Page images

say, that Mr. Lancaster's mode is the result of native and extraordinary taleat; calculated to produce rapid and visible progress; and suited to the genius of the present age, when intellectual acquirement is to be the result of magic, or a kind of slight of hand. - Dr Bell's, on the contrary, is unpopular in its character, and repulsive in its commencement There is, for a time, no appearance of progress: the scholar seems to be receding, under the additional burthen of awkward and unpleasant habits. But a very few days will enable any intelligent and impartial spectator, to appreciate the value of the method, which Dr Bell has adopted. He will soon perceive that the whole of it is systematic, progressive, and scientific; the produc tion of a philosophic mind, working by experiment.'

Perhaps Mr. Lancaster will not think that the Baronet has done him justice in comparing the results of his plan to magic, and those of Dr. Bell's system to philosophic experiment. In the colouring of an argument or representation, the partiality of the friend often discovers itself.

Art. 18. Soirées d'Automne, &c. i.e. Autumnal Evenings, or Vice punished and Virtue rewarded. For the Instruction of Youth and the Use of Schools. By Mlle. G. Bertholet. 12mo. 4s. 6d. Boards. Dulau and Co. 1810.

The introductory dialogues, with which this work commences, are rather dull and superfluous, and seem to be written merely in imitation of Madame de Geulis's Veillées du Chateau: but Mlle. Bertholet has told the history of Joseph and his brethren in a very animated and interesting manner. She appears, however, to think that a love-story is indispensable to the effect of a tale ; and she has accordingly heightened the picture of Joseph's grief at his banishment from his father, by describing him as being torn also from the amiable Semira at the very moment when Hymen prepared to crown their mutual love. Perhaps, in strict critical severity, we should object to the mention of Hymen's Pagan name among these pious Israelites. At any rate, this introduction of a fictitious fair one causes improbabilities, while it lessens Joseph's merit in resisting the blandishments of Zora; so that, instead of appearing as the triumphant servant of God, he becomes a mere faithful Corydon to the amiable Semira. — A story which has already been related in history, or in holy writ, should not be altered, even if it may be amplified; and therefore we hesitate in commending the writer for having softened the character of Potiphar's wife. Instead of the recorded intrealy, the Zora of the present performance only takes hold of Joseph's garment in order to tell him that he is made free; while he is so fearful of temptation that he will not stay to hear her. His coat of many colours is also changed into a wedding robe, woven by


[ocr errors]

We must have been, like Niobe, all tears," to have sympa thized in the numerous weepings of Joseph and his brethren; and we suspect that the writer has fallen into this sentimental error by endeavouring to copy the style of Gesner, instead of trusting to her Her language, however, is pure and elegant: the incidente which she imagines are generally probable and pleasing; and the whole


H 3

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

whole composition seems to be judiciously adapted to its professed end, the amusement and instruction of youth.'

[ocr errors]


Art. 19. Black Rock House; or, Dear-bought Repentance. 3 Vols. 12mo. 15. Boards. Crosby and Co. 1810.

This novel is pleasing by the simplicity of its style, by the good sense contained in many of the observations, and by the knowlege of human nature which is displayed in many of the characters. We think, however, that those of Mrs. Faulconbridge and Miss Hawtry are rather overcharged; and the serious parts of the work are much the best, because the dialogues which are meant to be witty generally fall short of their aim.

Art. 20.

Scenes in Feudal Times. A Romance. By R. H. Wilmos. 12mo. 4 Vols. 16s. Boards. Robinson. 1809. The first chapter of this work has the following quotation from Shakspeare as its motto:

"Good Sir, why do you start, and seem to fear?"

If this question had been exclusively addressed to ourselves, we should have answered," Because we behold four volumes of your romance." However, our fears of fatigue were not verified, and we mention them chiefly to dissipate those of our readers. The characters in this performance are well contrasted, the incidents are numerous, and the plot is intricate without being unintelligible: but we occasionally remarked a want of energy and dignity, by which the most impressive passages are weakened; and, since some of the most moving events depend on Jacqueline's taciturnity, it was perhaps ill-judged to make her acquainted with the crimes of her persecutors, because her consent to a marriage, by which she would have been dishonoured as well as disgusted, becomes incredible when we recollect that it was in her power to avoid it by exposing

"The villanies and wiles of her determined foes."

Vice is punished, and virtue is rewarded, much in the usual way at the end of the book; and we think that the work will afford no inconsiderable portion of harmless amusement.

Art. 21. The Daughters of Isenberg, a Bavarian Romance, by Alicia Tyndal Palmer; author of "The Husband and the Lover." 12mo. 4 Vols. 11. 4s. Boards. Lackington. 1810.

We were predisposed in favour of this composition, by learning that it proceeded from the same pen which produced the romance of "the Husband and the Lover," (see Rev. Vol. lx. p. 95.) and we recog nized the style in many passages. If, however, the present publication should be found less interesting than its predecessor, the fault lies in the construction of the story, by which the attention is so equally divided among the three daughters of the house of Isenberg, that the reader cannot be so anxious about any of them as he might be,

"Were the other dear charmers away."

The characters of these fair sisters are pourtrayed with much discrimination; and the incident is both just and humorous which shews the grave Spaniard and the gay Frenchman to be equally at


tached through self-love to the ladies who praise them. The author's talents are more advantageously displayed in the sublime and the pathetic, than in comic description and dialogue. Her personages all speak the same language, if we except the Lady Marguerite,' and her dialect is such as no human being ever could speak.

We suspect that Miss Palmer is guilty of a bull, when she says that the youths stood suspended;' and we fear that some impatient readers will be angry at the length of her preface. They will judge for themselves, in defiance of all preambles; and they are not disposed to judge more good humouredly from being already wearied by a prolix introduction.

Miss P. has an invincible passion for describing rural fêtes and masqued balls, and she introduces us to one of these entertainments in every volume. However, we feel no ill will towards her for forcing our attendance on the descriptions of such amusements, which we so seldom enjoy in reality; and we recommend her romance as displaying considerable knowlege of history and powers of reflection, and as being very superior in style and in merit to many works of the same


Art. 22.
The Family of Santraile; or, the Heir of Montault. A
Romance, by Harriet Jones. 12mo. 4 Vols. 11. 4s. Boards.
Cawthorn. 1809..

Whatever Mrs. or Miss Jones may be qualified to teach in the school to which she states that she is attached, it certainly is not the art of composition, since she understands not the common accuracies of language, nor the rules of grammar. The title-page bids us

"Prepare to hear of murder and of blood;"

and we were so little pleased with the Family of Santraile,' that we were ready to say, "the sooner they are all murdered, the better:" yet they linger on through four thick volumes, notwithstanding the imprudence with which they court their fate. For instance, the Lady Romania invites herself to pay a visit of some months to the miscreant who had murdered her father, and who had already attempted her life; while her mother runs great risks in order to personate her own ghost, lest Romania should be frightened by her appearance in her living character: in short, this writer sets all possibility at defiance, as much in the story which she has penned, as in the expectation which she seems to indulge that it will obtain an extensive circulation.



Art. 23. Brief Observations on the Address to His Majesty, proposed by Earl Grey in the House of Lords, 13th June 1810. William Roscoe, Esq. 8vo. Is. 6d. Cadell and Davies. No political question, at the present day, is of more importance than that which respects our precise situation relative to war and peace. Are we prosecuting war with the hope and prospect of ob• . taining a desirable peace? or is our situation of so singular and desperate a character, that our only alternative is that of falling nobly or ignobly, with arms in our bands or in the lap of a treacherous peace? It is the opinion of many, and those who are respectable men, that Europe

H 4

Europe is now in such a state, that we have no course left to us but to fight on; for that, as soon as the sword should be returned to its scabbard, our power, consequence, and independence would be at an end; and the fate of Carthage, with which our enemy threatens us, would be that of Great Britain. Mr. Roscoe endeavours to place things in a more comfortable light, by controverting the positions and arguments of the advocates of a perpetual war with France. He ventures to think, in opposition to Lord Grey, that neither "the power of France, now unhappily established over the greatest part of Europe, nor the spirit and character of her government," presents any insurmount able obstacles to a peace. It is his object to shew that the alarming period in which our destiny is scaled is not yet arrived; and he warns us against incautiously driving matters to such a crisis. A position the reverse of the fashionable doctrine is maintained, viz. that we are strong for peace, but weak for war;' and in reply to those who fear that a period of tranquillity would give the enemy an opportunity of repairing his losses on the ocean, Mr. R. contends that, by continuing the present war, we afford to France the only chance she has of becoming formidable to this country as a maritime power.'

Adverting to the overtures for peace made in 1806, this ingenious writer laments the opportunities which we then lost, and the farther subjugation of Europe which protracted warfare has occasioned. Yet even though matters are far worse than they were then, he is confi dent that, without continental alliances, Great Britain is able by her own power and resources to preserve her independence; and that, if we are in any degree vigilant, the enemy can at no time assail us


Mr. Roscoe does not, in our opinion, appreciate to its full extent the magnitude of the evil arising from almost the entire coast of Europe being in the hands of the enemy; and the probability that, owing to this circumstance, our commerce would be as much interrupted in peace as in war; but he adverts to the unavoidable result of protracted warfare, and, like a good man, ardently wishes that the experiment of peace may be fairly tried. We transcribe the conclusion of his pamphlet, since it contains the substance of his argument:

The calamities of the physical world are temporary. Earthquakes, plagues and tempests, have their season; but a protracted warfare is a perpetual earthquake, a perpetual pestilence, a perpetual storm; and to propose to any people the adoption of such a system, is to propose that they should resolve, not only to live in sorrow, in wretchedness and in peril themselves, but to entail the same calamities on their descendants.

The apprehension's so generally entertained in this country of the consequences of a peace with France, are rather the spectres of an inflamed imagination, than the legitimate offspring of reason and of truth. This will be the more apparent to any man, the more he will endeavour to analyze and define the vague, indistinct, and general positions of those, who contend for a continuance, under some mode or other, of the present war. Very evident, substantial, and immediate, are, on the contrary, the evils that must result from its further prosecution. However desirable it may be to this country to humble the power and pride of France, experience has shown that it

is not by hostility that this is likely to be effected. War, it appears, is the element in which she lives, the nutriment on which she feeds; and whilst war continues, she will continue to invigorate and strengthen herself at the expence of surrounding states. If, in compliance with the plan proposed by Lord Grey, the war be con ducted on our part with economy and caution, and be principally confined to a defensive system, we shall only depress the spirit of the country, and prolong the anxiety and distresses of the people, by an inefficient, a protracted, and in the end, a ruinous warfare. If, on the other hand, we resort to measures of annoyance and attack; if we fit out expensive armaments, engage in hazardous expeditions, and subsidize with immense sums every country that can be induced to oppose our enemy, we must expect a repetition of the same misfortunes that we have heretofore experienced. A long course of disastrous events has shown



Not a doubt can be entertained that, if we could obtain a real season of repose, and England and France could arrange the political world with a mutual and honest wish to promote the advantages which respectively belong to each country, George III. and the Emperor of the French might secure the tranquillity of the globe: but it is too evident that the present war is prosecuted with an animosity which is not likely soon to subside; that we are mutually elated by our victories; and that we, on this side of the water, cannot brook the idea of renouncing all connection with the continent, and subscribing to Bonaparte's dominion over almost the whole of Europe. Art. 24. An Exposition of the Conduct of France towards America; illustrated by Cases decided in the Council of Prizes in Paris. By Lewis Goldsmith, Notary Public, Author of the "Crimes of Cabinets," and Translator of Monsieur d'Hauterive's State of France at the end of 1801. 8vo. pp. 133. Richardson.

Mr. Goldsmith having returned lately to this country, after a residence of several years at Paris, was induced to publish an account of the conduct of the French government to America, in consequence, he says, of that conduct being generally misunderstood in England. His work contains a copy of the Berlin and Milan decrees, as well as of our Orders in Council, accompanied by reflections on the comparative policy of England and France; in all of which he has the complaisance to assure us that our ministers acted perfectly right. More than half of the pamphlet is composed of statements of the cases of American ships condemned in France. After having commented on some aggravated cases, Mr. Goldsmith apologizes for his warmth, and acknowleges (p. 44.) that he has indulged in some degree that indignation, which every honest mind must feel on contemplating, with sufficient knowlege of the facts, the egregious usurpa tions and insolence of the ruler of the destinies of France. In another part, (page 123.) he is so condescending as to say, were Napoleon conscious that he is bound by the ordinary rules of justice between man and man, and between nation and nation, I might attempt to reasen with bim on the enormity of his conduct.'

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »