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what was most safe, even at the risk of being laughed at by the great writers on political economy; and the admirers of those gigantic theories that may sometimes be very well in principle, but are very dangerous in practice.
The nation is much obliged to Lord King, who, having done a great service, deserves thanks for that, and credit for good intention, though he appeared to have taken an awkward and uncouth manner of attaining his purpose.
MARQUIS OF LÁNSDOWN.
At an early age this nobleman was for a time chancellor of the exchequer, and it was indeed a very singular chancellorship. In the beginning of the administration in which Mr. Fox, Lords Grey Grenville, &c. ruled, the first financial operation was, to throw discredit on the resources of the country, which was represented on the eve of bankruptcy, and of failing in resources to carry on the war.
It was under this impression that peace was
solicited at Paris, probably under the idea that Buonaparte would grant us, out of pity, that relief we so urgently wanted. Or it might perhaps be intended to convince that great man, who had vowed to ruin this nation, that it was actually done, and that therefore there was no occasion to push the matter any further.
Whether pity was expected, or credulity trusted to, for procuring us peace, Buonaparte, acting in his proper character, refused to treat, and in the interim the income tax was doubled in its amount, and greatly augmented by the rigour of its collection*. People were astonished, and complained that the party who had always exclaimed against the income tax should act in such a manner: but it was to no purpose; the party were as inexorable to the people as Buonaparte was to their ambassador. The taxes for the year were laid on in a most urgent, strict, and severe manner, suitable to the proclaimed exigency; and after that was done, after the negotiation had failed, when Mr. Fox was dead, and the treaty of Tilsit signed, which sealed the fate of the continent: in short, when our prospects were teni times worse than before, all at once, up started the chancellor of the exchequer, with a plan ready cut and dry, calculated under his direction, by a number of schoolmaster's, professors, and other savants put in requisition, a la Françoise, by which it was demonstrated, by A+B – X+Y, that Lord Henry could defray the expenses of war, nearly for ever, without any new taxes: that the funds would rise far above par; and that there would be no difficulty but that of preventing the nation from overflowing with prosperity!!!
* It was thought a singular mode of obtaining peace to proclaim our inability to carry on the war; but nevertheless the fact was so. Even the most ignorant of the people laughed at the whole as a farce, and a piece or folly, and began to curse Fox, and wish they could have Pitt back again from his habitation of cold clay.
The universal question was, where has this great calculator learnt all this; he is a conjuror says one; he studied with Katerfelto says another; no, says a third; he learnt to shuffle and cut with Breslaw and Comus; a fourth says, he loves strange ways. But, after all, it was discovered by Lord Castlereagh, a man of good plain sense, as well as a calculator, aspiring to no supernatural powers, that A+B - X + Y, would ruin the country. Then the people began to recollect that the days of miracles were over; and that all that glitters is not gold.
It was at last discovered that Lord Henry Petty was copying the famous plan of Mr. Neckar, by which he ruined the finances of France, which, stript of algebraical calculation, was simply this To рау
the interest of former loans out of the last, and let the principal accumulate by compound interest*. It was indeed admitted that Lord Henry took a very ingenious method; such as, if a man wanted to go from St. James's to Whitechapel, he should call at Brentford, and Hammersmith, and Walthamstow, on his way, thereby deceiving the lookers on, who would never conceive that he was going to Whitechapel, till, all at once, in he crawls, after a most astonishingly complicated journey.
Those who knew how Lord Henry had been educated, under M. Dumont of Geneva, (a man who, with Duroverayt, volunteered to assist Mirabeau in overturning the French government, and who was always dreaming of republics), suspected that he had misled Lord Henry; but all was conjecture. Be that as it may, the ministry, of which he was a member, was dismissed, and the chancellor sent to sell his Orvietan, where he could find a purchaser: and, as if he were himself sensible that the nation lost nothing by rejecting his plan, he has been silent about it; and so have all his friends. It was an abortion; though full formed, yet ill-favoured, of which the family seems to be ashamed.
* This was just the reverse of the sinking fund, and every one now knows how rapidly that increases in its progress.
+ Duroveray and Dumont arrived at Paris when the first assembly began. Duroveray was a Genevese refugee, who had been received at the New Geneva in Ireland; but as soon as this revolutionary knight errant heard of the meeting of the states general, off he set for Paris, taking Monsieur Dumont by his way; and those The French revo
Lord Henry Petty soon after became Marquis of Lansdown; and, with the dignity, seems to court the otium, that could not well be enjoyed by a
The father of the present marquis was one of the best-informed men of his time, and was an encourager of the arts as well as of men of genius. He was himself a man of great abilities, and took great pains to educate both his sons, and to make them distinguished men.
The unfortunate period in which we have lived, has spoiled many a young man.
two, with Claviere and Mirabeau, laid the plan for the destruction of the family of Bourbon. They contrived assignats.