« AnteriorContinuar »
We have formerly been gratified by the beauties of Johnson cullett from his works, and we have now his aphorisms collected with a Certain degree of arrangement, from the exquisitely circumstantial account of his friend Bo&well.
The advantage of the present publication seems to consist in bringing together detached conversations and desultory remarks under general heads, and with the title of " Tnble-Talk ;" evidently borrowed from the first and not the least valuable book of the kind in our language, (formed on the French Anas,} the Table-talk of the ahrewd and learned Selden.
Dr. J.'s credit in conversation had become almost oracular. 'He related, that he had once in a dream a contest of wit with some other person, and that he was very much mortified by imagining that his opponent had the better or him. "Now (said he) one may mark here the effect of sleep in weakening the power of reflection; for had not my judgment failed me, I should have seen, that the wit of this supposed antagonist, by whose superiority I felt myself depressed, was as much furnished by me, as that which I thought I had been uttering in my own character."—
* People (he remarked) may be taken in once, who imagine that an author is greater in private life than other men. Uncommon part* require uncommon opportunities for their exertion. In barbarous society, superiority of parts is of real consequence. Great strength or great wisdom is of much value to an individual. But in more polished times there are people to do every thing for money: and then there are a number of other superiorities, such as those of birth and fortune, and rank, that dissipate men's attention, and leave no extraordinary share of respect for personal and intellectual superiority. This is wisely ordered by Providence, to preserve some equality among mankind.'—
'Sir Joshua Reynolds having one day said, that he took the altitude of a man's taste by his stones and his wit, and of his understanding by the remarks which he repeated'; being always sure that he must be a weak man who quotes common things with an emphasis as if they were oracles; Johnson agreed with him; and Sir Joshua having also observed, that the real character of a man was found out by his amusements, Johnson added, " Yes, Sir; no man is a hypocrite in his pleasures."— , .
"London (said Johnson) is nothing to some people; but to a man whose pleasure is intellectual, London is the place. And there is no place where economy can be so well practised as in London. More can be had here for the money, even by ladies, than any where else. • You cannot play tricks with your fortune in a small place ; you must make an uniform appearance. Here a lady may have well furnished apartments, and elegant dress, without any meat in her kitchen."— * He said, "The duration of Parliament, whether for seven years or the life of the King, appears to me so immaterial, that I would not give half a crown to turn the scale one way or the other. The habeas corpus is the single advantage which our government has over that of other countries."
What would the sage commentator have said had he lived to these days? Perhaps not that «the Habeas Corpus is the single advantage which our government has over that of other countries.'
Art. 34. 7he Lounger's Common-Place Book, or Miscellaneous Anec~ dotes. A Biographic, Political, Literary, and Satirical Compilation: which he who runs may read. Vol. III. 8vo. 5s. 6d. Boards. Kerby. 1798.
We reviewed the preceding volumes of these anecdotes, Sec. as they respectively issued from the press; and we have recommended, t ha work as the amusing production of a man of sense, reading, and observation. For our account of the 1st volume, we may now refer to the viiith vol. of our Review, N.S. p. 403. Of the 2d volume, some account was given in the Catalogue part of our vol. xii. p. 113, &c. For a new edition of both the volumes, those readers of our Review who may not immediately recollect our former remarks may, if they object not to the trouble, turn to the M. R. vol. xxi. p. 117. —On the subject, therefore, of this entertaining production, there is b'ttle or nothing left for us to add, farther than that the author's design seems to be completed in this 3d part; the general contents of which are not inferior in value to those of the former volumes.
As a farther specimen of this miscellaneous collection, we now select the article "daily Advertiser."
A Gentleman's house in Stanhope-strect having been broken open and robbed, the following singular account is said to have appeared in the Daily Advertiser: but the date of the paper is not given:
"Mr. R , of Stanhope street, presents his most respectful
compliments to the gentlemen who did him the honour of eating a couple of roasted chickens, drinking sundry tankards of ale, and three, bottles of old Madeira, at his house, on Monday night,
"In their haste they took away the tankard, to which they are heartily welcome; to the table spoons and the light guineas which were in an old red Morocco pocket book, they are also heartily welcome; but in the said pocket book there were several loose papers, which consisting of private memorandums, receipts, &c. can be of no use to his k'tnd and friendly visitors, but are important to him; he therefore hopes and trusts they will be so polite as to take some op» portunity of returning them.
"For an old family watch, which was in the same drawer, he cannot ask on the same terms; but if any could be pointed out, by which he could replace it with twice as many heavy guineas as they can get for it, he would gladly be the purchaser.
« A few nights after, a packet, with the following letter enclosed, was dropped into the area of his house, "Sir,
*' You are quite a gemman. Not being used to your Madeira, it got into our upper works, or we never should have cribbed your papers; they be all marched back again with the red book.
"Your ale was mortal good; the tankard and spoons were made into a •white soup, in Duke's Place, two hours before day lite. The old family watch cases were at the same time made into a brown gravy; and the guts, new christened, are on their voyage to Holland,
"If they had not been transported, you should have them again, far you are quite the gemman; but you know, as they have been
R % christened,
christened, and got a new name, they would no longer be of your old family. And soe Sir, we have nothing more to say, but that we are much obligated to you, and shall be glad to sarve and visit you by nite or by day, and are your humble sarvants to command.” On the whole, we shall be rather sorry if it should prove true, as we have conjectured, that the ingenious compiler has emptied his “Common-place Book.”
Art. 35. Narrative of the Lost of the Slip Hercuk", commanded by Capt. Benjamin Stout, on the Coast of Caffraria, the 16th June 1796; also a circumstantial Detail of his Travels through the Southern Deserts of Africa, and the Colonies, to the Cape of Good Hope. 8vo. pp. 160. 3s. Johnson. 1798. Capt. Stout, and such of his crew as survived the loss of the Hercules, landed on that part of the eastern coast of the continent of Africa which is inhabited by the Tambauchis. “This tribe has been described as the most scrocious, vindictive, and detestable class of beings that inhabit Caffraria:’ yet their reception of these unfortunate strangers does honour to human nature:–they supplied them with food and guides for their journey to the Cape, and dismissed them with the kindest regret. . The route lay through a country highly favoured by nature. Rich vallies, intersected by innumerable rivulets, and crowned by majestic forests, every where surrounded them. Of these sylvan habitations, the Bashis-men are the savage guests: “They are a distinct race of men, and perhaps the most diminutive that has yet been discovered in any part of the world. They very seldom exceed four feet six inches in stature, but are as nimble and alert as their gazelles.” The Cape is considered by Capt. S. as an acquisition of immense importance to this country. “ If England,’ says he, “in the termimation of hostilities relinquishes all her other conquests, and although she has expended during the last five years two hundred millions in the prosecution of her contest with the French republic, still, if she preserves the Cape of Good Hope, and its dependencies, she will ultimately be a gainer by the war.’ This proposition Captain Stout attempts to demonstrate, by investigating the excellency of a soil which is equally adapted to the cultivation of the grape, the sugar cane, and tobacco. These valuable productions will, he thinks, e...courage the enterprising disposition of the English to form settlements in the most fertile tracts, where the hospitable natives will rather assist than impede the first feeble efforts of the infant colonies. We wish that Capt. Stout had informed us whether, when the settlements have acquired strength, he would recommend that the colonists should reduce his old friends the Tambauchis to the condition of slaves, by
forcing them to labor in the new plantations; or only advise their ex
pulsion from the fertile coasts, into the arid interior of that catensive country A nother alternative still remains, which was formerly prac.
tised by the Spaniards with much success : but we roy Jeem the author incapable of recommending this method of acquiring territory. Art. 36. The J.is of the Rev. Oliver Hywood. With Historica? Sketches of the Times in which he lived ; and Anecdotes of some
- 3 other •ther eminent Ministers in Yorkshire, Lancashire, &c. By J.
Fawcett, A.M. i2mo. 2s. 3d. Printed at Ewood Hall, near
Hallifax, and sold by Johnson, &c. London.
Mr. Heywood was a divine of the last age, of that character (though not properly a Dissenter) which, in contempt, was denominated Puritanical; and he was a person of considerable eminence among those who suffered persecution in consequence of the famous Act of Uniformity passed in 1661:—he was educated at the University of Cambridge.—Among the incidents of his life, some are very re- \ markable; and most of them will, doubtless, prove interesting to those readers who- are scrupulously attached to the rights of conscience, and to what they apprehend to be the genuine principles of the Christian religion.
Mr. Fawcett's narrative is drawn up with judgment, candour, and fairness of representation with regard to men of character of all parties; as well aS in stating the violent conduct of government and people in authority; and jt is illustrated not only with proper references to history, but with a variety of curious and pertinent anecdotes, which appear to have.been collected with considerable industry. Among these we cannot but distinguish the account here given of the Rev. Abraham Sharp, a great proficient in mathematics and the science of astronomy; and who, long, and very ably, assisted Mr. Flamsteed in the Observations at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. He corresponded with Sir Isaac Newton; and being, moreover, an excellent mechanic, he furnished himself with a complete apparatus of mathematical and astronomical instruments—ail of his ozvn manufacture.
Qn the whole, we have perused this book with peculiar satisfaction, as it is at once (what is not, in these times, very common) a memorial of piety, and a book of entertainment ;—taking the last word *' in its most solemn and serious acceptation:" as one of our associates formerly said, speaking of the Journals of Mr. Whitefield aud Mr. Wesley.
THANKSCIVING S E R M O N, Dec. ICj, 1797.
Art. 37. For the signal Victories at Sea, &c. By the Rev. L. H. Halloran, Chaplain in the Royal Navy. 8vo. is. Low. This discourse is perfectly professional and well adapted, but florid, and not (in the concluding address at least) sufficiently simple in its style to be truly pathetic. The distresses of the widows and orphans, occasioned by the victories commeinurated, would plead strongest in the least adorned narration.
Art. 38. Preached at the Church of St. Michael, Queen Hithe, London^ on Wednesday March 7th, 1798, being the Day appointed for a General Fast; and at Low Lay ton on the Sunday following. By John Wight Wickes, M. A. of Pembroke College, Oxford. 4to. is. Hatchard, &c.
Mr.W. earnestly and rationally recommends unanimity and zeal in supporting the present measures pf government.
.Art. 39. Two Sermons ;—to a respectable Congregation at Hon»
churcb, Es6ex; the 1st on the Thanksgiving-day, Dec. 19, 1797;
the 2d, on the Fast-day, March 7, 1798. By the Ilev. W. H.
Keynell, M. A. Vicar. 8vo. 6d. 'No Bookseller's Name.
This preacher very properly expatiates, 1st, on the Duty of public Thanksgiving for public Mercies ; and 2dly,that as " in the day of prosperity" we should " be joyful;" so, " in the day of adversity," wc should " consider." Eccles. vii. 14. Both of these discourses arc suitably adapted to their respective occasions.
To the Monthly Reviewers.
* Gentlemen, * London, Oct. 5, 1798*
• Tn perusing the last M.R. p. 27.1 find an assertion, originally made 1 by Dr. Bisset, but not contradicted by the Reviewer, which is notoriously contrary to fact. "On the 28th of March 1787, a motion was made for repealing the test-act; and though Mr. Burke badformerly given a WARM SUPPORT to THIS MEASURE, he NOW OPPOSED
IT,'' &c. &c. You will recollect that in the year 1772 the Dissenting Ministers applied for an enlargement of the Toleration-act, or for a repeal of the clause that requires subscription to the articles as a con. dition of enjoying the benefits of that act. Mr. Burke supported this measure in that year, in 177.^, and in 1779; when it succeeded: but no application was made in either of these periods for the repeal of the test-act. There is no ground for charging Mr.Bi with inconsistency, as Dr. Bisset does, on account of this part of his conduct; nor for the absurd vindication of him which follows:—" The Dissenters in 1787 were not the 6ame as they had been in 1772," &c. They were pre* cisely the same, but the repeal of the test-act had not been agitated. Mr.Burke's ideas of civil and religious liberty were very partial and restricted. His opposition to the measure of 1787 was owing to the narrowness of his views, and not to any change in the sentiments of the great body of Dissenters. They were then and they still arc friends to a limited and constitutional monarchy; nor are they acconntable, as a body of men, for the opinions of individuals among them. But it has been the policy of the present administration, to make the whole body accountable for the speculative sentiments and unguarded expressions of a few of their number. It might as justly be alleged, that the Church of England is not now what it was, because many members of this church adopt sentiments with regard to government very different from those of their ancestors.
'From the above statement, it appears that Dr. Bisset, however considerable the fund of general information which he possesses,(see M.R. p. 38.) is incorrect as an historian; and his defence of Mr. Burke is founded on a supposition suggesting an illiberal inference, wnen he says (M.R. p. 27.), that " in the ycari77i, there were among the Dissenters no known principles inimical to onr establishment." This might or might not be the case, but it does not apply in argument to the conduct of Mr, Burke. I am, &c. &c.