From Tho Spectator, 16 June. carious incident, illustrative of Chinese manners, BARON GROS' EMBASSY TO CHINA AND imparted a touch of the ridiculous to this fatal

Three old men came on board. JAPAN. *

They had been sent by the relations to offer IF publishers were much in the habit of themselves as substitutes for the prisoners. letting their business transactions be gov- They were willing, they said, to be hanged in erned by sentimental motives, we should not lieu of those who had committed the offence. be so entirely unable, as we confess ourselves They were very much surprised when their offer to be, to assign any plausible reason for the was refused by the commander, and, indeed,

on appearance of M. de Moges' lively but shal- Scaving any one seeing them would have said

Had low little book in an English dress. It was their proposal been accepted, they would have

that they had been badly used by him. a mere waste of labor to translate it, except obtained a large sum in return for their lives, as an act of international courtesy, which which would have enriched their relations for indeed would be the more laudable for being years. They had missed a good bargain in wholly gratuitous. Although M. de Moges consequence of tho childish scruples of th: was officially concerned in the proceedings French officer. These extraordinary transac of the French embassy to China and Japan, tions are not uncommon in the history of th: he writes like a dilettante, and there is little Chinese empire, and, indced, they are closel

interwoven with Chinese manners. in his gossip that can interest the country- | lish have often been deceived in this way on the

The Engmen of Mr. Oliphant, Captain Sherard Os- Canton River when they have endeavored to obborne, and Mr. Wingrove Cooke. The most tain justice from the mandarins for attacks upon novel thing we find in his notice of Tien-tsin their countrymen. In such cases, poor creatures, is, an account of some Chinese caricatures who had voluntarily taken the place of the murof the foreign devils, with which the latter (derers, and who wero perfectly innocent of the were greatly amused. “One of them rep- crimo, have been cxecuted with great solemnity resented a European accoutred after the in presence of the persons appointed by the Eumost outrageous fashion, buying a hedgehog, ropcan authorities to see that the punishment working himself into a state of excitement was actually inflicted.” to drive a hard bargain, but at last making Having finished his business at Tien-tsin, the purchase with a big bag of money.", A Baron Gros took the opportunity of visitcapital emblem surely of the nature and re- ing the Great Wall to ascertain the truth of sults of our diplomacy in China ; it gives us the statement, that it begins at the seaward a higher opinion than we had yet conceived near the entrance of the Gulf of Leotung. of Chinese wit. How often have the rogues He found what he sought:made us pay dear for what was worth little, and prickcă our fingers when we tried to

“ We had before us the most interesting and lay, hold on it! When sailing down the most picturesque scene in China. Along the Peiho, after the conclusion of the treaty, M. meadows, and dotted here and there

with vil

coast lay a spacious plain, covered with rich de Moges picked up a story worth telling :

lages buried in tho midst of trees. Further in “We passed near the junk of M. Delorisso, the distance, the landscapo was bounded by thic naval officer, who, having charge of the lofty mountains, some of which were abrupt and transport service between Tien-tsin and Pecheli, jocky, while others were wooded and green to had been for somo time living with a few Euro- their very summits. The general cffect was peau sailors in the midst of the enemy's

country: magnificent, and, perhaps, only to be cqualled We learned, to our surprise, that he had hanged among the Alpine valleys of Switzerland. The two Chinamen the night before. Two of Lis Great Wall gave it an additional charm. Tersailors had gone on shore, in the usual way, to minating in the sca, covered with bastions and buy provisions, and had been attacked at the pagodas, and clambering over the wildest and corner of a strect. One of them had received most precipitous crags, it imparted a character sis deadly wounds from a spear. M. Delorisse to the whole landscape calculated to stir eren armed his twelvo Europcaus, gave his junk in the wall, on the Chinese side, we could see the

the most sluggish imagination. At the foot of charge to the Chinese crew, and set out in pur, white tents of two Tartar encampments, the suit of the mandarins of the village. He told horses belonging to which were wandering at them that, if they did not deliver up the perpe- large in the surrounding pastures. The landtrators, their own heads would suffer for it. Onc was already dead from wounds he had re- Great Wall resembled a huge carthen mound They brought thic guilty partics without delay. scape, in the golden light of dawn, was charm

ing Scen from the Chinese side, the ceived. The two others were alive. They were crowned with battlements built of brick. Everyhanged from tho mast of tho junk. A very where, it had an old and dilapidated appearance.

* Recollections of Baron Gros' Embassy to China In somo places, it had been altogether destroyed. and Japan in 1857–58. By the Marquis de Moges, on the Mantchoorian side, on the other hand, Attaché to the Mission. (Authorized Translation.) the Great Wall secmed constructed of bricks, With Colored Illustrations. Published by Griffin, resting upon a basement of stone. It is flanked London.

| by square towers throughout its whole length.

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These are placed at the distance of about two had brought with him from China. The inbow-shots, in order that thc enemy may bo every- cident is not without interest, as showing where within range. It descends into the sea how easily Europeans may be led, by their in two parallel piers or jetties, which slope 10 ignorance of Japanese peculiarities, into gently that one can ascend to the top from the water flowing between them. The largest ships giving unintentional offence :may approach within two miles of the wall, and, “The evening before, in the historical chair indeed, it is the very place at which visitors which had figured at Tien-tsin, Baron Gros had should, in future, disembark.”

made his entranco into the town, carried by

cight Japanese coolics decked out as Chinamen. The members of the embassy landed under Now, it appears that it is a thing quite unknown an escort of a dozen soldiers, for the purpose in Japan, for a native to appear in Chinese garof exploring the Wall, but their intention ments; it is an enormity. a violation of all was very civilly resisted by a force of three propriety. It is more; it is a crime. On this hundred Tartar horsemen, whom they could occasion, the unfortunate coolics were not coneasily have kept at bay with the twelve sidered the only guilty partics. Six hundred bayonets of their escort and the revolvers Japaneso officials, who had not prevented the of the civilians; but the French envoy was prisonment! Here, then, was a total of sixty

offence, were sentenced to a hundred days' innunwilling to engage in a quarrel upon a thousand days imprisonment, all on account of mere matter of curiosity. The French party this unlucky palanquin. Tlie ambassador was were astonished to find that their Tartar much annoyed when he heard of this proceeding, friends, encamped almost at the gates of and took care to get the prisoners immediately the capital, were not cven aware of the fact liberated. But if a wholesomo respect for Japthat their government had been at war with anesc legislation had been taught the two hun. France and England.

dred officers sent by the taïcoon to guard and The visit to Japan occupies little more watch us, they had also been alarmed to an exthan fifty pages. The most notable thing in tent painful to us, lest we should be found wantit is, an account of a misunderstanding oc

ing in respect for those rites to which tho casioned by the manner in which the French without their having it in their powvor to keep us

government attached so much importance, envoy entered Yedo in the chair of state he right.”



Tax last hours of La Fayette arc described by of his life,—he died. In arranging his funeral, M. Guizot, who belonged to a younger genera- it was a recognized fact in the family, that M. tion; but who, in all likelihood, will not see the de La Fayette had always wished to be buried end of the French Revolution :

in the small cemetery adjoining the convent of

Picpus, by the side of his wife, in the midst of “No life had cver been more passionately po- victims of the Revolution, the greater part litical than liis; no man had cver placed his royalists and aristocrats, whose ancestors had ideas and political sentiments more constantly founded that pious establishment. The desire above all other prepossessions or interests. But of the veteran of 1789 was scrupulously respected politics were utterly unconnected with his death and complied with. An immense crowd-solIll for three weeks, hic approached his last hour. diers, national guards, and populaceHis children and liouselioid surrounded his bed ; | panicd the funeral procession along the boulehe ceased to speak, and it was doubtful whether vards and streets of Paris. Arrived at the gato he could still sec. Iis son George observed of the convent of Picpus, the crowd halted; the that with uncertain gesture lic sought for some interior enclosure could only admit two or thrco thing in his bosom. He came to his father's as- hundred persons. The family, the nearest relasistance, and placed in his hand a medallion tives, and the principal authoritics entered, which he always worc suspended round his passed through the convent in silence, then neck. M. de La Fayette raised it to his lips; across the garden, and finally entered the cein. this was his last motion. That incdallion con

etery. Thero no political manifestation took tained a miniature and a lock of hair of Madame place; no oration was pronounced ; religion and de La Fayette, his wife, whose loss ho had the intimato reminiscences of the soul alone wero mourned for twenty-seven ycars. Thus, already present; public politics assumed vo placo near separated from the entiro world, alone with the the death-bed or the grave of thic man whose lifo thought and image of the devoted companion they had occupied and ruled.”

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From The Saturday Review. common sense is eminently and successfully JOHNSON'S LIVES OF THE POETS.* displayed under the several heads of the exSCARCELY any book written a century ago criticism of ideas and notions peculiar to the

amination of particular biographical facts, the enjoys greater popularity now than Johnson's Lives of the Poets. Many of the biogra- poet of whom he is speaking, and the exposphies still remain the only readable account

ure of delusions more widely entertained, but of minor poets; and if the lives of the connected with the circumstances of the poet's greater poets have since received more elab- history. Under the first head, the instances orate notices, they have never been described

will necessarily be of rather a trivial nature; and criticised with more judgment and wit. but most of the facts of any man's life are Johnson's book was the first work of criticism trivial, except to himself, and it is one of the written in the modern fashion, and the greater

first duties of biographical criticism to pass part of it is exactly what the critics of the pres. so as to put these trivial facts before the

a rapid judgment or raise a passing doubt, ent day would say if they knew how to say reader's mind in the right light. It so hapit. It is only as a model of critical writing that we now propose to speak of so well pens that both in the Life of Swift and in that known a work. Few educated persons have of Pope, there is an example of this kind of failed to enjoy, at some time of their lives,

criticism as applied to statements regardthe pleasure of reading these charming vol ing the trivial subject of the poet's eating.

Johnson tells us that Swift attributed the illumes; but it is necessary not only to read, but to reread them, in order to see what we indiscretion which he committed as a boy in

ness which tormented him through life to an may term their critical construction—the principles on which the criticism is based, eating too largely of fruit. Nintey-nine biand the arts by which it is set off to so much ographers out of a hundred would have let advantage. Much the greater part of criti

this statement pass. Swift might be expected cism consists in applying common sense to and if he said that he made himself ill with

to be the best judge of his own stomach; decide on the value of what has been written, and in stating the result in a telling style. But Johnson remarks, that “the original of

eating fruit, why should he be contradicted ? In this department of criticism Johnson is unrivalled, and so far his criticising must re

diseases is commonly obscure. Almost every main a permanent model to all English crit- boy eats as much fruit as he can get without ics. A few examples will best show what any

at inconvenience.” This is obvious, we mean, and as examples may be best taken

but it is also undeniable; and after we have from the Lives which are probably most fa- read it,

we feel very doubtful as to the cause miliar to the reader we will confine ourselves of Swift's illness. 'In the same way he tells to those of Pope and Swift. These two and that his kind friends ascribed his death

us that Pope was very fond of good living, Lives supply abundant instances both of the application of Johnson's strong common he used to boil lampreys. On this Johnson

to the free use of a silver saucepan in which sense, and of the happy turns of language unanswerably observes, “ That he loved too which gave point to the expression of his judgment. There is also another depart

well to eat, is certain ; but that his sensument of criticism in which the critic shows ality, shortened his life will not be hastily his appreciation of authors whom he thor- concluded, when it is remembered that à oughly admires, and connects the particular conformation so irregular lasted six-and-fifty views of the author whom he is studying years, notwithstanding such pertinacious dilwith a general system of morals. Here igence of study and meditation." Johnson is, we think, greatly, inferior to ical comnion sense applied to the opinions

There cannot be a better instance of critthe critics who have succeeded him, and es- of a particular poet ihan is afforded by the pecially to Coleridge. His moral remarks are indeed, so badly expressed, and so near

commentary which Johnson appends to the the surface, that they may be examined story of the Unfortunate Lady on whom rather as warnings than as models. There Pope wrote his elegy. He gravely tells the are moral passages in the Lives so bad as to story first-how the lady loved, was sepamake a critic feel reasonably alarmed, and rated, and died rather than endure the sepineli:c him to abstain from moral remarks aration; and he then remarks, “From this altogether. It is only for the pungent ex- the lady's character, it does not appear that

account, given with evident intention to raise pression of the dictates of common sense she had any claim to praise, nor much to that Johnson deserves any high praise as a critic.

compassion. She seems to have been imWe may class the instances in which his patient, violent, and ungovernable. Her


could not have lasted long; * Johnson's Lives of the Pocts. London: Mur- the hour of liberty and choice would have

come in time. But her desires were too hot

uncle's power.



" that Pope's

for delay, and she liked self-murder better so. “This transgression of regularity was than suspense.” This is a perfectly just and by Swift and his admirers termed greatness legitimate account of the facts as stated, and of soul. But a great mind disdains to hold yet the Unfortunate Lady is entirely anni- any thing by courtesy, and, therefore, never hilated by them. The reader enjoys the usurps what a lawful claimant may take pleasure of seeing things put upon a sound away.” The exposure of Pope's delusion is footing, and this pleasure is, perhaps, height still better, because it is not quite so solemn. ened by the consciousness that, until he read “It is evident," Johnson says, the common-sense criticism, he thought the own importance swells often in his mind. Unfortunate Lady a very interesting young He is afraid of writing lest the clerks of the woman. Of course every thing depends on post-office should know his secrets; he has the criticism in such a case being perfectly many enemies; he considers himself as surlegitimate. It is easy to vulgarize every rounded by universal jealousy;” “after subject of poetry by describing it in the lan- many deaths and many dispersions, two or guage of contemptuous prose. But we feel three of us, says Pope, may still be brought that if the history of this lady was as it is together, not to plot, but to divert ourselves, represented by her admirers, it was very and the world too, if it pleases,” and we can little to her credit, and that therefore she live together and “show what friends wits never deserved to be made a heroine. Much may be, in spite of all the fools in the world.” in the same way, Johnson comments on a Johnson proceeds to make mincemeat of this. passage in the preface to the Miscellanies, in " All this while it was likely that the clerks which Pope complains of the robberies com- did not know his hand; he certainly had no mitted upon authors by the clandestine seiz- more enemies than a public character like ure and sale of their papers, and states that his inevitably excites; and with what degree the cabinets of the sick and the closets of of friendship the wits might live very, few the dead have been broken open and ran- were so much fools as ever to inquire." sacked. We naturally accept the fact as Considering that Johnson himself lived historical, and feel a generous indignation at among all the wits of his time, and was the the wrong done to such illustrious men, until centre of one of the best literary circles that we read Johnson's sarcastic remark—' as if have ever been formed in England, it is in those violences were often committed for the highest degree creditable to him, that papers of uncertain and accidental value, his common sense was too strong to allow which are rarely provoked by real treasures him to suppose that society may be divided

-as if epigrams and essays were in danger into a knot of literary gods and a mass of where gold and diamonds are safe.”. So, outside worshippers. It is to be regretted again, by a few caustic sentences, Johnson that his common sense has not descended in entirely dissipates all the admiration which any large or complete degree to this generaPope tried to raise in his readers by speak- tion. ing slightingly of what he had written. Critical common sense is, however, never “One of Pope's favorite topics,” says John- very effective unless it is aided by a telling son, "is contempt of his own poetry. For and pointed style. Partly by a natural gift, this, if it had been real, he would deserve partly by long practice, Johnson had the no commendation; and in this he was cer- power of putting his common sense in nearly tainly not sincere, for his high value of him- as good a form as it could be put in; and it self was sufficiently observed ; and of what is interesting to observe how he produces could he be proud but of his poetry ? " the effect which every reader, however rapid,

Among the delusions which Johnson no- cannot fail to admire. Sometimes there is tices as shared by the particular poet of whom a single expression which is either ambitious mention is being made, but also as common or neat enough to arrest our attention. to many other people, may be instanced the Thus, in speaking of the influence exercised supposition of Swift that he honored himself by Martha Blount in determining Pope to by affecting an equality with the great, and insert an insult to Mr. Allen in his will, he the supposition of Pope that the whole world says, "Pope suffered his testament to be was absorbed in thinking what he and his polluted with female resentment.” But genliterary friends were doing. Johnson tells erally the style is rather pointed than ambius that in Swift's letters there frequently tious. Slight sarcasms are put indirectly, appears “an affectation of familiarity with and almost as matters of fact. Thus we are the great, an ambition of momentary equal told that Swift obtained his degree at Dubity sought and enjoyed by the neglect of lin by special favor" a term used in that those ceremonies which custom has estab- university to denote want of merit." This lished between one rank and another.” He is quite in the vein of the best jokes of the then proceeds to hold up this affectation Dictionary. Sometimes the sarcasm is skilto ridicule, and to justify himself for doing fully veiled in the narrative, and the comTHIRD SERIES.





ment on a course of proceeding is put in the passages where different opinions on the same shape of a historical fact. Pope, for in- point are brought into close juxtaposition, stance, is said to have attempted to terrify and the reader is led up to thinking the one the world by a threat that he would not write last assigned is the best. Thus, Johnson any more. Johnson quietly adds, “When tells us that Swift often slept at a penny lodghe talked of laying down his pen, those who ing, and then goes on :--"This practice Lord sat round him entreated and implored; and Orrery imputes to his innate love of grossself-love did not suffer him to suspect that ness and vulgarity; some may ascribe it to they went away and laughed.” Johnson his desire of surveying human life through all had no means whatever of knowing that, as its varieties; and others, perhaps with equal a fact, they did go away and laugh, but he probability, to a passion which seems to have wishes to insinuate it was likely they did been deeply fixed in his heart, the love of a 80; and, in order to insinuate it strongly, he shilling." "A writer who can frame such passtates it as historically true. He is often sages naturally delights in them, and Johnalso extremely happy in adding a metaphor- son is very fond of constructing his sentences ical illustration at the end of a piece of sar- in an inverted order merely because it pleases castic reasoning, so as to terminate the pas-him to exercise his ingenuity and his comsage with as much point as possible. For mand over language. He frequently frames instance, in the part of Pope's life to which his sentences in this way—“To charge those we have already referred, where the poet is favorable representations which men give of stated to have complained of the danger to themselves with the guilt of hypocritical which literary papers are exposed. Johnson falsehood would show more severity than ends by saying, "A cat hunted for its musk knowledge." Here, we may observe, that is, according to Pope's account, but the em- not only is the language twisted, but the blem of a wit winded by the booksellers.” thought is highly condensed. For we do not The introduction of the technical word suspect that any one would do the thing that windedin this sentence is a little master- is denounced until we find it denounced, and stroke of neat writing:

the offence is thus hypothetically inserted in Usually Johnson, where he is really good, a sentence framed to condemn it. In the is more elaborate; and where he is sarcastic, same way Johnson says, in the Life of Swift he generally gains by the involved and highly “Three years afterwards was published wrought construction of his sentences. It is the Tale of a Tub. Of this book charity only when he is didactic and moral that he is may be persuaded to think that it might be tedious and confused. The concluding words written by a man of peculiar character withof the following passage about Pope's grotto out ill intention, but it is certainly of danat Twickenham are perhaps rather stilted, gerous example.” From this sentence we but otherwise afford a model of quiet ridicule. have to gather that the Tale of a Tub is a “ A grotto is not often the wish or the pleas- dangerous book - that it is not certain ure of an Englishman, who has more fre- whether the author designed it should be so quent need to solicit than to exclude the sun ;-that it would require a charitable mind to but Pope's excavation was requisite as an believe he did not—that it is not certain that entrance to his garden, and as some men try any mind, however charitable, could believe to be proud of their defects, he extracted an it—that in any case it must take much perornament from an inconvenience, and vanity suasion to come to such a conclusion-ihat produced a grotto where necessity enforced charity itself would only believe that the aua passage." Johnson also understood the thor might have written innocently, not that art of condensing a long train of reasoning he did so—and that he could not possibly into a single sentence. For example, he have done so unless he had been of a pethus disposes of Swift's project of an English culiar character. To condense all this into a Academy, and of the reasoning by which the neat flowing sentence shows great skill, and project was supported. “ The certainty and the author will generally be rewarded by the stability which, contrary to all experience, he pleasure he takes in its construction. It thinks attainable, le proposes to secure by does not, however, follow that he will always instituting an Academy, the decrees of which please all readers. The mass of mankind is every man would have been willing, and too indolent, and reads too hastily, to conmany would have been proud, to disobey, and sider elaborate and condensed sentences any which, being renewed by successive elections, thing but a bore. The fow who take the would in a short time have differed from it- pains to unravel them will rate them as self.” If the reasoning contained in this sen- highly as the thought expended on them detence had been drawn out fully, it would serves. Butthe many will much prefer some. have filled a closely printed octavo page. thing simpler and plainer, and the popularity The same sort of skill is exhibited in many of Johnson has been sustained because his

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