Imatges de pÓgina

We have no doubt, that the shapes and appearances of inanimate objects may resemble the signs, by which living beings express their passions and emotions, and remind us of these, and of course lead us to personify the objects in which they are found; but we cannot think that colors, sounds, forms, and motions, are ever felt, as resembling peculiar qualities or affections of the mind.

We have a general distrust of those theories, which explain what we have been accustomed to consider our primary pleasures on the principle of association, and decompose them into others of a very different character, or resolve them into some apparently remote principle. In such theories there is a very obvious cause of error and deception. Few pleasures are felt simple and unmixed. Such is the liberality of Providence, that almost every one brings along with it a train of allied and dependent gratifications, some of them perhaps more interesting and agreeable than itself. Now in applying the law of association, as we have mentioned, it is a very easy error to distinguish and produce these or some of these, as the whole cause of our enjoyment, as the constituents, and not the attendants of the pleasure concerning which we are inquiring. Nay, we may even select some one of these attendant pleasures, and resolve the whole emotion, which we experience, into its single effect. Thus the utility of some forms was found to constitute their beauty; with other objects which were beautiful, it was found or fancied that the idea of utility was associated, and in respect to the pleasure, derived from these, of which the idea of utility might perhaps afford a small part, it was considered as affording the whole. Of those qualities, which produce intellectual enjoyment, some must be agreeable in themselves and please us on their own account. They obviously cannot all exist by borrowing from each other the means of giving pleasure; any more than a community of individuals could all live by each borrowing from his, neighbour the means of subsistence. If one quality pleases us because it is associated with the idea of another, and this other because it reminds us of a third, we must at last come to some one which pleases us partly at least of itself. But if this last should please us, partly also, as it very probably may, on the principle of association, a theorist may be

very apt to confound it in the same class with the preceding. These remarks will not be felt to have any force by one, who thinks with Hartley, that we have no primary pleasures except those of the senses. Mr. Alison, by a theory much more ennobling to our nature, has referred to an intellectual source all the considerable pleasures which are received through our two principal senses, those of sight and hearing. Each has defended his opinions with much ingenuity, and if we adopt both their theories, we shall then have only some unimportant pleasures of the ear and eye, together with those of feeling, taste, and smell, as materials with which to constitute all those various and strong emotions of delight and agony, which the mind is capable of experiencing.

But whether Mr. Alison be correct or not in his opinion, that the objects of the material world have no beauty in themselves, is a point which very little affects the merit of his work. If they do possess any intrinsic beauty, we have only to add one more cause of the pleasures which they afford, to those which he has enumerated. The other causes he has analyzed with much ingenuity and explained with much clearness. He has with great, if not with complete success, attempted to show that the beauty of material objects consists in their being directly or indirectly expressive of MIND. He has applied his theory in a manner always partially if not entirely satisfactory, to a variety of subjects; among others to music, architecture, the beauty of the human form, and grace of motion and gesture. If there were any part of his work, which we should select as particularly novel, ingenious, and pleasing, it would be the application of his theory to the last mentioned subject.

We have hardly, we fear, by the general tenor of our remarks, given a correct impression of our opinion of the merit of his treatise. It is by far the best work on the subjects of taste and beauty with which we are acquainted. Mr. Alison has exhibited these subjects in a great variety of bearings and relations, and given us many new views and thoughts respecting them. If his reader do not always fully acquiesce in his conclusions, he may, we think, always find himself put into a right train of investigation. There are few works in which so much

ingenuity of discussion and novelty of matter are united with so much clearness and elegance of style, and so much pleasing expression of moral sentiment, and there are few works which have given us a better opinion at once of the heart and of the mind of their author.


Calamities of authors; including some inquiries respecting their moral and literary characters. By J. D'Israeli, Esq. author of "Curiosities of Literature." New York, James Eastburn. 1812.

THIS is a new work of D'Israeli, which, having just appeared in England, is immediately published here. It gives accounts of the sufferings of authors from various causes-from neglect, poverty, disappointed hopes of reputation, and dispositions of mind unfortunate, ridiculous, or criminal. Some parts of it are sufficiently melancholy, from the view given of the distresses of men of genius and learning; which are rendered more acute by the peculiar sensibility of the sufferers. It is however by no means all of this character-it is full of literary anecdote, lively, brilliant, and abounding in light satire, and amusing observations. It is a work however which will not be very entertaining except to one somewhat versed in literary history; such a one will find much that is new about some of his old acquaintance, and other authors introduced to his knowledge, whose stories are sufficiently remarkable.

Of this latter class is Myles Davies, mentioned in the first volume, as a mendicant author, a very learned man, of great simplicity, and half crazy, who near the beginning of the last century went about making presents of the volumes of his miscella neous work, entitled Athenæ Britannica, and soliciting something in return. The poor author's senses were at last quite disordered by want, and indignation at the treatment he received. His volumes have since almost disappeared from the world, though D'Israeli says the earlier part of his work contains much curious literary history. Dr. Farmer had never seen but the first volume. There are seven in the British Museum.

The part which treats of the pains of fastidious egotism gives a well drawn character of Horace Walpole of his vanity, of his superficial liveliness, and of his unconcealed chagrin at his disappointments as an author. It is illustrated by extracts from his unpublished letters. Then follow some notices of Dennis, the fierce enemy equally of the dunces and the wits of his time; and some new and striking information concerning Henley, to whom Pope has given such a "bad eminence" in the Dunciad.

Our limits forbid us to be so particular as we could wish. Some of the other authors who are mentioned are-Heron, the editor of Junius, who, after writing and reading for some years "from twelve to sixteen hours a day," at last perished in jail;— Anthony Wood, who devoted himself through life to his Athenæ Oxonienses, and for whom D'Israeli seems to have a particular regard; the Rev. W. Cole, nicknamed Cardinal Cole, the friend of Horace Walpole, who left a large chest full of manuscripts, not to be opened till twenty years after his death, which has in consequence but just been explored, and found to contain among other things fifty folio volumes in his own writing, forming an Athenæ Cantabrigienses, intended as a companion to the work just mentioned;-Gilbert Stuart, whose writings are better known than the assassin-like malignity of his temper, and the low profligacy of his life;-Dr. Kenrick, Prynne, author of the Histriomastix; Toland, Leland the antiquary, Collins; -and Simon Ockley, the celebrated Orientalist, as remarkable for his ignorance of the world as for his learning, who says in one of his letters, "I am here in the prison for debt-I enjoy more repose, indeed, here, than I have tasted for many years; but the circumstances of a family oblige me to go out as soon as I can."

In a part of a note on page 111, vol. 2. there is an interesting fact stated concerning a manuscript work of Locke. It is to be hoped that this work may not much longer remain unpublished. D'Israeli's account of it is as follows:

"Locke was a Christian, whom all Christians ought to reverence; and had his strength not entirely deserted him before he died, he would have composed a work which might have impressed on our

minds a noble idea of Christianity. I have seen in manuscript a finished treatise by Locke on Religion, addressed to Lady Shaftesbury; Locke gives it as a translation from the French. I regret my account is so imperfect; but the possessor may, perhaps, be induced to give it to the public."

We might have mentioned other names of whom the notices are as interesting as of those whom we have had room to specify. We have little fault to find with the book. We wish however that a silly anecdote which is inserted concerning Steele and Addison had been omitted. Such stories are often circulated without foundation, and their moral effect is mischievous.

The American edition is incorrectly printed, and some passages require all the skill of a conjectural critic to make out their meaning. We cannot now recur however to any which have thus perplexed us except the following-Vol. i. p. 74. "This is the volume copy I have met with," probably one is to read 'the only copy.' Vol. ii. p. 23.-The birth of such a literary hero "has ever been attended with portraits," read 'portents.'


(Selected from the latest British publications.)

[Owing to the present interruption of our intercourse with Great Britain, and to very few late periodical works having been received, we are able to give our readers but a scanty article on this subject.]

LITERARY Anecdotes of the eighteenth century, comprising biographical memoirs of William Bowyer, Printer, F.S.A. and many of his learned friends; an incidental view of the progress and advancement of literature in this kingdom, and biographical anecdotes of a considerable number of eminent writers and ingenious artists. By John Nichols, F.S.A. 7 vols. 8vo, 61. 6s.

A succinct history of the geographical and political revolutions of the empire of Germany, or the principal states which composed the empire of Charlemagne; from his coronation in. 814 to its dissolution in 1806. By Charles Butler, Esq. Royal .8vo, 12s.

The fourth volume of a complete system of ancient and modern Geography. By James Playfair, D. D. Principal of

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