the yew,

and box, by his relentless sheers, grew into the forms of meri, monkies, dogs, ducks, and devils.

“ What man of any taste can be hold the studied labour that appears in every of his operations, without mortification and disguft-Instead of those artless and delightful scenes, which rise from woody hills, far winding Atreams, and vivid lawnshofe scenes which captivate at first fight, and rivet the attention ;-he fighs to see nature fo wantonly tortured by the formal pencil of art; his eyes are every where absorbed in a profusion of expensive finery, and whimsical extravagance : he looks round, treads a thousand perplexed, methodical zig-zag gravel walksmofinds himself still surrounded by a tiresome fameness; his ex. pectation is wearied out, and he retires unsatisfied and fatigued.

" But these ridiculous, fantastical fooleries, in gardening, are at last tecome obsolere: the science now itands in a pure and true character; and the grand principles on which it acts, are firmly fixed upon a superstructure, never to be shaken.”

We believe this gentleinan to be pretty right, in general, with respect to the principles and practice of modern gardening, as they are deduced from nature ; but we think he might have expressed himself with less positiveness, than in saying, he “ shall never depart from his opinion, that any operation, conducted by the laws that regulate the modern practice, can be exceptionable.” At the same time, we conceive, he might have expressed himself with somewhat more moderation, in speaking of deficient artists and ignorant patrons. He should have recollected the poet's humane and political reflection, when, speaking of Lord Timon's extravagance,

“ Yet hence the poor are cloath'd, the hungry fed,

And want of tarte supplies the want of bread." We subscribe indeed to the encomiums, he passes on a Lyttelton and a Shenstone; but we objcét to his treating patrons of infe. rior genius with ill-manners and abuse.

“ Since gardening has emerged from is foriner vicious and puerile state, the delightful scenery that has sprung from the pure principles of the modern practice, is really admirable. The science has been brought into such perfection, tha in many places, the greatest difficulty is to discover where are lias been busy to arrive at it; fo fimple, yet so elegant; every scene so beautifully characterised; fo different, yet so contigurative! but where are the men who have powers, thus to please the eye, and give art the consequence, and life of nature hertelf! where find a Lyttelton! where a Shenstone !- Designers, it is true, fpring up in every corner; but their first efforts are sufficient; they spring up but to fall, like the insects of a day, never to rise again.

á Indeed there are men who have crept into fame through the influence, perhaps, of some noble patron or other, whose taste happened to be somewhat cougenial with their own, and who cared not, provided his park was made as fine as his palace, that have sometimes given a scene or two in the juit style of beauty and character: but this

by no means justifies them as able and expert designers; the same power is required to give an equal portion of beauty in the dress, the genius of every different scene may require: without which, of what consequence is the one beautiful scene only! it becomes of no importance; it is lost; buried for ever in the defects of the others.

“ This is a very eflential point, and ought to be attended to with extreme caution ; it is the very foul of the science: but so little is it attended to, either through ignorance or inability, that you seldom see the operations of our profeffed designers (I mean trading ones) in this respect, but what are enveloped in error."

Again, in the next page, our letter-writer vents his spleen in a manner altogether rude and illiberal.

“ How often have we had occafion to pity the vanity and weakness of those felf-adopted sons of genius, whom folly and extravagance draw so easily from that sphere which only can become them! no fooner does the fashionable" whim infect them, of retiring into the country, but their former protetsions in life, where furtune smiled upon them, and what only fat easy on their shoulders, are despised, remembered no more.-Up starts the gentleman, the man of taste, and the architect the villa awkwardly rises; woods are to cover that part; water this; there the lawn; and yonder, cascades, grottos, rocks.

“ Big with the importance or their great ideas, every intended ob. ject plays in their eyes, as a future monument of their taste; and in the presumption of a superior judgement, will scorn to ask the opinion of another, reputable in the science: or, if they should condescend to ir (as I have known), are lure to betray, by their manner of address, and putfed-up confequential air, an invitcibe determination to follow

" It is the part of friendship, however disagreeably it may be received, to be free in its censures, where there is occasion: and when these flaves of tolly are told of their errors—when they are told, that she place deligne for a wood, would be an eternal disgrace to it: that rocks, grots, and cascades, fo situated, would become objects of derihion to every beholder in filent contempt they turn away; and though certainly struck with the absurdity of their proceedings, that alone, Tuch is the pitiful tyranny of an illiberal mind, fetters them in the pure suit of their own detigns; and when bewildered in the web their ignorance has wove about them, wil do, and undo, and will do again, till the whole is tortured into a no-ineaning, vacant nothingness, the very picture of that which is to vilibly stamped upon their own coun, tenances.

" Will the assertion hold good, that every one has a right to pursus what he thinks right; and it it attords pleasure to himself, the opinions of others are not to be regarded :-per:ups it may, if it be indifferent 10 bim what the work thinks: bui, when a man, either through a ridiculous obftinacy, or felf-importance on any occasion, will not be convinced of his folly, nor open his eyes to conviction, he is certainly, notwithstanding that sort of righe, a fool.”

In the same stile of abuse and ribaldry runs the following reprehenfion.


" There

their own.

“ There are fellows, upon an impudent presumption of their abilities, because they happen to know how to lay turf, to set a tree, a cabbage, or, with their great friend the line, ferpentine a walk; and from fome encouragement they have met with from a few of their mar. ters, very near as clever as themselves, set up for defigners-for men of taste truly! and with all the bare-faced effrontery in the world, undertake to lay out the grounds of any gentleman that would be weak enough to employ them.

“ I mention this to put you in mind, that the many miserable fquibs, which shew themselves about the doors of almost every country villa, are the noble operations of these shilling-a-day fellowsthere great,

little men, who ridiculoully aim at throwing into a meer acre, or less, every variety you have seen in a park of two or three hundred-a contuted, motley medley, of little lawns, little hills, little woods, little pnois, little walks, and little peeps—in sort, every thing that can expose the littleness of their genius."

Surely the terms little geniuses, fools, and shilling-a-day fellows, are beneath the dignity of a man of taste and a gentle

Not that we iinpeach the taste of this writer in respect to the subject of which he treats; we are, however, too fearful of giving offence to a man of such delicate refinement as our author, by commending it; left, by his own construction, we should run the risk of calling him a fool. “ Let us not heighten the blush already raised upon his honest countenance -praise, if really merited, in the ears of a man of sense, is as discordant, as it is in those of a fool sweet and harmonious." -So says Mr. Heely, and heaven forfend that discord should reach his ear from our cominendations!



The State of the Prisons in England and Wales; with preliminary

Observations, and an Account of some foreign Prisons. Ky John Howard Esq. F. R. S. 410. 125 Cadell.

Among the many inconsistences, to which all human inftitutions are liable, it has been long the greatest disgrace to the English * Conftitution, that a country, which boasts, abore all others, of personal as well as political liberty, should contain a proportionally-greater number of prisoners, and thcle the most vilely incarcerated, of any nation in Europe. Not to dwell on the absurdity of personal ar:eft, in a free country, on the suspicion of owing so palıry a lum as forty shillings; the still greater absurdity of making imprilonment in civil * To the honour of Scotland, the bears no part in this just reproach.


cases'mere falva cuftodia, and, in criminal ones, a coinpenfa tion for the offence * ; humanity shudders at the horridi treatment with which both debtors and culprits are subject by the laws (or rather the lawyers) of this country, to be treated by disappointed creditors, ipiteful prosecutors, and cruel gaolers! Too great an encomium cannot be paid to the truly-patriotic author of the present publication, for his indefatigable attempts to remove such an opprobrium to our country, and to restore such poor and pitiful pretenders to liberty, even to the common rights of humanity !

. When I formerly, says Mr. Howard, made the tour of Europe, I feldom had occafion to envy foreigners any thing I saw with repea to their fituation, their religion, manners, or government. In my late journies to view their prisons, I was sometimes put to the blush for my native country. The reader will scarcely feel, from my narration, the fame emotions of shame and regret as the comparison excited in me, on beholding the difference with my own eyes : But from the account I have given him of foreign Prisons, he may judge whether a design of reforming our own be nerely visionary--whether idieness, debauchery, disease, and famine, be the necessary attendants of a prisoa, or oaly connected with it, in our ideas, tor want of more perfect knowledge, and more enlarged views. I hope too he will do me the justice to think that neither an indiscriminate admiration of every thing foreign, nor a fondness of cenfuring every thing at home, has influenced me to adopt the language of a panegyrist in this part of my work, or that of a complainant in the reit. Where I have commended I have meationed my reasons for so doing; and I have dwelt perhaps more minutely upon the management of foreign prisons, becaute it was more agreeable to me to praile than to condemn. Another motive induced Die to be very particular in my accounts of foreign houses of correction, especially thole of the freeft itates: It was to counteract a nation pre- , vailing among us, that compelling prisoners to work, especially in public, was inconsistent with the principles of English liberty ; at the tame time that taking away the lives of such numbers, either by ex• ecutions, or the diseales of our prisons, seem to make little impression upon us. Of luch force is cuttom and prejudice in silencing the voice of good fente and humanity!"

And yet we plume ourselves, and are often complimented by foreigners, on being a nation of philofophers. Ridiculous vanity! contemptible coupliment ! in how many instances do not our political regulations appear to be the down-right effect of idiotilin or intanity! In loine cales, not individuals of the moft savage nations are allowed to prey upon others, as they

* Hence a ruffian, an impoftor,'a sodomite, &c. is frequently enabled, by a few months confinement, to commute for crimes the most atrocious and unnatural ; while a poor prisoner for the pititul fun of a few pounds thall lie immured for years, without a farthing's abatement of his debt.

are legally permitted to do in England. It is no wonder, therefore, that a man, of so much sensibility and philanthropy, as pur author appears to be pofsessed of, should be induced, on having an official opportunity * of coming to the knowledge of such distress, to interest himself in behalf of the oppressed and the unhappy.

“ Hearing, says he, the cries of the miserable, I devoted my time to their reliet. In order to procure it, I made it my business to collect materials, the authenticity of which could not be disputed. For the warmth of fome expressions where my subject obliges me to complain, and formy eagerness to remove the several grievances, my only apology must be drawn from the deep distress of the sufferers, and the im. pretsions the view of it excited in me ;-impressions too strong to be effaced by any length of time !"

How'amiable the motive ! How laudable the pursuit ! May those impressions, though not to be effaced, be accompanied by such sensations of satisfaction and delight as ever attend the consciousness of doing good! May the bleffings, pronounced in the gospel to the visitors of the sick and imprifoned, be the reward of such christian benevolence !

The pains, indeed, which Mr. Howard appears to have taken, in order to set on foot a reformation in abuses fo Alagrant, and evils so distressing, entitle him to the warmest gratitude from the objects intended to be relieved, as well as from the community in general. Not content with the information of others, he made thrice the tour of England and Wales ; vifiting and examining, with particular attention, the several gaols and houses of corre&ion in the different counties. After acquiring the knowledge of the true state of the gaols in this kingdom, he repeatedly visited the principal prisons of France, Flanders, Holland. Germany, and Switzerland ; in none of which, it seeins, the gaol-distemper, which makes such ravages in England, was to be met with. In conversing on this subject with the celebrated Dr. Haller, he tells us, the doctor ascribed its inalignancy entirely to the number of unhappy captives, and their families, with which the prisons in England were crowded. In the foreign prisons, it does not appear, that the confined are suffered to herd together, to combine, to cherish. to fortify, each other in vice and wickedness, as in England. Imprisonment is there not only a punishment, but in fact the difcipline of a house of correction ; whereas, ia England, it is, in many cases, neither one nor the other,

Particularly on serving the office of theriff for the county of Bedford.


« ElőzőTovább »