descend to accept a friendly hint at parting? He is now fast approaching to the holy ground of Stonehenge, with pleasure no doubt; but with pleasure, we trust, not unchecked by awe. In the midst of this animating scene, let him not, we entreat him, mistake the enthusiasm of taste for the inspiration of genius. On that subject he may be assured, that the day of genius, and of erudition also is past; yet the Phoenician and the Briton, the Roman and the Dane, by their several advocates, by Sammes, and by Camden, by Jones, and by Stukeley, will severally claim his patronage, and ask his judgment; but let him remember his own motto, and be obdurate. Let him dig, delineate, describe, engrave, (hæ tibi erunt artes,) but beware of theory, for that way madness lies.' Above all, when he approaches the mysterious precinct of Abury, let him see, or dream he sees, the awful form of Chyndonax* undulating through all its windings, and let him hear and obey the warning voice of the Archdruid—έκας ἑκας όςις αλίμος.

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ART. VII. Remarks on a Pamphlet entitled The Question, &c.' By the Right Honourable Sir John Sinclair, Bart. M. P. Author of the History of the Public Revenue of the British Empire. London. Cadell; Stockdale; Richardson. 1810.

WE E concluded our last number with an expression of regret that we were prevented, at that time, from accompanying Sir John on his second sally: we now proceed to solicit the benevolent attention of our readers to the Right Honourable Baronet's new exploits against the Bullion Committee.

He who undertakes to compose two successive treatises on the same subject, and under the same circumstances, has two main objects to keep in view: the one, to preserve such a similarity as will make him tolerably consistent with himself; the other, to introduce so much variety as will prevent absolute sameness. Of Sir John's power of differing from himself he had already exhibited such striking specimens, that he might very reasonably consider his reputation on that point as established: and, though he has not altogether omitted on the present occasion, to furnish new proofs of this happy versatility, it must be owned that he appears to have directed his chief attention to the other object; and to have studiously given to this second pamphlet a strong family likeness to the first; a resemblance qualem decet esse sororum;' partly indeed produced by a

* A kind of nom de guerre assumed by Stukeley, when verging to dotage.


pretty free transcription from the elder to the younger of these kindred dissertations.

Upon dissection, the frame or skeleton will be found to be nearly the same in both; though there is a trifling change in the nomenclature of the parts, and a few of the members are slightly dislocated. It may be proper to notice very shortly some of these variations.

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This pamphlet is distinguished by two title pages; in the first of which Sir John's rank and qualifications are omitted, for the purpose of introducing a motto from Sir James Steuart's Political Economy;' in the second, the motto is displaced in its turn, to make room for the titles of Sir John, as Right Honourable and M. P. with the farther designation (to prevent counterfeits) of "author of the History of the Public Revenue of the British Empire.' This mode of multiplying, and, at the same time, varying the baptismal registers of his literary offspring is, we believe, peculiar to Sir John.

After this double annunciation, we have, as usual, an address to the reader;' which is followed by an advertisement;' which is followed by preliminary observations;' which are followed by ' remarks on Mr. Huskisson's pamphlet;' which are followed by 'political maxims;' which are followed by the 'conclusion;' which is followed by a 6 postscript.'

We need not enlarge on the skill which Sir John has displayed in this instance, in the manner of arraying his forces; it being evident that the disposition by which the preliminary observations' are made to occupy and strengthen the centre of his line, is a most masterly manœuvre; and that the conclusion,' naturally the weakest and most assailable part, is admirably protected by the 'postscript;' whilst the more advanced station which his postscripts have heretofore been accustomed to fill, is guarded by a strong veteran detachment from the former pamphlet, in the ranks of which we find interspersed only a very few sentences which the most scrutinizing eye is capable of distinguishing as new recruits.

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Foremost among the arguments which Sir John has enlisted in his service since the date of his other publication, are two facts, (as he by courtesy calls them,) which he announces in the first sentence of his address to the reader;' the one " a fall in the price of gold,' confirmed by his assurance that it will be still lower;' the other a state of exchange with Ireland,' which affords, Sir John says, a 'decisive proof that abundance of currency has nothing to do with the rate of exchange.' By the fortunate discovery of these two facts, he conceives that he shall effectually 'put an end to any prolonged discussion;'-an expectation which would no doubt have


been realized, had it not most perversely happened that gold, which when the Committee reported was about 163 per cent. above the mint price,' has risen, (instead of falling,) to about 25 per cent.: and were it not clearly shewn, by the terms of Sir John's own statement, 1st, that the exchange with Ireland was 18 per cent. against that country in the year 1804, when the circulation of bank paper in Ireland, as compared with that of England, was in the proportion of 3 to 16; Ireland then having a circulation of 3,000,000, and England of about 16,000,000: 2dly, that the exchange rose to par, upon a reduction of Irish paper, to 2,400,000/. English paper remaining nearly the same in amount as before; and Sdly, that the exchange continues at par, notwithstanding the re-augmentation of Irish paper from 2,400,000l. to 3,100,000l. there having been a contemporaneous augmentation of paper in England, from sixteen to about twenty-two millions. If Sir John's financial and political occupations should permit him ever to waste a moment upon the theory of weights and measures-if his attachment to the more fanciful' balances' of 'trade and of payments' has not led him to look with contempt upon ordinary scales and steel-yards, he may satisfy himself by no very laborious investigation, that when an equilibrium has been destroyed by too great a weight on one side, it may be restored either by subtraction of the excess of that weight from one scale, or by the addition of a correspondent weight to the other; and that when the equilibrium between the two scales has been by either of these processes established, it is not necessarily deranged again by equivalent additions to both.

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Having thus, in the address to the reader, disposed of the whole of the subject in two sentences, and put an end to any prolonged discussion,' by shewing that there is in fact nothing to discuss, our author thinks the way is sufficiently cleared for his advertisement,' which he accordingly commences at p. 15, with a lamentation that any controversy regarding the circulation of the country should arise at a moment when we have so many other important questions to distract our attention,' and forthwith plunges into the very thickest of that controversy of which he thus laments the existence, and of which a few pages before he had announced the termination.

This epic arrangement of our author, by which he begins in the middle of his subject, cruelly puzzles and perplexes the critic, who 'toils after him in vain.' If Sir John's gestation had been left to nature indeed, it appears that he would have been first delivered of that part of his work which now begins at page 55; for it is there that he first gratifies us with the following cheering assurance. 'I shall proceed to the principal object I had in view in publishing this work, namely, to state those POLITICAL MAXIMS, which explain


the ideas which have occurred to me upon the subjects of coin and paper currency, the meaning of which, I hope, that any author, of even common penetration, will find little difficulty in comprehending.

It may be proper to add, to prevent any idea being entertained, that these observations are published at the instigation of any party in the country, that they have not been communicated to a single member of either house of parliament; and that the individual who writes them, is alone either implicated in, or responsible for their contents.'

Then follow the political maxims,' in which Sir John has thus providently claimed his right of literary property; a right which we shall most cheerfully contribute to establish, by thus publicly declaring, that the said MAXIMS explanatory of the ideas which have occurred to Sir John are, for the most part, no other than the AXIOMS' promulgated in his former pamphlet, and already by us communicated to our readers. We further declare that we think them innocent of any undue extent of meaning, such as an author (or even reader of penetration would find difficulty in comprehending." We are also ready in the most unequivocal manner to avow our conviction that, among the political parties which at present divide and distract the country, there is not one which we believe capable of having instigated' such observations;' nor any member of either House of Parliament whom we can consider as responsible' for them, except the writing 'individual,' who is alone implicated in their contents."


The novelty for which these maxims, or axioms, as here presented to the reader, are principally remarkable, is the specification of the six crying evils attendant on coin; which is predicated to be 1° too bulky;—2° unattainable, because too highly valued abroad;-3° subject to wear;-4° obnoxious to clipping and sweating;-5° apt to be hoarded;-and 6° liable to be stolen.

Sir John's researches into antiquity, and his acquaintance with the manners of more simple and unadulterated stages of society, have furnished him with a list of articles heretofore employed as money, which are free from this combination of inconveniences; and the substitution of which he unquestionably would have recommended in the place of gold and silver, had we not been already more unexceptionably provided.

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• The ancient Britons,' says he, used iron rings or plates as money. The Spartans preferred' (to this British custom, iron bars quenched in vinegar that they might not serve for any other purpose. Seneca observes that anciently' (that is before the time of the Britons and Spartans) there' (q. where ?) was stamped money of leather. The Hollanders in 1574 coined great quantities of pasteboard. Cowries, a kind of shell, are made use of as money on the coast of Africa and in the East Indies. All these sorts of money are of little or no intrinsic value.' p. 43, 44.


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Any one of these media, it must be confesssed, would be clearly preferable to those metals inaccurately called 'precious,' which Sir John has at length happily succeeded in disqualifying. 'Iron,' it is true, might be bulky; and 'pasteboard,' as well as leather, subject to wear; cowries' might be hoarded in the cabinets of conchologists-and the profligacy of the times is such that there is no absolute assurance against theft. But none of these articles are liable to the second of Sir John's objections, that of being too highly valued abroad: and even if the practice of coining pasteboard,' which is now among the artes deperdita, could be happily restored, and that of' stamping leather' transferred from the excise to the mint, there are probably few persons who would set about clipping either of those materials; and still fewer, we imagine, who, except for the sake of exercise, and as a substitute for Sir John's dumb-bells, would take the trouble of sweating a vinegar bar. Public convenience therefore need not have been sacrificed, nor public security hazarded by the use of gold and silver, even if no other invention than those which Sir John has here recorded had been within our reach.

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But paper, as Sir John justly observes, unites to all the advantages belonging to each of these ruder materials, two which are peculiar to itself— the one of the utmost concern to the good faith and security of private life; the other of the highest national and political importance.'

'When an individual is plundered of coin,' (says Sir John in a note,) 'there are no means of distinguishing it from the other specie in circulation. But notes,' proceeds Sir John, may be marked-or the payment stopped-and any loss thereby prevented.'-p. 60.

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It is true that this objection applies not to gold and silver exclusively, but to almost any of the ancient substitutes-excepting perhaps the Lacedemonian iron bar-of which it may be surmised that if each man was at liberty to quench' for himself, he might possibly be able to detect his own bar in circulation, by recognizing the flavour of his home-made vinegar. This, however, is a question for antiquaries and chymists.

But of far greater importance is the national advantage, and national security, which, unconsciously to ourselves, we are now enjoying, and are likely to enjoy, from the gradual expatriation of our coin. 'There are various sorts of blindness,' (says Ocellus Lucanus,) among nations as among individuals. The first, and most pardonable, as well as that about which there is the least dispute,' (he observes,) is not to see. But the most perverse and incurable,' (continues he,) is to see in a false light; and to attribute visible effects to other causes than those which in fact have produced them.'


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