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to peruse; from the petulant levity of others; from the feebleness with which some have maintained a cause we approved, and from the intolerable talent with which others have advocated one we reprobated. We can assure our readers, that according to the most moderate computation, the sum at which we lay our damages is not small. But we abstain from bringing the estimate forward, for many reasons. One, that it is altogether a private affair, between ourselves and the genus irritabile vatum, in which the public would probably feel little interest. Another, that considering Signor Gioia esteems the original voluntary assumption of a painful office, such an alleviation of its sufferings, that he assigns to the slightest possible wound the quintuple of the gain so earned, we are not quite sure whether, if those individuals of the abovementioned genus, whose ire we may have excited, should bring a counter-action, the balance of accounts would very decidedly be in our favour. And, "last, not least in our dear love," we have not heard that in any of the various constitutions, despotic, republican, or representative-monarchical, concocted, concocting, or to be concocted, in Europe, or America, the Signor Melchiorre Gioia's principle of universal compensation has been, or is to be adopted.

ART. VI. 1. Memoire sur la Vie et les Ouvrages de J. H. Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. Par L. Aimé-Martin, Accompagné de Lettres, &c. 8vo. pp. 496. Paris. 1826. London: Treuttel & Würtz. 2. Correspondance de J. H. Bernardin de Saint Pierre, precedée d'un Supplement aux Memoires de sa Vie. Par L. Aimé-Martin. 3 vols. 8vo. Paris. 1826. London: Treuttel & Würtz.

THE laborious object of these four volumes, which are published together, is to do honour to the memory of the author of the "Studies of Nature," and of "Paul and Virginia." The whole work has been composed and edited by the pious care of friendship; and M. Aimé-Martin is avowedly the eulogist and advocate of Bernardin de Saint Pierre. Impartiality in his account of his hero is, therefore, neither pretended, nor to be expected; and, in forming an estimate of the personal character and genius of Saint-Pierre, the cautious reader will, of course, judge him rather by the recorded facts of his life, and the contents of his writings, than by the animated panegyrics and the partial criticisms of his biographer.

The single volume, containing the life of Saint-Pierre, which we have put first at the head of this article, appears to have been originally written and published by M. Aimé-Martin about six years ago; and it is now, by the rather whimsical transposition from which we have rescued it, converted into a fourth volume, to follow the correspondence; and thus to stand after the supplement which had been written expressly to complete it. The fortunes of Saint-Pierre were singular; his career was adventurous and remarkable; and the story of its vicissitudes is sufficiently chequered with

variety of incident. The memoir on his life, therefore, is a narrative of romantic interest, as well as of some literary curiosity; and we are surprised that this volume has not already been translated into English. There is, indeed, an evident disposition in the writer to heighten the dramatic effect of every situation into which his hero was thrown his descriptions are always ambitiously drawn. language is florid, and aims at poetical imagery; and his whole cast of opinion is by far too much overstrained, and too affectedly sentimental. A tone of exaggeration, in short, prevails through the whole memoir, both in the relation of facts and the expression of feelings; and we should hesitate to pledge our judgment, either upon the authenticity or soundness of all that is advanced in it. But the book is so written, as abundantly to produce that sympathy for the personal fate of the hero, which constitutes the lighter charm of all biography; and the narrative of his adventures is, perhaps, the more amusing, by reason of its having borrowed something of the vivid colouring and imaginative spirit of fiction. We are convinced, that if the volume, with some modifications, were clothed in an English dress, it would possess considerable attraction as a tale of human life, and that it would at least be read, as people read the common class of novels, for the excitement to be found in its story.

Whatever curiosity or interest may be ascribed to the memoir on the life of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, the single volume with which it is occupied is assuredly the only part of M. Aimé Martin's huge compilation, that possesses any particle of value. The letters have no intrinsic merit; and their contents have been robbed of all novelty, for they have been used or anticipated in the composition of the memoir. They relate little more than the circumstances of the writer's life, which his biographer has detailed with scrupulous minuteness. They display none of those graces of style, and beauties of description and imagery, for which Saint-Pierre's works are so remarkable. Still less do they, like his Studies of Nature, give us a pleasing insight into the enthusiastic temperament of his mind: they are for the most part confined to the description of his pecuniary grievances, and to the indulgence of the discontent provoked by the ill success of his affairs.

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The motive or excuse of M. Aimé-Martin for offering to the world these three volumes of uninteresting letters, is explained in a long and tedious prefaratory discourse, or Réfutation,' as it is entitled. It appears that, since the original publication of Saint-Pierre's Memoirs, by M. Aimé-Martin, a writer named Durosoir has contributed to the "Biographie Universelle," an article on the same subject, in which the character of Bernardin is studiously depreciated and vilified. Fired with violent and probably just indignation at this attack upon the memory of a revered friend, M. Aimé here undertakes to expose the malicious falsehoods of his slanderers; but instead of simply republishing his first work, with a refutation of

the article in the Biographie, as the most natural course of proceeding, he has thought it necessary to print all the letters of SaintPierre which he could succeed in accumulating. We can warmly sympathise with that laudable anxiety for the fame of departed excellence, which it is the last duty of friendship to cherish: but we know that such zeal is too often injudicious and apt to defeat its own purpose; and, in the instance before us, we really cannot discover the service which the publication of this interminable correspondence can render to the memory of Saint-Pierre. The letters will never be read; or if even they should be, there is nothing in them to illustrate, as the partial biographer would fain persuade us, "the simplicity of the sage, and the virtues of the father of a family." M. Aimé would have done better to have suffered the personal character of his hero to rest upon the memoir which he had previously rendered of his life.

In that memoir, the biographer has, very naturally, been led by affectionate admiration, much to overrate the qualities of his idol. He would require us to believe him an example of the most exalted genius, and to number him, as a moralist, among the greatest benefactors of humanity. This pretension, it is needless to say, is only ridiculous. As a charming writer, of tender and glowing sentiment, his beautiful, though extravagant, tale of Paul and Virginia, will long cause him to be remembered; and his Etudes de la Nature offer higher indications of originality, both in elegant fancy and philosophical reflection. But the circumstances of his life did not develop, as the characteristic qualities of his mind, either sound judgment or the capability of forming practicable views of human improvement; and we allot to him the highest praise to which either his writings or his conduct can entitle him, when we distinguish him as an amiable enthusiast. But such a sketch of his fortunes, as we can extract from M. Aimé's memoir, after making a proper allowance for the spirit of rhapsody in which it is composed, will perhaps give a better idea of the man than whole pages of criticisms on his writings.

Bernardin de Saint-Pierre was born at Havre, in Normandy, of respectable parents, in the year 1737. Even in early boyhood, he shewed the warmth of imagination and love of ideal abstraction, as well as the passion for contemplating the works of nature, which marked his mental character throughout life. The piety of disposition, which was shewn in the bent of his early tastes, was elevated, says his biographer, by the perusal of various religious works in his father's library; and the Lives of the Saints in particular, excited him to such a pitch of exaltation, that, when only nine years old, he left his father's house with the notable purpose of turning hermit, and consecrating a solitary life, like the anchorites of old, to the service of God. He was of course brought back to his home; and soon after this childish adventure, some volumes of voyages and travels gave a new current to his ideas. Robinson



Crusoe was put into his hands; its pages were eagerly devoured, and its story haunted his thoughts and his fancy, by day and night. He identified himself as what boy of imagination does not with the hero he was transported, in delicious day-dreams, to the desert island, and lived himself through the same adventures, as the solitary. He went further in his reveries: he civilized the savages around him; and perhaps to the influence which that delightful fiction exercised upon his young mind, might be traced both the chimerical projects of his riper years, and the peculiar tone of his later writings.

In this romantic temper of his boyhood, his passionate importunity induced his parents to allow him to make a voyage to Martinique, with an uncle, who was master of a vessel; and the realities of a sailor's life, for a time, cooled his enthusiasm. On his return, he was placed in the Jesuit's college at Caen, where he distinguished himself by his successful application to study: but here again he was seized with another fit of romance, and was with difficulty dissuaded from professing himself a Jesuit, that he might embark as a missionary for India. Being weaned from this inclination, he entered the university of Rouen, gained its highest mathematical honours, and was, in consequence, induced, at the age of twenty, to become a candidate for appointment, first as a civil, and afterwards as a military engineer.

In this last capacity his public life began. During the seven years' war, he served in the engineer department with the French armies in Germany, where he deported himself gallantly, and was wounded. He was afterwards sent to Malta, with other engineers, to assist its knighthood in an apprehended siege by the Turks; but returning, after this false alarm, to France, he found himself thrown out of employment, and almost without the means of subsistence. In this discouraging state of his own affairs, he began to interest himself in the general welfare of his species; and about the year 1762, having succeeded in borrowing a small sum of money, he set off for Russia, with the rational ambition of seeking permission from the empress Catherine to found a republic upon the shores of the Black Sea! In this mad expedition, he encountered many adventures, and without money or letters of introduction, succeeded wonderfully in effecting his journey to Petersburgh and Moscow. His simplicity of character, his pleasing address, and many amiable qualities, seem to have won him friends whereever he appeared:-and his imprudence, or restless zeal, as regularly prevented him from deriving lasting profit from his good fortune. The moral atmosphere of Russia was anything but the climate for his hopeful scheme of founding a republic; but Catherine distinguished him by her notice, and received him into her military service. This, however, he soon quitted in disgust, and was precipitated, by his enthusiasm for liberty, into new perils. Escaping to Poland, he offered himself as a volunteer in the

cause of her independence; engaged in the civil war, which aided foreign oppression, in desolating that unhappy kingdom;-fell desperately in love with a Polish princess, who first encouraged, and then dismissed him ;-and finally returned to his native land, bankrupt in projects, and pennyless as he had quitted it, some four years before.

Saint-Pierre was now about thirty years of age, and had seen as much of the world as should have sufficed to dispel his Utopian dreams of becoming the founder of new states, and dictating the universal happiness of his species. Yet he was as pure a visionary as ever. His patrons, wearied by his perpetual solicitation of employment, at length procured him an appointment as engineer to the colony, which the French government were labouring to reestablish in Madagascar. Full of this new enterprise, he sold the little patrimony to which he had now succeeded by the death of his father, and expended the whole of it in preparation for his grand undertaking of civilizing the Eastern world. Books on legislation, policy, natural history, navigation, mathematics; scientific instruments of various kinds; all were purchased, until he had no more to give. "But while," says his biographer, "he exhausted his purse for the wants of the new colonial republic, and prepared to teach so many nations to live in abundance, he found that he was himself without shirts;" and even the necessary linen for his own voyage was with difficulty procured upon credit. He had scarcely quitted the shores of France, before he found, to his horror, that the chief of the expedition, the governor-elect of Madagascar, was bent,not upon the philanthropic object of civilizing the natives of the island, but-upon making them the victims of the slave trade. Quitting the expedition in disgust and indignation, at the Isle of France, he remained there in his quality of military engineer; and thus commenced his residence of two years in the island, which he afterwards converted into the scene of his most popular tale.

This disappointment of his hopeful scheme of civilizing Madagascar, seems at length to have calmed the activity of Saint-Pierre's enthusiasm. He now perceived that he had been all his life the dupe of his ambition; and convinced of the futility of his sanguine projects for promoting the happiness of the world, he thenceforth determined, as he afterwards humorously confessed, to legislate only for imaginary nations. He was true to his resolution, On his last return to his native country, he withdrew from the busy world, and traced in solitude the plan of his Utopia. And it is more honourable to his philosophy that when, many years afterwards, during the storms of the Revolution, he saw all minds agitated with the speculative follies which had misled his own youth and manhood, he studiously avoided mingling in the political madness and crimes of his age, either as deputy of the people, senator, or statesman.

Thus, throughout the last half of his protracted life, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre appears to us only in the most attractive

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