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for instance, were considered as a bar of tobacco; and a gallon of spirits (or rather half spirits and half water), as a bar of rum; a bar of one commodity being reckoned equal in value to a bar of another commodity. As, however, it must unavoidably happen, that, according to the plenty or scarcity of goods at market in proportion to the demand, the relative value would be subject to continual fluctuation, greater precision has been found necessary; and at this time, the current value of a single bar of any kind is fixed by the Whites at two shillings sterling. Thus a slave whose price is 15l. is said to be worth 150 bars.”
The first and second chapters of the present Essay are employed to shew the nature of the standard unit, and the reIation which coins bear to it. The third is intended to explain the nature and properties of paper money. On this last subject the author very clearly and sensibly explains one important distinction, which has indeed been explained before, but which has been overlooked by almost all our late writers on the subject of money, and of which the neglect has led many of them into the most erroneous conclusions. This distinction relates to a difference in the kinds of paper money. There are two kinds, of which the properties are extremely different. The first is the paper money issued by government, and which the people are obliged to take; the second is the promissory notes of bankers, payable on demand, and which the people take or not as they please. . Of the first sort there may easily be too inuch poured upon the country, and this is al. most always the case whenever it is used as an expedient; hence depreciation ensues in proportion to the glut. Of the latter too much can never be introduced into the country, and dtpreciation cannot be the consequence of it. Nothing can be of more importance than this doctrine, and we refer the public to Mr. Smith's illustrations. We wish he had confined his work to such useful topics as this, and had moved clear of some other doctrines, from which he has not come off so handsomely.
He engages, for example, with the suspension of payments in cash at the Bank of England. He undertakes the defence of that measure in a high strain indeed; for he pronounces it, not only to have been wise and necessary at the time of its adoption, but to be so at this moment, and in all time to come, such indeed as ought never to be altered. We confess when we read the dedication of the book, we expected some sturdy doctrines in favour of certain kinds of policy. It runs thus, “ To the Right Honourable Lord Viscount Meiville, &c. &c. My Lord,- The following essay, being upon a subject, the accurate knowledge of which is of the greatest consequence, not only to the manufactures and commerce of this country, but also to the regulation of the finances, and, consequently to her political existence, I conceive it cannot be more appropriately dedicated than to ONE, who has spent a long and active life, in laborious exertions, for the advancement of those objects, and for the general benefit of the country. That your lordship may still be spared, and enabled to assist your sovereign and country with your counsels and labours, for a great length of time to come,” is the sincere prayer of, my lord, your lordship’s most obedient and most devoted humble servant, Thomas Smith.”. In this offerer of sincere prayers that Lord Melville may get into the ministry and remain in it," for a great length of time to come, we did expect that the suspension of payments would not want an advocate ; but Mr. Thomas Smith has outstripped our expectation. “ That banks ought always to be ready to give gold for their notes," he says, " is a vulgar error, which ought long ago to have been exploded.” The reasons for this original opinion we shall examine, or rather, perhaps we ought to say, n ention ; for of examination, if that means refutation, they can hardly be said to stand in need. They are stated in that approved and familiar form early known to us by the title of question and answer.
« First. Do the banks, when they issue notes, receive gold for them?
“ They certainly do not. It has already been stated, that they issue their notes upon the credit of bills, at a short date, lodged with them."
We beg Mr. Thomas Smith will permit us to ask him a question.-of what concern is it to the public, what the commudity, or commodities inay be, in exchange for which the barker gives his notes? If he receives not gold, he receives what is worth the gold which his note represents. Does not his note procure bim all the advantage which cash equal to what it denotes would have procured? Does not a note of 10501. advanced on a bill of exchange, bring him the same interest as if he had advanced 1000 guineas? But Mr Smith, whose eye, however penetrating near at hand, seems to have but a poor faculty at looking about him, has not seen that bills of exchange are just as much exempted by this argument from all obligation to pay, as the promissory notes of bankers. buy, let us suppose, 50 gallons of brandy from Mr. Smith, and pay him by
him by a bill at six months. In this case we neither received gold nor even banker's notes, when we advanced our bill. Would Mr. Smith, therefore, account it a satisfactory answer, if, when he came to demand payment of his bill, we should say that we did not receive money for it, and that it was a vulgar error to suppose we were under any obligation to give money? But let us hear Mr. Smith once more.
“ Secondly. Do the banks bind themselves in the body of these notes to pay gold for them?
“They do not. They expressly say, that they will pay one pound one shilling, five pound five shillings, twenty pounds, one hundred pounds, &c. by which is merely to be understood, that they engage to account for that proportion of the standard unit of the country.”
But the standard unit, Mr. Smith says, is nothing real; “ it can neither be seen nor felt; it is an abstract term, and not applicable to any sensible object." These are his own words, as quoted from Montesquieu. A banker's note, therefore, promises to pay nothing real, nothing which can be either touched or seen ; it only promises that the issuers will account for one, five, or twenty, &c. abstract ideas! a comfortable doctrine this for the bankers. There are not wanting bankers who have some experience of this kind of payment.
By a wretched quibble, Mr. Smith, we do not say wittingly, attempts in this answer to obtrude a bareface untruth. The banks do promise to pay gold for their notes, if by gold be meant, as in talking indiscriminately of cash payments always is, coined money of the realm. It is not on the abuse of a term, that a doctrine in political economy can be established. When a bank promises to pay one pound, it promises literally to pay twenty shillings in coined silver of the realm. But the law has rendered it optional for every party owing silver coin, to pay it in gold, at the rate of one guinea for twenty one shillings. Whoever therefore promises to pay pounds, promises to pay either gold or silver coin according to these proportions.
The argument from the bills of exchange is equally applicable to this sapient observation as to the former. Let us take the foregoing case of a bill paid to Mr. Smith, for 50 gallons of brandy. This bill only binds the party to pay , pounds. But pounds, according to Mr. Smith, are neither gold por silver; and assuredly they are not banker's notes. They are, by our author's doctrine, mere abstract terms. pretty sure, however, that he would not like to be paid by mere abstract terms for such bills as he night hold. But we cannot proceed any further with this foolery:
The last great division of the author's subject relates to the theory of exchange. In this part he shews himself accurately acquainted with business, and dexterously unravels some intricacies in the commercial intercourse of different nations, by which authors of reputation are frequently puzzled and misled. We beartily recommend the chapter to all those who desire clear ideas on the subject of exchange; a subject much mis
understood, but not, after all, remarkably difficult. The chapter, notwithstanding, ought to be read with much caution ; for some important errors are blended with many useful and ingenious observations. To separate, however, the wheat from the chall, would be a tedious task, and not suited to a Review, Art. XIII. Sermons, occasioned by the sudden Death of the Rev. Peter Thomson, late vinister of the Scotch Church, Leeds. To which is
prefixed, a wemoir of his Life. By Adam Thomson, Minister of the : Associate Congregation in Coldstream. Svo. pp. 326. Price 3s. 6d.
Leeds, Baines ; Ogle. 1807. FROM the different relations which Mr. Peter Thomson
sustained, as a father, a husband, a pastor; and more especially, from the fidelity with which he discharged the arduous duties of these several relations, which must ensure to hin the adn iration and esteem of all observers ; his sudden death, at the age of twenty-seven, could not fail to prepare the minds of his destitute flock for a tender reception of those ini portant instructions which are to be found in this interesting volume.
After furnishing a short memoir of his brother, equally honourable to the character of the deceased, and to the affec. tionate heart of the survivor, Mr T. presents us with four discourses on the three following subjects: “ On the distress occasioned by the death of dear friends.”- .On the consolations which support believers when their pious friends are removed by death.”-“ On the future happiness of the saints in having all causes of grief removed.” These subjects, interesting in theniselves, and peculiarly suited to, the situation and feelings of the audience to whom they were addressed, op n'a wide field ti an enlightened, conten plative, affectionatt mind. They allow the preacher to introduce every moral specuia ion of imp'rtance, and every discovery in Revelation that constitutes its characteristic worth. They permit him to indulge in all the various feelings of sorrow, resignation, sympathy, and hope. If ever we have an opportunity of penetrati.g into his soul, it is when such subjects as these occupy his thoughts. They form a kind of mental mirror, which accurately reflects his intellectual and moral features; for the teelings, which such subjects excite in a well organised and regulated mind, cannot be mimicked with success.
Mr. T., whose temper of mind seems to qualify him for descanting on themes of this nature, has not failed to take advantage of the unbounded latitude they afford.
Well acquainted with the wriungs of modern moralists, he has employed with success many of their finest sentiments to enrich his discourses; and, what was more important, he has adorned
them with the more instructive and pathetic language of Prophets and Apostles ; who, for vigour of conception, tenderness and beauty of expression, and richness of sentiment, surpass all the boasted remains of Grecian Poesy and Ethics. Almost every tender expression of grief to be found in the sacred records, is brought to aid his general desigu; and in the mournful picture of distress which his pencil has drawn, we meet in succession with all the sons of affliction described in those records, who, each in their turn, tell us their seyeral griefs. Perhaps he has introduced too many objects of distress, to produce a distinct and well-defined impression of sympathetic sorrow. We look around us, and find no one single individual mourner with whom we may sit down to weep. We attempt to feel for the distresses of each ; but we attempt a task too great for the narrow sympathies of humanity. This fault of crowding the scene with too much incident, is natural to a young mind; and we doubt not but Mr. T. will perceive the justice of our remark, as he becomes accustomed to the art of compositions. Considérable taste, however, combined with native sensibility, is discoverable in the selection and disposition of the several incidents by which he would melt bis hearers into grief, soothe them into submission, or animate them into hope. We were much pleased to observe also the strictly evangelical bias which Mr. T. would give to the minds of his audience and his readers, instead of amusing their fancy, and darkening their understanding, with the fanciful dreams of the poet, or the sublime but cold and obscure
speculations of the philosopher. Such fictions, and such speculations, are sure to attract the attention of those who prefer elegance to truth; and we are sorry to reflect on that perversion of public taste which the present age so manifestly discovers in their favour. But to these Mr. T. disdains to re. sort, as a trick to win the esteem and countenance of corrupted minds. If he attains to the praise of ingenuity or elegance, it is not by the sacrifice of truth.
Among several defects in this work, prolixity is the most obvious. Brevity, if it does not render our meaning obscure, will always add strength and vigoúr to the sentiment we intend to convey. We may spin it so fine, that at length it becomes weak as a spider's web. This effect is sometimes observable in the sermons before us. Excess in quotation is another fault worthy of remark. The reader is almost led to suppose, that Mr. Thomson inust have had his common place book continually before him, while he was composing these dicourses. When we have'stated our own sentiments with all the perspicuity and force we can command, a passage froin scripture, or even from the writings of some uninspired sage, may illustrate and con