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of executing his conceptions. His deportment, during an action, is not calculated to convey a striking impression to those about him; but his generals make up for it, by riding forward to the fire in the front of the line, till the men call on them to retire. Bonaparte's talents consist in planning a battle. Kleber, Moreau, and Frederick of Prussia, who were all inferior to him in that respect, were all more brilliant during the action itself. Soult is equal, in my opinion, to Bonaparte in the plan, and to others in the execution, but inferior in turning a victory to account. Bonaparte often takes advantage of woods and low grounds to conceal the station of his bodies of reserve. He never attacks without thoroughly reconnoitring the enemy's position, and he keeps back the reserve till a fault committed by the enemy renders its co-operation decisive. When our infantry marches forward in columns, if we apprehend a charge of cavalry, we deploy into the line a part only of the column, leaving a solid body on each flank. Every general of division is free master of the movement of his corps, unless he has received special directions from the marshal. On the morning of action, a distribution of wine and spirits is made to the troops; and on the day after a victory they are in motion as soon as it is light, in pursuit of the enemy. In short, as a commander, Bonaparte possesses the most eminent qualities, but he has the great fault of being easily prejudiced against deserving officers. Several meritorious generals are unemployed, from the vague suspicion of their being either jacobins or Bourbonites; and a very prevailing dissatisfaction exists in the army, on account of the partialities which have been shown to the advantages of birth, wealth, or of female influence. He has also the presumption of thinking, that he is qualified to take the lead in every thing. He was accustomed to dispute on naval topics with Bruix, the only officer who had the courage to speak the truth to him. Enraged at finding the harbour of Boulogne so awkward for his craft to get out, Bonaparte fancied that there was a want of zeal in his naval officers, and ordered Bruix, one day when the barometer had fallen to take the whole flotilla into the roads. The admiral replied, that it would be very hazardous to venture out in the face of a southwest wind, which was likely to become very violent, and begged the emperor to wait a few days. "Not one hour," rejoined Bonaparte, "my will is that it be done instantly. My victories have been obtained by a single word, FORWARD, and I desire that henceforth it may be the watchword in my navy." Bruix, in despair, obeyed, and took out the fleet, but it had not been three hours in the roads when a dreadful tempest arose. Several boats foundered, and others were wrecked. Admiral Lacrosse succeeded in running into Estapes, after the most imminent danger. Bonaparte came down to
the beach to assist in saving the shipwrecked, and remained there during a great part of the night, plunging often into the water to lay hold of the floating bodies. The loss of lives was computed at nine hundred, but Bonaparte no longer interfered with Bruix in his naval command.
The favourite general of M. Sarrazin, on whose exploits he dwells with predilection and enthusiasm, is Kleber. Though his zeal is no doubt heightened by the remembrance of personal intimacy and attachment, we are inclined on the most sober examination, to form a high estimate of the merits of that commander. The rapid succession of military exploits, in late years, has taken off the public attention from the character of the leaders in the beginning of the revolutionary contest; among whom Clairfait on the side of the Austrians, and Kleber on that of the French, deserve to occupy a distinguished rank. Kleber was second in command under Jourdan, in the memorable campaign of 1796; and when we consider the incapacity of his chief, it is no exaggeration to pronounce, that the French army twice owed its preservation to Kleber's exertions. In Egypt, also, and in Syria his skill and gallantry were conspicuous. He was born at Alsace, and was induced to enter at an early age into the Austrian service, from which he retired, discouraged by the slow prospect of promotion for a foreigner. Returning to his native place he exercised for some time his father's profession of Architect, till, with others he was called into the field by the tumult of the revolution. He distinguished himself on the Rhine as early as 1792, was made general of brigade the next year, and general of division in 1794. The French army was then in a very rude state, but Kleber soon brought his men into discipline; and on the occurrence of those checks, which were then so frequently the lot of the republican forces, his troops always retreated in the greatest order, while other divisions were flying in confusion. He found time to study the principles of his profession, even in the bustle of camps, and no commander ever possessed more highly the talent of kindling the fire of the soldiery in the day of action. His tall stature, [above six feet,] his piercing look, and his sonorous voice, struck his men with admiration, and made them eager to follow wherever he chose to lead. The natural openness of his character soon rendered him disgusted with Bonaparte's duplicity; and most of our readers will recollect the warmth with which he expressed himself in his despatches from Egypt, in regard to his commander's flight from his post. His assassination took place eight months after Bonaparte's usurpation of the consulship; and M. Sarrazin has no hesitation in attributing it to Menou, as the agent of the Corsican.
The interesting nature of general Sarrazin's military observa
tions has led us into rather a larger notice of his book than we intended. It is a pity that a man possessed of so much information, should not have taken pains to communicate it to the world in a more authentic shape. Unfortunately, he appears like other Frenchmen, to have little notion of the nature of evidence, or of the necessity of building assertion on a reference to regular documents; and notwithstanding his habits of precision on the staff, he appears to be little skilled in arrangement with regard to literary composition. Under such circumstances of irregularity, the cautious reader is greatly embarrassed to select the part that is entitled to belief, from that which must be condemned as the repetition of vague rumour. The greater portion of the book is probably of the former description; but the plan is so fantastic, and so unsuited to English ideas, that illnatured critics might almost quote it against general Sarrazin, as an argument in support of the formidable accusation that he is sometimes NON COMPos, which has been advanced by Bonaparte, in revenge for the general's desertion of him.
The Dramatic works of John Ford; with an introduction and explanatory notes. By Henry Weber, Esq. 2 vols. 8vo. p. 950. Edinburgh and London. 1811.
ALL true lovers of English poetry have been long in love with the dramatists of the time of Elizabeth and James; and must have been sensibly comforted by their late restoration to some degree of favour and notoriety. If there was any good reason indeed to believe, that the notice which they have recently attracted, proceeded from any thing but that indiscriminate rage for editing and annotating, by which the present times are so happily distinguished, we should be disposed to hail it, as the most unequivocal symptom of improvement in public taste that has yet occurred to reward and animate our labours. At all events, however, it gives us a chance for such an improvement, by placing in the hands of many, who would not otherwise have heard of them, some of those beautiful performances which we have always regarded as among the most pleasing and characteristic productions of our native genius.
Ford certainly is not the best of those neglected writers,--nor Mr. Weber by any means the best of their recent editors; but we cannot resist the opportunity which this publication seems to afford, of saying a word or two of a class of writers, whom we
have long worshipped in secret with a sort of idolatrous veneration, and now find once more brought forward as candidates for public applause. The æra to which they belong, indeed, has always appeared to us far the brightest in the history of English literature,--or indeed of human intellect and capacity. There never was, any where, any thing like the sixty or seventy years that elapsed from the middle of Elizabeth's reign to the period of the Restoration. In point of real force and originality of genius, neither the age of Pericles, nor the age of Augustus, nor the times of Leo X, nor of Louis XIV, can come at all into comparison; for, in that short period, we shall find the names of almost all the very great men that this nation has ever produced,--the names of Shakspeare, and Bacon, and Spenser, and Sydney,-and Hooker, and Taylor, and Barrow, and Raleigh,--and Napier, and Milton, and Cudworth, and Hobbes, and many others;-men, all of them, not merely of great talents and accomplishments, but of vast compass and reach of understanding, and of minds truly creative and original ;--not perfecting art by the delicacy of their taste, or digesting knowledge by the justness of their reasonings; but making vast and substantial additions to the materials upon which taste and reason must hereafter be employed,-and enlarging, to an incredible and unparalleled extent, both the stores and the resources of the human faculties.
Whether the brisk concussion which was given to men's minds by the force of the Reformation, had much effect in producing this sudden development of British genius, we cannot undertake to determine. For our own part, we should be rather inclined to hold, that the Reformation itself was but one symptom or effect of that great spirit of progression and improvement, which had been set in operation by deeper and more general causes, and which afterwards blossomed out into this splendid harvest of authorship. But whatever may have been the causes that determined the appearance of these great works, the fact is certain, not only that they appeared together, in great numbers, but that they possessed a common character, which, in spite of the great diversity of their subjects and designs, would have made them be classed together as the works of the same order or description of men, even if they had appeared at the most distant intervals of time. They are the works of giants--and of giants of one nation and family; and their characteristics are, great force, boldness, and originality: together with a certain raciness of English peculiarity, which distinguishes them from all those performances that have since been produced upon a more vague and general idea of European excellence. Their sudden appearance, indeed, in all this splendour of native luxuriance, can only be compared to what happens on the break
.ng up of a virgin soil,--where all indigenous plants spring up at once with a rank and irrepressible fertility, and display whatever is peculiar or excellent in their nature, on a scale the most conspicuous and magnificent. The crops are not indeed so clean as where a more exhausted mould has been stimulated by systematic cultivation, nor so profitable, as where their quality has been varied by a judicious admixture of exotics, and accommodated to the demands of the universe, by the combinations of an unlimited trade. But to those whose chief object of admiration is the living power and energy of vegetation, and who take delight in contemplating the various forms of her unforced and natural perfection, no spectacle can be more rich, splendid, or attractive.
In the times of which we are speaking, classical learning, though it had made great progress, had by no means become an exclusive study; and the ancients had not yet been permitted to subdue men's minds to a sense of hopeless inferiority, or to condemn the moderns to the lot of humble imitators. They were resorted to, rather to furnish materials and occasional ornaments, than as models for the general style of composition; and, while they enriched the imagination, and insensibly improved the taste of their successors, they did not at all restrain their freedom, or impair their originality. No common standard had yet been erected, to which all the works of European genius were required to conform; and no general authority was acknowledged by which all private or local ideas of excellence must submit to be corrected. Both readers and authors were comparatively few in number. The former were infinitely less critical than they have since become; and the latter, if they were not less solicitous about fame, were at least much less jealous and timid as to the hazards which attended its pursuit. Men, indeed, seldom took to writing in those days, unless they had a great deal of matter to communicate; and neither imagined that they could make a reputation, by delivering commonaces in an elegant manner, or that the substantial value of their sentiments would be disregarded for a little deness or negligence in the finishing. They were habituated, therefore, both to depend upon their own resources, and to draw upon them without fear or anxiety; and followed the dictates of their own taste and judgment, without standing in awe of the ancients, of their readers, or of each other.
The achievements of Bacon, and of those who set free our understandings from the shackles of Papal, and of tyrannical im position, afford sufficient evidence of the benefit which resulted to the reasoning faculties from this happy independence of the first great writers of this nation. But its advantages were, if possible, still more conspicuous in the mere literary character of their productions. The quantity of bright thoughts, of original