Page images
PDF
EPUB

passage: "The practice of the best speakers of the present day is
to give letters their regular sounds, instead of suffering them to slide
into others that have an affinity to them ;" so, the editor of this pro-
nouncing and spelling Dictionary has endeavoured, a? far as possible,
to represent the pronunciation of each syllable, with the very vowel
which is conspicuous or predominant in the syllable.' 1X-" _

Art. 27. La Bruyere :he Less-; or, Characters and Manners of the
Children of the present Age. Written for the Use of Children of
Twelve or Thirteen Years of Age; with the Exception of the
Ten last Chapters, which apply to Persons of more advanced
Years. Translatrd fronv the French of Madame de Genlis. 12mo.
5s. Boards. Longman and Rees.

This is a book of Maxims, designed to inculcate lessons of practical morality on the minds of young people; and the same propriety of sentiment, which characterizes the other publications of Madame de Cenlis, runs through the volume. It is an encomium to which this lady is justly intitled, that all her works on education evince a sincere interest in the improvement of the rising generation.

In one of the latter chapters, a criticism is introduced on the Baroness d"e Stael';; sentiments respecting suicide, in her Essay on the.Influence of the Passions. "How difficult is it," says Madame de Stael, " not to believe him possessed of generous emotions whovoluntarily embraces death, when it is considered that villains are incapable of such an action!" Madame de Genlis, on the contrary side, asserts ' that the greatest monsters that have ever existed were all suicides :—Sardanapakis, Nero, Messalina, and the ungrateful and false disWple, the traitor Judas.'—The fact, however, appears to be that suicide has been committed by characters of every different degree of estimation ; and the only point for controversy is, whether, in any case, it can be justified. Of the instances cited by Madame tVc Genlis, none except the hist are cases (strictly speaking) of voluntary suicide: they were acts committed in situations in which death could not be escaped, and the aim was only to avoid a more terrible mode of dying. Judas, when he hanged himself, was a sincere penitent: he had returned the price of his treason ; and he wasactuated by remorse. The main position, however, of.Madame de. Genlis, i. c. that many villains have been capable of this act which' the Baroness calls sublhne, is undeniable; and some of trie expressionsin-Madame de Stael's work are justly reprehended. CkptJR

Art. 28. The Juvenile Prcaptor; or, a Course of Moral and Sci-
entific Instruction, for the Use of both Sexes. Vol.1, jzr.ro
pp. 234. Boards. Champante and Whitrow. 1800.
This volume, which appears to be the first 0/a number that are to
follow, contains *• spelling and reading lessons, not exceeding one-
syllable.' Mr. Nicholson, near Ludlow, is both author and printer;
mid in. a sensible preface he tells us; 'we have formed a plan for
compiling a ceiies of liberal amusement and instruction. Our design-
will commence with an attempt to gain the attention and friendship
of the young by adopting a style resembling their own,—familiar,
simple, uad unaffected.—But wtdo not inteuH to forget that we have;

Other offices to fulfil; namely, that of providing objects of attainment as well as of attraction. We therefore intend gradually to relinquish such infantine intercourse, and adopt the style and language of books.' The directions for reading, which follow the preface, are pertinent and useful} they are extracted chiefly from Burgh's "Art of Speaking."

The present volume extends to words of eight letters, attended by suitable reading lessons, and intermingled with distinct classes, pointing out the different sounds of each vowel; for which part of the work, and for a few pages of the lessons, Mr.' Nicholson says, * wc are indebted to John Blaymires, of Eccleshill, near Bradforth, in Yorkshire, an ingenious schoolmaster of that obscure and poor village, whose abilities and integrity of character entitle him to a better situation.' By different persons, the varying sounds of vowels may be adjusted differently; and we will not pronounce that this writer is always correct. An attentive instructor, however, will no doubt find the book useful; and it is likely to attract the notice of children, and prove amusing as wtll as informing. J-f t,

Art. 29. Tableau etffittoire Naiurelle, &c.; i. i. A View of Natural History j or abridged Account of the most useful Productions of the three Kingdoms of Nature; accompanied by an Index, containing the most essential Words in French and in English. A Work designed for Youth. By M. de Montaigu. 12 mo. pp. 270. Dulau and Co. 1800.

We are not inclined to scrutinize such a production a3 this with ftiuch severity; yet it is incumbent on us to observe that, howeverslight and superficial an elementary work may be, still the little that is contained in it ought to be correct; which we do not find to be the case in the present instance. Among many errors, we shall specify only the following:

In p. 9. the primitive Earths are not even mentioned, and the old absurd mode of arranging the mixed Earths is adopted.

In p. 22. Alabaster is separated from the other Gypseous Stones.
In p. 25. Porphyry is called a Marble.

And in p. 43. the Metals, including those called Semi-metals, arc said to be 12 or at most 13 in number; although they now amount to • 1.

These gross mistakes have evidently been copied from the Diction* ary of Valmont de Bomare, from which the work appears to have been principally compiled; and as it is manifest that M. de Montaigu is not very well acquainted with this subject, we cannot but regret that he did not draw from the more modern and more accurate sources of , ,

information. Halcjt

POETRY.

Aft. 30. A Poem on the Pedtc between the United Kingdoms of
Great Britain and Ireland and the French Republic, &c. By
James Barrow. ij.to. is. Jones.
Of all the acquirements by which the human mind has been irrw

proved, that of self-knowlegc is perhaps one of those which are most

P a difficult

difficult of attainment; and hence we are not to wonder that so many"
people, of good natural capacity respecting the common concerns of
life, have egregiously mistaken their own talents, especially when
they stand forth as candidates for the honours of Poetry. The
present writer seems to be a respectable man, considered as a member
of society; and one who may be more usefully employed than in
spoiling so much papei as he has here unfortunately (in these times
of scarcity, too !) reduced to waste.—Go, Mr. B., we pray and exhort
you,—" Go, and sin no more!"

Art. 31. A Satirical Epistle in Verse, addressed to the Poet Laureate
on his Carmen Seculare, containing some Strictures on Modern
Times and Characters. 8vo. pp. 60. 33. Ginger. 1801.
1 The satirical poet ought to display no common vigor and excel-
lence. As he who prosecutes, under a sense of injury, is expected to
come into court with clean hands; so he who assumes the privilege
of laughing at the faults of others may, with reason, be required to
evince the superiority of his own judgment, talents, and taste. The
author of the pamphlet before us did well in praying ' for a spark of
Pope's lire,' but he should have waited till his petition had been libe-
rally granted, before he had exhibited himself as a public satirist.

The author, however, has prefixed a sensible introduction ; in which it is remarked that the controversy on the commencement of the Century appears to have arisen ent ircly from the want of attending to the distinction between the ordinal and cardinal numbers. lUfo-V

Art. 32. The Mechanic, a Poem. By Thomas Morley. 2d Edit. 8vo. is. 6d. Jordan, &c. 1801.

Though the title-page of this publication seems to promise encomiums on the mechanic arts and artists, the poem chiefly consists of severe and angiy satire on the higher ranks; who are here represented as proud, ignorant, and vicious. In short, the great, it appears, are here thrown down merely in order that the lower classes, particularly the artizans, may have the opportunity of exulting over those who are called their superiors; like dirty Diogenes, trampling on Plato's elegant carpet.

This plebeian satirist of the Noblesse evidently possesses good natural parts; which, had they been more improved by education, might have enabled him to figure in the poetic world with at least a Stephen Duck the thresher, or Banks the weaver * ;—for whom see Lives of the Poets, by Cibber, &c.

Art. 33. The Valley of Llanherne \, and other Pieces in Verse. By
John Fisher, A. B. l2mo. 5s. Hatchard. 1S01.

We have been agreeably amused by some of the pieces contained ia this miscellaneous publication: but, on the other hand, we have been so little delighted with the greater number of Mr. F.'s performances, \-^,

.* Banks wrote much both in prose and verse, with no small degree of popular approbation: particularly a very fair and candid Life of Cromwell. : f On the North Coast of Cornwall.

. . (the

(the smaller poems,) that we cannot, in conscience, encourage the
author to think of rivalling any of the celebrated Bards of former
days. Had he given us only his descriptive verses on the Cornish
Valley, and his pathetic Shipwreck Scenery, we might have augured
more favourably of his poetic talents.

Art. 34. The Melhod'ut; a Poem. Motto—" I hate all Metho-
dists." i2mo. is. Button. 1802.
An attempt to sing " to the praise and glory" of the Methodists
and Methodism : * but a more wretched effort, surely, was never
seen in a land of literature! Blank verse u the vehicle, and irony the
strain, in which the author's idiao are conveyed: but the perform-
ance, taken altogether, is too mean for any serious criticism.

POLITICS.

Art. 35. Eight Letters on the Peace; and on the Commerce and Manufactures of Great Britain. By Sir Frederic Morton Eden, Bart. 8vo. 3s. 6d. sewed. Wright. 1802.

These letters, which were first published in a daily paper, under the signature of " Philanglus," contain a multitude of tables and documents demonstrative of the flourishing state of our commerce, and accompanied by arguments to prove that it is in no danger of being injured by the Peace. Sir Frederic Eden brandishes his pen against the whole host of croaking and despairing politicians. He contends that, if we could not save others by the war, we have preserved ourselves; and as to the Peace, he says it is no objection • that by it much must be hazarded, for more would be hazarded by a prolongation of the contest.' In opposition to those who view with apprehension and alarm the extended limits of France, he maintains that ■ the French Republic may possess the Rhine, and yet not annihilate the commerce of the Thames;' that ' the balance of Europe has been and may be altered without injury to Great Britain; and that, while some continental powers have been aggrandized, and others destroyed, our insular situation and peculiar advantages have enabled us to advance by more rapid strides than our neighbours, to opulence, strength, and civilization.' Hence he proceeds to prove that the Peace will not impoverish our merchants; and he gives it as his opinion that, extensive as our trade with Asia now is, it is highly probable that it will experience a great increase. This, perhaps, is the most questionable part of his argument: but, however this may be, Sir Frederick has taken great paiin to open pleasing prospects; and to assure his country that, ' if at some future period the feverish ambition of mankind shall compel her to unslreath the sword, her constitution and her commerce will again supply her both with motives and with means, to prosecute the contest until it can again be terminated with safety and with honour.' TVto-V".

Art. 36. Three Words to Mr. Pitt, on the War, and on the Peace. 8vo. 28. 6d. Ridgway. 1801.

* From its having been printed at Bristol, we conjecture that this pamphlet took its rise from the Blagdon Controversy,

P 3 Three

Three words, if pregnant with approbation or consolation, might not be deemed de,ar at the price of half-a crown, even by an ex-minister .secluded from the Treasury coffers: but he would not be pleased on paying ten pence a-piece for three words which convoy only sarcasm and cutting reproof. Had Dr. Johnson been alive, and espoused Whiggism instead of Toryism, he would have called this pamphlet three hard hnocks; and it is probable that some friend of Mr. Pitt, considering them in this light, will endeavour to return the compliment on the writer: who, with all the dexterity of a literary pugilist, aims some severe blows at Mr. Pitt's merit and fame as a Minister. He undertakes to consider what that ex-minister's conduct has been during his administration, and what are the consequences likely to result from it. Here Mr. Pitt is reminded of the language and the arts which he employed at the commencement and during the progress of the war; and the author views the embarrassments in which he was placed by his own declarations, as the cause of his re. tirement, previously to the treaty of peace. 'You know (he says) very well that all your boastings were mere vapour, and that your promises could never be redeemed; therefore under a frivolous pretence you quarrelled with your place, much as you loved it, and resigned, provisionally at least, leaving it to others to break your engagements.'— The retired minister is also reminded of the effects of the contest into which he plunged the nation; 'that we have doubled our debt, and that France has doubled her dominions;' and that, if in a future war prance should ' attack us in our vitals, we are indebted to him and his late associates for thr mighty favour.' In short, the author goes over the old ground of reprobating all the advocates of the war, on the plea that it was impolitic and might have been avoided. MoV:

Art. 37. Letters of the Dead; or, Epistles from the Statesmen of

former Days to those of the present Hour. 8vo. is. Stockdale.

If Mr. Pitt'3 political character be undervalued and severely scrutinized by the author of the preceding pamphlet, ample compensation is made in the present flattering letter; which is supposed to be addressed to him, from the world of unembodied spirits, by Lucius Lord Falkland : between whom and Mr. Pitt a congeniality of sentiment and disposition is said to exist. The following is a specimen of the language of Falkland's Ghost:

• I found you from earliest youth undtbased by the accustomed degradations of youthful folly; in infancy a man, and in the pride of manhood a philosopher; a statesman of high attainments and unrivalled acquisitions in political knowlcge, at a time of life too when the cotemporavics of your age and rank were snaring the unredeemable moments to slip by unheeded, contenting themselves with the butterfly enjoyments of sporting in the sunbeams of prosperity; winging their airy wheelings on the fantastic breezes of the spring of fashion.'

If a ghost could derive any benefit from secrct-service-mcney, we might be induced to suspect from this bedaubing of praise that Lord Falkland had partaken as largely of it in the Elysian fields as any frince or Min,cter has done in Germany.—The late Minister's ca

« PreviousContinue »