Imatges de pàgina

which, as they grow up, produce envy, jealousy, and a perpetual recurrence of strife. Their youth is thus made a scene of displacency and discontent; than which nothing can be more inimical to the feelings of benevolence.

• If the injury done to the rest of her offspring make a slight im. pression on the mother's heart, the injury done to the favourite by her ill-judged partiality is surely worthy her attention. Let the partial mother consider, that she is not only perverting the heart of her beloved darling by the introduction of all the passions connected with pride and arrogance, but, by rendering him an object of jealousy and envy, is begetting towards him the hatred and aversion of those to whom in after life he ought naturally to look for solace and supe' port; that she may be the means of depriving his youth of the blessings of fraternal affection, and his old age of the consolations of fraternal sympathy.

• Nor is it the affection and good-will of his own family alone of which she robs him. No one can regard a spoiled child but with feelings of dislike. The faults which good-nature would overlook, the blemishes which compassion would regard with tenderness, be. come odious and revolting, when seen in the object of blind and doting partiality. Can a mother compensate by her endearments for thus depriving ḥer child of the good-will of brothers, sisters, relations, and friends ? P. 218.

The prejudices respecting the different sexes lead the author into a very pleasing disquisition on the treatment of women in different ages and countries. The servile state of the sex among less civilised nations is contrasted with the dignity of mind derived from example, and the splendid actions of their ancestors in Rome; but under the Christian dispensation only are women made the companions, the equals, of man.. No man of sense will hold a well-educated woman in contempt. She only merits it when aiming at accomplishments .unsuited to her station, and at talents which nature had denied. : We do not by this mean to enlist into the ridiculous band which allows women no talents. They possess in general an elegance, and often an elevation of sentiment, which renders them capable, in many instances, of instructing and directing their husbands; but they do not naturally possess that strength of judgement, that force of mind, competent to adapt them to the more important, the more abstracted, intellectual functions. We now speak in general ; for we well know that, even in those points, many women excel multitudes of men. We are aware that strong examples might be adduced. To these, nevertheless, we think we could reply with success; and women of reason and good sense have uniformly admitted the distinction. Why may not each be allowed the pre-eminence in opposite and respective lines? Each sex has its peculiar qualifications and duties : in its peculiar offices each has equal merit. Miss Hamilton, however, shows a deficiency of experience, when she thinks that the distinction of girls and boys is not early to be recognised in their amusements. Where many of each sex are brought up together, they in some measure assimilate in their inclinations and diversions ; but yet they are different. It wants not the example of girls to give boys delicacy: it is often observable very early, and seems an inherent disposition, not easily eradicated. In one family we have uniformly traced its appearance from two years old. '

The eleventh letter is on the use to be made of objects of sense in infánt education.' It contains many judicious observations, which are not however very closely connected with the title. The twelfth is ‘on associations inspiring the love of wealth. On this subject it is not easy to speak in general; for much must depend on the temper of the child. If the object be only to convince him that splendor is not necessarily connected with goodness, or even intellectual pre-eminence, the attempt is laudable ; but it is difficult to say how to regu-, late the infant mind, either in saving or spending. In general, we have said that avarice, a species of selfishness, is one of the most fatal diseases of the infant mind : it is however uncommon, and, in endeavouring to prevent it, we may inspire a thoughtless indifference to money, which may be equally in-, jurious to happiness. Every thing of this kind must be relative.--In the thirteenth letter, some supposed or real objections are answered; but it is still difficult to draw the line. The influence of riches and honours, as a stimulus to industry, may be beneficial; yet, at this early period, the object is at too great a distance, and its value is too little known, to produce a powerful effect. We would tell a boy, placed under our care, that superior knowledge would make him a great man; but would always add, that it would most certainly make him a'. happy one; and we would keep riches out of his sight, except as, by proper use, the means of happiness. To a boy of an aspiring disposition, distinction is a stronger stimulus than wealth. The remarks on the love of glory, of praise, of dress and admiration,' are of inferior value. Miss Hamilton has not, in our opinion, selsed the proper point of view :-indeed any observation of importance belongs to a riper age than that to which these letters in general relate.

The last letter is entitled ' a review of principles, family pride, self-importance, and children's books. It furnishes no particular subject of remark. On the whole, 'these Letters will be found highly interesting and useful to the parent who wishes to discharge her duty. We have differed in some instances from the author's opinion, but have not found a. single prccept inconsistent with delicacy, decorum, or religion.

Iniswerediches and behis early her little kinder under our but

beneficial; yet, nad its value is ta boy, placed ureat man, but

Every remark is entitled to much deference; and if every onę may not be perfectly applicable to the subject, there is nothing but what reflects considerable credit on the head and heart of the fair writer,

Art. X.-Life of Bonaparte, First Consul of France, from his

Birth to the Peace of Luneville. To which is added, an Account of bis remarkable Actions, Replies, Speeches, and Traits of Character; with Anecdotes of his different Campaigns. Translated from the French. 8vo. 8s. Boards. Robinsons. 1802. :

THIS publication might be entitled an Eloge, or Eulogy, on! Bonaparte, rather than a Life of him ; for though it contains a vast number of interesting facts, every thing is studiously concealed which might cast a shade on his character. In France, however, no other style of painting their hero would have satisfied the public ; and indeed some excuse may be made for a writer who is describing a character surrounded by such a blaze of intrinsic greatness. He has introduced the principal anecdotes that have been recorded of the first consul's life: and me moirs, which would necessarily be interesting under any mode of compilation, by no means suffer in the hands of the biographer before us, who, with the graces of the French style, combines that peculiar species of narration which renders his coun. trymen in general as successful in the relation of anecdotes as they have lately been in the operations of war.

We know little of the early years of Bonaparte. He was born at Ajaccio, in Corsica, on the 15th of August, 1769, whence he was transplanted to the military school of Brienne, in Champagne. Here he is said to have discovered the germs of that fixed and determined character which, in contracted minds, is usually denominated sullenness or obstinacy, and magnanimity in those of an opposite cast. He studied the art of war with the greatest attention; to which he joined the science of mathematics ; while the history of politics filled up his leisure hours. From Brienne he was transplanted to the military school at Paris; and we hear scarcely any thing of him till the siege of Toulon in 1793, at which time he was an officer (but we cannot learn of what rank) in a corps of artillery. His activity and good conduct recommended him here first to the notice of Barras, and he soon became a general of brigade. In this post we find him only full of plans and speculations, till the memorable 13th of Vendémiaire (4th of Oetober), which first brought him on the great theatre of the public. On this day he was second in command under Barras; and, instead of simply narrating, the author confines himself to the vindication

of the part he acted upon the occasion. This is unworthy of a biographer, though hastening to the brilliant periods of his hero's life, who was soon afterward appointed to the command of the army in Italy. The magnitude of his character now began to be developed.

• He was at the head of an army inferior to that of the enemy, ill clothed, and wanting every thing : he had treacherous allies, and a people ill disposed towards the French to deal with: he had rocks to surmount that are almost inaccessible; and numerous rivers, great and small, to cross : but he met firmly these difficulties, and overcame them all.' P. 27.

From victory to victory, his marches were rapid ; and every thing seemed to succeed exactly in the manner that he had planned it in his closet. His own genius alone led him on, and fired him to encounter superior troops, and all the boasted powers of wealth and rank,--in few words, every advantage, without which, inferior minds conceive that nothing is to be acquired. It is needless to say that those very advantages soon forsook the enemy, who bent, as it is said, to his superior for, tune. We cannot avoid transcribing, however, a single trait, to show that the general, who, after a hard day's battle, continued in the midst of his fellow-soldiers, anxious to alle viate their toils, deserved the fortune which was constantly his companion,

"On the night ensuing the long and dreadful battle of Arcola, Bonaparte disguised himself in the dress of an inferior officer, and traversed the camp. In the course of his round he discovered a sentinel, leaning on the but-end of his musket, in a profound sleep. Bonaparte, taking the musket from under him, placed his head gently on the ground, and kept watch for two hours in his stead, at the end of which the regular guard came to relieve him. On awaking, the soldier was astonished at seeing a young officer doing duty for him ;' but when, looking more attentively, he recognised in this officer the commander-in-chief, his astonishment was converted into terror. 6. The general !- Bonaparte :” he exclaimed; “ I am then undone !” Bonaparte, with the utmost gentleness, replied ; Not so, fellow-soldier : recover yourself : after so much fatigue, a brave man like you may be allowed for a while to sleep; but, in fu. ture, choose your time better.” P. 68. .

The first campaign, to the signature of the treaty of Leoben, is well narrated. The principal events pass in succession with, out too long a detail of military manquvres-the technical re, source of an inferior writer.

• At the signing of these preliminaries the emperor sent three of the principal nobility of his court as hostages. Bonaparte received them with every mark of distinction, invited them to dine with him, and at the dessert said to them, "Gentlemen, you are free : tell your master, that if his imperial word require a pledge, you cannot serve as such; and if it require none, that you ought not." This is in the true spirit of the ancients.' P. 90. i

Thus, a thousand years after its subjugation by Charles magne, the conquest of Italy was again achieved by Bonaparte. At Paris he was received with the most lively demonstrations of public gratitude; whence he was sent plenipotentiary to the congress at Rastadt. His Egyptian plan now fully occupied his mind; and, leaving the inferior details of office, he escaped that assassination, which civilised Europe, with all her pretended horrors for the atrocities of the French revolution, never held in the detestation which so base and wicked an attempt deserved. The plan was entrusted wholly to his management; and Malta was taken before the British cabinet had the least knowledge or conception to what quarter of the earth the victorious general would bend his course. Egypt was an easy conquest. The Mamelucs resisted with bravery; but they were soon overpowered by superior skill and superior valour. While proper arrangements were formed for securing the tranquillity of Egypt, the general prepared himself for his Asiatic expedition, the object of which is not to the present moment sushiciently explained. His usual success attended him; till, baffled by the vigor and skill of the British arms, he was compelled to retire from St. Jean d'Acre ; and his retreat was accompanied, we have reason to believe, with circumstances which do no honour to his character. Here a sad mist overspreads the eyes of our biographer: he casts a veil over English honour and English valour, and would endeavour to load our generous countrymen with the cruelty congenial to the Turkish character, and which it does not appear they had any means of preventing. He would make this expedition also successful. 7 Bonaparte saw the end of his expedition fulfilled :'-when it should rather have been said : Bonaparte, baffled in all his schemes in Asia, made a precipitate retreat into Africa.

The conqueror of Egypt was now in a situation which called for a vigorous display of his character; and, had not success crowned the results of a great mind, his fame must have been lost in a determination to quit his army, and to restore peace to · his distracted country. It is evident that fresh succours could never have arrived to him as long as we were masters of the seas; and the directory of France were too feeble to contest with us the superiority on what we have proudly denominated our own element. The general laid his plan with his usual prudence; and, taking with him only a few confidential friends, embarked on the 23d of August 1798, in a vessel prepared for the voyage, and on the first of October following landed at Ajaccio in Corsica. Here he was wind-bound for four days;

« AnteriorContinua »