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« tritive Qualities of the Grasses and other Plants used as the • Food of Animals; instituted by John, Duke of Bedford, The experiments were made, with the hope of obtaining a knowledge of the comparative values of all the different species and varieties of
The seeds of the different species were sown on a given space of land; and when the plants were ripe, they were cut, collected, and dried. An equal weight of each species of grass was then infused in water, so as to extract all the soluble matter ; and the solution being then evaporated to dryness, the solid extract was carefully weighed, and examined chemically by Sir Humphry Davy. His Grace's gardener, who conducted the experiments, has added, in the tables, a statement of the produce per acre of each species, both at the time of flowering, and when the seeds are ripe. These experiments seem to have been made with great care, intelligence, and precision, and are a valuable present to the public: But we really do not see any near connexion which they have with agricultural chemistry, except as regards the amount of their soluble nutritive matter, which the author had already introduced into the table before referred to. They occupy a space of no less than 63 pages, which is about one sixth of the whole book. However highly, therefore, we value these experiments, and feel indebted to the noble person by whom they were instituted, we cannot but wish that they had been communicated to the public through some less expensive channel, so as to have been brought more within the reach of practical men.
Having thus given a pretty copious, and, we trust, impartial view of the Elements of Agricultural Chemistry,' we must, in conclusion, observe, that, considering the ten years of research and meditation which the author has bestowed on the subject, its execution has, on the whole, fallen short of our expectation. Some of the chemical parts of the work appear to us unnecessarily extended : the anatomical and physiological parts are imperfect, and, as we conceive, in many respects unsound. The portions which treat of the analysis of certain vegetable substances, and of soils and manures, exhibit the most originality ; and many of the practical remarks are ingenious and just. Should the work, as we trust it will, reach a second edition, we venture to recommend, now that the taste of the amateur and the cupidity of the bookseller may have been gratified, that it be brought more within the reach of the practical husbandman. To accomplish this desirable object, we advise that it be reduced to an octavo size; that much of the matter relating to vegetable, rather than to agricultural, chemistry, together with all the Appendix, be omitted ; and that the phy-,
siological portion undergo revision and correction. By these alterations, we think the book would, at the same time, fall in price, and rise in value; and thus would be more likely to pass into the hands of a numerous class of readers, who would assuredly return to their country, in the extended benefits of agriculture, the advantages they derived to themselves from the careful perusal of it.
ART. II. Souvenirs 8: Portraits, 1780–1789. Par M. de Levis.
IN n the Preface to this work, M. de Levis announces his inten
tion to attempt the solution of a problem which has defied the efforts of all writers before him, viz. to describe individual characters in a manner neither malignant nor insipid. He is aware of the difficulties of his undertaking. The author must make manifest his titles to confidence in such parts of his work as depend upon his single testimony. The merit of his publication rests upon the opportunities he has had for personal observation, and upon the happy choice of the moment when these Memoirs can neither interfere with the political interests of his country, nor offend the feelings of the individuals described, or their surviving relatives. These obstacles M. de Levis flatters himself with having surmounted. 1. Because his rank in the Court of the Bourbons is decisive of his credibility : 2. He was placed on a level with the characters he delineates, whose likenesses, he observes, are not to be taken by persons in an inferior rank in life: Lastly, he publishes his book in the face of his cotemporaries, who may contradict him if they please!
These Pieces justificatives, it must be confessed, are not of the most satisfactory nature. We who, in the humble situation of Reviewers, must look at M. de Levis de bas en haut,' may be thought presumptuous in criticizing the portraits of a master so high in rank, and so fortunate in his level for observation ; but it may be doubted, whether the courtier who has shared the society of the Prince, or the favours of the Minister, is likely to be the most impartial critic of their principles and conduct.
So much for our author's pretensions. It is but just however to observe, that, in general, there is an air of truth and fairness throughout the work; and, setting aside the tone of indulgence to all the habits of the Ancien Regime, which has become fashionable at Paris, since the dynasty of Bonaparte has been pu
rified by the Bourbon alliance, even the political characters are sketched with fairness and liberality. These however are the Jeast interesting of the portraits. Incomparably the most amusing part of the work consists in those lively and probable traits of character, which the nature of society at Paris, before the Revolution, afforded so many opportunities to produce and to record.
We shall give our readers a sketch of some of the Ministers and Deputés, as described by our author.
The account of Monsieur de Maurepas quite accords with the picture usually given of that Minister. He is described rether as a man of wit, than as a statesman ;-fond of place, but disinterested in the use of it. Louis XVI., on his accession to the throne, made him Minister at the suggestion of his aunts; and thus commenced that preponderating influence of women in the Government, which, according to M. de Levis, was ti e cause of the many unhappy errors of that reign. He was alter'nately governed by his wife, and by Monsieur de Beaumarchais, whose influence, our author assures us, occasioned the interference of the French Minister in the American War. The author of the Figaros, it seems, had speculated in the purchase of arms from Holland, to sell to the Americans, whose cause he strenuously supported at Paris, lest their bills should be dishonoured at Philadelphia.-Can this anecdote be true ?
As a specimen of the bonne plaisanterie which distinguished this Minister, we subjoin the following.
• Il n'y avoit pas long-tems qu'il étoit premier ministre, quand un gentilhomme Gascon avec qui il avoit eu quelques rapports éloignés pendant son exil, paråt à son audience: et voulant se donner un air de connoissance, “ M. le Comte, ” lui dit-il en s'approchant, et parlant haut, “ oserois-je vous demander ce que vous avez fait de ce petit cheval blanc que vous montiez, il y a une dizaine d'années, lorsque nous étions à la campagne ensemble? “ Monsieur,” lui repondit gravement M. de Maurepas, qui s'apperçut que l'habit du Gascon étoit retourné, “ Je l'ai fait retourner, et je lui ai fait mettre des boutons neufs." ;
The portraits of Monsieur de Calonne, and of his great rival Necker, are, we think, happily contrasted; but M. de Levis seems to entertain a very slight opinion of the honesty of both. The former is represented as a man of a liberal and enlarged understanding, of elegant manners, and of a generous and forgiving disposition. His wit was ready, his facility in business extraordinary ; but his waste of time ruinous. He is said to have been inferior to his rival in matters of finance; but a more able statesman, and better fitted to conduct the foreign affaire
of the kingdom. Of his fitness for either, or for any situation of trust, our readers may be inclined to doubt, if they credit our author, who relates as an authentic anecdote, that during the sittings of the Notables, he set fire to the Controle-General of Versailles, that he might conceal his neglect of a work which he had been ordered to prepare on a certain day.
Mirabeau, Barnave, and Cazales, are among the portraits in this volume; and the first of those distinguished persons, is described with more care and discrimination than any of the political sketches presented to us by M. de Levis.
We acknowledge, that Mirabeau's account of himself in the Lettres à Sophie, his published Speeches, and in his Memoirs, had impressed us with notions of his character somewhat different from the picture here exhibited. In this book, his faults and 'vices are attributed to the cruel conduct of his father, and to other circumstances which greatly extenuate them ; but his disposition, it is said, was feeling and good, his talents were undisputed, his eloquence unrivalled, his firmness unassailable, his attachment to liberty ardent and pure; and yet-his services were sold to the Crown !!!-Such are the incongruities which our author attempts to reconcile !
We have pleasure in recording an anecdote in which a ready wit and good feeling are equally displayed.
Je me ressouviens que, pendant qu'il étoit Président de l'As. semblée Nationale, M. Tronchet vieillard vénerable et deja cassé, lisoit un rapport long et d'un médiocre intérêt: on faisoit du bruit : Mirabeau, pour le faire cesser, dit en agitant sa sonnette: “ Messieurs, veuillez vous rappeler que la poitrine de M. Tronchet n'est
que It is not without a feeling of indignation that we have read the Souvenir of Barnave. M. de Levis professes to be indulgent to this distinguished character, because he was a victim of the Revolution ; but his quarrel with him has this origin—that he was an enthusiastic and sincere lover of Liberty, and the ardent friend of the abolition of the Slave Trade! This article indulgently assigas to Liberty her only temple, in the heated imagination of youth ; and unblushingly attributes the horrors of the Revolution to the mild and virtuous spirit which pleaded for the emancipation of the African slaves ! This eloquent and honest deputy is, according to our author, saved from public execration only by his death. For our part, we would willingly inscribe on his tomb the memorable words which he pronounced in the Assembly, in answer to the real enemies of humanity
VOL. XXII.- NO. 44.
pas aussi forte
sa tête ? "
and the colonies, and with which his memory is insulted by our author, “ Eh-bien! perissent les colonies, plutôt que les principes !!!"
The portrait of the Marechal de Richelieu is one of the most interesting in the work, and adds many amusing anecdotes of Louis XIVth's reign to those already known of that brilliant period of the French monarchy.
Our author found the Alcibiades of France (for so he designates M. de Richelieu) in the year'1781, performing the duties of Premier Gentilkomme de la Chambre, at Versailles, the victim of the raillery of the Queen, and exposed to the general neglect which it seems attended an old courtier out of season ! M. de Levis profited by this abandonment, to extract from him some accounts of better times, which he has faithfully given to his readers.
We begin with a specimen of Louis the Fourteenth's wit, which is stated to be unique; and, we rather think, affords at once a reason and a consolation for the rarity of that article.
• Les plus anciens courtisans se rappeloient de lui avoir entendu faire une plaisanterie, mais on ne pouvoit en citer une autre. C'etoit quelque temps après avoir fait construire la ménagerie à l'extrémité d'une des branches du canal de Versailles. Il y faisoit élever des elindons, et alloit asseí souvent les visiter dans ses promenades. Un jour qu'il ne les trouva pas en bon état, is fit appeler Vinspecteur qui avoit le titre de capitaine, et lui dit du ton le plus imposant : pitaine, si vos dindons ne profitent pas mieux, je vous casserai, et je vous mettrai à la queue de la compagnie.
This great monarch, it seems, was so persuaded of the necessity of an uninterrupted appearance of majesty, that no human being was ever permitted to see him without his wig. Our author takes the opportunity of giving us his deliberate opinion of the origin and value of that dignified appendage to the head ; and he thinks, that besides the discoveries of the German lecturer on heads, M. Gall, the general usage of immense perukes by chancellors, judges, bishops, and the chiefs of savage nations, tends to prove, that a great volume of head is presumptive proof of superior genius and talent. We cannot take upon our: selves to opine in this delicate matter ; but we know, that the Cabinet des Perruques' of Louis XIV. has found its imitators in other courts of Europe ; and that a jealous attention to the ornament of that part of the human body has occupied the councils of sovereigns, and in one instance hazarded the fate of an empire !
After having stated the situation of Richelieu the old neglected courtier, let us hear his own account of the enjoyments of his youth.
p. 25, 26.