« ElőzőTovább »
priety, that the papilio thallo of Fabricius has probably no existence: it is taken from an imperfect representation in one of Edwards's plates, where the engraver seems to have completed from fancy a mutilated insect, which, after all, is not a papilio. The sphinx pecticornis is taken from the same insect. We may here add, that Fabricius, in many parts of this volume, is freely criticised, and often with justice; yet his entomology, on the whole, is the most correct and extensive that we possess. His merit consists in the accurate discrimination of the
genera, and the very clear distinction and definition of the species; but, in the general distribution and arrangement, Linnæus is probably preferable.
The phalænas, with great reason, are supposed to be more numerous than the papilios. Very few are mentioned in the present volume. Under the phalana Atlas, the family to which the silk-worm belongs, Mr. Donovan inquires into the origin of silk, and falls into the usual error of considering the Seres as Chinese. The silk of Cos was not the production of an insect, but the tuft of a marine animal. Some little, though not very satisfactory, information is added, respecting some other insects that produce silk. The phalana militaris and lectrix are peculiarly scarce. The phalana Zonaria is a non-descript. P. Zonaria " alis viridibus, margine posteriore lato, rufescente, singulis macula marginali viridi.'
There are several new species of libellula. These animals are divided into three genera--the libellula, æstina, and agrion. The libellula Chinensis of Fabricius is, according to Mr. Donovan's account, truly a species of agrion.
The aranea maculata is not one of the largest spiders. It has been described by Fabricius only, and has never been before engraven. The cancer mamillaris is the only crab mentioned by Fabricius as a Chinese insect. The cancer mantis and the scolopendra morsitans scarcely merit any particular observation.
On the whole, this volume is very properly styled an Epitome of Chinese Insects; yet, as a work of natural history, it is beauriful, correct, and pleasing. The information is more extensive and more varied than is usual in publications of this kind; and, though the compilations be sometimes too long, and the remarks less connected with the chief subject of the work than might be expected, yet they relieve the mind from the dryness of mere description, and the eye from a succession of splendid representations. We may perhaps regret that these supplementary observations are not more original.
ART. VI.-The History of Helvetia, containing the Rise and Pro
gress of the Federative Republics, to the Middle of the Fifteenth Century. By Francis Hare Naylor, Esq. 2 Vols. 8vo. 16s. Boards. Mawman. 1801.
OF Mr. Planta's History of Switzerland we lately gave an account so ample as to render it unnecessary that we should much enlarge on the present work, which displays considerable industry and ability. The reasons of its appearance, after the recent publication of Mr. Planta's work, are best explained by the author in his preface, which, in justice to him, shall be transcribed entire.
• I never was a friend to dedications, for I never was a friend to Hattery. Nor am I an admirer of long and elaborate prefaces, because I consider the reader's judgement to be the best comment that any literary production can receive. Yet in my own case I feel myself called upon for some explanation, and as briefly as possible I will
• The greater part of this publication was ready for the press before I was apprised of Mr. Planta's intention of treating the same subject. Nor is this extraordinary, since it was written during my residence in Italy. But no sooner did I see his Helvetic Confederacy advertised, than I laid down my pen, determined to wait for the appearance of that work before I finally decided upon the destiny of my own. Finding, however, that Mr. Planta's view of things differed materially from mine, and that we frequently considered the same object in an opposite light, I saw no reason to abandon my plan. How far I may have acted with prudence it remains with the public to determine.
• A word or two more may possibly be expected with regard to the conduct of the present work. In confining myself to the period which I have chosen, I have undoubtedly selected the most brilliant æra of Helvetic history. For, from the commencement of the Zuric war, the character of the Swiss underwent a material change. The confederacy was augmented in point of numbers, but its strength was evidently impaired.
• Much, I allow, remains to be said. The Burgundian and Italian wars, the progress of the reformation, the triumph of truth, and the decay of patriotism, afford an ample field for the historian, even should he decline to enter upon that awful period when the Alpine valleys ceased, perhaps for ever, to be the abode of freedom and of happiness.
With respect to my future intentions, the public may possibly lock for some information : but as yet I am unable to give it. By their decision I shall regulate my own. Thus much, however, I will venture to add—that should I discontinue my pursuit, it will not be from want of materials.
• A long residence upon the continent afforded me an opportunity of following the revolutions, both of Switzerland and Italy, through all their maze of horrors.- Papers too of the utmost importance are probably within my reach.-Yet I scarce know how to trust my feel
Sec Crit. Rev. Vol. 29, New Arr. p. 241.
ings; nor do I think the present moment the most proper to treat so delicate a subject. I should wish to be thought impartial : but in whatever I undertake, I am resolved to be just.' p. i.
- From the egotic tone of this preface, the intelligent reader would have observed, without Mr. Naylor's information, that he had not only resided a considerable time upon the continent, but had somewhat adopted the self-importance of a French republican author. The new philosophy is in many instances in opposition to the old : a philosopher of modern times wishes to make a world for himself, whereas his predecessors were content to bear with it as they found it; and, what is more to the present point, the latter spoke of themselves with diffidence and humility, while the former often assumes a presumptuous and disgusting vanity.
In his first volume, Mr. Naylor begins the history of Switzerland with a retrospect of that country in the time of Julius Cæsar, and proceeds to the year 1343. The second voluine closes with the council of Basie, and a view of manne s in the fifteenth century. It is probable the ingenious author intends to dedicate two other volumes to a continuation of the work, which shall include the recent subjugation of this country by the French : and we must confess, from the advantages in his possession referred to in the preface, that we should be inclined to prefer such additional volumes to those now before the public.
After the valuable models of modern history which have been furnished by Hume, Gibbon, and Robertson, we are surprised that the author before us has not assumed a similar form, by marking on the margin of the page its chronology and general contents, which so much contribute to perspicuity and reference. We could also wish for a more acute spirit of criticism: nor can we, for instance, blindly assent to Cæsar's position, that 257,000 Helvetians disappeared before his arms. The calculations of the ancients concerning large numbers are so vague and exaggerated, that modern accuracy may subtract at least one half. In his authorities for the subsequent period, it would have gratified us moreover if Mr. Naylor had specified his original authors, instead of satisfying himself with Swiss compilations. The history of the Burgundians is too general; while that of Switzerland, under their authority, ought nearly to have concentrated his sole attention. The writer's remark, p. 38, that the worship of images arose only from their being symbols of divine power, is too hypothetical, too much in the style of those who would reduce all mythology to one universal basis; while we know, on the contrary, that it originated from many concurrent causes. Among the Hindu idols, for example, several are symbolic, while others are confessedly only those of deificd philosophers or eminent wartiors.
Crit. Rev. Vol. 34. Jan. 1802.
The account of the successors of Charlemagne is also too diffuse, too much in the spirit of such German compilers as Müller and Schmidt, without a due and particular attention to Switzerland alone. In general, the modern literature of Germany, instead of deserving to be followed as a model, has always appeared to us to be merely on a par with that of England in the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries; so that, in works of taste and elegance, the writers of the former country may be safely pronounced to be about two centuries behind those of the latter. In the present instance the compilations are conducted with so little judgement, that, even in Mr. Naylor's abstracted account of Charlemagne and his successors, we were more than once tempted to imagine we were perusing a history of France, the proper and peculiar topics being completely abandoned. We shall, however, as a specimen of Mr. Naylor's manner of treating those remote periods, extract the following passage.
• 879. Much about the same period count Boson gave a still more fatal blow to the declining power of the Carlovingian race. Boson was highly endowed by nature with all those splendid qualities which captivate applause. His military exploits hud raised him to a pre-eminent station among the heroes of his age. The generosity, or rather prodigality, of his disposition, had secured to him the affec. tions of the people. His sister, the beautiful Richilda, was the avowed favorite of Charles the Bald, to whoin some authors pretend that she was privately married. By her unbounded influence, Boson had successively been elevated to the first dignities of the state, and had obtained the hand of the princess Hermengarde, the only daugh. Icr of the emperor Lewis the Second. Such brilliant distinctions were, however, by no means sufficient to content the ambition of a man whose views expanded as his fortune rose. In his opinion, no. thing was done while any thing remained to be acquired. It is the remark of an ingenious writer, that men of common abilities wait for occasions, those of superior talents make them. The death of Lewis the Stammerer opened a new field to the enterprising spirit of Boson. He saw the possibility of obtaining an independent crown. His soul caught fire at the alluring prospect, and devoted every faculty to its attainment. In an age of superstition the influence of the clergy is unbounded. Happy would it have been for mankind had it always been exerted in the cause of virtue! But ambition is represented, by our great poet, as the sin by which angels fell. It was the passion to which Boson applied. He was by nature liberal; he now grew pro. fuse. Every thing that wore an ecclesiastical habit was secure of his bounty. Hermengarde too, on her part, was not inactive, but seconded the projects of her husband with the resistless logic of wit and beauty. Such arguments are seldom ineffectual. Every eye was turned towards Boson, as the only person capable of filling the vacant throne. His virtues, his talents, his piety, all called him to it. Nobles, clergy, people, were equally unanimous in his favor. A general assembly was held at Vinne, in Dauphiny, when the Burgundian
sceptre was publicly tendered to the aspiring duke. Boson had now obtained the object of his wishes, but prudence still directed his conduct. He played his part like an experienced politician ; affected surprise at the unexpected offer; pleaded inability to undertake the arduous charge ; and at length requested a delay of three days, before he gave his final answer, that in solitude and retirement he might consult the inclinations of Providence. Boson's scruples, as we may easily believe, were not of a nature to require much casuistry; nor were the prelates so little versed in the arts of a court as to be deficient in argument. The fiat of heaven was given by the unerring voice of episcopacy, and Boson declared to be the elect of God. The ceremony of his coronation immediately ensued. He received the crown from the hands of the archbishop of Lyons, amid the acclamations of an applauding multitude ; so that no title, either divine or human, seemed now wanting to consolidate his authority.
No sooner were the weak descendents of Charlemagne informed of what had happened, than they roused from their lethargic slumbers, preparing to inflict a signal vengeance upon the ungrateful rebel, whose rapid rise had been, in great measure, the work of their own creation. That their indignation was just it is impossible to deny, unless we admit the dangerous position, that talents confer. the only true claim to greatness. But the corrupted minds of these degenerate princes were little calculated for any heroic exertions. Treachery was more congenial to their character; and experience had taught them the efficacy of corruption. But, to their utter confusion, they soon discovered that there was a source of power more permanent than any which terror can convey, and of which they had never suspected the existence. They found that the monarch who reigns in the hearts of his people is secure against every attack. Disappointed, and foiled in their base attempts, they had recourse to a more honorable system, and flattered themselves to effect by open force what their perfidious designa had failed to accomplish. A coalition was in consequence formed between Lewis and Carloman (the joint successors of Lewis the Stammerer), and the emperor Charles le Gros. With their united forces they entered the Burgundian territory, and laid siege to Vienne. Boson had withdrawn from the first violence of the storm, to a place of security in the neighbouring mountains, leaving the defence of his capital to Hermengarde. The princess proved herself worthy the important trust. By her example she animated the timid; by her praises she encouraged the brave. The citizens co-operated with the soldiers. Their defence was obstinate. Toils and hardships were forgotten while beauty shared them and rewarded the sufferer with a smile. On the part of the assailants the siege was languid and ill-conducted. Lewis too, unaccustomed to any fatigues but those of pleasure, fell sick and died. This event was followed by a fresh incursion of the Normans upon the coasts of France. Carloman trembled for his capital, and, drawing off his army, marched against the invaders, having first concluded a hasty peace with Boson, whose daughter he had married. Thus the whole weight of the war fell at once upon the emperor, who, finding his forces too much weakened by the defection of his ally to leave him any probability of success, immediately began to negotiate. A treaty