Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

a

man.

derate extent, the reader is, I doubt tives were alleged for my journey, in not, perfectly aware. Thence I min order to obtain the sanction of my sugrąted for a second four years to Mont- periors, the true one was, an earnest pelier, to study the law. Lastly, I wish to see the world. During this spent three years at Bologna, in the excursion I first visited Paris, happy same pursuit ; during which I attend- in the opportunity thus afforded me, ed lectures on the whole body of civil of ascertaining what was correct, and law, and in the opinion of many, held what exaggerated, in the accounts of out the promise of great proficiency, that celebrated city. I then proceedin the event of my persevering. But ed to Rome, which I had longed to upon the death of my parents, I aban- see almost from my craille; and, while doned the pursuit, not as disliking there, attached myself so closely to legal investigations, which are of high Stephen de Colonna, the noble father authority, and abound with allusions of the family above mentioned, a man to Roman antiquity, one of my favour- of primitive integrity, and was so corite studies,—but because their appli- dially beloved by him in return, that cation is vitiated by the chicanery of in no respect could I be said to differ

This made me reluctant to from a son. This excellent man's af. learn what I scarcely could practise fection for me never varied throughwithout dishonesty, though dishonest- out his life ; and mine for him still ly I certainly would never have prac- glows with unabated ardour, and can tised it at all,—notwithstanding the only end with my existence. After imputation of ignorance which I must, my return, nauseating and hating, in that case, have incurred.

from my very heart, all city-residence, I was two-and-twenty when I re- and anxiously exploring some port or turned home,-for by that name I place of refuge, I found a very small call my Avignon exile, where I had so but delightful solitary valley, called I

, long been an occasional resident. For Vaucluse, about fifteen miles distant custom has a power second only to from Avignon, which gives birth to that of nature. There I began to be the Sorga, the king of streams. To noticed, and my friendship to be cul- this enchanting spot I conveyed mytivated by the great. At present this self and my books. It would be a attention, of which I cannot discover tedious story, were I to detail what I the grounds, excites my surprise; but did there during the lapse of many it appeared quite reasonable at the and many a year. Suffice it to state, time, as with the ordinary vanity of that there nearly every one of my youth I deemed no honour too great compositions had either its completion for my deserts. Above all others I or its commencement; and these are was courted by the ancient and illus- so numerous, . that even to this day trious family of Colonna, which at they occupy and exhaust my attention. that time attended-I ought rather to. For my intellect, like my body, was say, dignified the Roman court. By distinguished rather by its alertness them I was sought out, and by the in- than its vigour.

Hence many procomparable James de c. bishop of jects of easy conception, but difficult Lombes, with a degree of honour then execution, I have at various times certainly (and, perhaps, even still) un- thrown aside. Among other subjects, deserved, carried into Gascony, at the the character of the surrounding scenfoot of the Pyrenees, where I spent an ery suggested a Bucolic

song,

the all-but-heavenly summer in delightful work of a woodland muse, and two intercourse with my noble host and books upon a solitary life addressed to his friends ; an intercourse which I Philip ---, always a distinguished never refer to without a sigh. Upon personage, though at that time holding my return, I passed many years with only the small bishopric of Cavaillon. his brother, the cardinal John de Co- He is now the great cardinal bishop of lonna, in whom I found not a master Sabino, and of all my ancient friends but a father, or rather a most affec- the single survivor. * This illustrious tionate brother ; living, indeed, as if man loved, and still loves me, not (as at my own disposal, and under my Ambrose did Augustine) after the forown roof.

mal fashion of a bishop, but with the Youthful curiosity now impelled me to make the tour of both France • He died two years before Petrarch, in and Germany; and though other mo- 1372.

*

[ocr errors]

fondness of a brother. While I was ditional reflection, perhaps, that the rambling on one of our church-holi- solicited scrutiny was not without days about the mountains, I conceive its glory, since he had been selected ed a strong resolution to write an epic from his whole species as the only poein on the first Scipio Africanus, competent judge. In short, after nuwhose name I had ever singularly merous conversations upon various cherished from my early life. But, subjects, and a perusal of my “ Afrithough I set about it with great en- ca," (which delighted him so much, thusiasm, the distraction of various that he begged it inight be dedicated worldly cares intercepted its progress. to him as a great favour-a favour I It was denominated, after its hero, was neither inclined nor able to re

Africa;” and by its own happy for- fuse) he appointed a day for the obtune, or mine, excited an interest in ject of my journey, and detained me, its favour before it was known. by his examination, from noon until

As I lingered in this beloved abode, the evening. This, as subjects grew by a surprisingconcurrence, letters upon us, was repeated on the two folreached me, on the same day, from the lowing days; and on the third, after Roman Senate and from Paris (through a thorough sifting of my ignorance, the friendly intervention of the Chan- he pronounced me worthy of the cellor), emulously inviting me to these laurel. He even offered to crown two cities, to receive the laurel-crown. me at Naples, and earnestly pressed My youthful vanity was inflamed ; my acceptance of the compliment; and weighing, not so much my own but my love of Rome overcame the deserts, as the opinions of others, 1 importunity of this great sovereign. could not help regarding myself as Perceiving, therefore, that I was not worthy of what such men were soli- to be dissuaded, he gave me letters, citous to confer. Yet was I undecid- and despatched messengers to the Roed whether of the two to obey. Upon man Senate, in which he emphatically this subject I consulted, by letter, stated his opinion of me; and that my friend above mentioned, Cardinal opinion was sanctioned by many others, John de Colonna, as he was within so as well as that time by my own. At short a distance, that, having written present, I rate myself very differently. to him late in the evening, I received But affection, and a tender feeling for his reply the next day but one, at my youth, had more weight with him three in the morning. His advice de- than a regard for truth. I returned termined me in favour of Rome; and to Rome; and notwithstanding my untwo letters of mine to him are extant, worthiness, on the strength of so lofty signifying my acceptance of his coun- a testimonal, with the loudest approsel. To Rome, in consequence, I pro- bation of all those who could attend the ceeded ; but, however, like other ceremony, though but a very unfinished young men, disposed to estimate my, scholar, received the poetic "laurel ; self in the most flattering manner, I upon which subject some letters of blushed at the very idea of appearing mine still exist, both in verse and to adopt the judgment of those by prose. Alas! this laurel, without addwhom I had been summoned, though ing to my literature, swelled the tide of they undoubtedly thought me entitled envy against me ;-but the narrative to the compliment. I therefore re- of what I endured in consequence, would solved previously to visit Naples, and be too prolir for this place. pay my respects to its iHustrious phi- From Rome I proceeded to Parma, losopher, King Robert,-a prince not and spent some time with the Corremore distinguished by his station than gü, who, agreeing only in their kindhis learning--the only one indeed, in ness and liberality toward me, notwithmy time, who patronized science and standing their domestic feuds, ruled that virtue,-in order that he might form city with unprecedented rigour. Not his judgment of my pretensions. How insensible to this honour, and anrious I was received by him, and how ap- to appear not wholly unworthy of it, proved, excites my frequent astonish- one day as I was clambering along the ment, and, on a detail of the particu- mountains, and had entered the wood lars, would equally astonish the read. called Piana, beyond the Enza, on the er. The news of my errand gave him border of Rezzio, I was all at once reextraordinary pleasure, both in respect minded by the association of the scenery to my juvenile confidence, and the ad- of my forgottenAfrica," and, under the

6

amaze

*

UNIVERSAL CAN BIST.

a

influence of this revived glow, resumed God took him to himself. And though it that very day, making some additions his son and successor, a man of great to it for several days in succession ;* discretion, in pursuance of his father's and on my reaching the retired and attachment, always favoured me with quiet mansion, which I subsequently his regard, yet upon the loss of one so purchased and still possess, I so zeala much more suitable to me (particuously continued the work, and so soon larly in point of age), I determined, completed it, that I can hardly myself in my restlessness, to revisit France, review my efforts without

not so much from a desire to see over ment.

again what I had seen a thousand Returning thence to the Sorga, and times before, as to sooth my sufferings, my residence beyond the Alps, I left like the tossing sick, by a change of behind me my four-and-thirtieth year, place. having every where, thank God, during my long abode at Parma and. Verona, been treated with a degree of kindness far beyond my deserts. Af- THE BRITISH READY RECKONER, AND ter a considerable interval, my reputation attracted the notice of the excellent James de Carrara the younger, The first part of this little volume of all my great friends the most accom- consists entirely of tables, of which plished ; and for many years, by mes- the largest serves to point out the sengers and letters, which sought me

value of any number of articles, at beyond the Alps, and followed me

any rate from a farthing to a pound; through Italy wherever I chanced to

and it may be easily accommodated reside, I was so earnestly urged and

to any higher price. Such a table importuned to accept his friendship, ought to be in every person's hands ; that though I hoped for nothing, I for few men live a week without findresolved to pay him a visit, and ascer- ing it requisite to ascertain the value tain what all these pressing solicita- of goods. He who buys or sells, --who tions of the illustrious stranger meant. pays or receives wages,-or who is emAccordingly, at a late period of my ployed in any similar transactions,life, I went to Padua, and was received may, by only inspecting such a table by him with such transports of un- as this, determine with certainty and paralleled esteem and affection (al- ease the amount of his engagement. most, indeed, like a beatified spirit in The less expert calculator is raised heaven), that language can convey no by it, so far as concerns prices, to a idea of their extravagance... Among par with the most acute; and even other favours, knowing that I had been the skilful arithmetician will often find a clerk from my youth, with a view it useful for saving the expense of of binding me more closely both to time. It is necessary that tables of himself and his country, he bestowed this kind be above all suspicion of inupon me a canonry of Padua ; and had accuracy, and therefore we have exahe fortunately been indulged with mined the table with all the attention longer life, here would have termi- in our power. We could not indeed nated all my wanderings. But such, afford the time necessary for calculatalas! is the transitory nature of every ing every number separately. This thing mortal, and so surely is sweet would have subjected us to all the lasucceeded by bitter, --within two years bour of the author. We took a short

er, but, we think, a very effectual • N.B.—The passages above printed in method. We marked all *he quantiitalics, are variations in my copy of the last passages of the letter, which, for the sake of the printer's convenience, after being * The British Ready Reckoner, and partly printed at full length, have been Universal Cambist, for the use of Bankers, compressed, in a small type and a contract. Merchants, Farmers, Tradesmen, and Men ed phraseology, into a crowded page, bear- of Business in general ; compiled from the ing on its back part of the table of contents most Authentic Sources ; by William Stenof the subjoined volume, De Remediis U. house, Accountant in Edinburgh, Author triusque Fortunæ. Roterod. 1649. 12mo. of the Tables of Interest, &c. Third ediWhether, indeed, the folio editions termi- tion, greatly enlarged and improved. 32mo, Rate this abruptly, I have no means of as

Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh ; certaining at present.

a

F. R. S. Law & Whittaker, London.

pp. 276.

[ocr errors]

ties and rates which produced the portion of it which can be called obscure.
same value, and then examined the În describing the monies, weights,
table whether this value was affixed and measures of England, Scotland, and
to each of them ; for example, we Ireland, Mr Stenhouse is more copious
found that £1, 6s. 3d. ought to be the than he is in explaining those of fo-
value of each of the six following quan- reign nations; but here also he is very
tities and rates, viz. of 45 at 7d, of short, considering the multiplicity of
63 at 5d, of 35 at 9d, of 9 at '2s. 11d., weights and measures which are in
of 7 at 3s. 9d., and of 5 at 5s. 3d.; common use among the different parts
and we inspected the table to see if of these kingdoms. When pointing
this was the case. By proceeding in out the legal measures of length in
this manner with other values, we Scotland, the author has adverted to
examined considerably more than half a mistaken opinion which has prevail-
the table. We then reduced the va- ed among us, that the standard Scotch
lues into parcels, and compared their ell is equal to 37.2 English inches.
sums and differences with other values And he prefers Mr Troughton's mea-
in the table; and we used a variety of surement, which makes it only 37.069
other ways of comparing the values, English inches ; this length of the ell
so as to make the table, by cross-exa- has been lately confirmed by an expe-
minations carried on through its whole riment of Professor Copland of Aber-
extent, to bear testimony for or against deen. We have, in this part of the
itself. We acknowledge, that the de- performance, a particular account of
tection of error was our immediate ob- the local measures of corn in all the
ject in this examination; and if we counties of Scotland, and a method is
had discovered in it either numerous explained, of checking and of equal-
or important errors, our respect for izing these measures, by means of the
the author would not have prevented weight of water contained in the
us from condemning the work as an standard pint jug of Stirling, com.
imposition on the public. But we pared with its content in cubical
were not successful in discovering a inches ; from which it is shown, that
single error, and have, in consequence, a single weight for each of our stand-
been led to express a high degree of con- ard measures would be sufficient for
fidence in its accuracy. It is a matter of regulating the whole; whereas no ves-
extreme difficulty to print arithmetical sels made by coopers, to prescribed
tables, of such extent, without the forms, can be depended upon.
smallest omission or mistake, and on Mr S. has also explained the prin-
that account we do not venture to as- ciple upon which the bill, brought
sert that there is not a wrong figure in into Parliament in the year 1816, for
the whole table, but we are certain, equalizing the weights and measures
that if there be any, they must be very of the kingdom, was founded ; and
few and of minor importance. his remarks upon the system contained

There are three other tables in this in that bill are very candid and judi-
part of the work, one of them for find- cious. The reader will find them in
ing the interest of money for any num- the 195th page of the work, to which
ber of days, and the other two for re- we beg leave to refer him.
ducing Scotch land-measure into Eng- In settling the intrinsic value of fo-
lish, and English land-measure into reign coin, the author has given us the
Scotch. The first of these tables will weight of the pure gold or silver in a
be found of great use calculating in- piece, and has expressed their weight
terest, at all the usual rates per cent.: in English troy grains, from which
the other two, though perhaps not so the value of the piece in sterling mo-
generally requisite, will nevertheless ney is then deduced. On this part
be of essential utility to the land-sur- Mr S. appears to have bestowed a
veyor.

great deal of care. He informs us, in In the second division of the work his preface, that he has consulted all before us, the author treats of the the most eminent writers on commermonies, weights, and measures, of all cial subjects, and has extracted whatthe countries of the world, which are ever was most valuable in their works; concerned in foreign commerce. This and the list of his authorities, both part is remarkable for its accuracy and British and Foreign, is highly respectconciseness, but it possesses also, in a able. Many of them had access to inhigh degree, a quality not always con- formation superior to that of the geneistent with brevity, for there is no rality of writers, and they were well

qualified for making the most advan- which the value of any foreign piece tageous use of it. A knowledge of the may be converted from the old to the relation of foreign money to that of new standard with great ease, in many Britain, might be of great and perma- cases by inspection only, and in every nent utility to the commercial world, case by a simple addition. if the coins of different nations were The weights of foreign nations are constantly to retain the same intrinsic all valued by reducing them to Engworth. But though the variation can- lish troy grains, and their measures not be very great in a century, yet we of length are reduced to English inch, know that it has been the practice of es. Their measures of capacity, both governments, at all times, to alter, in liquid and dry, are first reduced to some degree, either the weight or the English cubical inches, and then comfineness of their coin ; and it appears, pared with our wine gallon, or with from the volume before us, that the the Winchester bushel. But the same practice is still continued. We author himself has given a very plain, shall notice only the monies of Spain and, as appears to us, a very faithful and Portugal, because several of the account of all these reductions in his coins of these nations are current in Preface, to which we refer the reader Britain. In the days of Sir Isaac New- who wishes fuller information. ton, the crusado of Portugal was found

It has been the opinion of many to be worth 34.31 pence sterling, eminent men, that instead of making which makes the milree equal to 71.46 use of measures of capacity, which can pence sterling ; but the crusado of the never be managed so as to secure peryear 1802, is worth only 27.886 pencefect accuracy, it would be not only sterling, and of course the milree is more equitable, but also equally cononly equal to 58.094 pence sterling venient, to buy and sell liquids, as Again, a Mexican dollar ought, ac- well as dry goods, by weight only. cording to law, to be worth 4s. 6d. ster- This, Mr S. informs us, is the generling nearly ; but it is now found, by al practice in Persia, where commerce actual assays at the mint, to be scarcely has been long carried on, and, in some worth 4s. 4d. And a similar deprecia- periods, to a great extent. With retion has taken place in their gold coins. gard to dry goods, our own experience Of the same nature with these changes, ought long ago to have convinced is the alteration which has taken place every person in this country of the last year in the weight of our silver expediency, and even of the necessity, coinage. Instead of 62s. being coin- of valuing them by weight only. Seved out of a troy pound of standard eral experiments have also been made silver, as was done formerly, 66 of upon liquids, with every appearance the new shillings have been coined of success. Indeed, the only objecfrom the same weight, which makes tion in this case is, some inconveni. the new coin about 6 per cent. lessence in the way of using the weights ; valuable than the old. We do not if this were got over, and the method stay to discuss the policy or the ad- generally adopted in any nation, the vantages of such a measure, we only people would soon be familiarized with mention the circumstance on account it, and its equity and utility would of its effect in altering the relation recommend it to their approbation. which our money formerly bore to At any rate, the uniformity and simthose of other nations. It makes an plicity of the plan entitles it to a fulapparent rise in the value of foreign ler consideration than it has yet obcoin in the same ratio in which our tained. money has been depressed. In the To facilitate the reduction of the work which we are reviewing, the re- money of one country into that of an lation of foreign money to our old other, and to shew the nature of excoin appears to be estimated with change, Mr S. has annexed ten tagreat precision, but the performance bles to the work, of which the Arst was prepared for the press before the nine serve for pointing out the sterissue of the new coinage, and therefore ling money equal to any sum of the the alteration which has taken place money of Scotland, Ireland, Isle of could not be introduced into the body Man, and of the different parts of of the work. But the author has pre- North America and the West Indies, fixed a short table, which will be and also the value of Sterling money found at the end of the preface, by expressed in the money of these coun

« AnteriorContinuar »