« PrécédentContinuer »
minute investigation of each section of his inquiry, and . each of those essays, which together make up a quarto volume of 766 pages. These indeed, if they were made feparately, subjects of inquiry, night give birth to as many vom lumes of comments and controversies as ever sprung from the writings of Aristotle. The spirit, the genius, the essence of his philosophy is, that the mind has a direct and intuitive power of judging; as well as of judging by reafoning in a train by means of propofitions connected by sylogism and argument; that the convictions derived from fenfation, consciousness, perception, are derived from the exercise of the intellect, and stand upon the fame foundation with our apprehenfions of the most evident, that is felf-evident propofitions ; and that we have the same evidence for the existence of things without us, that we have for the existence of what are called iinpreffions and ideas, and even of consciousness itself.
We proceed now to make some observations on this fyra tem in general: after which we lhall endeavour to give some idea of each of these essays, which are the object of this res view; and to point out any instances, that may occur, in which our very learned and acute author has added to the stock of human knowledge.
[To be continued.
Art. X. An Answer to the Reply, to the supposed Treasury,
Pamphlet. 25. Stockdale, 1785.
of opposition of many inconfitencies between their former professions and conduct, and their pretent; he also in some instances refutes the reasoning, and calls in question the facts alledged in the reply. For example, he shews, that the fraudulent trader has now precisely the same opportunity of running goods from Ireland, that he will have hereafter, if it can be worth the while to try the experiment. On the subject of the superiority of ports, our author writes thus.
• The propotition which is maintained relating to them is, " That the markets of Great Britain can be supplied with Weit. “ India produce cheaper through Ireland, by a circuitous naviga“tion, than by a direct importation from the West Indies.” And, to defend this novelty in commercial reatoning, the advantages of ports of Britain are decried by our Commentator, and the harbours of Ireland exalted in their ttead. The sea coast of Britain, which comprehends, according to Templeman, at leaft eight hundred marine leagues, can be 110 longer considered, it seems, as the most commodious for trade of any in Europe. And we are no more to give credit to the Survey of Campbell, « That we have as many
large and safe bays, fecure roads, and convenient ports, arising
44 - from the peculiar difpofitions of our sea and More, as any other
country in Europe. Yet our author admits the force of the remark of his adveriary, that the Irish ports, lying on the Irith tea, froin Belfast to Waterford, pofieis no one superiority over the EngTith ports, on the opposite coait, from White haven to Millore, In the comparison between Corke and the ports of the Briitoi channel, our commentator confefles his disappointment at finding fo much superiority where he leait expected it. It is the West coat of Ireland, from Cape Clear, on the South, to the Mullet, and even to Lough Swilly, on the North, where he contends for fuch fuperior advantages. Yet, having a very different purpofe to answer, he very confiitently exhibits“ the wild and thinly inhabited state of Cilic iar greater proportion of the coast of Ireland which the fmug,
must firit make on his return from the Weit Indies.” A wild and thinly inhabited coait, then, is to overpower the South-Weßern. ports of England in every competition for freights.
But is it at all probable, that a small advantage of local position, a little more to the West, or to the East, should fix the seat of com-merce, or retain the residence of merchants? The " wild and
tbinly inhabited fhores” of Wales have not sisen superior in trade to the English coalis of the neighbouring channel. And the merchants of Bristol choose rather to improve the course of the Avon than emigrate to Milford Haven, notwithstanding its alluring advantages.'
Our author, with plausibility, at leaft, controverts other arguments urged in the reply ; contending party-men have greater advantages when they attack their adverfaries, than when they defend themselves. The author of the reply,. and the author of the answer are both vulnerable, and, accordingly have aimed mutual thrusts, not without effect. But fill the stubborn facts authenticated by the manufacturers, Commissions of excise, &c. &c. plead very power fully against the conduct of miniftry with respect to Ireland, and are sufficient to do more than over-balance the utinoit ingenuity of abier writers than our author, This indeed he seems to be fentible of, and therefore rests the defence he. withes to make, chiefly on the actual independence of IreJand; and the perplexities arising from the concessions of former ministers. The best argument he says, which can be opposed to his adversary's objections, and to the clamours of his party, may be at last found in the report of the committre of Council “ The present question, say they, is not whether the proposed system of commerce, is better or worse: than that which exifted before the change inade in the Irish Constitution ; but whether it is better or worse than that, which, if some agreement is not made, is likely now to take place.' This is the conclufion, and indeed the main strength of Mr. Rose's answer to Mr. Burke's reply.
Art. XI. Moral and Sentimental EGays, on Miscellaneous subjecit,
Written in Retirement, on the Banks of the Brenta in the Venetian
or to affirm, that this Countess's faiher was of an ans, cient protestant House in Wales, her mother a Greek lady, a zealous catholic, and a person of diftinguished merit. That Her father's long residence at Venice gave rise to her connection in marriage with the late CofRg, some years ainbaffador from the Court of Vienna to the Venetian Republic. That this lady, retired from the great world, in: which she had shone from the strength of her understanding, her amiable qualities, and the graces of her perfon, chufes at present, in a peaceable retreat, the amusement of converfing. with herself by writing, and of imparting these conversations to her most intimate friends. We are also informed, that: the fair author published two editions of these essays, differing in some respects from each other : one in the English language, and one in the French.
Concerning the authenticity and accuracy of all these particulars, the editor, who chuses to remain incognito, will excuse us if we entertain a degree of scepticism. And as to what he says, of the character of the work, although we thinks his encomium too high, we judge it to be a very just account of the stile and manner at which it aims.
• As to the subjects of the work, we cannot give a better idea of them, than by comparing them to that number and diversity of ar... ticles which form a lady's dress. No author is without a certain de, gree of coquetry: nor ought he to be, as his object is to please : but coquetry has ever been thought less becoming in men than in women. The choice of every thing that can contribute to ornament is allowed to the sex without restraint ; the arrangement subject to 'no' rules : it is caprice, under the direction of taste, which chuses, and which places its objects always in an agreeable manner, and conforme. ably to the end it happens to have in view. But as the dress of:41 woman, how great foever the variety of the articles of which it is composed, has always a determined character, such as national dress, a court dress, a hunting dress; fo to this work, considered as a dress, of the mind or understanding, we may assign the character of sentiment. When this character, in itself so interesting, animates the the whole, and diffuses itş warmth throughout, in a manner fo fpon. taneous and natural as we observe it to do in these pieces, it ever furnishes an agreeable kind of reading ; although the lubjects treated may be old, trivial, or even fantastic. The wild flights of the ima... gination, the intricacies of metaphysical discussion; even the shafts, of satire, of irony, and perfifflage, have, under this amiable pen, a tincture of that character. That frank and ingenuous manner, too,
fo conspicuous in the following pages, adds new value to their ton of sentiment! inasmuch as we are the more disposed to believe it true, and to delight in it; just as, in society, we prefer the attachment and conversation of those persons, whose characters announce feeling, frankness, and fimplicity.' · This character is drawn by the partiality of a warm friend. And perhaps, the author and the editor may be one and the fame person ; yet the writer under review, seems to be a perfon of genteel education, well acquainted with the levities, follies, and vices of fathionable lite; her reading lies chiefly among novels and miscellanies; she is not unacquainted with modern hiftory: but it is such observations and sentiments as we find Montagne, La Fontaine, Chesterfield, &c;-these are her favourite lines of reading; as it is the exotic buffoonery of Sterne that is the great object of her imitation in writing. As she wants the humour and vivacity of Sterne, the endeavours to make up for the deficicncy by constantly affecting, it even on the gravest fubjeéts. Sterne is often serious, tender, and pathetic; our author screws the muscles of her countenance into an almoft perpetual grin; the endeavours to tickle the fancy, even when the treats of the sublime sube ject of music which
-Soothe's the favage breast Which foftens rocks and hends the knotted oak! and when the leads you into the house of mourning, and discourses of death, and of a future ftate. She is in writing what we fonetimes find women to be in company who l'ave' survived, or never poffeffed any personal attractions, but who are endowed by nature with an oppness and frankness of : difpofition. Such women, regardless of the decorum of fashionable dress and manners, seck, sometimes, to distinguish themselves by fome flight to fpafies on the extreme delicacy expected in the fex, and by afluming the character of odd but good natured persi ns who think shrewdly and speak with perfect, freedom whatever comes uppermost
. If all other means should fail of attracting observation, they will even proceed to downright mimicry, and the making of wry faces. We proceed to juftify this character, by a few extracts from the performance before us. The author introduces hertelf in her first essay which the entitles “ The first Step” thus,
“ You are writing, aunt?"-I am, my dear girl.-“ May I ask what subject employs your thoughts ?”-I am preluding a preface.* A preface! you have written a book then?"--No: but don't let that fürprize you." You have at least the subject of one ready."The subject? That is coming too close to a point, my dear, which is useless enough. What author now adheres to his subject, even if he proposes one? However I have none at all, and that pleases me best. Liberty of ideas is a gift of nature, in which all men par.
take, though but few know how to make a good use of it: our sex may act more freely in this matter than the men, * There is a liber, tinisin of the underitanding, as well as of the heart : and it is allow, able to a woman to give herself up to the former, as in thus doing the excites no jealousy, nor produces any disorder in society. A woman of wit is look'd upon in the world as an ignis fatuus, which shines without burning, and may fall upon any object without hurt. ing it. Concurrence of pretensions causes rivalry : but there never will be women enough to alarm the other sex as competitors for fame. If a woman fits down to write, every prepossession is in hes favour: a bad production is tolerable ; a good one charming.'
Towards the conclusion of this essay, she says,
• You are a charming girl for having interrupted me; for I know no longer where I am, nor how I began this rhapsody." Why, it seems you was writing a preface.”-A preface! let it be fo; all this may make one, if people like it. An authoress must absolutely have a preface to her publication. It is her literary,chaussure. But , as I am writing it before the completion of half my work, the materials of which are already very multifarious, and the rest not likely to be less fo, it is necessary, above all things, that my chausure be perfectly easy, and fit to draw upon any fort of work whatever. The danger of an unaccommodating chaufire brings to my mind a cruel adventure of a pretty woman of my acquaintance, who danced like an angel. On the day of a grand ball, she was honored with the hand of a prince quite à la mode, who paid his court to her. She put on, as her evil genius would have it, a pair of such small shoes as pinched her hurribly: the floor was slippery, and her step uncer, tain. In a pas de chassé
' she lost her balance, and fell fat upon her face. The prince ran to take her up, and at the same time, a lady. in the fecond couple flooped to render her the like service. This lady had the finett teeth in the world, and smiled with a grace, which gave wonderful effect to her countenance. The prince helping up bis partner, inet the eyes of the little figure who affifted him. Whe: ther it was, that the smile had preceded her look, or whether it sprung from the prince's glance (for the transition from perception to expression is in women extremely rapid) I know not; the prince, however, fell into a state of absence and distraction for the rest of the evening. The smile of the little brunette, had absolutely emancipated him from the conquest of her rival. Ever since this unlucky acci. dent, I have always made a point of bearing an easy chaullure : and in my province of authoreis, you see, dear niece, that to prevent, as far, as possible, all risk of disjointing my nose by a fall, my preface wears the character of my chaufuret; and I defy the severest critic to prove, that it will not fit any book whatsoever, and keep it upright on its legs too, as far as that position can depend on a preface.
Yet amidst the effufions of this old literary roinp we meet with many just sentiments, very happily exprefled. It is an affectation of fingularity, which is the great blemish of her essays.