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Long past, but happy; those, when every field,
Each rosy cheek's swift swelling blissful tear.' Vol. iii. P. 203. Miss Porter may with care become respectable as a poetess; but we would advise her to relinquish the tafk of writing novels. George Barntuell. A Novel. By T. S. Şurr, Author of Consequences, a Novel; and Christ's Hofpital, a Poem. 3
Vols. 12mo. 105. 6d. Boards. Symonds. 1798. '" Custom has long established the right of dramatists to a proa perty in the plots and characters of novelists; and recent instances might be adduced of novels and romances, which were scarcely "Tuffered to be read, ere thev were converted into dramas.
• The equal right of the novelift to fimilar trefpafies upon dramatic ground cannot be contested; whether the exercise of that right, in the present instance, will be as favourably received by the public, their voice can alone determine.' Vol. i. P. v.
Mr. Surr's novel does not display excellence of the firit clafs ; but in a circulating library it will be very respectable. The cha"racter of Mental, which seems to have been suggested by the 'Albany of miss Burney's Cecilia, is not consistently preserved : of this fault, the majority of those who read novels will not be sensi: ble ; and, for the whole of its sentiments and tendency, no work can be more unexceptionable than the prefent.
MISCELLANEOUS LIST. British Public Charailers of 1798. 8vo. 85. 6d. Doards. Phillips.
1798. Anonymous memoirs of living characters are generally deficient both in authority of anecdote and the dignity of biography. These characters are drawa by various pens:.and, however doubtful may be the credit due to the materials of the work, it certainly disco.
vers respectable traits of difcrimination, and has the merit of being uncontaminated by the virulence of party spirit.
Tros Tyriusve mihi nullo difcrimine agetur, seems to be the motto of those by whom the lives are written.
We select a part of the biographical sketch of the present chancellor of Ireland-a character conspicuous in politics, but with whose progress in public life our readers are perhaps less acquainted than with that of many other persons noticed in the work.
• Whether we consider the importance resulting from official situation, or that which great activity, considerable talents, and indefatigable zeal, always attach to their poffeffor, this nobleman is certainly the first man in the Irish administration. Whatever may be the fate of that unhappy country, so far as that fate is influence ed by the present conteft, it may be fairly attributed to his wisdom or to his weakness, to his firmness or to his folly.
• Lord Clare, although now occupying the highest law-office in Ireland, and poflefling almoft unlimited influence in its councils, cannot boast a long line of noble ancestors.
• He is renioved but two degrees from a man in the humblest walk of society--a catholic peafant--whose life was distinguished only by a gradual transition from extreme poverty to an honourable competency, and that too acquired by useful industry' P. 374.
• He was entered at an early age a student of the university of Dublin, where he was contemporary with some of the most ce® lebrated- men who have distinguished themselves in all the recent and important transactions that have occurred in Irelandı; such as the late Mr. Flood, Mr. Gratran, Mr. Foster, the present speaker of the Irish commons, &c. He is yet remembered by some of the old members of that feminary, on account of the ability and industry which even then marked his character.
• Having completed his course of collegiate studies, and kept his terms at the Temple, he was at length called to the Irish bar, with advantages pofleffed by few at the outset of life, and these were fupported by a high character, and a fortune which, even inder pendent of
encrease from the success of forensic labours, fecured to him something infinitely beyond a competence. Affluence, however, did not produce in Mr. Fitzgibbon what is too commonly its effect on the youthful mind--an indolent apathy. His affiduity in professional pursuits was not exceeded by any of his ri. vals at the bar ; and though there was no man who drank more deeply of the cup of pleasure, yet few toiled through more business, or in the discharge of it displayed more of that accuracy of knowledge which is the result only of attentive industry.
? It was by the observance of a rule of life which none but strong minds have ever prescribed to themselves, namely, “.to fuf
Crit. Rev. VOL. XXIV. Dec. 1998. Kk
fer no portion of time to pass without filling it either with business or with pleasure," that Mr. F. was enabled to unite those generally incompatible pursuits. With such application, and with talents certainly above the common level, though perhaps far below that at which his friends would place them, he soon rose to eminence.
In the house of commons, of which he became a member shortly after his call to the bar, by the operation of this principle, aided by a kind of eloquence, which, though it was neither very brilliant nor very perfuafive, yet being accompanied by a certain air of confident fuperiority, a considerable effect was produced ; and he was soon esteemed one of the most efficient supporters of the party he espoused.
• Without affecting popularity at any time, he launched into political life, uninvited and unbought, the partisan of the court, and the professed. contemner of the profanum vulgus : in this sentiment he has been wonderfully confiftent. From his first entrance he has not, in one single instance, started from the track before him. His conduct has been marked by an unvaried and uniform. fupport of the British cabinet, and an avowed, perhaps a revolting contempt, for the principles, motives, and objects, of what has been called the popular party.'
When Mr. Scott was appointed chief justice of the King's Bench in Ireland, Mr. Fitzgibbon succeeded him as attorney-general. No man was ever better fitted for the office. His firmness, his confidence in his own powers, and the bold tone with which he hurled defiance at his parliamentary opponents, on every question connected with legal or constitutional knowledge, often appalled the minor members of opposition, and sometimes kept even their chiefs at bay. These qualities, however, did not always conftitute a sure defence. The repulse which on one memorable evening of debate he experienced on the part of the present lord, then Mr. O'Neil, of Shane's castle, whose manly and honest mind caught fire at the haughty and dictatorial language with which the attorney-general had dared to address him, is remembered by those who were then conversant in the politics of the day, and probably will not foon be forgotten. P. 378.
Hitherto Mr. F. had acted with an adminiftration which por. feffed both the power and the will to reward his exertions. When the event of the king's illness, in 1789, unhinged the Irish government, he stood in different circumstances. On that occasion, a' majority of the parliament, among whom were many of the oldest servants of the crown; declared for the right of Ireland, as an independent country, to choose' its own tegent. The British cabinet controverted that right, and insistect that the regent chosen by the British parliament should be the regent for both countries. Mr. F.
though no longer supported by a majority, remained firm to his English friends, and refifted, with his wonted boldness, not only the voice of the people, but what was of more imrnediate concern, a vast parliamentary majority. The unexpected recovery of his majesty, to Mr. F. certainly an happy event, rewarded his superior wisdom, or his greater foresight; for on lord Lifford's death he was created a baron, and appointed chancellor : it is also not a little memorable, that he is the first Iriflıman who has filled that important office.
• So far as refpects justice, the country has had no reason to lament his appointment, for his activity and dispatch have made chancery-suits almost cease to be an inheritance. He has banished chicane and unnecessary delay from his court; and though his decrees may sometimes be blamed as premature, the paucity of appeals seeins to augur, that all complaint on this score is groundless.
• Since his elevation to the bench and the peerage, he has had repeated opportunities of displaying his former fpirit, and expressing, with even more effect than before, his deteftation of popular claims, and particularly that of reform. He has thewn an equal abhorrence of the catholic pretensions to share in the privileges of the constitution. Of their claim to the representative franchise, it is known that he was the decided enemy; and though by the paternal regard of his majesty, and the prudence of the British cabinet, the concession of that privilege was recommended to the Irish legislature, and adopted in consequence of that recommendation, yet his opinion remained unchanged. With respect to subfequent claims, the British ministry have paid more attention to his advice.' P.380.
The volume is accompanied with an etching of heads; but it is miserably executed. Critical, Poetical, and Dramatic Works. By Yohn Penn, Esq.
Vol. II. Svo. 65. Boards. Hatchard. 1798.
6 What measure the relation needs
Of bards relinquith'd their dispute.
Pope well, for satire, spleen alarm'd
P. 55. The criticisins are contained in the preface and notes. They are too diffuse ; and Mr. Penn attributes, to his own opinions respecting tragedy, an importance which they do not possess. The remainder of the volume consists of Samson Agonistes, the Silent Woman, and Voltaire's Semiramis, reduced according to Mr. Penn's dramatic principles. We miss many beauties, and perceive little improvement. Porto Bello : or, a Plan for the Improvement of the Port and City. Some of London. Illustrated by Plates. By Sir Frederick Morton
Eden, Bart. &c.' 8vo. 25. 61. White. 1798.
Several plans have been lately proposed for the improvement of the port and various streets of London. The patriotic baronet, who has paid fo much attention to the concerns of the poor
of this kingdom, is desirous of augmenting the accommodations and the beauty of the metropolis ; and, as the independence of his Situation exempts lim from the prejudices which wharfingers, merchants, aldermen, et hoc genus omné, feel on such a subject, he has fuggested various hints worthy of their confideration.
He recommends, among other points, the demolition of London-bridge, and the erection of another of iron, safficiently elevated to admit the paffage of ships of the burthen of 200 tons. A magnificent pile of buildings for warehouses, and wet docks in Wapping, are parts of his scheme. It is also proposed, that an embankment Thall take place from Scotland-yard to Blackfriars’-bridge, by which a spacious street will be obtained, and a commodious paffage from the city to Westminster ; and this street is to be continued from Blackfriars'- bridge to St. Paul's church, Other improvements are suggested, which might be easily carried into execution, if private interest did not contend so strongly against public good : and our author increases this inconvenience, by endeavouring to augment rather than to diminish the consequence of the corporation of Lon. don. When we reflect on the magnitude of the suburbs of London, compared with the mere city, we see no reason for increafing