for every writer.” The favour which these pieces may have obtained is probably local ; and they may have appeared wonder., ful, perhaps, from the situation and circumstances of the writer; who, beems self-taught, and who, indecd, modestly confesses that his education did not entiile him to a place among the learned. We are wholly unacquainted with this rural bard's peculiar history, and can only judge of his poetical merits by the productions before us. They are certainly neither ungrammatical nor absurd, and may perhaps be ranked with those of Stephen Duck, and other favourites of the “ unlottered muge." Mr. Anderson seems to hitch his thoughts

into rhyme with great facility : but we could wish for more originality in those thoughts. He is not sufficiently wild and inaccurate to make us expect better productions from future efforts. Through 46 songs in smooth measures, well rhymed, we looked in vain for novelty

; in his epistles, and even epigrams, we sought unsuccessfully for wit or humour; and in his sonnets, our search for poetical imagery was equally fruitless.

In every page, the author is perpetually extolling the innocence and felicity of a peasant's life. His shepherds, and even his clowns, are Arcadian. He never omits to censure the Great, (of whom, we should suppose, he can know but little,) as miserable tools of a court slaves of a high degree-rapacious rulers of the blood stained earthplagued with the noise of the town—with pride,ambition,-dependence on a monarch's smiles, &c. &c.

Many of the songs, and other pieces, of this poetic inhabitant of Carlisle, are written in the neighbouring dialect of Scotland, and may be thought to resemble that of the late Roby Burns : but it would be flattery to compere his genius with that of Burns.

D. B....y. POLITICS, FINANCE, &c. Art. 56. Observations on the Political State of the Continent, should

France be suffered to retain her immense Acquisitions ; in which is reviewed her whole System of Aggrandizement, and the probable Advantages which she will derive from the Subversion of Italy, and the Possession of Belgium, on the Return of Peace. 8vo. Pp. 147. 38. 6d. Debrett.

These very sensible observations are thrown into an epistolary form, as being best suited to the desultory and unconnected manner in which they are written. The author is a strenuous advocate for a continuance of the war, rather than that France shall be allowed to retain a degree of power which would prove incompatible with the future security of Europe. Few of the arguments are new, yet the letters are replete with considerable information in several particulars relative to the powers on the continent *.

In the first letter, he says. Every state has, in my opinion, its own physiognomy, if I may be allowed to use the expression, pecu. liar to itself: and as Lavater endeavoured to delineate the characters of the mind of man by the most striking features of the countenance, I, with the map in my hand, study the peculiar cast of every state, by their physical geography, which includes the nature of its inhabitants: and it appears to me, that a person well versed in this study, is less liable to err in his deductions, than the physiognomist already mentioned. Hence we may ascertain the genuine features of real and apparent strengib ; of fierceness and formidability; of rapacious inclinations and imperious sway; of inactivity, impotence, &c.'

Speaking of the advantages which France yet enjoys unimpaired, he says, “ She still retains her situation, soil, and climate ; her circumference ; her interior shape; her natural productions ; her

* We must bear in mind that these observations were made in the year 1798.-The article has been mislaid.

expect too much.'

...1

IS.

unity; and the same pliability of disposition among hier inhabitants

• What of all these has France lost by the revolution? Is the world lifted off its hinges, and France moved farther to the South or the North ? Has an earthquake changed her situation and homogeneous shape?'

It is but fair to give the reader a specimen also of the able writer's candour :--He tells his correspondent ; . You have expressed a de. sire to be made acquainted with my thoughts on the actual situation of affairs, and what I may suppose to be the future expectations of the several states of Europe from a peace concluded with France. If you expect to find my observation totally devoid of error, you

The pamphlet, bowever, contains many sensible and important Capt. remarks.

B....y
Art. 57. Constitutional Strictures on particular Positions, advanced in

the Speeches of the Right Hon. W. Pitt, in the Debates which tools
place on the Union between Great Britain and Ireland, on the
234 and 31st of January 1799. By Willoughby, Earl of Abing,
don. Svo. Barnes.

In this short treatise, the doctrine of the necessity of a supreme
unlimited power being vested in governments is combated. In a
letter from the late Sir William Jones to the noble author, (a copy
of which appears in this publication,) is the following passage :“ My
wishes have been uniformly the same, to keep the three powers in our state
within their just limits, measured by the equal balance of the law.The
opinion of the great Earl of Chatham respecting the omnipotence of
Parliament is quotes, and also the protest of the Lords on the Re-
gency:

It is very generally believed that the present is by no means an eligible time for the discussion of abstract questions on political power; and, especially of those in which the rights claimed on behalf of the people clash with the authority claimed for governments. It seems indeed a duty incumbent on men in high power, at this time, to advance such principles only as have a tendency to tranga:llize the public mind.

We decline entering into the present discussion, farther than to observe that unlimited powers, and a free coxstitution, appear to us to be contradictory terms.

DO
Art. 58. Arguments for a Coalition against France. 8vo. 18,

Hatchard. 1799.
After having pointed out the danger to other European powers
from ihe extended dominion of France, this writer exhorts them to
onite in their common defence, and not to be disheartened by the failure
of preceding confederacies. He argues, justly, that a coalition forina
ed from motives of fear and necessity, and for the purposes of defence,
is much more worthy of reliance than a coalition originating in
ambitious and greedy motives, in which each party has an interest
separate from that of his confederates,

Late events, we hope, will assist the reasoning of this author, and
encourage that general exertion which he recommends, in order to
confine the power of France within such limits as shall be consistent
with the safety of the rest of Europe.

DO Art.

Art. 59. Principles of Taxation. By William Frend. 8vo. Is. 6d.

Ridgeway. 1799 Mr. Frend assumes, as the only correct principle of equitable taxation, that all subjects of the state shall be required to contribute to the public service in a just proportion to their means; and he asserts that this principle has not been followed in the income-tax, notwithstanding that it is specifically expressed in the preamble to the bill. He accuses the Minister of being unjust to the middle classes, and draws the following contrast between that gentleman and a noted character: (T. Paine :)— The one would bring the poor and the rich together by levelling the rich; the other would increase the distance between the poor and the rich, by demolishing the middle class.!

Mr. F. remarks that “Şince, in all countries, there are some de. pending upon charity for support, and others are in possession of every enjoyment, there must be a certain income, which will exactly keep a man, his wife, and two children ; and, if from this income any thing is taken away, the family is deprived of necessaries. Such a family also stands in need of unproductive capital ; namely, cloaths, furriture, bed, &c. without which, the man's personal industry, and consequently the state, would be injured. "On such a man the state could not consistently make any demand, much less on the man who depends on others for support.'

In this country, he supposes, an income of 301. 2-year from personal industry, with 20 l. unproductive capital, should distinguish the class of non-contributers to the state.

· The contributers then, or they whose means are greater, may be compared with ease to each other. From the yearly income of any individual deduct thirty pounds, the remainder is a superfluity, a fit object of taxation. From his unproductive capital deduct twenty pounds, and the remainder is a superfluity, a fit object of taxation. Then, if the taxes on these superfluities are made proportional to the superfluities, the relative situation of the parties taxed is preserved, and they are after the payment of the tax in the same proportion to each other, as they were before the payment of the tax.'

On this scale of taxation, the author has given a table, and also tables of the comparative effect of Mr. Pitt's tax.

Both the plans, perhaps, run too much into extremes. In Mr. Frend's calculations, the annual produce of industry is estimated as worth only one year's purchase ; and in Mr. Pitt's calculations, the annual produce of ina dustry is estimated at as many years' purchase as is given for land, or for perpetuities. It is evident on the one hand, that a man har. ing 200 l. capital, without a profession or other means of obtaining more, is in a worse situation than a man without capital who has an occupation which produces to him annually 200 l.,- and cannot afford to contribute so much. On the other hand, to exemplify the difference of situation between landed property producing 2001. per annum, and industry producing the same sum ; supposing land to be worth 20 years? purchase, and that the tax demanded the whole of income; then the landed proprietor would remain worth 3800 l. while the industrious man would be without means of subsistence. Of their former relative situations, no proportion would remain.

Mr. Frend has observed that, if the relation between a man with Gool. productive capital, and the man with an income of 30 l. a-year from personal industry, could be ascertained, the proportion of the tax on productive capital to that on income from personal industry, might he also ascertained :--but this proportion he has not explained. The profits of industry may perliaps fairly be reckoned as equivalent to an annuity for years, but certainly ought not to be rated at as many years' purchase as an annuity for life. If the number of years were agreed, the proportion between the produce of landed estates and the produce of industry might be established.

There seems to us much propriety in leaving a certain quantum of property untaxed, as being necessary for subsistence ; and in rating all above that quantity as superfluity, properly the object of taxation. Yet a more correct principle of deduction is mentioned in the latter

part

of Mr. Frend's pamphlet ; where he proposes to fix a sum for a sin

man, an increased sum for a man and his wife, and a farther increase for every child under twenty one years

of

age. This small treatise appears to us, on the whole, to be of great utility; as well in promoting the inquiry, as in the advances which the author has made towards the discovery of the principles of equitable taxation. The real worth of a constitution,' says Mr. F. • may be discovered from its mode of taxation : the nearer it approaches to the state of equal representation, the higher will be the principle of honour in that country, the more equitable will be its taxation.'

With respect to some other observations on taxes as connected with representation, it is necessary to remind the author that, where custoins and excise are established, no individual can escape taxation. Capt.

FINE ARTS.
Art. 60. A Treatise on the Art of Painting, and the Composition of

Colours, containing Instructions for all the various Processes of
Painting. Together with Observations upon the Qualities and
Ingredients of Colours. Translated from the French of M.
Constant de Massoul. Published and sold by the Author of the
Original, at his Manufactory, No. 136, New Bond-street, where
Ladies and Gentlenen may be furnished with every Article necessary
for Painting and Drawing *. 8vo. Pp. 240. 45. Debrett.
« Into our houses, places, beds, they creep,

They've sense to get what we want sense to keep !"
M. Constant de Massoul has taken some pains to produce a small
volume on the art of painting, which he has culled from Fresnoy,
Depiles, Leonardo da Vinci, and others who have discussed this
subject ; thus claiming, with true Gallic finesse, the meed bestowed
on original exertions. Not less enterprizing on the score of gal.
fantry, he has paid his addresses to Di. Dossie's Handmaid to the
Arts. Being a man of honour, he conceals the amour: but the
process of making colours, so ostentatiously detailed, furnishes us
with a clue to discover the intrigue; and from the tints, blushes, and
the adoption of rouge, we pronounce his mistress to be a coquette.-
An ingenious mode of advertising the contents of a shop.

B....V

« PreviousContinue »