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which must be placed in a class by itself, in opposition to that of Aristophanes, whose manner is likewise

peculiar to himself.

But such is the weakness of the human mind, that when we review the successions of the drama a third time, we find genius falling from its height, forgetting itfelf, and led astray by the love of novelty, and the defire of striking out new patlis. Tragedy degenerated in Greece from the time of Aristotle, and in Rome after Augustus. Ac Rome and Athens comedy produced Mimi, pantomimes, burlettas, tricks, and farces, for the fake of variety ; fuch is the character, and such the madnefs of the mind of man." It is fatisfied with having made great conquests, and gives them up to attempt others, which are far from answering its expectation, and only enables it to discover its own folly; weakness, and deviations. But why should we be tired with standing still at the true point of perfection, when it is attained? If cloquence be wearied, and forget's herself a while, yet she foon returns to her foriner point: fo will it happen to our theatres if the French Muses will keep the Greck models in their view, and not look with disdain upon a stage whose mother is nature, whose foul is passion, and whose art is simplicity: 'a stage, which, to speak the truth, does not perhaps equal ours in splendor and elevation, but which excels it in fimplicity and propriety, and equals it at least in the conduct and direction of those passions which may properly affect an honest man and a christian.

For my part, I Mall think myself well recompensed for my labour, and Mall atrain the"end which I had in view, if I shall in fome little measuie revive in the minds

of

of those who purpose to run the round of polite literature, not an immoderate and blind reverence, but a true taste of antiquity : such a taste as both feeds and polishes the mind, and enriches it by enabling it to appropriate the wealth of foreigners, and to exert its natural fertility in exquisite productions ; such a taste as gave the Racines, the Molieres, the Boileaus, the Fontaines, the Patrus, the Pelefons, and many other great geniuses of the last age, all that they were, and all that they will always be ; such a taste as puts the seal of immortality to those works in which it is discovered ; a tafe fo necessary, that without it we may be certain that the greatest powers of nature will long continue in a state below themselves ; fór no man ought to allow himself to be flattered or seduced by the example of some men of genius, who have rather appeared to despise this taste than to, despise it in reality. It is true that excellent originals have given occasion, without any fault of their own, to very bad copies. No man ought severely to ape either the ancients or the nioderns': but if it was necessary to run into an extreme of one side of the other, which is never done by a judicious and well-directed mind, it would be better for a wit, às for a painter, to enrich himself by what he can take from the ancients, than to grow poor by taking all from his own stock; or openly to affect an imitation of those moderns whose more fertile genius has produced beauties peculiar to themselves, and which themselves only can display withi grace : beauties of that peculiar kind, that they are not fit to be imitated by others; though in those who first invented them they may be justly esteemed, and in them only.

А с.

A C CO U N T

со

OF

A

в о о К,

ENTITLED,

An historical and critical Enquiry into the Evia

dence produced by the Earls of MORAY and Morton, against MARY Queen of Scots * With an Examination of the Rev. Dr. Robertson's Dissertation, and Mr. Hume's History, with respect to that Evidence t.

We live in an age in which there is much talk of

independence, of private judgment, of liberty of thought, and liberty of press. Our clamorous praises of liberty fufficiently prove that we enjoy it; and if by liberty nothing else be meant, than security from the persecutions of power, it is so fully possessed by us, that little more is to be desired, except that one should talk of it less, and use it better.

But a social being can scarcely rise to complete independence; he that has any wants, which others can

* Written by Mr. Tytler, of Edinburgh. E. + Printed in the Gentleman's Magazine, O&tober 1760. E.

fupply,

fupply,'must study the gratification of them whose arsistance he expects ; this is equally true, whether hiş wants be wants of nature or of vanity. The writers of the present time are not always candidates for preferment, nor often the hirelings of a patron. They profess to serve no interest, and speak with loud contempt of fycophants and Naves,

There is, however, a power, from whose infuence neither they nor their predecessors have ever been free, Those who have set greatness at defiance, have yet been the flaves of fashion. When an opinion has once become popular, very few are willing to oppose it. Idledess is more willing to credit than enquire ; cowardice is afraid of controversy, and vanity of answer; and he that writes merely for sale,is tempted to court purchasers by flattering the prejudices of the public.

It has now been fashionable for near half a century, to defame and vilify the house of Stuart, and to exalt and magnify the reign of Elizabeth. The Stuarts have found few apologists, for the dead cannot pay for praise ; and who will, without reward, oppose the tide of popularity ? Yet there remains still among us, not wholly extinguished, a zeal for truth, a desire of establishing right, in opposition to fashion. The author, whose work is now before us, has attempted a vindication of Mary of Scotland, whose name has for some years been generally resigned to infamy, and who has been considered as the murderer of her husband, and condemned by her own letters.

Of these letters, the author of this vindication confeffes the importance to be such, that if they be genuine, the

queen

by way

queen was guilty; and if they be spurious, she was innocent. He has, therefore, undertaken to prove them fpurious, and divided his treatise into fix

parts. In the first is contained the history of the letters, from their discovery by the earl of Morton, their being produced against Q. Mary, and their several appearances in England before Q. Elizabeth and her commissioners, until they were finally delivered back again to the earl of Morton,

The second contains a short abstract of Mr. Goodall's arguments for proving the letters to be spurious and forged; and of Dr. Robertson and Mr. Hume's objections

of answer to Mr. Goodall, with critical observations on these authors.

The third contains an examination of the arguments of Dr. Robertson and Mr. Hume, in support of the authenticity of the letters.

The fourth contains an examination of the confession of Nicholas Hubert, commonly called French Paris, with obfervations shewing the same to be a forgery.

The fifth contains a short recapitulation or summary of the arguments on both sides of the question. And,

The last is an historical collection of the direct or positive evidence Itill on record, tending to shew what part the earls of Murray, and Morton, and secretary Lethington, had in the murder of the lord Darnley.

The author apologises for the length of this book, by observing, that it necessarily comprises a great number of particulars, which could not easily be contracted: the same plea may be made for the imperfection of our extract, which will naturally fall below the force of the

book,

2

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