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That wanders round our beach.
We'll fight another day :
But till we know a reason why,
Take, take the sword away.'-The Gem, pp. 193–195.
The Remembrance' is an old friend under a new face. It has succeeded to the Juvenile Keepsake,' from which it differs little in the scale of its embellishments, and the merit of its compositions -that is to say, in either respect it is not very dazzling. The Roscoe family lend to it all the popularity of a name distinguished in our literature, but little more. It would be unfair to judge of the Remembrance,' by a standard applicable to the first-rate annuals. It is not intended to aspire much above the minor rank of these publications, amongst which it deserves a reputable station. The engravings are pretty, particularly that of the Orphans, which we have already favourably noticed. The frontispiece, however, is but a poor affair. It reminds us much more of Mrs. Orger
than of our gracious Queen, whom it in no manner resembles. As a specimen of the poetry, we are tempted, in compliment to the venerable Mr. Roscoe, to extract some passages from his 'Precepts of Friendship,' which smack of the GAY and PARNELL school.
"When Friendship's truth by time is told
In every path beholds a snare,
If highly favour'd thou shouldst find
How sweet in Friendship's arms to rest,
The Remembrance, pp. 138-140.
We know not how our neighbours like Le Keepsake Français.' They certainly have as good a right to use such a medley of a title as we have to that of the Literary Souvenir,' or the Bouquet of Literature.' There is seldom much harm in a name, provided that it be the herald of real attractions, of which this volume contains its just proportion. Several of the best modern French writers, Beranger, Nodier, V. Hugo, B. Constant, C. Delavigne, De Stendhall, De Chateaubriand, Pichot, A. de Lamartine, and others, are among its contributors. We have thus a tolerably correct sample of the character of French contemporaneous literature, which, however, all the world knows not to be of the very first order of excellence. From the compositions inserted in the present volume, it is however not difficult to perceive, that the French have a talent for those sketchy effusions, which are peculiarly adapted to publications of this description. The embellishments are, with two or three exceptions, designed by French artists. They have been all engraved in England, a fact that decides our superiority in this respect, although it is not very long since the reverse was the case. We can hardly say to which nation belongs the principal merit of the Young Widow.' The countenance and bust are perfectly seducing that look of destitution, so much in want of protection-those eloquent eyes, sparkling with a ray or two of coquetry, beneath an appearance of the most heartfelt innocence that mourning garb, calculated at the same time to make every one say "what a very interesting widow!" are all French. The form and the beauty are English. Our painters are not often successful in their Queens: neither are those of France, if we may judge from the milliner-like portrait of her present majesty, Marie Amelie. The vignette title page is in bad taste. The figures are too primly dressed; their curls are too carefully arranged. With these exceptions, the other embellishments do great credit to the artists of both countries. The distinguished excellence of one of the prints,--that of Miss Croker, altogether
belongs to England. It seems to be the very expression given to the subject by Sir Thomas Lawrence, transferred through the magical burin of Thompson, from the canvass to the paper. The 'Ass and the relics,' Don Quixote' in his study, Cromwell,' the Young Shepherd and his Dog,' the 'Young Savoyard and his Monkey,' and 'Castle Bernard,' are all so many brilliant gems, which set off this joint production of English and French genius to the greatest advantage.
By an arrangement made between the publishers, the plates of the work which we have just noticed form also the embellishments of the Talisman,' the letter-press of which has been "got up," to use a trade phrase, in a very cheap and easy way by Mrs. Watts. The prints having been laid before her, and the season being pretty near its conclusion, that good lady, who, in her personal character, is entitled to every possible respect, retired to her lumber-room, and, from old magazines and other periodical or fugitive publications, she gleaned nearly all the matter which occupies the volume. We cannot deny her the merit of having made a tolerably good selection; though, considering the variety and abundance of her materials, we think that she ought to have formed a better. But the principle upon which the compilation has been framed is one, we apprehend, which cannot possibly succeed. It is, undoubtedly, openly avowed in the preface, and that being the case, no attempt at imposition can be charged upon the editor or the respectable publishers. But, considering the active competition which prevails among the Annuals,' and the number of them now in the field, we cannot be convinced, except by experience to the contrary, that tales, and poems, and essays, cut out of old periodicals, and placed by the side of new embellishments, can find very many admirers. We attach no blame-indeed, why should we?-to Mrs. Watts, who, doubtless, did the best she could under the circumstances. But we are sure that neither Mrs. Watts nor the public would like to see the next "Literary Souvenir" composed of the shreds and patches of pieces which have already had their day. This is a fair test by which to try the prospects of the 'Talisman,' whose engravings deserved a better fate.
ART. V.-The Literary Correspondence of John Pinkerton, Esq., now first printed from the Originals in the possession of Dawson Turner, Esq., M.A. F.R.S. In two volumes. 8vo. London: Colburn, & Co., 1830.
We suspect that few of our readers know much of the character of
at the expiration of his apprenticeship, he took it into his head to follow literature as a profession, and in order to accomplish his object, he fixed his residence in London. Here he laboured with various success in different departments of composition; poetry, tragedy, comedy, history, geography, and geology, by turns employed his mind. His earliest attention was paid to the historical and poetical antiquities of Scotland, which appear to have been always with him favourite subjects of inquiry. Perhaps, however, he is now best remembered, where he is remembered at all, by his Modern Geography, originally published in two volumes, subsequently extended to three, and abridged to a convenient size for the use of schools.
From being what is called a scholar of nature, that is to say, having been indebted but little to professors, and very much to himself for the cultivation of his talents, which were very considerable, he easily became intoxicated with the success which cheered the commencement, as well as some part of the progress of his career. His character thus acquired a degree of arrogance, which led him to believe that he was one of the first men of his age. He was flattered even by Gibbon, who wished to engage him in the publication of the chronicles and memoirs which form the materials of British history; and who spoke of him publicly as a person peculiarly qualified for the execution of such an enterprize. Pinkerton scarcely wanted this compliment to turn his brain. His writings every where betray a spirit of the most repulsive insolence. In one of his most sober works, the "Inquiry into the History of Scotland, preceding the Reign of Malcolm III.," he speaks of the authors who had previously ventured upon that subject, with the rudest and most unqualified contempt, pouring upon them abusive epithets, which they could hardly have deserved so much as himSo little did he think of the duties of an historian, that he gave free scope to his prejudices upon every subject. The Celts, for instance, happened for some reason or other to excite his anger while he was engaged upon this work, and he ransacked the language for terms in which he could express his rage against their whole nation. He says that savages they were from the beginning of the world, and savages they would remain to the end of it; that they were always ready to invent lies; that they were, in point of understanding, the negroes of Europe; that they were so stupid as to make no progress in ideas or society; and that no portion of mankind owes them the slightest gratitude. All this vituperation, be it observed, depends upon assertion, and appears to have been prompted by the author's predilection for the Goths, who were upon all occasions the great objects of his idolatry.
Pinkerton's prejudices do not appear to so great an extent in his "History of Scotland, from the Accession of the House of Stuart to that of Mary," which he considered the great labour of his life, the work that would bear his name to the most remote posterity.