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ionable life, which we have no space to notice, but which we recommend to the attention of our readers of every class. They cannot fail to be amused with a work so full of variety, and of elegant satire, controlled throughout by sound good sense, and informed by a spirit that is peculiarly remarkable for its acuteness of
If we have any fault to find with this delightful novel, it is that the author has introduced too great a number of persons, whose characters she merely describes, but who take no part in the principal scenes of the tale. Such a number of portraits, which have little to recommend them beyond the face and aptitude of the colouring the fair author has given them, tends to confuse the memory, and lead to expectations of seeing them again, which are not often realized. It might also be objected, that many of the conversations are prolix and tiresome to an extreme degree; but we own, nevertheless, that we should not like to see these curtailed, as they appear to be accurate specimens of the colloquial intercourse that takes place in "high life."
ART. XII. Colleccion de los Viages y Descubrimientos que hicieron por, mar los Espanoles desde fines del Siglo XV. con varios documentos ineditos, concernientes a la marina Castellana, y a los establecimientos Espanoles en Indias. Por Don Manuel Fernandez Navarrete. Madrid, 1825-26. Vols. 1 and 2, pp. 1061. Salvà, Regent-street, London. This is a work of general interest, containing some useful information published at Madrid by a learned Spaniard, and at the command and expense of King Ferdinand VII.! We look upon it, therefore, as a real curiosity, a rara avis, and we have hailed the appearance of something from the presses of that country, which bears the mark of intellect. The Spaniards were till now without a collection of the voyages and discoveries of their navigators: the work before us will give all the discoveries made by them from the latter end of the fifteenth century, with interesting documents hitherto unpublished, concerning the establishment of the Spaniards in the New World. The author has had access to the king's libraries and archives, and is possessed, therefore, of the best means of information. Two volumes have already appeared, the first of which contains a well written introduction of 151 pages, and afterwards the journal of the first voyage of Columbus, and the account of his other three voyages. The second volume consists of all the diplomatic correspondence of the same admiral, the whole accompanied by two fine maps of the North Atlantic Ocean, and the coast of Tierra Firme, from the Oronoco to Zucatan, and of the Antilles and Lucayas Islands, with the route of Columbus' ships.
Mr. Navarrete, in his introduction, gives a short account of the naval history of Spain, in which, among other things, we find the use of steam, for the purpose of navigation, to have been known and tried by a Spaniard nearly three centuries ago. Blasco de Garay, captain of a ship, proposed, in the year 1543, to the Emperor Charles V. the experiment" of an engine able to move large vessels in calm weather without the use of oars or sails."
After several difficulties, the emperor agreed to try this invention, and the trial took place at Barcelona, on the 17th of June of the same year. Garay did not communicate his secret, but it was observed at the time that he employed a large boiler filled with water, and two wheels placed on the outside of the vessel. The trial was made on a vessel of 200 tons, called La Trinidad, Captain Pedro de Scarza, that had come from Colibre to Barcelona, laden with corn. The machine having been placed in the vessel, the latter set off in the sight of an immense crowd of people. The king's treasurer, however, who was commissioned to give his opinion on the new project, being hostile to it, roported that it was not worth adopting, as the vessel did not go more than eight miles in two hours, besides which, the boiler was liable to burst. The emperor being then on the point of departing from Spain, laid aside the affair, after having, however, bestowed on the inventor forty thousand maravedis, besides paying all his expenses, and Garay seeing no further prospect of its adoption, destroyed the engine.
Navarrete, in his introduction endeavours to justify the Spanish nation, with respect to the cruelties imputed to the conquerors of America. It appears that Columbus, on his taking possession of the island of Hispaniola, ordered part of the inhabitants to be distributed among the Spaniards, to work for the service of the latter. Some of these Indians were carried to Spain, which being made known to Queen Isabella, she ordered them to be restored to their own country, forbidding under pain of death any future attempts against their personal liberty, and directing the Indians, whom she used to call her children, to be treated with the greatest kindness, and to be placed on the same footing with her Spanish subjects. She ordered land to be distributed between them, and houses to be built, and directed that persuasion, or at the utmost, gentle coercion should be employed to make them live like civilized people. She continued to advocate their cause to the end of her life, and in her will recommended them to her husband. However, the local authorities supported the abuse of forcing the natives to work for the Spaniards; and on the question of the rights of the Indians being discussed in Spain, the Dominican missionaries took warmly the defence of those unfortunate people, and loudly proclaimed them to be entitled to all the rights of men, reprobating at the same time the abuses introduced by the colonists. The latter, however, had also their advocates at court, and there was a divine who asserted that the Indians were slaves, de natura. Ferdinand V. assembled a council for the purpose, and it was decided that the Indians could be forced to work for the Spaniards, the king approved consequently of their distribution, and forbade the missionaries to interfere. The latter, however, continued their reclamations, which were at length listened to by Charles V., who prohibited the forced labour of the Indians, and appointed the Dominican Las Casas to be their protector. Since then the Indians were placed under the special tutelage of the Spanish government. Navarrete however does not deny that cruelties were committed by the soldiers in the various conquests, but this he considers as the guilt of a few individuals, which cannot be charged to the Spanish government, or the Spanish nation. We observe here that Navarrete has fallen into the old error of attributing to the Philanthrophic Las Casas, the first proposal of introducing negro slaves to work the mines of America, instead of the Indians. The truth
s, that long before Las Casas' mission, the colonists used to purchase licenses to introduce negroes from Africa, in the same manner as it was practised in the East Indian Colonies; these licenses allowed the purchasers to introduce an indefinite number of slaves, and father Las Casas only proposed, that every colonist in future might be allowed to have two negroes for his service; so that Las Casas' proposition, instead of encouraging the abuse was intended to repress it. That virtuous ecclesiastic could not abolish at the same time both Indian and negro slavery, and of two evils he chose the lesser. The celebrated Herrera, gives a most clear account of this transaction, which however has been mistaken and misrepresented by most historians.
Navarrete, towards the conclusion of his introduction, enters into several arguments to prove the rights of Spain over America, and this we suspect has been the real object of this publication at the present period. He indulges in a strain of sarcasm against the South American independents, taunting them with being themselves the descendants of those very Spaniards, against whose usurpation they now declaim. Why, asks Narrete, do these zealous defenders of the rights of the Americans, hold still the lands, the titles, and the honours conferred on their forefathers, as a reward for their oppression and cruelties ?
The third volume of the collection will contain the discovery of Costa Firmę and Florida, and the fourth the expedition of Cortes.
ART. XII.-The Little World of Knowledge, arranged numerically, designed for exercising the Memory, and as an Introduction to the Arts and Sciences, History, Natural Philosophy, Belles Lettres, &c. &c. By Charlotte Matilda Hunt. 12mo. pp. 364. 7s. London. Longman. and Co. 1826.
THERE is, at the first blush, a certain degree of ingenuity in the plan of this little work. The matter is classed without reference to its nature, under particular numbers; as for example, the two orders of Roman nobility, the senatorial and equestrian, are ranged under The Two;' or, as Mrs. Hunt prefers a French title, Les Deux.' This subject is followed by the two sorts of letters, vowels and consonants, used in the English language, and to this succeeds the two' divisions of the Roman people into optimates and populares;' the two' periodical motions of the tides, called the flux and reflux. Thus the young memory is desired to travel onward, through simple and compound gases, hieroglyphics, and alphabetical characters, the two books of the homilies, the two parts of the Talmud, the two orders of thanes, the two Prester Johns, and, in short, through a whole world of knowledge, which Mrs. Hunt has found it convenient to congregate under these numbers.
The first objection, and which we think a fatal one, to this scheme for imparting information is, that instead of assisting the memory, this unbounded variety of topics, treated, as they must necessarily be, in a brief and summary manner, must overwhelm even the most matured mind, not to speak of one rising into puberty. Such a plan may afford a mere smattering of knowledge, which, if it be preserved at all, never passes beyond the memory into the general aliment of the mind. It is like food introduced into the stomach without being properly masticated; the consequence is, that it cannot be properly digested; and far from nourishing, it tends rather to impair the vigour of the general system. It would be an
exceedingly absurd thing to lay the whole Encyclopædia Britannica before a young pupil, and tell him to get it all by heart. But the attempt which Mrs. Hunt has made in the volume before us, is still more monstrous, for she can give but the mere names of many things in the sciences, history, and natural philosophy,' and yet she expects that these will make the child understand them.
Another objection to her work is, that her classifications are quite arbitrary. For instance, under the title just mentioned, in which she speaks of the two divisions of the Roman people into optimates and populares, she herself adds a third-the protelarii, and she omits one of the most important of the whole, the patricians. This defect in her plan she admits in her preface, when she says, that, 'in arranging her subjects under numerical heads, she has been decided rather by her own discretion, than by any precise and fixed number, according to which they might have been classed.' This, in truth, is equivalent to an acknowledgment, that when the pupil has got beyond Mrs. Hunt's book, he will have to unlearn all her capricious classifications for the true ones-an operation so harassing to the mind, that ignorance is infinitely preferable, until the more eligible modes of acquiring information can be resorted to.
In addition to these faults, we have found much of Mrs. Hunt's knowledge both in history and natural philosophy, apocryphal and defective. We are sorry to be obliged thus to censure the work of a lady, but the education of children is not to be trifled with, and we should be ashamed to refrain, through any motives of delicacy, from saying what we think of this work, that it is much better calculated to 'imit and confuse, than to enlarge and elucidate "the world of knowledge."
ART. XIV.--The Poetical Souvenir. By Kennett and George Read Dixon. 8vo. pp. 339. 10s. 6d. London. Cock. 1827.
WE presume this is intended to be an annual publication, but it needs no prophetic gift to foresee, that its existence will be extremely limited, unless something be done towards strengthening its vital principle. The volume is as its title indicates, wholly composed of what the editors are pleased to call poetry, but which we must designate as verses, that are little better than the ballads suspended on the stalls. There is a pretty frontispiece, and a variety of emblematic wood cuts, without merit of any sort to recommend them. The following lines are not, however, altogether contemptible:
'One summer's eve, when storms were o'er,
I wander'd on the silent shore,
And mark'd the swell on ocean's breast,
By storms of fate which rest at last,
Which show that sorrow has been there!'-p. 105
Several stanzas for music, and some sonnets and fragments, fill up the latter part of this Souvenir. The editors miscalculated in the first instance, in imagining that a volume, consisting only of scraps of verse, was likely to meet the public taste; but still more disastrous was their mistake, when they supposed that such verses as they have produced, would be read by any body above the rank of a gypsy.
ART. I. Report from the Select Committee on Emigration from the United Kingdom. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed. 26th May, 1826.
It would be needless to prove, that the propriety of encouraging emigration from the United Kingdom, on an enlarged and systematic scale, has become one of the most interesting and pressing considerations of national policy. It yields in magnitude to none of the great questions of political economy, which have lately engaged the public mind of this country: in its relations and bearings, the subject involves as vital consequences to the domestic and colonial welfare of the empire, as those of free trade, or the state of Ireland, or pauperism, or the corn laws:—with all the three last of which, at least, it is intimately and inseparably blended.
By performing its province on an occasion of such grave import, government has already proceeded in a spirit, which cannot be too warmly applauded. In this instance, the ministry have acted thoroughly upon those enlightened and liberal views, which have more or less distinguished all their foreign and domestic policy, ever since Mr. Canning happily assumed the leading direction of affairs. A regular experiment of colonial emigration, upon a small but combined scale, has actually been tried; and the select committee of the House of Commons, whose report is before us, has subsequently been employed on the same subject, in labours which must prove of the very highest utility, in disseminating a great mass of valuable opinions and exact information. The judgment with which the objects of inquiry were here selected in the examination of evidence, and the ability with which the report itself is drawn up, are extremely creditable to Mr. Wilmot Horton, who presided in the committee.
In characterizing this report, we must, however, venture to express our opinion, that it in some respects scarcely goes far enough. We think that the collective tendency of the evidence accumulated by the committee, would fairly and plainly have justified even more positive and definite conclusions than are embodied in the
NO. XVII. VOL. IV.