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Rev. Mr. Scraggs on Literary Criticism. [May 1, will not acknowledge, the real merits of fore they are reviewed.-Lastly, In a ao author. But a just and candid critic lively and entertaining manner. will deliberately examine the wbole con- grave subjects, no doubt the review of tents of the publication be reviews, and ihem should be grave, but others ought readily point out excellencies as well as not to be dull. When interspersed with its detects.
short appropriate anecdotes or striking With respect to the proper manner of quotations, they are rendered inore reviewing books in order to do justice pleasing; and strokes of humour are to authors and the public, their con- sometimes rery agreeable when they are tents should be considered, 1st, In an not personal and malicious. impartial and explicit manner. Only As to the standard of litcrary crititruth and justice should guide a periodi- cism, it is certain that no one author in cal critic, and not the least partiality any language, ancient or modern, can ought to be shown to a writer on ac- be said to be an infallible criterion. count of his rank, his riches, or former But Dr. Knox expresses himself very productions, nor yet for his honorary well on this part of the subject in the title. No work ought to be condemned following words : “ What then, it will by wholesale; and literary censors when be asked, is criticism to be left for ever they disapprove of any part of a publica- vague and indeterminate, and is there tion, should explicitly assign their rea- no standard ?" I answer, that the feelsons for so doing. Many have thought ings of the majority of men of taste, that every important article ought to coinciding for a number of years in give have the reviewer's name affixed. I have ing approbation to the best of authors, considered this subject for many years, constitute a standard sufficiently certain and notwithstanding all the outcry of and uniform. And indeed it is totally disappointed authors against aoonymous impossible to fix upon any writer, howcritics, I think it is best to be so; be- ever cclebrated, as a general standard; cause, if the name appeared, then au- not only because that writer has his thors, whose works were censured or not faults, but because he cannot equally praised, might have a grudge against excel in every species of compositiot. the reviewer, and perhaps would injure But those literary works which have or put him to trouble. On the other pleased the greater part of literary perhand, a needy or covetous critic might sons for a number of years, will most be tempted to praise the works of a rich likely please others after them; and as author in hopes of some reward. In to differences of opinion, they are only short, I am apprehensive that if the re- the irregularities which attend every view of no important publications ap- thing sublunary, and do not invalidate peared without the critic's name, we the justness of the general decision. might after a time have no review at all. Let us now point out some of the chief -2. In a concise and satisfactory way. uses of literary criticism to the republic Whatever may be pleaded for the pre- of letters, and io scholars in particular:sent long and circumlocutory manner of 1. It deters some bad writers from pubreviewing books, I bumbly conceive it is lishing. Every learned person is not a bad one, as it respects the readers. necessarily qualified to become an auThey ought to be speedily brought ac- thor, much less are those who have only quainted with what the new publication a smattering of learning. He whio precontains in as few words as may be pro- pares for the press, besides a competent per, according to the size of the work. knowledge of the subject on which he But instead of this, very frequently the writes, should understand the rules of introduction to a very important public composition, have a taste for good fancation is as long as the whole review of guage, and be accustomed to compose. it ought to be, and often has many irre- Now as nothing is more likely to deter levant remarks in it. The table of con- unqualified persons from writing than a tents ought always to be copied, but is fear of being exposed by the critics, often omitted, and the book sometimes therefore periodical criticisin is highly reviewed in such a desuitory way, that useful; indeed this is become quite neeven a very judicious reader is quite at cessary since the liberty of the press has a losy to forin any correct idea of it, been so extensive in Great Britain, be Besid s this, such a tedious way of re- cause these literary journals are now alviewing takes up so much room, that most the only public means of curbing very few standard publications can pass the abuse of it-2. It admonishes acerc under review in a month; and some ditod authers to continue to arite well. It are nçar two years after publication be is to be lamented that some authors of
1816.) Sentiments of the Royal Society on Animal Torture. 307 note, who bave formerly used good lan. ing out blemishes; whereas 'one who is guage, bave afterwards become rather liberal-minded not only dwells on obcareless; if, therefore, such inattention vious excellences, but takes a pleasure were not to be reproved by reviewers, in discovering such as are concealed. we should soon degenerate. Some indeed The former often censures, not because affect to despise verbal criticism; but as there is any real fault, but througli pride words represent ideas of the most im- to shew his assumed superiority; but the portant things, every judicious person latter, when the work upon the whole is must know that a proper choice and ar- excellent, thinks it unjust and illiberal to rangement of them is of great conse dwell upon small faults. However, it is quence. All authors should also consi- very proper that imperfections and errors der that a correct, flowing, and elegant in publications should be mentioned, style, is much more likely to be useful otherwise there would be but few corin communicating knowledge than that rect authors, and little improvement in which is defective. It is true, indeed, the arts and sciences. The learned ought that reviewers are sometimes splenetic to cosider theniselves much indebied and fastidious in their remarks om the to Mr. Ilarris, Bishop Hurd, and Lord diction of a writer, yet all but conceited Kames, for their improvements in the authors may make a good use of their art of criticism; and in the lectures of strictures. Liberal criticisnis are there- Dr. Blair there are also many just stricfore useful to humble writers, which oc- tures. Men of erudit and candour casioned a living author thus to write in are a sort of masters of the ceremony in his preface: “ Every good-tempered cri- the court of letters, by whom the literati tic is my friend; and as I wish to be im- are introduced into ihe best company, proved, I rather invite than deprecate and thereby greatly improved and entercriticism."-3. It sures readers time, tained."
G. G. SCRAGGS. trouble, and expense. Very few readers Buckingham. can fully judge for themselves, and if ca. pable, modern standard books are
MR. EDITOR, dear, that readers wish to consult a lite IT will be pleasing to your readers to rary journal before they make a pure hear of an instance of good effect arising chase. Title-pages have become of late from the freedom of public remarks. years so deceiving that nothing decisive In your Magazine for February last an is to be concluded from them; it is, account is given of Professor CARLISLE'S therefore, truly desirable to be able to lectures at the Royal Academy, wherein consult a review. But perhaps some will be reprobates the unwarrantable cruel. say that reviewers are connected with ties practised upon anin als by some certain publishing booksellers, and there- modern anatomists, and which are ostenfore praise such books as they publish tatiously promulgated by a great literary whether good or bad. However this may society. he, it is certain that their productions The majority of the Royal Society inay be made use of in some measure to have been for a long time disgusted with guide in the choice of books.-Lastly, unprofitable and revolting narratives of sriticisms spread the fame of authors, animal torture, but the managers of that and diffuse knou ledge. If it were not body affected to defy public opinion, and for periodical literary journals the works remained callous to the expression of of authors could not be very extensively better feelings. At the meeting of the known, and literature would be confined 21st February, and in the presence of to a few comparatively speaking. But the Austrian archdukes, the ballot for now, besides their review of elaborate the election of one of those favourite treatises in various arts and sciences torturers came on, when, to the utter every month, even their incidental re dismay of the managers and his promomarks and bints are very beneficial to lers, this otherwise-unexceptionable canintelligent readers. We have now more didate was black-balled, and that hy the English reviews than ever we had; the most extraordinarily gunerous majority number of readers havegrcatly increased; which has of lace years attended the and consequently mental knowledge is meetings of the Royal Society. much more diffused. I shall conclude
F. R. S. with the following quotation from an ahle writer, which contains some addi MR. EDITOR, tional remarks on the subject :-“ A IN the sixth number of your Magazine carping or fastidious critic in reviewing Mr.MITCHELL has given a few particua publication is chiefly delighted in point- lars of the late Mr. J. H. Wynne. Per
Anecdotes of the late Mr. J. H. Wynne. [May 1, haps you will not deem your pages on
buscs and enigmas; for the other, petty profitably employed, if you add a few fables, childrens' lessons in verse, or to more anecdotes of a gentleman who, devise new-angled modes of playing the amidst all lis eccentricities, (and they game of goose. As these two pillars of were alınant,) never appears to have literature lived at so great distance apart, swerved from the high rath of morality our poor poet, who had suffered a total and the mosi honourable pursuits; though derangement of the muscles of his right his career was far froin being attended leg, was almost reduced to a skeleton by those blessings which sweeten it, and by bis attendance on them. When he set us above the allurements of want, or had written a dozen lines for a child's the cornmission of dievis untortunately play-card, or half a page of a monthly occasioned sometimes by the unkind- inagazine, our poet was obliged to go ress of the world, and the contumely of with his stock of commodity from Bloomsthe unfeeling. ----the shafts of which soote bury, where he occupied an attic, first Mír. Wynne with all their virulence, and to May-tair, and then to Paternosterdoomed him to struggle oftentimes with row; and the remuneration he received porcrty and inisfortune.
for the effusions of his brain was freI glean these anecdotes of his life from quently insufficient to procure him the an account of some length, published means of existence. Mr. Wynoe world nearly twelve years ago in a paper whose often complain in the most severe terms circulation is in a great measure confined of the want of generosity in his employ. to Wales, and therefore not read by The literary productions of Mr. many out of the principality.
Wynne are numerous; and, some written I conclude that the facts may be relied for his amusement, full of merit, strong, on as authentic. As they appeared (soine- ly eviucing flights of true genius. His what more diffuse) a considerable tiine History of Ireland the critics of his day back, and, as far as I can learn or recol- belaboured with Herculean clubs-but lect, the truth of them has never been critics are often more ill-natured than questioned, I trust, Sir, you will devote candid; his Miseries of Authorship does a pave of your miscellany to them, not his feclings much credit--alas! be was doubting that they will be welcome to able to give a faithful picture of those many
“ miseries;" and his poem of the Pros Mr. James HUDDLESTONE WYNNE was titute (the only publication of his menof a very respectable family in South tioned by your correspondent Mr. Mis. Wales, and related to the 'Wynnes of CHELL) is full of moral and tender sentiWynnstay, in North Wales. His father inents, the offspring of a good heart. from misfortune hasing reduced his cir- Many others of his pieces have much cumstances, wisely resolved on a profese to recommend them, and would not dission for young James, and that of a com- grace men of greater celebrity, positor was deterinined on, at which he Mr. Wynne's eccentricities were nuworked with that great and worthy man merous, and some of them so tinctured Benjamin Franklin; but he became dis- with pride as make their possessor apgusted with his profession, and obtained pear iruly ridiculous. The noblest minds a lieutenancy in a regiment about to set are ever hardiest in distress; but Mr.W. out for India. The irascibility of Mr. was insolent in rags, turbulent when in Wyone's teinuer was such, that it for want of a meal, and would insult his ever kept him in hot water : he had not best friend for doing him an act of kindproceeded far on his voyage before he ness unsolicited; of which the followquarrelled with his brother officers, who ing anecdote is an instance. would not mess with him, and actually Mr. W vone's figure was below the midleft him behind when the ship arrived at dle stature; bis face thin and pale; his the Cape; from whence be returned to head scantily covered with black hair, England, and meeting with a young lady collected in a tail about the thickness of of property, entered ivio the state of a tobacco pipe; his emaciated right leg matrimony. It was about this time that was sustained by an unpolished iron :Mr. Wynne thought of commencing au- he wore his gloves without fingers, and thor, and his first application in that his clothes in tatters. In such a trim he way was to Mc. Geo. Kearsley, booksel- one day entered the shop of Mr. Kearsley, ler, Fleet street, whose liberalily ena. the bookseller, who possessed a heart susbled hiin to support his family. He had ceptible of every good, and a hand ever two other employers: vue in Paternoster- ready to relieve distress. Mr. K.'s shop row, the other in May-tair. For the first was the lounge for gentlemen of literary he was doomed periodically to write re- attachment, who stopped to inquire the
of your readers.
1816.) Anecdotes of the late Mr. J. H. Wynne:
309 occurrences of the day; and several per- round the latter and conceal him.-The sons of fashion were present when morning came for the author's public en Wynne entered, and began to talk in a try at Northumberland-house; but alas! way that shewed want of good-breeding. one grand mistake had been made: in His shabby appearance, together with his the hurry of business no application had unbridled loquacity, threw Mr. Kearsley been made to the tailor for the necessary into a tever until he got rid of him; after alteration of his clothes; honever, great which, moved at the indelicacy of his minds are not cast down with ordinary appearance, Mr. K., from the purest occurrences; Mr. Wynne dressed himmotives, took a suit of his clothes, almost self in Dr. Percy's friendly suit, together new, and, with other appendages, bun- with a borrowed sword, and a hat under dled them together in a handkerchief, his arm of great antiquity; then taking and, with a polite note, sent them after leave of his trembling wite, he set out for Mr. W. to his lodgings. As this was the great house. True to the moinent, he done without the knowledge of a third arrived-Dr. Percy attended and the person, and in so polite a way, it would duke was ready to receive uur poet, not be unreasonable to suppose that Mr. whose ligure at this time presented the Wynne received the giit with thankful- appearance of a suit of sables bung on ness, at least with good manners; but a bedge-stake, or one of those bodiless the result proved otherwise. He stormed forms we see swinging on a dyer's pole. like a madman, and in a rage returned On his introduction, Mr. Wynne began the bundle, though he was covered with his formal address; and the noble duke rags like a pauper; writing by the porter, was so tickled at the singularity of the that “ the pity he had experienced was poet's appearance, that, in spite of his brutality; the officiousness to serve bim gravity, he burse the bonds of good maninsolence; and it ever Mr. K. did the ners; and at length, agitated by an enlike again till he was requested, he would deavour to restrain risibility, he leaped chastise him in another way.” This from bis chair, forced a purse of thirty would have been a wren pouncing upon guineas into Mr. Wynne's hand, and huran eagle; for Mr. Kearsley was a tall rying out of the room, told the poet he stout man--a Colossus to Wynne. was welcome to make what use he
Notwithstanding the preceding, Mr. pleased of his name and patronage. Wynne was not without his attachment In the year 1780, Mr.Wynde adulressed to dress and fashion. A short time pre an ode to her Majesty on her birth-day, vious to his publishing his History of Ire- which was well received ; it began thus : land, he expressed a desire to dedicate “Heard ye the welcome sound of joy? it to the Duke of Northumberland, who Heard ye the swelling notes of praise ? was just returned from being lord-lieute. What theme like virtue can employ nant of that country. For this purpose
The lyre, or wake the poet's lays ?" he waited on Dr. Percy, and met with a
ynne vow began to extend his very poliie reception. The duke was fame, and several periodical booksellers made acquainted with his wishes, and with great eagerness solicited his liteDr. Percy went as the messenger of good rary assistance. The Rev. Dr. Madan cidings to the author. But there was
bad just written and published a very more to be done than a formal introduc- singular book in vindication of polygation; the poor writer intimated this to my, called Thelypthoru. It was comthe good doctor; who in the most deli- posed purposely to extenuate the con. cate terms begged his acceptance of an
duct of a ricb merchant in the Borough, almost iew suit of black, which, with a
a friend of Di. Madan's, who had mare very little alteration, might be made to ried two wives, and (what must appear fit. This, the doctor urged, would be extraordinary) lived in tolerable hare best, as there was not time to provide a
mony with both under the same roof. new suit and other things necessary for This book Mr. Wynne borrowed, and his debut, as the duke had appointed returned it again with the following epiMonday in the next week to give the gran written on one of the leaves in red historian an audience. Mr. Wynne approved of the plan in all respects, and “ If John marries Mary, and Mary alone, in the mean time had prepared himself 'Tis a very good match between Mary and with a set speech and a manuscript of John! the dedication. But, to digress a little, But if John weds a score-Owhat claws and it must be understood that Dr. Percy
(matches." was considerably in statore above Mr.W. It can't be a match, but a bundle of and his coat sufficiently large to wrap A hundred more instances might be
Explanation of a Passage in Shakspeare. [May 1, produced of Mr. Wynne's ready wit and MR. EDITOR, humour, but, as they still live in the THE astonishing revolutions in the memory of his friends, we shall con- political affairs of Europe within so comclude with observing, that his only paratively siw.st a period as the last 25 faults were, negligence with respect to years, exceed any of the mighty events exterior appearance, and obstinacy in recorded in history. It is a subject terefusing to accept obligations, tendered, plete with the greatest interest, and will kroni the purest motives, by many who afford ample matter for the pens of fuwere desirous of serving him in distress. ture historians and philosophers, which His whole garb at times was not worth a will be read with the deepest attention crown). His morals were noble; and many ages after the preseni and succeedthose who had the advantage of his ing generations have disappeared. Let friendship, received him with a smile of us only contemplate what was so justly respeci, and always left him with regret. termed the “ reign of terror," during At length nature began to decay, his some part of the Revolutiou, when all limbs and intellects forsook him; but laws, both human and divine, were set the affection of his children threw a at defiance; when the destruction of veil over his infirmities. Upon the human life was literally for a considergreat stage of life he acted well his part; able time the order of the day; whea and here we drop the curtain.
even Atheismı was publicly promulgated! In the account from which the above In words can we convey our ideas is selected, no potice whatever is taken of the dreadful state of degradation and of his unfinished poem called Hengist, depravity to which a part of the French an extract from which appeared in your nation must have been reduced! and yet fifth number.
A TRAVELLER. how strange, how unaccountable must Swanseu, Jan, 1816.
the character of these people appear,
when, after all the dreadful scenes of MR. EDITOR,
blood and misery which it had exbibited, YOUR well-conducted journal be- and that in the pame of liberty, they ing open to whatever is interesting in could in a few years consign themselves literature, I fatter myself you will pero to the power of such a despot as Buemit the following explanation of a pas- naparte, under whom they lost even the 'sage in Shakspeare to be laid before very sembiance of what they so eagerly
sought! It is remarkable that tbe In an account of the festivities, sports, French, wbo in their manners have been and occupations at Kenilworth Castle, considered the politest nation in Europe, during the visit of Queen Elizabeth in should have conducted themselves with 1575, published in “ A letter from a such extreme brutality, as never can be freend officer attı ndant in the court, obliterated from the recollection of manunto his freend a citizen and merchant kind, while vice continues to be viewed ef London*;" among other items is the with abhorrence. I firmly believe that following: attached to two posts were the works of Voltaire, d'Alembert and
sett iwo coumly square wyre cages," others, greatly contributed towards a filled with "live bitterns, curluz, shoove- laxity of morals, which in sone measure lare, hearsheawz, godwitz, and such paved the way for that general demoralike deinty byrds of the prezents of Sul- lization that subsequently made them so vanus, the god of the foul." Now this conspicuous among all other nations. word hearsheawą elucidates a passage That the bad tendency of these writings which has been much commented on. was the cause to a certain degree of the Hamlet hantering with his associates horrors attending the Revolution, I think (Act II. sc. ?), says, “ When the wind no impartial person can deny. We have is southerly, I know a hawk from a here a proof even to demonstration of the hernshaw," -- heronshaw,-or as here utter impossibility of any civilized nation spelt hearsheaw; but which has been existing without the powerful aid of relivery absurdly printed, and as absurdly gion, as wlien once that is abolished fas pronounced by many players hand-sar. was the case in France during a certain This observation is so obvious to me, period of the Revolution), morality will that I have thought it worth communi- of course depart wih.it, which ought to caling, and shall be very glad if it meets be the grand basis upon which all human the approbation of greater critics than I laws should repose. pretend to be.
PENTELICON. In this paper, I wisla particularly to Port Glasgow.
direct the attention of your namerous See Bishop Hurd's “ Moral and Poli- readers to the writings of certain jourtical Dialogues," page 125.
nalists of the present day, who appear