tion, constitutes the " real identity of man.” We thought every body who pretended to reason was aware, that consciousness may be the evidence of identity, but that it cannot be the thing itself. He then states hypothetically the following assertion: “ If this faculty (consciousness) do, in the very moment of its separation from this corporeal abode, experience its ap: propriate degree of happiness or misery, any further resurrection is superfluous, and the judicial sentence is passed on every individual in the hour of his decease.” Vol. I. 147. This is a difficulty, which has often been felt by reflecting minds. But how does Mr. F. obviate it ? Not by any reference to the power of God, or any remarks on the weakness of the human intelligence, nor by appealing to the direct evidence of the dying Saviour and the Apostles; but by completely explaining away the language of scripture, after the approved manner of his tribe of sceptics, who are desirous of rejecting the discoveries of Christianity, though they find it convenient to maintain its authority. This explanation also involves a reflection on the character of Jesus Christ, which is directly opposed to the declaration of Mr. F. bimself in other parts of his work.

• He (Christ) often humoured, rather than opposed, the vulgar errors and prejudices of his countrymen. "In mentioning a future life, he seems to have spoken of the resurrection of the body in compliance with the common hopes and feelings of the more ignorant part of mankind," who, not considering the nature of spirit, are apt to imagine that the body constitutes the man.—Hence in order to render the general truth of a future life more striking to the sense and better suited to our gross conceptions, the blessed and tenderly compassionate Jesus speaks of it under the idea of a corporeal resurrection.' pp. 148, 149...

Now Mr. Fellowes had affirmed, in his lecture on the Mosaic dispensation, that the Jews had no clear intimations of a future state : on a sudden it appears, that even the more ignorant part had common hopes and feelings on the subject; and the great teacher sent from heaven did not endeavour to refine those hopes and feelings, and impart more precise and definite ideas of a future life, but on the contrary rendered their gross conceptions still more materialised; and repeatedly asserted that they who were “: in their graves should hear his voice, and come forth to the resurrection of life or of damnation,” according to their characters in the present world! Hence he spoke of a “ day in the which he would judge the world ;” and taught his disciples to look forward to *s that day" as the consummation of their hopes and desires. Those, however, to whom he unfolded the mysteries of his kingdom, were not sufficiently illuminated on these points. When one of their number preached to the philosophic Athenians about the resurrection, they would have immediately laid aside their contempt for St. Paul, and their incredulity respecting the “ certain strange things which he brought to their ears, had he been favoared with those intimations of the meaning of Christ's words, which seem to have been re. vealed to Mr. Fellowes !!

It deserves to be noticed, that Mr. F. gives up even more of Christianity, and is more consistently " rational,” than the most celebrated leaders of his sect. They have always represented the resurrection as that important truth, which the life, death, and resurrection of Christ were intended, as their principal object, to render certain. Mr. Fellowes, however, will not be so easy as Dr. Priestley, he will not admit any thing so incomprehensible as the resurrection of the body. This grand and characteristic doctrine of Christianity is there. fore abandoned, and the assertions of scripture, on which it stands unalterably, are passed over with a silence as disgraceful to the character of the theologian, as it is convenient to his creed. These specimens of the end to which the attempts to be wise above what is written, if manfully and consistently pursued, inevitably lead, are valuable beacons to the inexperienced, and should never be overlooked.

But we have done ;-sufficient has been said to indicate the complexion of our author's sentiments, which are so plainly ' opposeil to the clearest dictates of scripture, that a super

ficial acquaintance with it, will immediately suggest the most powerful refutations. We have confined our remorks to the views of Mi. F. on the character of God, the present state of human nature, and the peculiarities of the Christian system; and but for the length of our article, might easily have extended them to the practical application of his views. As far as the inoral discussions of the author involve an appeal to his principles on these subjects, the intelligent reader will be enabled to perceive their defects or their deformity; and to apply the necessary deductions or explanations which will be requisite to render even them of any value. To advert, after these stat, ments, to the features of style exhibited in the work, would be egregious trifling. When the sentiments of a writer, professing himself a Christian teacher, are marked by determined hostility against those truths, which alone give life and energy to our hopes and feelings, which alone have reclaimed profligates, animateul missionaries, and sustained martyrs, we witness his literary defects without anger, and his talents without delight, •


[graphic][merged small]

Art. IV. An Essay on the Theory of Money, and the Principles of Conte

merce. By John Wheatley.

(Concluded from Page 35) II. THE branch of Mr. Wheatley's discussions, of which we

- proposed to treat in the second place, is his controversy with his predecessors. On this head however, the desire to keep our review within moderate limits, will compel us to be very short.

In Mr. Hume he finds his own second and third propositions. At least they are deducible from his argument." Mr. Hume, therefore, would seem at first sight to have deprived our author of the honour of being a discoverer, and to have left him nothing but the subaltern task of repeating at second hand. But Mr. Hume examined his subject in too cursory a manner to give to his observations the consistency and precision of a regular inquiry, and he frequently drew partial inferences in direct opposition to his general reasoning. Though he argued that money every where maintained its' level, yet he admitted that one nation might retain a greater relative quantity than another. He adduced the position that plenty of money gave obstruction to trade by the advance of prices; yet he at the same time con. tended that it gave a stimulus to industry. He in one place deprecates the increase of currency, and in another approves of it. He condemns the circulation of paper because it causes the increase; and recommends the debasement of coin for the purpose of causing it." The examination of so many alledged contradictions, to the imputation of which a fundamental error of Mr. Hume, received however by Mr. Wheatley as an established truth, affords too much foundation, would require so many references and quotations, as to be altogether inconsistent with our limits; we must therefore leave it entirely to the industry and curiosity of such of our readers as are interested in the inquiry. The writings of Mr. Hume on the subject of money are comprised in a narrow compass, and a careful perusal of the Essays on Money, on Interest, and on the Balance and Jealousy of Trade, will enable any well-informed reader to forni an opinion of the censures of Mr. Wheatley.

Mr. Wheatley examines, too, the merit of the speculations of Sir James Steuart on the subject of money; but this criticism we are obliged entirely to pass over, and hasten to make a few observations on his objections to the principles and conclusions of Dr. Smith.

“ Dr. Smith,” he says, (p. 15.) - was sensible that there existed some latent principle which prevented the accumula

We havee likewise scording to Mrportant of u be still,

tion of money in any given country beyond a certain extent; yet he never attained to the discovery of this principle, and knew not by what operation the general amount of the cure. rency of different countries was limited.” He says again, (p. 18 ) " As this principle by some inadvertency escaped the observation of Dr. Adam Smith, he was of course incapable of explaining the fundamental tenets of the science, and elucidating the real cause of the limit of money." Let us next inquire what is this weighty and recondite principle, which Dr. Adam Smith failed of discovering; from ignorance of which, he remained unacquainted with the nature of money ; which Mr. Wheatley however has discovered ; and which has enabled Mr. Wheatley to unfold such interesting and luminous trnths in regard to this important commodity. Our author tells us, (p. 15.) “ This effective priuciple is the action of money as an uniform measure of value." But it unfortunately happens, that, according to what we have al. ready advanced, these are words entirely without a meaning. We have already seen that money is not a measure of value, We have likewise seen that money is not uniform in its own value, for even according to Mr. Wheatley it can purchase much more labour, the most important of all commodities, in France, than it can in England. It may be still farther observed, that the term “uniform measure of value,” is an. other of those ambiguous phrases, by which we have already seen that our author has been so often confounded and misled. We should be averse to detain our readers with the analysis of so many of these phrases, did we not perceive, with deep regret, that almost all the speculators on the subject of money who have appeared during late years, and who have appeared in much greater profusion on this than on any other branch of political ecocomy, have launched forth in an ocean of unmeaning terms, and have wasted their own time and that of their readers, without adding one useful idea to the stock of knowledge on this important subject. . As Mr. Wheatley figures at the head of this respecte able body, it seems peculiarly proper in his case to afford a pretty full specimen of the sin which most easily bez sets them. We would earnestly recommend to his and to their attention, the chapter in Locke's Essay on Human Understanding, “ On clear and distinct Ideas, and the whole of the third book “ On Words or Language in General ;" together with the whole of Dr. Reid's Essays m the Intela, lectual Powers. 6 Uniform" literally means of one form. But money cannot in this sense be said to be an uniform, measure of value, for it is sometimes in the fòrm of guineas, sometimes of dollars, sometimes of francs, and at other timeo in many other forms. “Uniform,” however, may be used in another sense. A quart may be said to be an uniform measure, whether the vessel be of a square, or cylindrical, · or conical, or a triangular shape, if it still measures the same quantity. But neither in this sense is money an uniform measure ; for the dollar, the franc, &c. do not measure the same quantity with a guinea, a shilling, &c. If we endeavour to apply to the phrase the only interpretation which has any meaning, we must say that an equal quantity of the precious metals, in whatever shape or form, always mea. sures an equal quantity of all other commodities, that is to say, can purchase an equal quantity of them. But this we have seen is, by Mr. Wheatley's own confession, not true. It is however true, that there is a general tendency in the precious metals toward this uniformity of value ; but it is not less true that there is an equally strong tendency in every other commodity, each seeking the best market as naturally as gold and silver, and each as certainly reaching it; with the sole difference of the greater or less difficulty of the journey. Dr. Smith was fully as much aware of this tendency in money as Mr. Wheatley; he was much more fully aware of the same tendency in all other articles than : Mr. Wheatley, who speaks. of it as if it were something pe

culiar to money; and he was much more fully aware than · Mr. Wheatley of the circumstances which prevent the full - operation of the tendency of money toward an uniform value, and create a far greater diversity in different places than it suits Mr. Wheatley's theory to admit. Such are the -author's discoveries respecting the futility of Dr. Sunith's doctrine of money. The representation of that doctrine ' which he exhibits in six propositions selected for particular examination, affords so unfair and unsatisfactory a view of the principles of Smith, that we believe he has not fully comprehended the import of that great philosopher's writings on this subject; for no intentional injustice, we are well · assured, is imputable to , Mr. Wheatley; on the contrary, we consider him as not only a fair, but a candid controversialist.

III. That part of the work of which we proposed to treat in the third place, begins with a chapter on the course of : exchange. This chapter, in the author's opinion, discloses

some of the profoundest arcana of his doctrine. But, in fact, nothng is more simple than the operation of exchange, and it is entirely owing to the indistinct and inadequate ideas of the author, that he has supposed any great mystery to be involved in it. The course of exchange, he tells us,

" is the practical means by which the equivalency of money · is maintained." This is very true. But this, when the tech

« 上一页继续 »