Imágenes de página

for me to love! Univerfal benevolence is an empty found. It is individuality that fanctifies affection. But chained by the cruel fetters which unjuft and detefted custom has forged for my miferable and much-injured fex, I am not at liberty to go about in fearch of the individual whofe mind would fweetly mingle with mine. Barbarous fetters! cruel chains! odious ftate of fociety! Oh, that the age of reafon were but come, when no foft-fouled maiden fhall figh in vain!

"In this joylefs, comfortless, defponding ftate, I for fome time remained. As I never at any time debased myself by houfhold cares, never attended to any sort of work, I always enjoyed the inestimable privilege of leifure. Always idle, always unemployed, the fermen tation of my ideas received no interruption. They expanded, generated, increafed. The fociety of the philofophers gave a fresh fupply to the fuel of my mind. I became languid, reftlefs, impatient, miferable. But a mind of great powers cannot long remain in a ftate of inactivity; its fenfations are ever ready to be called forth. The rom mantic, frenzied feelings of fenfibility will foon generate an opportunity for their own exertion.

"Happening to vifit Maria Sydney after the death of her mother, the fhewed me a letter fhe had just received from Henry. The fentiments were fo tender, fo delicate, fo affectionate, I perceived in every word the traces of a mind formed for the pure delightful conge niality of mutual tenderness. A thousand inftances of his particular attention to me, the last time he was at home, rushed upon my mind. In going out to walk with his fifter through the fields, I remembered having once ftuck upon the top of a ftile, which I vainly endeavoured to get over, till Henry fprung to my affiftance, and with manly ener. getic fervour tore my petticoat from the ftump in which it was entangled. Why did I not then perceive the tender emotion of his foul! why was I blind to fuch a proof of fenfibility and affection! The let ter, the important eventful letter, roufed me from my lethargic flum ber; every word thrilled through the fibres of my heart. It awaked the fleeping extacies of my foul. I inhaled the balmy sweetness which natural unfophifticated affection fheds through the human heart. Q Henry Henry cried I, I perceive it is with thine my mind was formed to mingle. Thou art, from henceforth, the fovereign arbiter of my fate!

"The hour, the wifhed-for extatic hour of his return at length arrived. Excited by his fenfations, he hurried to our house the morn ing after his arrival; and in his looks, his manner, gave the most un equivocal proofs of the tender fentiments that infpired his mind. But ftill a myfterious referve feals his lips. Why does he not speak? Why does he not avow a paffion fo ennobling, fo worthy, fo natural, and ah! fo fully returned! Female foibles, fhrinking delicacies, why do you make me hefitate to begin the fubject? Why fhould I blush to inform him of my affection? O dear, often kiffed relique! (pulling up fomething that fufpended by a ribbon from her bofom) precious depofit! chofen confidante of my tenderness! how often haft thou been witness to the convulfive ftruggling figh! How often has thy bright


face been dimmed by the dear, delicious, agonizing tears, whics have ftolen from my eyes!"

Our readers will, perhaps, think that our extracts from this novel are already of fufficient length; of this we are ourselves aware; but we could not refift the inclination of affording to our friends, who are not in the habit of perufing works of this defcription, an opportunity of knowing that all the female writers of the day are not corrupted by the voluptuous dogmas of Mary Godwin, or her more profligate imitators.

We fhall, as briefly as poffible, relate the remainder of the ftory of this work. Dr. Sidney proceeds to London to pursue his profeffion; to which place, in the true fpirit of the modern doctrines, he is followed by Bridgetina. Like Mr. Fd, be declines all her advances; and fhe, in imitation of My H- -s, writes to him the following philosophical love-letter : "YOU tell me I have no fhare in your affection. You even hint that you love another; but you are mistaken if you think this makes any alteration in the decided part I have taken. No:-I have rea foned, I have inveftigated, I have philofophifed upon the subject; and am more than ever determined to perfevere in my attacks upon your heart. The defire of being beloved, of infpiring fympathy, is congenial to the human mind. I will infpire fympathy; nor can I believe it compatible with the nature of mind, that fo many strong and reiterated efforts fhould be made in vain. Man does right in purfuing intereft and pleasure. It argues no depravity. This is the fable of fuperftition. My intereft, my pleasure, is all centered in your affections; therefore I will purfue you, nor fhall I give over the purfuit, fay what you will. I know the power of argument, and that in the and the force of reason must prevail. Why fhould I defpair of arguing you into love? Do I want energy? Am I deficient in eloquence? No. On you, therefore, beloved and ah! too cruel Henry, on you fhall all my energy and all my eloquence be exerted; and I make no doubt that in the end my perfeverance fhall be crowned with fuccefs. It is your mind I wish to conquer, and mind muft yield to mind. Can the mind of my rival be compared with mine? Can the energize as I do? Does the difcufs? Does the argue? Does the investigate with my powers? You cannot fay fo; and therefore it plainly follows the is lefs worthy of your love.

"The apprehenfion of embarrassment with regard to fortune may be another obftacle that you may haply ftart. But this, likewife, I can obviate. Read the inclosed; and you will perceive that there is a fcheme on foot, which will accelerate the progrefs of happiness and philofophy through the remoteft regions of the habitable globe. Fly this difmal, dirty hogftye of depraved and corrupt civilization; and let us join ourselves to the enlightened race, who already poffefs all thofe effentials which philosophy teaches to expect in the full meridian

*See Emma Courtnay."




of the Age of Reafon. Let us, my Henry, in the bofom of th happy people, who worship no God, who are free from the restraint of laws and forms of government, enjoy the bleffings of equality and love. You will not then need to look blank and difconfolate when you hear of the health of your friends. Pain, fickness, and anguish, will not then be your harveft;' nor will you then, as now, rejoice to hear that they have fallen on any of your acquaintance.' There are no phyficians among the Hottentots.-There you fhall enjoy the bieffing of leifure; and the powers of your mind, not blunted by ap plication to any particular feience, fhall germinate into general ufefulnefs. Oh, happy time! and in that time happy, thrice happy, fhall be your


After a variety of interefting adventures, natural, and well related, this work concludes with the marriage of Dr. Sydney with Harriet Orwell, and the return of Bridgetina to her mother. Poor Julia, having been feduced and deferted by Vallaton, (who is guillotined in Paris) dies by poifon of her own adminiftering. It feems to be the intention of the author to exhibit here the fallacy of all principles which have not their foundation in religion. Had the education of Julia been grounded on the doctrines of Chriftianity, inftead of the vapid rules of modern honour, inftilled into her by her father, with fuch an understanding as the poffeffed, fhe would neither have been overcome by the plaufible inanity, and fuperficial reasoning of fuch a wretch as Vallaton, nor would fhe have attempted to expiate the crimes of filial ingratitude and proftitution by the commiffion of fuicide. Among the rest of the characters all due poetical juftice is diftributed; but as they are not im mediately concerned in the main defign of the work, they neceffarily excite not that interest which is produced by the philofophical portraits.

Since writing the first part of this review, we have learnt the name of the author of the work. The public, that part of it, at leaft, with whom novels form the great portion of amufement, is infinitely obliged to her for this admirable-expofition of Godwinian principles, and the more fo, for having given it in the form of a novel; for the fame means by which the poifon is offered, are, perhaps, the best by which their antidote may be rendered efficacious. It will in this fhape find its way into the circulating libraries of the country, whence is daily iflued fuch a peftiferous portion of what are termed enlightened and liberal fentiments. We could without difficulty


See the Characteristics of a Phyfieian, in the Enquirer."


point out for whom, in our opinions, the characters were de lineated; but conceiving that we have no poffible right to involve the fair author in the evils that might arife from fuch a declaration, we shall leave it to each to difcover his, or her own face, in the glafs. The gentle and tender original of Bridgetina once thus addreffed the author of Political Juftice"Pray Mr. G when will the nation be ruined? I want fome vivid emotions:"To your fampler, to your fampler; poor wretched, infatuated creature, and by honourable and becoming exertions endeavour to acquire that peace of mind which you can never attain in your prefent worthless, nay, unprincipled, purfuits. We have been thus particular in our notice of this laft character, because we know that fome la. mentable effects have arisen from her novels.

This work is written in an excellent ftile, and altogether does great credit to the literary acquirements of the author. We fhould be happy to meet her again, and on the fame fubject. The philofophical harvest is great; and the hand that thus condefcends to the irksome, though meritorious, labour of plucking up and burning the weeds, deferves the. thanks of her country, and the honour of being claffed with / the most unexceptionable female writer of the times.*

We are forry to fee a publication calculated to be fo eminently beneficial, charged fo high as one guinea; not that we think the fum beyond the value of the work, but that it will check the extent of its circulation, and of courfe impede its progress towards "general utility.'

* "Hannah More."

ART. III. The Hiftory of the Helvetic Confederacy, in Two Volumes. By J. Planta. 4to. PP. 520. 21. 25. Stockdale. London. 1800.

[ocr errors]

O trace

free and virtuous race of people from their origin to their diffolution; to follow the progrefs of their minds; to inveftigate the fource and tendency of their laws; to mark the influence of natural and artificial causes on their morals and their manners; to ascertain the result of their religious and civil inftitutions on their political liberty, their focial habits, and their general happiness; and, finally, to afcertain those defects in their fyftem of confederation which ultimately led to the destruction of that solid fabric which had, for ages, withftood the shocks of contending factions, and united foes; would, at all times, be an interefting and an


[ocr errors]

ufeful task. But in times like thofe in which we live, when anarchy, plunder, and defolation, ride triumphant over a very large portion of Europe, and threaten with annihilation all the bonds by which the remaining part of fociety are still connected together, it is a task of peculiar intereft, and peculiar utility.

In the compofition of this Hiftory Mr. Planta has confulted all the best writers who had directed their attention to the fubject. His chief reliance, however, has been very judiciously placed on Muller whose abilities and fidelity no one will be difpofed to question who has perufed his excellent work on the Hiftory of the Helvetic Confederacy. Muller's history going no farther than the year 1443, recourse has been had to the works of Lauffer and Meifter; who bring it down to the year 1768. For the events of the late revolution, and the ftate of Switzerland antecedent to that fatal epoch, the author. has been indebted to more recent writers, and to a confiderable fund of original information. In fhort, he appears to have neglected no fource from which real information could be derived. We cannot, however, conceive that much dependence can be placed on Poffelt, the conductor of a Jacobin Journal, and the vile calumniator of all that is virtuous and good, from whom he acknowledges to have taken some facts.

Prefixed to the work is a well-written dedication to his Majefty, part of which we shall extract.

"These pages contain the History of a confedracy, which through many arduous ftruggles, long maintained its independence, and for feveral centuries preferved, to an artless people, a degree of civil liberty, which effectually infured their national honour and profperity. While every friend to virtue and humanity muft lament that fo happy a polity fhould at length have yielded to the overwhelming power of a remorfelefs foe, aided by the folly and corruption of a comparatively fmall number of its own degenerate members; its example cannot but afford ufeful leffons of caution to future generations, and muft teach them the neceffity of energy and concord towards the fupport of a well regulated government. The utility which, even at this period, may refult from a due contemplation of the events here commemorated, has induced me to relate them and I feel the moft lively fatisfaction in being fuffered to lay this narrative at the feet of a Monarch, who, ruling over a free people, has exhibited the brightest example of firmnefs and vigour, in refifting the torrent of vice and anarchy, which has of late threatened the fubverfion of civilized fociety.”

The author's brief description of this romantick and fingular country is highly interefting.

"Themountains which, from time immemorial, have obtained Ddz


« AnteriorContinuar »