Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

I had not forgotten that Cæsar found the natives of England stained with the juices of plants, and partially covered with coloured earths; still I maintain that Nature had perfected her work, and given the fluids that due circulation, improved by exercise and temperance, which renders the complexion florid and beautiful. Extraneous matter at times defaced her operations; but luxury, disease, and enervation, had not dried the channels of the blood of the Aborigines, as it has those of the fine lady I am referred to, whose discoloration is to serve as a mirror to show my own folly.

“ In p. 4. Mr. M. tells us what we suppose he discovered after many nights of sleepless meditation, that, • There are in every human circle persons whose patriotism may be lulled; [the words between lulled and and, such may be taught by invaders to execrate their chiefs or governors are shamefully omitted by the Reviewer as well as the beginning of the first sentence] and glittering ornaments of dress, and indolence, soon produce unfavourable comparison between the former and a naked limb, and the exertions of what is termed savage and the more refined conceptions of quiet life.' Without staying to make any remarks on the phraseology or the structure of this sentence, we shall proceed to shew Mr. M. as a collector of curious anecdotes and amusing details, in which he appears to much more advantage than as a philosopher or a rhetorician.”

Is it possible that an author can feel himself injured by such absurd and ridiculous spleen as those four

[ocr errors]

lines and an half produced in the breast of this miser. able Reviewer?

Contemptible and futile as my information is considered by the writer, he has deigned to compress nearly the whole matter of my Anecdotes of Charity for his own purposes; and, although he denies me any share of his charity, he is delighted with the instances of it I have introduced to his notice of that of others. For once he agrees

with me in opinion as to the general improvement of manners ; and occupies from the 3d to the 9th page in contradicting himself in almost all the positions he has endeavoured to establish as to my incompetency for the present undertaking.

“ Mr. M's 4th chapter is intituled · Eccentricity proved to be sometimes injurious, though often inoffensive.' We could willingly have spared Mr. Malcolm the necessity of exhibiting any proofs on this ocasion; most of the Anecdotes which he has scraped together are destitute of interest.” The writer has been much my friend in this instance, though certainly without intending it; for he could not have more effectually convinced the publick of his incapability. Can be suppose it possible that, in describing the Manners of the Metropolis, the eccentricities of its inhabitants should be omitted ? It is as impossible as that any person should agree with him in all his absurdities. As to exciting of interest, the very nature of eccentricity is such, that pity alone must predominate in the breast of the considerate reader. The sneer that my specimens of eccentricity will make the Anecdotes “ a favourite of the Circulating Libraries,” came from the same hand that could write " a bushel of coals” instead of a chaldron of coals allowed by James Austin to boil his pudding fourteen days.

came

The loyal reader shall comment for himself on the following extract from this admirable Review: “ In 1736, a laudable attempt was made to suppress the excessive use of Gin; and the resentment of the populace became so very turbulent, that they even presumed to exclaim in the streets, No Gin, no King.' Whatever respect we may have for the exclamation, No Bishop, no King,' we do not think that either monarchy or any other government needs the support of this pernicious distillation.” This is what the Reviewer tells us,' and I suppose the discovery was made “after many nights of sleepless meditation;" indeed the same degree of intense thought seems to have produced another sapient piece of philosophy or rhetoric, which is offered to our consideration in

p.

11 of the Review. “When a bull gives permission to a greater brute than himself to bait him to death with dogs, we will allow that something like a sanction is given to the sport.” Surely these specimens of deep cogitation are almost equal to my " novel observation that partnerships too frequently produce dissention and a struggle for individual power”;" and the Reviewer's own words, “ Mr. M. might have added to the spirit and interest of his work by omitting such superfluous details." These superfluous details, good reader, relate to the disputes between Messrs. Harris and Colman in 1763, which, having excited great interest amongst those who frequented the Theatre, could not, and ought not to be omitted to gratify an invisible

individual,

individual, who is perhaps too much of a Philosopher to be pleased with Dramatic Entertainments.

The spleen of the Reviewer, having increased by indulgence, attains its acmè of virulence at the close of the article : “ In his 12th Chapter Mr. M. professes to exhibit a Sketch of the present State of Society in London ; in which we do not meet with much sagacity of remark, or novelty of information. Take an instance of his common-place details : “ The reader must recollect, that when a family is without visitors, it is governed by greater regularity. Many Merchants and rich Tradesmen pass much of their leisure time at Coffee-houses ; and dinners are commonly given at those places'.”

Now, what but blind and indiscriminating acrimony could dictate the above remarks? What sagacity was required to narrate facts as clear as noon-day? Or, what novelty of information could arise from describing the domestic occurrences of families in general? The Reviewer dared not say I have falsified a single article; perhaps he would rather I had drawn a fancied picture of present customs, that he might have added a charge of deeper dye against me. The Review of my performance, which has enabled hiin to earn a dinuer, could not have been written if similar common-place details had not appeared during the last century. Good Sir, because you know how we all live at present, are we not to inform those who succeed us how we have lived? Taking the conclusion of sentences as a specimen of the whole, is peculiar to a certain description of Reviewers. Now, by referring to the page whence the extract is taken, it will be found I VOL, I. b

had

a

had been describing a family as entertaining their visitors, and naturally concluded by saying, “ when alone, it was governed with greater regularity.” For once we have an attempt at wit, which originates from my having asserted that the dissipation common in high life, and late bours, rendered eating of breakfast

languid operation.—“ We do not believe that there is, in general, so much languor in this operation of eating, as Mr. M. seems to suppose. But, perhaps, Mr. M. will think that we judge of the morning appetite of others by our own; and that we Reviewers have appetites like wolves, and are ready to devour mountains of toast, when they come in our way." Mountains of toast--admirable metaphor! Surely this cannot be called affected, stiff, starched, verbose, or elevated language; it is familiar enough, and will be understood perfectly by the cook or house-maid, when the article which contains it reaches the Kitchen as waste paper.

“ The author ends his smooth-papered volume (a fault I must transfer to the paper-maker, as I have not had it hot-pressed) with the following sentence : • Such are the follies of many; but, thanks to Heaven! there are numbers of our nobility and gentry who live and act for the general benefit of mankind. And now, Vale Londinium !'-We will add, Vale Mr. M. We have been indebted to you for some information and amusement ; but should have been more gratified with the perusal of your work, if you had exhibited more judgment in the selection of the materials, and had not swelled the bulk by a number of futile, irrelevant, and incongruous details."

The

« AnteriorContinua »