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listened to, and scarcely writes a letter with in question, will be at no loss to comprehend out some notice of his nervous tremors, his the reasons of the unqualified reprehension giddiness and catchings. “I had originally we are inclined to bestow on their publicaa good constitution,” he says, in one place, tion. For the information of those who have "and hurt it by no intemperance, but that of not had an opportunity of seeing them, we application."
may observe that, so far from containing any In presenting our readers with this imper- view of the literature, the politics, or manners feet summary of Mrs. Barbauld's biographical of the times—any anecdotes of the eminent dissertation, we have discharged by far the and extraordinary personages to whom the most pleasing art of our task; and proceed author had access or any pieces of elegant to the consideration of the correspondence composition, refined criticism, or interesting which it introduces, with considerable heavi- narrative, they consist almost entirely of comness of spirit, and the most unfeigned reluct- pliments and minute criticisms on his novels, ance. The letters are certainly authentic; a detail of his ailments and domestic conand they were bought, we have no doubt, for cerns, and some tedious prattling disputations a fair price from the legal proprietors: but with his female correspondents, upon the their publication, we think, was both im- duties of wives and children; the whole so proper and injudicious, as it can only tend to loaded with gross and reciprocal flattery, as lower a very respectable character, without to be ridiculous at the outset, and disgusting communicating any gratification or instruction in the repetition. Compliments and the novels to others. We are told, indeed, in the pre- form indeed the staples of the whole corresface, “that it was the employment Mr. pondence: we meet with the divine Clarissa, Richardson's declining years, to select and and the more divine Sir Charles, in every arrange the collection from which this publi- page, and are absolutely stunned with the cation has been made; and that he always clamorous raptures and supplications with looked forward to their publication at some which the female train demand the converdistant period;" nay, "that he was not with sion of Lovelace, and the death or restoration out thoughts of publishing them in his life- of Clementina.' Even when the charming time; and that, after his death, they remain- books are not the direct subject of the corresed in the hands of his last surviving daughter, pondence, they appear in eternal allusions, apon whose decease they became the property and settle most of the arguments by an auof his grandchildren, and were purchased thoritative quotation. In short, the Clarissa from them at a very liberal price by Mr. Phil- and Grandison are the scriptures of this conlips." We have no doubt that what Mrs. gregation; and the members of it stick as Barbauld has here stated to the public, was close to their language upon all occasions, as stated to her by her employers: But we can any of our sectaries ever did to that of the yot read any one volume of the letters, with Bible. The praises and compliments, again, out being satisfied that the idea of such a which are interchanged among all the parties, publication could only come into the mind of are so extremely hyperbolical as to be ludiRichardson, after his judgment was impaired crous, and so incessant as to be excessively by the infirmities of " declining years; and fatiguing. We shall trouble our readers with we have observed some passages in those but a very few specimens. which are now published, that seem to prove The first series of letters is from Aaron Hill, sufficiently his own consciousness of the im- a poet of some notoriety, it seems, in his day; propriety of such an exposure, and the ab- but, if we may judge from these epistles, a sence of any idea of giving them to the world. very bad composer in prose. The only amusIo the year 1755, when nine-tenths of the ing things we have met with in this volume whole collection must have been completed, of his inditing, are his prediction of his own we find him expressing himself in these words great fame, and the speedy downfal of Pope's; to his friend Mr. Edwards:
and his scheme for making English wine of a “I am employing myself at present in looking Of Pope he says, that he died “in the wane
superior quality to any that can be imported. and other papers. This, when done, will amuse of his popularity; and that it arose originally me, by reading over again a very ample corres. only from meditated little personal assiduities, pondence, and in comparing the sentiments of my and a certain bladdery swell of management." correspondents, at the time, with the present, and And a little afterimproving from both. The many letters and papers I shall destroy will make an executor's work the " But rest his memory in peace! It will very easier; and if any of my friends desire their letters rarely be disturbed by that time he himself is ashes. to be returned, ihey will be readily come at for that I! is pleasant to observe the justice of forced fame; purpose. Otherwise they will amuse and direct she lets down those, at once, who got themselves my children, and teach them to honour their father's pushed upward; and lifts none above the fear of friends in their closels for the favours done him." falling, but a few who never leased her. Vol. iii. pp. 113, 114.
What she intends to do with me, the Lord Accordingly, they remained in the closet knows!"-Vol. I. p. 107. till the death of the last of his children; and In another place he adds, "For my part, I then the whole collection is purchased by a am afraid to be popular; I see so many who bookseller, and put into the hands of an write to the living, and 'deserve not to live, editor, who finds it expedient to suppress two- that I content myself with a resurrection thirds of it!
when dead :" And after lamenting the unThose who have looked into the volumes popularity of some of his writings, he says
" But there will arise a time in which they no sort of relation to Richardson or his writwill be seen in a far different light. I know ings), and sets off in this manner : it on a surer hope than that of vanity." The
Thou frolicsome farce of fortune! What! Is wine project, which is detailed in many pages, there another act of you to come then?, I was requires no notice. As a specimen of the afraid, some time ago. you had made your last exit
. adulation with which Richardson was in- Well! but without wit or compliment, I am glad censed by all his correspondents, we may to hear you are so tolerably alive," &c. add the following sentences.
We can scarcely conceive that this pitiful · Where will your wonders end? or how could slang could appear to Mrs. Barbauld like the I be able to express the joy it gives me to discern pleasantry of a man of fashion. His letters your genins rising with the grace and boldness of a to Richardson are, if any thing, rather more must), to charın and captivate the world, and force despicable. After reading some of the proof a scribbling race to learn and practise one rare sheets of Sir Charles, he writes, virtue-io be pleased with what disgraces them."
“ Z-ds! I have not patience, will I know what -" There is a manner (so beyond the matter, ex. has become of her. Why, you-I do not know traordinary too as that is) in whatever you say or what to call you !--Ah! ah! you may laugh if you do, that makes it an impossibility to speak those please : but how will you be able to look me in the sentiments which i: is equally impossible not to face, if the lady should ever be able 10 show hers conceive in reverence and affection for your good again? What pi:eons, dd, disgraceful pickle ness."
have you plunged her in? For God's sake send In allusion to the promise of Sir Charles, me the sequel; or—I dont know what to say!"
The following is an entire letter: “I am greatly pleased at the hint you gave of a “ The delicious meal I made of Miss Byron on design to raise another Alps upon this Appenine: Sunday last has given me an appetite for another we can never see too many of his works who has slice of her, off from the spit, before she is served no equal in his labours.'
up 10 the public table. Il about five o'clock 10. These passages, we believe, will satisfy morrow afternoon will not be inconvenient, Mrs. most readers; but those who have any desire of her: but pray let your whole family, with Mrs. to see more, may turn up any page in the Richardson at the head of them, come in for their volume: It may be of some use, perhaps, as share. This, sir, will make me more and more a great commonplace for the materials of yours," &c. "soft dedication."
After these polite effusions, we have a corThe next series of letters is from Miss
respondence with Mr. Edwards, the author Fielding, who wrote David Simple, and Mis Collier, who assisted in writing The Cry. which is occupied as usual with flattery and
of the Canons of Criticism, a good deal of What modern reader knows any thing about the Cry, or David Simple? And if the elabo- sultations about their different publications.
mutual compliments, and the rest with conrate performances of these ladies have not Richardson exclaims, "O that you could rebeen thought worthy of public remembrance, solve to publish your pieces in two pretty what likelihood is there that their private and volumes !” And Mr. Edwards sends him confidential letters should be entitled to any long epistles in exaltation of Sir Charles and notice? They contain nothing, indeed, that Clarissa. It is in this correspondence that can be interesting to any description of read- we meet with the first symptom of that most ers; and only prove that Richardson was in- absurd and illiberal prejudice which Richarddulgent and charitable to them, and that their
son indulged against all the writings of Fieldgratitude was a little too apt to degenerate ing. He writes to Mr. Edwards— into flattery. The letters of Mrs. Pilkington and of Colley
“Mr. Fielding has met with the disapprobation Cibber appear to us to be still less worthy of you foresaw he would meet with, of his Amelia. publication. The former seems to have been of the Common Garden, contributing to his own
He is, in every paper he publishes under the vile a profligate, silly actress, reduced to beggary overi hrow. He has been overmatched in his own in her old age, and distressed by the miscon- way by people whom he had despised, and whom duct of her ill-educated children. The com- he ihought he had vogue enough, from the success passionate heart of Richardson led him to his spurious brat Tom Jones so unaccountably met pity and relieve her; and she repays him artillery against him, and beat him out of the field,
with, to write down, but who have turned his own wiih paltry adulation, interlarded, in the bom- and made him even poorly in his Court of Cricism bastic style of the green room, with dramatic give up his Amelia, and promise to write no more misquotations misapplied. Of the letters of on the like subjects."'--Vol. iii. pp. 33–34. Cibber, Mrs. B. says that "they show in
This, however, is but a small specimen of every line the man of wit and the man of the his antipathy. He says to his French transworld." We are sorry to dissent from so re- lator, “ Tom Jones is a dissolute book. Its run spectable an opinion ; but the letters appear is over, even with us. Is it true that France to us in every respect contemptible and dis- had virtue enough to refuse to license such a gusting; without one spark of wit or genius profligate performance ?'' But the worst of of any sort, and bearing all the traces of all is the followingvanity, impudence, affectation, and superannuated debauchery, which might have been
"I have not been able to read any more than the expected from the author
. His first epistle first volume of Amelia. Poor Fielding! I could is to Mrs. Pilkington (for the editor has more prised at, and concerned for, his continued lowness. than once favoured us with letters that have | Had your brother, said I, been born in a stable, or
been a runner at a sponging house, we should have happy as I am in love, so happy am I in friendship, thought him a genius, and wished he had had the in my mother, two elder sisters, and five or her advantage of a liberal education, and of being ad. women. How rich I am!"-Vol. in. pp. 146—149. mitted into good company; but it is beyond my conception, that a man of family, and who had
One of the best letters is dated from Tunsome learning, and who really is a writer, should bridge in 1751. We shall venture on an extract. descend so excessively low in all his pieces. Who · But here, to change the scene, to see Mr. Walsh can care for any of his people? A person of at eighty (Mr. Cibber calls him papa), and Mr. honour asked me, the other day, what he could Cibber at seventy-seven, hunting alter new faces; mean, by saying, in his Covent Garden Journal, and thinking themselves happy if they can obtain that he had followed Homer and Virgil in his the notice and familiarity of a fine woman !-How Amelia ? I answered, that he was justified in say- ridiculous !ing so, because he must mean Cotton's Virgil Tra- “ Mr. Cibber was over head and ears in love with veslied, where the women are drabs, and the men Miss Chudleigh. Her admirers (such was his hapscoundrels.''-Vol. vi. pp. 154, 155.
piness !) were not jealous of him; but, pleased with It is lamentable that such things should chat wit in him which they had not, were always
for calling him to her. She said pretty things for have been written confidentially; it was sure she was Miss Chudleigh. He said pretty thingsly unnecessary to make them public. for he was Mr. Cibber; and all the company, men
After the dismissal of Mr. Edwards, we and women, seemed to think they had an interest meet with two or three very beautiful and in what was said, and were half as well pleased as interesting letters from Mrs. Klopstock, the if they had said the sprightly things themselves; first wife of the celebrated German poet. hand repeaters of the pretty things. But once I
and mighty well contented were they to be second They have pleased us infinitely beyond any faced the laureate squatted upon one of the benches, thing else in the collection ; but how far they with a face more wrinkled than ordinary with disare indebted for the charm we have found in appointment. “I thought,' said I, you were of the them to the lisping innocence of the broken party at the tea treats--Miss Chudleigh is gone into English in which they are written, or to their the tea-room.'.- Pshaw!' said he, there is no intrinsic merit, we cannot pretend to deter- coming at her, she is so surrounded by the toupets.
- And I left him upon the fret-But he was called mine. We insert the following account of to soon after; and in he flew, and his face shone her courtship and marriage.
again, and looked smooth. “ After having seen him two hours, I was obliged here, but of a very different turn; the noted Mr.
Another extraordinary old man we have had to pass the evening in a company, which never had Whiston, showing eclipses, and explaining other been so wearisome 10 me. I could not speak, I could not play ; I thought I saw nothing but Klopnium
and anabap:ism (for he is now, it seems, of
phenomena of the stars, and preaching the millen. stock. I saw him the next day, and the following: that persuasion) to gay people, who, if they have day he departed. It was an strong hour the hour white teeth, hear him with open mouths, ihough of his departure ! He wrote soon after, and from perhaps shui hearts; and after his lecture is over,
not a bit the wiser, run from him the more eagerly that time our correspondence began to be a very diligent one. I sincerely believed my love to be laughing young fellows upon the walks, like boys
to C-r and W-sh, and to flutter among the loudfriendship. I spoke with my friends of nothing and girls at a breaking up."— Vol. iii. p. 316—319. but Klopstock, and showed his letters. They raillied at me, and said I was in love. I raillied As Richardson was in the habit of flattering them again, and said that they must have a very his female correspondents, by asking their friendshipless heart, if they had no idea of friend: advice (though he never followed it) as to the ship to a man as well as to a woman. continued eight months, in which time my friends conduct of his works, he prevailed 'on a cerfound as much love in Klopstock's letters as in me. tain Lady Echlin to communicate a new I perceived it likewise, but I would not believe it. catastrophe which she had devised for his At the last Klopstock said plainly that he loved; Clarissa. She had reformed Lovelace, by and I stariled as for a wrong thing. I answered, means of a Dr. Christian, and made him die that it was no love, but friendship, as it was what I of remorse, though the last outrage is not to love (as if love must have more time than friend supposed to be committed. How far Lady ship! This was sincerely my meaning, and I had Echlin's epistles are likely to meet with this meaning till Klopstock came again to Ham. readers, in this fastidious age, may be conburg. This he did a year after we had seen one jectured, from the following specimen. another the first time.' We saw, we were friends, we loved; and we believed that we loved : and, a
“I hearlily wish every Christain would read and short time after, I could even tell Klopstock that i wisely consider Mr. Skelton's fine and pious less loved. But we were obliged to part again, and
I admire the warmth of this learned gentle. wait two years for our wedding. My mother man's zeal; it is laudable and necessary, especially would not let me marry a stranger. I could marry
in an age like this, which, for its coldness (he ob. then without her consentment, as by the death of serves) may be called the winter of Christianity." my father my fortune depended not on her ; but
A melancholy truth, elegan:ly expressed! I have this was an horrible idea for me ; and thank Hea only perused a small pari of his divine piece, and ven that I have prevailed by prayers! Al this am greatly dolighted with what I have read.
I am also very fond lifely son, and thanks God that she has not per: of Dr. Clark: and excellent good Seed! I thank sisted. We married, and I am the happiest wife you, sir, for introducing another wise charmer, not in ihe world. In some few months it will be four less wortlıy of every body's regard. He merits alien. years that I am so happy, and still I dole upon tion, and religiously commands it.”—Vol. v. p. 40. Klopstock as if he was my bridegroom.
Next come several letters from the Rever"If you knew my husband, you would not end Mr. Skelton, mostly on the subject of the wonder. If you knew his poem, I could describe Dublin piracy, and the publication of some him very briefly, in saying he is in all respects what he is as a poet. This' I can say with all wifely mo
works of his own. He seems to have been a desty...
But I dare not io speak of my hus- man of strong, coarse sense, but extremely band; I am all raptures when I do it. And as irritable. Some delay in the publication of
his sermons draws from him the following | art Richardson is undoubtedly without an amusing piece of fretfulness.
equal, and, if we except De Foe, without a Johnston kept them a month on the way; of literature. We are often fatigued, as we
competitor, we believe, in the whole history Wilson kept them three, and does nothing, only hints a sort of contemptuous censure of them to you, listen to his prolix descriptions, and the repeti. and huffs them out of his hands. The booksellers tions of those rambling and inconclusive condespise them, and I am forced to print them, when versations, in which so many pages are conthe season for sale is over, or burn them. God's sumed, without any apparent progress in the will be done! If I had wrote against my Saviour, story; but, by means of all this, we get so bought, and reprinted, and bought again. Millar intimately acquainted with the characters, would have now been far advanced in his third and so impressed with a persuasion of their edition of it! But why do I make these weak com- reality, that when any thing really disastrous plainis? I know my work is calculated to serve or important occurs to them, we feel as for old the cause of God and truth, and by no means con friends and companions, and are irresistibly temptibly executed. I am confident also, I shall
, led to as lively a conception of their sensaduction, sell it to advantage, and receive the thanks tions, as if we had been spectators of a real of every good man for it. I will therefore be in the transaction. This we certainly think the chief hands of God, and not of Mr. Millar, whose indif- merit of Richardson's productions: For, great ference to my performances invite me not 10 any as his knowledge of the human heart, and his overtures.”—Vol. v. p. 234, 235.
powers of pathetic description, must be adAlthough Richardson is not responsible for mitted to be, we are of opinion that he might more than one fifth part of the dulness ex. have been equalled in ihose particulars by hibited in this collection, still the share of it many, whose productions are infinitely less that may be justly imputed to him is so con interesting. siderable, and the whole is so closely asso- That his pieces were all intended to be ciated with his name, that it would be a sort strictly moral
, is indisputable; but it is not of injustice to take our final leave of his works, quite so clear, that they will uniformly be without casting one glance back to those orig. found to have this tendency: We have inal and meritorious performances, upon already quoted some observations of Mrs. which his reputation is so firmly established. Barbauld's on this subject, and shall only add,
The great excellence of Richardson's novels in general, that there is a certain air of irk: consists, we think, in the unparalleled minute- some regularity, gloominess, and pedantry; ness and copiousness of his descriptions, and attached to most of his virtuous characters. in the pains he takes to make us thoroughly which is apt to encourage more unfortunate and intimately acquainted with every particu- associations than the engaging qualities with lar in the character and situation of the per- which he has invested some of his vicious sonages with whom we are occupied. It has ones. The mansion of the Harlowes, which, been the policy of other writers to avoid all before the appearance of Lovelace, is repredetails that are not necessary or impressive, to sented as the abode of domestic felicity, is a hurry over all the preparatory scenes, and to place in which daylight can scarcely be supreserve the whole of the reader's attention for posed to shine; and Clarissa, with her formal those momentous passages in which some de- devotions, her intolerably early rising, her cisive measure is adopted, or some great day divided into tasks, and her quantities of passion brought into action. The consequence needle-work and discretion, has something in is, that we are only acquainted with their her much less winning and attractive than incharacters in their dress of ceremony, and ferior artists have often communicated to an that, as we never see them except in those innocent beauty of seventeen. The solemcritical circumstances, and those moments of nity and moral discourses of Sir Charles, his strong emotion, which are but of rare occur- bows, minuets, compliments, and immovcable rence in real life, we are never deceived into tranquillity, are much more likely to excite any belief of their reality, and contemplate the derision than the admiration of a modern the whole as an exaggerated and dazzling reader. Richardson's good people, in short, illusion. With such authors we merely make are too wise and too formal, ever to appear in a visit by appointment, and see and hear only the light of desirable companions, or to excite what we know has been prepared for our re- in a youthful mind any wish to resemble ception. With Richardson, we slip, invisible, them.' The gaiety of all his characters, too, into the domestic privacy of his characters, is extremely girlish and silly, and is much and hear and see every thing that is said and more like the prattle of spoiled children, than done among them, whether it be interesting the wit and pleasantry of persons acquainted or otherwise, and whether it gratify our curi- with the world. The diction throughout is osity or disappoint it. We sympathise with heavy, vulgar, and embarrassed; though the the former, therefore, only as we sympathise interest of the tragical scenes is too powerful with the monarchs and statesmen of history, to allow us to attend to any inferior consideraof whose condition as individuals we have but tion. The novels of Richardson, in short, a very imperfect conception. We feel for the though praised perhaps somewhat beyond latter, as for our private friends and acquaint- their merits, will always be read with adance, with whose whole situation we are miration; and certainly can never appear to familiar, and as to whom we can conceive greater advantage than when contrasted with exactly the effects that will be produced by the melancholy farrago which is here entitled every thing that may befal them. In th's I his Correspondence.
(Iuly, 1813.) Correspondance, Littéraire, Philosophique et Critique. Adressée à un Souverain d'Allemagne,
depuis jusqu'à 1782. Par le BARON DE GRIMM, et par DIDEROT. 5 tomes, 8vo. pp. 2250. Paris : 1812.
This is certainly a very entertaining book upon his sitting down one evening in a seat -though a little too bulky-and, the greater which he had previously fixed upon for himpart of it, not very important. We are glad self; but with Voltaire and D'Alembert, and to see it, however; not only because we are all the rest of that illustrious society, both glad to see any thing entertaining, but also male and female, he continued always on the because it makes us acquainted with a per- most cordial footing; and, while he is reson, of whom every one has heard a great proached with a certain degree of obsequiousdeal, and most people hitherto known very ness toward the rich and powerful, must be little. There is no name which comes oftener allowed to have used less flattery toward his across us, in the modern history of French literary associates than was usual in the inhiterature, than that of Grimm; and none, tercourse of those jealous and artificial beings. perhaps, whose right to so much notoriety When the Duke of Saxe-Gotha left Paris, seemed to most people to stand upon such Grimm undertook to send him regularly an scanty titles. Coming from a foreign country, account of every thing remarkable that ocwithout rank, fortune, or exploits of any kind cured in the literary, political, and scandalous to recommend him, he contrived, one does not chronicle of that great city; and acquitted very well see how to make himself conspicu- himself in this delicate office so much to the ous for forty years in the best company of satisfaction of his noble correspondent, that Paris; and at the same time to acquire great he nominated him, in 1776, his resident at influence and authority among literary men the court of France, and raised him at the of all descriptions, without publishing any same time to the rank and dignity of a Baron. thing himself, but a few slight observations The volumes before us are a part of the desupon French and Italian music.
patches of this literary plenipotentiary; and The volumes before us help, in part, to ex- are certainly the most amusing state papers plain this enigma; and not only give proof of that have ever fallen under our obversation. talents and accomplishments quite sufficient The Baron de Grimm continued to exercise to justify the reputation the author enjoyed the functions of this philosophical diplomacy, among his contemporaries, but also of such a till the gathering storm of the Revolution degree of industry and exertion, as entitle drove both ministers and philosophers from him, we think, to a reasonable reversion of the territories of the new Republic. He then fame from posterity. Before laying before took refuge of course in the court of his masour readers any part of this miscellaneous ter, where he resided till 1795; when Cathachronicle, we shall endeavour to give them a rine of Russia, to whose shrine he had forgeneral idea of its construction and to tell merly made a pilgrimage from Paris, gave them all that we have been able to discover him the appointment of her minister at the about its author.
court of Saxony-which he continued to hold Melchior Grimm was born at Ratisbon in till the end of the reign of the unfortunate 1723, of very humble parentage; but, being Paul, when the partial loss of sight obliged tolerably well educated, took to literature at him to withdraw altogether from business, a very early period. His first essays were and to return to the court of Saxe-Gotha, made in his own country—and, as we under- where he continued his studies in literature stand, in his native language-where he com- and the arts with unabated ardour, till he posed several tragedies, which were hissed sunk at last under a load of years and infirmiupon the stage, and unmercifully abused in ties in the end of 1807.—He was of an unthe closet, by Lessing, and the other oracles comely and grotesque appearance—with huge of Teutonic criticism. He then came to Paris, projecting eyes and discordant features, which as a sort of tutor to the children of M. dé he rendered still more hideous, by daubing Schomberg, and was employed in the humble them profusely with white and with red paint capacity of reader to the Duke of Saxe-Gotha, -according to the most approved costume of when he was first brought into notice by petits-maîtres, in the year 1748, when he Rousseau, who was smitten with his enthusi- made his debût at Paris. asm for music, and made him known to The book embraces a period of about twelve Diderot, the Baron d'Holbach, and various years only, from 1770 to 1782, with a gap for other persons of eminence in the literary 1775 and part of 1776. It is said in the titleworld. His vivacity and various accomplish- page to be partly the work of Grimm, and ments soon made him generally acceptable; partly that of Diderot,--but the contributions while his uniform prudence and excellent of the latter are few, and comparatively of good sense prevented him from ever losing little importance. It is written half in the any of the friends he had gained. Rousseau, style of a journal intended for the public, and indeed, chose to quarrel with him for life, half in that of private and confidential cor