Imatges de pÓgina

unintelligible. And we are ready to invoke Oedipus, to come and explain the enigmatic passages. But we pass over the obscure erprefrons, and also the false language, in order to mark more fully some contradictions and some absurdities.

“ Mahomet placed himself, with Abubeker, on a throne or pulpit." So says the text. But what adds the note? “ The place, to which Mahomet retired during the action, is styled by Gagnierumbraculum, une loge de bois avec une porte. The same Arabic word is rendered by Reilke, -by folium, Juggeftus editior; and the difference is of the utmost moment, for the honour both of the interpreter and the hero." Yet without settling, or attempting to settle, by arguments in the note, this “ diffi rence of the utmost moment;" Ms. Gibbon has decided it without any argument in the text, and fixed it to be “ a throne or pulpit.” And then the note comes to decide against this decision, to intimate the place may be some shed or cabin of wood, and to say that Mabomet “ retired” to it during the action.

• Text. The “ dream of a nocturnal journey is seriously defcribed, as a real and corporeal transaction." Note. “The nocturnal journey is circumftantially related by Abulfeda,—who quipes to think it a vifion.--Yet the Koran, without naming ei. ther heaven, or Jerusalem, or Mecca, has only dropt a mysterioos hint, laus illi qui tranfulit fervum fum ab oratorio Haram ad oratorium remo:illimum.- A slender basis for the aerial structure of tradition!" Mr. Gibbon firit makes the journey to be a dream. He then refers to Abulfeda, who makes it a reali'y; circumstantially relating it, and only withing, from the gross absurdity, to resolve it (if he could) into a dream. And he next produces a passage from the Koran, which news it decisively to be a reality. He produces it in confirmatien of the text, and in evidence of its being a dream. Yet it proves it not to be a dream, in the plainest manner. The passage praises God, for translating his servant from the oratory Haram, &c.; " tranftulit fervum fuum ab oratoria

Haram,&c. And Mr. Gibbon, who says the Koran mentions not Mecca, is deceived by his inattention; the “ oratorium Hasam" being the temple of Mecca, which is called in Arabic Mal. jad al Haram, or simply Al Haram and Haram, the sacred temple; and Mr. Gibbon himself accordingly carrying Mahomet in the text, from the” very

temple of Mecca.” In cach instance, the contradiction and the absurdity must be placed to the account of the Reviewer. Mr. Gibbon, in the first, prefers the translation of Reiske, but points out in the note the different version of Gagnier, telling his readers, ironically, for joining 'interpreter' to 'hero,' sufficiently points out the irony to any one but an anti-philosopher, that it is a controversy of the utmost moment. Mr, Whitaker was pro7

bably bably calculating the ratio of the accelerative forces of falling bodies. To the fecond criticifm we scarcely know how to reply. Did not our author know, that an idle story is commonly called a dream, and is a dream, circumftantially related, a reality?' The temple of Mecca was emphatically called Masjad al Haram, but Mecca is certainly not mentioned, and only by a doubtful implication pointed out.

We shall add the following short remark, as an instance of a new kind of criticism, not unfrequent in this volume, where every note, it is supposed, muft neceffarily be a confirmation of the text. The notes of Mr. Gibbon are undoubtedly intended sometimes to show, that his opinion is not the universal one, and to mark exceptions as well as authorities.

Contraditions. Text. « The Hungarian language-bears a close and clear affinity to the idioms of the Fennic race.” Note. I read in the learned Bayer –, that although the Huvgarian bas adopted many Fennic words (innumeras voces), it effentially differs, toto genio et naturâ.Where then is, or where can be, the “ close and clear affinity," in it “ to the idioms of the Fennic race;" when “ the whole genius and nature" of obat is “ essentially” different from sbispo Again,

" The northern monarchs of Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, and Poland, were yet strangers to the passions and interests of the south.” Note. The author of the Esprit des Croisades has doubted, and might have disbelieved, the crusade and tragic death of prince Sueno, with 1500 or 15000 Danes, who was cut off by sultan Soliman in Cappadocia, but who still lives in the poem of Taffo (tom. iv. p. 111-115).” Yet Mr. Gibbon in a distant page inconsistently says, that there were in the crusade “ bands of adventurers from Spain, Lombardy, and England; and from the distant bogs and mountains of Ireland or Scotland, issued some naked and savage fanatics, ferocious at home but unwarlike abroad.” Note says, that William of Malmesbury exprefly mentions the Wells and Scots, &c.” and that Guibert notes " Scotorum, apud fe ferocium, alias imbellium, cuneos," where the crus inte&tum and hispida chlamys may suit the Highlanders, but the finibus uliginofis may rather apply to the Irish bogs.' The Scotch of Guibert may seem to be the Irish only, from the “ finibus uliginosis.” Nor would the dress be any argument to the contrary. The Irish at this period wore the same dress with the Highland-, ers. But the Scoti of Guibert are what their name imports, the present inhabitants of Scotland, and the same 'with the Scots of, Malmesbury. And it was then as common with foreigners, to discriminate Scotland by its bogs, as it now is with ourselves to


denote Ireland. This is evident from the circular letter of Fre, derick emperor of Germany, to the nations around ; on the wild irruptions of the Tartars. It is in M. Paris, p. 498, and is quoted by Mr. Gibbon himself in p. 304. There the writer speaks of « cruenta Hybernia cum agili Walliâ, paluftrii Scotia,&c. And, as Mr. Gibbon might have saved at once the uncertainty and the contradiction, by stating the truth ; so he should never have run into the new contradiction, of asserting those to be “ naked” in the text, whom he covers with a rough mantle,“ hispida chlamys," in the note. This is bringing back that poetical bull of Blackmore's, which (I understand) is supprefed in the late edition or editions of the poem;

A painted veft prince Vortiger had on,

Which from a naked Pict his grandfire won.' The note is much longer, but not greatly varied in argument. What does this accusation amount to ? The hiltorian had said, in the text, that the northern monarchs knew little of the passions and interests of the south, for they led no bands to the crusades. This decisive language shows, that, like the author of the Esprit de Croisades, he doubts or disbelieves the supposed expedition of Suevo, a Norman king, at the head of a numerous body of Danes and Norwegians. Where then is the inconsistency in faying, that some bands of adventurers from either country, may have been in the armies of other nations ? Such there undoubtedly were, of whom the monarchs knew nothing, and by whom they could not be instructed in the passions and interests of the south. The distinction between these bands and the national troops is sufficiently pointed out by the mention of England and Lombardy, who sent regular armies. Mr. Gibbon too leaves it in doubt, whether the Scotorum cuneos' refers to the ancient or modern Scotia ; and we scarcely expected to see an emperor of Germany, in an age of barbarism and ignorance, quoted for an exact picturesque distinction of a country, of which they scarcely knew with accuracy the name.

Of Mr. Gibbon's language, and of some of his faults, we have formerly spoken with lufficient freedom. His language will never recommend him to the inattentive, unreflecting reader, for it requires often minute investigation, and a mind alive to its apparent and its hidden meaning. We mean not to say that this is an excellence; but if it be a fault, we have reafon to think it a premeditated and intended one. Of our author's criticisms on it, we cannot speak highly; and indeed of Mr. Whitaker's errors we were unwilling to speak at all ; but our duty to the public, and a little regard to our own credit, prevented us from being wholly filent. If the historian of


the Roman empire had been guilty of half the faults included in this enormous list of errors, we must appear to have acted with a culpable partiality, in speaking of him with so much respect in our own Journal.

The Works of John Whitchursi, F. R. S. With Memoirs of his Life and Writings. 460.

11. is. Boards. Bent. 1791. OUR author's works were not numerous ; and we find in

this collection very little, except the valuable treatise on the 'original State anú Formation of the Earth,' which we have repeatedly noticed. From a short Life prefixed, we fee that Mr. Whitehurst was the son of a watchmaker at Congleton, in Cheshire: his ingenuity was early excited by the numerous machines at Derby, and other places in his neighbourhood; and in the latter town, the capital of its county, he was, for a time, settled with considerable reputation as a clock and watchmaker. He removed to London in 1775, on being appointed stamper of the money-weights, in consequence of the act for the regulation of the gold coin, leaving his native country to regret the loss of a man who had been useful in many different branches of practical philosophy. His principal work was first published in 1778, and again in 1786, with numerous additions, and in a more polished style, which, in the opinion of many, detracted from the unadorned simplicity fo preposfefling in the first edition.

In 1779 he was chosen a member of the Royal Society, an honour which was followed by a similar attention from other bodies; and in 1787, published his tract on the means of obtaining invariable Measures of Length, Capacity, and Weight, from the Mensuration of Time. Of this attempt we have Lately given some account, and shall, in the conclufion of this article, enlarge on it a little farther.

• Though Mr. Whitehorft for several years felt himself gradually declining, yet his ever active mind remitted not of its accustomed exertions. Even in his last illness, before being confined entirely to his chamber, he was proceeding at intervals to com. plete a Treatise on Chimnies, Ventilation, and the construction of Garden-stoves, announced to the public in 1782, and containing, 1. Some account of the properties of air, and the laws of fluids. 2. Their application and use in a variety of cafes relative to the conftruétion of chimnies, and the removal of such defects as occafion old chimnies to smoke. 3. Modes of ventilating elegant Tooms without any visible appearance or deformity ; calculated for the preservation of pictures, prints, furniture, and fine cielings, from the pernicious effets of flagnant air, the smoke of candles,


&c. 4. Methods of ventilating counting-houses and workshops, where many people, candles, or lamps, are employed : likewise hospitals, jails, fiables, &c. 5. A philosophical enquiry into the construction of garden-stoves, employed in the culture of exotic plants. 6. A description of some other devices tending to promote the health and comfort of human life.—The manuscripts and drawings, since his death, have been in the hands of several of his friends, but not one of the articles is found sufficiently perfect for publication; and it is supposed, that in burning several papers during his last illness, he inadvertently deltroyed part of the fair transcripts instead of the rough copies.'

He died of a repelled gout, Feb. 18, 1788, in the seventyfifth year of his age.

To say nothing of the uprightness and punctuality of his dealings in all transactions relative to business; few men have been known to possess more benevolent affections than he, or, being possessed of such, to direct them more judiciousy to their proper ends. He was a philanthropist in the truest sense of that word. Every thing tending to the good of his kind he was on all occafions, and particularly in cases of distrels, zealous to forward, considering nothing foreign to him as a man thatr clates to man. Though well known to many of the great, to whose good graces flattery has been found in general the readiest path, it is to be recorded to his honour, that he never once stooped to that degrading mode of obtaining favour, which he regarded as the lowest vice of the lowest mind. He had indeed a settled abhorrence, not of flattery only, but of every other deviation from truth, at whose thrine he may be said to have been a constant worshipper. The truth of these things he was daily more or less employed in investigating, and truth of action he exemplified in the whole tenor of a long, laborious, and fingularly useful life.

• As to his person, he was somewhat' above the middle stature, rather thin than otherwise, and of a countenance expressive at once of penetration and mildness. His fine grey locks, unpolluted by art, gave a venerable air to his whole appearance. In dress he was plain, in diet temperate, in his general intercourse with mankind easy and obliging. In company he was chearful or grave alike, according to the dictate of the occasion; with now and then a peculiar species of humour about him, delivered with such gravity of manner and utterance, that those who knew him but Nightly were apt to understand him as serious, when he was merely playful. Where any delire of information on fubjects in which he was conversant was expressed, he omitted no opportunity of imparting it. But he never affected, after the manner of some, to know what he did not know. Considering all useful learning to lie in a narrow compass, and having little relil for the ornamental,


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