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"I canna do't," he answered, with a voice of despair. "It would kill me to do't-how can ye bid me pay back siller, when ye ken how I want it? or dispone Beersheba, when it lies sae weel into my ain plaid-nuik? Nature made Dumbiedikes and Beersheba to be ae man's land-She did by *** Nichil, it wad kill me to part them."

But ye maun die, whether or no, Laird,' said Mr. Novit; and maybe ye wad die easier-it's but trying. I'll scroll the disposition in nae time.'




Dinna let the warld get a grip o' ye, Jock-but keep the gear thegither! and whate'er ye do, dispone Beersheba at no rate. Let the creatures stay at a moderate mailing, and hae bite and soup: it will maybe be the better wi' your father where he's gaun, lad."

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To this specimen we need scarceDinna speak o't, Sir, or I'll fling ly add, that we retract every censure stoup at your head-But. but Jock, lad, upon The Heart of Mid-Lothian, exye see how the warld warstles with me cept when compared with the foron my death-bed. Be kind to the pair mer productions of the same author. creatures the Deanses and the Butlers.



From the New Monthly Magazine, August, 1818.

OMETHING extraordinary is al- coast; my intention however is not to ways making its appearance in Amer enter into any disquisition whether or ica, and accounts of the same generally no they are of the same species with appear in the English journals grossly those of antiquity-those which destroyexaggerated. I am one of those who ed Laocoon and yet figure in sculpture, from experience have learnt the caution that which proved the youthful nerves necessary to be observed before placing of Hercules, or the more sagacious one implicit confidence in the relations of which foretold the death of Julian, and our trans-atlantic brethren, and am old thereby proved itself a good christian. enough to remember the sensation This I will leave to my American caused by the supernatural appearances brethren who are well qualified for such on the Apalachian mountains; the researches. I merely intend to state glory by which they were surrounded, that the Serpent of the Ocean, such as dispelling the darkness, as the morning sun triumphs over the clouds of night; the vision lasted until some fanatic asserted it was the "descent of the New Jerusalem," when reason prevailed, and we heard of the inhabitants and them no more.* Lately we have had "moving stones" in Carolina, but which ceas ed their motion when Dr. James, of New York, set on foot an enquiry concerning them. What I at present wish to observe upon is, the account of "huge Sea Serpents," lately said to have been seen along that wonderful

* Those luminous appearances on the Apalachian mountains were ascribed to the particular state of the atmosphere. Some of the American philosophers even travelled from Philadelphia to observe them.

they are described in the accounts from America, are no novel appearance, but have been seen in the Mediterranean. I happened to be on board the Philomel, one of his Majesty's brigs of war,commanded by Captain Guison; having joined her on the 12th of December, 1811, at Gibraltar; Lord Cochrane, Commissary-General Macdowel, and Captain Hardinge of the engineers, were passengers.' * I mention them thus par

Captain Hardinge, a man of considerable talent. took views of the city mole and batteries at Algies

whilst the master of the big sounded the bay mi.

nuty, under pretence of grappling for the lost anchor. I should believe Lod Exmonth acted upon Capt. Hardinge's plan, as At gentleman res marked to me in case of a bonbardment the very situation occupied by the Queen Charlotte on that memorable event afterwards taking place.


Sea-Serpents !

[VOL. 4

ticularly as they are living, and can con- abandon the vicinity of the vessel on the

tradict me if I state any thing which is

not correct.

told me they were common in the bay, but he had never known any of them being caught. Achmet, the admiral's pilot, then on board the fifty gun ship, destroyed shortly after by Lord Exmouth, said they were regarded by the fishermen with a superstitious reverence, who believed if they left the bay the fish would also leave it.

I did however record them

occasion, which confirmed me in my opinion that, from the size of the mouth, After relieving with a supply of pro- they were incapable of being dangerous visions the Portuguese fortress of Me- to men. We saw them every day durlillo on the coast of Barbary, and an- ing our stay, until our removal into the choring for one day before the celebrat- Mole, when they left us, or rather we ed ruins of Oran, we entered the bay of left them. An old Greek renegado Algiers, and moored the vessel about three miles to the eastward of the city, where vessels in common do not ride. Our motive for chusing this position was in order to sound the bay as secretly as possible. The depth of water might be nine fathoms. One of the cables was cut under water on the second day of our anchorage, I apprehend by the coral rocks, near which place the ship was. They had not, to me, that "carved" A seaman remarked to me from the appearance noticed by the Americans. poop, where he was fishing, that he be- I might have discovered that and several lieved the devil in the shape of a serpent other peculiarities of form in them by a had cut our cable, and was now along more narrow scrutiny, but I imagined side as long as the ship. I immediately they were only curiosities to myself, looked over the gangway and perceived and scarce worth recording in my four of these reptiles sporting in the journal. water they appeared to me about from a practice never to omit noticing thirty feet in length, of a dark brown whatever passed under my own obsercolour, with a slight silvery tinge on vation. I pointed them out to Lord the belly, and on each side of the head: Cochrane and the other passengers, and the head was small, and in thickness of if I recollect aright, his Lordship said body the size of a stout man's thigh, tapering towards the tail. I observed them frequently roll over, stretched at full length, and when preparing to advance, the head was raised and the tail rolled upwards like a coach wheel in size nearly to the middle of the animal's back; lowering its head, which seemed to have been raised as a coast of Cornwall. necessary action to preserve its balance > in folding up the tail, it darted forward with considerable velocity, unfurling itP. S. The master of an American vesself as it advanced. The sailors vainly sel arrived at Penobscot asserts his havendeavoured to catch one of them, let- ing encountered at sea a serpent full ting down shark-hooks with different one hundred feet long, and in thickness baits. My opinion was, that the mouth greater than a water cask. This forof the animal, which generally appeared midable animal reared itself several feet open when the head was reared, would out of the water, took a look at the ship, not admit a bait larger than an orange, and quietly glided away. An affidavit being quite out of our ideas of propor- is said to be preparing for the master tion with respect to its body. They and crew to establish this extraordinary never came nearer to the surface than fact. This account is given in Lloyd's six feet, so we found it useless to attempt list, which alone renders it worthy of them with a harpoon. The men bathed notice. The dimensions of a water cask amongst them unmolested, nor did they are various, barrels, butts, and pun

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they were not uncommon, or words bearing that construction. After this statement, "the American serpent,' losing its claim to novelty, is divested of much of its interest; as it is no more wonderful that the serpent of the Mediterranean should be seen on that coast, than the whale of Greenland on the

I am,

Fitzroy Place.


VOL. 4.]

On Novel-Reading.


cheons, and those called gang-casks on give no credit. "Jonathan" had heard board of merchant ships commonly con- of the serpent, and determined to have tain two hundred or more gallons, and a share in the glory of fixing it as a are at least three feet in diameter; if the native of "the Columbian Ocean." latter is meant, 66 astonishing" indeed National vanity is deemed preferable must be the size of this animal; if by to truth by most American seamen,and "water cask" is meant the barrel in the above may be set down as a fit comcommon use, about one foot in diameter, panion to the Scotch Mermaids which more astonishing still must it be in the were exhibited in the western isles, and former case, as the master's fears must were actually sworn to by several have magnified his powers of vision,and Scotch persons and second-sighted old in the latter it may be accounted for by women. I see no reason to alter my suffering him to have passed a cable opinion, that the serpent of America washed off some ship's deck in a gale of and the Mediterranean are of the same wind, which I think not improbable, species, and not uncommon, though About twelve years ago an American rarely noticed. The difference in size captain trading for furs, saw on the shores will soon be reconciled, and as America of New Zealand an animal of the serpent is the land of the marvellous they are kind which rose out of the water and entitled to forty or fifty feet extra upon looked into his main-top; of this fact such an occasion. I expect some other affidavit was also prepared but captain, on the strength of this great never administered;" perhaps this may discovery, will import us a parody to be the same animal, and the discoverer its honour on the famous national song, the same person. I have heard more such asextraordinary things asserted by American captains, whose accounts cannot be too cautiously received, but to this I



Hail Columbia! favour'd strand!
Fill'd with snakes by sea and land.


Extracted from the British Critick, Jnue 1818.

AS S public opinion is by no means order to gratify the pampered palate of -in favour of fictitious compositions, an indolent public. Labouring too with we allude to novels; it is our intention a success, which has never known a to devote a few pages of our present number to an investigation of the principal causes, which have led many to condemn every work of that nature, as injurious in its consequences, and unworthy the attention of any rational being.

moment's diminution, they have, on that account, brought down upon their heads the ruthless vengeance of all the other practitioners in literature. Theologians, historians, moralists, and philosophers, are all animated with the same spirit of hostility; and, however We do not pretend to enter into they differ upon other points, are unansuch a discussion with unbiassed feel- imous in conferring the most offensive ings; on the contrary, we are warm terms upon these light-hearted children partizans of that degraded and perse- of pleasure and imagination. Not, cuted tribe of authore, who are known however, content with directing the by the name of novellists, and think venom of their malice against the comthat no writers have contributed more posers, they must even endeavour to than they have to the amusement and fling it upon us, who are merely the instruction of society. Labouring in a readers of such publications. The field, which has been so long the com- theologian assures us, that the time mon property of every dabbler in let- spent in these idle pursuits would be ters, they are making it produce, day better employed in meditating on more after day, new and succulent plants, in important and less worldly objects:


On Novels-M. de Stael's Zulma, &t!

[VOL. 4

the historian informs us, that, in with- being prejudicial to the mental faculties, drawing our attention from the inci- is actually favourable to their further dents of real life to those, which never developement. For reflection, as Maddid, and never can occur, we are weak- ame de Stael has well observed, finds ening the mind, and misleading the much more to discover in the details of judgment; whilst the moralist asserts, society, than in any ge eral idea, which that, as we only live to read, instead of you may throw out regarding it and reading how to live, we are perpetually nothing is so well calculated to excite developing those passions, of which the reflection, especially in the minds of influence, as it is most dangerous, the young, as the fictitious narratives, ought to be kept under the severest of which we are speaking. For to control. What other charges may be them such works serve as living picdenounced against us, we are at a loss tures of manners as they rise, and by to discover if there be any, in all exhibiting, in strong and vivid colours, probability they will be of a similar the imbecilities and follies of mankind, nature, and may therefore, for the pres- impart the first rudiments of that knowlent, remain unnoticed. Before the edge of the human heart, which is so conclusion of this article, we will ex- necessary to insure our happiness, and amine the grounds on which all such ac- which is so difficult, and so dangerous, cusations rest; because, by so doing, and so tedious to acquire, if it is to be we shall make it evident to all our gleaned from the great book of nature, readers, that the perusal of a good novel Thus affording what is said to be the is neither a misapplication of time, nor result of age alone, experience, they a study calculated to warp the under- make youth acquainted with the vices standing, or foster an improper por- and profligacies of the world, at the tion of enthusiastic feeling. same time that they withdraw it from the sphere of their contamination. Nor are these advantages confined only to the younger branches of the community; they extend also to the more advanced in life for to them they recall (and the recollection, whether in the noon or evening of existence, is and ought to be pleasant,) the pursuits, distresses, and enjoyments of their earlier years: they rekindle in their booms those milder and gentler feelings of our nature, which time and toil, and vexation and anguish, are perpetually tending to extinguish in us all: and though much stress may not be placed upon the observation, they often supply those useful hints for the conduct of individuals in society, and for the internal regulation of families, which are not likely to be found in the multifarious volumes, which learned divines have put forth for the amendment of the age, nor in any of those ingenious discourses on morality, which philosophers have indited for its edification from the combined love of fame, money, and mankind.

Previously to taking up the gauntlet in defence of novel-readers, it may be necessary to state explicitly, that we are not desirous of recommending to any person, in any station of life, an indiscriminate perusal of every novel or romance, which emanates from the Minerva or Apollo press, and which is therefore pre-doomed to occupy a place on the shelves of our circulating libraries. We are as well aware, as individuals can be, that nothing exceeds the trash, which defiles the pages of some of these productions: but there are others, in which the great truths of morality and religion are advocated in such powerful and impressive language, as would not disgrace the austerest philosopher. Like the character, which Martial gave to his own epigrams, some are good, some bad, and the majority moderate. From a collection of this nature, where the different particles are known to us, more or less, through the medium of common conversation, a judicious selection may be easily made: and the reading of such works, in this department of literature, as have met It has been thought proper to mark with general approbation, so far from out thus distinctly the limits, within

VOL. 4.]

On Novel-Reading.



They will be satisfied with publications of this sort, if in their perusal they experience delight without reaping benefit, but not, if they are to reap benefit without experiencing delight. moral must therefore be the invisible power, which directs the events of the story, because, if it becomes the actuating and visible power, it destroys the dramatic effect, and consequently, the illusion of the fiction. In such a case,

which we defend novel-reading, in or- their work to a dissertation on one of der that we may be released from the the moral virtues, is more calculated necessity of combatting those objec- than any other to counteract the effect tions, which apply only to such works which they are so desirous of producof this description, as are in themselves ing. A novel never can succeed, in indecent and improper. We shall now which the fable merely serves as a veproceed, after making this limitation, to hicle for tedious disquisitions on theostate how far, and under what circum- retical ethics, or still more tedious ebulstances, we advocate the cause of novel- litions of mawkish sentimentality. writers. As long then as they are con- These essays, considered as essays, tented with merely not transgressing may be very good, but unfortunately the boundaries of morality and decency, they are not at all entertaining and and with merely shewing an external novel-readers insist on being amused, compliance with the established forms in the first place, and merely submit to and institutions of society, as long as be instructed in the second. they think, that their duty is fully performed, if they do not throw a gorgeous veil over the deformities of vice, and do not apply their talents to defend an erroneous system of philosophy, so long they are only entitled to the faint and negative praise of doing no harm. Before they aspire to a higher meed, they must zealously inculcate the precepts and the practice of virtue: and, so far from being satisfied with standing on the defensive, when morality is attack- as the author has two objects in view, ed, they must be ever ready to run all to make us feel a moral truth, and to hazards in behalf of its ordinances. charm by the recital, which is to prove No sarcasm, therefore, however poign- it, he generally loses one of them in the ant, no witticism, however brilliant, necessity which he feels of obtaining must tempt them to admit into their the other. He either represents the writings the shadow of a syllable, de- abstract idea vaguely, in order to prerogatory to natural or revealed religion. serve the probability and connection of They must shew as well by argument his incidents, or he sacrifices truth and as by example, that if the very first in- nature, to be mathematically precise in roads of vice be not strenuously resist- his philosophical speculations. In ed, transgression will so produce trans- either case he is unfortunate: in the gression, that the difficulty of reforma- first, he cannot amuse, because every tion will increase with each succeeding sentiment which he utters, and every minute and that the momentary situation which he describes, is considgratification of any illegal passion, ered as merely figuring towards the whether it be revenge, ambition, ava- ethical result, and of little importance rice, lust, or any other improper appe- to the denouement of the tale: in the tite of the mind, will be followed by latter, he cannot instruct, because the many a long year of tribulation and anguish.

language of the passions will sometimes glance across the coldness and spoil the Not that in order to promote this wisdom of metaphysical exactness. laudable purpose, an author should Each chapter is thus a kind of allegory, pursue the plan, which is adopted by in which the events can never be lookMrs. West, Miss Hannah More, or ed upon in any other light than so matheir imitators ;-far from it. The ny different emblems of the little pithy system which these ladies unfortunately adage, which is to be placed at their follow, the system of dedicating a cer- conclusion: and the whole narrative tain number of pages in each chapter of creates that species of disgust and disC ATHENEUM. Vol. 4:

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