Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

..168

...513

511

548

..609

....254

under arms,

...253

...445

253

1

Tennant's Indian Recreations,

326

E.

Petersburg, Literary Society, ...370
Thespiad,
550 Ermarc's observations in Norway,

Journal of Trade, ..575
Thomas's Sermon at Woburn Chapel, 356 Expulsion the French from Sc. Domingo,

Imperial Academy of Arts, 127
Thomson's Chemistry,

249 Petronius, explanation of a difficult passage
Military Memoirs,

674
F.

in,
Thornton's Sporting Tour,
598 Fever in the West Indies, remedy for, · 447

reply to the same,

.687
Thoughts on a Coalition,
289 Fine arts encouraged at Rome,

Petrifaction of a fisi!,

447
Tingry's Varnisher's Guide,
655

..362

Philosophical Grammar,
Fish newly discovered,

574
Travels of Young Candid,
736 French mission to China,

570

Pierrepoini's method of feeding cattle with
Two Letters on the Manufactures, &c. of

potatoes,

785
Scotland,

G.
Pigeons, metiod of fattening,

767
New Dialogues of the Dead, i....551 Gardener's, (Mr.) crop of potatoes in ex- Pilchowski, David, biogiap. notice of, 446

hausted ground,
Unexpected Legacy,

191

... 445 Platina, analysis of,
Vanburgh's Sermons,

418 Geological observations by Mr. Churchian, POETHY, ORIGINAI, -Ad Glandem, 291.--
View of the Relative Situations of Mr. Piti

039 Bosing Match at Winabicton in latin-
and Mr. Addington,

101

in India,

707 hexameters, 359.-Epigrams, 294.-
Question of the Slave Trade, German concordat,

769 Epistle from Statius to Maximus, 553.
678 Ghost of Banquo,

170

---Lines from Statius and Claudian, 554.
Village Anecdotes,
32 Grape seed, a substitute for coffee,

on a Public Railer, 556.-Ode
Vindication of Mr. Pitt's Conduct with Re Greek Fire,

574 on the Genius of Homer, 35.-Simo-

381
....160 Gymnasium at Petersburgh,
gard to Colonel Patten's Motion,

nides, 36.- Translation of passages from
Voyage en Island,

287
H.

Tyrtæus, 292
Zotiora,
4207 Hall's satires, remarks on,

Political changes in 1803,

171
. 425, 614, 744

history, 58, 123, 185, 249, 315, 377,
Hamilton, Sir Wm. memoir of,

229
BOOKS-CHIEFLY FOREIGN
Hemp and flax, new method of preparing, Poschmann's Anenometer,

440, 508, 565, 636, 701, 760
NOTICES OF.

382

320
Architecture Egyptienne,
639 Historical Queries,

296
Prerogative of the King to call out the people

502, 560
Beckius Monogrammata Hermeneutices, Horn of a rare bird,

... 574 Priestley, Dr. works left for the press, ..570
1:27 Horneman, the traveller, notice of,

708 Public debt, origin of the system,
Benkowitz' Italian Cabinet,
762 Humboldt, the traveller, death of,

.....109

....708
Bonaparte et le Peuple François, .763

R.

J.
Briende on the Pthisis, .
189

574

Rafn's enquiries respecting bread,
...251 Jalap root from America,

512
Calvel's Manual of Planting,

Red Porcelain,

447
Camper Description d'un Elephant,

K.

Regular Polygons which may be inscribed
Custodi's Collection of Italian Writers on Kant, professor, death of,

446 on a circle,
Political Economy,

63 Kotzchue, anecdotes respecting, 319 Reply to t. L. S. on the connection between
Cuvier on Extinct Animals,

762
L.

the Greek and English languages, 294
Debauve on Mr. Pitt's Monument,

Roman altar found at Tarraby,
Lamarc's meteorological observations, 384

571
Dissertation sur l'Asphixie,

60
Royal Society,

573
Duperron's Translation of the Dupnekh’at, Letter from Dr. Tilesius at Santa Cruz,

Institution, 61, 190, 637, 762

43
762

Russia, emperor of, assistance of learned
General Numismatic Annals,

Literature, general view of, 1803,
252

men,

570
Guensel's Account of the Natural Produc- Literary Censure, board of, at Vienna, 252

384
Russian edict against libels,

364

Censorship at Friburg,
tions of Lapland,
251

....382

Expedition of discovery,
Haldat's Researches on Ink,

Liverpool Meteorology,
255

Peasants emancipated, 447
Lyon's, (Mr.) reply to, on Elohim,
Hortus Gandavensis,
762

570

Theatres,
Izarns Chemical Nomenclature,

Lucian, essay on the writings of,
63

...167
Military and civil lectures,

768
Jenisch on Grecian Poetry,

252
M.

Russians in Asia, civilization of,
Landon Vie et Euvres des Peintres,
63 MANNERS.

S.
Lefebvre Histoire de l'Euil,

25 Nabob, No.
I..

191
Salt mountain in Louisiana,

II.
Nouveau Dictionaire d'Histoire Naturelle,

110

Sapieha's mineralogical researches,
III.

575
63, 254

.. 175 Schultz V.ews on the Rhine,

.. 256

IV.
Paranesi's Antiquities of Magna Grecia, 320

242

V.
Relazzione di un Viaggio ad Ostia,

192
Seguin's experiments on Quinquina,

...298
Senf de Incremento Ossium Embryonum,

VI.

Society for encouragement of the arts, &c.

430
VII.

190, 640
..319
Suard's Melanges de Literature,

premiums, 763
VIII.

556
Vindiciarum Coranicarum periculum, . 252

IX.

the Suppression of Vice, reflec-
621

tions on the,

X.
Wiedemann's State of Midwifery at Paris,

689

Stenhouse's, Dr. remedy for the gout, • 446
XI.
318

749

Stereotype music printing,
New fashioned Morals,
C.

369

. 381

Strasburg Academies,
Memnonites,

576
Swedish Press,

703
64 Modern Greek, MSS.
Cabinet of natural history for sale,
Cambridge, batchelor's subjects, 1804, 380

Translation of Beccaria on Swimming Machine,
candidates for the Arabic profes- Crimes, &c....

422

T.
sorship,
511 Moles destroyed by Garlick,

571 Teylerian Society at Haarlern........
Change of ministry, reflections on a, .. 180 Moscow Commercial Academy, 768 Thorwaldson's pieces of sculpture, . 573
Charlemagne's, MSS. reward for, ...... 446 MSS. rare diplomatic,

702 Tobolsk, college at,

571
Chinese Books, curious collection of,

N.

Trigonometrical survey of Great-Britain, 41
Classic No. 1. 103-No. 2. 492-No. 3. 552

Turnips preserved from the fly, .......512
Neckar, biographical notice of,
-No. 4. 683

. 704
Clockmaking, improvement in, 573 National Institute of France, 127, 253, 383

.768 Native iron,
Combustion, liquid for preventing,

128

191 Valli's experiments on the plague,
Conolli's bust of Casti,

768 Noehden, Dr. in reply to Crinitus, ....611 Varnish to secure metals from rust, 128, 256

. 571
Copenhagen, college of health,

.. 706
Vegetable acid, new,

O.
Coptic Coins,
382

Veterinary Institutions in Russia, .....575
Correspondence of Lord Redesdale and Earl Olber's new planet, Hercules,
Desfield's geographical collection, .....445 Vinegar, new preparation of,

.572
300
Fingal, observations on the,

...... 512
.571 Volcano at Torcello,

Oliferous, China radish,
Curwen on steamed potatoes,
447

-- 766 Volunteer system, enquiry into, ....... 115
Oxford, prizes adjudged,

188

W.
P. Brillo repet's Walker, Dr. biographical notice of, . 190
!

64

.... 10s

575

....318

497

64

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

D.

. 572

703 Water, method of purifying,
Deaf and dumb instructed at Vienna, · 576 Pallas, the traveller, death of,

38
Degree of the earth, mensuration of, in Paper currency, on the system, 827, 834, 753 Waterspout in Iceland,

448
573 Paris as it was, &c. observations of Detector Wilna University,
Lapland,

571
Dorpat university,
on that work,

704
37 Wolfang von Kempellen,

.708 Works of art brought to Paris,
573 Pensa Academy,
Dry rot, cause of,

5.573

THE LITERARY JOURNAL.

VOLUME III.]

JANUARY 16, 1804.

[NUMBER I.

LITERATURE.

general eagerness for literary speculation. In the re

turping fondness of men for the arts and habits of General View of Literature for 1803.

peace, and in the free intercourse again opened with WHILE THILE we return our acknowledgements to foreign nations, they saw a prospect of at length reap

the public for the very extensive patronage ing a harvest which had so often been blighted by the which, even in its first year, has been bestowed on

storms of a long-protracted war. Authors received a our new attempt to introduce a regular Journal of liberal price for their productions, splendid editions of Literature into this country; we cannot, perhaps, at valuable works were undertaken, and literature prothe commencement of this new year, present any mised to be more widely diffused, more elegantly thing to our readers either more instructive or more adorned, and genius more liberally rewarded than it entertaining, than a general view of what has been | had been in any age or nation. done in the Literary World during the course of the This happy prospect for Great Britain, and for the year eighteen hundred and three. We do not, in this human species, was however of short continuance: view, intend to fill up our pages with a list of books | The unceasing clamours of an ominous war-faction and authors, and to recapitulate that catalogue which at home, having inflamed to madness the inveterate has already been so amply given in our different hatred of the French ruler towards this country, while numbers ; nor do we mean to enter at length into | at the same time their false depreciation of our nathe merits even of those authors who have brought tional spirit, excited his hopes, Great Britain and forward something new, or improved what was al- || France were again unexpectedly plunged into a war, ready known in the subjects of which they treat, a wliose only object and end appeared to be mutual dedetail which furnishes materials for a number of suc- struction. From the arts of peace, the minds of our cessive reviews : the sketch we shall at present give, countrymen were suddenly turned to the defence of must of necessity be extremely general; it must be their lives and properties against threatened ruin; and confined to the general spirit, the general improve- || amidst the hurry of military levies and exercises, the ment or corruption apparent in those works, which ingenious and splendid productions of the press were during the last twelve months have issued from the almost forgotten. The swarm of periodical publicapress; and must rather exhibit the general impression tions which had appeared at the commencement of which has been made on our own minds by the lite- || the year, almost without exception, died away; the rary works of that period, than the merits or defects attention of ingenious men was distracted from their of particular authors.

pursuits, which were either interrupted for the time, Every one must recollect the eager competition, and or altogether abandoned; and the spirited booksellers bustle of preparation which appeared in the literary || who had risked so much in the cause of literature, world at the commencement of the last year. The found their new works and splendid editions left in return of peace, the removal of some burdensome heaps upon their shelves. taxes, and the long-interrupted intercourse which was Fortunately for the cause of knowledge and civili. opened anew with the Continent, seemed to have set zation, the general alarm has in some degree subsided. free, and called into action, all the intellectual faculties The force employed against us indeed continues daily of the nation. Authors of various descriptions who to increase ; but our means of repelling it increase in had completed their works, and awaited the favour-a much greater proportion; and the contidence arting able era of peace for their publication; soldiers wbo from so great a part of the population being armed had returned from distant expeditions; historians who and disciplined, bas again begun to give activity to had been silently treasuring up the rapid events of the those pursuits which can only flourish amidst a genelast war; travellers who had eagerly hastened, on the ral sense of security. We trust that in the course of first conclusion of peace, to the capital of France to the present year, we shall have to call the public atobserve the effects of a twelve years revolution, and vention to many literary performances of merit. the rich spoils of so many countries—all eagerly Such has been the complexion of the times during pressed forward to communicate their information to this last year, and such the effects which public events an expecting Public. As the press was now become have produced on the literary world. In viewing the the vehicle for every species of intelligence, both in works which have appeared in different branches, we the most refined, and the most common arts of life, find few of much consideration in Physics, and the men of all descriptions were anxious, both for the sciences connected with it. The works which have apsake of fame and profit, to proclaim their merits by peared on the various branches of Physics, have been this channel to the world; and numerous periodical | inostly confined to detached parts of each branch. publications were prepared to receive the essays of Natural History has became a favourite topic of those who had not materials or leisure to write a reading with the many, and the brilliant plates book.

with which works of this nature may be adorned, Nor were the booksellers backward to second this have not been forgotten as incentives to purchasers ; VOL. III.

[ocr errors][merged small]

but as the merits of the engraver and printer are ever, to conduct his nomenclature through a system
in those works most conspicuous, they do not of Anatomy, before it can be received as a substitute
fall particularly under our observation. The Testa- | for the one at present in use. The progress of the
cea Britannica of Mr. Montagu, has given a Veterinary Art has called forth some works in Com-
very ample detail of the shells found in this island: | parative Anatomy; but this branch is as yet in its
and Mr. Lambert's Genus Pinus affords a most || infancy.
splendid treat to the lovers of Botany. We have The publications on Medicine are always as nu-
also seen the elegant and ingenious pen of Mr. merous as the diseases, and the theories of the diseases
Playfair employed in defending the Huttonian System which present themselves. The Cow-por has during
of Geology. In mechanical philosophy, Dr. Small the last year been the great animating principle of the
has with considerable success introduced the Astro- | many medical pamphlets which have issued from
nomical Discoveries of Kepler to the more particular the press. The efficacy of this great discovery seems
acquaintance of his countrymen; and the late Bishop of now to be acknowledged in every quarter of the globe.
Clonfert's Analysis of the Principles of Natural Philoso- | The medical attendants of the inferior animals, have
phy has been given to the public. In Chemistry, although also begun to communicate their useful discoveries
the science has been rapidly advancing, the books through the press ; and the several new Systems of
written have been necessarily few. To conduct ex- Farriery, &c. which are produced, give room to ex.,
periments of magnitude with precision, and to obtain pect that man will not be the only animal about which
such a number of results as may afford a solid foun- | the faculty differ. The large profits which a medical
dation for a general law, is the work of much time, practitioner may acquire with a little sprinkling of
much labour, as well as great information and talents, knowledge joined to other qualifications, and the vast
Yet in Chemistry it is by such arts alone that advances || labour of reducing medicine to any thing like a
can now be made, as the enlightened geniuses who of science, has hitherto prevented any one from hazard-
late years have applied to that science, bave for ever | ing that attempt. From the progress of chemistry,
banished froin it that false mode of forming theories, || anatomy, and physiology, we may however expect
which substitutes the bewildering chimeras of fancy important improvements in medicine.
for the actual observation of facts which alone leads to AGRICULTURE, that solid source of national wealth,
truth. We must here caution our readers against has lately been much improved, in consequence of the
supposing that the small number of the literary pro- || discoveries made by several chemists and scientific
ductions marks a supineness in any branch of expe- || farmers, and communicated in a variety of pamphlets;
rimental philosophy. 'We have already given reasons and the other useful' and ornamental arts have pro-
why any great advances must be slowly produced; duced a list of publications, which in a literary point
and it has become customary with men of science to | of view do not require particular notice.
publish, from time to time, the results of their labours The Science OF MIND, and the branches con-
in various periodical repositories of science, which, || nected with it, open the widest field for literary abili-
however valuable, cannot fall properly under the no- ties. The examination of the powers of the human
tice of a review. All that we can for some time ex- mind, and the laws by which they are regulated, has,
pect of large works on Experimental Philosophy, are by Dr. Reid and his followers, been brought down
collections from time to time of those facts which are from the vain regions of theory, and conducted on the
successively ascertained. Of this sort we have last solid foundation of facts ascertained by experience.
year received a valuable addition in Cavallo's Elements while the mere speculations of fancy, supported by
of Natural and Experimental Philosophy in four vols. ingenious sophistry, with a veil of metaphysical jargon
Mr. Johnson has also collected the facts on Animal | thrown over their defects, were received as actual ad-
Chemistry, in three volumes. The various experiments vances in this science, new systems of mental philo-
on Gulranism, have of late excited public attention,sophy might every day be expected to supersede those
and given rise to publications of various sizes, which already in vogue. But when facts are required as the
have not, however, thrown inuch light on this branch foundation of theories, and when terms are accurately
of science.

defined and understood, every step must be taken with The first volume of a very valuable work conducted caution, and the advances must necessarily be slow. by Dr. Hutton, Dr. Shaw, and Dr. R. Pearson, has also The number of books on this subject must therefore made its appearance. It is an Abridgement of the Philo- | diminish, while their value must greatly increase. sophical Transactions of the Royal Society, and promises THEOLOGY has during the last year called forth to prove a repository where every thing valuable in the comparatively few writers. The violent attempts made scientific researches of this country will be contained, to banish religion altogether out of the world, by a free from those heaps of accumulated rubbish which set of men whose vices made them willing to believe would otherwise perplex and disgust the reader. themselves atheists, had previously been opposed with

A very imporiani improvement in the science of the greatest success and nearly subdued. That conAVATOMY, has, in the course of the last year been troversy between sects, which was once such a prolific proposed by Dr. Barclay. He has published the out- source of massy volumes, has given way to a milder line of a new Nomenclature, formed on a regular plan, and more rational spirit; and men of superior genius and deriving its appellations from fixed appearances, have found exercise for their talents in pursuits more instead of that confused and indefinite mass of terms within the reach of human comprehension. To free by which the student of Anatomy has been so long || our systems of theology from those doubts and obobstructed and confounded. Dr. Barclay has, how- scurities which overhang them, opens indeed a wide

5
General View of Literature for the Year 1803.

6 field for talents in the most important object that can surely philosophers in all ages. The philosophical occupy the attention of man : but it is only by can- views of Turgot, and the clear, solid, and comprehendid and patient investigation that this can be effected; sive principles of Smith in his Wealth of Nations, and the mere repetition of what has already been a have indeed of late years turned the labours of politithousand times written and spoken can scarcely de- cal inquirers into a channel which may conduct serve notice in a review of theological literature. them to useful and important truths. The wild and During the course of the last year, Mr. Bryant in his unmeaning jargon introduced during the French revoObservations on some parts of Scripture, has shewn us lution into every thing which respects the oature and the edifying example of a layman, continuing in his actions of men, has indeed greatly impeded the pro78th year to advocate the cause of Christianity with gress of rational inquiry. We now read, with mingled diligence and success. Marsh's defence of his llypo- surprise and contempt, of the efforts wbich were made thesis on the Origin and Composition of the three first to banish comnion sense out of the world; yet we Gospels, against a supposed attack of the Bishop of should recollect that it is but eight or ten years since Oxford, has excited the attention of controversialists; the Political Justice of Godwin was received by many and in Mr. Sharpe's fanciful doctrine of the Greek people as a system actually intended to direct the acarticle, which has been dexterously attacked by Mr. tions of men. We may also observe, on the other Gregory Blunt, we have an instance of an over-zea- || hand, that the abuse of free inquiry has produced lous friend injuring a good cause by false arguments, many obstacles to the progress of political science: which it does not reqnire for its support. With single || An apprehension that the bonds of society were about sermons of all descriptions, the greater portion indeed to be torn asunder by the delusions of theorists, inpolitical, the press has of late overflowed. We can- || duced the peaceable and well-meaning to cling to pot indeed suppose any of these will circulate much their old habits, and even to those prejudices and beyond the little range of friends or hearers, which abuses which time had interwoven with their ancient perhaps was all that was intended when they were institutions. The advances of political science will given to the press : One exception however requires by this means be rendered more slow, but at the same to be made of the eloquent discourse of Mr. Hall on time we trust more solid. During the course of the the Sentiments proper to the present Crisis, which con- last year, we have seen a work appear in which the cludes in a strain of glowing eloquence that has rarely nature and progress of the English Constitution have been surpassed. The volume of Sermons the most de- been delineated with the hand of a naster; and we serving of notice is that by Dr. Browne of Aberdeen; account it a public loss to this empire, that the labours yet even here we find nothing particularly striking. of Millar were interrupted by death before their com

The Laws of our country, and those who study pletion. The Inquiries of Malthus into population, them, are yearly obliged to inany diligent gentlemen and those of Brougham into the Colonial Policy of who add an infinite variety of new cases and decisions Europe, although not free from an inclination to speto the stock already on hand. We say obliged to culate beyond what is warranted by facts, are in gethem; for the vast and imperviable collection of opi- ||neral conducted on true philosophical principles, and nions and precedents, so rapidly accumulating, must may be esteemed as considerable accessions to the one day compel government, as it happened to Justi- science of political economy. The controversial nian, to find some means of cleansing the Augean | pamphlets of our domestic parties, with which the stable, if it is intended that the study of law should be press constantly teems, deserve little attention at all practicable.* The inconvenience of this un- from a literary review. Two, however, distinguished wieldy accumulation is indeed less felt by the nation, || by the signature of the Near Observer, and the reply while the excellent institution of Juries, and the up of the More sccurate Observer, have acquired partiright conduct of our judges, which is daily reported cular celebrity from their being considered as the mato the public, remedy in a great degree the defects of nifestoes of the late and the present administration. our code.

The loyal effusions of all sorts to which the present In Political Science several works have appeared, circumstances of the country have given birth, are and some of them bear the characteristics of a sound innumerable. and just philosophy. No science has been less rescued In POLITICAL History, or History properly so from the follies of random speculation than politics. called, the number of candidates for public favour have So much are the passions of men interested in the been numerous. The British temper seems particularly questions which arise on this subject, that calm inves- | well calculated to undertake that patient, grave, and tigation and candid discussion are rarely resorted to; persevering investigation which is necessary to the and to establish true principles is much less the object composition of history; and no country of modern than to confound antagonists. Hence it is that amidst times rivals Great Britain, either in the value or numthe general uncertainty which over-bangs political ber of her historians. The great events of the prescience, theories of the niost wild and extravagant sent reign, both at home and abroad, have naturally nature have been successively written and admired; || drawn forth many pens to record them; the names of and to form systeins of government and of political Bisset, Adolphus, Wilson, Plowden, Coote, Steeconomy, have been the favourite recreations of lej-phens, and others, have swelled our literary catalogues

We understand that Government is at present employing some of last year. To detail the respective merits of these legal gentlemen of abilities, to revise the statute laws, with a view authors, is the work of particular reviews: we shall to their abridgment. Editor,

here make only a few observations which are more or

[ocr errors]

less applicable to all of them. History, if intended booby a grave and learned judge, by means of wrap-
for any useful purpose, ought ever to be fitted for the ping him up in the wig and gown of his lordship of
instruction of those who are to act: and whether it the King's Bench.
be the historian's intention to develope the plans of There is a species of mixed composition, which
statesmen, to trace the operations of a campaign, or along with geographical and topographical descriptions,
to describe the private actions of individuals, it should contains likewise the manners and history of a parti-
be his endeavour so to select the facts on which every cular people. Since the communication between the
event turned, that each example he records should different parts of the world has been opened, this
afford an useful lesson of experience. Those histo- species of writing has become very general, and if
rians who have done so to the most perfection, are well executed is equally entertaining and instructive.
justly raised to the highest share of reputation. The Voyages, travels, tours, letters, are daily issuing from
historians of the last year present few examples so the press, and along with novels, form the great
finished as to be useful to any description of men. topic of popular reading. The renewed communica-
We hear of plans of statesmen, and resolutions of tion with the continent, during the summer of 1802,
cabinets which fall as it were from the clouds, and has proved a most fruitful topic for travellers ; yet
again vanish like the baseless fabric of a vision, although something is to be learnt from all of them,
without leaving behind any trace by which they may the work entitled, Paris as it Was, and as it Is, per-
be linked to the succeeding chapter of accidents.haps most deserves to be noticed for its composition
We read of battles having been fought, hundreds and and interesting materials ; although we must enter
thousands laid prostrate in the dust, a right wing vic- our protest against the partial spirit in which it is
torious, and a left wing defeated; but the general written. Translations of the 2d volume of Pallas's
who should search in such histories for a lesson from travels in the Crimea, and Golberry's in Africa, have
experience, would learn little more than that a battle been given to the British public. A very happy exam-
may be won on the Rhine and lost on the Danube. ple, set to civil and military officers by the French,
In the descriptions of individual characters, the pre- of describing those scenes where they have acted
vailing mode is equally uninstructive: instead of or been stationed by government, has been imitated
seizing upon the peculiar features which mark the by some of our officers. Besides Sir Robert Wilson's
disposition of a man, and afford the key to his ac- narrative of the expedition in Egypt, other officers
tions,'we usually find an inexplicable antithesis, or a have, though not very happily, attempted descriptions
collection of abstract terms which impress no distinct of that scene of warfare ; and Mr. Wittman in his
idea on the mind of the reader.

account of the military embassy, has added many
These histories indeed bear the marks of being interesting particulars of the state of the Turkish em-
hastily composed; and the contest seems to have been, pire. Percival's account of our newly acquired pose
not who should produce the best history, but who sessions in Ceylon, has been received with approba-
should anticipate his competitors. The narrative of tion. Dallas's history of the Maroons contains much
recent events is always in danger of being crowded curious information.
with details of no interest or use to posterity: in TOPOGRAPHICAL History has of late been much
this age, where docunients so much abound, and and most justly encouraged. All the counties of Eng-
where the state of parties and the opinions of states- land will soon have their respective historians. Pol-
men are so widely known by the publication of the whele has this year described Cornwall at great length.
parliamentary debates, historians load their pages with BIOGRAPHY is a species of literature equally agree-
The opinions and characters of men, unimportant in able to readers of every description; and its materials
the general picture of the times, and certainly to be rise up in a continual and inexhaustible succession. A
forgotten by posterity. Such is the influence of all hasty and careless mode of composition, a deficiency in
these causes, that we can look upon the histories of those facts which mark the character, and an extreme
the last year in no other liglit than as narratives of negligence in tracing its progress and features, are
that species known in France by the name of Memoires almost the universal defects of our present biographi-
pour servir a l'Histoire.

cal sketches. It is here, that the most useful lessons We cannot close our observations on the histories of action ought to be found; but the rapid biographers of last year, without remarking one abuse which of the age seem anxious to write what may be bought, seems rather on the increase. It is an idea strongly without regarding the secondary consideration of impressed on every man who sits down to write utility. From this mass of crude and insipid madea history at present, that this species of composition up books, we must except the life of Reid by Mr. demands a certain gravity and dignity of style. It Stewart. Yet even here we have to regret the want does not however seem to be understood, that in the of private anecdote ; and this performance, however best historians, these qualities of the expression, we may admire the composition, is chiefly valuable arise solely from the depth and magnitude of the for the view which it contains of Reid's philosophical thought. Hence it is that we have simple narrative opinions. perpetually overloaded, and rendered dull and tedious It has of late become very much the vogue to chuse by an overflow of those foot-and-a-balf words (as out some distinguished personage, whose life may Horace terms them,) which by their lofty sound serve as a sort of cement to connect the anecdotes and serve only the more to expose the emptiness of the incidents of the times in which he lived. Of this natter. To render history dignified and elevated by mixture of history with biography, Godwin's Life of such means, is like thinking to make an uneducated Chaucer, (of which a review is given in the following

« PreviousContinue »