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»nd^ smoak tobacco; they perform their evacuations and ablutions; and having been purified, they worship the gods. 1 hey then eat, an operation in wl ich two hours are expended. They then rest themselves half an hour, when they proceed to the field, and work six hours On their return, they again pray, and take a little of any cold victual that they have. They then look after the cattle, and give them water and fodder. The labour of the day as now over; and the workman, having again washed and prayed, takes his supper, and, about seven o'clock, goes ta bed, where he remains thirteen hours. This is their employment during the six months of toil. In the remaining half of the year, little cultivation being carried on, they repair their houses, lay in a stock of firewood, carry out dung, and do other little jobs about the farm. Masters, of course, work still less.' Vol. III. p. 298.
If some other workmen were not more alert than these cultivators, India would not maintain the rank which it holds, and has ever held, for ingenious and even operose productions. It is true, indeed, that the implements of agriculture, and of some professions, as delineated by Dr. B. are slight, and we may add feeble. But the specimen of ship-building, that India has lately sent over to this country, is reported to exhibit no symptoms either of sloth or debility. (To be continued. J
Art. III. Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, with a new Edition of her Poems, some of which have never appeared before j to which are added, some Miscellaneous Essays in Prose, together with Notes on the Bible, and Answers to Objections concerning the Christian Religion. By the Rev. Montagu Pennington, M. A. Vicar of Northbourn, in Kent, her Nephew and Executor. 4to. pp. 643. Price 21. 2s. bds. F. C. and J. Rivington. 1807.
"TPHE private history and character of so accomplished a woman as Mrs. Carter, a woman who attained a high degree of literary distinction at a period when respectable female writers were extremely rare, who was familiarly acquainted with some of the most eminent persons of her time, and who lived to the extraordinary age of 89, may well excite the intelligent reader's curiosity. The work now before us will therefore be opened with interest, and we are persuaded it will not be closed with feelings of weariness or disappointment. It is not indeed fruitful of incident; it is the narrative of a domestic and single life, and contains little to surprize or captivate: yet it displays such warmth of friendship, active benevolence, and cheerful piety, in the character of Mrs. Carter, with so much lively and judicious remark, in her letters, that it cannot fail to yield considerable amusement and information, while it impresses a very high opinion of her intellectual endows Bients and moral worth
Elizabeth Carter, eldest daughter of Dr. Nicholas Carter, was born at Deal, the 16th of December (N. S.) 1717. She received from her father, in common with her sisters and brothers, a learned education. Very dull of apprehension, and slow in attaining the rudiments of knowledge, her earlj life afforded no promise of her future eminence; yet in spite of natural disadvantages she resolved to be a scholar, and her success is to be numbered among the signal triumphs of persevering industry. Her health, however, was the sacrifice; a distressing head ach, almost her constant companion through life, was the unhappy consequence of her unremitting attention to study. Her inaptitude to acquire knowledge was accompanied, as very commonly happens, with so retentive a memory, that what she had once gained she never afterwards lost. In the year 1738, she published a very small collection of poems written before she was twenty years of ■ age. Her progress in learning very soon occasioned her to be noticed by persons of distinction ; and from the age of 18 or 19 she generally passed a great part of the winter in London, in the company and at the houses of some of her respectable connexions. The summer she chiefly spent with her father at Deal, or with her friends at Canterbury. The first part of her life was mostly employed in study; she began with the Latin and Greek languages, and after some time added to them tha Hebrew. Her proficiency in the Greek was very considerable, and obtained the ennobling- praise of Dr. Johnson. She was thoroughly versed in French, and acquired a respectable knowledge of Italian, Spanish, and German, without any assistance. "Later in life she learned Portuguese; in which, for want of books, she probably made no great progress;" lastly, she was just able to read Arabic, with the constant assistance of a dictionary. Meantime the sciences were not neglected, though they were much lcs> to her taste than classical and historical literature. While pursuing her Greek studies, Mrs. Carter took great delight in ancient geography, and made many manuscript corrections in the maps which she was accustomed to consult. She Wj$ much less conversant, it is said, "with modern geography, c.r even that of her own country, of which she had onl, a general, and in some cases merely a superficial knowledge.'' Whh regard to her religious attainments, her biographer observes,
'But among her studies there was one wrvch she never neglected; one which was always dear to her from her earhes infancy to the Litest period of her life, and in which she made a c< ntmual progress This. was that of Religion, which was her constant care and greatest rfeli-.'ht. I ier acquaintance with the Bible, some part of which she m ver fnilijd to read erery day, was as complete, as her belief in it was sincere. And ie person ever endeavoured more, and few with greater success, to regulate the whole of their conduct by that unerring guide. She assisted her devotion also by assiduously reading the best sermons, and other workl upon that most interesting subject. Her piety was never varying; constant, fervent, but not enthusiastic ; and the author of this sketch twice assisted her, in his professional capacity, in the most solemn exercise of religion, when she was supposed by others, and thought herself, to be dying; and she received the Sacrament with the same calm and grateful devotion, the same Christian hope expressed in all humility; the same composure of mind, as in the time of her highest health. It was impossible to witness a scene of such sublime and rational piety, without mentally applying to the occasion the affecting prayer of a true prophet though a wicked man, Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end if Hie her's.
* To controversial divinity, however, she had a great dislike, and thought it productive of more harm than. good; and she advised her friends never to read books adverse to the Scriptures, or raising objections to them. And she gave this reason for it, that the objection, though futile, might strike the mind, and perhaps unsettle the faith; and the answer to it, however good, might fail to carry conviction, so that much might be lost while nothing could be gained. And perhaps with regard to a great part of the world this reasoning may be just; but with respect to herself, her faith was too well founded to be shaken; and her notes on. the Scriptures, as well as answers to objections ma^Je to their truth, which, are intended to be made public, will shew that she needed not to have any fear on her own account of reading all that could be urged against them.
« At her piety began early, so it travelled with her through life. It was at all times the most distinguishing feature of her character. It was indeed the very piety of the Gospel, shewn not by enthusiasm, or depreciating that of others, but by a calm, rational, and constant devotion, and the most unwearied attention to acquire the temper, and practise the duties of a Christian life. She never thanked God, like the proud Pharisee, that she was not like others, but rather, like the publican, besought him to be merciful to her a sinner.' pp. 11—13.
We are sorry to find an account of Mrs. C.'s compliance with the frivolous and unworthy customs of fashionable life, introduced in close connection with this interesting sketch. Jf it were possible for a strong attachment to card-playing and dancing to be considered as strictly consistent with the condition, the faith, the duties, the prevailing spirit, and exalted destiny of such a being as Mrs. Carter, we should still feel it right to protest against the tacit approbation with which the reverend Biographer has mentioned these juvenile gaieties. Of the objector who might deem them innocent in this particular individual, we would stillask, are they not usually criminal, are they not always dangerous, as practised by the general mass of society, for whom maxims are laid down and laws enacted? Would it be a reflection peculiarly consoling Vol. IV. A a
to the wise and good on a death-bed, that by their example, which would be cited as equivalent to a thousand arguments, the volatile had been led into temptation, or the vicious encouraged in sin? For Sabbath-^breaking, we .suppose even such a precedent as Mrs. Carter's occasional deviations in conformity to continental customs will scarcely be pleaded as » justification.
In close application to study, frequently mixing with the society of the great and good, and sometimes joining in these amusements, Mrs. Carter spent the first part of her life. At the period when young ladies usually obtain or expect husbands, she was not destitute of admirers; but none of these appears to have been entirely of congenial qualifications; she was therefore jiot persuaded by any of the applicants, or by the wish of her father, to relinquish learned leisure and mental independence for the solicitudes and obligations of domestic life. The year 1739 introduced Mrs. Carter to the world as a writer of prose. She published a translation of a critique on Pope's Essay on Man from the French of Crousaz, and a translation of Algarotti's Newtonianismo per le Dame from the Italian, neither of which, in later life, she wished her friends to remember. The fame, however, which they acquired for her, was the means of introducing her to the celebrated Countess of Hertford ; with this Lady she afterwards lived in terms of respectful intimacy. At the a<je of two and twenty, the company and approbation pf Mrs. Carter was sought by many persons of genius as well as distinction. An event in the year n41, had a great influence in directing Mrs. Carter's pursuits, and enlarging the sphere of her happiness and respectability through life. Thif was her introduction to the accomplished and excellent Miss Talbot. In the same year these kindred spirits commenced a most unreserved and confidential epistolary correspondence. To this Lady the public are indebted for the first suggestion ta Mrs. Carter of her celebrated and principal work, the translation of Epictetus; and the most interesting part of the present volume is composed of their correspondence on this and other subjects. This work, which is so ■ highly creditable to her critical powers, after passing through the hands of Seeker, at that time Bishop of Oxford, was ushered into the world in April 1153.. " It was much admired, and talked of," says Mr. Pennington, " as soon as published; and the extraordinary circumstance of a translation from the Greek of so diffi.eult an author by a woman, made a great noise all over En-, rope. Even in Russia, where, as Mrs. Carter humourously observed, they were just learning to walk on their hind legs, an account was- published of h&r, which was oa the whole pretty correct." In the year 1 "58, Mrs. C.'s great friend, Dr. .Seeker, was promoted to the Metropolitan See of Canterbury ; and she was frequently an inmate with his family at Lambeth, where, as she often declared afterwards, she passed some of the happiest hours of her life. It was there she was introduced to Mrs. Montagu, George, the first Lord Lyttelton, and William Pulteney, Earl of Bath. The characters of these distinguished persons are pleasingly illustrated in som« of iter letters.
In 1763, Mrs. Carter travelled on the Continent in company with Mrs. Montagu, and the Earl of Bath ; and at a subsequent time, repeated her visit, from a benevolent motive. Her letters, during both these periods, to her friends in England, are judicious and frequently amusing. Indeed through-the whole of the work Mr. Pennington has properly introduced Mrs, C. as her own biographer, with a delicacy and a judgement that exempts him from the censures which are too often due to publishers of private correspondence. Honoured and flattered by the great and learned, highly respected by her fiienrls, and possessed of a comfortable independ-, ence, Mrs. Carter lived for many years without any particular literary exertion. But she enjoyed little health; she was often the victim of distressing nervous, affections, and at last, worn out with years and infirmities, she expired on the 19th of February, 1806.
The size of this volume qualifies it to accompany the first edition of the Epictetus; in order to render them together a complete-collection of Mrs. Carter's works, her Poems, including those published in 1738, and her Miscellaneous Essays, are here reprinted ; with these are united some Poems hitherto unpublished, Extracts from her letters on miscellaneous subjects, Notes on the Bible, and Answers to Objections against the Christian religion. As an author, Mrs. Carter's fame has been considerable; its surest basis, undoubtedly,, is the translation of Epictetus, which is a real service to English literature, and a permanent honour to the sex. She displays a correct knowledge of her own language, which she writes with simplicity and force; her periods, without losing their vigour, nave an air of grace and delicacy. Her humour is elegant, if not very rich ; and her sentiments are evidently the offspring of a powerful and cultivated intellect, though they seldom surprise the mind with originality, or expand it with grandeur. We are free to confess our opinion, that, her merit as a poet has been usually rated at its highest worth; her poetical compositions consist of just remarks, which would have made good prose; they are neatly and even elegantly versified, and may therefore be esteemed good poetry. But the hijjH