Imatges de pàgina
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the unnecessary articles of luxury, intended to defray a public and neceffary charge, which they create. This would ftill be of inuch greater service, not only to the public in general, but to every individual in the kingdom, as it appears to be the only probable, if not possible, method of reducing the prefent, and preventing the future much higher price of provifions, which is so loudly complained of by all, and severely felt by many. Such a tax and bounty would, in a word, relieve the distresses of thousands, give bread to the poor, and plenty to the rich; would increase the numbers of people in the nation, enlarge the agriculture of the kingdom, and save its trade from de. clining, its manufactures from decaying, and the nation from ruin.'

The second part of this interesting work treats of the agriculture, Itaple commodities, population, and trade of NorthAmerica, so as to render them equally beneficial to the colonies and their mother country. He proves the necessity of colonies in North-America to Great-Britain, and that they form three different countries; and yet he afterwards fays, that from a hundred and fifty years experience it appears, that the northern colonies produce nothing wanted in Great-Britain. Our limits will not permit us to give this author's ingenious arguments in fupport of this paradox. He tells us, that the middle colonies are worn out in producing tobacco; that they must be converted into corn and pasture grounds; and that we fall foon want a supply of lands for tobacco, as much as for any other production of North-America, The third division of our colonies comprehends Canada, NovaScotia, Georgia, East and West Florida, the territories of the Ohio and Miffiflippi. · The author shews how our settlements may be extended, and thinks, that their being enabled to cultivate a few ftaple commodities, would govern them much better than all the laws and regulations ever proposed. He obferves, that so long as they produce nothing wanted in GreatBritain, they can never live under her government without great complaints on both sides. He next treats of the proper

settlement of the colonies, the ways of securing and rendering them a benefit to this nation. He points out the methods, of preserving their dependence, of improving their agriculture, of removing the obstacles to that improvement, and various other matters, the enumeration of which would (well this article to an immoderate length.

In the third part the author discusses the present state and regulations of the colonies; their produce ; annual income ; condition and circumstances; inability to pay taxes; difadvantages of their taxes to Great Britain ; impropriety of the

late

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late regulations; of the stamp-act; causes and consequences of these regulations; the defence and security of the colonies. He thinks, that with a proper attention half a million might be saved, and as much more gained ; that colonies can only be taxed in staple commodities ; and concludes the whole with shewing the consequences of the late taxes and repealing them. He flights the acquisitions of Canada and Cape Breton, the former of which he advises to be dismantled and evacuated ; and declares himself of opinion, that Crown-Point and Niagara 'would have secured our colonies both from the Indians and the -French, even while the latter were in posseslion of Canada.

As we do not pretend to be judges of commercial and colonial matters, we can only say, that the experiment of enabling the Americans to pay their taxes in staple commodities, which seems to be the capiial point aimed at by the author, appears to be dangerous, if such commodities Tould interfere with those of the mother-country. However, we will venture to pronounce, that the writer understands his subject, and fupports his reasoning with a number of quotations and calculations that appear to us equally fair and accurate.

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IV. Lexiphanes, a Dialogue. Imitated from Lucian, and suited to

the present Times. With a Dedication to Lord I.yttleton, a Preface, Notes, and Poffcript. Being an attempt to restore the English Tongue to its Ancient Purity, and to correct, as well as expose, the affected Style, hard Words, and absurd Phraseology of many late Writers, and particularly of our English Lexiphanes, the Rambler. 8vo. Pr. 35. Knox.

E W books have been more admired and applauded than

the Rambler. By some writers that work is called “ an excellent performance 2 ;" and by others it is said to "i exceed every thing of the kind, which has been published in this kingdom But the author of this Dialogue is of a differ

ent opinion, and speaks of the writings of Dr. Jn in this contemptuous manner : *I had seen his volumes on a bookseller's counter, or a friend's table, and had sometimes taken them up with an intention to peruse á paper or so, but was never able to go through the talk; for being presently disgufted with the pedarary and affectation in every page; I could not help throwing them down with a contempt and indignation, which, perhaps, the defects of the language excepted, might

· Monthly Review, Warton's Essay on the Writings and Genius of Mr. Pope. b Student, vol. ii p. 3.

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be very undeserved. At last, during a long voyage at sea, when I had access to no other English books but what I had been long acquainted and very familiar with, excepting the Ramblers, which happened accidentally to be on board, in order to divert the idle and solitary hours unavoidable in that sort of life, I was in a manner obliged to read them, which accordingly I did with great care and attention. I immediately per: ceived, and was very forcibly struck with the strong resemblance there subfifts between Mr. J-n's character, and that of the Limousin fcholar in Rabelais, and of Lexiphanes in Lucian. And I concluded, that an imitation of the latter would be admirably well suited to expose that falfe taste and ridiculous manner of writing; and that it might also be of emipent use to letters, by decrying that absurd Lexiphanick stile, which from the great and universal reputation this pedant enjoyed, I reasonably imagined had became fashionable among us, and might, in a short time, bring an entire decline and corruption, nay, a total alteration of our language, as had been the case with the Roman tongue under the emperors.

! Therefore, as soon as I had an opportunity, I set about the following work with all the diligence and application I was master of. In the course of it, besides Mr. Jn's, I carefully perused, it may safely be faid, for the first time, what other modern writings came in my way; and I generally found them more or less Lexiphanick in proportion to the Mare of fame and reputation their several authors enjoyed.'

The stile of some of our late writers, we confess, is very justly censured by the author of this Dialogue. But we can not allow, that Lexiphanicism is the characteristic of the age.' We have innumerable writers whose language is easy, natural, and unaffected. Hard words and turgid exprefsions are generally exploded. No writer in this age attempts to use the stile of Sir Thomas Browne. The English language has received great improvement fince the beginning of this century. Yet this work is not unseasonable. It is written with acute. ness and spirit ; and may be attended with a good effect. The Rambler, the Elements of Criticism, Night Thoughts, Pleafures of Imagination, Centaur not Fabulous, Warton's Essay on the Wrirings and Genius of Mr. Pope, and other late productions, have furnithed the author with a great variety of Lexiphanic expressions.

The plan is taken from Lucian. Lexiphanes and the critic meet. After some compliments passed between them, Lexiphanes rehearses his rhapsody. It contains a rant about hilarity and a gasret ; Oroonoko's adventure with a soldier ; his own journey to Highgate, and adventures there on the road ; his re

turn

turn to London, and lawsuit about his horse ; his walk to Chelsea, where he plays at skittles ; his being frightened by a calf on his return, which he mistakes for the Cock lane ghoft; his amours and disappointinents at a bagnio.

Our readers will be able to form a notion of the manner in which this writer has ridiculed the stile of Lexiphanes, by the following extracts.

* I had no sooner effused this ejaculation to Hypertatus, than Mifocapelus, Hermeticus, Hymenæus, Captator, Eubulus, and Quifquilius o came up and d conjoined us. It was impossible for me not to succuinbe under the conjunct importunities of fo many illustrious associates, who all fimultaneoufly fobfecrated me to accompany them in an ambulatory project to the wakeful harbinger of day 8 at Chelsea, and there to recreate and invigorate our powers with buns, convivial ale, and a sober erratick game at fkittles. At length I adhibited my comfent, though with an extremity of reluctance, owing to the impla: cability of the pain of my fundamental excoriations, which were fo highly exafperated by the adhesions of my everlasting thickfets, that despair grasped my agonizing borom, and ! dreaded their termination in a fiftula. But the pleasing powers į and grateful honours of their conversation, and above all, converting my thoughts to the ambition of aerial crowns,

And superlunary felicities, k obtunded the acrimony of my dolorous situation,

* Mifocapelus' had paffed his officinal state behind the counter of a haberdasher ; he had applied all his powers to the knowledge of his trade, so that he quickly became a critick in fmall wares, and a fkilful contriver of new mixtures of colorifick variety. In the fourth year of his officinalihip he paid a visit to his rural friends, where he expected to be cons fulted as a master of pecuniary knowledge, and oracle of the mode. But, unhappily, a colonel of the guards, with a carelefs gaiety and unceremonious civility ; and a student of the Temple, with less attraction of mien, but greater powers of elocution, fo abstracted all his auditors whilft he was exhaufting his descriptive powers in a minute representation of a lord mayor's triumphal solemnity, that thenceforth he could exhibit no other proofs of his existence, than naming the toast in

• Characters or correspondents of our author in the Rambler.

d Elements of Criticism. e Robertson. f Hume. 8 In English the sign of the Cock. h Occasioned by his journey to Highgate. Akenfide.

k Night Thoughts. See Milocapelus's Letters in the Rambler, No. 116, 173.

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kis turn. After the death of his elder brother, who died of drunken joy, he commenced gentleman, but with great infelicity of attempt. For with a double quantity of lace, on his coat, a forbidding frown, a smile of condescenfion, a flight falutation, an abrupt departure, and a vertiginous motion on his heel with much levity and sprightliness, he has not attained his resolution of dazzling intinacy to a fitter distance, or inhibiting its approaches with its usual phrases of benevolence. He has had succelive circumrotations through the characters of squire, critick, gamester, and foxhunter, but has at last degenerated into that of a taylor; in which capacity he has been recommended to all her numerous circle of acquaintance, by the mischievous generosity of Ferocula, whom he once assisted, in the presence of hundreds, in an altercation for fix-pence with a hackney coachman.

• Eubulus is now labouring in the wheel of anxious dependance. His uncle, who supplied him with exuberance of money, and maintained him in pecuniary impudence that he might learn to become his dignity when he Thould be made Lord Chancellor, which he ofçen lamented that the increase of his imbecillities and his decrepitude was very likely to preclude him from seeing, had frequently harrassed him with monitory letters. But Eubulus at last resolved to teach young men in what manner grey-bearded insolence ought to be treated. He therefore, one evening, took his pen in hand, and after having rouzed his powers to a due state of animation with a catch, wrote a general answer to all his monitions with fuch vivacity of turn, such elegancy of irony, and such asperity of farcasm, that he convulsed a large company with universal laughter, kindled up an undistinguished blaze of merriment, raised an unintermitted stream of jocularity, difturbed the whole neighbourhood with vociferations of applause, and five days afterwards was answered, that he must be content. to live upon his

own estate.'

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Lexiphanes, having drawn the characters of all his companions in this pompous manner, thus resumes the history of his adventures :

Such were my convivial associates; and while we continued our viatorial progression through the royal perambulations, we fortuitoufly occurred that celestial meditant Mr. James Hervey, in whom exuberance of magnanimous sentiment and ebollition of genius are so fignally, constellated. Our occurrerice was near the gate heretofore denominated from a nobleman on

im Ramb. No. 129.

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