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Antoinette, and is a witness of the festivals which celebrated the births of two of their children. His old age is soothed by the urbanity of numerous and respected friends; and, bowever we may reprobate the style of these memoirs, we cannot but applaud the tone of benevolence and gratitude which pervades them. . We have purposely forborn to notice the dramatic compo"sitions of GOLDONI, because a future article will comprize a work by M. Sismondi, th which they necessarily form a promi'ment and distinctive feature. If he had the credit of expelling from the stage the pedantic compositions of the Abbé Chiari, and of rising victor from his struggle with the Comte Cbarlu Gozzi:- if he tore off the Masks, and gave expression to the exterior as well as to the language of his characters ; - if many of his situations are happily contrived, many of his scenes niatural, and all unaffected; yet will he shrink from a comparison with Molière, even in the latter's inferior pieces. Voltaire, it is true, has said that the appearance of. GOLDONI at the Italian theatre might be called, like the poem of Trissime, « Italy delivered from the Goths.” This compliment is well deserved ; and, as it is exactly true, we take leave of the author in whose honour it was said, until Sismondi shall fix our attention on the dramas which called it forth.
The London edition of this book so teems with typographical errors, that an inexperienced person might sometimes hesitate in recognizing the language in which it is written :- Ex. gta sa caractère for son caractère:- Je me fis que for Je ne fis que:plupat for plupart :- le ruines for la ruine: - la nom for be nom:--- le Philosophie Anglois for le Philosophe Anglois, &c. Indeed, three errors of this kind per page would be the very lowest estimate throughout the whole work.
Art. III. L'Angleterre au Commencement du igme Siècle ; &c. i.e.
England at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century. By M. DE LEVIS. 8vo. pp.420. Paris. 1814. Imported by De Boffe.
Price 108. 6d. THE travels of a foreigner in England have naturally a
powerful interest with readers in this country. Nations, like individuals, place a part of their happiness in character, and cannot tutor themselves into an indifference respecting the praise or blame of their neighbours. They may ascribe to bigotry, to prejudice, to malice, or to ignorance, the unwelcome observations which they encounter : but it is only inasmuch as they hope to refute, that they can sincerely despise satire. In all things, the way to mend is to listen patiently
to hostile criticism; and we should rather mistrust the flattery of native cajolers of the people than the censure of enlighetned strangers.
Perhaps the English deserve uncourtly guests, because they are not urbane visitors. They do not enter a foreign country in the spirit of accommodation, but usually complain aloud of everything which they find otherwise than at home; and, accustomed to no privations, but willing to pay for indulgence, they claim all sorts of supplies at the command of a full purse. A foreigner, on the contrary, is more aggrieved by the dearness than by the deficiency of reception here. Bred to a military disdain of luxury, when only personal gratification is at stake, he can contentedly forego every comfort which he is not seen to spare ; his orders at an inn are rather a sacrifice to appearance than to enjoyment; and if the expected decorums be but obseryed, neatness itself will be offered up to economy. The travelling Englishman is constantly occupied in teaching his own way to others; the travelling foreigner, in learning whatever will facilitate his progress cheaply.
M. De Levis, author of the volume before us, was born in Canada, and is the son of the Marshal Levis who commanded there before the peace of 1763. He has visited England five several times, possesses our language with almost native intimacy, has enjoyed the advantage of various and distinguished introductions, and has been attracted to Hull, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham, as well as to the more usual haunts of foreigners, Portsmouth, London, Oxford, Bath, and Bristol. He is therefore tolerably qualified by extensive observation to delineate the characteristics of our country: but, having seen all that is magnificent in Europe, he is somewhat fastidious.
Half a century ago, the Irish Abbé Grosley drew up in French an entertaining account of Great Britain. His four volumes, intitled Londres, were printed in 1770, and were well abridged and translated by Dr. Nugent. More recently, M. Baert printed a geographical description of this island, under the title of Tableau de la Grande Bretagne, which is the usual source of French information concerning us. It is welcome to find in a more compendious form, and in a less formal compend, the substance of current knowlege and of circulating opinion.
M. Levis, having made his remarks at different times on the same objects, has not given a journal of his tour, but rather a collection of the results impressed on his mind by successive visits to the same district. In other books of travels, the scenery is attached to the successive motions of the observer, the face of the country is painted and the style of building is
criticized, criticized, in the order and at the moment in which it comes beneath the author's eye:-but here the traveller vanishes from the scene ; instead of our moving with him, the towns are made to come to us; there is inspection, but the inspector seems lost. In short, it is the book of a geographer : but of a geographer who, like Herodotus, has visited the places which he describes. It is meritorious to disdain egotism ; yet the personal interest which we take in a traveller, who is the perpetual hero of his own tale, adds to the vivacity of a narrativa even when it detracts from its completeness.
The first chapter describes the passage from Calais to Dover; and it is observed that both havens ought to be deepened, so that vessels might be able to enter with passengers even at low water. The pettiness of the houses at Dover offends; the rooms, though neat, are said to be like ship-cabins, and appear to be made for a people of Lilliputians; the houses at Calais are on a more noble scale.
Chapter II. describes the route from Dover to Rochester. The roads are narrow, the cultivation is not assiduous, and the same air of littleness remains at Canterbury. · The cathedral is censured for interior nakedness, the tasteless choice of the protestant iconoclasts; and the hop-grounds are said to be far less picturesque than vineyards. Italian vineyards are no doubt picturesque, where the vines climb up the elm and the poplar, and hang festoons of grapes from tree to tree: but a Burgundy vine-yard is not handsomer than a bean-field, · In the third chapter, the author describes the interval between Chatham and London; and some old anecdotes of highway men are repeated, which belong to manners of other times. Here the country begins to make an impression; the docks, the view of London from Shooter's-hill, the commencing tunnel at Gravesend, the marine establishments at Woolwich, and the hospital at Greenwich, call forth some symptoms of recovery from disappointment.
Chapter IV. begins to paint London. The houses are characterized as all alike, without ornament, ill furnished, and inconvenient. The last epithet is surely improper; since they comprize, in the least possible space, those accommodations which our peculiar manners render necessary. That practical equality of enjoyment, which disposes such vast classes of the people to live in a way apparently so alike, is one of the meri. torious features of our form of society.
The fifth chapter speaks of the shops, which are said to disa appoint when entered ; all that is worth seeing having been placed in the window. However beautiful are the foot-pavements, it is justly observed that we have no long sheltered walk
in London, --no Palais-royal, as at Paris,—no rue du Po, as at Turin, where in wet weather the loungers can saunter under arched porticoes.
An antiquarian history of London is given in Chapter VI. The derivation of the name has hitherto been sought in Cim. bric language, under the mistaken idea that Britons speaking Welsh once inhabited the eastern coast : but of this we have neither historic evidence nor natural probability. The Romans had already appointed a comes littoris Saxonici, (see the Notitia in Gale's Scriptores, 1591,) long before the arrival of Hengist and Horsa ; and in this Saxon coast they included the entire eastern promontory, from Kent to Norfolk. Consequently, the Saxon language was domesticated along the Oriental 'shore during the Roman domination. We ought, therefore, to derive the name of London, which first occurs in Tacitus, from Saxon words, such as long town, and not, with Camden, from Welsh words.
Chapter VII. treats of the principal churches; and St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey, St.Stephen's, Walbrook, and St. Martin's, are severally praised. In the eighth chapter, the hospitals, and in the ninth the courts of justice, are introduced. Westminster Hall and Newgate are noticed as fine monuments of architecture. The rest of our public buildings, with the exception of two bridges, are treated with excessive contempt. No doubt, a want of simplicity, a want of magnitude, and a want of wholeness, are betrayed in many of our public buildings : but taste in architecture is not easily reduced to fixed prin. ciples. We might wish to see churches and courts of justice in the Gothic style ; an India-house with Hindoo decorations of architecture ; academies and theatres in the Greek taste; and the dwellings of the nobility in the newest European fashion. In a commercial town which has intercourse with the antipodes, the Chinese merchant should build on a model from Canton, and the Greek merchant on a model from Smyrna. Every manner may be good, because it is adapted to its purpose, which implies no breach of costume; it is the motly, the incongruous, the mixture of distinct ages and nations, which is chiefly reprehensible. Any pure manner, applied appropriately, may be defended by the critic.
The attack on the British Museum at p.198 is, we fear, in some respects justifiable. Why not devote separate establishments to a national library, to a cabinet of natural history, and to a museum of antiquities? No one of these collections is good of its kind, nor well conducted, because it is jumbled together in such heterogeneous partnership. Many foolish objects of curiosity are shewn at the British Museum, which a
ings of wholewant of its are
a private collector would throw into a rubbish-cart, but which, because they belong to the public, must continue to make as ridiculous.
In the tenth chaptér, M. De LĒvis gives a better idea of the practical nature of the British constitution than most foreign writers have afforded. The author is clearly conversant with our political condition from actual and skilful observation.The eleventh chapter treats of the royal prerogative; the twelfth, of the house of peers ; and the thirteenth and fourteenth, of the house of commons. The fifteenth examines the effects of the constitution on interior prosperity; and the sixteenth discusses its effects on the administration of justice. All these political chapters display a knowlege of the subject that has hitherto been very rare among continental writers; and though superfluous to us, they deserve to be welcomed in France, where liberty is .yet in its infancy, and the art of adu cating it deserves the attention of its parents.
This book is yet incomplete, and is to be extended to four volumes, in which the writer intends to exhaust the topic of Britain. Though it is not written with vivacity, it is drawn up with judgment. The author has been a great traveller ; and calls in the aid of remote comparison to illustrate his de scriptions. He can compare the miserable wharfs on the Thames with the magnificent quays of the Neva, or the Gae ronne; he can contrast the landscapes of Swisserland and Italy, with the lakes in Cumberland or with Richmond-hill; and he can measure our Monument against the Trajan column, or that of the Place Vendóme :- but, alas ! his verdict is not flattering to our vanity. Among our works of art, he seems bewildered by multiplicity of insignificance ; and his applause is reserved for the police of our hospitals, and the polity of our constitution.
It is of no small importance to the reputation of nations, that a minister of the interior should be a man of taste: - that, if buildings are to be erected at the public expence, he should know how to choose between plans which will do honour to a country with posterity, and plans which excite the sneer of every travelled stranger on the public taste. A rage for ac. commodating some political friends with jobs has occasioned, in this nation, repeated sacrifices of the artist of talent to cite artist of influence. From the London docks, which Revely had conceived so magnificently, to the recent naumachia and fire-works in the Park, the question is not whose plan is the noblest, but by whom is this plan supported ? We are contented with the nursling of Patronage, whether or not it be Merit, the child of Genius. « Pudet hæc opprebris nobis," &c.