Abbildungen der Seite

her whole life hath beéri loft in carefsing the worst part of mankind' and treating the best as her foes; and that if she knew Gulliver, though he had been the worst enemy the ever had, He would give up her present acquaintance for his Bora * T. has sent us a rhapsody op the meamness of the usual mode of parliamenteering, the despicable nature of servility to the court, and the fhuffling tricks of the minister, in which there is such a mixture of Senfe and vague declamation incongruously united, as prevents us from employing it. It is a pity this writer, who fcems to err only through carelessness, should not bestow a lictle more attention to his pieces: For by rejecting incongruous ideas, and arranging his thoughts more pror perly, his writings would acquire a beauty, a justness and energy which they want at present. We beg leave to observe, once for all, that ger neral invective, efpecially in politic disquifitions, can feldom be of any service. At least, it best serves those who wish to excite, diseontents from particular views; and as this is no part of our aim, we shall in general decline such writings. This is by no means intended to exclude free disquisitions on any point whatever; for as the editor will give his own sentiments, without hesitation, either for or against any measure that occurs, without respect to the persons by whom it may be promoted; so he wishes his correspondents to do the same, without regard either to his opinion, or that of any party; but he wishes they would let their remarks be particular, and not general, and be expressed with become ing moderation, as it is in this way, alone, that precise ideas of right or wrong can be attained. Free

Antold wbig, who assumes the opposite side of the question, and some others, run into the same error of being tdo general and yague in theit mode of reasoning.

A young student, Mr. l. complains of the injury he has sustained, by being obliged to attend a greater number of profeflors at the aniversity at once, than he can properly be able to understand, although he exerts his powers to the utmost. If this be a real case, it shews the injudicioufnefes of the parents; but we presume this is a case, that feldom occurs. We fufpect, the error oftener lies in the other extreme.

Benevoglio regrets, that both writers and lectures on ethics, so often disjoin religion from the moral principle, as he thinks the latter derije all their truths and efficacy from the former. “ If the fules of morality are to be held binding'on mankind, they must, like the rules and laws of human judicatories, infer, if not rewards for compliance with them, certain punifhments for disobedience of them. How then, are these punishments discoverable, and by whoni infided? If we are not to take into the account religious principles, which, whcther derived from natutal or revealed religion, instruct us that we are accountable to a fupreme being, who will certainly vindicate laws, which, if they have any foundation ju truch, must be derived from him?" This disjunction, the thinks, lias given rise to a great many false fystems, which have sucó sis ceeded each other; and which, by being succeflively thewn to be erroray beous, tend to inspire young persons with a notion, that there is no fo. *. Hd balis fot morality, and to introduce a spirit of scepticism. He then pro

ceeds to point out Paley's system of ethics; which, by making religios the foundation of morality, avoids this great stumbling block, and ftrong. ly recommends it to the public.

Agresiis complains of the brutality of some perfons, who, with a view, as they think, to preserve their own dignity, require from people of an inferior Itation, degrading marks of debafement and humility --Andreprehends with great justice and severity, the infolent meanness of a young man of this fort, who permitted a poor old man with a few grey hairs in his head, to stand uncovered beside him for a quarter of an hour in the ftreet while it rained hard ; the gentleman, as he called himself, being screened all the while by his ombrella. Such difregard to the feelings of another, forcly marks a meanness of soul, that ought to be execrated by every one.

A Reader takes notice of the powerful influence of fashion in certain refpects, and strongly animadverts on the prevalence of the practice of duelling, which he füppoles proceeds from this source; and adduces ma. ny arguments that have been too often urged in vain, to check this growing evil. He introduces on this occasion a well-known story of a chalJenge that was sent by one number of a literary hody in Edinburgh, to another celebrated member of the fame, which we thinki had better be fuffered to fall into oblivion, than he publicly connected with either of their namas.t;

A Speculator, after pointing out the great benefits that would result to any country from the discovery of coals in it, if not already known, proposes, that the proprietors of each county should affefs themselves in a certain fum, to be equally born by all, according to their valued rent. This money to be employed in searching for coals, wherever perfons of skill should think they were most likely to be found, without any respects to the proprietor on whose ground they should be discovered. If such an institution should be made, it no doubt might be the means of discovering fone; but we would recommend as an improvement to the plan, that in case a coal thould be thus difcovered, the whole of the money that had been advanced by the community fhould be repaid out of the first of the profits; and perhaps it would be ftill miore equitable to say, that each of the persons who had been in the original affociation, theuld 'be entitled to receive what coals they had occafion for, for their own use,

and that of their tenants, at one fourth; one eight, or any other rate that thould be judged better, lower than the same coals were sold for to others · Scratch-crown points out the danger and folly of perfons in an inferior station, aping their betters in fashionable and expensive amufentents : And describes a kind of low dancing-school balls or dances, that are attended by journeyinen barbers, and others of a similar clafs in this town, which occasion expence to these persons they are ill able to afford, and are productive of many bad consequences. He therefore warmly diffuades them from profecuting this kind of amusement, and rather recommends a taste for reading in its stead.

Marciarus recommends to the notice of our readers a poem written by George Buchanan; an elegant epithalamium on the marriage of Mary of Scotland with Francis the dauphin of France, on which he of

fers a copious comment:But to Englifh' readers this would prove nothing interesting, and claffical scholars can find the original in the works of Buchanan. It would prove a more acceptable entertainment to a li terary society, than this miscellany. It is a pity it thould be lott, and will be returned if desired... ".

A real frienil, objects with great seriousnefs against the ellay « on The iniquity of prescribing oaths in certain cafes ;o* and with much ear. nestness, reprobates the doctrines contained in that paper, for which we do not fee a fufficient foundation.' * The chief weight of his argument lies in the impropriety of representing human nature in such a degrad. ing light, as to suppose that mankind are generally infuenced by worldly confiderations.-Now, allowing the fullest weight to this objection, it can reach no farther than this, that granting fome rien should be found who will, in no cafe, be influenced by worldly confiderations, it must be admitted, that there are many who have not the fortitude of mind to refift tenıptations. We are even taught by the highest authority to pray that we may be delivered from temptation. It is certainly, therefore, to be wished, that as few allurements as poflible should be held out to invite weak creatures to deviato from the right path. And this, we think is all the moral that can fairly be inferred from the paper reprehended. * .

' ***

; * As to the circumstance of one person entertaining a higher idea thati another of the humán powers, respecting virtuous exertions, different perfons have ever entertained different opinions, and will continue to do fo till the end of time, and it would be a vain åtteinpt to try to reconcile them in this respect. If they can be brought to cancur in attempt ing to render' men better and wifer than they have been, a great point will be gained : and this shall be our aim.

Cato, who also signs R. says he was deputed by a set of merry Fellows to give a critique on the stanzas entituled, “ The season for remembering the poor." From the name he has given to the society of which he is a member, we presume it was intended to be very droll; but that fpecies of wit, called humour, is perhaps more difficult to acquire, where nature has not planted the feeds of it, than any other. The critique in question is entirely devoid of it, and therefore could have afforded no entertainment to our readers.

Irony is another species of wit, which, then derterously managed, is exquisitely pleasing; but where it is not truly fine, it is of no value. We are forry to be ohliged to decline the inten!..dittire by a pretty fellow, on aceount of the want of edge in the irig.---Swift has evidentiy been the model ;--but Sterne and Swift, from the exquisite beauty of some of their productions, have misled more young writers, in hopes of attaining that kind of excellence by imitating them, than perhaps any others in the English language. To admire their piccis, and to be able to in tate them successfully, are very different things. We with to fee as few imitations of any sort, as poflible. When the mind is trongly inipreilid with ideas, it cannot find leisure to think of the manner of others, but advances with a firm ftep, regardless of the frippery of affectation. If the thoughts are bold and juft, the expreifions are ideally artists and energetic, and seldom fail to please. - Meo fum pauper in Ære was the boast of an old author. A man usually appears to much betrer advantage in a plain dress of his own, than in more gaudy apparel that has been made to fit another.

To the Reader. At the close of this volume, it would be unbecoming in the editor not to express the just fense he entertains of the favour with which an in dulgent public hath honoured this performance. So-conscious, indeed, is he of the little merit of what is already done, that he finds himself much at a lofs for words to express the grateful fenfe he entertains of the uncommon encouragement he has received. Since the commencement of this work, his attention has been too much occupied by the arrangements, respecting the mechanical execution of it, to allow him to beItow. that attention he wished to the literary part. Thefe embarassments are now, however, in part abated, and he trusts that every day will diminish them more and more. But, upon reviewing this volume, he is perfuaded that few of his readers will feel so sensibly its imperfections, as he does himseif. Relying upon the indulgence of the public, he judg. ed it more adviseable to delay several articles that came within the limits of his plan, than to attempt them at a time when it would have been quite impracticable for him to have done them, what he would have thought justice in the execution.

He has received several communications from unknown correspondents, expressive of such approbation; from others he has received letters in such a strain, as could not have failed to excite his resible facul. ties, had his mind been in a proper frame for it. Persons who can (carcely spell three words on end, and who cannot write a sentence, without committing the strangest grammatical blunders, assume the place of judges, and, without hesitation, have criticized every piece that has appeared in this collection, and pronounced the whole, without one single exception, “most execrable stuff.” (pardon the vulgarity of the phrale). Persons, whofe reading has scarcely extended to a common newspapers pronounced the whole to be borrowed from other performances, and have condescended on particular pieces by name, as entirely transcribed from other works, of which the editor well knew, that not a line or a fentence had ever been seen elsewhere. Thefe performances he has *allowed to slide into oblivion, without so much as a note of remenabrance upon the blue cover. To some others he has been indebted for some just reprehensions and useful hints, of which he will avail himself.

One yeneral theme on which these unskillful critics' have uniformly dwelt, is want of originality in the pieces that have been offered in this miscellany ; a circumitance that strongly betrayed their want of reading, for in respect of the proportional number of original pieces, this miscellany as far as it has gone, may stand'a fair comparison with any other that is

[ocr errors]

published, and without a doubt, contains a much greater proportion of these than most of the periodical publicacions in Britain. This circumftance, however, is here ftated merely as a matter of fact, and is not ad, duced as a proof of its fuperior excellence. Had fewer original pieces been admitted, it is by no means improbable that its intrinsic meric might have been the greater; as well (hosen copies from other works may be more valuable, than compositions that have never been publifhed. Had originality of matter been all his aim, the editor might easily have fatisfied himself; as he has materials in his poffeffion that might have filled several volumes, without taking a single line from any printed work whatever. But as the avowed intention of this miscellany, is to select from other performances, as well as to give new matter, he thinks he should have been to blame, had he not attempted in some measure to comply with the terms of his proposals. This he has done as to this particular to a certain degree, though, were he himself to judge, not so much as he ought to have done; but he thinks he perceives, that others put a higher value upon mere originality as such, than he does; nor will he prefúme to set up his own judgment as a standard for others, but will endeavour to accommodate himself in every innocent compliance, as much as he can, to the desires of the public. No part of the office that falls to his share as an editor, is half lo disagreeable as that of rejecting pieces, that persons from the best motives have had the goodness to send him? and nothing but a strong sense of duty to his readers, could induce him to take it upon himself. The writers of these pieces, it may he supposed, eye them with a parent's fondness. One naturally feels a reluctance at the thought of giving pain : should the judgment in thels cireumftance be swayed a little by good nature it ought to be considered as a more excuseable weakness, than a stern feverity. Yet the editor fears, that many of his correspondents will think there is little room for accusing him of this weakness, while others will say he is guilty of it to an unpardonable degree. Of this he does not complain, nor of the contradictory requests of his different correspondents, some of whom condemn in the leverest terms, those pieces that others talk of with rapture; while in their turn they disapprove of the performances, the others have highly applauded; so that, like the man with the two wives, who weeded out of his head alternately the black hairs and the white, were they permitted to go on, he should soon have none, or were he to listen

to both parties, he would be reduced to the necessity of presenting a : book, like Stern, of blank pages, as the only mean left of avoiding offence. Of all this the editor does not complain, because every one who assumes the office he bears, must expect a similar fate. Knowing therefore, that it is impossible to please alike every taste, he will go on to select, to the best of his judgment, such pieces, whether originals or copies, as shall seem to have the best chance of forwarding the views announced in his profpe&us; ever paying due attention to the friendly hints of those who think he errs, and relying upon the pubļic indulgence for overlooking unavoidable defects. : It is with infinite vexation he remarks the number of typographical errors that have flipt into this work. Oi the circumstances that have oco

« ZurückWeiter »