Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

good-breeding. How then can he be pronounced to sound a moralist as Johnson, the characteristic feature of whose writings is a nervous morality, built on the truest principles, and pointing to immortality? The sentiment he is said (p. 8.) to have given, on being asked, what were the highest pleasures of human life, does not imply a recommendation of vice, and consequently is not on a par with the nobleman's objectionable letter. An incessant zeal for moral excellence was his ruling passion, and no one ever wrote with a more sincere desire to infuse that zeal into others. In this respect he evidently bears the palm from the noble Earl.

As men, they both had their defects, which it can be no pleasure to us to draw forth and compare. To say the truth, each moved in so very different a sphere, that their lives admit of r.o close comparison.

In estimating their respective merits, as writers and as critics^ this objection does not hold. Here Rank has nothing to do. Their merit, as writers, must be determined solely by the merit of their works. These are before the Public, and every one is 'at full liberty to compare them. We can subscribe to what is laid in these Dialogues of the ease and elegance of those of (he Earl of Chesterfit Id, while we cannot but express our surprise, that the Archdeacon, and Lady Caroline, should join with the Colonel in opinion concerning those of Johnson. The Lady, in summing up the character of the latter, describes him in a line from Pope, as a Being darkly wife; and the Archdeacon expresses his idolatry of him (strange idolatry I) in the following quotation (somewhat altered) from Dr. Young,

"His judgment just, his sentence ever strong, Because he's right, he's ever in the wrong *." Darkly wife, and ever in the wrong, are words not very applicable to this great writer. His works evince not only great depth of erudition, but the clearest head, and the zeutest judgment; and, though not free from defects, and erroneous criticisms, are a most valuable addition to English literature, and are deserving of peculiar applause, as making science subservient to virtue.

* Universal Passion, Sat. vi. JrA^~J/*

Art. IX. The History of the Union between England and Scotland, by Daniel De Foe: with an Appendix of Original Papers; and a copious Index, ato. 11. 7 s. Boards. - Scockdale. 1786.

[ocr errors]

*HE Editor of this valuable work has prefixed to it a Life of its Author; a man well known in the literary and political world. Mr. De Foe was born about the year 1663, and died in 17 31. He passed through a great variety of fortune, and met with difficulties and ill-treatment not only from the party which

1 i 2 "he

[graphic]

he opposed, but also from that which he espoused. This, indeed, was really honourable to him: a sincere friend as he appears to have been to the cause of liberty, civil and religious, he could not always concur in the measures and principles of those who professed at least to be prosecuting the same design. By this means, like many other worthy persons, he often fell under the Censures of those with whom he appeared to be united. Several instances of this kind are here enumerated, in his own words. We insert, as a testimony in his savour, the following short passage from his Appeals in which, with independence and modesty, he disapproved of the intemperance (as he thought) adopted by Government, in 1714, contrary to the original purpose of George I.: "It is, and ever was, my opinion, that moderation is the only virtue by which the tranquillity of this nation can be preserved; and even the King himxlf (I believe his Majesty wiH allow me that freedom) can only be happy in the enjoyment of the crown, by a moderate administration: if he should be obliged, Contrary to his known disposition, to join with intemperate councils, if he does not lessen his security, I am persuaded, it will lessen his satisfaction. To attain the happy calm, is the consideration that should move us all; and he would merit to be called the nation's physician, who could prescribe the specific for it: a conquest of parties will never do it; a balance of parties may." * —Such, adds the Editor, was the political testament of De Foe; which it had been happy for Britain, had it been as faithfully executed, as it was wifely made.'

De Foe was not only a writer, but also a great projeflor, in the reign of King William, which he styles a projecting age. Several of his schemes are briefly mentioned, and whether they were seriously attended to or not, certain it is, we are informed, that ' when he ceased to be a hosier (which he had once been), he was, without solicitation, appointed Accountant to the Commissioners for managing the duties on glass.' He is chiefly known as an author: his Robinson Crusoe, which has passed through seventeen editions, and been translated into other languages, will still preserve his memory: but his distinguished sphere, or that to which he principally applied himself, appears to have been policy and trade.

* It is no easy task,' fays the Editor, * to ascertain the value or the titles of many of our Author's writings, if we except those which he corrected himself and published in his life-time. His poems, whether we regard propriety of sentiment, or sweetness of numbers, may, without much loss of pleasure or profit, be resigned to those who, in imitation of Pope, poach in the fields of obsolete poetry for brilliant thoughts, felicities of phrase, or for happy rhymes. De Foe's ecclesiastical pamphlets may be relinquished to the perusal of those who delight in ecclesiastical 10 polemics. polemics. But his tracts, political and commercial, the lovers of that liberty, which he ably defended, and the friends of that trade, which he liberally explained, must wish to see rescued from oblivion, and republished without the contamination of matter, less engaging and instructive. Dryden and his contemporaries had brought dedications into disgrace by the fulsomeness of their flattery and the servility of their style, The dedications of the present day have absurdly run into the contrary extreme. But the writers, who are permitted to dedicate their works to royal patrons, ought to peruse De Foe's dedicatory epistles to King William and Queen Anne, wherein they will find dignity of sentiment and delicacy of praise, conveyed in language, at once elegant and instructive: his Dedications of 72»* History of the Union as England and Scotland would alone justify this remark.'

Beside the Dedications, this work of De Foe's is introduced by an ample Preface relative to the French invasion of Scotland, in 1707, which, fays he, had it succeeded, * bad fair for tearing up the very foundation of our constitution,—and restoring, not only tyranny and arbitrary government, but even Popery itself.'

The work itself consists of, A general history of Unions attempted in Britain—A view of the state of affairs in each kingdom, prior to the treaty in Queen Anne's reign—An account of this treaty as it was conducted in London—A farther account of its procedure in Scotland—Minutes of the Parliament of Scotland, with observations thereon (which form a considerable part of the volume)—Exact copy of the Act of Ratification of the treaty of Union, as it was passed in the Parliament of Scotland, with the Exemplification thereof from England, as it stands recorded in Scotland, by order of the Parliament there: —to all which is added, an Appendix, containing an account of transactions subsequent to the Union, with a great variety of original papecs relative to the subject.

The work appears, to us, to be not only of the instructive, but even of the entertaining kind: the style is different from that of the present time, but by no means unpleasant. To those readers who wish for information concerning memorable events relative to their own country, this volume will, doubtless, be acceptable, as contributing both to their amusement and improvement.—A large and very good Index is added.—The Introduction, by De Lolme, &c. has been published separately: See (he Political class of our present month's Catalogue.

. - I i 3 Art.

r

Art. X. The Transactions of the Society' instituted in London for tit Encouragement of Arts-, Manufactures, and Commerce. Vol. V. 8vo. 4s. Boards. Dodflcy, &c. 17^7.

IT gives us great pleasure to see this truly patriotic Society proceeding, with so much alacrity and spirit, in the publication of their valuable improvement? and discoveries, and in their unremitting attention to those ingenious arts, and ulesul pursuits, from the successful culture of which, not only our o*n country, bur mankind in general, receive the greatest and most lasting benefits.

Chemistry.

Under this article we have only one Paper, viz. A successful Method of preventing Stone Retorts from breaking; or flipping them when cra.kcd, during any chemical Operation, "without losing any as the contained Subject. By Tho. Willis.

The losses frequently sustained by the cracking of vessels during a chemical opeiation, are of great consequence in many of oar manufactories; the breaking of large crucibles, containing a quantity of fluid metal, not only retards the work fur a considerable time, but is a great expeisce to the proprietor; and'the discovery of a method to prevent such accidents must be of considerable importance to all persons who are interested in large and Valuable works.

Mr. Willis dissolves two ounces of Borax in a pint of boiling water, and adds to the solution as much flacked lime as will make it into a thin paste, which, with a painter's brush, is spred over the retort, and suffered to dry. When the retort is to. be used, it is again coated with a paste made of linseed-oil and flacked lime, well mixed. The retort is covered with this paste all over, except that part of its neck which is to be inserted into the neck of the receiver. This method of preparing the retorts, Mr. Willis has found, by many years experience, to have been successful in preventing them from cracking, during any op-ration, even in the strongest heat.

If at any time, during the operation, a retort should crack, Mr. Willis spreads- the oil-composition thick on the part, and sp'inkies some powdered slacked lime on it, which immediately stop* the fissure, aud prevents any ot the contained matter from pervading; it withstands even solid phosphorus, which is well known to be a most pencrating substance. The paste may, easily, and without danger, be applied when the retort is red hot. As this piste never cracks with the most intense heat, it makes, an excellent lute; and it has this advantage over many others, that it does not in iurate so as to endanger the breaking of the necks of the vessels, when they are 10 be separated.

The

The Author of this article has long been known as an improver of operative chemistry, and we are glad to find that he obliges the Public with his useful discoveries.

Poiite Arts. The first Paper on this subject i«, A Letter froin Miss Greet' land, Oh the ancient Grecian Method of painting in Wax. As the1 account is short, we shall give it to our Readers in the Authoress's own words:

• Take an ounce of white wav, and the fame weight of gum mastick powdered. Put the wax in a glazed earthen vessel, over a flow fire, and when it is quite dissolved, strew in the mastick, a little ata time, until the whole quantity of gum is perfectly melted and incorporated; then throw the paste into cold water, and when it is hard, take it out of the water, wipe it dry, and beat it in one of Mr. Wedgewood's mortars, observing to pound it first in a linen cloth, \m absorb some drops of water that will remain in the paste, and would prevent the possibility of reducing it to a powder, which must be so. fine as to pass through a thick gauze. It should be pounded in a cold place, and but a little at a time, as, after long beating, the friction will in a decree soften the wax and gum, and instead of their becoming a powder, they will return to paste.

'Make some strong gum-arabic water, and when you paint, take some of the powder and some colour, and mix them together with the gum water. Light colours require but a small quantity of ths powder, but more of it must be put in proportion to the body and darkness of the colours; and to black there should be almost as much powder as colour.

'Having mixed the colours, and no more than can be used before they grow dry, paint with fair water, at is practised in painting with, water colours, a ground on the wood being first painted of some proper colour, prepared in the same manner as is described for the picture; walnut-tree and oak are the sorts of wood commonly made use of in Italy for this purpose. The painting should be very highly finished, otherwise, when varnished, the tints will not appear united.

* When the painting is quite dry, with rather a hard brash, passing it one way, varnish it with white wax, which is put into an earthen vessel, and kept melted over a very flow fire till the picture it varnished, taking great care that the wax does not boil. Afterwards hold the picture before the fire, near enough to melt the wax, but not make it run; and when the varnish is entirely cold and hard, rub it gently with a linen cloth, should the varnish blister, warm the pictare again very slowly, and the bubbles will subside. When the picture is dirty it need only be washed with cold water.'

Miss Greenland has prelented to the Society some pictures which she had painted according to the foregoing directions; and fit? has been rewarded by the premium of the G(>ld P-illet.

The next Paper is on the important subject of Education. The scheme to which it relates, viz. The bestowing a Premium on fu.h Majlers as would teach not less than Jour Scholars to'

1 i 4 speak

[graphic]
« ПредишнаНапред »