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of character by the thoughtless volatility with which she mingles in the gay scenes of the world; the second uncle is brought on the stage rather too abruptly; while his strange and unexpected discovery of his niece, and his equally sudden disappearance afterward, impart to her newly acquired wealth the character of a fairy gift, the accumulation of a golden shower, or the produce of Fortunatus's wishing cap. We would also hint to this lady, as well as to many of her fellow labourers in the same species of writing, that romance has lately been somewhat too familiar with hard hearted landlords, bailiffs, and pawnbrokers. The example of Fielding's Amelia is no justification, because the nature of her character and history made the circumstance unavoidable.
To the language of these volumes we must offer the same objections which have occurred to us in examining Miss Owenson's former productions; and we are the more anxious to deter her, by our friendly warning, from the dangers of extravagance and affectation, because she is naturally endowed with great sensibility to the charms of style, and displays, in general, a vigorous and lively, though unchastised, eloquence. A very extraordinary fact is mentioned with regard to the author's velocity of composition.
I have already written almost as many volumes as I have [lived] years.* been necessitated to compose with great rapidity, and my little works have been always printed (from an illegible MS.) in one country while their author was the resident of another.t
This hasty execution is not absurdly vaunted as furnishing a claim to applause, but is modestly stated in order to account for inaccuracies. It is, however, an inadmissible plea. Every writer may justly unite two objects, present popularity, and permanent reputation. Though it is too common to sacrifice the latter to the former, it is perfectly clear that even the former will be soon destroyed by an excessive anxiety to secure it, when the publick find that advantage is taken of their indulgence to deluge them with crude and careless compositions. Why, however, will not the fair author condescend to write a legible hand? and why may she not so arrange her visits to England, as to be present while her compositions pass under the printer's hands? Some of the strange phrases which swarm in these pages may perhaps be referable to such omissions. But they, like the neglect which produced them, are still chargeable on the author. Such is the misspelling of Anadyomene; the "apparent (for transparent) tissue of woven air;" sensurous for sensuous, &c. but it often happens, as in these two latter mistakes, that the word intended is almost as bad as the word erroneously employed; and if we were told that the author, speaking of delicate limbs, did not mean to say that their "extremities were rosed with flowing," but with glowing "hues," we should convict her, on her own confession, of meaning to use an expression which is alien to the English tongue. Why disfigure and overload our copious language with " are spondent," a comminglement," "to retribute," "to obliviate," and other words equally unnecessary, ungraceful, and unclassical? It is an important, though perhaps
*The "Wild Irish Girl" was written in six weeks; the "Sketches" in one; and "Woman," though I had long revolved its plan and tendency in my mind, and frequently mentioned it in society, was not begun until the 20th of last July. It was written at intervals, in England, Wales, and Ireland, and almost always in the midst of what is called the world. It was finished on the 18th of October, and is now printed from the first copy.
It is a fact that can be attested by my publishers that I never corrected a proof sheet of any one of my works, nor ever resided in England during their printing or publication.
an ungallant and rather a pedantick admonition to female writers, to tell them that words derived from the learned languages are edge tools, and cannot safely be handled by the unskilful. Any attempt to alter them may betray these fair adventurers, when not extremely well versed in their origin and in the principles on which they are compounded, into mere nonsense, or perhaps into downright contradiction. To be perfectly versed in the powers and the delicacies of their native tongue is no mean exercise of the faculties; it is a much safer ambition, and not a less honourable praise.
FROM THE MONTHLY REVIEW.
Leontine de Blondheim, &c. By Augustus Von Kotzbue. Translated (into French) from the German, with Notes, by H. L. C. 3 vols. 12mo. London. 1808.
THOUGH we had assisted in the mournful ceremony of conducting Clara d'Albe to the peaceful tomb, we were frequently tempted to believe, while perusing the pages of M. Kotzbue's novel, that we had again encountered that lovely heroine, under the name of Leontine de Blondheim, transplanted to the sombre forests of Esthonia from the fertile and sunny plains of Touraine. Both are married at an early age, to men much older than themselves, in deference to paternal authority; both are disappointed in their matrimonial prospects, and feel that vacuity of mind which leaves ample room for the impressions of unlawful love; to both, an amiable and interesting admirer presents himself, and virtue and happiness are endangered by seductive opportunity. The melancholy fate of the ardent French beauty is already known to our readers: but the Russian lady is saved at one time by her own prudence, and at another by a very seasonable heureusement. We have resolved, however, not to attempt any analysis of this story, which is too complicated, and too replete with incidents, to be susceptible of abridgment within our limits. It will suffice to observe, that the outline is much more ably filled up than in the parallel novel to which we have alluded; and that the state of Leontine's affections is, on the whole, very naturally traced and explained on consistent principles. Some strange sentiments, some coarse reasonings, and some whimsical refinements of feeling, do indeed occasionally appear, after the usual manner of German tragi-comedy; and a circumstance is introduced of the most revolting nature, and wholly unnecessary to the conduct of the story, of which it infects all the parts and poisons the conclusion. The read must make an effort to forget this disgusting ingredient, before he can allow himself to be pleased by the otherwise attractive materials which are provided for his entertainment.
We propose here to exhibit this versatile author in a point of view in which he has not been often seen. His plays, his romances, his sentimental journies, and the childish biography of his early youth, have invested him with a notoriety which, if not absolutely discreditable to him, has always bordered on the ridiculous. The letter which we now translate will prove him to be capable of fulfilling, with sobriety and discrimination, the important duties of a moral instructer. The occasion of writing it appears sufficiently on the face of it. An aged clergyman addresses to his beloved pupil the advice which his situation and opinions appear to require.
You give me pain, my young friend. Your letters had already made me suspect what is confirmed by those of a respectable man who lives at Revel, and is much attached to you. You have not a good reputation; and, which is worse, you do
not appear to regret it; doubtless because you believe that your beneficent innova tions* and your noble ideas have drawn that misfortune upon you. Do not deceive yourself: in this world, good people are sometimes ridiculed, but seldom are hated. I think I can perceive the cause of the hatred which you have incurred, in the inclination to satire which I have, from your earliest youth, vainly combated. You cannot hear any thing either false or absurd, without immediately exposing it, and always with a degree of bitterness. Already this unfortunate fault has frequently endangered your life; yet, the moment afterward, you again indulge it with as much freedom as before.
Allow your old master once more to enjoy his ancient privileges; allow him to recall to you a proverb which says, that the world rather pardons a bad action than a good joke [bon mot]. Suffer fools to pursue their course with impunity, as you let a drunken man pass you in the street without even a thought of diverting yourself at his expense.
If an epigram could do any good, if you could say, I sacrifice myself to make others better-But no, on the contrary you do but irritate them. Fools as they were, you change them at once into obstinate and vindictive fools, and your recompense is a bad name.
I hear you answer: "What does that signify to me? I act well; and if I am ill treated, so much the worse for those who misunderstand me. I speak and act according to my own conviction "
My young friend, this is not enough. A bad character, even when undeserved, is always a great evil. Certain moralists pretend, it is true, that virtue ought to suffice for itself, without even caring about all that surrounds it. Such maxims belong to inexperience or selfishness. Such virtue is fit only for the deserts of the Thebaid.
Are you really better than other men? then make virtue amiable by your example, though it should cost you the sacrifice of a few bon mots, and some lively and ingenious sayings. The esteem of your fellow citizens,-the confidence of the unfortu nate, the friendship, in a word, of a multitude of persons who dread wit only when it is not joined to goodness-these will be your reward.
But you will say to me-"I am young and rich, and I find resources enough in myself, to dispense with other men: why then should I submit to them?" Ah! dear Maurice (permit me still to call you by that name which preserves to me the rights of a father over you) no man, however powerful, can say on this earth, that he does not stand in need of other men; and on how many occasions may the judgment of the world be afflicting in its consequences! Stop at the first example which offers; suppose for a moment that mademoiselle de Blondheim had not been to you an object of indifference; suppose that you had perceived in her the woman destined to form the happiness of your life; and that you had owed to your bad reputation alone the refusal which your mother has received. Consider now, what influence that reputation, of which you seem to think so slightly, might have on the whole remaining part of your life.
I should be fearful of offending you, if I endeavoured to justify this letter. Mau. rice knows my paternal tenderness towards him. He forms, with my daughter, all that I hold most dear and love best in the world. I must, then, be permitted to speak to him with frankness, when I tremble for his happiness.
His young friend stands forward in defence of his own opinions, and displays much spirit, ingenuity, and good sense: but all the distresses which afterward persecute him result from the neglect of his reputation. The whole correspondence between these two friends, in the unimpassioned parts of the work, abounds with just observation. We select but one remark more.
O my friends, what a fault is committed in the education of men! Who even thinks of teaching them, in childhood, to distrust their first judgments? Yet tell me what it is that determines their first impressions. Here, it is a face that displeases us: there, it is a little awkwardness of manner, perhaps only a dress which is not quite fashionably cut; we have heard something to the disadvantage of one, and judge by what we hear; another drops a word in opposition to our ideas, and because his opi
* Wallerstein, to whom this letter is addressed, had enfranchised all his vassals. We are happy to find, in a note by the translator, that all the nobles of Esthonia and Livonia have lately concurred in the same measure. Rev.
nions are not ours, we deem him more wicked than ourselves; for it is thus that men think-their own course is alone right, their own understanding is alone correct, their own reason is alone infallible; and all of us, like the tyrant of antiquity, have our bed of iron, to which every man must conform, on pain of being mutilated.
Notwithstanding the many faults of Kotzbue, few authors have been gifted with a more powerful talent of affecting the feelings by minute traits, and sudden turns of reflection. The regret of Leontine, a girl scarcely fifteen years old, when she leaves the protection of her indulgent father, with a husband to whom she feels no strong attachment, and her childish exultation at the idea of entertaining that beloved father as a guest in her family, are here represented with a degree of delicate pathos which rivals the pen. cil of Mackenzie. Her faded appearance, also, after three years of unhappy marriage, is contrasted with the rosy health and lively naïveté, with which she had before graced the gay circles of youth, fashion, and beauty, in a manner exquisitely touching In truth, it would be scarcely too much to assert that Kotzbue is deficient in none of the requisites for forming a novelist of the highest order, except good taste;-but to the production of a complete and lasting effect, how fatal is that single deficiency!
FROM THE MONTHLY REVIEW.
The Life of the Right Honourable Horatio Lord Viscount Nelson, K. B. Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of his Majesty's Fleet, Duke of Bronte in farther Sicily, &c. &c. &c. By Mr. Harrison. 8vo. 2 Vols. 17. 38. Boards.
ENTHUSIASM in the service of his country, and for the honour of his profession, was the distinguishing and paramount feeling of Nelson. the pursuit of this object no danger terrified him, no obstacle deterred him, no consequence restrained him. Life was desirable only as it tended to this duty, and death was welcome if occurring in the discharge of it. All the particulars here recorded, concerning his command while protecting the two Sicilies. Malta, &c eminently illustrate and confirm this truth, and afford, perhaps, an unparalleled display of exertion and anxiety. "Is his Majesty's service," said he, "to stand still for an instant?" Few constitutions, we believe, could long support such a mind as he possessed, and such fatigues as the incessant workings of that mind created; his bodily frame certainly was too weak for the task, and suffered severely from the effects of it.
That he considered the cause, moreover, in which he was engaged, to be just, and that he deemed the views of his government to be laudable, must be argued from a remarkable passage in a letter to lord Minto: "My conduct, as your's, is to go straight and upright. Such is, thank God, the present plan of Great Britain; at least, as far as I know: for, if I thought otherwise, I should not be so faithful a servant to my country, as I know I am at present.”
A degree of irritation, and the most acute feeling, naturally attended a temperament of this kind; and we discover repeated instances of those sensations in his expressions respecting sir Sidney Smith, whose appointment in the Levant seemed to interfere with his own command, as well as respecting his treatment by the Admiralty on various occasions, and on being su perseded by a senior officer. The excess of his exertions, the unfortunate issue of the contest, and his disappointments, call from him the observation, in a letter to lord Spencer," you will see a broken-hearted man. My spirit cannot submit, patiently.”
Vanity was undoubtedly another leading feature in his character, and per hraps as inseparable from it as irritation. In a letter to lady Nelson, on
occasion of a storm and much danger, he himself says, "I believe it was the Almighty's goodness to check my consummate vanity!" Yet in a future letter to earl Spencer, on occasion of honours granted to him at Naples, he deprecates the idea of "one spark of vanity," and says: "God knows my heart is among the most humble of the creation." Again, on the other hand, he is represented by his biographer as venting the murmurs of ambition, against the sparing grant of a baronial coronet, after the battle of the Nile. At an early period, his determination to become eminent was almost prophetically announced. When first acting with sir William Hamilton at Naples," sir William," said he, "you are a man after my own heart: you do business in my own way! I am now only a captain; but I will, if I live, be at the top of the tree." Again, writing to his sister, he observed: “ They have not done me justice in the affair of Calvi; but never mind; I'll have a Gazette of my own-We know it to be a fact, moreover, that after the action off St. Vincent's, when a friend was complimenting him on his conduct, talking of the honours which must be conferred on him, and suggesting that he would be created a baronet: "No," said Nelson, looking displeased and contemptuously, and placing his hand on the left side of his coat, "if I have done any thing that deserves reward, let them give me what will mark the action."-By those, indeed, who knew lord Nelson, no doubt can be entertained of his attachment to personal distinctions, and to the exteriour marks of them. His death itself may probably be ascribed to this source.- Much may be said on the subject of honorary and personal distinctions. Where they have been deserved, they can neither be grudged nor disapproved: yet it is not desirable that they should be the principal stimulus to exertion, since purity of motive would thus be destroyed; and however the man who seeks and who ostentatiously displays them may be justified, he who with equal claims to them still contemns and rejects them will ever be deemed the greatest character.
His extreme hatred of the French, as a people, was another trait. In above a dozen instances in these volumes, we have such expressions as the following: "Down, down with the French :"-" I have an antipathy to Frenchmen:" "the scoundrels of French :"-" there is no way of dealing with a Frenchman but to knock him down," "Down, down with the damned French villains! Excuse my warmth; but my blood boils at the name of a Frenchman. I hate them all, Royalists and Republicans." &c. &c.
If he was nationally illiberal, however, his soul was generous (as he himself singularly calls it in a letter to earl Spencer) and his heart and purse were ever open to his friends. On being voted 10,000l. by the Fast India Company, he immediately made out drafts for 500 each to his father, his two brothers, and his two sisters; his unvaried and unbounded solicitude for his band of brothers, as he called the captains of his squadron at the Nile, and for all his brave companions at all times, is strikingly amiable ;* and his zeal for the common cause, while at Naples, induces him to declare that, sooner than the operations of war shall be stagnant from a want of money, he will sell the property of Bronte,† and the magnificent presents
* A prominent instance of this sensibility to the interest and reputation of his brother officers occurs in his well known letter to the lord mayor of London, August 1, 1804, in which he refused the profered thanks of the city for having so long blockaded Toulon, because he denied the fact of the blockade, and because the other officers of the dees were not included in the vote. See Vol. II. p. 423.
† Vol. II. p. 144. Mr. Harrison strongly represents the reluctance of lord Nelson to receive this title and estate as a reward from the king of the two Sicilies, for the dis