« PreviousContinue »
nobleman !--Did we write solely for courtezans, we should certainly
facit timidam, intemperantia audacem, natura muliebris inconsideratam.” Čornificius.
Ham....n Art. 28. Helen Sinclair, a Novel, by á Lady*. 12mo.
78. sewed. Cadell jun, and Davies. 1799. This work appears to be the effusion of a pure, virtuous, and benevolent mind;-the characters, though neither striking nor upcommon, are on the whole justly delineated ; and, if the incidents do not surprise and astonish us, we observe fewer violations of probability than in the greater part of the novels which are poured out in such torrents from the press.—Helen Sinclair may therefore be recommended to our female readers as not only capable of affording an innocent amusement, but as a work which will probably leave behind it impressions favourable to the sacred cause of religion and virtue.
We wish, however, that the fair writer had not introduced a masquerade; as it seems scarcely consistent with the gravity of Lady Olivia's character to countenance an amusement which may
be termed the child of folly, and frequently, we apprehend, has proved the parent of vice. Lady Violette, we fear, is too just a picture of many young women of fashion ; and the misery in which she involves herself, and her family, may convey useful instruction to the vain, the thoughtless, and the dissipated. Mr. Dashwood is a true stablebuck; and no part of his conduct is improbable, nor inconsistent, except his reformation. Lord Montgomery meets with that reward which ambition and avarice generally bestow on their votaries, vize disappointment and repentance.
Ban? Art. 29. The Castle of St. Donats ; or, the History of Jack Smith.
12 mo. 3 Vols. los. 6d. sewed. Lane. The author of this novel is a person of talents and observation : but the hero of his tale is a rake; who, in time, and before the spirits of youth have wholly subsided, is reformed, and married to a fair, rich, and virtạous woman, whom his altered conduct entitles him to espouse. We do not greatly approve such examples. The mind of the young and incautious reader, to whom novels are the favourite literary amusement, may receive a wrong bias from such representations. With due respect to the memory of FIELDING, we cannot but think that his Tom Jones has produced more imitators of his vices than of his virtues; and our experience in the world induces us to suspect that the reformation of a rake is at best very equivocal. The author,
* Elizabeth Isabella Spence.
who seems aware of this objection, has, in the latter end of his 3d volume, entered into the common question, whether a reformed rake will make a good husband? This question he canvasses with a de. gree of humour which would have pleased us, had the illustration been less licentious.
The characters in this work, though not new, are distinctly pour. trayed; and the buffoon and the punster (Symms and Wide) are well contrasted with the manly sense and elegant manners of Smith and bis friend Lord Edward. In short, novel-readers will not be disappointed if they look for entertainment in these volumes. We can announce to them a ruined castle and a ghost ; and we can add, with pleasure, that the castle is at last restored to its pristine splendor, and that the midnight visitor, “this airy nothing," regains “ a local habitation and a name," and is again introduced to the enjoyment of his friends and the world.
Smyth Art. 30. The Castle of Beeston ; or, Randolph Carl of Chester : an Historical Romance.
2 Vols. Faulder. An attempt to mix historical facts with the inventions of fancy generally proves unsuccessful, for two classes of readers are most probably disappointed; the lovers of romance deem such stories not sufficiently amusing ; and the adherents to historical accuracy accuse the motley writer of inconsistency and falsehood.-In the volumes before us, the plot exhibits little ingenuity ; the ohservations and sen, timents manifest no unusual sagacity; and the diction is frequently rendered tumid by affectation, and obscure by grammatical inaccuracies.
DOO Art. 31. Human Vicissitudes; or, Travels into unexplored Regions. 2 Vols.
12mo. 65. sewed. Robinsons. 1798. We
may venture to predict that these regions will not often be ex. plored twice by the same traveller. To contrast the moral and poli. tical state of England with those of an imaginary people, of innocent manners and acute understandings, seems to have been the design of the writer : but the pen of Gulliver has long been missing ; and cer. tainly the author of this jejune performance has not found it. Ham... Art. 32. A Tale of the Times. By the Author of “ A Gossips
Story.” 12 mo. 3 Vols. 125. sewed. Longman. 1799. This work is interesting, though too diffuse in its narration, and though it is rendered too prolix by the multiplicity of its reflections. A novel is indebted for its historical merit, to the liveliness and perspicuity of the manner in which it is told; and to endeavour to aid the narration, by explaining the progress of the plot, proclaims barrenness of in vention. The characters are well drawn; and the lesson to married ladies, warning them against male confidants, iş important and well urged. The delineation of Fitzosborne, an unprincipled soi-disant pbilosophe, shews at least an honourable wish in the author to expose The selfish and dangerous principles of some modern ethics.
We cannot but think that distributive justice might have dispensed with the death of the lovely Lady Monteith, as her misfortunes and misbehaviour were occasioned by the infamous plots and diabolical conduct of the ravisher Fitzosborne. Her repentance and reformation
might have reconciled her to her husband'; and the story, without being less instructive, would have been more in unison with the feelings of a candid and humane reader. The language is uniformly correct; and the moral sentiments do honour to the writer's heart and understanding.
Smyth . Art. 33. The Libertines. 12mo.: 2 Vols. 6s. sewed. Robinsons.
The purport of these volumes is to expose the vices and enormities committed in the intercourse between male and female convents. The author (as he intimates in his preface) has availed himself of the various accounts which he has perused of the private lives of monks and nuns; and of the judicial proceedings of the “ holy" inquisition : but such accounts, if authentic, would be more interesting and instructive in historical narration, than in tales of professed fiction. The work is full of convent intrigues and diabolical anecdotes of inquisitorial tyranny :-but, regarding novels chiefly as books of amusement, we cannot recommend the present volumes to our readers, as the story does not appear to be conducted by a writer who is possessed of powers sufficient to render gloomy stories agreeable to the imagination, or to seize on it forcibly by the magic of the pen. The plot is intricate ; and the poetry interspersed is too Aimsy to relieve the irksomeness of the general plan.
Pitt's Speech on the Irish Union. By a Member of the Hon.
These suggestions are written in favour of the independence of Ireland, and in course against an union : but the author seems to lean towards an independence too much separated and too distinct from this country; and he is at the trouble of advancing proofs of the abia lity of Ireland to maintain herself as an independent state. "Great Britain and Ireland are not, nor can the sober friends of either country desire that they should be, independent of each other. The first and great end of government is security. Security against foreign attempts is most necessary to national indeper:dence; and on the justness and goodness of the government, rests the security of that individual independence, the enjoyment and preservation of which constitutes the character of a free people. With respect to national independence, the two kingdoms, if united, would become one nation. As such, the national independence of the whole would not be less secure than it is in the present not independent connection of the parts,
In speaking of the effects of union, the writer asks whether Scotland produces such high-spirited and intrepid characters as of old?' we see not the smallest reason for questioning the spirit of the present race of North Britons.
The rights of sovereignty in the people, which the author conceives to have been attacked in Mr. Pitt's speech, are here defended; and in answer to the assertion, that such a principle can make no part of any system of jurisprudence, the author quotes, among other instances, the preamble to the constitution of Pennsylvania.- Several late writers
hare expressed apprehensions that an union between Great Britain and Ireland would so much increase the influence of patronage, as wholly to undermine the freedom of the constitution; and this seems to be the greatest danger attendant on such an union. If provision were made against this consequence, we believe that, in most other respects, an union would promote the respective interests of each country, and consequently the general interest of the whole. Capt.B... Art. 35. A Letter addressed to the Gentlemen of England and Ireland,
on the Inexpediency of a Federal Union between the Two Kingdoms. By Sir John J. W. Jervis, Bart. 8vo. Is. 6d. Printed at Dublin; London reprinted for Debrett. 1798.
This Letter was written before the plan of a legislative union was debated in the parliament of either kingdom. The writer condemns the projected union as a phenomenon of hideous aspect'- in its nature, he says, . so destructive, that I would wish fondly to believe even the present times, so creative of novelty and reproach, could not form or bring forth a more frightful monster.' Notwithstanding this warmth of declamation, there is reason in some of the author's remarks. He argues that an union would greatly increase ministerial influence, and enable the executive branch to command at all times a majority. He apprehends likewise that great injury would be sustained by Ireland, in the administration of justice, from a removal of the appellant jurisdiction of the peers : for the great expence would render a reference to the supreme jurisdiction in England a thing almost unattain. able ;'-and the restraint and control over the courts of law being so removed, the great Sanctuary' against partiality or caprice in the judges would be lost. These, certainly, are considerations worthy of serious attention.
RELIGIOUS and POLEMICA L.
Josiah Pratt, M. A.* 8vo. 18. Rivingtons. 1799.
This we deem
sill (says Mr. P.) easy and pleasant to the eye.'
In the specimen of this octavo Polyglott, the text stands thus in the O.T.–First, on the left hand page, the Hebrew, with the Eng. lish by its side : on the right hand page, the Septuagint, Onkelos, and the Latin Vulgate, in three collateral columns. At the bottom of both pages is the Samaritan text, in lines equal to the breadth of the whole
We think that these are too long for the eye to run over, and would have been better in two columns :--the Samaritan text was never so properly arranged as in Kennicott's edition, and we wish that Mr. Pratt had followed that arrangement.-Below the Samaritan text, lie the various readings from Kennicott and De Rossi.
In the New Testament, the Syriac and English versions stand on the left-hand page, and the Greek and Latin Vulgate on the right ; in four columns. The various readings are below, in four columns also.
The type in which the Hebrew is printed is very neat, and of a proper size ; and the same, without points, ought, in our opinion, to have been employed for the Samaritan and Onkelos :-or at least a type of a better body and more pleasant form. As the editor tells us, however, that new types are to be cast on purpose, he will doubtless make the best choice in his power. Perhaps, the Greek type of the New-Testament specimen should be used for the Septuagint : it is clear and elegant.
In his appendix, Mr. P. combats objections urged by some periodical critics against his former. Prospect us.
Ged.-s. Art. 37. Two Letters addresse! to the Lord Bishop of Landaff, oc,
casioned by the Distinction his Lordship hath made between the Operation of the Holy Spirit in the Primitive Ministers of Christ, and its Operation in Men at this Day, contained in an Address to Young Persons after Confirmation; which Distinction is shewn not to have any Foundation in the New Testament. Also that the Promises of the Spirit to Christ's Disciples extend to the Days of the Apostles only. By William Ashdowne. 8vo. PP: 39. I s. Johnson. 1798.
With great plainness, but with high respect for the learned.Bishop; Mr. A, here discusses the difficult questions concerning the gifts and operations of the Spirit. While the Bishop of Landaff maintains,