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Travelling Memorandums made in a Tour upon the Continent of
Europe in the Years 1786, 87 and 88. By the Hon. Lord
Gardenstone. 8vo. 35. Robinsons. 1791. A Judicious and attentive traveller will discover in the most
cursory progress something which may interest or instruct. Lord Gardenstone's defultory observations, though confined too often for a general reader to the merits of different inns, contain many remarks of importance. His manner is agreeable : mild, affable, willing to be pleased, he feldom displeases his readers. It may be attributed to national partiality that our author praises the travels of Dr. Smollett. We confess that our predecessor in this Journal seldom appears in an agreeable light, in his different tours: the sombre hue of disappointment, or the jaundiced eye of prejudice, seems sometimes to colour his prospects. But these are the effects of circumstances, not the errors of the man; and do not really fully his character. He might have said vix ea nostra voco; and the advocate of lord Gardenstone will not pronounce him faultless. On subjects of taste, at least so far as regards English authors, we find much room to differ from the learned judge. In the folJowing passage we think that we discover a series of errors, which need not be particularly pointed out.
• The long continued fame and prosperity of the city (Mar. feilles) is, I think, juftly ascribed, in a great measure, to the established form of government..-The admirers of Mr. Pope, a numerous class both of males and females, are very apt to quote these lines as excellent ;
• For forms of government let fools contest,
Whate'er is beft adminifter'd is beft.' The lines, however, are trivial and bad, both in poetry and sense.—Pope owes his exceflive reputation more to harmony and smoothness of rhyme than to the extraordinary force of genius and soundness of judgment, which are found in the works of our truly great poets Shakespeare, Milton, Butler, and Dryden. Superficial beauty, however, has always many admirers.- I repeat again, that the poetry of these lines is trivial, and the opinion expressed in them is even grossly false.- A well contrived and judicious form of government, in the societies of mankind, has ever been productive of falutary and permanent administration. The greatest characters exhibited in the whole history of the world are those who have instituted wise forms of government, or those who have hazarded, and, in many instances, have sacrificed their lives and fortunes for preservation of good, or reformation of bad forms. These great men are'termed fools by Mr. Pope —Butler, a better, though not so thriving a poet, conveys much sente in a fingle line ;- he says,
No argument like matter of fact is. I think it is impoflible to contest this general position in fa&;
That, under free and republican governments, the societies of mankind have been more intelligent, more prosperous, happy, and famous, than under monarchies;" --- I mean absolute monarchjes.- Indeed, a total subjection to unlimited power, under one race or family, can with no propriety be denominated a form of government.--The Greeks and Romans most juftly termed this mode of government tyranny, and its subjects barbarians.-Learning, laws, and arts, appearing under monarchies, have ever been derived from free states; the influence of their vicinity, in all ages, restrained and moderated the most intolerable excesses of despotism.-It seems easy to demonstrate, that, if no free and 'well constituted forms of government had ever been established, the world, to this day, would have continued in a general state of total ignorance and barbarity. British government has much of the republic in its constitution ; one real evidence of which is, that, in fact, men of extraordinary abilities, and experimental knowledge in state affairs, can raise themselves to power and administration by dint of popular eiteem and favour, in opposition to the will of kings, and the interest of courtiers.—The government of France is not deli otic, though the limits of the sovereign power are not yet defined and fixed, which was truly the state of Britain before the revolution.'
Some of the remarks on Shakspeare, particularly on the injudicious attempts of his successórs in the drama to alter his plays, and on the absurdities of commentators, are very just. The following remark we leave without a comment. We think it new, and we believe it to be correct.
• Shakespeare's low characters have so curious and so perfect a resemblance to nature, that they must always please, as I have observed, like master-pieces in painting; and moreover, they never fail to illustrate and endear the great characters. - Take away the odd, humorous, natural, characters and scenes of Fal. Haff, Poins, Bardolph, Pistol, Mrs Quickly, &c. io his two plays of Henry the IV. and particularly the common soldier Williams, in his play of Henry the V., and I venture to affirm, that you at once extinguish more than one half of our cordial esteem and admiration of that favourite hero. In the same mariner, expunge from the play of Julius Cæsar the representation of a giddy, fickle, and degenerate Roman mob, and you diminish in a very great degree, our estimation of the two noble republican characters, - the honest, fincere, philosophical Brutus, and his brave, able, and ambitious friend Caffius. The just admirers, and frequent readers of Shakespeare, will, on their own reflections, and without farther explanation, find that these observations, though,
as far as I know, they are new, are clearly applicable to every one of his plays, in which low characters are introduced.'
We may observe, also, that one or two of the translations of the French passages are incorrect, but this is certainly owing to inadvertence; and what perhaps is more unpleasing, many of the names of places, &c. are incorrectly spelt, by adhering too closely to vulgar pronunciation. "Bulleruck,' Doufing,' Franch County,' &c. are intances of this kind; and, if lord Gardenstone felt properly the disagreeable effect of such pronunciations in conversation, he would have guarded against that degree of disgust which must neceffarily be felt in words written
conformably to it. We shall return to a more pleasing talk, that of selecting fome observations and facts of importance. As democratic violence has so lately attacked the abbe Raynal, with unexampled severity, we may add our traveller's opinion of this celebrated man, drawn from his own observation.
I had also the good fortune here to be further acquainted with the celebrated abbé Raynal. --At the age of seventy-four, he has, for some years, lived with an extraordinary abftinence of diet.-He drinks no fermented liquors, and subfifts altogether on cow's milk and bread; by this regimen he enjoys perfe& health and high spirits ; he talks incessantly, but is conitantly entertaining, often instructive ; and, in conversation, he expresses himself with the same propriety and perfpicuity as he does in his writings.'
As a specimen of our author's defcriptive talents, we thall select a part of the account of Montpelier.
• Montpelier has a very pleasant situation, on a rising ground, surrounded by an extensive, and for most part, fertile plain, within fight of the Mediterranean.--The air is uncommonly pure and sharp ;-hurtful in consumptive cases, but falutary to weak nerves, so I find it agrees with my constitution :- though for an extraordinary continuance of near three weeks, the wea. ther has been very cold, and the menftral' winds blow very high. The states of Languedoc assemble here in winter ; when, I am told, the most noble and opulent families maintain an elegant and exemplary hospitality, without excess either in luxury or play. The provisions are good and plentiful, but generally dear; fresh and good filh of all kinds, particularly the rouger, sole, and turbot, sell at very high prices. The states are not inatten. tive to the prosperity and interest of this great province ;-yet they have hitherto failed to establish proper rules and regulations for the improvement of their fisheries, which are very ill-managed.-Their university long poffeffed great reputation, especially in the medical line. They are allowed to use the king's gardens, which are extensive, though neither beautiful nor richly locked with botanical plants. In this garden was fecretely buried Narcissa, on whose death Young raves with all the romantie wildness of poetical phrenzy in his Night Thoughts. The spot, a little gloomy grove, is known;- I saw it; it is indeed a doleful fhade.- Some generous and liberal minded French persons of diItinction lately made a contribution to erect a monumental toirb over this buria!-place. - The proposal has occafior d serious con. celts, not yet settled. The orthodox are greatly offended that such a monument should be erected over uahallowed ground, and to the memory of a heretical girl. - The two grand walks, the Esplenade, and the Pera, are juilly admired as the finest in France; and the adjoining great aqueduct makes, as I think, a magnifia cent appearance, though it is a modern work, and though my friend Smollet peevithly treats it with contempt.-The perfumes and liqueurs which are made here are highly esteemed all over Europe, and are the itaple branch of their com inerce.'
We can only find room for the description of the granary at Geneva ; to the political observer an object of the highest importance.
• We this day faw, and I deliberately surveyed the greatest public granary in this city. It is a very large old building of fix stories.-Every story forms one apartment for grain ungrinded only, because meal or grinded grain can by no means be long prelerved–The dimensions of each apartment are the same in length about thirty-fix of my paces by twenty-four in breadthand about nine feet in height.-To support the great extent of floor, and such a weight of grain, there are very large and folid wooden pillars, through every apartment from top to bottomThere are six rows of these pillars, and nine pillars in every row; the distance of one pillar from another is fix of my paces — The grain is monly wheat purchased fome times from different parts of France, very much from Franch County, a fertile territory not very far diftant.- Thoy also import, occasionally, large quantities from Barbary, and from Sardinia. The lowest fat of this granary is stored with as much grain as can be packed or heaped in it, and the quantity is gradually diminished as they rise to the upper stories, for the obvious purpose of saving labour and ex"pence.Every apartment has many windows which are opened in dry u eacher, for the beneht of ventilation - Before they lodge the griin, it is moderately and skilfully kiln-dryed, yet while it contin des vew, it must be turned over, at leaft once in cwency days, --When this practice has been continued, till the grain becomes fufficiendly firm and quite dry, generally in two years, it is rarely neceföry.to turn it any more. --By this method of management,
they have experience of preserving the grain in perfect soundness for many years, and they have no doubt that it may be so preferved even for a century.--When I saw this granary, the lowest apartment was full of wheat from Barbary. It is a very fine large grain, and they say it makes excellent bread. I had hopes of obtaining a collection of the laws, regulations and economy, by which the public granaries are here rendered effe&tual means of reftraining monopolies, moderating the markets, and preventing the calamities of scarcity, or excessive prices for bread.'
The last part of the volume relates to the history of Lawrence Kirk, a village raised and peopled by the judicious regulations of lord Gardenstone. Whatever
be his defects as an author, his good conduct in this respect will raise his name very high in the important rank of benevolent patriots.
The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D. comprchending an Account
of his Studies and numerous Works, in Chronological Order ; A Series of his Epistolary Correspondence and Conversations with many eminent Persons s and various Original Pieces of his Composition, never before published.
(Concluded from Vol. III. New Arrang: p. 268.) I? T is more than once the subject of Mr. Boswell's complaint
in these volumes, that he has been unable to express Dr. Johnson's sentiments with sufficient force, or to carry that conviction by the argument in writing which Johnson seemed to do in conversation. Our modern Xenophon is not aware of the source or the extent of his observation. Of the impression made in conversation, much is owing to the circumstances, the temper of the speakers and the hearers; much depends on manner, and something on novelty. Mr. Boswell was always ready to admire; and he has carried his admiration to a length frequently ridiculous, by retailing opinions trite, trifling, or false. The numerous instances which he has recorded of Johnson's unreasonable severity, his uncandid churlishness, and deficiency in fcientific knowledge, as well as of taste, render the anecdotes una pleafing; nor can we pardon those who swelled the importance of one man, eftimable and able in many respects, till he became dictator in subjects which he could neither feel, underAtand, nor judge of. Novelty adds to the force of an obfera vation, and it is necessary to return to a work of this kind, after some interval, to appreciate it truly. Accident has, in this way, done more than delign: when the first impressions were worn away, and we returned to a talk which had by chance been interrupted and suspended, we felt the force of Mr. Bofwell's
C.R. N. AR.(IV.) March, 1792. T remark: