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Laudari à laudatis viris, is certainly an honour both to the dead and the living: but we apprehend that the above compliment will be held in little estimation by the friends of either, ' when they are told that the same eulogift calls Sir Richard, Blackinore one of the greatest of our English poets !
To the EDITOR of the LONDON REVIEW.
SIR, WHEN Booksellers give a high price for the copy-right of a work, they also generally take care that the periodical peblications give a favourable account of it. In hopes, however, that the London Revietu is under no such undue influence, I addreis to you the following cur. fory obfervations on Dr. Robertson's History of America. No man has a higher idea of the Doctor's abilities than myself, and it is my eitimation of him which excites my indignation when he appears fuperficial.
In the first page of the Doctor's preface, we are presented with one of the weakest propofitions that ever diigraced an historian. While the British Colonies, he says, are engaged in civil svar avith Great Bria tain, inquiries and speculations concerning abeir ancient forms of policy and laws, tulich exist no longer, cannot be interesting ;” and by this rule every page of ancient history inust be useless. But the London Review has already exposed this egregious affertion.
The very day before I read Robertson's History of America, I had finished my perusal of the Introduction to Mick!e's Tranflation of the Lufad, or the Discovery of India. The different ideas which these authors give us of the voyage of Vasco de Gama, the discoverer of Iudia, not only struck, but chayrired, me, and made me ready to exciaim with Dr. Robertson, that without proper evidence an author
be faid, to barje muritten an amusing tale, but cannat be faid to have compoled an autbeatic biftory."
The circunstances of disagreement which chagrined me are there:
Robertson mentions the repulse, which the propofils of Columbus received at the Court of Lisbon, as the effect of ignorance. And when, by itreis of weather, he put into the Tagus, on his return from his firit voyaye, " Secondemnation and repret, lay's the Doctor, were zot the caly jentiments to which the fuccess of Columbus, and refution upon their ova imprudente in rejecting his proposals, gave rise among the Pirtuguê. Tocy czcitrin a grcrous emulation to furpass bis performances ;' and to this emulation the Doctor afcribes the voyage of Gama.
But in the Introduction to the Lúliad we find this matter. very difa ferently itated. We are there told that the Cape of Good Hope had
teen fome years known to the Portuguese, and that John II, who gave it that namé, esteemed the route to India as in the certain poffeffion of his own subjects; for which reason he declined the proposals of the foreigner. We are also told by the fame writer that the discovery of India had been the great ambition of the Portuguese Princes for many years, that John II. firmly intended it, and that his fucceffor put it in execution. Dr. Robertson himself, immediately after afcribing it to the success of Columbus, adds this fentence, " Emmanuel, who inhe. sited the enterprising genius of his predecessors, perhifted in their grand fibeme of opening a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good
Gama's squadron, says Dr. Robertson, " was extremely feeble, confisting only of three vessels, of neither burden nor force adequate to the service ;” and Gama, he says, found India, “ in industry and arts a bizbly civilized country.”
But in the Introduction to the Lufiad every circumstance conveys different ideas. We there find that the fiquadron consisted of four ships : the flag ship commanded by Gama, the fecond by his brother Paulus, the third by Nicolas Coello, and the fourth by Gonfalo Nunio. We also find in the same author that this extremely feeble and inadequare squadron, was an overmatch for all the arts of the big bly civilized Eaft. That Gama revenged the treachery of the Moors of Mozambie by reducing their town into a heap of alhes, after having defeated 2000 of them on shore, who opposed his taking in fresh water : that the King of Calecut in India fitted out all the strength of his highly civilized country, confifting of fixty vellels full of armed men, to destroy Gama's extremely feeble and inadequate squadron, but that Gama nevertheless beat them all: That he atterwards beat, and took prisoner, a pirate who attacked him with eight velleis, and was the tyrant and terror of the Indian seas. And that on his homeward voyage he gave chace to a fleet of eight Moorish yetsels, and levelled the walls of Magadoxa, a Moorish town in Africa, with the ground, and burned every ship in the harbour.
Either therefore Mr. Mickle has given us an amusing tale; or the Doctor's knowledge of the voyage of Gama has been highly superficial, when he called this squadron extremely feeble, and inadequate to the Jervice. Mr. Mickle cites his authorities, and they certainly exiit.
Tho' I read much, I am no author; but my indignation is itrongly excited when I fee men of the most respectable abilities making the most egregious mistakes. Dr. Robertson commends the accuracy of Voltaire as an historian, while all Europe laugh at his random aliertions. He also commends Mr. Gibbon in the highest terms, tho' that gentleman's many and grofs misrepresentations have already been expoled by Dr. Watson, and are now in the hands of a celebrared Detector. But idle compliment seems to be the predominant pallion of our modern fine writers. The Tranilator of the Lufiad has given some cgregious examples of it: he calls the Abbé Reynal “ an author accurate in bilo.. rical facts.” And yer he has taken no small pains to prove that the Abbé is exceedingly inaccurate; and I believe he has proved it too, in several material circumftances. A plain hopeit reader, who does not
know the mystery of book-making, does not like these ambo-skaler doings, and according to my esteem for an author's abilities is my difappointment when I perceive him thus tripping.
I am, &c.
OBSERVATOR. Oxford, July 7, 1777.
To the LONDON REVIEWE R S. SIRS, BEING a constant purchaser of the London Review (which your exceffive ill usage has compelled me to furbear), with the most compalfonate concern I find the despicable Authors reduced to to low au ebb as to accept contemptible hire, to insult me in the muit spieful terms, as the Author of The Christian History; and this from a wretch unprovoked, and my old acquaintance, agreeable to the Psalmiit, v. 13. Expressions big with the inoit rancourous malice of heart would never have been employed, without such interesting temptation, publicly to insult a Itranger who has been guilty of employing tone time in reiud. ing the Gospels and various celebrated Comments thereon in various languages, in order to publish, under the sanction of respectable approbarion, the most regular arrangement and the moit exact veilion pollibie (trom the beit authorities, barring Reviewers) of the facts concained in the leveral inspired Histories of Chrill's Life: a performance he would have been extremely glad to have found e.ecuted by some abler band, who might, in some respects at least, have gained applaate, such as reconciling the different historians in places of acknowledged difficulty, as Peter's Denials, Pilate's Examination, and the Reiuniece tion; alto a concise recital of the arguments in favour of the Hillors. The Critics who fo virulently abuse me, would have given me and the public fome fatisfaction, it, intiead of general expresions, they lad telected fome of the palayes they with 10 much envenomeu delanation condemn as tame, inanimated, fpiritlets, vapid, miserable, degrading to the common reition, which pace veftrâ is nct bold, but ball, and what is worte, frequently talie; allo as depriving the Gospel of its natural fublimity, pathos, and poetry: fome particular errors in the order of arrangement, fome milerably degrading espreilions in the verfion, foune futile arguments in the differtatious, should justify this truly viperous condemnation. It is as absurdly impertinent to allert that it close and accurate translation, conveyed in a correct itile, can de prive, an criginal compofition of its natural tublimity, paches, and poe:ry, as that exprellions (whatever the thoughts may be) can be at once both noble and timple, ye most noble fumpletons in cri'icilin and confuttercy!! Peace to the manes of Mr. Locke, such a set of execrable Critics are welcome implicitly to believe all he fays on the understanding. It is plaiń enough that you agree with bim in this, that your wills are de. termined by uneasinels: the uncanices of your craving appetites made your wills tamelv, miferably fubfervient (ior a prelent recruit) to the purposes of the most undeserved rancour, of overflowing gall; for
the discharge of which had you not furnisht a channel, it would proba. bly base burst the invidious livid heart that bred it. If this reply to your truly miserable censure is also came and inanimated, the contents of the Book you have so disparaged dietates such conduct, quoting page 198. the Píalmiit, “ He that is unjust, let him be unjust still." But ye have your reward. Your paltry bribe will serve Critics of such a jaundiced eye in little itead, when your present Bookfeller shall fol. low the example of so many others in turning you out of doors. Geberal contempi will follow the wanton abuse of a Book too useful and important, too well approved and authorized, too humanely intenderi, and too carefully, correctly finished, to deserve such treatment, but from such voraries of dullness, such slaves to indigence, such patterns of prostitution and base venality, as the hacknied London Reviewers.
W. Wins. The tardiness of carriers occasion this to be the first post after receipt of your kind favour.
Tenby, June 30, 1777.
* Poor Mr. William Williains! How terribly angry! We return his coinpassionate concern with all our licart; for really we know nothing of his old acquaintance, who is said 10 have bribed us to condemn his book : perhaps there has been some mistake, and he has sent the bribe to fome other Reviewers, who have condemned it in ftill harflier terms !-" Let the galled horse go wince, our withers are unwrung." Rev.
** THE Author of " MISPLACED CONFIDENCE" presears his compliments to the Editor of the London Review, and begs leave to point out those errors in the criticilin of that work, from which it is hoped such criticisin will be found to have undefignedly proceeded.-It is not afferted in the work alluded to, that Sir John Delaval promited tre author he would provide for him tili after the election (poken of; bor was the promise then made in that manner, to which Mr. Reviewer refers, and which was the delusive occasion of the Author's premature marriage.-The Lieutenancy the Author is said to have applied for, 'fhould have been written an Enigney; the real occasion of which application was the Author's total inability, from causes known to the ala tentive readers of the work in question, to procure a livelihood for him. self and family from the pursuit of that precarious protetton with Hie nacure or which Mr. Reviewer (it ingenuous) appears to be totally hoacusinted. What could incluce bim to ailign it to idlenes (a charater diametrically opposite to tlie Author's natural difpolivion) must be best known to himself, though his recourle to profonal Mandir, and atidaily to exculpa! Sir John, rather few him to be more than critically antea RESTED.-It is requelted that the insertion of this ju the next London Review may exclude the necesity of sending a copy of it, with additional commentation, to other periodi al publications. June 14, 1777
11:|| We should not have troubled our readers with such wretched reprehensions as these, if it were not the faireft way to let the complainants stand or fall by their own justification. As to the imputation of personal partiality or pecuniary influence over the London Review, the Editor despises it too much to make it any reply. The contrary is so notorious, that we appear, from the Letters of our Correspondents, to suffer froin our iinpartiality; so true is that ancient adage, l'critas odium parit.
To the LONDON REVIEW ER S.
GENTLEMEN, THE three following Passages appearing to me of a very remarkable phraseology, and my not having met with, in any other publication, any thing fimilar to it, I cannot but think they proceed from the fame pen—and consequently are, in my opinion, a pretty strong internal proof, that the author of Junius's Letters is that candid writer, persualive orator, loyal subject, and true patriot, E. B. Esq; I hould be glad of your submitting this opinion to the Critics (if you should not chufe to decide upon it yourselves) among the Letters of your Corre. pondents.
Your constant Reader,
A. B. “ From whatever origin your influence in this country arises, it is a “phænomenon in the history of human virtue and undersanding. “ Good men can hardly believe the fact; wise men are unable to account “ for it; religious men find exercilc for their faith, and make it the last '" effort of their piety, not to repine against Providence.”
Junius's Letters to the Duke of Grafton, Sept. 28, 1771, Vol. II.
Letter LI. “ Every project of a material change in a government to compli« cated as ours, combined at the same time with external circum“ stances ftill more complicated, is a inatter full of difficulties; in " which a confiderate man will not be too ready to decide; a prudent fian too really to undertake; or an honesi man too ready to promise." Thoughts on the Cause of our present Discontents. Page 99. 3d
Edition. “ I really think that for wise men this is not judicious; for fober
men not decent; for minds tin&tured with humanity not mild and mere “ ciful."
Mr. Burke's Speech, March 22, 1777. Page 49. 3d Edité