of their infant, to seize on their titles and estates, and then is haunted by the ghosts of remorse. There is no want of ability about it, but it is too full of horrors and darkness, and storms and murders for our taste. The admirers of Jack Sheppard may notwithstanding find charms in it.

But what shall we say to Mr. Jacob Jones and his Cathedral Bell. Here is a learned Barrister at Law, who styles himself author of the Stepmother,' of Longinus, or the fall of Pal'myra,' of Spartacus, or the Roman Gladiator,' tragedies in five acts; of the Anglo-Polish Harp,' and other works; and who has whole pages of eulogistic extracts from many of our critical journals, and some of them of high standing, yet who, according to his own account, has been for these twenty years endeavouring in vain to get one of his tragedies produced on the boards of a leading theatre. With such a host of recommendations we dare

say he deems it strange that he should not find as much favour at the hands of the managers as another learned gentleman. Without pretending to decide what may be the actual merit of Mr. Jones's other much-lauded performances, we must say that if they at all resemble the one before us, the kindest thing which the critics could have done, would, long ago, have been to recommend him to burn his dramas and give all his energy to his briefs. A greater medley of improbabilities and caricatures of men and women it has not often been our lot to read; but that Mr. Jones may not class us with those • few critics' who, he says, have attempted to crush him without a sample of his style, we will give a sample.

1st Guard. Out on your leavings !
2nd Guard.

Cast them to the swine.
Ist Veteran. Pearls, at your service!
2nd Veteran,

Devils drive your kin.
1st Guard. For such old bones we young ones are held cheap!

Their gums are toothless.

- p.4.

There are whole pages of such dialogues ; even the daughter of the governor of Saragossa scolds her lover at the city gate like a fishwoman.

Octavia. My brother shall be saved. To bed! to bed!

Lover, forsooth ! a dastard, and no man !
Ricardos. In! in !

Valour! to bed !
Altendant. Follow, Sir Porcupine, and be our knight!

(Hunching up her shoulders.) Octavia. If foes pursue us, 'tis his back will fight.

pp. 50-1.

We had nearly omitted to mention the dramas of Mr. Simon Gray, and can now only add that they have much merit of an old-fashioned sort; such as would have commanded both tears and laughter half a century ago. There are also many very sensible remarks in his volume on the present state of the drama, and on the means of improving it. We agree with him that great reforms are needed, but we cannot indulge the hope of our theatres ever becoming a school of morals. Were they to be so far purified they would lose the patronage of their present supporters, without obtaining compensatory favor from any other class.

Art. IV. Memoirs of the Life and Labours of Robert Morrison, D.D.,

F.R.S., M.R.A.S., Member of the Society Asiatique of Paris, fic. Compiled by his Widow, with critical Notices of his Chinese works, by Samuel Kidd. And an Appendix containing original Documents.

2 vols. London: Longman and Co. 1839. RECENT circumstances have tended to force upon the English

nation an acquaintance with the people of China. The enterprise of missionaries had led the way.' Gutzlaff and Medburst were useful pioneers; and Davis has given, in popular form, what was known only to the scholar. The Catholic missionaries in former times; and in latter times, De Guignes and Goguet, Ramusat and Klaproth, had communicated to the savants of the continent, what Sir George Staunton, Mr. Barrow, and Dr. Leyden laid before the wealthy and erudite of England. But except in libraries of the rich, or the halls of colleges, such works were inaccessible to the general reader; while the missionary character of Gutzlaff and Medhurst's writings may have attached to them the patois of the conventicle, or the savour of Methodism, in the esteem of the literary world. Biography has now, however, become the coadjutor of history; a sort of common stream in the field of knowledge. The memoirs of one who was the friend and correspondent of Sir G. Staunton, and was well entitled to rank as the Anglo-Chinese Lexicographer, will scarcely fail to give a diffusive interest to the affairs of China, and a desire for an acquaintance with the condition of her people.

We hail every symptom of a growing intercourse, or increasing sympathy, between the nations of the eastern and western hemispheres; yet we must not hastily conclude that our intelligence is correct, or that we are competent to form a just and satisfactory estimate of the character of the Chinese people. It will be necessary to travel among them without retinue, or guards, or official eclat; speaking their language without interpreters, read

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


ing their books without glossaries, and mingling in their domestic circles, with all varieties of rank and condition, before we can duly appreciate the character and genius of the people, or their position in the scale of nations. It is not otherwise that we can escape partiality or prejudice, or have a full and fair representation, in our estimate of so great an empire. Novelty,' it is said, 'is sure either to magnify or diminish the objects with which it is associated ;' and the sight of strange manners tempts the beholder either to despise them, because they differ from his own, or to regard them as incomparably superior. It is only by repeated investigations and comparisons, that even a patient student of human character will ascertain how far a first sight may have deceived, and how much must be blotted out.

Dr. Morrison, after almost thirty years' experience, and with no inclination to reproach the Chinese, represents them as 'unfeeling, inhuman, and cruel;' dishonoring the seat of justice by magisterial commands, to slap a witness's face till the cheek swells, the skin breaks and bleeds, or the teeth are knocked out of the jaw; and to lay upon the ground an accused person, whose guilt is unproved, to be flogged with a bamboo; while females are tortured, their fingers and ankles being squeezed till they confess.' He speaks of their superstition in visiting the sick and diseased with cruelty and outrage, as well as neg· lect; expelling them from their habitation, and excluding multitudes of lepers from the comforts of social intercourse, the

means of recovery, and the opportunity of working for their • bread.' • The religious rites, &c., of the Chinese,' he declares, are ridiculous and cumbrous. They have in one street or another, and to one demon or another, perpetually, splendid illuminations, music, theatrical performances, in presence of their idols; repasts of fruits and wine, and cakes, and fowls, and roasted pigs, &c., placed before them, with the burning of candles, small sticks, paper, and fire-works. I have seen them prostrate themselves to the full orbed moon, pour out libations and presents of fruit to her. The detail would be endless. He represents their conduct to strangers and visitors from other lands as exhibiting the worst features of character, and the lowest

degree of civilization :' (the most debasing selfishness.' So remiss in government, as not to give the protection of laws, and so unjust, as to apply all law and power to ruin an accused stranger;' they carry on real tyranny and oppression under the semblance of justice ;' and conceal a slow, grinding, and galling torture, under the guise of government;' unable to repress robberies, and the excursions of banditti, they insult visitors by styling them to their face, barbarians, demous, official liars,

and plunderers, rude brutes, and foreign devils. The miserable inefficiency of their police, or their destitution of all civic economy,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

er eis miestie

ma ni wier.
Patus ru isnterested;

IT IE. ech-
ma" iu na yenices;
LL2u ISIY. nove
TerIKSI UT Sead-

z Juss and
izenei i Tivot's

1-Te Urtir jers)
Salt tore I sou be

79. 03. 14. vcl.
Small Werthestant missionary:

** Si Grasa Cistians when
17 JS Hizi o che English
Il marescripc Tansiacon of
Lylaye ur Cura.

The ESTOU dious ind honest Bermine iis racive towa, filce par Jorpech, in Jan1 tsite in Vewcastie, in 1783, 1. Tatsun were yerl. Tie sužject Dale instruccion of a maternal

casing: au ris jv de cateSALE av. J. Lucivo, led on

er ve Freegun ut tiis good sülle i regrering af ceation,

Te in jis gairteenth

valid the liya Psalm,
E LE is uni vien subdued
Pell as uf gre, de makes
is.Ous C
Du muna I LLOC recollect

6. Lerere that at that
*** w ur than uzce being

alla mariy biure of life, I

must time : source of
polis erous ceucern about
Wan IVD.

The fur of death
Lue licy to God, that he

u interest in the
ind of my mind.

Hiviteedi s change of life,

ist from my former care-
Em uitation, and to

'ha de jud at that time I

[ocr errors]

experienced much of the kindness of youth, and the love of espousals;' and though the first flash of affection wore off, I trust my love to, and knowledge of the Saviour, have increased. Vol. i. p. 53.

The early years of Robert Morrison were not passed in idleness or affluence. He wrought as his father's apprentice,---when his hours of labor were often from six o'clock in the morning till eight at night. But even then he eagerly snatched hours before as well as after the time spent in daily work, for reading, meditation, and prayer. To secure a larger portion of quiet in bis retirement, his bed was removed to the workshop, where he often pursued his studies till one or two o'clock in the morning. It is one of the latest associations recorded of his pious and tender mind, how much delight he thus enjoyed. With what genuine pleasure he seems to refer to this scene in one of his last letters :

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

· For the fond recollections of our childhood do not depend upon the superiority of the place in which it was spent; nor even the circumstances of affluence or poverty.

It is the time of life that gives the charm ; whether riding on a five-bar gate or in a royal carriage. The happiest abode (so far as house goes) was my father's workshop, swept clean by my own hands of a Saturday evening, and dedicated to prayer and meditation on the Sunday. There was my bed, and there was my study. So I dare say my beloved son Robert,' &c. Vol. ii.


523. To add to his facilities for growing in knowledge, he contrived throughout the day, while his hands were busied in the labours of this life, to feed his mind by placing open before him the Bible, or some other book. His hours of recreation, which were not devoted to visits of mercy among the sick or ignorant, were spent in a little garden, which he had consecrated to study, and devout communion. While he diligently occupied the hours of the sacred day in religious exercises, he gladly embraced seasons of Christian fellowship, on week evenings, with others who were like-minded : their place of resort was his father's workshop: By a journal which he has left, we can mark the first cravings of his mind for knowledge. 'I have adopted,' he writes,

a number of studies-botany, and some other things; I do not “know but it would be better to study my Bible. And again,

Much profit is to be had from reading the Scriptures at my work. O Lord, incline my heart to thy testimonies ! Owen's Life, Romaine's Sermons, Henry's Exposition, Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, Marshall on Sanctification, Hervey's works, and the Evangelical Magazine, were the frequent companions of his retirement.

Friday, June 19, 1801. This day I entered with Mr. Laidler to learn Latin. I paid ten shillings and sixpence, the entrance money, and

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »