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Nichols has been in his anxiety to scrape together the fag ends of Sir Richard Steele. We certainly have not been at the pains to count them, but we believe that there are some scores of notes in this collection, of which the following (Vol.' I. p. 366.) is a fair sample.
«To Mrs. Steele. . I cannot answer yours to all points, till I have received answers to two or three letters; but will write in the 'afternoon . L . Be sure to keep Mrs. Keck. •Yours,
R. Steele With'deference to the respectable editor, we must beg leayed to state our conviction, that a shilling pamphlet would include: all the interesting novelty of these volumes. Part of the oriwi ginal matter, it appears, was obtained by Mr. N. from a grandima daughter of Steele's, and the remainder from the widow of Mr:1 Scurlock the heir at law of Lady Trevor, Sir Richard's tegitis" mate daughter.
There is so much confusion both in the editing and printing of this correspondence, such repetition in the paging, so much literary small ware in the notes, and so little coherence and distinctness of information any where, that we can only venture to say that we believe the following to be a sufficiently correct statement of the substance of these volumesor perhaps this i volume, for in spite of the title page it does not appear by any means decided whether the book is single or double. The Dramatic Fragments consist of several scenes of air comedy, the plot of which is extravagant, and the dialogue not destitute of spirit; the opening of another, which seems: 10 have been on the plan of Higb Life below. Stairs ; and a scene or two of a tragedy attributed to Addison, --with what justice we are unable to say. The remainder of the collection includes Steele's letters of courtship; bis literary, correspondence ; - his dedications, prefaces, and addresses ; his notes to his wife containing apologies for dining out-and, getting drunk, promises of futare good behaviour, and come missions for old wigs, and clean linen. This interesting detail is eked out with " cash accounts,” and closed with a proposal for the payment of Sir Richard Steelels debtsu!!
Some of Sir Richard's letters' té higí wife. are interesting specimens of conjugal intercourse: but they are throughout marked by the most painful proofs of his want of steadiness and prudence. Scarcely a letter, hardly a note, passes from him to Lady Steele, witiout some reference to past follies, and promises of amendment-promises which were as ill' kept, as
instancese portion hature, », pard but lite
they were lightly made. Mr. Nichols repeatedly hints at Lady S.'s parsimony as a source of great uneasiness to her husband. It may have been so : but before he had ventured to blame her for avarice, he should have passed'a much severer judgement on the profligate extravagance of her hustom band. She appears to have occasionally been left without necessaries, and Steele, while profuse in his expressions ofi tenderness, seems to have paid but little regard to her wants.. His great “ good-nature," did not, we, conceive, involve any large portion of sensibility. The death of his lady, foc. instance, is thus summarily announced in a letter written the morning after her decease.
“ To Mr. Alexander Scurlock. « Dear Cousin,
Dec. 27, 1718. « This is to let you know that my dear and honoured Wife departed this life last night.
“I desire my Aunt Scurlock, and Mrs. Bevan, and you yourself, would immediately go into mourning; and place the charge for, suck mourning of those two ladies and your own, to the account of, Sir, " Your most affectionate kinsman
and humble Servant,
. R. STEELB.". In the following epistle written in answer to one from his daughter, announcing the death of his only son, he doesi indeed go a step farther, and offers up à petition for "pa. tience” in a tone which, when taken in connection with thes pathos of the postscript, has a most whimsical effect.
i .To Mrs. Elizabeth Steele. My dear Child,
Nov. 23, 17292 : . I have your letter, with the news of Eugene's death, and your reflections thereupon. Do you and your sister stay at home, andes do not go to the funeral. Lord, grant me patience !. • Pray write to me constantly.
"Your affectionate Father,
The best answer, however, to the inuendos against tlie conjugal character of Lady Steele which are occasionally to be found in the votes, may be obtained from, the following elegant tribute to her praise, prefixed by her husband to the third volume of the " Ladies Library.” .' .
It is impossible for me to look back on many evils and pains, which II have suffered since we came together, without a pleasure which is not ita be expressed, from the proofs I have had, in those circumstances, of your unwearied goodness. How often has your tenderness removed pain from
my sick head? How often anguish from my afflicted heart ? With what; skilful patience have I known you comply, with the vain projects which pain has suggested, to have an aching limb removed by journeying from one side of a room to another? How often, the next instant, travelled the same ground again, without telling your patient it was to no purpose to change his situation ! If there are such beings as Guardian Angels, thus are they employed. I will no more believe one of them more good in its inclinations, than I can conceive it more charming in its form, than my wife. . . . "The literary character of Steele bas been so often and so recently discussed, that we do not feel it necessary to resume the inqniry. Badly as this book is altogether got up, we cannot help expressing our astonishinent at the vile specimen of engraving, prefixed as Steele's portrait. i jo
Art, XIII. A New Analysis of Chronology; in which an attempt is
made to explain the History and Antiquities of the Primitive Nations " of the World, and the prophecies relating to them, on Principles
tending to remove the Imperfection and Discordance of preceding Systems. By the Rev. William Hales, D.D. &c. Vol. II. In 2
Parts, 4to. pp. 1440. Rivington, 1811. W E gave an account of Dr. Hales's first volume in our re
view for 1810, (Vol. VI. Part I.). His second volume, now on our table, is separated into two parts, each of which is considerably larger than the former. No sufficient reason. appears why these parts might not have been entitled vo. lumes; especially as the sequel of the work, if the same scale of the materials and arrrangement be preserved, must fill at least two more such parts or volumes. I';,. ,
The present volume is a Chronological History of the Old and New Testament, in the current of which are perpetually introduced fragments of biblical criticism and theological disquisition. Emendations of the received Hebrew and Greek texts, new translations of single passages and often of ample portions of scripture, and discussions of points of doctrine, 'appear to constitute the largest part of the materials with which the learned author has constructed this rolume. We do not undervalue these materials. Though their comparative excellence be various, the sum of their merit anda utility is considerable. But we wish that a different method. of arrangement had been observed. In the present plan, the narrative itself is but scanty, the continuity of it can scarce. i lý be discerned, and the beaping together of the multiform portions of matter produces a sense of confusion and speedy: satiety in the mind of the reader. Had the author formed his : test more strictly according to the approved models of his sprical composition, relegating the critical and polemical
matter to distinct notes or supplementary essays; his book would have been far more engaging to the general reader, as, well as more useful, because more easy of reference to the scholar and divine. Upon such a plan, also, we conceive that' another advantage might have been secured. The coætaneous history and chronology of other nations might have accon-.. papied that of the sacred people, after the excellent sample of Prideaux and Shuckford, sufficiently discinct, yet so pre-; served parallel, as that the two lines of scriptural and profane history should illustrate each other. But now, the chronological history of the great nations of antiquity is to form: the matter of the ensuing volume; notwithstanding Dr. Hales has, of necessity, anticipate i many parts of it, from their ins: separable relation to his present subject. , ;
The author, however, was aware of the advantages of the former part of the arrangement, the absence or imperfection of which we regret ; for, in his prefixed advertisement, he says that this work could not have been reduced to its present size, had not the Critical Disquisitions been thrown, as much as possible, into the form of notes, and printed in a smaller type than the text. This has further contributed to preserve the tenor of the history even and uniform, unbroken and uninterrupted by digressions.'— With this in- : tention in his mind, how unfortunate has the doctor been in the execution of it!
An extract from the preface will supply a view of the design of the present volume.
The paramount excellence, therefore, the importance and the difficulty of the original scriptures, have given birth to a greater number and variety of helps and expositions, than any other books that ever were written in any age or in any language : and if we review the infinite multitude of translations, notes, comments, keys, &c. of Lexicons, Dictionaries, Con. " cordances, &c. of Histories, Connections, Abridgements, &c. that have already appeared, in all languages, wherever the gospel has been pub- ' lished throughout the whole world, we may safely conclude without any' hyperbole or exaggeration, that the world itself could not contain the books that might be written" upon a subject so absolutely inexhaustible in all its various branches and ramisications,
( But amidst all this endless and oppressive variety of scriptural helps, ; there are scarcely any which are not liable to serious and weighty objec- , tions. Some - are too voluminous, diffusive, and expensive for ordinary use ; others too short, superficial, and imperfect to convey sufficient in, formation : and we may search in vain for a COMPETENT HISTORY OF THE BIBLE ; a history of the Bible which shall be plain and clear even to the unlearned, and yet concise, correct, and critical ; competent, 1. to arrange all the scattered events in a regular and lucid chronological and geo-, graphical order; 2. to trace the connection between the Old and New Testament throughout, 80 as 'to render the whole one uniform and con... VOL. VIII,
sistent narrative ; competent, 3. to expound the mysteries, doctrines, and precepts of both, intelligibly, rationally, and faithfully; without adding to, or diminishing from the Word of God; and without undue respect, of persons, parties, or sects ; 4. to unfold and interpret the whole grand and comprehensive scheme of the prophetic argument” (Tòv apopntixiy abyov, 2 Pet. i. 19.) from Genesis to Revelation ; all admirably linked and closely connected together, subsisting in the DIVINE MIND, “ before the foundation of the world," 1 Pet. i. 20. Rev. xiii. 8. and gradually reš vealed to mankind, at sundry times, and divers modes and degrees, during the Patriarchal, Mosaical, and Christian dispensations, as they were able to bear it, Heb. i. 1. competent, 5. to solve real difficulties, and reconcile apparent dissonances, resulting from the obscurity of the original text, or from inaccurate translations; 6. to silence sceptics and heretics, infidels and scoffers, by exposing the weakness and inconclusiveness of their objections and cavils ; 7. to defend the institutions of the primitive church against schismatics and levellers; and, in fine, 8. to copy, as close as possible, the brevity, and conciseness, yet simplicity and plainness of the gospel style ;-such a history of the Bible is altogether a desideratum in the annals of sacred literature.' pref, pp. xv-xxii.,
This citation is no very prepossessing specimen of taste in composition : but, on this head, the public will not be fastidious, if our learned and laborious author shall be found to have supplied the desideratum which, he so largely describes.
In the first volume, p. 321, compelled by astronomical reasons and analogical argument, though not explicitly stated, Dr. H. had said ; 'whether the host of the fixed stars were all created and made at the same time with our system, may reasonably be doubted. We lament that he has not attended to this important subject, in its proper place of the present volume; and that, not only in relation to the suns and worlds which we have reason to believe exist out of the linsits of our solar system, but with respect to that systein itself, and the constitution and structure of the earth. Many modern geologists are daily confirming themselves and others in infidelity, from the unfounded assumption that the Mosaic cosmogony is contradicted by indubitable facts and discoveries in mineralogical science. We are sorry to say that, when this objection was adverted to in the admirable lectures, read by an illus. trious Professor at the Royal Institution, last year, the answer which was produced was of that Aimsy kind which could satisfy no man, and must have left the objection to operate with more mischievous force. The false assumption rests on the idea that, according to the scriptures, the antiquity of the created universe does not much exceed six or seven thousand years. Froin long and attentive consideration, we are convinced that neither the book of Genesis nor any other part of the Bible authorizes any such conclusion. Certainly the Bi