Page images
PDF
EPUB

great powers, who by treaty as well as connection were interefted in their confequences, brought into a train of being fettled upon the most permanent and happy footing.

The

Germany has offered no matter of political obfervation during the courfe of the prefent year. The Emperor and king of Pruffia fpend the fummers, either in reviewing their armies, or in making progreffes through different parts of their dominions; by which they become eye witneffes of the improvements that are requifite to be made, the encouragement that is neceffary to be given, and of the diftreffes and wants of their fubjects. Notwithstanding this attention to domeftic and internal happiness, the two great powers of the empire are far from being negligent of their military depart. ments; the fword feems only to flumber, but does not fleep, and their armies are kept complete, and in the best condition. The Emprefs Queen has published an ediet, whereby the foldiers in all her armies are allowed and even encouraged to marry, a corrective in fome degree to the political mifchiefs attendant on thofe extenfive military establishments.

Turning our eyes to the fouthward, the fcene is there alfo entirely pacific. Indeed the new Dey of Algiers had made fome extraordinary demands upon the republic of Venice among the reft, befides the payment of an exorbitant fum of money, he infifted that his corfairs fhould have free liberty to cruize in the gulf of Venice, and to take the thips of any nation with whom he was not bound by treaty with this extraordinary

condition annexed, that if any of his cruizers fhould happen to be taken, the republic fhould repair the lofs in ready money.

Thefe difhonourable propofals were refufed with a proper difdain by the fenate; and as the Dey of Algiers had broken the peace, and imprifoned their conful, they equipped a fquadron of men of war, which they difpatched to Algiers, under the command of Admiral Emo, to bring him to reafon. The Dey continued obftinate; upon which the admiral, according to his orders, immediately declared war against him, and failed out of the harbour to fulfil his inftructions, which were to block up the port, and destroy all the Algerine corfairs he could meet with.

Thefe vigorous refolutions foon brought the Dey to temper, and indeed to a fubmiffion as mean as his demands had been infolent; he found himself under a neceffity of making ufe of the mediation of the British conful, to procure a renewal of the peace upon the original terms.

The other parts of Italy have afforded little remarkable, except the expulfion of the Jefuits from Naples and Parma ; as these events are intimately connected with, or may rather be looked upon as confequences of, the meafures which had been already taken in Spain to the fame purpose, we fhall include them under that head; as well as the ineffectual remonftrances made by the court of Rome in their favour. The edict which has been paffed by the regency of Parma, with refpect to ecclefiaftical affairs, and which almost totally fecludes the Roman fee from all jurifdiction in that duchy, together

[4] 3

together with the confequences, which are faid to be an excommunication, will find their proper place in the tranfactions of the enfuing year. The power and intereft of the court of Rome is daily lofing ground in Italy; where other ftates, befides thofe we have mentioned, are taking measures to circumfcribe it. The government of Milan, which includes the Auftrian Lombardy, has pub. lished a law, by which all the rights which the pope or the bishops have hitherto exercised over ecclefiaftics, either with regard to their effects or their perfons, is transferred to a council, eftablished for that purpofe at Milan. All ecclefiaftics are obliged to fell the eftates which they have become poffeffed of fince the year 1722; and no fubject, whether ecclefiaftic or fecular, is permit. ted to go to Rome to folicit any favour, except letters of indulgence, without the confent of the faid council.

couraging, reftraining, and dif treffing the British factories and commerce in that kingdom. This conduct feems the more wholly unaccountable, as the very exif, tence of that nation as an independent ftate has fo long and fo often depended upon the powerful protection of Great Britain; which has alfo, upon every other occafion, always acted the part of a most faithful ally and generous friend. If the advantages arifing from the commerce between the two nations were not mutual, this conduct might admit of fome plea in its juftification; but the contrary is evidently fhewn, by the great preference which has been fo long given by England to the Portuguefe wines, for which they could find no other market, and the confequent immenfe confumption of them in thefe countries. Many have with reafon been furprised at the fupinenefs of the British minifter, in putting up fo long with the frequent oppreffions, infults, and indignities, which have been fo repeatedly offered to the English merchants in that country. Nor have they been lefs furprifed at the temerity of the Portuguefe minifter, in venturing to roufe the indignation of a nation, which could fo eafily and fo effectually do itfelf ample juftice.

The irregularity and inclemency of the feafons for fome years past, in different parts of Europe, has occafioned an uncertainty and great deficiency in the crops of leveral countries, by which the poor have fuffered great diftreffes. The ecclefiaftical ftate, and fome other parts of Italy, have been feverely affected by this calamity, and were it not for that happy effect

This law is the fame as that which was published at Venice under the pontificate of Benedict XIV. and which occafioned fo many debates, that the Republic was obliged to abolish it in the beginning of the pontificate of Clement XIII. but the prefent law is paffed at a period much more favourable to the independency of fovereigns.

Portugal has afforded but little material in the courfe of the paft year. Whether from fonte miftaken notion in politics, or from fome national prejudice, or whatever other caufe, is uncertain; but the prefent prime minifter in that country has taken every occafion, during his administration, of dif

effect of navigation and commerce, by which the wants of one nation are fupplied from the fuperabundance of another, famine would have thinned the race of mankind in many places. England, which ufually fupplied its neighbours with fuch immenfe quantities of grain, and allowed a confiderable bounty on the exportation of it, has been a fufferer from the fame caufe, and it has required the utmost attention of the legislature, to guard againft and prevent the dreadful confequences attending

which is not interrupted by the fquabbles or wars between their refpective ftates. This good dif. pofition does not only add greatly to the advancement of knowledge and learning, but will alfo have a happy effect in wearing off those illiberal prejudices, and inveterate animofities, with which, to the miffortune of mankind, they are fo apt to regard all thofe whom they do not know, and who do not form a part of the fame particular com. munity, or fpeak the fame language with themfelves. This li beral intercourfe, together with the continual tranflation of books from one language to another, will by degrees bring mankind in fome measure acquainted, and, it is to be hoped, wear off a great part of that hearty ill-will which they bore to each other as strangers.

it.

It gives us pleasure to obferve, as a diftinction peculiar to the prefent age, the friendly intercourfe, harmony, and free communication of knowledge, which at prefent fubfifts between the learned of all the countries in Europe; and

CHA P.

II.

Strict attention of the government of Sweden to prevent luxury. An important law made for enlarging the liberty of the prefs in that kingdom. Denmark. Great preparations making in Ruffia to obferve the tranfit of the planet Venus over the fun: The Empress writes a letter upon that fub jet to the academy at Petersburg. Deputies from all the provinces of the empire are fummoned to Mofcow, to form a new code of laws. State of affairs in Turkey. Encouragement given by the Grand Seignior, to introduce the art of printing in his dominions. The piratical ftates of Barbary refufe to pay the ancient tribute to the Porte. An infurrection in the province of Montenero.

IN

N Sweden, the whole attention of the diet, as well as the miniftry, is directed to the improvement of their manufactures, the encouragement of agriculture, and the restriction within the narroweft li mits of every kind of foreign fuperfluity. The fumptuary laws, and those against every fpecies of

luxury, are put in execution without diftinction of age or quality; and it feems to be laid down as a maxim, to enforce the most rigid private, as well as public œcónomy.

This principle has been purfued to the minuteft detail, and enforced with the greatest rigour. A coun

[4] 4

A counsellor of ftate, who had neglected to have a velvet border ftript off a cloak, which he had worn for many years, was fummoned before the tribunal, whofe province it is to put the edict against luxury in force, and received a fevere reprimand from thofe grave judges for the mifdemeanor. A lady alfo of the firft quality, was obliged to appear before the fame tribunal, and underwent an equal cenfure for drinking a dish of chocolate in her box at the playhouse.

Among thefe regulations, many of which feem of a trifling nature, one has been made of the greatest importance; a law for enlarging the liberty of the prefs. By this edict, all perfons have liberty to write and reafon, on all fubjects in general, and to publish their opinions. The laws of the kingdom, their utility, or their bad effects, are fubject to difcuffion and cenfure. All alliances, ancient and modern, in which the kingdom is engaged, and all new ones which may be hereafter propofed, or even concluded, are fubject to a free enquiry, and to have the good or bad confequences at. tending them pointed out,

In order that the public may receive the most authentic information upon all these points, every perfon has a right to demand, of the different colleges established for the adminiftration of public bufinefs, from the fenate to the courts of the loweft jurifdiction, a communication of the registers or journals, wherein all their decifions are entered. The courts are obliged to keep thefe journals very correct and the debates, the dif

ferent opinion upon each fubject, the decifions in every caufe, with the reafons for them, are to be inferted. Any perfon, in whatsoever office, that refufes to communicate these regifters, is to lose his place.

The fenate alone has an exclufive privilege of not communicating its debates upon foreign matters; which it may for a time be requifite to keep fecret. Every perfon has liberty, during the feffions of the diet, to make obfervations on the debates and refolutions of each deputation of the ftates, concerning any bufiness, whether general or particular, except fuch as regard the immediate adminiftration of government; and may print his obfervations on the fubject. And to facilitate a free enquiry, the king is to get an exact account of the fituation of the ftate in every department, made out and printed, before the meeting of each diet.

There are however fome reftrictions, which will fufficiently guard against the licentioufnefs of authors. No perfon is to write againft the established religion of the kingdom, nor against the fundamental political conftitution, nor the rights of the different orders of the ftate. Perfonal fatires and pafquinades, contrary to the refpect due to crowned heads, or injurious to the reputation of private perfons, are ftrictly forbid.

The printer is ordered to infert the author's name in the title-page of each book; in which cafe, the author alone is liable to be brought to an account for any exceptionable paffage; but if the printer neglects this injunction, he is to be confidered as the author, and is

an

anfwerable for the book. There is however an exception, that if a writer has particular reafons for not publishing his name, his leaving it in writing with the printer, to be produced if legally called for, will discharge the latter from all the confequences. This liberty, that is granted to the public, of inveftigating the principles up on which their own bufinefs is conducted, and of animadverting, as well upon the acts of the fenate, as upon those of the courts of juf tice, and the other departments of the ftate, will be fo great a check upon the conduct of them all, and attended with fuch manifeft ad. vantages to the people, that it requires no comment to explain them, and is fuch a precedent as may well deserve the attention of other states.

A general spirit of improvement feems to reign through the north. The young king of Denmark appears to fet out with all those difpofitions which can contribute to make his people happy, and the ftate refpectable.

His Majefty is faid to have a fcheme in agitation to restore the peasants in his dominions to fome fhare of their natural liberties; in which, if he fucceeds, he will acquire great honour; and by granting to the lower and more numerous part of his fubjects the enjoy. ment of perfonal freedom, will make amends to the country for the lofs of their political conftitu. tion.

The Emprefs of Ruffia ftill proceeds on the fame enlarged and enlightened plan, which we have had occafion heretofore fo much to commend, She still continues to

cultivate and encourage the arts and fciences; to make her empire an afylum to the learned and ingenious; and to reform the manners and inftruct the minds of the people, through the extent of its moft diftant provinces.

The tranfit of the planet Venus, over the fun, which is to happen in the fummer of 1769, has added a new opportunity of fhewing as well her munificence, as the attention he pays to aftronomy. This great princefs wrote a letter from Mofcow with her own hand, to Count Wolodimer Orlow, director of the academy of fciences at Peterfburgh; wherein the defires the academy to inform her of the moft proper places in her dominions for the making of thofe obfervations; with an offer to fend workmen, &c. and to conftruct buildings in all thofe places, which the academy may think proper for the purpofe, and to grant every other affiftance to the undertaking which it may require. She alfo defired, if there was not a fufficient number of aftronomers in the academy to make observations in all the places required, to give her notice, that the might fend a proper number of the officers of her marine, to qualify themselves, under the eye of the profeffors in the academy, for that undertak. ing.

Such is the extent of this vast empire, that the obfervations which are to be made, both on the tranfit and exit of this planet, the one in the frozen regions towards the pole, and the other on the borders of the Cafpian sea, are to be made within its own li mits; to fome part of which, aftro.

« EelmineJätka »