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New York, July 8, 1776. To Mr. Lund Washington, at Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia." G. W.
“ New York, July 15, 1776. To Mr. Lund Washington, &c." G.W. “ New York, July 16, 1776. To Mr. Lund Washington, &c." G.W. “ New York, July 22, 1776. To Mr. Lund Washington, &c." G.W.
June 24, 1776. To Mrs. Washington." G. W. “ At the time when these letters first appeared, it was notorious to the army immediately under my command, and particularly to the gentlemen attached to my person, that my mulatto man Billy had never been one moment in the power of the enemy.-it is also a fact that no part of my baggage or any of my aitendants were captured during the whole course of the war. These weil known facts made it unnecessary during the war to call the public attention to the forgery by any express declaration of mine ; and a firm reliance on my fellow-citizens, and tre abundant proofs they gave of their confidence in me, rendered it alike unnecessary to take any formal notice of the revival of the imposition during my civil administration.-But as I cannot know how soon a more serious event may succeed to that which will this day take place *, I have thought it a duty which I owe to myself, my country, and to truth, now to detail the circumstances above recited, and to add my solemn declaran tion that the letters herein described are a base forgery, and that I never saw or heard of them until they appeared in print.
“The present letter I commit to your care, and desire it may be de. posited in the office of ihe department of state, as a testimony of the truth to the present generation and to posterity. “ Accepi, I pray you, of the sincere esteem and affectionate regard of,
“ Dear Sir, your obedient " Timothy Pickering,
“ GEO. WASHINGTON.” Secretary of State.'
In a letter from Dr. Booker, that gentleman expresses a wish for some information relative to the Vision of Pierce the Plowman, to which we made some reference in our Review of the Doctor's Poem on Malvern : see M. Rev. for December 1798, p. 419. The poem
in question was written by Robert Langland, a secular Priest, and Fellow of Oriel College in Oxford, about the year 1350. It contains a series of distinct visions, which the author imagines himself to have seen while he was asleep, after a long ramble on Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. (See WARTON'S History of Poetry, i. 266.)
It is a satire on the superstition, vices, and luxury of the clergy. It abounds with wit, humour, and just observation; and, like other compositions of this sort, it gives a lively representation of the manners of the times.
A short biography of Langland may be found in Cibber's Lives of the Poets, vol. i. and a small extract is there given from the poem.
THEODOXUS-RUSTICUS. In acknowleging the favours of Theodoxus and Rusticus, (on different subjects,) we should be happy in paying due attention to their strictures, and in explaining to them the ground on which we built
The last day on which General Washington performed ihe office of President of the United Sta!48. F. B.
the assertions on which they comment: but we have such an overflow of business on our hands, that we have no time for controversy and though we would not be supposed arrogantly to obtrude our opi. nions on the public, we are forced in these, as in numberless other instances, to decline all subsequent discussion.
Mo-y. "A Constant Reader,' who is pleased with the sentiments ex. pressed in our account of “ The Nurse," wishes to know,' whether there was not a book published a few years ago, on the dangerous effects, both to mother and child, of women neglecting to suckle their children'; and he inquires concerning the title of such book. We re. collect only a small tract, “ Essay on the injurious Custom of Mo. thers not suckling their own Children ; with Directions for chusing a Nurse, &c. &c. By Benj. Lara, Surgeon." 12mo. 18. Moore, 1791. See M. Rev. vol. ix. N. S. p. 101.
We are obliged by a letter from Exmouth, signed J. H. Hutton : who informs us that Tully's Offices were translated by the famous Sir Roger l’Estrange ; and that he is possessed of a copy of the book. This seems to be the third translation, which we could not with certainty recollect : see M. Rev. February last, p. 179. This translation is also noticed in Cibber's Biography of the Poets, Life of L'Estrange.
Mistakes of fact, erroneous quotations, and all other accidental mis statements, we have ever been eager to rectify at the desire of any correspondent: but to re-argue a question of mere opinion, especially when the determining arguments have been indicated, would only open a door to endless controversy. Our correspondent J. A-n must therefore excuse the non-insertion of his three folio
in opposition to the idea intimated by us in vol. xxvi. p. 382, “ that the expenditure of the luxurious classes is not of much consequence to the public prosperity". The writer's mind is evidently occupied with the application of this doctrine to the case of the union with Ireland: we refer him, therefore, to Clarke's edition of Dean Tucker's “ Union or Separation :” in which he will find this very question argued at length, pages 20 to 30, in a sensible and popular manner; and decided precisely as by ourselves, on grounds to which it is needless to add farther appeals to reason or to facts.
Taw The letter of Philoteule is just received :-too late for farther noe tice.
The APPENDIX to Vol. XXVII. of the M. R. is published with this Number, as usual, and contains copious accounts of important Foreign PUBLICATIONS, with the General Title, Table of Contents, and Index, for the Volume.
Art. I. Romances. By J. D’Israeli. 8vo. Pp. 314. 8s. Boards.
Cadell jun. and Davies. 1798. IT T is the province of genius to search for its favourite objects,
the beautiful and the sublime, in new and unbeaten tracks. At a period when the delineation of our own manners would perbaps form no interesting topic for poetry, it seems the reigning passion to gather subjects of description from the bolder features of German character, or from the more luxurious effusions of Eastern imagination. With all the faults, therefore, that may occasionally result from extravagant admiration of either of these sources, the friend of taste and literature must rejoice to see the boundaries of imitation enlarged by new acquisitions from both. The mind of Mr. d'Israeli, naturally susceptible of vivid impressions, seems to have caught a richness of fancy from his intimacy with Oriental poetry, and his language, except in a few unfortunate sentences, is elegant. The pompous imagery of the Eastern poets is given in an English form so judiciously, that it has little of that extravagance which would inevitably characterise and deform a bald translation. An instance of this occurs in the description of the land of Cashmere, when he speaks of the shawled beauties: “ Their moonlight foreheads veil'd with flow'rs:'-a beautiful and expressive epithet, and happily adapted to an English reader by substituting it for the original expression “ moon-faced.”
Mr. d'Israeli's romances are interspersed with poetry, which, like his prose, abounds with luxuriant imagery : but it is certainly doing the author no injustice to say that his verse does not flow in that melodious modulation, which so highly enhances the poetry of Rogers, Hayley, Darwin, and others of the present day; and that we do not mark in it chat strong though unmusical measure, which gives energy to the verses of Cowper. Occasionally, but not often, the ear is delighted with a musical line.- This defect in the author's versification, however, is well compensated by the richness of language, and the Oriental novelty of thought, which adorn the poems, small VOL. XXIX. K
We mention his Oriental imitation, because it forms the most important part of the volume. The story of Leila and Mejnoun is the principal Romance, and the most highly to be valued for its beauty and pathos.
The first article in the volume is a Poetical Essay on Ro. mance and Romances, in which the poet describes the allegorical birth of Romance, the Child of Love and Fiction. celebrates the romantic disposition of the wandering Arabs,
· Charming the desert wildness with a tale, and the well-known custom prevalent in Persia, India, Tartary, and Arabia, of assembling in serene evenings around their tents, or on the platforms with which their houses are in general roofed, to amuse themselves with traditional narrations. He then takes notice of the Spanish historical ballads, the minstrel troop, the 'squire minstrel, and the Gothic romances with their refaccimentos and moral allegories. Love is now supposed to be seized with ennui; to dispel the influence of which, Fiction is brought to him by Beauty; and his amour with this lady is pourtrayed by the poet in glowing language, - bordering, per. haps, somewhat too much on the luscious.
• She softly parting his incumbering wings ;
(To smiling love more lovely smiles she brings ;)
'That Love on Fiction got the child Romance.' The next piece," the Arabian Petrarch and Laura,' is a Romance founded on an Oriental story. Mejnoun and Leila is the title of a poem highly celebrated in the East, composed by Nezami. The sorrows of these impassioned but unfortunate lovers have furnished the basis of an endless catalogue of amatory compositions, Arabian, Turkish, and Persic; of which the Poem of Nezami, written in the latter language, is the most admired. To translate Nezami was not the object of Mr. d'Israeli; but he has preserved the romantic style of description with so much fidelity, that, while we sympathise with Mejnoun as a lover, we likewise admire him as a poet.
Young Kais, the hero of the romance, who afterward, from bis enthusiastic frenzy, receives the appellation of Mejnoun *, was the son of Ahmed Kais, a distinguished Sheick among the Bedoween Arabs; and was sent by his fond father to be educated under the care of a celebrated Persian, the venerable Ef. fendi Lebid, who is (improperly) termed a student; under whom, about the same time and nearly of the same age, was placed the lovely Leila, the only daughter of an Emir. The young pupils, soon without rivals in the academy, were attracted to each other by mutual admiration.
• They loved (says the Romancer) to mingle in the same tasks ; and in the arts of imagination their gentle spirits perpetuated their finest emotions. The verse of Kais treasured their most delicious sensations ; from the wild intonations of Leila he often caught the air he composed ; and when they united to paint the same picture, it seemed as if the same eye had directed the same hand.
• They saw each other every day, and were only sensible to this pleasure. Their mutual studies became so many interchanges of ten. derness. Every day was contracted to a point of time: months rolled away on months; and their passage was without a trace : a year closed, and they knew it but by its date. Already the first spark of love opened the heart of Kais: already he sighed ncar the entendering form of Leila ; already he listened for her voice, when she ceased to speak; while her soft hand passing over his own vibrated through his shivering nerves.'
Kais, with his beloved Leila, took delight in adorning his garden with every beautiful embellishment which a delicious climate could supply, or a fine taste could suggest. By the side of a delightful fountain, he raised a pleasant Kiosque (a banqueting or summer apartment); seated in which, the lovers would read the Persian Tales. In this place, Kais is supposed to read to his mistress a poetical account of the Land of Cashmere, the Paradise of Love, which abounds with romantic and sweet descriptions; though the reader's admiration is sometimes suspended by unmusical lines and overstrained expressions.
The Effendi, their tutor, perceived the ripening passion of the young lovers : but, with a gentleness of soul and a sympathy of feelings which wisdom and old age had not diminished, he was pleased to behold the undisguised affection of their artless bosoms ; and, instead of checking, he sanctioned and approved the generous flame. The father of Leila, however,
* 'Mejnoun signifies in Atabic a man inspired, an enthusiast, a madman.