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ful lady; whom I am convinced, that I now know, much better than her directeur the Abbé de Fenelon (afterwards Archbishop of Cambray) aid, when he wrote her the 18;th letter; and i know him the better too for that letter. The Abbé, though brimful of the divine love, had a great mind to be firft Minifter, and Cardinal, in order, no doubt, to have an opportunity of doing the more good. His being directeur at the time to Madame Maintenon, feemed to be a good flep toward thofe views. She put herfelf upon him for a faint, and he was weak enough to believe it; he, on the other hand, would have put himself upon her for a faint too, which, I dare fay, she did not believe; but both of them knew, that it was neceffary for them to appear faints to Lewis XIV. who they were very fure was a bigot. It is to be prefumed, nay, indeed it is plain by that 185th letter, that Madame Maintenon had hinted to her directeur fome fcruples of conscience, with relation to her commerce with the King; and which I humbly apprehend to have been only fome fcruples of prudence, at once to flatter the bigot character, and increafe the defires of the King. The pious Abbé, frightened out of his wits, left the King fhould impute to the directeur any fcruples or difficulties which he might meet with on the part of the Lady, writes her the above-mentioned letter; in which he not only bids her, not teaze the King by advice and exhortations, but to have the utmoft fubmiffion to his will; and, that she may not mistake the nature of that fubmiffion, he tells her, it is the fame that Sarah had for Abraham; to which fubmiflion Ifaac perhaps was owing. No bawd could have written a more feducing letter to an innocent country girl, than the directeur did to his penitente; who, I dare fay, had no occafion for his good advice. Those who would justify the good directeur, alias the pimp, in this affair, must not attempt to do it, by saying, that the King and Madame Maintenon, were at that time privately married; that the directeur knew it; and that this was the meaning of his enigme. This is abfolutely impoffible; for that private marriage must have removed all fcruple between the parties; nay, could not have been contracted upon any other principle, fince it was kept private, and confequently prevented no public fcandal. It is therefore extremely evident, that Madame Maintenon could not be married to the King, at the time when the fcrupled granting, and when the directeur advised her to grant, thofe favours which Sarah with fo much fubmiffion granted to Abraham: and what the directeur is pleafed to call le myflere de Dieu, was most evidently a state of concu binage. The letters are very well worth your reading; they throw light upon many things of those times.'
We fhall finally clofe this article with the apology for Lord Chefterfield, written by Mrs. Stanhope, and prefixed to the new edition of these letters in 4 vols 8vo. viz.
The favourable manner in which the following work has been generally received by the Public, hath induced the Editor to offer a reflection or two, in anfwer to certain objections that have by fome, perhaps with too much severity, been urged against it.
It hath been objected, that the Earl of Chesterfield entertained too unfavourable an opinion of mankind; that confequently fome Rev. July 1774. Ꭰ of
of his precepts and inftructions are calculated to inspire diftruft, and an artful conduct. Admitting this accufation as ever so just, I am much afraid, that the more we know the world, the lefs apt we shall be to reprehend fuch an overprudence in this refpect: for youth, naturally unfufpecting, unguarded in their conduct, and unhackneyed in the world, feldom fail to become the prey of defigning and experienced minds. We fee however, throughout the work, the noble Author invariably adhering to the maxim, "Stop fhort of fimulation and of falfehood." We find him conftantly ftrenuous in recommending the obfervance of the ftricteft morality, and the confervation of an indelible purity of character; as muft appear to every one who reads the letters with any degree of attention.
With regard to another objection, which fome ladies with fincerity, and others affectedly make, to a recommendation, as they term it, of gallantry with married women; fome allowances candour will make for what "one man of the world," to use his Lordfhip's own words, "writes to another." And this reflection will receive additional weight, from confidering that Mr. Stanhope was then in a country where the greatest appearances of gallantry are frequently unattended with any criminality; at least with as little as in those where more outward reserve is practised.
But as may be abundantly collected, his Lordship had other motives for fuch recommendation of an attachment to women of fashion, than a mere facrifice to pleasure. He prefumed his fon might thereby be domesticated in the beft foreign companies, and confequently acquire their language, and attain a thorough knowledge of their manners, customs, and whatever elfe might be of ufe to him. Most particularly was this advice intended, to give him a deteftation for the company of that degrading clafs of women, who are gained by interested motives, and whom he looked on as the perdition of those young men that unfortunately attach themselves to them.
• Such were undoubtedly Lord Chesterfield's views, in recommending attachments of a more elevated fort; and though this cannot be juftified according to the ftricteft rules of religion, yet, confidering his motives, and the ufage of the countries in which his fon then refided, my fair countrywomen will, I truft, in candour, excufe, what in strictnefs, perhaps, they cannot justify: and wrapping themselves up in the cloak of their own innocence, will learn to pity those who live in more diffipated regions; and happy in thefe realms of virtue, bid defiance to loofer, much loofer, pens than that of the Earl of Chesterfield.'
If the above is not a full and complete defence of his Lordfhip's principles and conduct, as a PRECEPTOR, it is, perhaps, the moft decent apology for him that can be offered.If it anfwers no other purpofe, it may, at leaft, ferve as a crape fan to fhade the mantling blood in the cheeks of the fair Editor.
• Vid. Review for June, p. 457.
ART. VII. Edes Pembrochiane: or, a critical Account of the Statues, Buftos, Relievos, Paintings, Medals, and other Antiquities and Curiofities at Wilton Houfe. Formed on the Plan of Mr. Spence's Polymetis; the ancient Poets and Artists being made mutually to explain and illustrate each other. To which is prefixed, an Extract of the Rules to judge of the Goodness of a Picture, and the Science of a Connoiffeur in Painting. By Mr. Richardfon. 8vo. 2s. 6d. Baldwin. 1774.
HE introductory chapters to this work, entitled, Rules to judge of the Goodness of a Picture,-The Science of a Connoiffeur in Painting,-A Differtation on the Origin, Progrefs, and Decay of Sculpture among the Greeks and Romans, contain feveral obfervations which may be useful to those who are not acquainted with the writings of Abbé Winckleman, &c. Our artists now appear to be looking up to the principles of their arts; but there feems to be a maxim likely to be eftablished among them, beyond which we are much afraid they will never have philofophy enough to look, viz. that the only way to imitate nature, is to imitate the ancients. In many things where the ancients have not left us excellent models, we have greatly furpaffed them. In all things where they have, and we have toiled to imitate, we remain far fhort of them. Imitation is the way to mediocrity; but great numbers may be artifts by means of it. The way to fupreme excellence is im- . mediately to copy nature; but it can be purfued only by a few.
There is another idea which we have lately obferved to have infefted the writings of our connoiffeurs, that of improving upon nature. We will venture to say, against all the artists in the universe, that it is a notion truly unphilofophical and abfurd. Our Author conveys it in the following paffage: Abbé Winckleman, and, we believe all our late writers on tafte in the arts, have strongly supported it. The great and chief ends of painting are to raife and improve nature, and to communicate ideas, not only thofe which we may receive otherwise, but such as without this art could not poffibly be communicated; whereby mankind is advanced higher in the rational state, and made better; and that in a way eafy, expeditious, and delightful.
The bufinefs of painting is not only to represent nature, and to make the best choice of it, but to raife and improve it from what is commonly or even rarely feen, to what it never was, or will be, in fact, though we may eafily conceive it might be. As in a good portrait, from whence we conceive a better opinion of the beauty, good fenfe, breeding, and other good qualities of the perfon, than from feeing themselves; and yet without being able to say in what particular it is unlike; for nature must be ever in view.
Unerring Nature, still divinely bright,
POPE'S Effay on Criticism. I believe there never was fuch a race of men upon. the face of the earth; never did men look and act like those we see reprefented in the works of Raphael, Michael Angelo, Coregio, Parmegiano, and others of the beft mafters; yet nature appears throughout we rarely or never fee fuch landscapes as those of Titian, Annibale Caracci, Salvator Rofa, Claude Lorrain, Jafper Pouffin, and Rubens; fuch buildings and magnificence as in the pictures of Paulo Veronefe: but yet there is nothing but what we can believe may be. Our ideas even of fruits, flowers, infects, draperies, and indeed of all visible things, and of fome that are invisible, or creatures of the imagination, are raised and improved in the hands of a good painter; and the mind is thereby filled with the nobleft and therefore the most delightful images. The defcription of one in an advertisement of a newspaper is nature, fo is a character by my Lord Clarendon; but they are nature very differently reprefented.'
This, we believe, is faying as much as can be faid on the principles of the Writer. But we conceive, that what is called improving nature, &c. admits only of an apology and excufe from the imperfection of art. Draw the picture of a man truly and perfectly, and what more is there to be done? You fay no artist can do it; and to conceal his own fkill, or to impofe on weak judgments, he goes beyond what he cannot perfectly imitate.
The introductory chapters are followed by the critical account of the ftatues, buftos, &c. at Wilton, of which the following may be a good fpecimen.
In the court, before the grand front of this fuperb manfion, is a granite column, with a ftatue of Venus on the top of it; both purchafed from the Arundel collection.
Mr. Evelyn, who bought them at Rome for Lord Arundel, was told by the Italian antiquaries, that this column supported anciently the ftatue of Venus Genetrix, and had been fet up by Julius Cæfar before the temple of that goddefs, from whom he claimed to be defcended. It was added, that Cæfar had brought them from Egypt, where they had been erected to the oriental deity Aftarte, the fame with the Grecian Venus; and to put the matter beyond all doubt, he was fhewn five letters upon the upper fillet of the column, which, it was affirmed, being read from the right-hand to the left, and having the proper vowels fupplied, made Aftarte.
This intelligence, which impofed on Mr. Evelyn, was tranfmitted by him, with the column and ftatue, to the Earl of Arundel. It was even inferted in his Lordship's catalogue, and from thence it was tranfcribed into that of Lord Pembroke.
• But whence, it may be asked, had the connoiffeurs of modern Italy the account of Cæfar's bringing this column from Egypt, or of its having then the ftatue of Aftarte on its top To thefe particulars, we are well affured, no fatisfactory anfwer can be given. It may be curious, notwithstanding, to examine more minutely this magnified curiofity.
1. Granite, of which this column confifts, is common in Egypt, in Italy, in Spain, and in other countries. The Egyptian is of two kinds; a strong or a pale red †, and a pure or a lefs intense black. The Italian has fmall blackish spots on a whitish ground;--of this fort is the prefent column.
2. If the fillets above and below on this column, and the proportion of its leffering in the diameter, are compared with the chapter of Pliny t, cited in the margin, it will appear to have been one of the pillars of a fmall Roman temple.
3. The letters on the fillet are evidently a forgery; for they have been compared with Bernard's table of oriental and occidental alphabets, lately improved by Dr. Morton, and with the Greek alphabets exhibited by Dr. Sharp §; and it can with truth be affirmed, that the word Aftarte cannot be made out from them in the most diftant manner.
If these confiderations were not fufficient to overthrow the common opinion about this column and ftatue, it might be fhewn from Selden, that Aftarte was purely a Syrian deity, and was never admitted into the Egyptian mythology.
Though this column is by no means fo ancient as is pretended, it must be allowed, notwithstanding, to be extremely elegant. It is thirteen feet and a half high, twenty-two inches in diameter, and diminishes fearce two inches at the top. It is here set up with a Corinthian capital and bafe. The ftatue of Venus is of lead; and the goddess appears in an inclined modest attitude.'
The Author, in this manner, very properly and judiciously corrects the errors of the common catalogue; and his book may be useful to many of those who vifit Wilton-Houfe.
Vide the article Evelyn, in Biog. Britan,
"Le granit eft de deux fortes differentes; le granit noir, ou noirâtre; le granit rouge, ou rougeâtre. Les trois plus grandes ftatues Egyptiennes du capitolle, font de cette dernier efpece de granit." Winckleman Hift. de l'Art, pag. 105.
Hiftor. lib. 36. cap. 23.
On the fructure, &c. of the Greek tongue.