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glected, or even prohibited and ban- occupation of slaves. Cicero himself ished. Among those trading states found it proper to affect in public a which were oligarchical in their goa contempt for the arts, as well as for vernment, the arts took little root, and philosophy*, although we well know never reached above the secondary that both formed the chief ornament rank of excellence. Among those and delight of his retirement. Sallust commercial states again, which were the attic Sallust, in describing the governed by kings, and yet more con- corruption of the army led by Sylla stantly among those which were go into Greece, places the taste which the verned by a democracy, they attain- soldiers there acquired for the fine arts, ed the summit of perfection. Among in the same rank with their drunken these last, the masterpieces which ex- ness and their debauchery.t Virgil cite our wonder were for the greater told the Romans, that to animate brass part produced. From these facts we and marble was an object little wormay, I apprehend, extract a propor- thy their ambition ; and Seneca (even tional scale, by which we may mea- in the days of Nero, himself an artist), sure the progress, not of the Greeks inspired 'with some remnant of the alone, but of all ancient nations and spirit of a vir consularis, asks contempeven of the moderns themselves. To tuously by what right the unmanly enter minutely into this part of the arts of painting, sculpture, and fiddling, subject would require a volume. The are entitled to the appellation of liberal justice of my general positions will, I If, on the other hand, we recall to trust, be sufficiently manifest to any our remembrance those states in which one, who throws even a hasty glance the arts have been carried to the sumover the names and the history of the mit of excellence, we shall find every ancient states ;-of Achaia, ever poor where the confirmation of the same and ever virtuous, but ever destitute theory. Argos, constantly governed of the arts ;--of rude and mountain- by a democracy, and sharing in the ous Phocis, where even the presence advantages of commerce much less of all the treasures, and all the master- than those states which were her pieces of Delphos, could not work any rivals, was as much celebrated as any change on the natural habits of the of them for the excellence of her people ;-of Macedon,-of Sparta, artists, although far from being disof Crete, -of Thebes; -and above all, tinguished by the number of her of Corinth and of Carthage-two monuments. The same was the case states which, as they were the most at Samos, Sicyon, Rhodes, Agrigenfavourably situated for commercial tum, and Syracuse, as well as in speculations, so they gave themselves Athens herself, and her colonies.up with the least restriction to the in- Every where we find the arts flourfluence of the pure commercial spirit, ishing most in those commercial -whose legislatures, in short, at no states which were governed in the time sought to superadd to their solid most democratical manner, or where prosperity the embellishment and re- the democracy was scarcely ever infinement of the arts.
terrupted, except by the short-liv. Rome, in fine, which, in spite of the ed reigns of a few princes, who owed turbulence of her tribunes, was ever their elevation altogether to the favour governed by the senate, whose proud of the people. and haughty spirit loaded the banks Nothing was the product of chance. of the Tiber with edifices the most Every where the state of the arts extensive and imposing, received with corresponded to the will of the ledifficulty the painting and the sculp: gislature. It would be in vain to ture of the Greeks. Towards the fall trust to commerce, or even to liberty indeed of the republic, and under the herself, for carrying them to perfecemperors, these became a subject of tion; commerce and liberty are of use to amusement and ostentation ; but that them, only because they tend to prolegislation which had done every thing cure for them the particular favour of for their victories, had by no means the legislature,--and it is to that fadisposed the spirit of the Romans for vour alone, however obtained, that the appropriation of the arts, and they always owe any thing which deaccordingly the habit of seeing them cultivated by conquered nations, made
. Cic. iii. Verr. passim. them view them at all times as the
+ De bello Cat. c.ü.
PRESENT STATE OF THE CITY OF
serves the name of more than a mere tores aquarum.” This truly colossal temporary triumph. Such, as we have rampart passes through a morass, from seen, is the picture every where pre- l'Isle di Chiusa on the west, along sented to us by the history of the arts l'Isle di Murassi, to the Bocca del among the ancients; at Sparta, at Porto on the east, being an extent Rome, at Marseilles, the republican nearly of three miles. Towards the austerity rejected them; at Carthage land side, it is terminated by a wall commercial ignorance neglected them; about ten feet high and four feet at Athens they were encouraged from broad. If one stands on the top of motives of policy; and they prosper- this wall, the whole is seen slanting ed at Sicyon and Syracuse, by the on the other side till it majestically wisdom and magnificence of enlight- dips into the Adriatic; and the magened princes. In all climates nature nitude of the undertaking forcibly fits men for the enjoyment of the arts; strikes the spectator's mind. The in every climate, and under every form slanting part of the work commences of government, their success is the re- about two feet and a half below the sult of public munificence, and the fa- top of the wall, and descends towards vour of the laws.
Q. the water by two shelves or terraces.
A great part of the embankment is of close stone-work: this vast piece of solid masonry is about fifty feet broad,
measuring from the top of the wall For the following particulars res- to the water's edge. The stones are pecting the present state of the city of squared masses of primitive limestone, Venice, and especially for the descrip- or “ solid marble ;” they are very tion of its great mole or pier, we are large, and are connected by Puzzulana indebted chiefly to the communication earth, brought from Mount Vesuvius. of a gentleman of this city, who lately Beyond this pile of masonry many visited that celebrated spot.
loose blocks of marble are placed, and Venice, it is well known, is built on extend a considerable way into the a cluster of islets, situated among the Adriatic. When very high tides oco shallows which occur near the head of cur, accompanied with wind, the waves the Adriatic Gulf. The houses and break over the whole pier; and some spires seem to spring from the water; times, on these occasions, part of the canals are substituted for paved streets, loose blocks are thrown up and lodged and long narrow boats, or gondolas, upon the level part of the rampart: for coaches. Some parts of the city it may be questioned, therefore, if this are elegant, exhibiting fine specimens exterior range of loose masses of stone of the architecture of Palladio; but be not likely to prove rather detrimenthe splendid Place of St Mark is no tal than useful. Near to this pier, longer thronged by Venetian nobles; on the side next the sea, there is water the cassinos are comparatively desert- for vessels of considerable size. The ed; and the famed Rialto bridge has great object of the work is to guard ceased to be distinguished for its rich the Lagoon on its south and most shops and their matchless brocades. assailable point, “contra mare," as the The ancient brazen horses have re inscription bears; and but for it, Ve turned from their travels to Paris; but nice, it is thought, would by this time Venice has not been suffered to resume have been in ruins, from the gradual its consequence as the capital of an in- encroachments of the sea. It is kept dependent state ; the bucentaur is rot- in good order, and seems lately, during ten, and there is no longer any Doge the dominion of the French, to have to wed the Adriatic.
received extensive repairs. This magThe great mole is situated about nificent work is said to have excited seventeen miles to the south of Venice, even the admiration of Napoleon, It was begun so long ago as the year which he has marked by this inscrip1751, and it was not completed when tion : “ Ausu Romano, ære Veneto. the French revolution broke out. On It may be noticed, that the part of one part of the wall were inscribed the rampart next to the entrance of these words: “ Ut sacra æstuaria, ur- the harbour, was the scene of many bis et libertatis sedes, perpetuo con- combats between the French troops servetur, colosseas moles ex solido and the English sailors, during the marmore contra mare posuere cura- blockade of Venice by our navy. The rigour of this blockade is not gener- man power have been exteniled, and ally known; so effectual did it prove, the condition of the lower orders that numbers of the native inhabit- of society ameliorated, a very conants, particularly of the lower orders, spicuous plece ought to be assigned such as gondoliers, absolutely perished to the establishment of Saving Banks. through famine.
They have originated in a spirit of On the Isle di Murassi, already pure benevolence,-placed within the mentioned, are a number of houses, of reach of the lowest and most helpa pretty enough appearance at a dis- less portion of the community the tance, but miserable on a nearer view: means of a secure and profitable dethey are inhabited by fishermen, who, posite, of which they are now eagerly with their wretched and squalid wives availing themselves, -and in proporand children, tlock around a stranger, tion as they are inultiplied and exbegging with deplorable looks and tended, so must necessarily be the intones of penury and want. The great dustry, the frugality, the foresight, Laguna, or shallow lake, also already and the comparative independence of mentioned, varies in depth from half the lower classes. What is no small a foot to three and four feet and more. recommendation-no complicated or From the eastern termination of the expensive machinery is required for pier at the Bocca del Porto, the course either their formation or their manageof the deeper channel, accessible to ment; the tiine of the contributors very large vessels to the port of Ve- needs not be wasted in discussions and nice, is marked out by wooden stakes, arrangements to which their knowor beacons, placed at short distances. ledge and habits are but ill adapted ;
The long continued blockade of the and no opportunity is afforded for English annihilated the commerce of combination. Every one may lodge the port, and proved very disastrous to and withdraw his little hoard accordthe Venetian vessels, many of which be- ing to his convenience, instead of the came ruinous, and have been found in- time and amount being prescribed capable of repair. For some days dur- and enforced by penalties, by which ing September last (1816), only two the savings of many years may, withvessels cleared out at the custom- out any delinquency which it was in house one for Constantinople, and the contributor's power to avoid, be another for Corfu. About half a doz- suddenly transferred to his less needy en of small craft, Swedish, Danish, or more fortunate associates. To give Dutch, and Italian, were then lying facility and encouragement to the laat the births, waiting for cargoes, but bourer to save a little when it is in with little expectation of obtaining his power to save, with the most perthem. During the war, capital was fect liberty to draw it back, with inwasted, and mercantile spirit extin- terest, when his occasions require it, guished ; it is not surprising, there is the primary object, and ought to be fore, to find the commerce of Venice the sole object, of this institution. at the lowest ebb. The merchants are Much of the distress of the lower ornow endeavouring to obtain from the may thus come to be relieved Austrian government some advantages, from their own funds, instead of their at the expense of the rival ports of having recourse to poor rates or priLeghorn and Trieste, but with slender vate charity. hopes of success; and it is not perhaps It does not seem necessary to enter without reason, that the Venetians into the details of these establishments, have begun to despair of any signal which are now sufficiently numerous revival of the commerce of this ancient to furnish room for selection, whatand once celebrated emporium,--to ever may be the local circumstances which Europe, it may be remarked, in which it may be proposed to introwas indebted for the invention of pub- duce them. Nor is it consistent with lic banks.
my present purpose, and the limits to
which this letter must be contined, to ON IHE CONSTITUTION AND MORAL examine the rules by which their busi
EFFECTS OF BANKS FOR THE SAV- ness is conducted. Little, that is of WINGS OF INDUSTRY.
real utility on this head, can be added MB EDITOR,
to what has been already laid before AMONG the numerous modern dis- the public, in the numerous pamphlets coveries by which the limits of hu- and reports which this interesting VOL. I.
novelty has produced, and in the pe- tainly is, that to place the Lord Lieuriodical works in which their merits tenant, the Members of Parliament, have been discussed. What is want- and the Sheriff of the county, for the ed, is not the knowledge of minute time being, among the honorary memparticulars regarding the plan and bers of so humble an institution as a eonduct of the establishment, which bank for the savings of the labourers ought to be varied, perhaps, with any of a small district, is calculated to call considerable difference in the num- downridiculeon the whole undertaking. ber and character of the contributors, But should these gentlemen, constiand in the tract of country over which tuted members of the bank merely in it is expected to extend. I shall there- virtue of their official situations, choose fore content myself at present with a to interfere with the details of its busifew remarks on the nature and pur- ness, either directly or indirectly, withpose of Saving Banks in general, which, out having first acquired by their perafter all that has been written on the sonal character, or the interest they subject, do not seem to be well under- may have taken in the prosperity of stood even by some of those who have the institution, the confidence of the made the most meritorious exertions great body of the depositors, there is in promoting them.
every reason to believe that the conIt cannot be too frequently recom- sequences would be most pernicious. mended to those who may take the The lower classes would be ready to lead in establishing banks for sav- suspect, whether with or without reaings, to study to combine simplicity son is of little consequence, that the with security, and to give to them such knowledge of their circumstances, and a constitution as may not contain with, the control over their funds, possesin itself the seeds of dissension and sed by these official characters, might party spirit. While the security of be employed in enforcing obnoxious the funds is not impaired, a preference measures of public policy. And on should always be given to what is sini- every occasion, when the popular feelple, and promises to be permanent, ing is opposed to the enactments of over what is artificial, of a remote or the legislature, how soon soever it may doubtful tendency, or merely calculat- subside, we might expect to see such a ed for producing a temporary effect. run made upon our Saving Banks, as Upon this principle I would venture happens on a larger scale of business,
o suggest, that a Saving Bank should whenever the creditors of individuals, approach as nearly as possible in its of societies, or ot' the public, begin to character to a Mercantile Bank,--that lose confidence in the prudence or no inquiry into the character or con- ability with which the affairs of their duct of the depositors should be tole- debtors are conducted. Add to this, rated for a moment,—that the choice the habitual jealousy which the lower of managers should not in general be classes have been taught to entertain vested in the depositors, nor the mana- of their rulers, so frequently kindled gers themselves taken from that body, into phrensy by the arts of the disatand that it should be kept entirely fected ; and it may be laid down as a distinct from Benefit Societies, Annuity rule, that in these simple institutions, Schemes, Loan Banks; and its provi- which ought to have no other object sions strictly confined to its own pro- than the ostensible one, every ground per object of safe custody and prompt for suspecting the influence of governpayment with interest.
ment should be carefully excluded, as In hazarding this opinion, it is not not only unnecessary, but likely to be necessary to deny the influence of great injurious. names on the list of honorary and ex- With this impression, it is impossitraorılinary members, in giving a mo- ble not to feel soine degree of alarm at mentary eclat to a new institution, the Bill introduced into Parliament and in inspiring the public with con- last session by Mr Rose. As I do not fidence in its respectability. But it know the provisions of this Bill in its may well be doubted], whether, after the arnended form, I shall only venture to advantages of a Saving Bank have been observe, that the clause which requires generally understood, a parade of ine- the funds of the Saving Banks to be ficient officers will contribute much to invested in government securities, its permanency, and to its utility among ought on no account to be extended the lower classes. My own opinion cer- to Scotland, where banks of the most
undoubted responsibility are always tion, but which is not the less just ready to receive, and to pay four per when this obvious distinction of charcent. interest for money deposited ; acter is, as I am inclined to think it and some of which have displayed so should be, preserved, both in its orimuch liberality, as to allow even five ginal constitution and in the conduct per cent. on the deposites of Saving of its affairs. Banks. It may be doubted, whether I have already expressed my consuch a clause would be advisable even viction, that a Saving Bank, in its chafor England. The first and imme- racter, ought as nearly as possible to diate advantage of such a provision, it approach to a common trading bank, is said, is greater security; and the or to that branch of its business which next and most remote one, that it will consists in receiving and returning give the lower classes a greater interest money deposited ; and, as in Scotland, in the stability of the government. But with interest for the time it has been its disalvantages are not less obvious, under its care. Whatever departure and to many may appear to prepon- from this principle, therefore, may be derate in the scale. From every just desirable in the commencement of a view of the nature and object of Sav- very limited local establishment, such ing Banks, every thing that has the as the parish bank of Ruthwell, in appearance of compulsion must be ex. Dumfriesshire, the inconvenience and cluded. This is one fundamental danger that must be felt from the poprinciple which should not be lost pular election of the officers of a nusight of in any of its operations. merous and extensive association, comAgainst this greater security, too, posed, with few exceptions, of the must be placed the perpetual and often, least informed portion of the commueven to well informed people, the un- nity, seem to outweigh all the advantaccountable fluctuation of the public ages which have been ascribed to it. funds, produced, as is well known, by While the institution is in its infancy, means not always the most creditable, and the zeal for its success, which in and therefore more likely to irritate some measure supplies the want of exthe minds of the depositors than to at- perience in the managers, may be partach them to their rulers. Besides, amount to every other feeling in the it may be asked, what is the amount of minds of the depositors, there may be no this security, in so far as individual great inconvenience in general meetcontributors are concerned? They can- ings and periodical elections, which, not go to the stock exchange to make at this early period, it cannot be diffithe purchases themselves, but their cult for its philanthropic founders and money must pass through the hands patrons to direct or control. But it of two or more individuals before it is by no means probable that men, can be invested in the public funds, whose education and property entitle and through as many again when they them to influence the proceedings of choose to withdraw it; so that the res- such associations, will always be found ponsibility of their own directors must, ready to undertake so difficult a task, at least in the first instance, be their and always successful in the attempt. principal dependence; to say nothing There is certainly more reason to fear, of the delay that must occur in the after the zeal of novelty has subsided, payments of the bank, unless a con- and the founders have been removed siderable proportion of the deposites by death, or otherwise, that the manbe retained by the treasurer, and con- agement of the concern may become the sequently be unproductive. The object of caballing and intrigue among Quarterly Reviewers observe, (No 31) the members themselves, or among that “the investment of money be- others in a station very little higher, longing to friendly banks should be and be seized by men whose knowleft to the direction of their members, ledge of business, or whose integrity, is or to that of the trustee whom they far from being their chief recommenmay appoint, and from whom they dation. It would display little knowmay require security for its proper ap- ledge of human nature, to predict difplieation;" an observation which im- ferent consequences from the popular plies, indeed, that the different char- election of the officers of Saving Banksaeters of a creditor and of a member of in a great town, where the association a Saving Bank, must necessarily be must contain a large portion of heteroidentified in the plan of its constitu- geneous and repulsive materials.