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· The author apologizes for the unfinished character of her production, from the novelty of the theory. The form is certainly new, but a great portion of the matter is not new to those who have attended to the popular writers on the same subject. In the introductory address it is explained that from the age of nine to twenty years, she was collecting materials suited to this work, and that at the latter period she endearoured to arrange them into a regular sys.. tem, and to illustrate the whole by copious examples, taken from various branches of the fine arts, and from pa. tural objects. Some time after she had been married her husband accidentally met with the scattered sheets, and recommended to her the publication of them, and we find that she knew how fitly to appreciate his advice.
Since the plates adapted to the physiognomic part of the work would have been both numerous and expensive, those only are introduced that are of a general character, or, as the author has it, “which include the classification of universal pleasing and displeasing expression."
With regard to the voluminous notes, the most of them are as distant from the professed object of the inquiry as the author could remove them; and they are on every possible subject but that of the work: we have the eastern cordillera, catacombs, Waldenses, tyger hunts, sweating sicknesses, the goodwife Fisher, and a protracted history of the Khaliffe Haroun al Raschid and his minister Giafar. But the author has not neglected to make an apology, and it is of a curious kind. Being doubtful," she says, " whether her theory might appear as conclusive to others as it does to herself, she wished to interweave into her work a considerable portion of miscellaneous information, which might prove agreeable to the reader, and not make him regret, in any event, the time bestowed upon her book.”; .
We readily admit that there is a great deal that is amusing in this work, but notwithstanding the solemnity with which the propositions are stated, the reader must be careful not hastily to adopt them, lest, with the writer, he be. perplexed in a maze, from which he cannot be easily ex. tricated. The parts with which he will be least disposed to accord are the sentences extra-judicially past upon some of the most distinguished ornaments of science and literature. Thus with respect to Gray's Elegy the author says, “ The reader would find it impossible to tell another what it was about; nor could he find any radical leading idea to fix it in
his recollection; and if he attempted to translate it to a person who did not understand English, he would find the beauties were wholly lost; because they consist not in any prominent radical points capable of being seized or copied.” What is the judgment of Johnson on the same production ? « It abounds with images which find a mirror in every mind and with sentiments to which every bosom returns an echo.”
We shall conclude with an extract from this calunniated writer, which with singular felicity comprehends sound, motion, attitude, shape, and colour, in the exhibition of perfect beauty; and we close with it because it irresistibly calls forth the corresponding emotions, and is in the shortest form a recapitulation of the whole subject.
L“ Slow melting strains, their Queen's approach declare;
(Progress of Poesy.)
Art. VIII.—The Principles of Population and Production,
as they are affected by the Progress of Society, with a View to Moral and Political Consequences. By John Wey. LAND, Jun. Esq., F. R. S. London, Baldwin, 1816.
8vo. pp. 493. The author of this work is a very respectable magistrate of the counties of Oxford, Berks, and Surrey; and if we are rightly informed, had a principal concern in the establishment of one of our quarterly publications devoted to science and literature. Between the years 1807 and 1815 he committed to the press a variety of tracts on the poor laws, and the education of the lower classes, immediately intended for the improvement of an order in the community, which, as being the greatest in number and the least in personal ability, deserves the first consideration with every friend of humanity. The present work is intended for somewhat more than the occasional perusal of the advocates of public improvement: it is designed to constitute a part of the system of national education at our principal collegiate institution.
“ Should the following work," says the author, addressing himself to the University of Oxford, “ be calculated, in your opinion, to Crit. Rev. Vol. IV. Oct. 1816.
improve and to extend that knowledge, I shall be more than repaid for the labour of the composition; and my utmost wishes will be surpassed, should you think it worthy of occupying an bumble place in those studies by which the youth of Britain are trained to be the strength and ornament of their country, and to be the instruments of imparting a portion of their own blessings to the distant regions of the world.” (p. vii.-viii.)
The volume comprises three grand divisions of the subject: the first book explains the admirable proportion between population and subsistence in every gradation of society, and the dependence which the maintenance of this proportion has upon the discharge of the moral and religious duties; the second shews the means a moral and religious people will employ to produce that continual increase of subsistence from the soil of their country, which will enable them to meet the demands of an augmenting population; and both are intended to prove, that the fruits of the earth are only to be obtained by sobriety and industry, in sufficient quantities to supply the general want; and that with these, and the corresponding qualities, a competent portion of nourishment is provided under the beneficent appointments of Providence;-the third book presents the expedients by which the conservative principle, inherent in the progress of population, is kept alive and regulated by the influence of morals and religion on the customs, habits, and pursuits of the people. The three books collectively are intended to exhibit something approaching to a complete view of the elements of society, agreeing with itself in all its parts, and in its tendency consistent and uniform. This important purpose is attempted, not with the regularity and preciseness of a logical deduction, but in the method of a dissertation,-placing the subject in various lights,-that from whatever point the mind contemplates it, some useful truth may be afforded. By such a course of inquiry, it will be seen that, contrary to some doctrines heretofore maintained, population may continue increasing in numbers, wealth, and happiness, from the first step in the career of society up to the highest degree of civilization, under the operation of the laws of God; and that this progress is liable to be checked only by those impediments that arise out of a wilful deviation from such laws. The patriotic writer, in his concluding chapter, submits the following observations:--.“ If the contemplation of such a system be useful towards the production, and animating to the rogress, of the nobler sentiments among mankind in general, it should produce these effects in a peculiar manner among the ingenuous youth of the United Kingdom. They can scarcely take a step in their inquiries into the history and polity of their own country, without tracing the cousequences of such a system. Howsoever its vigour may, by lapse of time and partial neglect, have been permitted to droop in some of its departments, they will find in the construction of the system itself, that its founders looked to pure morals and sound religion as the fundamental principles of public prosperity. Our youth will, therefore, discover in the constitution of their own country, in church and state, at once the true foundations of national strength, and examples for the regulation of their own conduct and character as active citizens of a free country. If, during their perusal of the preceding view of the progress of society, they will bring the History of England to bear upon any one of the stages which have passed under investigation, they will probably find that the state has been carried through it with success, and made the transition to that which next succeeds, principally because it has, in the main, been governed upon the system recommended in this treatise; that is, that its laws and institutions have been founded in moral and religious principles; and that its leading statesmen,' at the critical periods of its history, have usually referred their political measures to that unerring test. It will scarcely be denied, for example, that during the last century we have been profiting, almost exclusively, by the religious and political institutions left behind them by the great and good men who flourished at the REFORMATION and the REVOLUTION; that sound religion was the cardinal point to which all those institutions were directed, and, together with morals, afforded the principles upon which they were constructed. As little can it be denied that, during the last century, if the institutions have not been permitted actually to decay, at least the spirit of some of them has declined, and sufficient care has not been taken to extend and apply them to the altered circumstances of the country. If it be asked, wherefore is this? I should be tempted to reply, because the cardinal prisciple was overlooked; because political sagacity was estranged from its legitimate companion, sound piety; and the effect of moral and political institutions upon the people was referred, not to the eternal principles asserted by God for the government of man, but to the degenerate passions of the parties concerned, and to the temporary and particular interests of the passing moment. (p. 487–489.)
We know no work more instructive than that before us, to expose the true cause of the mischiefs in a neighbouring country, which was the almost total demoralization of the people. The great secret of national happiness and prosperity, is a moral government over a moral people; a government respecting all the rights of such a people, and a people obeying all the enactments of such a government.
THE DRAMA. ART. IX.-Caractacus, a New Tragedy, &c.; with previous
Remarks on English Dramatic Tragedy: including a Blank-Verse Gamut, and Strictures on s'heatrical Committees, Managers, and Players. By WILLIAM MONNEY, Gent. London, published for the Author, by
Sherwood and Co. 1816. 8vo. pp. 117. This tragedy is printed “ to spite the managers,” who rejected it; and the confidence of the introductory remarks would induce the reader to expect that the author was a “ much-injured gentleman," did not the nature of those remarks prove, in the outset, that the writer scarcely pos. sessed the most ordinary talents, much less any portion of the genius required for the production of a drama of the pretensions of Caractacus.
We confess, it is not without regret that we speak severely even of the wretched piece before us, because, independently of the justice of some of the complaints against theatrical regulations in the prefatory matter, it is our wish that every encouragement should be given to dramatic works which appeal to the public through the press, at a time when, from many concurring circumstances, the stage in a manner may be said to be closed against authors who have to offer any thing at all resenbling the higher efforts of composition. We lament, however, much more that the cause has found such an incompetent advocate as Mr. Monney, since, in addition to the discouragement it gives to others, it affords an opportunity to the managers to appeal to his tragedy as a fair specimen of all those which have been unsuccessfully submitted to them. Fortunately-or rather, perhaps, unfortunately, Mr. Monney does not stand alone in this predicament, for he sbares the pains of rejection in very good company, as we took occasion to shew in our last Number, when we felt called upon to speak in terms of high approbation of the tragedy of Ivan, by Mr. Sotheby, who has proved himself a poet of no vulgar qualifications. It is, perhaps, a little hard upon him, and may even be thought much to diminish the value of what we before said in his praise, that we now couple him with an author like Mr. Monney. Indeed, we should probably not have thought it necessary to have taken any notice of the work before us, had it not come forward with such high pretensions, and had we not usually devoted a separate