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THIS, as might be naturally expected from such a Speaker, I» one of the most judicious and able speeches which we have- yrr read on the rrwch-dHcufTed subject of an Union with Ireland. It is totally devoid of declamation, tinselled metaphors, and all the other meretricious embellishments with which the harangues of many modern orators are, unfortunately for their hearers and readers, so copiously bedizened; it makes a direct appeal to the judgement, by a fair, candid, temperate, and manly discussion of the subjects wholly unmixed by useless digressions. His remarks on the probable effects of what has been called Catholic Emancipation are entitled to particular attention :—
"The Speaker acknowledged, that he wa? anxious for the removal of tfi e most obnosious grounds of complaint against what was termed the Proteftan t Ascendancy; but he sought for the attainment of this desirable object, by no other means than those of a legislative Union; and not at the hazard of thor= formidable consequences, which Catholic Emancipation, with all that belonged to it, was, in his opinion, calculated to produce. Indeed, if the Catholics were true to their conscience and their creed, the Protestant establishment must be exposed, by such a change, to immediate, and, perhaps, inevitable danger; ancf the state Of the Protestants, under such circumstances, be rendered worse than that of the Catholics during any period of the present and preceding century. If actuated by interest and passion, (by which he did not imagine that they were likely to be more or less influenced than others,) they could not be supposed to possess, without exercising it, the power of recovering that property of which they canceivert their ancestors to have been wrongfully deprived: and if, under the present circumstances, the inconveniencies arising from the discordant proceedings of distinct Legislatures have been regarded with anxiety and apprehealion, suc'i sensations cauld not but be applicable, in a far stronger degree, if political power; was poH'essed by those, between whom, and The Parliament of Great Britain, a greater variei v of .differences, from various causes, might be expected to arise, and on points less capable of reconciliation and adjustment." Fy. 12, u.
In combating the objections to the competency of Parliament to form an Union, the Speaker adopts the fentirmnts of Blackstone respecting the plenitude of power enjoyed by that august body. Many readers may, perhaps, start at the language which he emplovs on this occasion, when he ascribes to the Parliament "the power and the right—to new model the Constitution, and to alter the succession to the Crown, and the ejlablijbed rrligisn of the country." (p. 33.) But it must not be forgotten that he here put an extreme taje, in order to lhtw the fallacy of the arguments which had been used by his opponents. It will not be denied that what has been done once, ?naj be done again. We do not wish, however, to discuss the abstract question of right; nor is it necessary to urge the bar, supplied by the Coronation Oath, to the exercise, at least, of a right to alter the tstablijhed religion of the country, so long as we have the happiness to possess such a Monarch as now sways the sceptre of these realms.
. AkT. XVI. A Letter, addressed to a Member of the trijb Par. liament, on the Subject of the. proposed Union between Great Britain and Ireland. 8vo. Pp. 24. Price is. 'Murray, and Highley. London. 1799.
THE line of argument adopted by the author of this pamphlet is nearly the fame with that taken up by the Speaker of the House of Gommons, in the speech reviewed in the preceding article. His style is correct and classical, and his observations bespeak an upright and independent mind; anxious for the prosperity of his country, and eager to promote the welfare and happiness of every description of his countrymen. He is of opinion that the concessions made by the Parliament of Great Britain to Ireland, in the year 1782, far from tending to allay the animosities that prevailed between the different parties in the sister kingdom, only served to widen the subsisting breach. His remarks on the plea, that the independence of Ireland would be destroyed by an Union, are highly pertinent and judicious, and will convey to our readers a just idea of the style and minner of the whole pamphlet:—
"It is unfortunate for the cause of truth, that misrepresentation is resorted to, where candour calls for "triipartiality. In the question under discussion it is most; peculiarly the cafe. Union is stigmatized with the title of feudal slavery, and the outcry against it is as great as if we had proposed to reduce the Irish to the state of Helots. But need I point, out to your Lordlhip that there is in sober reasoning, as well as technical precision, a wide line of distinction between au irtcorporate Union and a federate alliance, In the former cafe, upon an infringement of the fundamental and essential conditions of the Union, the two contracting states are left in stalu quo prius. But nothing of this kind can take place in a federate alliance, when one Sovereign, upon bended knee, docs hamage to the other, arid frorri that day forward becomes his vaslal of ' lift ani limb and earthly •worship*
"I assert, then, that the Union aims at no sacrifice of Irish independence, but rather renders it more solid and lasting. But what is this boasted independence, but a phantom, formed to delude and mislead the people? Can Ireland be culled an independent state, when convulsed with internal disorders, which she is unable- to quell? when attacked by enemies from without, which she is unable to keep at bay? having a Parliament that has lost the confidence of the people? without an army ?—without resources ?—and subsidized and supported by Great Britain, at an annual expence of more than seven millions? W hy will she be so blind as to prefer any longer the shadow of rndepeadence to the substance of it? Why, in one word, pursue the eccentric path of a comet, marked with bloodshed and conflagration, when the laws of Nature have given her a fixed and regular orbit in the system, and have constituted her the enlightening companion of a larger planet?" Pp. 8—10.
In the following observations, introduced in the discussion of the, question of Parliamentary competency, the sentiments of the author perfectly concur with our own :—
"The greater part of the authorities to be found in our law books apply to the power which Parliaments have of making laws in general. The question in the shape it is put by Locke is, * That a Legislature cannot transfer its power into other hands; for it being but a delegated trust, they who have it cannot transfer it to others.' But the idea of this kind of contract was never thought of till the revolutionary periods of British history, when it enteied the brains of the mad
No. 1 in. Vol. Hi. X enthusiast* enthusiasts of the times, and tinged even the writings of grave philosophers. The absurdity of the idea may be perceived in the absurd consequences which Rousseau has fairly deduced from ft. Its refutation, a priori, may be found in In essay of the philosophical Hume on the original contract.
"The learned and elegant author of the Commentaries on the Laws of England observes, that * Locke and other theoretical writers, Call the power of governments a delegated trust which may be resumed; 'but,' says he, 'these nations can never be practically adopted, nor can any regal steps be taken for carrying tbem into execution. For this devolution of power to the people at large includes in it a dissolution of the whole form of government established by that people, and no human laws will suppose a case ivhich at mice muji Jc/frty 4ll Im-w.' I think, therefore, my Lord, that, in this Itagc of the argument, I may assert, with some plausibility, though I do it with great deference, that locke was a greater metaphysician than politician; that his ideas are fitter for the closet than for the hand to carry into execution; and that if he had been invested with any commanding authority under government, he would have felt himself as awkward as Guicciardini did in the cabinet, or Machiavel in the field." Pp. 17—ltf.
Art, XVII. Observations on the Speech of the Right Honourable John Foster, Speaker of the House os Commons of Ireland, delivered there, April 11, 1799. By a Gentleman at the Bar. 8vo. Pp. 63. Price is. 6d. Dowries. Hatchard. London. 1799.
FAR be it from us to put any bar to the claims of this gentleman' at the bar; we are willing to admit them in the fullest extent; and, though we cannot fay much in favour of his style, we readily acknowledge the strength of his objections to many of the positions laid down by Mr. Foster. He is, indeed, the boldest advocate we have yet met with, on this side of the question. He contends that, -as, by, the Act of 1782, the Parliament of Great Britain gate legislative independence to Ireland, it has an indisputable right to take it away, when it has been found that the end for which it was given has not been produced > he maintains that the legiflative independence of Ireland forms no part of the Constitution; and he quotes, in support of his own positions, a well-known writer, upon whose treatment, by a late Parliament, his remarks are certainly just, but whose authority can, as certainly, be of no avail to him in the present instance. We are not disposed to question the right of Parliament to take away what it has given, but we conceive that, on the point in question, the exercise of such a right would, to say the least of it, be a flagrant breach of faith. On the whole, though we cannot subscribe to many of the positions here laid down, we mull allow that the author has succeeded in exposing the defects of the speech which is the object of his attack.
We have observed, in this pamphlet, an unusual number of orthographical and typographical errors.
Art. XVIIL A Letter to the Pope, on tfc probable Cause of the War; and that it <waits on his Holiness to invite the Bleffmgi if Peace. An humble Attempt, [as far as Fallibility can go,) from the cool Refltctioni tf Religious Reason, not dilated by
ardent ardent Pasjions, nor iwarpeq^ by plausible Insinuations of Pre/'u. dice. By Chriftophilus. 8vo. Pp. 35. Price is.' Richardson, London. 1799;
THIS rhapsody is evidently the production of some well-disposed fanatic, who writes and reasons in the true style and_ spirit of a Methodistical field-preacher. The author had, probably, heard that one of his superiors had, on a remarkable occasion, unaccountably presumed to ascribe the miseries of the present war to the superstitions of the Roman Catholic religion, vainly endeavouring, by a train of fallacious argument, and inconclusive reasoning, to support his ill-founded position; and, therefore, hoped, under trie shelter of such authority, to introduce his miserable jargon to public notice. The following passage will suffice to (hew the sum and substance -of the argument of Chriftophilus:—
"By parity of reason, this brings us home to the main subject, which is, to establish an idea that these destructive wars arose from, and are directed to sweep away, the superstitious practices of Popery. And, secondly, if the head of the Romish church will abolish all that is wrong, and strive to establish all that is right, in religion and virtue, that then the gradual designation of Providence being answered, all the evils by which we are surrounded will, like the darkness of night at the approach of the rising sun, be dispersed, and peace and happiness restored in the regions of suffering Europe." Pp. 30, 31.
Art. XIX. Family Lectures; or, a copious Collection of Sermons, selected from the most celebrated Divines, on Faith and Practice. 2 Vols. 8vo. Pp. 1891. Price tl. 8s. AU the Booksellers. London. 1799.
THE authors, whose united l.ibours furnish this collection of sermons, are entitled "tht most celebrated divines." Their names are as follow :—Adams, Allen, Atterbury, Barrow, Balguy, Batty, Beveridgc, Bentley, Bellamy, Blackall, Brown, Ball, Bundy, Burnet, Calamy, Clarke, Coney, Delany, Duke, Fothcrgill, Gibson, Hickman, Hort, Hoadley, Hopkins, Home, Hole, Horbery, Harvest, Ibbot, Jortin, Kennet, Leland, Littleton, Lucas, Lupton, Moor, Moss, Newlin, Newton, Orr, Porteus, Ridly, Rogers, Sharps, Sherlock, Swift, Stebbing, Stephens, Snapc, Seed, Seeker, Stillingfieet, St. John, Tillotson, Tilly, Terry, Tottie, Trapp, Wake, Wilson, Webster, Waterland.
On running our eyes over this list of names, with the word "celebrated" at the head of them, we could not suppress a smile; and, in transcribing them, the pen, even of our amanuensis, "hitched" in a name or two. But, turning to the discourses of a
X 2 few few oh/curcr writers, (we beg the compiler's pardon,) we judged* them well deserving their respective stations.
In his advertisement, the editor spscifies some of the reasons which induced him to think that the above compilation might be extensivelyuseful:— %
"It mast always happen, either from indisposition, distance os abode, or inclemency of weather, that many serious persons will be prevented from attending places of woiship and religious instruction, on the days consecrated to devotion. For these, family lectures are particularly adapted. It is reasonable to suppose, that many pious persons, who traverse the great deep, confined to a narrow habitation, where they can never hear the cheerful chiming of their parish bell, must wish to employ a part of the day appointed for meditation, in reading good sermons, and that a volume, containing a great variety, at a moderate price, must to them be highly acceptable. It is the custom of many families to employ a part of the Sunday evening in the reading of a sermon.- To all such, a collection, in which a great choice is presented in a compact form, cannot fail of being found convenient. At schools, there is no doubt but that such a book will be singularly useful. It may be added, that, to young students in divinity, a collection of-sermons, exhibiting a great choice of good models, may be beneficial."
To "Family Lectures" Dr. Knox, the compiler, has affixed a preliminary discourse, from which the following extracts, we think, will be acceptable to our readers
"There is nothing of which the enemies of Christianity are so apt to accuse its friends as of prejudices. They attribute an humble and reverential acceptance of the gospel to the prepossessions of early youth. To the fame cause they ascribe many moral and Christian duties, and have sometimes shewn that they would not be reluctant to exterminate all virtue and all religion, by fixing on them the odious appellation ot inveterate prejudice. But it is certain that these pretended enemies to prejudice are powerfully actuated by the very errors which they censure. They condemn Christians, without hearing with patience, or considering with candour, the merits of their cause. Indeed, there is too much reason to think, that many have rejected the scriptures, and, consequently, all the doctrines derived from them, who have never bestowed on the books which contain- them a single perusal. At a time of life, when all impression; are deep and* permanent, they heard some filly witticism or sophistical argument, tending to deride or to invalidate the Christian, religion. They immediately concluded that its doctrine was contemptible, and its proofs unsupported, and could never afterwards prevail upon themlclves to give it a due examination."
"Similar prepossessions have prevented persons of careless minds from receiving improvement from the instructions delivered from the pulpit. Sermons, or preaching, are, indeed, in the eyes of manyavho appear to themselves, or would appear to others, men of brilliant and lively parts, synonymous with all that is tedious or disagreeable."
"Yet the efficacy of preaching and the utility of sermons are abundantly ev inced by actual fasts; by proofs which the wit of the (comer is not able to invalidate. The good characters and beneficent actions which have been produced by them, are evidences of their utility, which no talent for ridicule can destroy."—" Preaching may be, in these times, as it always was, one of the most effectual methods of national reformation. The poor have-the gospel preached unto them—[he poor, who, in the eyes of our common father, are at least equally estimable with the most opulent potentates who glory in earthly grandeur." Their poverty frequently precludes the possibility of instruction, in the ordinary modes of comprehensive education. Whither shall they repair for light to lighten their native darkness. The philosopher is, perhaps, deeply engaged in metaphysical contemplation, and cannot stoop to the humble office of instructing the poor. The men of the world are engaged in avarice, pride, and sensuality. "S'hcrf, then, arc these children of God, but outcasts of men, to seek for inftruc