Page images

nouncement of — Lockit by the Rev. Dean Marly.'* This worthy pendant to the Bibienus of the Court of Leo 10th, spoke also a Prologue on the same occasion, written by himself, the concluding lines of which are as follows:

But when this busy mimic scene is o'er,
All shall resume the worth they had before;
Lockit himself his knavery shall resign,

And lose the Gaoler in the dull Divine.' . Among the most interesting of the other performances recorded in this volume, are those got up in the year 1774, at the seats of Sir Hercules Langrishe and Mr Henry Flood,where the two celebrated orators, Grattan and Flood, appeared together on the stage, and, in personating the two contending chieftains, Macbeth and Macduff, had a sort of poetical foretaste of their own future rivalry,— belli propinqui rudimenta. We find the name of Mr Grattan again connected with private theatricals in the year 1776, when, after a representation of the Masque of Comus, at the country-seat of the Right. Hon. David · La Touche, an epilogue from the pen of Mr Grattan was spoken -the only copy of verses, we believe, that this illustrious son of Ireland is known to have written. The verses of great statesmen are always sure to be objects of curiosity,-even when, like those of Cicero, they have no other recommendation than their badness. Some specimens of the poetry of Mr Burke bave lately been given to the world, and those who complain of his being too poetical in his prose, will perhaps be consoled by finding him so prosaic in his poetry. Pope says, with perhaps rather an undue pride in his art, that the corruption 6 of a poet is the generation of a statesman ;'-—if so, Burke must have been far gone in decomposition, when he wrote such verses. The epilogue of Mr Grattan, however, contains some lively and Auent lines, and our readers, we presume, will not be displeased to see a few of them here:

** Hist! hist!--I hear a dame of fashion say,

Lord, how absurd the heroine of this play!
A god of rank and station was so good
* To take a Lady from a hideous wood,
• Brought her to all the pleasures of his court,
« Of love, and men, and music the resort;
• Bid mirth and transport wait on her command;
« Gave her a ball, and offered her his hand;
. And she, quite country, obstinate and mulishi,
• Extremely fine, perhaps, but vastly foolish,

* Afterwards Bishop of Waterford.

· Would neither speak, nor laugh, nor dance, nor sing,
Nor condescend, nor wed, nor any thing.'

. But, gentle ladies ! you'll, I'm sure, approve

Your sex's triumph over guilty love;
Nor will our sports of gaiety alarm you ;-
• These little bacchanals will never harm you ;*
• Nor Comus' wreathed smiles; and you'll admire,
· Once more, true English force and genuine fire;

Milton's chaste majesty,-Arne's airy song,
• The light note tripping on Allegro's tongue;
• While the sweet flowing of the purest breast,
· Like Milton tuneful, vestal as his taste,
• Calls Music from her cell, and warbles high

. The rapturous soul of song and sovereign ecstasy.' We shall not further pursue the enumerations which this volume supplies of the various amateur performances that preceded those of Kilkenny,-except to remark that, in the list of the actors at Shane's Castle in 1785, there occurs one name, which, in the hearts of all true Irishmen, awakens feelings which they can hardly trust their lips to utter-Lord Edward Fitzgerald.

With the Theatricals of Kilkenny expired the last faint remains of what may be called the Social Era in Ireland. • Adieu,

Société !' was the lively dying-speech of one of the fellow conspirators of Berton, when about to submit his neck to the guillotine;—and adieu, Société !' might, with the same tra

gical mirth,' have been ejaculated by Ireland at the period of the Union. To such times as we have been describing-to such classic and humanizing amusements—has succeeded an age of bitter cant and bewildering controversy. Instead of opening their mansions, as of old, to such innocent and ennobling hospitalities, the Saint-Peers of the present day convert their halls into conventicles and conversion-shops. Where the theatre once re-echoed the young voices of a Ġrattan and a Flood, the arena is now prepared for the disputations of the Reverend Popes and Maguires. The scenes of Otway and Shakspeare have given way to the often-announced tragedies of Pastorini, and even Farce has taken its last refuge in Sir Harcourt Lees.

We have only to add, that this curious volume, which will, one day or other, be a gem in the eyes of the Bibliomaniac, contains portraits of all the most distinguished members of the Theatrical Society of Kilkenny, Mr Grattan, Mr Thomas Moore, Mr

[ocr errors][merged small]

James Corry, &c. &c. There is also prefixed to the work, a portrait of the Founder of the Society, the late Mr Richard Power,—followed by a tribute to the high qualities of that excellent man, from one of the best and warmest hearts, (says

the Editor of the work,) united with, perhaps, the finest ta• lents that Ireland ever produced."* From this just and eloquent eulogy we give the following short extract.

It was truly said of him, that he never made an enemy, or lost • a friend, and in a country distracted by civil and religious discord, a man could not be found, of any sect or party, who felt unkindly towards him. Yet this popularity was not earned by the compliances of a timid or assenting character; he had a benevolent disposition, which made it pleasure to him to make others happy, and he shrunk from giving pain almost with the same instinet that men shrink from suffer. ing it. This made him prompt to approve, and slow to censure ; indulgent to error, and encouraging to merit; yet there was something about him that repelled and rebuked whatever was sordid or mean; and, when firmness was required, his integrity was uncompromising and his courage not to be shaken,'

ART. V.-Remarks on the Financial Situation of Great Britain.

Pp. 70. London. 1827.

To attempt to prove by argument that many great and signal

advantages would result from making a considerable deduetion from the amount of taxation, will, probably, seem to many, an unnecessary waste of labour. We hope, however, to be exeused for making a few observations on this subject, not so much in the view of showing the oppressiveness of taxation, as of pointing out the mode of its operation. A great deal of misapprehension is entertained with respect to the effect of taxation; and we are ready to admit, that an exaggerated influence has often been aseri. bed to it. Still, however, it is impossible to doubt, that when care ried to the extent to which it has been carried in this country, it is productive of many most pernicious results. It is unnecessary, in order to establish the truth of this proposition, to enter into any details with respect to the nature and operation of particular taxes. However imposed in the first instance, they must ultimately fall on one or more of the three sources of all income

* The person alluded to as the writer of the Eulogy, is, we have reason to believe, the able and eloquent Chief Justice Bushe.

rent, profit, and wages; and it is obvious, that when they be come very heavy, they inevitably occasion corresponding privations amongst all classes of the community. If taxes are laid directly on wages, or if they are laid on the commodities usually consumed by the labourer,-and unless they are imposed in one or other of these ways, they will very rarely be productive, it is plain that they must either depress the condition of the labouring classes, who form the great bulk of every society, or they must, by raising wages, lower the rate of profit. Most commonly they have both effects; but in countries where the labouring classes are either very poor, or where they are as much distinguished for prudence and forethought, as in Holland or Great Britain, a tax laid on wages, or on the commodities consumed by the labourers, however injurious to them in its immediate operation, has almost invariably, in the end, the effect to raise their wages nearly in proportion to its amount. When this is the case, the tax falls wholly on the employers of labour, and consequently occasions a corresponding decline in the rate of profit.

It has been said, however, that if the principal effect of heavy taxation be merely to lessen the profits of the capitalist, or, as it is termed, to diminish the power of the rich to consume luxuries, its reduction would be of comparatively little consequence ! But it is principally because a heavy taxation has this effect, that we are anxious it should be materially reduced. In our view of the matter, a decline in the rate of profit is decidedly? the greatest evil of which taxation, when it becomes oppressive, is productive. The most comprehensive experience shows, that those countries in which capital is increasing with the greatest. rapidity, are, cateris paribus, uniformly the most prosperous. They have a constantly increasing demand for labour; and the quantity of necessaries and conveniencies falling to the share of the labourer, is large, compared with the quantity that falls to his share in countries that are nearly stationary. But the principle of increase, by keeping up the population of every country to the level of subsistence, renders it impossible, in most cases, for those who subsist on wages, to do more than support themselves and their families. It is from rent and profit, but in an incomparably greater degree from the latter, that capital is almost entirely formed; and there is no proposition in the whole compass of the science better established than that which teaches that the power of all countries to amass capital, and, by consequence, to advance in the career of wealth and civilization, must be dependent upon, and pretty nearly proportioned to, the respective rates of profit in each. It is obvious, for example, that it is this circumstance, or the different rates of profit, that obtain in Holland, England, and the United States, that renders the increase of wealth and population almost stationary in the first, slowly progressive in the second, and comparatively rapid in the last. A capital of a million employed in these different countries, would, most probably, yield L.39,000 of nett profit in the first, L.50,000 in the second, and L.80,000 in the last :* And as the owners of capital must, in all cases, live upon its profits, it is plain that the surplus remaining to them, or that the means of accumulation, would, under the circumstances supposed, be in England more than double what they are in Holsand, and in the United States more than double what they are in England.

It is plain, therefore, that the prosperity of a country is to be measured by the rate of profit which the capital in her possession yields, or, which is the same thing, by the capacity which she possesses of employing capital and labour with advantage, and not by the absolute amount of her capital, or the number of her people. The capital of Holland, as compared with her population, is undoubtedly larger than that of the United States; Though, as the latter is able to employ her capital with infinitely greater advantage than the former, every one is ready to admit that she is also infinitely more prosperous. The progressive state is justly characterised by Dr Smith, as being, in reality, the

cheerful and hearty state to all the different orders of the so

ciety; the stationary is dull, the declining melancholy. But as this progressive state is wholly a consequence of a comparatively high rate of profit, it follows, that whatever has any tendency to reduce that rate, ought to be most particularly guarded against.

Not only, however, has a heavy taxation the effect to check the progress of a country by reducing the rate of profit, but it has also a powerful tendency to drive its capital and industry abroad. If a country were isolated from all others, if it were surrounded by Bishop Berkeley's wall of brass, a fall of profits would be of less consequence. It would then merely lessen the rate at which capital was previously accumulating, but it would not lessen its amount, nor consequently the power of the country to feed and support the existing population. But in the actual state of the world, capital is easily transferred to other

* These numbers are not set down as being perfectly accurate, (though, we believe, they are very nearly so,) but to illustrate the principle.

« PreviousContinue »