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THOUGHTS ON THE PRESENT BANKRUPTCIES, WITH HINTS OF A
AT no former period in the commercial history of this country, has any thing equal to the present distress occurred, with regard to the universal complaint of a want of money, arising from the public and private banks having in a great measure given over accommodating those engaged in trade and manufactures with the usual discount of bills. This country has on former occasions been preserved from impending ruin to their commercial concerns, by the very liberal afsistance afforded by the Edinburgh banks, to all whose funds entitled them to the public confidence. These banks are still under the direction of the same public spirited and liberal minded gentlemen, who have certainly very sufficient reasons for their present caution in discounting, otherwise they would step forward as in 1788, and support all those who could by a clear state of their affairs show that such afsistance would enable them to weather the storm; and who could put such funds or securities in the hands of the banks, as would decidedly insure them from a possibility of lofs.
It is well known that the Edinburgh banks have already gone great lengths within the last two months in their endeavours to avert the miserable consequences that must follow here, were the dreadful bankruptcies that have lately happened in England to extend to this end of the island. But as, from the nature of banks and banking, limits naturally arise to their ifsuing of notes to país as an equivalent for cash, and for which the public can at all times command specie by applying to the banks, it becomes a duty the directors of banks owe to the proprietors at large, to go no furthur in issuing notes, than experience has taught them can be safely done, according to the extent of their stock. In times like the present, when the hands of the manufacturers and of the merchants are full of goods, in consequence of the very flourishing state of the country some months ago, some expedient should be attempted to support all in that situation, who can produce good funds, either in goods, bills, or heritable property; and I know of none that can be done with equal ease to the banks, and the country at large as the following.
In the city of Amsterdam all payments of bills of exchange above 300 guilders must, by an order of the States of Holland of 11th December 1643, be made by the bank of Amsterdam, established 31st January 1609. The bank receives specie, gold and silver bullion, plate, jewels, &c. the value whereof is placed to the credit of the person who makes the deposit, with whom the bank opens an account, and who, when he has any bills to discharge, gives an order to write off so much from the credit of his account to that of the person to whom the money is payable, who, if he has no account open in the bank's books, applies to a broker, to whom he indorses the bill and order thereon, and receives the value in specie, together with the agis, the bank money being in general from one to four per cent. more valuable than the current money of Holland. In this manner the bank of Amsterdam, without hurting the interests of trade, has become possessed of the money of the country. No one is reckoned lefs rich by being pof sefsed only of bank money, since without the smallest difficulty current money can at all times be procured for it to any extent.
This being premised, my proposal is, that the bank of England, the Royal Bank, and Bank of Scotland, or other public banks, should receive from the merchants or manufacturers of Scotland, as pledges or deposits, property of every kind, and advance thereon a certain proportion of the value thereof; not in bank notes, (for which specie could be demanded,) but by following the same plan which has been practised near 200 years by the bank of Amsterdam; or of ifsuing certificates for a variety of sums from L. 20 and upwards, to be taken in payment of all bills or debts whatever.
We have been so long accustomed to see nothing but paper money in Scotland, that there can be no doubt of their passing currrent; but if there should, an act of the legislature could authorise their being so. Should this proposal be deemed eligible, the regulations for the sale of the articles so deposited, and for the payment of the interest by the borrower, as well as the re-payment by the banks of the balances of such sales, the re-delivery of the goods to the person by whom they were deposited, and every other regulation relative to the business, could be easily adjusted.
***On account of the importance of this last article at the prefent period, acknowledgements to correfpondents are fill deferred. Since the above was fet, we have learnt that Mr Pitt has a plan of the fame fort in contem plation, which may be considered as a proof of the juftness of the reasoning of our ingenious correfpondent.
LITERARY WEEKLY INTELLIGENCER,
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 31. 1793.
CRITICAL REMARKS ON SOME CELEBRATED
FROM A GENTLEMAN OF LITERARY EMINENCE LATELY DECEASED, TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN WHO HAD REQUESTED HIS ADVICE IN REGARD TO THE PROPER MODE OF CONDUCTING HIS STUDIES.
Continued from p. 162. Sterne,-Shakespeare,-The English Translation of
AM not so much surprised at your fondness for the writings of Sterne, as disappointed at finding your praise so vague and indiscriminate. It is time,' my dear, for you to learn, that in this world the good and the bad are so intimately blended together, that there is no pofsibility of finding either the one or the other pure and unadulterated. No man is se VOL. xiv.
April 31. perfect but there is something about him that might be amended; and none are so bad but we may find something belonging to them that merits applause. The great businefs of candid criticism is to separate the chaff from the corn, and neither to approve nor condemn by the lump.
Few writers are better calculated for captivating youthful minds than Sterne. Throughout his whole works there are interspersed many lively sallies of wit, many happy strokes of humour. Even the desultory manner in which he proceeds seems to be so natural to him, and is so well suited to the volatility of youthful minds, that it is, to them, rather alluring than disgustful; and the innumerable touches of nature so frequently recurring, and so happily exprefsed, give to his writings' a charm that is ineffably pleasing. Without being able to distinguish what are the particular ingredients in this tout ensemble that please, they admire even his quaintnesses and eccentricities. They think too often that the charm proceeds from the levity and frivolity of his manner, when it in fact arises from the singular powers of his mind. To this circumstance we are to attribute those countlefs swarms of imitators of his manner, and the disgusting insipidity of these miserable productions....
A talent for discriminating human characters, and delineating their traits with perfect accuracy, is one of the rarest gifts of heaven; and whoever pofsefses that talent in an eminent degree, will not fail to produce performances that will obtain an high degree of applause, whatever may be their defects in other respects. Shakespeare, who pofsefsed this happy talent
in a degree superior to that of any other of the sons of men who have yet appeared on the globe, has, notwithstanding the innumerable defects that abound in his works, obtained a degree of celebrity that nothing else could ever have given to him; and which, notwithstanding the attacks of snarling critics, will continue to encrease as long as the language in which he writes fhall be understood. There have been people weak enough to believe that if they could imitate Shakespeare in the irregularity of his plots, in the disregard of the much talked of unities, in the antiquated turn of his phrases, and in the low buffoonery of some of his scenes, they would be entitled to a considerable fhare of that approbation which has been so liberally bestowed upon him. They did not advert. that it was his superlative genius which made him triumph, not in consequence of these defects, but in spite of them.
In like manner Sterne pofsefses in a very eminent, though far inferior degree, that rare talent of discriminating characters, and of delineating them with precision by light touches of nature, which ever and anon occur even in the most trifling scenes. It is this which gives to these otherwise trifling scenes an interest which nothing else could ever have conferred upon them. It is from the certainty of meeting with these delicate touches of nature, that the man of taste is induced to tolerate that nauseating affectation and puerility which is like to turn his stomach at every line: but miserable is the delusion, and perverted is the judgement of those who think that those pitiful quaintnefses of exprefsions, and filthy illusions, which so frequently occur