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It is no wonder that the savage manners of nations, professing Christianity, should be so little softened in those dark ages, when the Christian religion was so little understood, that the endowment of a monastery was thought a sufficient atonement for a violation of all the duties of humanity. But, ever since the restraints of popery have been removed, and the gospel allowed to speak for itself, there has been an astonishing alteration for the better in the general appearance of the Christian world. --P. 285.
I join with you in wishing that there may be a well written life of good Lord Lyttleton-but I am very far from being equal to such a task.
Though I agree with you in the great use which may be derived from an account of the life of a character of distinguished excellence, I differ from you with regard to the persons who will receive benefit from works of this kind. They contribute as every thing else does, to make the good better, but seldom or never to reform the bad. Those whom you justly characterize by the title of "unfeeling scoffers," are as impenetrable to example as they are to reason; though, as you may say, they may be silenced, they will not be convinced; for conviction is not an operation of the head, but of the heart. This is the doctrine of inspiration, and common sense and experience bear ample testimony to its truth. You say Lord Lyttleton "became a Christian from philosophical inquiry." But upon that inquiry he entered with a mind undisturbed by passion, and unbiassed by prejudice; and, consequently, with a heart full of virtuous dispositions. Had his head been ever so speculative and philosophical, with the pride, and malevolence, and dissoluteness of Bolingbroke, or the pert, paradoxical vanity of Hume, with all his inquiries he had remained an unbeliever."
The good sense of these remarks will speak for itself to every intelligent ear. They tend much to answer the inquiry as to the cause of infidelity; which certainly does not arise from admiration of virtue, in any shape, as a rival to the gospel; nor from unbiassed, calm, continued investigation, either of the principles of truth at large, or of ethical truth, in particular.
We could with pleasure enlarge our extracts from the correspondence of this sensible lady, and especially, we are tempted by some of Miss Talbot's letters; but we must forbear, and close this account with acknowledging our obligation to Mr. Pennington for the communications he has favoured us with, and a hint at the other contents of the volume.
The poems are evidently productions of early life. Their sentiments are good; but their vigour is not exemplary. The satire which peeps forth in some few, is but feeble; and we have seen superiour translations and imi« tations. Nevertheless, they have their merit, and find a place very properly in connexion with these memoirs.
The following remarks upon the same work are extracted from Aikin's Annual Review.
IT is certainly desirable that memoirs of eminent and exemplary persons should be written; but it is by no means desirable or necessary, that they should all be written in quarto. Those of Mrs. Carter, whose life was singularly barren of incident, might have been comprised in a moderate octavo, with manifest advantage to all parties concerned, except, perhaps, the editor. In that case, early poems, of which, in maturer years, their author was ashamed, would not have been disrespectfully dragged back to notice, under the name of "literary curiosities;" slight and imperfect notes, written in the margin of her bible, evidently without a thought beyond her private use, would never have swelled out a pompous title page ; and we should not have found it our duty to preface this survey of the life and character of a most respectable woman, with a reprimand to "her nephew and executor."
Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, eldest daughter of the Rev. Nicholas Carter, D. D. was born at Deal in Kent, in December, 1717. Her father appears to have been a very worthy, pious, and sensible man. Not being originally designed for a learned profession, Dr. Carter himself had not begun to study the languages, till he was nineteen years of age; but the proficiency he afterwards made in them was great; and it was probably a deep sense of his own early disadvantages, which induced him to impart to all his children, daughters as well as sons, the benefits of a learned education. The childhood of Elizabeth gave no promise of her future eminence. On the contrary, such was her dullness and tardiness of conception, that her father more than once entreated her to give up all thoughts of becoming a scholar But she was possessed of an indefatigable spirit of application, which scorned to be overcome. By close and incessant labour, she surmounted all difficulties, but not without injury to her health The severe and frequent headachs to which she was all her life subject, appear to have been brought on by the intensity of her youthful studies.
"Hence also she contracted the habit of taking snuff. This she did at first in order to keep herself awake during her studies, which she frequently protracted during great part of the night, and was afterwards unable to give up the custom, though it was very disagreeable to her father. This ardent thirst after knowledge was, however, at length crowned with complete success; and her acquirements became, even very early in life, such as are rarely met with. What she had once gained she never afterwards lost; an effect, indeed, to be expected from the intense application by which she acquired her learning, and which is often by no means the case with respect to those, the quickness of whose faculties renders labour almost needless.
"Amidst her severer studies, however, more feminine accomplishments were not neglected. Her father sent her for a year to board in the house of Mr. Le Sueur, a French refugee minister at Canterbury. There she learnt to speak the French language, which she continued to do to the close of her life, better than most persons who have not lived abroad. She learnt also the common branches of needle-work, which she practised to the very last; and musick, in which, though very fond of it, she never seems to have made any considerable progress. She played both on the spinnet and German flute; and certainly took some pains to acquire this accomplishment, as there is a great deal of musick for both instruments in her own hand writing."
In the year 1738, Miss Carter published a very small collection of verses, written before she was twenty, and it is the republication of several of these, which she herself rejected in subsequent editions of her poems, and which the editor confesses to be of very inferiour merit, that we have stigmatized above. Her progress in learning there are no means of tracing step by step; but it appears, at length, to have comprehended a thorough knowledge of Latin and Greek, especially the latter tongue, to which she was much attached; a considerable acquaintance with the Hebrew; a slighter one with the Arabick and Portuguese; and a complete familiarity with French, Spanish, Italian, and German. The latter language she acquired at the request of Sir George Oxendon, a particular friend of her father's, in order to qualify herself for a place at court, which he thought he had interest sufficient to get for her. The place, however, from some unknown cause, appears not to have been obtained, at which she rather rejoiced than grieved; wisely preferring the independent life of a retired scholar, to the splendid servitude of a court attendant. Mrs Carter's chief turn was, for classical and polite literature; yet she did not entirely neglect the sciences. Astronomy, and mathematicks, as far as connected with it, employed her for a considerable time. From her earliest youth she displayed a spirit of devotion which never ceased to be a marking trait in her character. She was a diligent reader of the Scriptures, as well as other religious wri
tings, and the whole tenour of her life might be called a practical commentary on the rules which she held sacred. In the days of Mrs. Carter's youth, a learned lady was a prodigy indeed, and it is a striking proof both of that sound judgment, which was indeed her prominent feature, and of an amiable humility of disposition, that she never considered herself as entitled to the least exemption from the duties of common life, or the ordinary claims of society.
Mrs. Carter, without absolutely expressing a resolution of always remaining single, appears to have been disinclined to the married state. In her youth she refused several offers. The following circumstance, which occurred much later in her life, is rendered peculiarly amusing by the rank and station of the parties concerned.
"Such, indeed, was Dr. Secker's attention to Mrs. Carter, and so high his opinion of her seemed to be, that it was supposed, by many of their friends, after he became a widower, that he wished to marry her. This, however, she positively denied to be the case, and was fully convinced that he felt for her nothing more than friendship and esteem. She always seemed, indeed, to be hurt at the idea, and never liked to have it mentioned or alluded to, even by her relations. The same thing was also affirmed with regard to that good and amiable prelate, Dr. Hayter, first bishop of Norwich, and then of London, with whom she was much acquainted; and some of their cotemporaries are not clear, that in this case the rumour was equally unfounded. - Mrs. Carter, however, never allowed it to be true, and it is pretty certain that whatever the bishop's inclinations might be, they never led him so far as to make her an offer of marriage. Once, indeed, when the two bishops and Mrs. Carter were together, Dr. Secker jocularly alluded to this subject, and said: "Brother Hayter, the world says that one of us two is to marry Madam Carter (by which name he was accustomed to address her, and speak of her); now I have no such intention, and therefore resign her to you." Dr. Hayter, with more gallantry, bowed to her, and replied, “ that he would not pay his grace the same compliment, and that the world did him great honour by the report."
It was in the year 741, that Mrs. Carter first formed that intimacy with Miss Talbot, and through her with Secker, then bishop of Oxford, which was the means of her undertaking the translation of Epictetus, and also contributed to introduce her to that circle of persons, eminent for rank and talents, in which she afterwards moved. The version of Epictetus was begun in 1749, but was not finished till 1756; for, besides the labour of the work, and the frequent interruptions it received from her headachs, which seldom allowed her to apply to any thing for more than half an hour at a time, Mrs Carter was meritoriously engaged, during this period, in the task of educating her youngest brother, the Rev. Henry Carter, who was fitted for college solely by her instruction; a circumstance which excited no small surprise at Cambridge, when it was inquired, after his examination, at what school he had been brought up. It seems she afterwards contributed very much to the education of Mr. Pennington, her biographer. The correspondence which took place between Archbishop Secker, Miss Talbot, and Mrs. Carter, on the subject of Epictetus, is here given. It appears that Mrs. C. undertook the translation at Miss T's request, without any view to publication. Secker objected to her style at first, as << too smooth and ornamented," and not sufficiently close, and took the trouble of translating a part in his own plain, energetick manner, by way of a pattern for her. After this she seems to have gone on quite to his satisfaction, and the work was sent up to him in chapters, for his corrections, as it went on.
FROM THE EDINBURGH REVIEW.
A Sporting Tour through the northern parts of England, and great part of the highlands of Scotland, including remarks on English and Scottish landscape, and general observations on the state of society and manners. Embellished with sixteen engravings, by Messrs. Medland, &c. from paintings made on purpose, by Mr. Garrard. By colonel T. Thornton, of Thornville Royal, in Yorkshire.
IT is well known that the patriarch of Uz exclaimed, in the midst of his afflictions: “Oh that mine adversary had written a book!" This ardent exclamation of the man of patience has led the learned Rabbin Menachemel-Rekenet, in the treatise entitled Bávâa Eáthra, to suggest that the Arabian sage may have been a writer in the Ammudeha Scibha (the Critical Journal of Tadmor) or at least in the Maarcoheth Haelahuth (or Mocha Monthly Review). Without deciding on this difficult point, we can only say that we have frequently sympathized with the eastern sufferer, and now rejoice that our enemy has written a book. Why we impute this hostile character to the author of the Sporting Tour before us, requires some explanation.
The Reviewers of North Britain, in common with the other inhabitants of the Scottish metropolis, enjoy some advantages unknown, it is believed, to their southern brethren. We do not allude merely to the purer air which we breathe in our atticks, and the more active exercise which we enjoy in ascending to them, although our superiority in these respects is well known to be in the proportion of fourteen stories to three. But we pride ourselves chiefly in this circumstance; that "though in populous city pent" for eight months in the year, the happy return of August turns the Reviewers, with the schoolboys, and even the burghers of Edinburgh, adrift through the country, to seek, among moors and lakes, not indeed whom, but what they may devour. For some of us do, under Colonel Thornton's correction, know where to find a bit of game. On such occasions, even the most saturnine of our number has descended from his den, garnished with the limbs of mangled authors, wiped his spectacles, adjusted his knapsack, and exchanged the critical scalping knife for the fishing-rod or fowling-piece. But we are doomed to travel in a style (to use the appropriate expression) far different from that of our worthy author. Having in our retinue nothing either to bribe kindness, or to impose respect having neither two boats nor a sloop to travel by sea, nor a gig, two baggage wagons, and God knows how many horses, for the land service-having neither draughtsman nor falconer, Jonas nor Lawson, groom nor boy-having in our suite neither Conqueror, nor Plato, nor Dragon, nor Sampson, nor Death, nor the Devil-above all, having neither crowns and half crowns to grease the fists of gamekeepers and foresters, nor lime punch, incomparable Calvert's porter, flasks of champagne, and magnums of claret* to propitiate their superiours;-in fine, being accoutred in a rusty black coat, and attended by a pointer, which might have belonged to the pack of the frugal Mr. Osbaldeston; † being, moreover, "Lord of our presence, but no land beside," we have, in our sporting tours, met with interruptions of a nature more disagreeable than we choose to mention. Hence the various oppressions exercised upon us by the Lairds whose
* All which Colonel Thornton says he had. In our mind, he should have given God thanks, and made no boast of them.
Who kept a pack of hounds and two hunters, not to mention a wife and six children, on sixty pounds a year.
A variety of the squire-genus found in Scotland.
moors we have perambulated, has taught us to rail, with Jaques, against all the first-born of Egypt. And deeply have we often sworn, that if any of those gentlemen should be tempted to hunt across Parnassus, or the demesnes adjacent, or should be detected abandoning their only proper and natural vocation of pursuing, killing, and eating the fowls of the air, the beasts of the earth, and the fishes in the waters under the earth, for the unnatural and unsquire-like employment of writing, printing, and publishing, we would then, in return for their lectures on the game laws, introduce them to an acquaintance with the canons of criticism. Such an opportunity of vengeance was rather, however, to be wished than hoped; and therefore Colonel Thornton was not more joyfully surprised when, at Dalnacardoch, he killed a char with bait, than we were to detect a hunting, hawking, English squire, poaching in the fields of literature. We therefore apprize Colonel Thornton, that he must produce his license, and establish his qualification, or submit to the statutory penalty, in terrorem of all such offenders.
The Colonel's book is a journal of a tour through Scotland, which, like Agricola, he invaded by sea and land at once, and with a retinue almost as formidable. When twenty horses had conveyed the Colonel and his trusty followers from Yorkshire by Kelso to Edinburgh, and thence by Glasgow, Dumbarton, and Loch-Lomond to Loch-Tay, and thence by Dunkeld to Raits in the forests of Strathspey, they there received news of the embarkation, consisting of a cutter deeply laden with stores and domesticks, which had sailed from Hull to Forres, and had been twice saved by the presence of mind of an active housekeeper, who "in spirit outvied the men"-p. 3. On the first occasion, she discovered a leak " by the trickling of water in her cot." Imputing it, indeed, to some other cause, she prudently gave no alarm till the same phenomenon occurred in another hammock; and on a second eventful occasion, it was she who made the signal of distress, by hoisting her white linen on the oar of the jolly boat-p. 72. After a long encampment in the moors, and after visiting Elgin and Gordon-Castle, the train went by Inverness and the forts, to Inverary, thence to Dumbarton and to Edinburgh, and so home by the western road.
The performance is termed a Sporting Tour; not because it conveys to the reader any information new or old upon the habits of the animals unfortunate enough to be distinguished as game, nor even upon the modes to be adopted for destroying them, secundum artem; but because it contains a long, minute, and prolix account of every grouse or black cock which had the honour to fall by the gun of our literary sportsmanof every pike which gorged his bait of every bird which was pounced by his hawks-of every blunder which was made by his servants-and of every bottle which was drunk by himself and his friends. Now this, we apprehend, exceeds the license given to sportsmen. We allow them all the pleasure which they can procure in an active and exhilarating amusement; nay, we permit them to rehearse the exploits of the field, lake, and moor, as long as the audience are engaged in devouring and digesting the spoils of the campaign: but not one minute longer. Will Wimble himself, if we recollect rightly, began and finished his account of striking, playing, and landing the huge jack he presented to Sir Roger de Coverly, within the time the company were engaged in eating it And if a sportsman wishes to protract his narrative through close-time, we apprize him that he must provide for the auditors a reasonable quantity of potted char, pickled