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nity, it would throw it entirely on the proprietors of lands and houses. But a poundage on rent would not really have this effect. Rent, in its common acceptation, it must be recollected, includes not merely the sum paid to the landlord for the use of the natural and inherent powers of the soil, but also the sum paid him for the use of the necessary buildings and fences, and for the other improvements which may have been made on its surface. This portion of rent consists really of the profits of the capital vested in these buildings and improvements, and consequently would not be affected by a poundage or tax on rent. Neither a landlord nor a farmer would erect a steading, or lay out any capital, either in the bringing in of new, or the amelioration of old land, unless the price of raw produce were such as, exclusive of all expenses, would yield the common rate of profit. But as this profit would be denominated rent, and would, by the proposed plan, be subjected to a poundage, it is obvious that no such expenditure of capital would take place until prices had been proportionably advanced. It is not possible to say what portion of the rental of the kingdom is made up of interest of capital, and what of a compensation for the use of the powers of the soil. Unquestionably, however, the former amounts to a very large proportion of the rent derived from good soils, and to almost the whole of that derived from those of an inferior quality. Now, it is plain, that a poudage on this portion of rent would neither fall on the landlords nor the tenants, but on the consumers of raw produce, or, which is the same thing, on the coantry in general. Thus far, therefore, a poundage on rents would be an equal tax; and the additional portion, which would fall exclusively on the landlord, would not be more than a reasonable equivalent for the peculiar advantagès he would derive from the abolition of tithes.
Should this plan be adopted, it would be proper to levy the poundage equally from rents of every description. It is alike inconsistent with justice and with common sense, that, because an estate happened, some three hundred and fifty years ago, to belong to a monastery, it should now be exempted from all charge on account of the Establishment. But, as the law now stands, it is more than exempted-it is, as we have shown, actually enriched by the burdens imposed on others! This monstrous anomaly should be tolerated no longer. If any exemptions were made, it ought to be in favour of occupancies below 101. or 201. a year in value. It would be well to relieve the cotters of Ireland entirely of this tax; but, whether that were done or not, the grass lands of that kingdom, and the tithe-free lands of England, ought unquestionably to be made to contribute equally with the rest to the support of the Church,
Were a poundage on rents substituted for tithes, that part of the income of the Church derived from rents, properly so termed, would still increase with every increase in the difficulty of production; but that part which was derived from the profits of capital, and which had to be defrayed by the public, instead of increasing, as at present, proportionably to the gross produce of the soil, would only increase proportionably to the net profit of the stock employed in its cultivation. This would be a very great advantage. It would give the clergy every fair benefit to which they are entitled; and would save the public from the scourge of a system of taxation which must necessarily increase in a greater ratio than the means of paying it.
That there would be many and serious difficulties in the way of such a commutation as is here proposed, cannot be doubted. But they are not insurmountable; and ought not to be allowed to weigh one grain in the balance when set against the advantages that would result from carrying it into effect. Such a measure would occasion a very considerable fall in the price of the necessaries of life; it would relieve the country from the worst of all taxes--a tax increasing with its gross, and payable out of its net income; it would restore that harmony and good understanding between the clergyman and his parishioners, so essential to the best interests of society; and it would do more to secure the peace, tranquillity, and improvement of Ireland, than any measure which has ever received the sanction of the Legislature.
Art. IV. Memoirs of the Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds ; with
some Obscrvations on his Talents and Character. By JOSEPH FARINGTON, R. A. London, Cadell & Davies. 1819.
This, with regard to its main object, must certainly be re
1 garded as a superfluous publication. Forty years after the death of Sir Joshua, Mr Farington has found himself called upon to put forth a thin octavo volume, to revive the recollection of the dispute between their late President and the Academy, and to correct an error into which Mr Malone had fallen, in supposing that Sir Joshua was not entirely to blame in that business. This is a remarkable instance of the tenaciousness of corporate bodies with respect to the immaculate purity of their conduct. It was at first suggested that printed notes might be sufficient, with references to the pages of Mr Malone's account: but it was finally judged best to give it as a connected narrative that the vindication of the Academy might slip in only as a parenthesis or an episode. So we have a full account of Sir Joshua's birth and parentage, god-fathers and god-mothers, with as many repetitions beside as were necessary to give a colouring to Mr Farington's ultimate object. The manner in which the plot of the publication is insinuated, is curious and characteristic: But our business at present is with certain more general matters, on which we have some observations to offer.
• In the present instance,' says Mr F., 'we see how a character, formed by early habits of consideration, self-government, and persevering industry, acquired the highest fame; and made his path through life a course of unruffled moral enjoyment. Sir Joshua Reynolds, when young, wrote rules of conduct for himself. One of his maxims was, “ that the great principle of being happy in this world, “ is, not to mind or be affected with small things.” To this rule he strictly adhered ; and the constant habit of controlling his mind contributed greatly to that evenness of temper which enabled him to live pleasantly with persons of all descriptions. Placability of temper may be said to have been his characteristic. The happiness of possessing such a disposition was acknowledged by his friend Dr Johnson, who said, “ Reynolds was the most invulnerable man he had e. “ ver known."
· The life of this distinguished artist exhibits a useful lesson to all those who may devote themselves to the same pursuit. He was not of the class of such as have been held up, or who have esteemed themselves, to be heaven-born geniuses. He appeared to think little of such claims. It will be seen, in the account of his progress to the high situation he attained in his profession, that at no period was there in him any such fancied inspiration ; on the contrary, every youthful reader of the Memoirs of Sir Joshua Reynolds may feel assured, that his ultimate success will be in proportion to the resolution with which he follows his example.'
This, we believe, is the current morality and philosophy of the present day; and therefore it is of more consequence to observe, that it appears to us to be a mere tissue of sophistry and folly. And first, as to happiness depending on not being affected with small things,' it seems plain enough, that a continued flow of pleasurable sensations cannot depend every moment on great objects. Children are supposed to have a fair share of enjoyment; and yet this arises chiefly from their being delighted with trifles— pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw.' The reason why we so seldom carry on the happy vivacity of early youth into maturer age is, that we form to ourselves a higher standard of enjoyment than we can realize; and that our passions gradually fasten on certain favourite objects, which, in proportion to their magnitude, are of rare occurrence, and, for the most part, out of our reach. The example, too,
which suggested these general remarks, actually exposes their fallacy. Sir Joshua did not owe his happiness to his contempt of little things, but to his success in great ones—and it was by that actual success, far more than by the meritorious industry and exertion which contributed to it, that he was enabled to disregard little vexations. Was Richardson, for example, who, it is observed afterwards, ' had merit in his profession, but not of a high order, though he thought so well on the subject of art, and had practised it so long,' to feel an equal moral enjoyment in the want of equal success? Was the idea of that excellence, which he had so long laboured in vain to realize, to console him for the loss of that highest fame,' which is here represented as the invariable concomitant of persevering industry? Or was he to disregard his failure as a trifle ? Was the consciousness that he had done his best, to stand him in stead of that unruffled moral enjoyment' which Sir Joshua owcd in no small degree to the coronet-coaches that besieged his doors, to the great names that sat at his table, to the beauty that crowded his painting-room, and reflected its loveliness back from the lucid mirror of his canvas? These things do indeed put a man above minding little inconveniences, and greatly contribute to that evenness of temper which en
ables him to live pleasantly with persons of all descriptions.' But was Hudson, Sir Joshua's master, who had grown old and rich in the cultivation of his art, and who found himself suddenly outdone and eclipsed by his pupil, to derive much unruffted enjoyment from this petty circumstance, or to comfort himself with one of those maxims which young Reynolds had written out for his conduct in life ? When Sir Joshua himself lost the use of one of his eyes, in the decline of his life, he became peevish, and did not long survive the practice of his favourite art. Suppose the same loss to have happened to him in the meridian of his fame, we fear that all his consciousness of merit, and all his efforts of industry, would have been insufficient to have supplied that unruffled felicity which we are here taught to refer exclusively to these high sources,
The truth is, that those specious maxims, though they may seem at first sight to minister to content, and to encourage to meritorious exertion, lead in fact to a wrong estimate of human life, to unreasonable anticipations of success, and to bitter repinings and regrets at what in any reverse of fortune we think the injustice of society and the caprice of nature. We have a very remarkable instance of this process of mental sophistication, or the setting up a theory against experience, and then wondering that human nature does not answer to our theory, in what our author says on
VOL. XXXIV. NO. 67.
been extraoined, peelings of his pamcen a youth lenedios as
this very subject of Hudson, and his more fortunate scholar afterwards. P. 46. “It might be thought that the talents of Reynolds, to which no degree of ignorance or imbecility in the art could be insensible, added to his extraordinary reputa
tion, would have extinguished every feeling of Jealousy or • Rivalship in the mind of his master Hudson; but the malady 6 was so deeply seated as to defy the usual remedies applied by 6 time and reflection. Hudson, when at the head of his art, ad
mired and praised by all, had seen a youth rise up and annihi• late both his Income and his Fame; and he never could divest ( his mind of the feelings of mortification caused by the loss he had
thus sustained.' This Mr F. actually considers as something quite extraordinary and unreasonable; and which might have been easily prevented by a diligent study of Sir Joshua's admirable aphorisms, against being affected by small things. Such is our Academician's ethical simplicity, and enviable ignorance of the ways of the world!
One would think that the name of Hudson, which occurs frequently in these pages, might have taught our learned author some little distrust of that other favourite maxim, that Genius is the effect of education, encouragement, and practice. It is the basis, however, of his whole moral and intellectual system ; and is thus distinctly announced and enforced in a very elaborate passage.
"With respect to his (Sir Joshua's) early indications of talent for the art he afterwards professed, it would be idle to dwell upon them as manifesting any thing more than is common among boys of his age. As an amusement he probably preferred drawing to any other to which he was tempted. In the specimens which have been preserved, there is no sign of premature ingenuity ; his history is, in this respect, like what might be written of very many other artists, perhaps of artists in general. His attempts were applauded by kind and sanguine friends, and this encouraged him to persevere till it became a fixed desire in him to make further proficiency, and continually to request that it might be his profession. It is said, that his purpose was determined by reading Richardson's Treatise on Painting. Possibly it might have been so ; his thoughts having been previously occupied with the subject. Dr Johnson, in his Life of Cow. per, writes as follows—“ In the windows of his mother's apartment lay Spenser's Faery Queen, in which he very early took delight to read, till by feeling the charms of verse, he became, as he relates, irrecoverably a poet. Such are the accidents which, sometimes ren membered, and perhaps sometimes forgotten, produce that peculiar designation of mind, and propensity for some certain science or employment, which is commonly called Genius. The true genius is a man of large general powers accidentally determined to some parti