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ON THE ART OF ENGRAVING.

AVING. WRITTEN IN ITALY, BY THE LATE SIR ROBERT STRANGE. WHEN we look back into antiqui- so much does he breathe, in his finest ty, and form to our imagination an prints, the spirit of his sublime author. idea of that perfection, to which the Other painters of the Roman school, as Greeks and Romans carried the fine well as Parmigiano, Salvator Rosa, &c. arts, we cannot but lament that they have transmitted to us many fine comwere strangers to that of engraving. pofitions in this art. The refinement of their taste, the purity The Bolognese school furnishes more and fimplicity of their conceptions, and recent examples. Annibale and Agosthe care which they took, by their tino Caracci gave the lead. Agostino, works, to transmit their reputations to although one of the greatest paioters pofterity, leave it beyond a doubt, that that Italy ever produced, exercised the this art would have met with their en art of engraving in preference to that of couragement and protection ; as it is painting ; and has thereby established the most secure depositary, for after to himself, and secured to others, a reages, of whatever is truly great, elegant, putation to the latest posterity. Guido, or beautiful.

Guercino, Simon Cantarini de Pesaro, It was about the year 1460, that the Siranis, &c. have all of them left engraving“ was invented. I fhall pass us many elegant prints, which are fo over its early period, which I may many triking proofs of their having have an opportunity of considering on cultivated the art of engraving. fome future occasion. No sooner had To see it ftill in a higher degree of this art appeared, than it attracted ge- perfection, let us examine it when the neral attention. All the great painters School of Rubens presided in Flanders, adopted it, with a view of multiplying Here we shall find, that this great paintheir works, and of transmitting them ter was no less intent upon cultivatiog with great certainty to pofterity. Albert this great art than that of painting; conDurer, and Andrea Mantegna, two of scious that, by this means, he not only the greatest painters' of that age, prac. diffused his reputation, but fecured it tifed the art of engraving, and have left to succeeding generations. Bollwert, us a variety of elegant compositions. Pontius, Volterman, &c. were the con These early productions of the art drew, panions of his and of Vandyck's leisure by their novelty and excellence, the ad- bours. They esteemed one another ; miration of all Italy. Raphael him- they lived together as friends and self, that prince of painters, was parti. equals; and, to use the words of a late cularly charmed with the works of ingenius writer, Sous leurs heureuses Albert Durer; and, in return for some mains le cuivre devient or. Under their prints he had received from him, sent bands copper became gold.". The bím a present of his own portrait, paint- works of those engravers, which are ed by himself.

now fold at the price of pictures, are Marc Antonio, who, by studying evident proofs of the honourable state Albert Durer's works, had improved of the arts in those days. the art of engraving, was among the first What numberless examples too have who carried it to Rome, when the not Rembrandt, Bergham, Ostade, and genius of the divine Raphael presided others of the Dutch masters, left us over the Roman school. Those who of their defire to cultivate engraving? are conversant in the fine arts know, Have not the works of the former, how much this painter encouraged en- which are now fold at the most amazgraving in Marc Antonio, his ingenious ing prices, transmitted a reputation both pupila Examine that engraver's works, to himself and to his country, which and you will find evident proofs of it, time can never obliterate; the Bloem

arts,

they lived.

to

arts, the Vischers, and others, were cer- ting to posterity the Cartoons of Rao tainly ornaments to the age in which phael, which had been purchased by

her grandfather, Charles the First. With During the reign of Lewis the Four- this view she fent for Dorigny, the teenth, what a number of greal artists engraver, as this art was then but little appeared in this profession, and did cultivated in Britain. The reception honour to France! the names of Gerard, he met with from the Queen is well Andran, Edelink, Poilly, &c. will be known. She honoured him with an lasting ornaments that kingdom. apartment in the royal palace of HampThat magoificent prince frequently a- ton-court, visited him from time to time, mused himself in this way, and so countenanced him on all occasions, and charmed was he with the works of the was the patroness of his undertaking. ingenious Edeliok, that he conferred After her death, King George the upon him the honour of knighthood. First imitated the example of Anne ; It has been owing solely to the honour. and, upon Dorigny's having completed able rank given to this art, by the his engravings, not only made him a Royal Academy of painting at Paris, very considerable present, but conferred that it has been cherished and cultivat- upon him the honour of knighthood. ed to such a degree of excellence, that, From the departure of this artifi, who for a century past, Paris has been the executed a work which will reflect lastdepofitory of the finest productions in ing honour to Britain, the art of engravthis way; and these have been the ing again relapsed into its former obsource of incredible riches to France. [curity, till toward the middle of this

Let us, in the last place, follow this century; when it was revived afrem, art into Great Britain.

by the introduction of other foreigners, Queen Anne, whose reign has been together with the successful endeavours generally called the Auguttan age of of several ingenious natives of these this country, was desirous of transmit- kingdoms.

ON THE PRIMÆVAL FORM OF EUROPE. WHETHER the earth's motion Certain it is, that the European seas, have a tendency progressively to gather north of forty-five degrees latitude, have the ocean about the equator, as theorists greatly diminished in extent. have maintained

Linnæus observes

upon

this subWhether some great convulsions of ject : " It is evident, from occular innature, breaking down the southern {pection, that the land increases from mound of the Caspian, occafioned a year to year, and that the bounds of vast mass of fea to flow fouthward, along our continent are expanded, the course of the Dejleh and the Forât, “ We see the sea-ports of East and (Tigris and Euphrates,) deluging whole West Bothnia every year decreasing, provinces, and forming, or deforming, and becoming incapable of admitting with its alluvion sand, much of the vessels, by the fand and foil thrown up, plainy peninsula of Arabia, as various which are always adding new increments traditional and natural evidence conspire to the shore. The inhabitants of the to prove

ports are obliged to change their feats, Whether, by an unrelenting process, and sometimes remove a quarter of a the water on this globe, is gradually mile nearer to the sea ; of this we have metamorphosed into solid and into at- seen examples at Pithea, Lulea, and mospheric substance, without being re- Hudwickval. On the eastern side of produced with corresponding celerity; Gothland, near Hoburg, the increase as, from experiment, is possible, and,

* Select Dissertations from the Amanifrom observation, highly probable tates Academicæ, p. 82.

of

*

of the continent, for the last hundred ed from their original rock; then, valt years, is distinctly visible, being from banks of rolled pebbles and of gravel, two to three toises annually. Near mingled with fragments of calcareous Slite and Kylle, in the same country, stone, of petrifactions, broken or chanare enormous stones, which rudely re- ged into fint, and even of bones. A present temples, giants, and colossal like fubversion of the original strata, statutes in their magnitude, yet worked and especially of the calcareous beds, out of the most folid rock, by the force has been observed in the environs of of the water.

the lake Onega, where those mountains “ The two very tall mountains of begin to rise which join the Laplandish Torsburgh and Hoburg, in Gothland, and Swedish Alps. These traces of are formed of calcareous Tock, and were the sea may be observed in all the lands marked and hollowed out by the force contiguous to the Gulph of Finland, of the water, at the same time that all where, for the most part, the less solid Gothland lay immersed in the fea, ex- strata are removed from the surface of cept these two mountains, which raised the ancient rock itself, too firm to be their heads out of the deep in the same affected. It almost seems sufficient to manner, and with

a fimilar
appearance

dwell
upon

the

map with an intelligent to the Carolinian islands (Carlsoc) in eye, in order to be convinced, that the their present state."

great number of lakes between this gulf +" The inhabitants of West Both- and the white sea that the islands, pia have observed, by marks upon rocks, rocks, and broken coasts of these re. that the sea decreases every ten years, gions, are effects of a deluge, which five inches and five or six lines perpen. there fought an outlet .” dicularly, which amounts, in an age,

“ The idea of the indefatigable to about four feet and a half. Accord Tournefort, and of the Count de Bufing to which calculation, 6000 years fon, concerning the ancient state of the ago, the sea was two hundred and se. Black Sea, and of its communication venty feet deeper than it is at prefeot.” with the Caspian, is more and more

Not only in the Gulf of Bothnia, but confirmed by the observations of travelin that of Finland, is the withdraw- Jers. The phocæ, some fish, and some ment of the Baltic, very sensible. Pro- shells, which the Caspian has in comfeffor Pallas observes : “ As soon as mon with the Black Sea, render this from the marches of Ingria, which ancient communication almost indubitforms toward the Baltic a sort of gulf able ; and these very circumstances also of low lands, you begin ascending the prove, that the lake Aral was once join. elevated soil of Russia, the inclination ed to the Caspian. I have traced (in of which forms what are called the the third volume of my travels) the anMountains of Valdais, ancient traces cient extent of this sea over the whole of the sea occur at every Gep. At first, desert of Astrakhan, and beyond the in a soil interfe&ted with ravines, which Jaik, by the symptoms of coaft with has visibly suffered by an inundation of which the elevated plains of Rullia bor. the greatest violence, or rather by the der this desert, by the flate and the fole flowing-off of an enormous mass of wa. Gil productions of this ancient coaft, ter : afterwards, in whole calcareous and by the faline mud, mingled with beds, which can only result from the sea-shells, calcined, which covers the deposits of a sea at rest, and which the whole surface of the desert itself. In scooping of the rivers has laid bare. the description of Ukrain, by GuilFirst, occur ftrata of deposited earth, laume le Vasseur (Rouen 4to. 1660) a mingled with blocks of granite, detach- paffage (p. 9) afcribes the same appear. + A. Celsii Obf. in Ad. Acad. &c. Senciæ

# Ada Acad. Prepolitanze, for 1777, p. 1743.

ances,

49. vol. I,

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ances, to the plains of the Borysthenes. greater part of Poland : that the Eux. Chandler, in his Travels through Alia ine, the Caspian, and the Aral, were Minor, thinks, that the sea formerly united with each other, and with the extended to the sources of the Meander, northern ocean, by tracts of water com and formed a gulf between the moun- vering the delerts of Attrakhan aod of tains of Mefloghis and Taurus. Others Munkithalk. EUROPE, then, origihave found recent traces of fea in the nally consisted of A plains of Asia Minor and of Persia, and islanDS. The middle island will first along the Danube, very far above the have been united with the Aliatic contiactual limits of the Caspian and the nent, with Sarmatia, by means of the Black Sea. The ancient traditions of Polish isthmus, that being the more ele. the sudden effusion of the Black Sea vated and extensive. The northern through the Propontis, which Tourne- island will next have been united with it fort has supported by his Observations, by means of the Scandinavian isthmus. feem, in all respects, more plausible And thus the isthmus of Astrakhan will than the opinion which supposes the an- have furnished the earliest path to the cient strait between the Black Sea and no-made nations of Asia to extend their the Caspian to have been' dried by the migrations into Europe. accumulation of alluvion foil from the In reading the ancient writers, it is rivers.” Ditto, p. 62.

convenient to keep in view this progrel, The writer of this fragment, in a five change of form; for Europe appear's journey through Polish Prullia, was led to have become a continent within the to remark the

same fymptoms of exten- period of recorded history. The Arfive desiccation in the sandy provinces gonautics of Orpheus are composed uwhich encompass the Delta of the pon the presumption, that it was possible Weichsel (Viltula) and the Niemen. to sail from the Euxine into the Baltic ; From the report of an intelligent Swiss a proof that such a tradition was still preofficer, in the Russian service, with valent among mariners. Ptolemy speaks whom he travelled a while, and whose of Scandinavia as an island. The military destinations had familiarised Scythian geography of Herodotus, is him with the surface of Livonia and wholly unintelligible, unless we Lithuania, it appears no less probable with sea a considerable part of Poland that the morafly low lands, bordering and Russia : yet these countries had, in the Duna and the Nieper, were once his time, already acquired the rudithe bed of a frith, uniting the Baltic ments of their present form. And may and the Euxine. Penzelius (De Arte we not suppose the tradition of an Air Hitorica, p. 78.) mentions the digging lantic ifand which had disappeared, to up of an anchor in Novogrod, and other have preserved the original name of Euproofs of a recent emergency of the re- rope in its infular state? gion, and supposes the salt.mines of Upon the whole, the testimony, Wielicz to be the point of sublidency or though not the opinion, of ancient geolatest station of the old sea. Various graphers *, appears more favourable to local observations then conspire to prove, the doctrine of a progressive desiccation that the Baltic once joined the White of the sea in all quarters, than to that Sea by a tract of water, covering the of local or sudden removals of the waJakes Onega and Ladoga, and the Black ters, by great convulsions of nature. 'Sea by a tract of water, covering the * Strabo, vol. I. p. 49. 50.

GIBBON'S HISTORY. THE following account is given by in which his celebrated History of the Mr Gibson (in his Miscellaneous Decline and Fall of the Roman EmWorks lately published) of the manner pire, was planned and written: Vol. LVIII.

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It was at Rome (says he) on the which I purchased, the Theodocian 15th of October 1764, as I sát musing Code, with the Commentary of James amid the ruins of the Capitol, while Gonefroy, must be gratefully rementhe bare-footed fryars were singing ves- bered. I used it (and much I used it). pers in the Temple of Jupiter, that the as a work of history, rather than of idea of writing the decline and fall of jurisprudence; but in every light it may the city first Marted to my mind. But be considered as a full and capacious remy original plan was çircumscribed to pository of the political state of the Emthe decay of the city rather than of the pire in the fourth and fifth centuries. empire : and, though my reading and As I believed, and as I still believe, reflections began to point towards that that the propogation of the Gospel, and object, fome years elapsed, and several the triumph of the church, are insepaavocations intervened, before I was se- rably connected with the decline of the rioully engaged in the execution of that Roman monarchy, I weighed the causes laborious work,

and effects of the revolution, and conAs soon as I was released from trasted the narratives and apologies of the fruitlefs task of the Swiss revolu. the Christians themselves, with the tions, (1768) I began gradually to ad- glances of candour or enmity which yance from the wish to the hope, from the Pagans have cast on the rising seats. the hope to the design, from the design. The Jewish and Heathen testimonies, to the execution, of my historical work, as they are collected and illustrated of whose limits and extent I had as yet by Dr Lardner, directed, without sua very inadequate notion, The Clasfics, perfeding, my search of the originals ; as low as Tacitus, the younger Pliny, and in an ample dissertation on the miand Juvenal, were my old and familiar raculous darkness of the passion, I companions. I insensibly plunged into privately drew my conclusions from the ocean of the Augustan history ; and the filence of an unbelieving age. I in the descending series I investigated, have assembled the preparatory studies, with my pen almost always in my hand, directly or indirectly relative to my his, the original records, both Greek and tory; but, in strict equity, they must Latin, from Dion Caffius to Ammia. be spread beyond this period of my life, nus Marcellinus, from the reign of Tra- over the two summers (1771 and 1972) jan to the last age of the western Cæsars, that elapsed between my father's death The subsidiary rays of medals, and in- and my settlement in London. fcriptions of geography and chronology, No sooner was I settled in my were thrown on their proper objects ; house and library, (continues our auand I applied the collections of Tille- thor,) than I undertook the compofimont, whose inimitable accuracy almost tion of the first volume of my

history. assumes the character of genius, to fix At the outset all was dark and doubt. and arrange within my reach the loose ful; even the title of the work, the and scattered atoms of historical infor- true æra of the Decline and Fall of the mation. Through the darkness of the Empire, the limits of the introduction, middle ages I explored my way in the the division of the chapters, and the orannals and antiquities of Italy, of the der of the narrative ; and I was often learned Muratori ; and diligently com tempted to cast away the labour of separed them with the parelld or transverle ven years. The stile of an author should lines of Sigonius and Maffei, Baronius be the image of his mind, but the choice and Pagi, till I almost grasped the ruins of and command of language is the fruit Rome in the fourteenth century, without of exercise. Many experiments were suspecting that this final chapter must be made before I could hit the middle attained by the labour of lix quartos tone between a dull chronicle and a and twenty years. Among the books rhetorical declamation : three times did

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