Abbildungen der Seite

glory of Spain was destroyed. We may in his Mappe de Portugal, enumerates only 62 epic and lyric writers, and 15 comic ones. But it is probable, that the greater part of the bards, whoft names fwell the Spanish lift, are re membered no where else, when in th Portuguese account, common fenfe ma for once have checked the vanity f characteristic of the nation.

be allowed to regret, that liberty and flavery fhould be so ill difpofed, that a people, the most deserving of freedom, fhould be degraded under the vileft defpotifm, while the most worthless race in Europe are free: the Spanish character is capable of all improvement; but to degrade the Dutch, would be impoffible. Affiliated with Spain, by the gentle ties of a Ruffian-like adoption, Portugal partook of its decline. She fhook off her chains indeed, but "the iron had entered her foul ;" and that nation which once excited the wonder, and deferved the admiration of the world, became contemptible to the rest of Europe, and terrible only to its fubjects. He who entertains liberal fentiments, if he be obliged to fubmit his productions to the fcrutiny of the Inquifition, will write with timidity; and it may fafely be afferted, that he who writes timidly, cannot write well. To look for the bold fublimity of genius where men are thus depreffed, were as rational as to chain a race horse, and expect him to win the


Thus has the tyranny of fuperftition co-operated with the decline of the country, to check the progrefs of literature in Spain and Portugal, Yet, during what may be called their Auguftan age, fuch was accomplished. The applaufe of Cervantes fhould exite fome attention to the productions of the two Leonardos; he who admires the Lufiad of Camoens, may wish to form fome acquaintance with his epiftles and fonnets; and he who has read the Vifions of Quevedo, will readily believe, that much genius muft exift in the fix quarto volumes of the works of this excellent author.

Mr Dillon's Letters on the Origina and Progrefs of Poetry in Spain, wi give the reader a good general view ci the fubject. It did not enter into this gentleman's plan to enlarge on the works of any particular author, or to give fpecimens to the English readers; the few fpecimens that have been printed, ar untranflated, and felected chiefly to fhow their different metres. His work has been the companion of my Spanish ftudies: I have derived pleasure and inftruction from it, and have only to regret, that by not extending this work, he has left a lefs able pen to attempt the fupplement.

The fubject of Portuguese poetry has barely been touched upon by Mr Dillon; he has only deduced it from the Gali cian, and mentioned a very few of their authors; this field may therefore be looked upon as new.

I can promife the reader fome infor mation on these subjects; of this he may be affured, that I fhall not affume the appearance of information when I poffels it not in treating of those authors who are familiar to me, my own opinion may properly be expreffed; with re fpect to thofe of whom I know little, I fhall confequently fay little from myself: the man who can enjoy credit for ac quifitions which he does not poffefs, must be dreadfully diftempered with va nity.

Spain has been wonderfully prolific in poets. In the Parnafo Efpanol, is given The Spaniards call their nine most fa a lift of fuch only as are mentioned by vourite authors, The nine Spanish muses: their more celebrated authors; and this they are Garcilago de la Vega, Don amounts to the aftonishing number of Efteban de Villegas, Quevedo, Count 571, which the Editor fays, is not a Bernardino de Rebolledo, Luperico third part of the poets with whom the Leonardo de Argenfola, and his bro public are acquainted. The numbers in ther Bartolome, Father Luis de Le Portugal are ftrangely difproportionate; on, Lope de Vega, and Don Franciffor Father Joaon Baptista de Castro, in

co de Borja y Aragan, Prince of Ef- converfes with Homer and with Offian: quilache: many of equal merit are ex- it is to fuch readers chiefly that I adluded from the lift, and, perhaps, drefs myfelf; and if, when they are inCome of fuperior: with thefe, however, troduced to Borgan, Garcilafo de VáI fhall begin my task. ga, Quevedo, and the two Leonards, they do not add them to the number of their friends, I fhall at least have enlarged the circle of their acquaintance. Month. Mag.

The poet is indeed a citizen of the world; in every country, and in every age, he meets with fome congenial fpixit; to him time is annihilated, and he


MR HUME denies that phyfical en the dormant ingenuity of man, and causes, by which he means "thofe conquer that obstinate reluctance to exqualities of the air and climate, which ertion which tyrannizes over the barbaare fuppofed to work infenfibly on the rian in every fultry climate of the globe, temper, by altering the tone and habit and which may fairly be confidered as of the body, and giving a particular a distinguishing characteristic between complexion, which, though reflection the favage and the citizen. and reafon may fometimes overcome it, will yet prevail among the generality of mankind, and have an influence on their manners*:"—he denies that fuch caufes influence the genius and nature of man. I do not mean to difpute with him, that moral causes, such as the nature of government, the revolutions which may occur in public affairs, plenty or penury, that these causes have not a moft perceptible and importent effect on the national character of a people; but I am inclined to believe, notwithstanding the plaufibility of Mr Hume's arguments, that man owes much of his temper, "to the genius of food, air, and climate;" and that perhaps thefe moral causes, are, in reality, but effects, which flow from the phyfical ones.

It is agreed on all hands-by Mr Hume himfelft, that climate has an influence over every other animal except man. Now there is a state of fociety, if society it may be called, where man can boast but little fuperiority above the beafts which roam around him; it is in this state that climate, if it operates at all, operates in full force. In a period of civility and refinement, the reftlefs energies of mind counteract, in a very confiderable degree, the influence of fuch fubordinate agents: 2 thousand artificial wants roufe the native indolence, awak* Effay on National Character. + Ibid.

The error into which it appears to me, that Mr Hume has fallen, is this: that all his illuftrations, comprehensive and ingenious as they are, are drawn from civilized fociety. If we would know the influence of climate, we must not fix our obfervation on the different genius which diftinguished the dull phlegmatic Theban from the acute and lively citizen of Athens, and then deny this influence, becaufe with fuch oppofite difpofition and character, they lived within a day's journey of each other; nor must we deny it, because the courage, and love of liberty which formed the character of an ancient Roman, may be contrafted with the timid and flavifh difpofition which degrades the modern; we must not deny it, because a mixture of manners and temperament is fometimes obfervable in nations, fuch as England, of but small extent of territory, and, confequently, of but little comparative difference in climate; or because an uniformity of character, a fort of monotonous difpofition, occafionally runs through the vast dominions of a fpreading empire, fuch as China, fubject to confiderable atmospheric variation. Obfervations on fuch countries as thefe, only prove that other caufes, befides that of climate, help to form the character, and not that climate has no share in the formation. Let us cross the At6 I 2 lantic


lantic, and view the original uncivilized poffeffed, and to distribute them among inhabitants of the. Western World. The the English fettlers, proved that, howfharp invigorating air of the Northern ever reduced in numbers, the courage of regions had rendered the natives of them the natives was daring and unconquerhardy, ingenious, and free and it was able. : By a refolute exertion of valonly under the torrid zone, or in coun- our," fays Mr Belfhamt, "tempered ties nearly approaching to it, that they as it appears, with no fmall degree of had loft their liberty, were indolent, and difcretion, did this handful of people ulftupid. In the West India islands, Hif timately establish their privileges and paniola, Cuba, Jamaica, &c. the dignity virtual independency, against the attack of the Caziques was hereditary, and the of a mighty power, which menaced their power of them almost unlimited: the total ruin and extermination; and the inhabitants of the cold climates in South treaty between the Caribs of St VinAmerica, and thofe eastward of the cent's and the King of Great Britain, Miffifippi, in North America, equally is a monument of hiftorical curiofity, difdained the domination of a tyrant. So fingularly valuable, as a striking confirfenfible was Dr Robertfon of the influ- mation of the utility and importance of ence which climate exerts on the con- the magnanimous maxim, "In no cirftitution and temper of untutored man, cumftances to defpair of the commonthat he has actually made a divifion be- wealth." tween the nature of the Americans in Dr Robertson conjectures, from the the torrid, and thofe in the temperate diftinction in character between the zones; in the latter, he has compre- Caribs and the inhabitants of the larger hended those who inhabit from the river islands, and from an obfcure tradition St Lawrence to the gulph of Mexico, among themselves, that the former are together with the Chilians and natives quite a feparate race; that they were of Patagonia, at the extremity of the defcended from fome continental confouthern continent; in the former are querors (probably from Florida, as there included the dull iflanders, and the in- is an affinity between the language and habitants of those provinces which ex- hardy manners of thofe two countries); tend from the Ifthmus of Darien, along that the original iflanders were extermithe coaft of the Andes, to the fouthern nated, and that their lands and women confines of Brafil. The natives of the were taken poffeffion of by the victoritemperate zones, he fays, are the only ous invaders ‡. people in the new world who are in- Indeed, it can hardly be difputed, debted for their freedom to their valour; that the warmer regions have naturally they are more robust, more active, more a tendency to enfeeble the frame of courageous; and in them the human body §, and with an enfeebled frame fpecies appears to be manifeftly more, of body, the fpirit is languid, and every perfect. That there are exceptions, is effort of the mind proportionably week. indifputable, but it is probable they originate from fome local caufes. Such an exception is particularly obfervable ainong the inhabitants of fome of the Caribbean ifles; the vigorous and effectual refiftance of a thoufand Caribs in

the island of St Vincent, in a very late period of English hiftory*, the British troops fent at the defire of the planters, who wanted to wreft from their hands the fertile diftricts of which they were *Within the reign of his prefent Majefty.

Memoirs of the Reign of George III, Vol. 1, p. 356, &c.

See note 69. to Vol. 2. of Robertson's America,

Climate has a confiderable effe on the duration of life. In fultry regions, peopic rapidly arrive at maturity, and with equal rapidity decay. Buffon obferves, that in cievated countries there are more old people than in low ones; the mountains of Scotland, Wales, Auvergne, Switzerland, abound with rarely furnished by the inhabitants of Hol inftances of fuch extreme longevity, as are land, Flanders, Germany, or Poland.

This confideration led me to fufpect four feet and a half in height, and ethat the moral causes, fuch as govern- very mark of mental imbecility, which a ment, religion, &c. which Mr Hume vacant eye and the dulleft phyfiognomy confiders as alone influencing the na- can betray, is printed on his countetional character, were themfelves but nance. Some, indeed, have a voice, effects flowing from the phyfical ones but the deaf and dumb are extremely of air and climate. Where thefe are numerous; they die very young, and of a nature to induce on the favage during their existence, one appetite only fuch exceffive laffitude, fuch beaftly in- rages among them with uncommon fudolence, that he will lie day after day ry, that for the propagation of their ftretched under the fhade of his lofty fpecies; there have been feveral genetrees, like a log of wood, is it to be rations of them," and what proves to expected that he will trouble himself a degree almoft of mathematical certito curtail the authority of his cazique, tude," fays Sir Richard Clayton, in the or oppose the ambition of any one more memoir before alluded to, "that there alive and active than himself? If he is is fome physical reafon for the dreadful fo unconquerably stupid, fo grofsly care- fingularity, is the fingle circumftance lefs, about futurity, that in the morning that a family coming from a distance to he will fell the hammock he has juft refide within the district, has, in a few flept in, forgetting he fhall want it a years, occafion to lament, on its ingain at night, is it to be wondered at creafe, that idiocy it was before a that he should not anticipate the confe- ftranger to." The Cretins alfo, on quences of an encroaching ufurpation; removing from the Pays de Vallais, in or that the forceries and incantations of a few generations, lofe the melancholy his priest (for even among favages there diftinction of their race. Government are priefts and governors to fupport is now taking every precaution to preeach other) fhould be regarded with vent the diffufion of Cretinage, which moft religious and unfearching credulity? This ftate of mind, then, may furely be confidered as phyfically arifing from the ftate and temperature of the climate, and may rather be efteemed the cause of a moral effect, than the effect of any moral cause.

feclufion from fociety, and the prohibition of fexual intercourfe can effect; and an hofpital is appropriated to the care and maintenance of them at Sion. For a more particular account of these people, I refer my readers to Sir Richard Clayton's paper on the fubject, and But it is unneceffary to wander over fhall content myself with obferving in the valt regions of America, for in- the words of the ingenious baronet, restances illuftrative of the influence of pecting their climare, that "they reclimate on the nature and character of fide in a fort of vast bafin, full of excefman in an uncivilized ftate. A most five exhalations from the Rhone, and curious and interefting account has late- the marshes on its fides; and the rely been published by Sir Richard Clay- flections of the fun from the furrounding ton*, of a fet of beings who inhabit a mountains, which are almost vertical, fpot of ground (comprising about thir- form an atmosphere very fingular for its ty miles in length, and about eight in humidity and its heat." breadth) of the Pays de Vallais, in the fouth-west of Switzerland. The Cretins, by which name they are denominated, feem to be an intermediate fort of animals between the Ouran Outang and the Man; their ftature is about * In the Memoirs of the Manchester Tranf actions, Vol. 3.

may con

Whatever collateral caufes tribute to produce Cretinage, climate muft furely be confidered as a principal one. To afcertain what, or whether any fuch collateral caufes really existed, requires much more information on the origin, nature, history, and perhaps anatomy of thefe people, than has yet been


not a little extraordinary, that the Cretins fhould have fo long exifted, and been fo little known.

The arguments of Mr Hume against the influence of physical causes, I have already faid, appear to me rather plaufible than valid; they only prove, that fuch phyfical caufes may be counteracted

communicated to the public. If climate alone produces this melancholy degradation of the human fpecies, I acknowledge it to have much more penetrating and powerful effects than I had formed an idea of; and the circumftance mentioned by Sir Richard, that in two or three generations, Cretinage may either be removed by emigration by others, which, in civilized fociety, from the Pays de Vallais, or produced in the fame period of time, by emigration to it, feems to indicate, that fuch is really the cafe. Experiments highly interesting and important might furely be made on this fubject: and it is

are more powerful than themselves. 1f
Cretinage be irrefiftible to the inhabi-
tants, whether native or foreign, of the
lower Vallais, that climate ftamps a cha-
racter on man, will hardly be again dif-
T. S. N.


"Question all who fhall hereafter come to you with matrimonial complaints, concerning their behaviour in the time of courtship, and inform them that they are neither to wonder nor repine, when a contract begun with fraud, has ended in disappointment." JOHNSON.

tion in attempting fo vaft an addition to human happiness; but, indeed, I am far from flattering myfelf that I fhall be able to fucceed. I have only fome few hints to throw out, rather of the negative than the pofitive kind, and fhall rather ftate what I think is not right, than propofe a complete remedy. Obfervation will probably affift me in the former, but I much question whether

AS it is pretty generally acknowledged, that the holy ftate of matrimony is not always attended with that happinefs which the parties who enter into it, have taught themselves to expect, and as we find people in general rather eagerly difpofed towards it, notwithstanding the many cafes of disappointment among their neighbours, and efpecially as of late fome instances of matrimonial difagreements have appeared in parties 1 poffefs inventive powers equal to the of high rank and distinction, it strikes me that the man who could invent a remedy for those disorders, would confer a more lafting benefit on mankind than ever was conferred upon them. It may at first fight, indeed, appear an impoffibility. The fubject is of a very complicated nature, involving many very important confiderations, and neceffarily connected with many ftubborn prejudices. So that he who attempts a reformation will probably fhare the fate of all other reformers, although he has fo many more difficulties, to encounter, and his object is of univerfal concern and benefit to his fellow creatures.

After thus expreffing my fenfe of the arduous task, I am aware that I fign the condemnation of my own prefump*The obfervations in this effay, apply chiefly to the neighbouring kingdom.

latter. However, I fhall, without farther preface, communicate what has occurred to me on the fubject; and the worst I have to fear, is the being claffed with thofe numberlefs fpeculators, whose object feems to be to fhow the fertility of their invention at the expenfe of their experience. My fchemes, indeed, will not be found quite fo extenfive as theirs, and I hope I fhall appear fomewhat lefs confident in the fuccefs of them.

1 fhall, therefore, principally confine myfelf to the caufes of matrimonial mifery. Thefe are generally stated to be, the parties coming together from improper motives; from motives of intereft, or of temporary paffion; from the compulfion of friends on whom they depend; from youth and thoughtleffness; and from age and fecond child


« ZurückWeiter »