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Italian production, were conclusive evidence, as to the priority of the invention in their own favour.
But this is very far from being the only merit of Mr. Ottley. His work contains minute information as to the chief professors, and principal schools of art, and when added to the mass of diversified intelligence in a lexicographic shape, from the laborious work of Mr. Strutt, all the information is supplied on the rise, progress, and early execution of engraving, that the attentive student can require for the pursuit of his art, or the inquisitive amateur can wish for the gratification of his curiosity. The acquisition is the more valuable, because previous to these publications in addition to some foreign authorities, not of the easiest success, the sources of knowledge in this branch of enquiry were limited to the biography of about a thousand artists by M. Basan, to Evelyn's Sculptura, the Sculpturæ Historico-Technica, and to the account of a series of engravers published at Cambridge, with a few stray catalogues.
In Mr. Otiley, we have no vulgar divisions of the subject into the bistorical, the picturesque and the portrait; no trite disquisitions on the different modes of engravings, unconnected with the state of the art at the early period to which he refers, and no romantic or metaphysical speculations on beauty, mechanism, resemblance and identity, but all that is necessary to the subject is familiarly and agreeably disclosed, but the writer assumes, that every person who shall avail himself of his elucidations, is, at least, acquainted with the common principles and ordinary language of the art of design. Although a great por. tion of these volumes is argumentative and controversial, yet we see nothing of what the rigid students of the Aristotelian school call their dialectics or the talent of disputing, nothing of their rhetoric, or the talent of persuading, otherwise than as conviction is produced by a plain exposition of facts, and the faithful application of them to the question under examination. Mr. Ottley writes with a mind wholly engrossed with the subject, and if there are many instances of negligence in the style, there is a clearness and accuracy generated by the steady pursuit of his object, he is biassed by none of the partialities of the parties with whom, or against whom he enters the lists, and he is desirous only of the triumph of truth and justice. , As engravers have been represented in the light of mere copyists, and as their profession has been degraded by frequent misrepresentations, we will add a few words, for the sake of exhibiting them in the situation to which they be. long. We do not mean to rank these artists with either sculptors or painters, but with respect to the particular ex. cellencies of a picture, it has been fitly admitted, that a print has, in common with it, precision of drawing, elegance of composition and grandeur of design, which involve the loftiest attainments of art. Peter Testa, who possessed all the qualities of a great painter but colouring, acquired that reputation by his etchings which his paintings would never have procured him.
The prints of Albert Durer, Rembrandt, and Salvator Rosa are exact counterparts of their paintings, and the former have sometimes been as highly appreciated as the latter.
Of all the imitative arts, engraving is the most applicable to general use, and from the facility with which prints are re-produced, they have acquired one kind of superiority over painting of a character almost miraculous.
to What tho' no marble breathes, no canvas glows,
Roger$. Engraving has another advantage over painting of the highest consequence, and that is, durability. It is remarked, that while the pictures of Raffaele, like those of Apelles and Zeuxis have mouldered from their walls, the prints of Raimondi, his friend and contemporary, are in complete preservation, and afford a lively conception of the beauties of those paintings, - which, but for the graver's art, would have been lost for ever. It is also justly said, that before the invention of printing in the fifteenth century, the accumulated wisdom of ages was confined to a few perishing manuscripts, too expensive to be generally obtained, and too valuable to be frequently transferred from the hands of the proprietor. What printing has been to science, engraving has been to art, and the works of the best masters, whether of painting or sculpture will be indebted to it, for that perpetuity, which the invention of printing, has secured to, the Interno of Dante, and the Cid of Corneille. *
• While we are engaged in writing this review, the attention of the public is particularly directed to the curious subjects of the work by the sale of the valuable library of William Roscoe, Esq. at Liverpool, which contains specimens of the Block-Books referred to by Mr. Ottley, with a collection of rare prints, etchings and engravings, illustrating the progress of the art from the earliest time.
Crir. Rev. Vol. IV. August, 1816.
ART. II.- De l'Etat présent de l'Europe, et de l'accord entre
la Légitimité et le Système Représentatif. Par M. CHARLES TheReMIN.–Liberi sensi in simplici parole. Paris, chez Plancher, Editeur; et Delaunay, Palais-Royal,1816. 8vo. Pp. 214. The French have always shewn themselves the best theoretical, and the worst practical statesmen ; the history of their writers affords a long list of most able and eminent men, who have enlarged upon the general principles of government, in a subdued spirit of liberty, and a pure spirit of wisdom; while the history of their country, on the other hand, supplies still more numerous examples of the aban. donment, or rather of the disregard, of the plainest maxims of justice and prudence. It cannot, certainly, be said, that this mal-adnjinistration of public affairs has been the consequence of the admirable rules laid down, though it may, perhaps, be truly asserted, that these admirable rules have resulted from the mal-administration : that they have not hitherto been carried into effect, is to be attributed to several causes; but the very circumstance of the absence of enlightened principles, in the executive departments, and the inconveniences and suffering produced by that absence, naturally led the minds of reflecting men to the consideration of the best means by which they might be avoided, or remedied, in a different state of things. It has been a common remark, that the best writers upon the British constitution, have not been found among those who were in the tranquil enjoyment of its shelter and blessings; but among those who, viewing the structure at a distance, were better able to contemplate it in the wholeness of its beauty, and to estimate the accordance of its parts, and the harmony of its proportions. .
The theoretical excellence of which we have spoken, in a considerable degree, applies to the work of M. Theremin; the title of which, “ The Agreement between Legitimacy and Representation,” will be perfectly understood in this country, where the benefits of this union have happily long been experienced, but will not be quite as comprehensible in France; where, for a protracted series of years, legiti. macy and despotism were nearly synonimous. The King of France has now no easy task to perform in practically establishing, for the first time, the admitted distinction.
In the preface to the work before us, the author is extremely anxious to impress upon his readers, that though a
ve of France, hewramour propre, ahas applied nati
native of France, he writes as a citizen of the world : that he has thrown off the amour propre, (an individual term, which the French nation, exclusively, has applied nationally), which his countrymen almost proverbially feel; that he writes “ dans un esprit Européen," as a friend to the rational liberty of the people, and an equal friend to the rights of sovereigns. If M. Theremin really believes that, in the course of his work, he has proceeded upon this enlarged plan, he labours under one of those self-deceptions to which the amour propre was likely to lead him ; for, as before the French Revolution, legitimacy and despotism were synonimous, so now, after the expulsion of Buona. parte, we apprehend that royalty and impartiality are to be understood in France in the same signification. Even if the author could persuade himself that he has been impartial, he must know that, in the present state of his country, with the restrictions and visitations the press is liable to, it would be next to impossible that any work should be printed which did not tend to promote the cause of the legi. timacy of the sovereign, as contra-distinguished from the cause of the representation of the subject. Upon this point we well recollect the language of Mr. Whitbread, only a few days before his melancholy end :-". That these were dangerous times for the liberties of nations;- that by the military power of legitimate sovereigns, the will of a whole people had been stifled and overcome, and that the only chauce for continental freedom was the establishment of a free press.” We register these as the dying words of a man wbo, though sometimes hurried too far by a generous impetuosity, was, indeed, the true friend of royalty, by being the true friend of liberty; and, until his prayers upon this subject are accomplished in France, we shall constantly see published there books, like the present, written by a man of talents, and of a comprehensive mind, but intended, under the appearance of impartiality, to accomplish only the purposes of a particular set of individuals. The Emperor Alexander Severus is reported to have wisely said, that he more dreaded one able writer, than an army of soldiers; for, independently of the immediate influence of the pen, it inflicted an incurable wound, even in the memory of kings. The same apprehension is felt by Louis XVIII., but he takes a far different method to avoid the censure, and to prevent the advice of his subjects. How admirably does one of our great unknown poets speak upon the importance
of this wise and free counsel to a sovereign who wishes te remain securely on his throne.
I have found that counsels
Chapman's Byron's Conspiracy, A. 4. It is only those who are placed lower in the state than the king, that can give him warning of the decay of the foundation of his throne, and that warning is only effectually to be communicated by the liberty of unlicensed printing ;“ for this is not liberty which we can hope, that no grievance ever should arise in the common-wealth ;-that let no man in this world expect; but when complaints are freely heard, deeply considered, and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained, that wise men look for;" says Milton, in his well-known treatise, the object of which is to shew, that these benefits can result only from a free press.
Perhaps we have said more than necessary upon this point, but it was called for by the vain boast of perfect impartiality made by M. Theremin. We will now proceed to give some extracts from his work. The 6 Introduction” is occupied by various general remarks upon the nature of the public mind; the tendency of which remarks is to shew, that though · its impulses may sometimes produce beneficial consequences,
as in the case of the French Revolution, yet that they are generally to be repressed as injurivus. Next, he traces the progress of civilization from the Treaty of Westphalia : first, the religious controversies that followed ;-next, the improvement in arts and sciences;-and, thirdly, the advancement of literature. With considerable ingenuity he