Page images

12 mo.

own family; and he also instructs a class of eight in the year previous to that in which they propose to enter at the University. To an establishinent of this nature, such a work as the one before us is far more useful than to large seminaries, where numerous classes of scholars assemble for the purpose of examination. In the latter case, it is a difficult matter to sift the idle from the industrious, if they have in their hands an edition of an author supplying all that collateral information which is necessary to elucidate him; and at such times they are too apt to refer by stealth, and at the moment of examination, instead of previously storing their minds with the requisite replies to the probable inquiries of their instructor. Art. 12. Gumal and Lina ; or The African Children. Designed

chiefly for the Use of Young People. Translated from the French by S. B. Moens. With Plates. 2 Vols. 7s.6d. Boards. Darton and Co. 1817.

“ A tale contrived a double debt to pay," offering to children an interesting story of two young negroes, and at the same time giving a recapitulation of the Ten Commandments, with all the articles of the Christian faith. The design is ingeniously executed: but we are not convinced that it is a desirable attempt thus to unite religious instruction with attractive fiction ; because young readers, who are pleased with the story, will either skip over the theological interludes, or they will read them with impatience on account of the interruption given to the narrative. Art. 13. Classical Reading Lessons for every Day in the Year,

selected chiefly from the best English Writers of the Reign of George the Third. By the Rev. William Sharpe. 12mo. 58. 6d. bound. Longman and Co. 1817.

This selection may be recommended to young people who are sufficiently advanced, in their course of education, to understand and relish the works of Blair, Addison, and similar writers.

Art. 14.

NOVELS. Melincourt. By the Author of “ Headlong Hall." 3

Vols. 185. Boards. Hookham and Co. 1817. We have already had occasion to speak favourably of this writer's late performance, “ Headlong Hall;" (Rev. Vol. Ixxxii. p. 330.) and we may announce · Melincourt' as a work of equal pleasantry and more argument. The author has a certain set of opinions, which he seems determined to illustrate, and in defence of which he deals some rather hard satirical strokes to the right and to the left. His dialogues have much sterling wit; and the principal personage is certainly an original conception, since he is an Oran-Outang brought forwards as a specimen of the natural man by his friend Mr. Forester, who, to give him consequence, buys for him a baronetcy and a seat in Parliament! The character of Sir Oran Hautton, for so he is named, is most ably and ingeniously supported; the ladies acknowlege him to have a decided air of high

I 2mo.


Art. 15.

« Les

fashion ;' and the authority of Buffon and other naturalists is adduced for describing him as being, with regard to manners and appearance, “ the counterfeit presentment” of our race.

The writer errs, however, in giving his own powerful diction to the female characters: for instance, we cannot imagine that the • Honourable Mrs. Pirmoney' would assert her worldly and foolish opinions in such nervous language and with so much logic as she is made to utter; and even Antlielia would have been more. pleasing, and more natural, if she had made shorter speeches, and had abstained from such a copious enunciation of her sentiments respecting love and marriage on her first introduction to Mr. Forester. The elopement of Lord Anophel Achthar with Anthelia is also too common-place an incident, in novels particularly; and occasional inadvertencies are discernible in the continuation of the story ; thus in vol. iii. p. 156. a chapter begins as follows: "The roads being now buried in snow, they were compelled to follow the most beaten track, &c. but the reader is not obliged to know who is here meant, since even the persons who were last mentioned in the chapter preceding are certainly not among the travellers.

Such trifling oversights detract little from the merit of this book; which, for quaint burlesque, for characteristic satire, and for ingenious discussion, will stand high among the lighter productions of the present day.

Placide, a Spanish Tale. Translated from Battuécas” of Madame de Genlis. By Alex. Jamieson. 2 Vols. 8s. Boards. Simpkin and Marshall. 1817.

This celebrated and pleasing writer appears to have fallen into the same mistake which Milton made long before her, and to consider as her best performance one which we believe the common suf frage will pronounce to be nearly her worst. We object not to the character of Placide as an effort of the imagination, but we disapprove the general tissue of the story; which is extravagantly romantic and improbable; and in which the virtuous actions of the most amiable characters are atchieved in defiance of human nature and of common sense.

The translation is not elegant, but it is sufficiently faithful to give a correct idea of the original. Art. 16. Rachel, a Tale. I 2mo. 58. Boards. Taylor and

Hessey. 1817. Some of Rachel's concealments may not be considered as offering a safe or useful example; though the scope of this tale is to shew the value of candour ; and to exhibit a plain but honest young lady, who is preferred for her simplicity to the beautiful cousin whom her lover detects in endeavouring to lower her friend's good qualities, and in practising sundry little disingenuous devices. Art. 17. Hardenbrass and Haverill; or The Secret of the Castle. 12mo.

I 2mo.

11. 115. 6d. Boards. Sherwood and Co. 1817.

4 Vols.

We have here an evident imitation of Fielding's and Smollett's novels; and, like most imitations, it partakes more largely of the defects than of the excellences of its models. A battle is made to take place in every company, and some of the scenes as well as many of the jokes are indelicate : but ocasionally a broad humour and a farcical exhibition of human nature are displayed which are irresistibly entertaining. In the first volume, the pretensions of Joanna Southcote and her adherents are held up to deserved ridi. cule: but, as the influence of her delusion is over, we are sorry to see the subject revived ; and we consider as highly mischievous the habit which this part of the book would generate, namely, that of associating ludicrous images with scriptural names and phrases. Art. 18. Montague Newburgh, or The Mother and Son. By

Alicia Catherine Mant, Author of “ Ellen, or the Young Godmother," and “ Caroline Lismore, or the Errors of Fashion." 12mo. 2 Vols.

1os. 6d. Boards. Law and Whittaker. 1817. The morality of this tale is unexceptionable, and parts of it are written in a style of such simplicity and pathos as to resemble passages in Mrs. Opie's best novels. The scenes during Mrs. Newburgh's illness and subsequent recovery, with that in which she receives an account of her son's first naval engagement, may be particularly noticed ; and Montague's sea-terms and ideas are pleasing and spirited: but his character is represented as too faultless, and his speeches, with those of the little Louisa in the first volume, are more sentimental and refined than the natural language of children.

In vol. i. page 14., instead of the French word la Gloire, la Glorie is twice printed, and the following phrases are incorrect : vol, i. page 341;;

• Tom might not like to have his clothes remarked on ;' – Vol. ii. page 181.

, . he would pour forth the repositories of a mind well stored ;' -- and at the head of a chapter at page 7. is this curious quotation : "“ My Mother!"

Cowper.' This reminds us of Caleb Quotem's citations, as the poet has it.

Modern Manners; or a Season at Harrowgate. 12mo. 2 Vols.

125. Boards. Longman and Co. 1817 We had yet to learn that it is according to

Modern Manders' for a gentleman to address ladies by their Christian names on the first day of their acquaintance; and on the third day, growing still more free and easy, to say, with Captain Nevison in the present novel, • My dear Elvina. Perhaps the following curious incident is also meant to shew that it is the fashion to have no reserve among friends : (vol. i. p. 112.) · The flower was wafted into the water, and his Lordship's eagerness to recover it occasioned a motion in the boat, when Elvina foolishly screaming, the next moment saw her plunged into the water, while Emma with great presence of mind pulled hold of the boatmen, and caused them to suspend their oars,' &c. The few French expressions which

Art. 19.


Art. 20.

occur are incorrect, such as ' petite soupées,' Vive la Bourbon,' &c.; and the following improprieties can scarcely be attributed to the negligence of the press : vol.i. p.17;, ' as to him not being with us; p. 68., he beat on the odd trick'; p. 56., ‘Nothing like distinction, and as such, what shall I wear;' p. 55., the sentence was finished in the sitting-room, and as such a concluding smile, as he looked round, made it become general ;' p. 106., I thought to have driven Sophy Clermont out of his head, as such he is gone and will join you at the spaws,' &c. &c. The above mode of ex. pression seems to be held in peculiar favour by this writer, for the second volume begins thus : Perhaps some of my readers may wish to follow the steps of Julia, as such I shall present them with a letter,' &c.: but we confess that we were rather inclined to join another party of readers who are mentioned in p. 187., • Enough, cries

my fair readers, of them ;' and as such we take leave of the story: which is improbable without being fanciful; and in which the observations meant to be moral and religious are so trite and wearisome, that, to borrow the sentiment of an old epigram, Religion dreads a friend” who thus asserts her cause.

The Hero; or The Adventures of a Night, a Romance. Translated from the Arabic into Iroquese; from the Iroquese into Hottentot; from the Hottentot into French; and from the French into English. 12mo. 2 Vols. 8s. Boards. Allman. 1817.

This burlesque on modern romances would have been entertaining if it had been compressed into one volume, but its length caused our smiles to be distended into yawns; and we do not think that justice is shewn to the celebrated Ann Radcliffe, whose romances are excellent in their way, and therefore should not have been classed with others which are here satirized. Art. 21. Le Chateau de St. Valérie, &c.;. i. e. The Castle of St.

Valerie, a Tale founded on Facts, which occurred during the Revolution. By Madame Metaal Backkar, formerly Herbster; Author of “ The Cavern,” “ Evenings in London," &c.

45. 60. sewed. Dulau and Co. 1817. Not for the first time does this lady now present us with a lively and feeling description of some of those scenes of horror, and exertions of fortitude, to which the French Revolution gave rise. It produced indeed

.“ All monstrous, all prodigious things;" and such of them as are introduced into the present story may render it less fit for very young readers than were Madame Backkar's former productions. The example of Corisandre, also, who deceives her aunt because she is cross, must be deemed objectionable; and the patience with which Mons. D'Arbel remains ignorant, during many years, of the fate of his wife and infant, will be incompatible, we presume, with every fair reader's potions of an affectionate husband.


[blocks in formation]

Art. 22. Family Annals, or The Sisters. By Mary Hays, Au.

thor of “ The Brothers," “ Female Biography," &c. 12mo. 55. Boards. Simpkin and Marshall. 1817. A moral tale, affording some useful warnings to young ladies.


Art. 23. The Speech of Henry Brougham, Esq. M.P. in the

House of Commons, March 13th, 1817, on the State of the Nation. Second Edition. 8vo. pp. 82. Ridgways.

The importance of the topics introduced in this speech is such as to justify a notice of it at this comparatively late period ; particularly as the distress, which forms its main subject, has by no means arrived at its close. Mr. Brougham began by stating the great decrease of our mercantile shipping in the last year, the quantity employed being less by 826,000 tons than in 1815 ; and he then proceeded to describe the hardships of the various persons engaged in the iron-trade, many of whom at that time did not earn above five shillings per week. The case of these persons, as we learn from very recent accounts, is now less melancholy, though it is still far from being comfortable. ---This affecting detail was followed by an exhibition of the depression of the cotton-trade, and others: but the important part of the speech was not so much that which depicted the magnitude of our distress as that which related to the means of relief. Mr. B. is desirous that we should new-model our commercial code in all that regards bounties, discouragements, and prohibitions; and that we should proceed on the plan of laying trade as open as it can be made, imposing taxes only for the purpose of revenue, never for the sake of encouraging one branch in preference to another. Unfortunately, such a change, however desirable, or required by the sound principles of commerce, must not be attempted but by slow degrees; our capital and our habits having received a direction which cannot safely be altered on a sudden. No rational mind can doubt the impolicy of taking the wines of Portugal in preference to those of France, as the latter country would otherwise be enabled to become the best customer for our manufactures : but, clear as this may be to those who have had the opportunities of education and reflection, the case is very different with the majority of the nation, and time must be allowed for the removal of their prepossessions.

The point on which we differ most from Mr. Brougham regards the importance of Spanish America ; a country as yet very thinly peopled, and in our opinion incapable of affording large returns for our manufactures. We cordially wish success to the colonists in their struggle for independence, and shall be most happy to enter into a commercial connection with them when they initate the industrious example of their brethren of the Northern States: but, till that time, we must keep in recollection the enormous losses sustained (see M. R. vol. Ixxii. p. 337.) by our exporting merchants, and anxiously warn our countrymen from again overstocking this precarious market. - Mr. B. concludes with several


« PreviousContinue »