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appointment of a prothonotary in Dauphine County between two parties, then called constitutionalists and republicans, and since known as federalists and democrats— upon this occasion,' says the author, the negative character of my politics probably gave me the advantage.'
“To keep out Atlee, the constitutionalists were disposed to give their votes to any one of his competitors. Of course I had all their strength; and by adding to it two or three republican votes, I acquired a greater number than any in nomination. As the mode was to vote for the candidates individually, there was no physical, or perhaps moral impediment, to each of them receiving the vole of every member. A promise to one was not broken by voting also for another, unless it was exclusively made. The President had probably given a promise to Colonel Atlee, as well as to myself; and considering me, perhaps, as too weak to endanger his success, thought he might safely gratify my friend, who pinned him to the vote; which, on coming to the box, he seemed half inclined to withhold. Or where was his crime, if he really thought our pretensions equal, and therefore determined not to decide between us? Such were the accidents which procured my unlooked for appointment.'--p. 352.
This success, obtained by this candid and honourable conduct on the part of the President, seems to have put the author quite at his ease in pecuniary affairs; it gave him also that rank in society, whatever it be, which belongs to a prothonotary in Pennsylvania ; and although the whigs charged him with apostatizing, yet all went on delightfully, and nothing could be so good humoured and impartial as our worthy placeman, till the overthrow of his party by the election of Mr. Jefferson: he was then (he says) ' loaded with reproach, and detruded from office as one unworthy to partake the honours or even to eat the bread of their country.' Hinc illæ lacrymæ:-hence the violent invective against Jefferson and the democrats, which Mr. Galt may, if he pleases, call impartiality, but which to us looks wonderfully like the spleen and bitterness of a dismissed prothonotary. Indeed, he gives us, in one of his concluding sentences, so easy a key to his whole work, that we really wonder it did not open the eyes and understanding of Mr. Galt himself.
'It has twice been my lot to smart under the hand of oppression. I have been exposed to the fury both of royal and republican vengeance; and, unless I inay be misled by the greater recency of the latter, I am compelled to say, that the first, though bad, was most mitigated by instances of generosity. - p.417. In short, the last offence was to him the greatest; the first only touched his feelings, the last invaded his purse, and therefore he hates the democrats even worse than the English.
With respect to the general knowledge and historical information displayed, as Mr. Galt thinks, by the author of this work, we will venture to assert that more general ignorance and a more complete obscurity as to the events of his time were never brought together in one volume. Instead of reading him to elucidate history, history must be read to comprehend him; and even in the kind of information which one might suppose him best able to give, namely, on the private manners and social character of Old America, we find him trifling without gaiety and tedious without matter; all we can gather from his statements is, that the society in which he describes himself to have lived was low in intellect and vulgar in manners ; and indeed his general representations do as little credit to the American character, as his writings do to English literature.
He no doubt considered himself (and may be forgiven, since Mr. Galt has fallen into the same mistake) as a very learned
pero sonage; and indeed he shows his proficiency in the belles-lettres, by sundry elaborate and recondite quotations from our poets, which he sometimes alters with the most classical felicity to suit the topic he may have in hand. In his various readings' of the Latin poets he is not altogether so happy: we doubt, with all our complaisance for his attainments, whether quadrupedante sonitu -ungula domum'—haud ignarus mali, &c. be greatly improved either in euphony or metre; and we think that — miros audire Trajedus' might, without much peril to orthography, have been left as the critic found it.
In the matter of the French tongue, too, in which the author deals largely, we are sorry to be obliged occasionally to differ from him; and indeed Mr. Galt does not assert that he illustrates that language. We hesitate to admit that the Duke de la Rochefoucault, or any other good Frenchman,' would cry, Vive le nation et sa gloire;' nor can we well believe that Mr. Talon, an eloquent French advocate, would exclaim-Ce n'est pas lui, c'est le vin que parle.' We have even some doubt whether a black boy, domesticated in a family, can be properly called enfunt de maison.' p. 259.
But these are trifles; which would not have deserved notice, if the general knowledge of the author were not so loudly insisted upon, and if he were not himself so nice a verbal critic as to discover that Sir William Howe's expression, of General Washington's dispatches being badly compiled was not English. We apprehend that it is English, and might, moreover, have had a little satirical meaning at bottom.
In conclusion ;-the author's hatred of France, and his newborn respect for England,—his tardy admiration of Washington, and VOL. XXVI. NO. Lil.
his virulent hatred of Jefferson,—his disapprobation of Mr. Fox, and his condescending notice of Mr. Burke,--do not soften our Tory hearts; and we are sorry to have so many points of even apparent agreement with such a writer : for we scarcely remember to have met with an emptier pretender to literature—or a grosser apostate in politics; a feebler eulogist where he is indulged, or a more scurrilous slanderer when he is thwarted; and we can honestly assure Mr. Galt,—without overrating his talents and taste in the least,—that he is himself capable of adding a thousand times more lustre to the English languuge than the author of such an absurd farrago as he has here thought proper to reprint.
Art. V.- Travels in Palestine, through the Countries of Bashan
and Gilead, east of the River Jordan; including a Visit to the Cities of Geruza and Gamala, in the Decupolis. By J.S. Buckingham, Member of the Asiatic Society, Caleutta ; and of the Literary Societies of Madras and Bombay. London. 4to. pp.550.
1821. IT is a distinction reserved, we believe, for the work before us,
to display a blunder of the first magnitude upon its title-page. The names of two ancient cities only (Geraza and Gamala) are there set forth in capitals; and of these two, the one is certainly wrong, and the other doubtful. We must, therefore, commence our strictures with assuring—the Member of the Asiatic Society at Calcutta, and of the Literary Societies at Madras and Bombay,' that he, decidedly, was never at Gamala, and very possibly not at Geraza, in the whole course of his journey. Such an outset is not encouraging; but let us nevertheless follow our traveller to his preface, where he presents us with some choice flowers of rhetoric:-we cull the first that comes to hand :
• Alexandria, at length, received me into her port : and the Pharos, the catacombs, Cleopatra's obelisk, and Pompey's pillar, were all objects of youthful veneration, which I now beheld with correspondent pleasure. I ascended the Nile with the Odyssey and Telemaque in either hand; and Homer and Fenelon never interested me more than upon the banks of this sacred stream.
* The proud capital of the Kbalifs, “ Misr, the mother of the world," “Kahira, the victorious,” placed me amid the scenes of oriental story, the venerable pyramids carried me back to the obscurity of ages which are immemorial. The ruins of Heliopolis inspired the recollection of Pythagoras, and the Grecian sages who had studied in its colleges; and the hall of Joseph brought before my riew the history of Abraham and his posterity, of Moses and Pharaoh, and of all the subsequent events that befél the race of Israeli'--p. viti.
Almost every one, without visiting Alexandria, knows, what Mr. Buckingham, who has been there, it seems, is ignorant of, that the ancient Pharos does not exist, and that its vestiges are to be found only at the bottom of the sea! The Odyssey and Telemaque, it will be admitted, were very singular guide-books upon the Nile, and we can hardly imagine what confusion of ideas could recommend them as appropriate companions for such a voyage: they might, however, be sufficient for one whose classical perceptions were so acute, as to enable him to find ruins at Heliopolis, where a single obelisk still erect, and a small spring still flowing, are the only indications, to ordinary travellers, of the site; but when he mistakes the Saracenic hall, built and named after one of the Mahommedan governors of Egypt, not 800 years ago, in the heart of a city that is itself but little older, for a work of the Patriarch Joseph, and the children of Israel, we must in conscience absolve his guides, incompetent as they are, and give the whole credit to himself.—The ingenious personage who confounded Alexander the Great with Alexander the coppersmith, was but a feeble type of our author.
The main object of the preface, he himself informs us, is to give us some measure and standard of his qualifications as a traveller and writer! Upon these, he enlarges with an amiable complacency, as conceiving himself one destined, and even in a manner' compelled, under the penalty of : reproach,'' to add to the common fund of human knowledge,'—and one to whom the Periplus of the Erythrean sea offered a fine field for commentary and correction. We admit, however, that the preface affords a fair sample of the work, which, like that, is made up of very large phrases, and very small
facts, with a copious admixture of extracts from some authors which are in every body's hands and of the hard names of some others which, we are very sure, were never in Mr. Buckingham's; insomuch that we were constantly reminded of that tirst of cosmogonists,' the celebrated Mr. Jenkinson, and looked forward with anxious expectation for the names of Sanchoniathon and Berosus. These, however, do not appear: but that of Quaresimus (which is found in the second paragraph) frequently occurs in his erudite references, although there is internal evidence that he has not read this author, in a gross mistake which he could not have committed had he ever consulted him a mistake into which it is hard to conceive how any person could fall, who has actually visited the Holy Land. At Ramlah, or Ramah,* in his way from Jaffa to Jerusalem, he enters into a long
Ramah is said, by St. Jerome, to be in the tribe of Benjamin, seven miles distant from Jerusalem, near to Gibeah of Saul, and not far from Bethel, all of which circum
disquisition to prove this to be the birth-place and burial-place of the Prophet Samuel. Now, so far as the site of any place in scripture geography is identified, the Ramah of Samuel is, and has always been, perfectly well known. It lies almost as wide from this place as Jerusalem itself does, being on the left hand of the road from the holy city into Samaria, and standing so conspicuously on an eminence, that any one of the monks ('ignorant' as he represents them to be) could have pointed it out from the convent'at Jerusalem. The prophet's tomb is there shown in a mosque, and held in veneration by both Christians and Mahommedans. All this he might have found in Quaresimus : he might have found it, too, at some length in Pococke, whose name he frequently introduces without the slightest acquaintance with his work, unless perhaps with his margin and his index; and the reason that these have been of no avail to him in the present instance, is, that the place in question is not now called Ramah, but simply Samuele. An error in name is fatal to one who relies on an index, but not to one who peruses an author.
Mr. Buckingham does not appear to be very scrupulous in examining the sense of his extracts, since we frequently find him setting down a passage in his note that makes directly against some sagacious conclusion in his text, as p. 335, where, anxious to identify a village called Boorza, with the Bosor of the Maccabees, he subjoins a Latin sentence, in which Bosor is termed a city of the Moubites, whereas he has just told us that he was now in the land of Bashan. At p. 323. he and his own witness are at issue upon a point of a similar nature: thus be either convicts his authorities of error, or himself, and we shall hardly be disposed to balance long between them. In order to establish that Emmaus was near to Gamala, he brings forward (p. 434.) a passage from Josephus, which neither says nor implies any such thing; and we can ven-ture to assure him that Vespasian, in passing from one to the other, must have marched round nearly one half of the lake of Tiberias, (the two places lying on opposite sides of it,) and that the hot springs, in favour of which this notable extract is introduced, have no more relation to Emmaus, than the city, at whose feet they lie, has to Gamala. The complicated ignorance and absur: dity of the following illustration will not easily be matched. Good wine from Libanus was, it seems, set before hiin at Naza.
stances correspond with that place now pointed out, (as well as his interpretation of Ramah in Hebrew, i. e. high ;) but not one will tally with Ramlah (Arimathea,) which is three or four times farther from Jerusalem, is not in Benjamin, nor near to Bethel, and stands low. The passage is in St. Jerome's Commentary on Hosea.
The meaning of the word Ranılah, Mr. Buckingham's Asiatic scholarship should bave taught him, is not 'high' but sand.'