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THE EDGEWORTH FAMILY. Art. I. [The literary merit of the Edgeworth family generally, and the successful efforts of Maria Edgeworth in particular, to promote pure morals and engaging manners, by means of the most popular species of literary composition, have rendered the name interesting to modern readers of almost every description. The mechanical experiments of the father--the joint treatise of the family, on practical education-and the lively descriptions of character and manners, the plain and practical morality, the useful as well as the amusing tendency of Miss Edgeworth's novels,--have given to the family a title to notice, which the following brief essay is too scanty to satisfy. In the next number, we hope to give a fuller account of Mr. Edgeworth and his family, with an outline of the peculiar merit which characterises their literary productions.] Ed. FEW families are more distinguished, even in this age of author
ship, for their literary talents, and the attractions they have thrown round the cause of pure taste and sound morals, than that of the Edgeworths. Richard Lovel Edgeworth the father, who, to the regret of the wise and good, is lately deceased, was the author of several scientific papers published in the Philosophical Journals, most of which had a practical bearing upon the comforts and conveniences of line; and in conjunction with his daughter Maria, has written many valuable works for the use of young persons, which, in real benefit to that part of the community, have never been surpa'. sc.!..
Miss Maria Edge orth hi : **.tr" -ghter, possesses reputatation as a profound anu successful derine aior of life and manners, and as a pure and practical moralist, to vien no praise of ours can add." Her works which are chiefly noy or rather moral tales written in a very popular and captivating style, are too well known, both in this country and Great Britain, to require enumeration. Her mother, and her brother, Mr. Sheyd Edgeworth, are also advantageously known in the literary republic; the former as the author of several novels of reputation, and the latter by his life of the Abbe Edgeworth, the celebrated confessor of Lewis XVI, and a relation of the family.
When we consider the incalculable benefit that writings, such as those of the Edgeworth's have been to society, by adding to and improving their physical comforts, refining taste, and polishing the manners, and, what is far more important, by inculcating
the purest doctrines of morality, in a manner the most pleasing, and intelligible to all classes of society; we cannot but be struck with the vastly superior claims to our respect and gratitude, such writers have over the mass of their brethren. The influence, indeed, and controul which men of letters possess over the community, has never been duly estimated. “Literature" (says a distinguished writer) “is the main engine by which civil society must be supported or overthrown.” And though we may not agree with him in the full extent of the remark, yet it cannot be denied, that in an enlightened community, and more especially under a republican form of government, the destinies of the people do most intimately depend upon their literary taste. What care then ought not to be taken, lest this mighty engine should be perverted to the injury of society; and if those who add to the extent of a country, or raise her military reputation, obtain civic crowns, and public largesses, what do they not deserve, whose writings operate in favour of their best interest and their wisest institutions.
The following extracts from the Journal of a late traveller in Ireland, show that this enlightened family are not less estimable in private life, than they are respectable for their literary powers.
From none to whom I had been introduced, did I meet with a more hospitable reception than from Mr. Edgeworth, of Edgeworth town, of whom, and his daughter Maria, to whom I had also a letter of introduction, I had heard and read so much. As the covetous man rejoices in the prospect of adding to his stores; and the pious man at the prospect of those meetings, where the fire of devotion will be made to burn more purely, in hopes of the feast of reason and the flow of souls, I approached Edgeworth's town, so much of late the abode of the muses.
Mr. Edgeworth and his daughter, being about to take an airing in the carriage when called, which was soon after breakfast, and a very fine day, asked me to accompany them, to which I readily assented, and was much pleased with their remarks on the objects which occurred in the course of our ride.
"When we returned from our ride, I found the rector of the parish, the Roman Catholic priest, and the Presbyterian clergyman had been invited to dine, and that there might be no preference shown to one clergyman before another at dinner, Mr. Edgeworth said grace himself. In this hospitable mansion, the favourite abode of the muses, the rendez, vous of the wise and good, Papists and Protestants agree. Miss Edgeworth joined in the conversation, and as may well be supposed, the author of Castle Rackrent, Irish Butts, the Absentee, &c.
&c. served much to enliven and inform it. I had heard much of Miss Edgeworth, and knew that she and her father had taken an extensive view of the vast edifice of huma-, knowledge, but found that not one half of her numerous amiable accomplistments had been told me.- Of her it may be said, “ Omne quod tetigit ornavit."
When I mentioned that having orreries, armillary spheres, globes, and the apparatus necessary for giving some idea of the various branches of experimental philosophy, various persons are employed in gliving lesa sons on these subjects at ladies' boarding schools, Miss Edgewortk
seemed not displeased, as she and her father in their Letters on Education, had recommended something of the kind.
“As Mr. Edgeworth's children are all instructed at home, the system of education recommended to others is practised in his own family. I observed three of his daughters, fine little girls, busily employed in sewing a covering of patches of various colours for a poor family in the vicinity, who had once been servants in the house. As soon as the work should be finished, the girls were themselves to make the present; and to this period I found them looking forward with more than ordinary pleasure.
• The children are never long confined at one time; their hours, being spent alternately in diligence and play. Indeed, children should seldom be idle, but constantly employed in exercising either the mind or body.
• Whatever be the result of the system of education which Mr. Edgeworth:and his daughter have recommended, I must say, I never saw such marks of filial regard, parental affection, and domestic happiness as at this house. To reside at it, is to see almost realised such scenes of happiness as no where exist, but are sometimes presented in the descriptions of enchanted castles: Miss Edgeworth is none of those, as some would make us believe, who write merely for bread, she having an independant fortune, besides what she must now make by the rapid sale of her works. By such books as those of Miss Edgeworth, booksellers fatten, and men are made wiser and better. It is needless to mention, that Mrs. Edgeworth is also a successful author, having published the novel, or what you choose to call it; “ The good Wife."--Hall's Travels in Ireland, vol. H. p. 12, &c.
The vignette prefixed to this number, is from a drawing by Miss Honora Edgeworth, which was sent by her to a lady in this country. It represents the family residence at Edgeworth town, spoken of in the preceding extracts. The spire seen at a distance among the foliage, was designed by the late Mr. Edgeworth. In a letter received with the drawing from Miss Maria Edgeworth, it is mentioned that this spire is of iron, and was raised in eighteen minutes, Art. II. Life of OMAR BASHAW, Dey of Algiers, in a letter to an officer of the United States army.
Algiers, 8th March, 1817. MY DEAR SIŃ, RECOLLECTING that you once testified a desire to learn
such particulars of the life and character of the distinguished chief who rules - this barbarous empire as could be obtained, I send you the following, which I have drawn from the best sources within my power.
It is hardly necessary to remark to you, that according to the constitution of this regency, none but foreigners are eligible to fill any of the high offices of state. The corps of Turks from which they are selected, is kept in existence by constant importations of recruits from the Levant, and which are generally the sweepings
of the prisons, and of the lowest orders of men in those barbarous countries. On arriving here, they are enrolled as common soldiers, and depend upon their merit, or accidents for promotion. Therefore, the incidents in the life of an obscure adventurer would probably afford little of interest if they could be known. But when genius extricates itself from this chaos of ignorance and obscurity, and occupies with credit a conspicuous part in the affairs of men, the individual possessing it, becomes worthy of our notice, and inquiry into his character and actions.
Omar Bashaw, Dey of Algiers, was born in the classical island of Mitylene, the ancient Lesbos, and is now about forty-three years of age. It is said that his family are renegade Greeks. In stature he is about five feet ten or eleven inches, robust, active, and well made. His complexion is dark, with a thick shining black beard silvered with gray, and his features are manly, and regular; his countenance thoughtful; when in good humour, agreeable and prepossessing; when displeased, dark and gloomy. He has yery fine black eyes, but they appear to meet those of any other person with reluctance even in conversation. His manner is always dignified, sometimes cordial and friendly, and he never has been known to lose the equilibrium of his temper on any occasion. He speaks with hesitation and apparent embarrassment: it would seem that his pride does not hide from him the sentiment of his own ignorance. He seems to be a man of quick perception, strong natural good sense, and great decision of character. "In private life he is said to be a man of great moderation and strict morals, according to the rules of the faith which he professes. He has but one wife and three children, with them he passes all his leisure time in great apparent domestic happiness. Since he rose to sovereign power, he has given several proofs of friendship and gratitude, and I have not heard him accused of an instance of individual injustice.
Omar came to this country about twenty years since, in company with an elder brother, as common adventurers. His brother appears to have been a man of merit, as he early obtained the lucrative post of Kalife, or intendant of one of the provinces. As Omar was always with him, he attained an accurate knowledge of the internal affairs of the regency; and the war with Tunis, and the troubles and insurrections, with which Algiers was at that time agitated, gave him ample opportunities of establishing his reputation as a brave and intelligent warrior. About ten years ago his brother became suspected, and was murdered by order of Achmet Bashaw. Omar escaped by taking refuge in the barracks, when he was protected by the soldiers, with whom he seems to have been always a favourite. Achmet perished shortly after, and was succeeded by Ali, who after a short reign of a few months, gave place to Hadgi Ali Bashaw, who is notorious for his sanguinary cruelty, and for his declaration of war against the United States. This chief raised Omar to the important post of aga, or commander-inchief. In this capacity he distinguished himself by the vigour of
his administration; and particularly by quelling a rebellion of the Bey of Oran, which threatened the extinction of the government of the Turks in Algiers. While acting in this quality he is accused of great and unnecessary cruelty, particularly in the affair of Oran. The accusation is probably not unfounded, but I should it a necessary
effect of the barbarous manners and character of these people, than of a ferocious propensity in him. Even the modern history of civilized nations, furnishes more instances of cruelty and violence, than of moderation and justice. But there are some circumstances relative to the elevation of Omar, which do not appear to admit of the same excuse, and which chill the blood with horror. While he was absent in the interior, the tyrant Hadgi Ali was murdered, his capricious cruelties having become insupportable. An express was sent to the aga, who immediately returned to Algiers, and was offered the purple by unanimous consent; and which he could then have accepted without a crime. For some reasons, which are not publicly known, he refused, and insisted upon investing the then Hasnagee, or prime minister with the sovereign authority. Little is known of this personage, except that he was a moderate just man, universally esteemed, and far advanced in age. He, also refused, until he was informed that he must either reign or perish. Fourteen days afterwards, this old man was murdered, and the Aga seated in his place. Hadgi Ali, though a decrepid old man indulged in the excessive use of spirits and opium, and kept a numerous seraglio. These women were respected during the ephemeral reign of his immediate successor, By order of Omar they were all put to death! It is difficult to assign any plausible reason for such a gratuitous act of barbarous cruelty. Though his subsequent conduct has been blameless, many persons are yet in doubt as to his real character.
The folly and presumption of Hadgi Ali Bashaw had involved Algiers in an open war with the United States, and with Holland; the Ottoman flag had been insulted, and the relations of the regency with France,
and Spain, had been rendered doubtful. The part which Omar had to act, was therefore a very difficult and delicate one. What remains for me to say of this remarkable personage, consists principally of the political epochs of his reign, which have rapidly succeeded each other, have fairly tested his capacity, and on the whole, have exhibited him to the world in a light not less advantageous than conspicuous.
From the consideration in which this regency has been held by Europe from time immemorial, it is not surprising that the Algerines should attach a great degree of importance to their power and believe that all nations were anxious to deprecate their hostilities. This charm was dissolved by the capture of two of their ships by commodore Decatur, and his subsequent appearance off Algiers with his victorious squadron, while theirs was at sea. Omar had the good sense to comprehend the danger of his posi