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EDINBURGH LITERARY MISCELLANY,
For MAY 1809.
Map of the Seat of War in GERMANY. with England, we have become a com
mercial people, and are participators in IN consideration of the interest ex
that great system which has procured cited by the recent events on the for Britain the dominion of the sea. Continent, we have this month, instead While the most powerful efforts of of the accustomed view, given a map, human industry have thus been called on a pretty large scale, of the prin into action, our love of and success in cipal seat of war in Germany. We learning, has suffered no abatement. have paid particular attention tq in- If it does not at this moment exist clude all the places which have been in all its ancient strength, it stands ethe theatre of remarkable conflicts.
levated and refined by the freedom of modern government, and by the nicer taste of the times in which we exist.
So far then we are on a level with the Statements respecting a newly-invented most celebrated of our contemporary BANK NOTE.
nations. Our progress in navigation " It is better to prevent crimes than to
and commerce has been rapid, and unish them."
when allowance is made for the unhapBeccaria on crimes and punish- py state of the world, we will be ments, Chap. xli.
found at this moment to advance with INCE the period at which Scot- giant steps, If our contributions to
land first boasted of Napier of the stock of inventions for aiding Merchistoun, who gave to the world commercial enterprise have not been the astonishing discovery of the Lo- many or brilliant, they have, when magarithmic calculations, an agreeable tured and acted on, produced the most and extensive progress has been made solid and material advantages. These in every art or accomplishment which remarks on the national advancement can heighten civilization, or tend to of this country have been suggested the embellishment of the human mind. to my observation by a discovery This opinion, so trite, and which does which Mr James Archer, a native of not require to be elicited by any profun- Edinburgh, has, by dint of genius and dity of remark, but is familiar to the industry, lately given to the world. most superficial observer, applies to a Every person who has had occasgreat part of the European continent, sion to be engaged in extensive pecuand to Scotland as a part of Great niary transactions, is aware of the evil Britain in particular. By a necessary which may arise from the issue of forconsequence flowing out of our winon ged paper money. Many instances
have occurred to shew the extent to possible, state a few explanatory ob"which this species of fraud may be car-servations. The work is done by an ried by dexterous and designing per- instrument invented by, and known sons, the necessity of whose circumstan- only to myself. The mathematical ces, or the irregularity of whose desires accuracy of the execution so far excels may prompt them to the commission that produced by the common mode of a crime for which hundreds of lives of engraving, that a striking difference have been sacrificed to the justice of would be evident on a single glance the country. These are facts perfect- of the eye to one familiarized to the ly notorious, and while the benevo-' original. But the impracticability of lent man deprecates the evils thus pro- copying machine-ruling by the ordiduced, he will surely at the same time nary process of engraving, is so uniwish that some means were discovered versally admitted that it requires little by which this source of moral evil and to be said on it. No artist in London personal inconvenience might be era would make the attempt. The vadicated
riation of line from straight to waved, Actuated, no doubt, by motives and from waved to straight, not only such as these, and guided by professional increases the difficulty of copying by skill, Mr James Archer, Engraver in the usual mode, but effectually secures London, has lately produced a speci- it against all imitation whatever, by men of a bank note, which, from its any other instrument at present known. peculiarity of composition, shall pre- In the construction, I have particularly vent the possibility of a forgery. It studied simplicity, avoiding every thing would be needless to enter into a des- .of a complex or picturesque appearcription of this invention, because, ance, that the eye might comprehend from the want of technical language, the whole,--that it might be generally by which to express myself, I should understood, and the forger deprived of only perplex or distort the ideas of the advantage of crowded labour unthe public, upon a specimen of art der which to hide his difficulty.” at once beautiful and pleasingly sim Were not the evidence so strong, ple. Technical terms (even if I and also the most satisfactory which is could use them) would certainly be produced by the organs of sight, nomysterious to a great portion of thing farther would be necessary to those who may read this statement, convey a favourable idea of the inand I need only quote from one of vention, than this modest explanation our best literary Journals, the Month- by the author, I consider it as very ly Magazine. That work announ- complete, so much so, as to preclude me ces the invention thus :
“ The from advancing any thing else on the note may be comprehended at one direct merits of the specimen. In the glance, consisting merely of straight spirit of this intention, I will use Mr and waved lines, curiously combined, Archer's expressions in a letter of a and forming a variegated tint, at once more recent date than that already. simple in appearance, and inimitable quoted. In one part of this letter Mr in execution, reconciling two princi- Archer observes, that he is sensible it ples naturally in direct opposition to is unnecessary to point out the frivoeach other." In a letter addressed lity of any objections which can be to myself, Mr Archer observes ; brought against” his plan. He thinks,
“ You would perceive from the that to those who have any fears as advertisement that several of the most to the probability of forging his note, distinguished artists have been consult- the most pertinent answer would be ed, whose opinions are decidedly in made by a proposal that they should įts fayour. I shall, as concisely as atiempt it themselyes. “ The import,
ance of the object" (he says) “ made more than he who punishes the act afme very càutious in offering it to the ter it has been committed. In this public, but confirmed by the opinion view, Mr Archer has “ been very poof many of the best judges in London, litely requested by a gentleman of I have reason to believe I should not Lincoln's Inn, connected with a sobe disgraced by its adoption." ciety of the first respectability, who
Simplicity, in short, is the chief fea- are preparing certain publications on ture of Mr Archer's invention, and on legislative justice, to have” a descripthis fealure alone, I am certain that tion of his note, “inserted in the work," prejudice will attack and decry his If Mr Archer's plan shall be adopted proposal. The general opinion upon to any extent, he will then have the works of art is, that, in order to pre- praise of usefulness in a very important vent facility of imitation, they should point;—that of serving the essential inbe intricate, and hid under some sci- terests of commerce, by protecting it entific quibble. In certain cases, the from the influence of forgery, an evil so want of such a requisite would go far obnoxious to them. His proposal has to destroy the merit of a proposal such been submitted to the inspection of the as the present, but it does not at all public for some months; he courts inapply to writing or engraving, and the vestigation, and has procured the comattempt to enforce it can only be made plete approbation of a number of the by prejudice or misconception. It is most celebrated names among the arwith much satisfaction I can produce, tists of Britain. His labours are not in support of this opinion, the testimo- liable to be smothered by the frowns, ny of Mr Edmond Butterworth, a nor his honours to be estranged from gentleman, who, while he is amiable the rightful owner by the childish ma. as a man, is so distinguished as an ar- lice of offended or misplaced power : tist, being the first person in Scotland No booby Admiral or General need who has executed ornamental writing to fear that they can suffer by a comupon a scientifically elegant, and ra- parison with Mr Archer, because his țional plan. In one of his works pub- merits are of a higher cast than those lished some years ago, that gentleman incidental to the profession of that assumes, that were the construction of class of men, though not so commandour bank - notes simplified, forgery ing, nor so obvious to vulgar admirawould be rendered much more uncom- tion. He is thus secured from those
Were not modesty in Mr But- attacks which are often so shamefully terworth a quality, as remarkable as successful. His merits are at the trihis capability to judge on such a sub- bunal of public opinion, as it may be ject, he might have asserted, that by influenced by the probable effect of the preservation of a systematic simpli- his efforts on the individual and comcity, the recurrence of a felonious imi- bined interests of the people at large. tation might be altogether done away. Their judgments are often wofully be
Upon the principles which are so wildered, when the considerations of beautifully demonstrated by the en- power or wealth interfere ; but when lightened and benevolent Beccaria, their own immediate interests are submuch applause
would be due to that mitted to their deliberative powers, they man who, in Britain, should prevent, commonly decide with vigorous discrior even check the progress of a crime, mination. This statement and remarks by which so many lives are lost to have been hastily composed, from the the state. And surely we will all pride which I feel when I am an instruconcur with the Italian philosopher in ment in promoting an useful object. declaring, that he deserves praise who Edinburgh,
Alex. Henderson, prevents the commission of evil, far 25th May 1809.
Criticism on EXHIBITION of PICTURES 32. W. Douglas.-Full length mifor 1808.
niature of Mrs Boswell of Auchinleck,
A pretty and highly finished drawing To the Editor.
40. Ditto.- Another ditto, Mrs SIR
Anstruther Thomson, ditto.-- Both of IN compliance with my promise, I these miniatures shew a sort of finish
take up the subject of last year's ing, and a degree of labour, which puts Exhibition, and in attempting a de- us in mind of engraver's copies, rascription of what has now been so long ther than original pictures ; still they removed from public inspection, must are extremely prettily executed. beg your indulgence, as I can be guid 61. A. Carse.Tent Preaching.-ed only by recollection, and the help A composition of great merit; well of the old catalogue.
drawn, and tolerably coloured; the cosNo. 1. George Watson.---Portrait of tume of the whole admirable. We para gentleman, (Sir John Dalrymple.) cularly admired an old gentleman in
-A well painted portrait ; a good black, placed near the centre of the likeness, and agreeably coloured. picture, full of fanatical fervour and
83. Ditto. Portrait of Bishop whiskey. Hay.-An excellent picture; of for 101. Ditto.-A brawl in an alecible and striking expression ; but the house.--Another performance of much drawing and colouring of the hands merit. The miller, (the hero of the not equal to the other parts.
piece,) lays down the law in great style, 91. Ditto.--A full length portrait but shews rather too much of his teeth. of Lieut. Col. Stuart of Allanbank. 68. Ditto.-- The Chapman.- Mr A picture of very considerable merit, C's best picture in this exhibition.-tho' somewhat whimsically represent. The self complacency and cajoling ed, and coloured in a greenish tone;
manner of the principal personage, reminding us in some measure of Mr are admirably depicted ; and the effect Fuseli's conceits.
produced on the bystanders, is finely 3. A. Nasmyth.-Landscape ; view and characteristically pourtrayed. of Stirling Castle.-An excellent pic 149. P. Nasmith.- A view in Inture, of great effect; the distance ma- verary park.--We may perhaps be maged in a very agreeable and able excused of dogmatism, or undue parmanner. This view has been painted tiality, in calling this, (all things conby various artists, and by some of e- sidered,) the best Picture in last year's minence from England; but we have exhibition. The drawing and colourlittle hesitation in preferring this, in ing are both excellent ; and the whole point both of truth and effect, to any landscape recals to us strongly the of these we have seen.
works of Jac. Ruysdael and Hobbima ; 45. Ditto.- View of Windermere; partaking strongly of the excellencies another excellent landscape.--The on- of both these masters. ly objection we have to this, as well 76. W. Lizars.--The Earl of Buas to the preceding, is a rather too chan crowning Master Gattie.--A gay and florid style of colouring. much better picture, by a very young
132. Ditto.View in Glenshira, artist, than, we should have conceived, near Inverary; a capital landscape.-- the subject admitted. It is indeed The scenery extremely bold; the trees, ably and excellently composed and rocks, and water, all represented in drawn, tho' on a very large scale, and this able artist's best manner. Wa- extremely well coloured. ter, in all its states and aspects, we J. Henning.---Some excellent porconsider to be the forle of Mr N. traits in chalk ; one of Dr Carlyle in
am, Sir, &c.
particular ;-also some excellent medallion portraits.
Proceedings of the Wernerian Natural Rev. Mr Thomson.Some
History Society able
very landscape compositions, in black chalk.
P. Syme. --Some excellent flower AT the meeting of this Society of pieces, of great truth and delicacy of the 13th May, the second part of colouring.
Mr R. Bald of Alloa's highly inteI cannot conclude without observ- resting mineralogical description of ing, that the exhibition of 1808, tho’Clackmananshire was read; giving very respectable, was still greatly in- particular account of two very referior, both in point of excellence and markable slips or shifts in the straia, variety, to that of the present year.
near 1000 feet in depth, and by means I
of which the main coal-field of the P. S. Annexed, you have a list of county is divided into three fields, on the names of the different artists in all of which extensive collieries have
been erected. each exhibition :
· The Rev. Mr John Fleming of Exhibition, 1808. Mr Geo. Watson Mr Wm. Douglas
Bressay laid before the Society an out
line of the Flora of Linlithgowshire, Mr James Foulis Mr Jas. Howe Mr John Henning Mr Walter Weir specifying only such plants as are Mr Alex. Nasmyih Mr Peter Gibson omitted by Mr Lightfoot, or are Mr J. Woolford Mr John Moir marked as uncommon by Dr Smith. Mr Wm. Findlater Mr J. Watson This, he stated, much to the Socie. Mr Jas. Stevenson Mr N. Plimer
ty's satisfaction, was to be considered Mr J, Brooks Mr A. Carse
as the first of a series of communicaMr John Beugo M: W. H. Lizars Mr J. Morrison Mr Mich. Morrison tions, illustrative of the natural history Mr Alex. Galloway Mr T. Brooks
of his native county. Mr Pat. Nasmyth Mr J. Thom
Mr P. Walker, advocate, stated a Mr P. Syne
Mr R. Morrison curious fact in the history of the comExhibition, 1809
mon eel. A number of eels, old and Mr Geo. Watson Mr R, Morrison
young, were found in a subterraneous Mr Lames Foulis Mr Wm. Shiels
pool at the bottom of an old quarry, Mr H. Raeburn Mr Alex. Kay which had been filled
up, Mr Jo. Henning Mrs Miles
face ploughed and cropped for above Mr J. Woolford Mr T. Woolnoth Mr Wm. Findlater Mr Ed. Mirchell
a dozen of years past. Mr Jas. Stevenson Miss E. Grant The Secretary read a letter from Mr J. Brooks Mr A. Mason the Rev. Mr Donald Maclean of Small Mr John Beugo Capt. Ramage Isles, mentioning the appearance of a M- T. Morrison Mi Alex Fraser
vast sea-snake, between 70' and 80 M Alex.Galloway Mr Don, M'Leod M Pat. Syme
feet long among the Hebrides, in June Mr Alex. Reddach
1808. MWm. Douglas Mi S Laurence Mr Jas. Howe Mr D. Thomson
And he produced a list of about Mr Walter Weir Mr. J. M Burnet
100 herbaceous plants, and 200 crypMr John Moir Mr Geo. Binge
togamia, found in the King's Park, Mr T. Watson Mr J. Steele Edinburgh, and not enumerated in Mr Mr A. Carse Miss J. Schetkey Yalden's catalogue of plants growing Mr Mich. Morrison Mr Ainslie
there, (published in the appendix to Mr T. Brooks Mr Geo. Bruce Mr D. Somerville Mr A Bain
Lightfoot's Flora Scotica ;) communiMr Robert Scott Mr W, Crawford
cated by Mr G. Don of Forfar, late M Peter G bson Mr D). Dickson superintendant of the Royal Botanic Mr W. H. Lizars Miss J. Ried Garden at Edinburgh.
and its sur