Imatges de pÓgina
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'Vol. I. p.

Gifty lines and the song at the close were withdrawn, nothing indicative of the genius of Shakespeare would remain. The Comedy of Errors, which has been partly taken, by some wretched playwright, from the Menæchmi of Plautus, is still more intolerably stupid.' 392.

With regard to Johnson's artificial and too pompous stile, as displayed especially in the Rambler, it will easily be bes lieved that Dr. Drake's censure of it is too forbearing, when it is found that his own words get into such positions relatively to one another as in the following instances; ‘Of the poemata of Johnson, I know not that much can be said; ' • No man than Johnson was a greater lover of truth:'-It would be well for authors to be reminded that time has now carried them too far away from under the mighty wing of Jobnson to have any protection in the use of his dialect. And indeed we are very glad to see that our language is re corering fast from that temporary depravation which he and his imitators succeeded to a considerable extent in forcing upon it; at the same time that it will retain, we should hope, the benefit of that grammatical correctness, and that completeness in the organization of sentences, in which he so much surpassed all his predecessors. Notwithstanding, however, the too evident influence of this powerful and perverted style on that of Dr. Drake, he has retained a grammatical negligence which could not be pardoned, even if he had not bad the benefit of so perfect an example of grammatical accuracy.

Every candid reader will agree with our author in attribute ing some portion of Johnson's perpetual horror of death to his wretchedly morbid mental and corporeal constitution ; but it the same time, supposing (if we are correct in supposin :) our author's opinion to be, that had his mind been less morbid it would have vanquished the fear of death on the ground of meritorious virtue, we own this would seem to us, after we have read Boswell's book, to imply no very high standard of morality in estimating his character, to say nothing of the erroneous theology. Surely no light share of culpability weighed on bis conscience, and this powerfully combined with a melancholy temperament, to oppress a mind which had at the same time but very confused and unsatisfactory views of another, and the only ground on which death ean rationally or safely be set at defiance. On this ground it is set at defiance by many of the very bumblest persons on earth; and it must be owing to ignorance of such examples, as well as an inconsideration of a most essential article of the Christian faith, that Dr. D. can so easily and VOL. VIII.

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positively pronounce, not only without any suspicion of error, but even without being apparently sensible of any thing gloomy and dismal in the assertion, that 'to be confident of acceptance hereafter would certainly be presumption.' Vol. I. p. 461.

We have not left ourselves space for any thing like an adequate notice of the long sequel of the work before us, and must be content to commend it strongly, in general terms, as a very entertaining miscellany of literary history and biography. The enumerated periodical works subsequent to the Rambler amount to considerably more than a hundred ; and the entire list, beginning with the Tatler, which commenced April 12th, 1709, and ending with the Burnisher, published at the end of 1801, comprizes no less than two hundred and twenty one. The works marked as most distinguished since the Rambler, are the Adventurer, the World, the Connoisseur, the Idler, the Mirror, the Lounger, the Ob. server, and the Looker-On. In following down this train, in chronological order, though a period of half a century, with meritorious industry of research, and a pleasing viva. city of narration, our author has furnished a vast number of particulars which every reader will be glad to know, concerning a multitude of scholars, wits, and geniuses, of various magnitudes, some of whom have established themselves in permapent possession of the public knowledge and friendship, while others are likely to be indebted for any acquaintance or kindness they may recover and retain among us, much more to what has here been written by Dr. Drake, than to any thing they wrote or did themselves.

Art. XII. Devout Meditations, from the Christian Oratory, by the Rev.

Benjamin Bennet; with an Introduction on retired Devotion in gene. ral: abridged and newly arranged in four parts, with Memoirs of the Author, by S. Palmer. 12mo. pp. xxii. 345. Gale, Curtis and

Fenner, 1812. THE venerable author of this edition of Bennet's Christian Oratory

has already discovered his qualifications for this species of labour, by publishing several excellent devotional works, and abridgments, that have been very acceptable to the religious public. Of the present work, in its original state, Dr. Doddridge had said, • It had been better had it been less ;' and the author confessed himself, in his preface, that he had 'exceeded all due bounds.' Mr. Palmer has corrected many inaccuracies, pared away excrescences, condensed parts that were by far too diffuse, transposed some paragraphs, and even sections, and, by prefixing to the whole a short but satisfactory account of Mr. Bennet's life and character, made a portable volume, which all Christians, who wish to cherish a de votional spirit, will find it profitable to peruse.

Art. XIII. The substance of a Conversation with John Bellingham, the

assassin of the late Right Hon. Spencer Perceval, on Sunday, May 17, 1812, the day previous to his execution : together with some general remarks. By Daniel Wilson, A. M. Minister of St. John's Chapel, Bedford Row; and Vice-Principal of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford,

8vo. pp. 60. Hatchard, 1812. A Publication from this most excellent writer cannot fail of receiving

a cordial welcome from all who have the slightest acquaintance with the few performances he has already given to the public ; nor will the present very interesting pamphlet disappoint their expectations. The interview to which the title page refers took place, it appears, at the suggestion of a distinguished member of parliament, a friend of the late deeply lamented Chancellor of the Exchequer ; and was undertaken on the part of Mr. W. from a truly benevolent Christian anxiety to awaken the mind of the prisoner to a sane contemplation of the question at issue between his passions and his conscience. So effectually, however, had he submitted to the former the strong workings of his powerful mind, that the latter appeared to be nearly extinct within him, and the impressive and evangelical appeals of his visitor were either repelled, evaded, or more frequently admitted with a quiet apathy of assent, which shewed most clearly the unmoved depravity of his heart. It is not practicable to abridge a conversation, of which every part bore directly upon the awful state of the criminal. He was pressed forcibly, faithfully, and eloquently, by his excellent monitor ; but he was uniformly insensible-ready in his answers—and singularly apt in his references to Scripture. The following passage will serve to convey some idea of the extraordinary disposition of the criminal, and the earnest endeavours of the preacher to awaken him to a sense of his guilt.

• I thought it now proper, as every other mode of address had failed, and his last direful crime had been introduced, to turn the conversation towards it; and as I found he spoke on the subject with the same calm indifference and monstrous apathy as on the general topics of religion, I conceived I could not begin with any thing more calculated to softeo him, than a most interesting and affecting circumstance with which i bad been furnished the moment before I went to the prison. I accordingly told him I had an anecdote to relate to him, which was sufficient, I thoug it, to melt a heart of stone ; and then read to him a letter, stating, that the afflicted Mrs. Perceval, with her orphan children, had kneie round the çorpse of her murdererı husband, and had put up earnesc prayers to Goa for his murderer. “ Thus,” said I, " while you, on a mere presumption of injury in your own mind, have assassinated a man who had never per. sonally injured you, and whose amiable and benevolent character you cannot but acknowledge, his widowed pai tner, i huse injuries from you are incalculably greater than any you can even pretend tú have received from Mr. rerceval, has, in all the poignancy of her anguish, been utfering up prayers to God on your behalf. * As I was standing up to read the letter by a dimly burning cando against the wall of the cell, my friend took particular notice of the mure derer's countenance, and distinctly observed, that, on heariog this touching account, he hung down his head for an instant (for he had before been stedfastly looking at us), as though he was much affected. He soon, however, resumed his former attitude, and said, as one recollecting bimself, “ This was a Christian spirit! she must be a good woman. Her conduct was more like a Christian's than my own, certainly.” I cannot doubt that, though this answer was made pearly in his usual manner, and was in itself a proof of a deplorable impenitence, he was still at this instant convinced in his conscience of the abominable nature of his crime, and found some difficulty in suppressing the voice of truth.'

The cominents which foilow this statement are admirably appropriate. They are a kind of clinical lecture op a diseased heart. Indeed, this is, altogether, a remarkable and interesting document. It exhibits a singular instance of mental depravity, in a man whose talents, if rightly and perseveringly exerted, might make him respectable and happy; and yet in whose mild courtesy of manner, and tranquil, dignified demeanor, we seem rather to trace the conduct and character of the gentleman, than the desperate malignity of the assassin.

On a review of all the circumstances connected with this awful transaction, no doubt remains on our minds of the insanity of Bellinghaman insanity, however, which would not afford him any adequate defence at the public or the internal tribunalan insanity induced and confirmed by the indulgence of bad and malignant passione.

Art. XIV. Memoirs of the Caledonian Horticultural Society. No. I. 1812,

8vo. price 3s. Longman and Co. THIS Society appears to have been originally instituted in 1809, in

imitation of the London Horticultural Society, the Earl of Dalkeith being appointed first president, and Sir James Hall, Dr. Rutherford, Dr. Coventry, and Mr. Hunter, vice-presidents. The members meet quar

terly, for the purpose of reading communications, adjudging prizes, electing members, and of proposing a list both of the questions to be solved, and of the prizes for horticultural productions, suited to the seasons of the different meetings. As the utility to the public of such societies depends on the manner in which they are conducted, and their enquiries directed, it is gratifying that there is no reason to apprehend the Caledonian Horticultural Society will prove a mere gooseberry show. It has the intention, we find, from Dr. Duncan's Discourse, at the Quarterly Meeting, December 3, 1811, of putting proposed improvements to the test of experiment; a caution which the fondness of projectors for the offspring of their own fancy renders bighly necessary, before such a so. ciety can recommend them to general adoption.

In the present number of the Society's memoirs, the two most important papers are, on the Disease in the Potato, but too well known by the name of the Curl; the former by Mr. T. Dickson, the latter by John Shirreff, Esq. Both admit the correctness of Mr. Knight's discovery,

old age.

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that every mode of propagation, except by seed, is merely an extension of an individual, which must sooner or later become extinct; and consequently esteem the whole series of crops, raised from any given variety of potato, by cuttings, as different stages in the progress of that variety towards final decay. The curl appears to be analogous to the infirmity of

Mr. Shirreff therefore insists upon the well known preventive, of raising fresh stock from the seed; but Mr. Dickson gives some directions for prolonging the existence, at least for a limited period, of such as we already possess. He found that plants raised from cuttings, taken from the dry end of the potato, were more generally diseased, than when the cuttings had been taken from the waxy end, or that to which the radicle is affixed, and which is less matured than the other. Hence he inferred, that suffering the tubers to remain too long in the gr und, was a means of hastening the disorder ; and lays down the following rules :

1. To procure a sound, healthy, seed-stock, which cannot be relied on, unless obtained from a part of the high country, where, from the climate and other circumstances, the tubers are never over-ripened.

62. To plant such potatoes as are intended to supply seed-stock for the ensuing season, at least a fortnight later than those planted for crop, and to take them up whenever the haulin or stems become of a yellow-green colour: at this period, the cuticle, or outer skin of the tubers, may be easily rubbed off between the finger and thumb.

• 3. To prevent those plants that are intended to produce seed stock for the ensuing year, from producing flowers or seeds, by cutting them off in embryo, taking care, however, to take no more off than the extreme tops, as by taking more the crop may be injured.'

From the other essays, of minor importance, we only extract the fol. lowing method of destroying or preventing the caterpillars that infest gooseberry-bushes. Should it prove effectual, it will well reward the trouble of trying the experimeat.

• Collect as much drift sea-weed from the beach, when opportunity occurs, as will cover the gooseberry compartment to the depth of four or five inches. Lay it on in autumn. Let this covering remain untouched during the winter and early spring months. As the season advances, dig it in.

Art. XV. Witenham Hill, a descriptive Poem, with Illustrations. By the

Rev. T. Pentycross, M. A. late Rector of St. Mary, Wallingford. Third edition, 8vo. price ls. (4to. 2s.). Wallingford, Bradford ;

Crosby and Co. 1812. IT is perhaps more difficult to give interest to descriptive poetry than to

any other species of composition : the constant recurrence of the same objects requiring a more than ordinary degree of taste and discrimination, to combine and vary, and of rich and vigorous versification, to make the verbal painting pleasing and effective. In some of these requisites, this poem is deficient. In reading some of the couplets, we could not but wish especially that the author's notion of the language of poetry had been a little more exaltcd. For instance:

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