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i 820.] Philosophy ef Cotemporary Criticism: No. v.
sure than the noble productions of taste and the arts.
For the Monthly Magazine. THE PHILOSOPHY OF COTEMPORARY CRITICISM.—No. V. Edinburgh Review, No. 63.
THE present Number of the Edinburgh Review does not rank in our estimation higher than an ordinary Number of Mr. Valpy's Pamphleteer: indeed, it is in some respects inferior; for the latter work, in general, contains an original article or two, but the Review draws its interest from other publications. Mr. Jeffery seems even reduced to melancholy shifts for materials; at least, we cannot imagine how such a paper as the disquisition concerning calculous disorders could have been admitted, had he not found himself reduced to the greatest streights of poverty. The leading article is entitled Parga, and is drawn up with a degree of respectable mediocrity. The history of the Pargiots is related at some length, and the incidents are such as a more powerful pen might have rendered exceedingly impressive. How far, however, any reliance may be placed on them, we shall not examine; but when we see the hearsay statements of Mr. Hobhouse referred to as authorities, we may be permitted to pause before we admit their authenticity: for, if the other sources of the critic's information be not more deserving of confidence, we should feel little hesitation in rejecting, as romantic fiction, many circumstances upon which he dwells with particular emphasis. Without questioning the decisive barbarity of Ali Pashaw's character, such us it is represented to be by the reviewer, we know that there are several travellers who think that the tendency of his rigorous government is doing much towards restoring the civilization of Greece. It no doubt, in the first instance, has the effect of thinning the population, by forcing the lawless and subaltern despots to abdicate their power, and to seek asylums in other parts of the Ottoman empire, where crimes are less liable to punishment; but it secures protection and safety to the industrious and welldisposed. It should be recollected, that the inhabitants of this stern old man's dominions have been in all ages a wild, ferocious, and turbulent, race, and that the fear with which he has tethered their audacious and predatory spirits, is the necessary preliminary to the discipline of order and civilization. With regard
to the point at issue between the Par* giots and the British government, we hold no opinion. AH Pashaw is the subject and representative of an independent government with which ours is on terms of amity; and, in fulfilling our engagements with that government, it is nut very obvious that we should take cognizance of the character of its officer. Besides, it does not seem very clear that the Pargiots had any great objection to the Ottoman government, for the reviewer informs us that many of them emigrated to Smyrna. Nodoubt, Carassman Oglu, who governs the districts adjacent to that city, is a milder despot than Ali Pashaw, for his country is less barbarous, but still he is but an Ottoman governor. The reviewer, however, takes no notice of this; nor can we divine his motive for speaking so respectfully of the rebellious predilection of Ottoman subjects for the Russians, and so disguising that unprincipled act of Russian policy by which the Seven Islands were abandoned to Napoleon, as to make it appear that Great Britain was a party to the transaction. "So early as 1802, (says (he reviewer,) the Porte admitted Great Britain as a guarantee of their independence; and, after the peace of Tilsit, they were all turned into French colonies, with the assent of Russia." This assent was one of the grossest breaches of public trust ever committed by any government. But wc have exceeded our limits by thus taking a part in the controversy. We have, however, said enough to apprise the reviewer, that there is a rod in pickle, in reference to this subject. The literary advocates of Russia should take care how they meddle with politics in this country.
The second article bears the title of State of the Country; but we really know not what to make of it. The whole subject may be summed up in one sentence :—taxes so grievous that they can no longer be paid; trade so impaired in its gains, that it can no longer support those engaged in its various branches, and a strong persuasion that the one cannot be lightened, nor the other improved, but by increasing the popular check on the measures of Administration. Of the various complaints which originate with those most affected by these several causes, some breathe the tone of despair, others of guilt; a few inculcate passive starvation, and some cry out for what are called strong measures alias military law; while Ministers, strangely blinded to the
danger danger such a state of tilings necessarily induces, take no steps to remedy the evil.
The third article is dictated by a benevolent spirit in favour of " the poor little chimney-sweeps." A distinguished foreigner once remarked in bur hearing, that there was certainly more comfort in England for t/ie rich than in any other country in Europe; but there was a class of persons among us, who evidently suffered more misery than any other class of persons in Europe, and he referred to the chimney-sweeps as an instance. This was before any legislative talk was delivered on the subject; and it is a disgrace to the national character that the evil is permitted. Better surely it is, that every house-owner in the kingdom should be obliged to fit his chimneys for ■ the use of the sweeping-machine, than that one poor child should be roasted to death! The Edinburgh Review has plainly lost its original spirit, for it advocates the expediency of still tolerating this crying iniquity. But the extracts from the evidence on the subject, will, nevertheless, do good.
We are always excessively entertained when we fall in with an Edinburgh author treating of 1he fine arts. The fourth article is on the History of Painting in Italy; and, so far as the literary record is concerned, we have nothing to object, except in the critics still adhering to the old nonsense about the revival of the arts, while in speaking of Cimabue, they admit that the people, in his time, were able to appreciate his merits as an artist! Undoubtedly, the distinguishing characteristic of Edinburgh genius is presumption, especially upon the fine arts; this is evident, for, until last year, we believe the Edinburgh public never saw a good picture; and the few good works of art in the city have only lately been imported. Yet, who speak out so manfully on painting and sculpture as the fraternity of the Parliamenthouse.
The fifth article is a very elaborate one on the Comparative Skill and Industry of France and England, in which the writer clearly shows the vast superiority of the latter country. We are however surprised that he has omitted to notice the miracles of our daily press, to which nothing in France nor any where else can be compared, especially in what respects the reporting of the Parliamentary debates and the proceedings of public meetings.
In the sixth articlo we find some sensible remark^; but we are strongly dis
posed to apply to it the old proverb, it it a foul bird that defiles its own nest. We should think the paper is from the pen of an aristocratic Whig, one of those who arc so far Tories as to think that improvements may be made by adhering to old laws and obsolete maxims. The "wisdom of our ancestors," is one of those phrases that we desire to see blotted out of the popular vocabulary. It is their foolishness that is the cause of all our present sufferings,—-sufferings which they have so entailed upon us, that wc must transmit them to our posterity. Nothing has furnished the continental malcontents with so strong a handle for their abuse of England, as the railing and bickering of certain honest but weak individuals, to whom the folly of our ancestors have given the means of legislative reviling.
The eighth article is on Calculous Disorders. It should have been sent to some medical journal: it is out of place in the Edinburgh Review; and, if not admitted on account of lack of matter, it must have been introduced by some egregious negligence or blunder of the printer.
The ninth is about Dr. Clarke, the Blow-pipe, and Volcanoes, and is not altogether void of merit, particularly in an agreeable extract, containing the.doctor's description of a visit to the fountain-head of a stream of lava during an eruption of Vesuvius.
The tenth article is from the pen of a lawyer; and is quite satisfactory as to the policy and necessity of a Parliamentary enquiry into the Manchester massacre. There is some consolation in knowing, that, with whatever degree of success the investigation of that great public crime may be stifled, and the punishment of the delinquents prevented, neither any Parliamentary nor any Ministerial manoeuvring can prevent the infamy which history will, in the annals of the kingdom, attach to all who cither shared, abetted, or applauded, the deed. Mr. Owen's plait forms the subject of the eleventh paper. There is much moderation, both of temper and ability, in the manner in which the reviewer has treated the subject; and, upon the whole, we approve of what he says: but, as the subject has been discussed over and over again in the daily papers, it argues great ignorance in the reviewers, to take up so much of their work in restating what has been so often said, and better said, before.
The twelfth article is written for tho ■ purpose of recommending the appointment
1820.] Mr. Matthews on the Facilities of his Safety-Coach.
ment of oounty commissioners to take care of the public roads. The subject is important; but the Edinburgh Review is a strange place to find a thing of this kind. The reviewer tells us gravely, that the Scottish and Irish roads are better made than the English : this may be true, but they are also much rougher. The thirteenth, and last article, is on the Education Establishments at Hofwyl. The endeavours of some of the gentlemen connected with the Edinburgh Review, relative to the education of the poor, are well known, and highly meritorious. But they should be told, that they may harp so long on the subject, as to defeat their own purpose. There is a groat lack of discretion in (his eternal blazon ; and it lessens the conDdence which Die public might otherwise have in the wisdom and talents of those who have so laudably struggled to promote the universal education of the people. The only difference between the gentleman and the pauper arises from education; and those senators with small heads and little hats, who think there is danger in improving the morality of mankind by enlightening the understanding, may rest assured that they have themselves been but imperfectly educated: and no opportunity should be lost of making them feci their inferiority.
To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.
IN your valuable Magazine for the last monlh, there are remarks on my Patent Safe-Conch, where it is hinted, some explanation is due from me to the public, respecting their weight; which, I trust, your candour will admit; as every possible information which can be afforded on the subject of sale travelling, is now becoming increasingly interesting to the public.
The various weights of fonr-horse slage-coachcs are from 17 cwt. to20cwt. a fair average of a coach for business is 18 cwt. 2qr. The first of my patent safecoaches, when launched, did not weigh quite 15 cwt. 2 qr. being 3 cwt. lighter than the average of the common coaches; but, as this coach became the favourite, and loaded to excess, and, as a clause in the Act of the 50th of the king was discovered, which exempts this kind of coach from all fines and penalties, as respects the number of outside passengers, several were immediately put in hand on a much larger scale, to carry fifteen or sixteen outside: some of these weigh upwards of a ton, which your correspon
dent O. P. Q. very justly remarks is 3 cwt. more than some of the other coaches. This, and their loading opon an average a third more than others, has distressed the horses so much, that no more of these heavy coaches will be built in future. Some lately launched weigh 17 cwt. 2 qr.: the coachmen who drive these say they follow the horses as light as any they ever drove. Others now building will average about 17 cwt.
But, with respect to the ladies, for whose bonnets the windows were said not to be large enough, and who complained of the want of air inside, I cannot explain this; for three large windows, if open, must admit more air than can possibly be obtained from two in the common coaches: it might be, the extraordinary large bonnets kept off the cooling breeze, which these coaches certainly admit in more abundance than others. But perhaps these ladies, like manymore, have been deceived by some ono of the numerous awkward imitations, falsely called safe-coaches; three of which have actually been overturned. I do not, however, accuse these fair ones of knowingly travelling in these imitations, and thereby countenancing a fraud upon one whose study has been the preservation of life and limb:—gratitude will surely forbid this.
Your correspondent, however, candidly admits their superior safety, and that the ladies arc particularly partial to them; and, like almost every other person who has travelled in them, he- himself never goes by any other, if he can help it. I can congratulate the public on the certainty of the increase of these safe and convenient coaches, the effect of which is security to property, as well as personal safety. H. Matthews.
9, Grctton-place East,
To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.
1HAVE seen the account of one
lit slate for vegetation. I have often thought, that it might be of great advantage to this country, if some animals and plants, now natives of warmer climes, could be naturalized here. The potatoe, according to the best accounts, is a native of South America, but since cultivated here, is now of vast benefit to this country, as food for men and animals.
I, a few years ago, requested the President of the Dorset Agricultural Society to get some of the Chinese hempseed, the produce of which, by the account I had seen of it, were in many respects superior to our common sort, such as its strength, its durability, its silky texture, in the length of its libres, and in the vastly superior quantity it produced per acre. An East-India captain, a friend of the president's, when he went to Canton, brought home some jars of the China hemp-seed. The mouths of the jars were well luted, so that no external air could penetrate the seed. The president gave me three jars of it, about two gallons. I prepared some land in the field, in good order for it, and sowed it, in the proper season, as our hemp is sown; but, to my great disappointment, not one seed grew. The president had from twenty to thirty plants in his garden, produced from some of the same seed as mine; they grew strong, and produced seed, although a very dry summer. He gave me some of the seed, which I sowed the next season; they grew, and attained to the height of six to seven feet, and about four inches in the circumference of their stalk; but, being a very wet and cold summer, they produced no seed: so ended all my hopes of Chinese hemp. Sir Joseph Banks had some of this seed brought him from China, some years ago, and he gave some of it to Faujus St. Fond, a French gentleman, who distributed it amongst some of his friends, who have since cultivated it with great success in the south of France, where it rises to the amazing height of seventeen feet. If •we could get plants from foreign seed to produce their seed here, in a few seasons, the plants, no doubt, would be afterwards naturalized to our climate.
The Merino sheep, by propagating here, are found to produce wool equal, if not superior, to the Spanish imported wool. I proposed to the Dorset Agricultural Society, to import some of the Tibet sheep, from whose wool the beautiful Cashmei ian shawls are made; as I doubt not but those sheep could be propagated here, as tho table-land of Tibet is of great elevation above the sea, and
surrounded by mountains, whose summits are in the region of perpetual snow. The French, I saw some time ago, had brought to France some of the Angora goats, whose hair is as fine as silk, and nine inches in length; and is manufactured into the finest stuffs, particularly camblets.
Some of the Tibet sheep were brought to England a year or two ago, but the ship in which they were was lost off the Isle of Wight.
i The preserving of beautiful birds, with which some foreign countries abound, so as to retain their natural form and position, as well as the beauty of their colours and plumage, must be attended to with great care, lest they should bo destroyed by insects, which has often been thejease, to the great disappointment of the naturalist. After dissecting all the fleshy parts from the bones, and removing the entrails, eyes, brains, and tongue; the cavities and inside of the skin should be sprinkled with tho following antiseptic powder. Tlie Drying Compound or Antiseptic Powder. Corrosive sublimate . J lb. Saltpetre burnt . . ♦ Alum burnt . . . | Flowers of sulphur . . * Camphor . . . f Black pepper . . 1 Tobacco ground coarse 1 Mix the whole together, and keep it in a glass vessel, stopped close. In Guiana, the number and variety of beautiful birds is so great, that several persons in the colony advantageously employ themselves in killing and preserving these animals for the cabinets of the naturalists in the different parts of Europe. The method of doing this, as related by Mr. Bancroft, is, to put the bird which is to be preserved in a proper vessel, and cover him with high wines, or the first distillation of rum. In this spirit he is suffered to remain for twenty-four or forty-eight hours or longer, according to its size, till it has penetrated through every part of his body. When this is done, the bird is taken out, and his feathers, which are no ways changed by this immersion, are placed smooth and regular. It is then put into a machine made for tho purpose, among a number of others; and its head, feet, wings, tail, &c. are placed exactly agreeable to life. In this position they are all placed in an oven, very moderately heated, where they are slowly dried, and will ever after retain their natural position without danger or putrefaction. C. Hall. Ansty.Jan. 13, 1820.
1820.] Mr. Pitt'* Annual Meteorological Abstract.
JANUARY.—The weather during
February.—The first five days were
March.—The three first days were
was extremely variable. The 1st and
August.—The weather was dry, and