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but tafte also, will be found to be in proportion to freedom, unless the influence of this general law be counteracted by inferior circumstances and accidents, as any general law, either in the phyfical or moral world, may be observed to be in many particular infances.
Liberty cannot alone, he allows, or all at once, 'refine the genius or taste of mankind; other circumstances must concur, but liberty is still the animating cause, and a total deprivation of it would soon be found to extinguish every spark both of genius and taste. A people may be free, and yet rough and unpolished in their taste as well as manners; but a nation of faves muft either discover no taste at all, or a vitiated and faife one. The rusticity of the antient Romans proves nothing against the happy influence of liberty: but if we consider how short a period intervened, from their beginning to study the arts, till they lost their freedom; and refiect, that the despotism of their emperors put a sudden and unnatural stop to farther improvement, it will afford a convincing proof, that liberty is favourable, and arbitrary power unfavourable, to the liberal arts. This our Author endeavours to prove from the best authorities, and what he ad. vances on the subject will be agreeable to every ingenious Reader.
He gives us a short sketch of the growing intercourse which the Romans had with the inhabitants of Greece, of the progress their language made at Rome, and of the importation of the works of Greek writers and ingenious artists, with which Italy was enriched at different times, from the conclufion of the first Macedonian war, till some time after the birth of Cicero; and thews, that these circumstances must have been favourable for promoting a genuine taste among the Romans. He likewise endeavours to answer the arguments that may be brought, for the superior advantages which talle is, by some people, thought to have in an ablolute government, from the common opinion about the infuence of the protection which Auguftus afforded the Muses.
The last age of the Republic, he observes, formed the great writers of the Augustan age; and nothing can be more absurd and trifling, he thinks, than to ascribe the merit of the fine writers of those times to the patronage of the emperor, or his minister. They knew well how to make a proper use of those geniuses who then flourished; but who had been formed in other cimes, and by conversation with diffe
rent men. Talte was at it greatest height in Rome, when
polished, or made barbarous, by degrees. But as the Ro-
In the seventh Letter our Author continues the same subjed, viz. the influence of liberty upon tafte, and makes some observations concerning the age of Lewis XIV. Sufficient reasons, he thinks, may be given for the figure which the French writers of this age make, and will for ever make in the annals of the world, without having recourse to the influence of the monarch's power, or drawing a conclusion unfavourable to liberty. He endeavours to fhew, that in France, during the reigns of several kings preceding LEWIS XIV. the rights of the bulk of the people were enlarged, their understandings improved by a freedom of enquiry, their spirits animated, and their talte made manly and bold by perpetual struggles about independence and freedom, both sacred and civil : in a word, that a spirit of liberty prevailed, and formed those geniuses, who flourished when he came to the throne, and during the last years of his father's reign.
In the last Letter he enquires, why England has produced so many great poets, and no capital painters or ftatuaries. He ascribes the elevated spirit of British poetry to the genius of the people, and to that of liberty, together with the boldness and copiousness of our language; and tells us, that those extravagant flights, and that irregularity, which are too conspicuous in some of the greatest names among the English poets, may be attributed to the want of establishments of learned focieties in London.
“ Here then, says he, we may perceive one reason why our neighbours, with much less genius, have excelled us in correctness of taste. They have established in their metropolis, focieties to superintend and direct the public approbation, while we have allowed the humours of the people to be the sovereign arbitrator. In dramatic performances, the Pit has always been able to condemn or approve, and this has genesally been led by a few; who, without perhaps any other qualification but a larger share of briskness and conceit than the rest, have taken upon them to direct the judgment of the town. The universities, removed at a distance, could not have much influence: in these a foundation might be laid for excelling, by studying the originals of all beauty ; but when works came to be offered to the town, 'twas found that a classical fpirit was less calculated to please, than one more adapted to the taste of a place where no such learned focieties were instituted, and where a different taste prevailed. Were a society, like the French academy, established in London, of such dignity as to make the most accomplished among the Great, ambitious of being members of it, it could not fail of having a happy influence. Not only would it ferve to promote a good taste, it would also give a fpur to genius, and encourage many people to cultivate talents, which at present they neglect. What an additional ornament would such a society be to the British metropolis ! What an honour would it be to its Founder, and to those whose interest and rank might give them an opportunity of promoting such an inftitution! This would ndake correctness of taste as much the characteristic of the English writers, as freedom and genius have hitherto been, and soon enable the British muses to become as fuperior to the French in the former, as they are by all good judges allowed to be in the latter."
That England has produced no painters or statuaries, whofe productions have been known beyond the limits of their own country, muft arise, our Author says, from some cause or other in the circumstances or genius of the People. Such a deficiency, among a people fo remarkable for genius in other respects as the English, must be owing, he tells us, to moral caufes, and not to any natural inability of excelling in a particular art.
The Reformation, he observes, naturally gave a check to improvements in Sculpture and Painting, by taking away the greatet encouragements and motives to excel in these arts. In Italy, at the restoration of politeness and arts, we are told, poets and painters appeared at the same time:
A Raphael painted, and a Vida sung. Pope. “ In England, continues he, Spenser and Shakespear, much greater poets than Vida, were accompanied with no painters of any fame, much less able to enter the lists with Raphael the greatest master of his art, the modern world can boast of; and ever since the revival of letters and arts, Great Britain hath been left infinitely behind in painting by Italy, and other Roman Catholic countries, while our poets have sung with a nobler fire, and catched the free and manly spirit of the antients, more perhaps than has been done by thofe of any other country in modern times.
“ There are no passions of the human mind capable of be. ing worked up to greater heights, or of producing stronger effects, than superstition and enthusiasm; hence we may eafily conceive, what an influence the consecrating of statues and pictures, as objects of adoration in Roman Catholic countries, must have upon the minds of the people, and for what reasons no pains are spared, and no expence grudged, to procure pieces of the most striking beauty and expresion to adorn popish altars, and to animate the devotion of fuperftitious votaries. Fact and experience, as well as reason and theory, confirm this opinion, and naturally account for those Itrong powers of fancy which Roman Catholic painters have discovered, and for that great encouragement they have met with from the religious. The first and the last works of almost all the great matters have been devotional pieces, and done too for fome religious houfe,”
The situation of Great Britain, our Author thinks, bas been another reason why fculpture and painting have made fo little progress in this country. Living in an ifland, and almost separated from the rest of the world, the inhabitants of England have been ;lefs visited by foreigners of diffinition than those of any other part of Europe. of equal consequence, and thus have wanted one motive to encourage arts that are ornamental, viz. the vanity of displaying grand works to ftrangers.
He observes farther on this head, that the English nobility, and people of fashion, have refided less in London, than those of the fame rank in other nations have done in the capitals of their different countries. How far this may have been of ad
vantage to the kingdom in general, or what bad effects may : arise from the taste for living in town, or near it, that has of: late prevailed so much among people of rank and fortune, beyond what it did in former times, he docs not pretend to determine : whatever bad consequences may flow from this hu-. mour in other, respects, it must be allowed, he thinks, to have a natural tendency to improve and polish the manners of the people, to promote a taste for what is elegant and fplendid, and to afford the greatest encouragement and opportunities to cultivate the fine arts.
The Proceedings and Sentence of the spiritual Court of Inquisition
of Portugal, against Gabriel Malagrida, Jefuit, for Herély.. Hypocrisy, false Prophecies, Impoftures, and various other heinous Crimes : Together with the Sentence of the Lay' Court of Justice, passed on him the żoth Day of September 1761, and published in Lisbon by Authority. Faithfully translated from the original Portuguese. 4to. ; 25. Marsh.
sin T210? ;t, N this land of freedom, where every man is at liberty, to
take his quantum fufficit of religion, and to chuse its qua: lity; where opinions unfavourable to all divine institutions are broached with impunity, and where the most illiterate form themselves into focieties, "and affemybletto dispute the truth of doctrines revealed from Heaven; we hear of relia gious persecutions with horror and with wonder. With us, indeed, religious liberty is manifefly abused'; 'ik becomes the subject of dispute with the widling, and of raillery With the profane: but even this evil is more tolerable than religious tyranny; for much less is to be feared from the sophistry of the shallow free-thinker, than from the rage of the infatuated bigot, ordre
hyhorn Odious, however, as perfecution is, in all its' circumstances, we cannot say that we looked upon the death of Father Malagrida either with horror of concern.- "The deceftable practices of the jésuits, their horrid plots, and dark in trigues, have rendered them juftly obnoxious to people of all persuasions. [.. ..
Father Malagrida was a jesuit, and by birthi a Milanese. It appears, that he had been the greatest part of his life a miffionary in South America; and when he was tried by the Inquisition, he was considerably advanced in years. The