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enjoy such intercourse with mankind, as shall enable them to represent with filelity and truth the opinions and sentiments and passions of their fellow men; or they must meditate. so deeply on the faculties of their own minds, as to be qualified to frame a delineation of the intellectual country, that shall he readily recognized by every thinking being. But as both these branches of philosophy, that which arises from obserration as well as that which arises from refiection, have so successfully been cultivated by some of the best endoweck and most exercised spirits of different ages and countries, i no man who now pretends to treat of them, separately or together, can dispense with an intimate acquaintance with the most celebrated preceding writers. To consult such writers becomes more imperiouly his duty, if he has neither oppor. tunity to observe his fellow creatures, nor time and leisure to analyze the faculties and operations of his own mind. Now it should scem, from several intimations in the preface to this volume, that Mr. F. has had very few opportunities of observing mankind in a variety of situations,-that he has scarcely any acquaintance with the inasters of moral and metaphysical science,-and that he is too young to have spent many hours in deep and continued thought on his own mental organization. It was therefore natural for us to suspect, that Mr. F, was not exactly the person to fabricate, as he professes, "a practical introduction to the more profound researches of metaphysical and nioral science.' (p. v.) The grounds of our suspicion, it is true, intitle our author to claim as his own, the leading ideas as well as the plan and phraseology of his Essays. But in an introduction' to studies, that so mnany men of learning and judgement have atteinpted to bring down to the level of juvenile minds, every sober person will readily dispense with an originality of a much superior kind to Mr. Finch's, in favour of the less strong but more useful virtues of an orderly and natural arrangement of the parts, truth and justice in the observations, aptness and familiarity in the illustrations, and perspicuity and elegance in the composition. .
During the perusal of this volume, we are reluctant to say it, the suspicion that has been mentioned grew into af irresistible conviction, that Mr. F. is ignorant of what he has undertaken. We intended, at first, to have made this out, by adducing several remarkable instances, selected from a great variety that pressed themselves on our notice. But, as it might be alledged that Mr. F. is not so much devoid of knowledge, as incapable of imparting it to others, and it being of no importance to a reader, whether an author is
it beimwledge, alledge.sed theme instan
ignorant of his subject or incompetent to explain it, we shall content ourselves with making it appear, that Mr. F. is lamentably destitute of the didactic faculty..
Every writer, it is manifest, should not only have a meaning, but express that meauing in such terms as to make it easy of apprehension. However fine his words, or harmonia ous his periods, or splendid and numerous his figures, he must despair of conveying instruction, if he is unintelligible. Mr. Finch is so unfortunate as to write without sense ini almost every page, -or, at least; his vein is so profound that we are unable to discover it. The following passages; we think, would have appeared to excellent advantage in a tractate on the Batbos, though they are somewhat out of place in a discussion on the symptoms of intellectual degeneracy.
· Beneath the o ø essive influence of this intellectü 1 nightmare, [custom whose Herculean strength, alas ! too frequently subdues the power of thought, the vigorous mind repeatedly strives to obtain its liberty, and seems fqually restless in its dull confinement as the sulphureous inmates of Etna. It earnestly pants for the quick return of freedom, and strives to give · full vent to the course of its most enlarged faculties. Highly dissatisfied with its present contracted sphere of action, it powerfully aims to extend the latitude of enterprize, and bounds its attainments only by infinite knowledge.' • Instead of this active thoughtfulness, however, we behold multitudes characteri” only by intellectual dulness, and moral stupidity. Their minds seem to possess no active qualities, but are slow in their progress as the tardy oak, cold in their conceptions as the frigid zone, and fruitless of ideas aš the Arabian desert.'p. 142.
• But let us not conclude, that scepticism is an evidence of mentail dignity, or the fruit of superior intellectual strength: On the contrary, its painful necessity argues a beclouded mind, and proves the absence of that elevated circunspection of soul, which, looking froni the Pandsama of intuitive thought, would instantly discover the landscape of universal truth.' p. 137. :
We were taught, if we recollect right; that there should be a sort of agreement, in all grave compositions, between words and things, and that ordinary thoughts should be expressed in common terms. Against this precept Mr. F. is a notorious sinner from the beginning to the end of this 'volume. The very simple proposition, for instance, that vice injures a man's looks, is expressed thus.
· His corrupted alienation from the high pre-eminence of pristine virtue, must have had a conspicuous and mournful tendency to deform his aspect, and mingle the shades of ugliness with every display of beauty. And, perhaps, in all the stages of human degradation, this deformity will become proportionate to the different degrees of intellectual degettes
racy and moral turpitude. Depravity, indeed, is the grand original disease, which awfully diminishes the native loveliness of man, till its multiplied despoilers strip his form of all its beauties, clothe him with the hideous robes of death, and finally surrender his pallid body to the ruthless grave.' p. 71.
In the following passage, Mr. F. wishes to say that a bookish soldier will be none the worse for a little fighting.
• The warrior, who is deeply versed in the science of ancient and modern warfare, will nevertheless augment his military wisdom by conducting the scenes of dreadful combat, and by superintending the critical vicissitudes of an eventful campaign. p. 47.
Frequently, indeed, we cannot understand our author ; but it, in our next quotation, he intends nothing more than 10 assure us that all useful knowledge has an influence on the well being of man, it would be difficult to find in the compass of our language a more exquisite specimen of bombast.
• The philosophy of human nature constitutes the basis on which the temple of universal knowledge should be erected. The study of mathematics gives a firmness to the mind, and enables it to discriminate with exactness, and determine with precision. The contemplations of cosmography elevate the thoughts, and expand the intellectual faculties. The attainments of polite literature refine the taste, and beautify the social character. But it is human nature that imparts to these pursuits, their dignified importance and grand utility.' . Every acquirement, therefore, within the boundless range of universa I literature, becomes momentous only in consequence of its real adaptation to the state of man. Philosophy enthroned on human nature, arranges every science, marshals all the principles of general knowledge, looks around on the wide creation, and endeavours to render every thing subservient to the safety of her favourite throne, and the prosperity of her native empire. Her foreign conquests, extensive commerce, and general intercourse with every department of the natural and moral world, are designed to ameliorate the condition, advance the excellence, and ensure the felicity of human nature.' p. 64.
Were it worth while, we would attempt to describe the prototype of this splendid passage, and set before our readers the images from which it must have been taken.
From the examples already adduced, our readers will be led to conclude that Mr. F. delights in the use of the netaphorical and figurative style; and have no doubt sufficiently adinired the happy audacity with which custom is styled an • intellectua? nightmare.' The following comparison, which would have done great credit to Sir Richard Blackmore, we think is quite original.
The memory, indeed, is a noble, copious faculty, which man him. self is unable fully to estimate and improve. In its capacity and usefulness to man, it resembles the Mediterranean in its influence on the
south of Europe. Though innumerable currents constantly flow into its bosom, it preserves its equilibrium, and never exceeds the bounds of its appointed dominion. No mighty exhausting stream whatever, indeed, prevents its super-abundant increase ; but exhalations hourly ascend ascend from its surface, and diffuse themselves in all directions, to soften the surrounding territories by refreshing showers, and render them salu. brious, fruitful, and pleasant.' p. 94.
It is, however, in descanting on the human face' ihat Mr. Finch is most anxious to distinguish himself.
• What, (he asks,) gives the human face its wonderful magnetic power, its irresistibly persuasive eloquence? Why does it command the profound homage of reluctant veneration, and silence the reproaches of malignity and violence? What inspires it with that native force, which if steadily exerted with fortitude undaunted, would not only command respect from man, but even subdue the savage impetuosity of the ferocious tyger, or the terrific lion ?
• It is (he answers) the powerful radiance of invisible worth, and the glowing lustre of a latent, but celestial diamond.' p. 70.
When our worthy author emerges from the deep to the level of common understandings, and forbears the use of extravagant figures, he becomes, as might naturally be expected, either trite or erroneous. By way of contrast to the splendid passage we have last quoted, our readers may take the following.
• Man is highly distinguished above the brute creation by the grand pre-eminence of his intellectual faculties.' p. 89. “Many an individual destroys his vitals by dissipation, and hastens his death by violence and excess. p. 76. Man alone is able to communicate his thoughts by the gift of speech.' p. 78. Our feet are admirably adapted to carry us through life in safety, and our hands are wisely formed to answer the ends appointed for them.' p. 77.
We shall just add an instance or two of our author's correctness.
• Fancy is that faculty of the mind, which combines the simple ideas of sensation, and renders them the objecte of contemplative thought. It commands the memory to recollect, and then modifies its recollections in a thousand shapes. It creates new ideas by combinations, and transforms them into associated principles, by the most amazing process.' p 95.
Honour is that dignity of mind and rectitude of conduct that adorns the character of a rational being.' p. 203.
• The fancy of some men seems to have just as much energy as the bull-rush, and a little more lustre than the glow worm. It appears vigorous when exertion is impossible, and shines with peculiar brilliance in the darkness of midnight.' p. 95.
The best advice we are able to give to a person in Mr. F.'s predicament is, to lay up for several years, in some safe place, the remainder of his manuscript; and, in the mean time, devote
himself to the study of those works that treat of moral and metaphysical subjects, as well as of the art of wriring. He will do well, also, to' exercise himself in putting in practice the precepts of the rhetorician, first by attempting to imitate the books he may peruse, and then by original composition. He should, we think, begin with elemerrtary works, and afterwards proceed to those that are of a higher order. If he should think it worth while to take these friendly hints, we will venture to affirm, ihat, in less than nine years, he will form the same opinion of the work before us, that has been expressed in the foregoing remarks; and perhaps be able to produce something that we shall feel it our duty to commend. Art. XI. Calcutta: a Poem, with Notes. fcp. 8vo. pp. 128. price
'5s. Stockdale. 1811. IN the author of this poem, we discern many of the qualities
which were requisite to the task of describing life and manners as they appear in Bengal. He appears to have an intimate and extensive knowledge of his subject: he has a vein of chaste humour and keen but good-natured satire, united to a respectable portion of literature and good sense : aud he writes in a manly, unaffected, though careless style: Unfortunately he is not gifted with those faculties which go to constitute a descriptive poet. He has nothing of the painter in him. There is an uniform want óf distinctness, prominency, and vividness in his delineations. His manner is that of allusion, rather than description : instead of giving pictures to the eye, he only gives bints to the memory: and though he may gratify those wio are familiar with the subjects of his poem, yet his descriptions will yield the stranger but little instruction or pleasure. The poem, 10 an English reader, is not only far less interesting than the notes ; but without them scarcely a page of it is in: telligible. We cannot expect, thei <forę, to recommend the volume itself to any extraordinary favour, by means of extracts; but it contains several passages, both in prose and verse, which for the information they convey, or the sentiments they express, may not be unworthy the attention
for the leader expresse informveral "hary generatione
The poem is divided into two parts, and is written in the form of a dialogue. The speakers are two gentlemen of Bengal, one an old resident, the other but newly arrived. Both entertain themselves with complaints of the wretchedness of their condition, and though the senior sometimes re- , monstrates against the spleen and fretfulness of his como