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3 is equally enteelers’ return by iloit they candour is not an abf the Portum. curious.", Serpa
caprification is practised, as in Greece. This small kingdong in 1780, contained 93,472 inhabitants. Figs constitute its principal produce, though oil is made in large quantities. The descriptions of Faro, Tavira, Ayamonte, and Villa Real, contain some interesting circumstances: but they would lead us too far. Our travelers' return by Mertola, Serpa, and Evora, is equally entertaining and curious. The dissertation on the literature of the Portuguese is highly interesting, but adınits not an abridgement. Our author speaks with candour and judgement. A comparative view of the Spauish and Portuguese languages follows. This, too, is incapable of abridgement.
On the whole, the present work presents the most full, the most candid, and interesting account of Portugal that we have seen. We have selected many passages: but the reader will find few parts of the work without novelty and without entertainment. We feel greatly the want of a map, and indeed have been able to find little assistance in supplying the defect. The best maps of Portugal are extremely imperfect: Mr. Cary's late publication is the best.
The translator's notes should not pass wholly without observation : they are short, clear, and intelligent. The language of the translation is free and perspicuous: perhaps no other qualities were necessary.
ART.IV.-Claims of Literature: the Origin, Motives, 0b• jerts, and Transactions, of the Society for the Establishment
of a Literary Furul. 8vo. 75. 6d. Bourds. Miller. 1802.
THERE is such a disposition among our countrymen to promote and patronise every charitable and benevolent institution, that it can only be attributed to the non-existence, till of late, of the foundation which is the subject of the volume before us, that its funds have not already surpassed those of almost every other eleemosynary establishment, and been adequate to every purpose it professes. For the voung and the old, the lame and the blind, the deaf and the dumb-for the diseased and the disabled of almost every description, whether the affliction proceed from natural defect or personal criminality--we have asylums scattered throughout every quarter of the country, for the most part richly endowed, or supported by periodic and liberal contributions. Such is the happy effect produced by the propagation of general learning and science among all ranks and conditions---of those intellectual irradiations, which, where. ever they obtain an entrance, are sure to soften the most rugged heart, to open the most selfish and contracted bo
som, to diffuse a general love of man for man, and induce every one to take an interest in the welfare of his brother : and yet, strange to relate! the very class of persons who have principally contributed to this melioration of the public mind, this increase of general knowledge and general philanthropy, have, till within the last thirteen years, been the only order for whom no distinct and appropriate relief has been provided, notwithstanding that, from a frequent want of worldly experience and sagacity, there is no order of society so perpetually exposed to misfortune and distress as themselves.
Having premised thus much; we now hasten to observe, that the institution, of which the volume before us is professedly designed to give a history, is entitled the Society for the Establishment of a Literary Fund.' This title is not, indeed logically correct, and we most heartily wish it something more substantial than the possession of a literary fund;but, without dwelling any longer upon a venial inaccuracy of term, we remark that the history of this society is divided, in the volume before us, into two parts: of which the first, drawn up by Mr. David Williams at the desire of the society, presents to us a variety of observations upon literature, as a proper object of a charitable institution-upon its utilitythe evils and miseries to which it is exposed-the public and private patronage which at present applies to it-and upon the institution of the society for a literary fund. To which are added, by Mr. Boscawen, the constitutions of the society --cases in which it has already administered relief and sums paid by its comınittee since its first establishment. The second part, written also by Mr. Boscawen, consists of an introduction to the anniversary poems which have been composed and recited in honour of the Literary Fund, and of the poems, or rather, as we apprehend, a selection of the poems, themselves. From the former division of the subject, we shall transcribe the following account of the origin, views, and present state, of the society.
Several fruitless attempts were made, before a small association could be formed, of which, if the author should think any future opi. nion of him sufficiently important, to be rectified by memoirs, the cu. rious reader may find minute details, when he shall be no more.
• Here, it can be necessary only to relate, that consulting an aged and experienced bookseller, on the means of removing the difficulties in his way, the old man exclaimed, “ Good God! sir, no body will meddle with authors."
• However, the conversation terminated in his engagement to be. come a subscriber, provided his advice were taken, to associate literature with the arts, or with any class or description of objects, less ob poxious to general apprehension and terror, CRIT. Rev. Vol. 38. June, 1803.
Several artists having been consulted, and a few gentlemen having expressed a disposition to encourage the attempt, the annexed advertisement was published, with no inaterial effect.
But the subject having been frequently discussed, in the conversations of a club-the general origin of enterprizes in England-it had taken possession of the minds of the members; and when the news arrived, that Floyer Sydenham, the beloved friend of several of those members, had silently suffered extreme distress, and died in poverty of a broken heart, a resolution was adopted, to expiate the grief and shame of the event, by a monument to his memory, in the institution of a Literary Fund.
Eight gentlemen subscribed each a guinca, which they repeated three or four times in the first year, to keep an advertisement generally before the public, of which a copy is subjoined ; the constitutions were drawn up, a committee and officers appointed, and the society, in miniature, was formed.
· The advertisement continuing to draw nunibers, and the receipts of the society exceeding its expenditure, the cases of claimants were taken into consideration, and relieved ; and its first anniversary held on the 18th of May, 1790.
" It was not proposed by the institution, to remove all the inconveniences, which accrue to literature in England, from the various causes already enumerated, and particularly from a misdirected education. These are legislative objects. The scholar must assume the character of an author, to acquire a claim to the attention of the committee. Even to authors, that attention is circumscribed. .
A government, having nothing to apprehend from literature, might absorb this institution in some general regulations, for the support of talents, or in some tribunal of genius and learning, on the encouragement or the depression of which, depend all the important di'stinctions of nations.
The humble substitutes of such a tribunal are the council and general committee of the society, described in its constitutions; which, with funds and powers, inadequate to their purposes, have difficult offices to discharge.
To apportion the honourable indemnities, which the Literary Fund may afford; to seize the moments when those indeninities, may prevent despondence, the parent of crime, and rouse the efforts of sinking talents; to distinguish the plausibilities of pretenders from the claims of genius; to separate the squalid impurity, and criminal dross, which the necessities of a second nature have attached to minds of native excellence; to resist importunity, and even the seductions of mere humanity :- what discernment; what probity, what force of character, are required in their members ! · · It is, however, the distinguishing happiness of this institution, that it does not, in any degree, produce or foster the evil it is intended to remedy. It does not, it cannot, turn towards the pursuits of its unfortunate objects, a greater share of the talents and industry of the country, than would go into them of their own accord, as may be the case with other charities : for men cannot furnish themselves with genius and learning at their own will ; they are furnished by nature and education, without a choice. The balance of employments, throughout the country, is, therefore, never disturbed by the Literaty Fund; and if it enable men of genius, already educated, to exert and employ their talents, it must contribute to the advantage and perfection of all other employments.
But the virtues and merits of literature, in all its departments, like ihe rules of grammar, in all languages, are not without embarrassing exceptions.
Compensations for long and painful inquiries, abstracting the in, quirer from the æcɔnomy of his affairs, may be acts of justice, easily rendered, if the means be at hand; and the removal of many of those distresses, which discourage ingenuity, and repress all intellectual emulation, may not be difficult, where the characters are blameless : but where crime, offence, and misconduct, have been the produce of, perhaps, inevitable misery, the business of the council and committee requires discretion, for they are liable to error, as well as to animadversion and blame.
• It is impracticable to form an exact thermometer, which the council and committee may apply to the varieties of literary distress. They have wisely adopted a general rule, to favour the claims of real genius, or superior talents, whatever may have been their private circumstances, and even their errors. Men most susceptible of great excellences, are inost liable to great faults; and the business of the council and coniittee, is not with those who are preserved in insignificant uniformity, from want of passions, the companions, if not the seeds, of genius; but to encourage or console real talents, when well employed, and to restore them to the paths of honour and utility, when driven, by misery, into error and crime.
. Perhaps the difference of Cur:ius and Sylla, may have been only the difierence of circumstances. We blame poverty for not produoing virtue, at a time when money is infinitely more honoured. Cæsar would have laughed at the satyrist, who had reproached him for not possessing the virtues of Cincinnatus.
• The same talents, and the same passions, which, in easy or affluent circumstances, may inspire us with the love of private and public virtues, might, in those of distress or oppression, have abandoned us to the opposite vices. Man is helpless and miserable. Pity, even in common cases, enumerates his sufferings, never his faults. “I am not miserable ; who will believe me, if I say, it is because I have no faults?"
The spirit of candour, inspired by this institution, has soared above all distinctions of names and parties, even in a period when public and private happiness were sacrificed to them. While Europe was hostilely divided by partizans, and a political delirium perceived nothing generally but aristocrats and Jacobins, despots and anarchists; within the sphere of this society humanity saw only men.
· There are, however, depravities and profligate abuses of talents, which the council and commitee think a duty to treat with neglect or abhorrence; they change the useful direction of all mental pursuits, and violate, by false associations, the natural distinciions of good and evil.
The society for a literary fund, though not connected with any political or civil department of the public administration, thinks itself nevertheless obliged to act as the friend of the community; and it ig its fundamental law, that its beneficiaries should be, or should discover a disposition to become, useful writers.
Speculative men, who examine the modes of regulating societies by institutions, are generally neither useful nor hurtful in the degrees commonly assigned them,
• There are men of genius, who think in allegory and imagery ; but they are few, and they are never dangerous. The philosopher, who taught the eastern despot, by the incidents of the game of chess, gave no alarm but to the despot's conscience.
• Indeed, literature is very seldom, though frequently supposed to be, the instrument of sedition or conspiracy. Milton justly observes, “ The Christian faith ; for that was once a schism ; is not unknowir to have spread over all Asia, before any Gospel or epistle was seen in writing." All treasonable measures, ancient and modern, have shunned every thing analogous to the press or to publication, until their principal and most important effects were produced.
Men of talents, in distrees, are generally of that class, which covets the fame of extensive utility, but finds too powerful competitions in all useful employments. Being denied support, in seeking ard discovering unknown regions of science, they continue, by the cultivation of learning, communications with those already discovered ; or they become translators, who are literary merchants, or importers of foreign knowledge. In this class they may be very useful. They who develope the scientific discoveries, or render any of the noble produce tions of foreign talents familiar to their fellow citizens, are like the inventors of navigation, or of bridges and roads, which facilitate communications between country and country.
"And when profound ideas cannot be conveyed to the public, until reduced to simple and clear propositions, men may be useful in retailing those ideas, though they employ only secondary talents. In this class are, compilers, and writers of books for children, who do not add to the common stock of knowledge, but increase its utility, by diffusion.
· Even as novelists, writers may be forgiven the injuries they commit, when they harmonize and improve the language; for the art of saying nothing elegantly, becomes, in time, the art of expressing ideas; and the early habit of harmonious sounds, and beautiful expressions, may be of great importance, as writers capable of analyzing ideas, may be induced, by pleasing examples, to adorn their inestimable thoughts with the charms of an elegant style.
• Even literary indolence, in disappointed men of letters, is not to be wholly overlooked. It would be grateful to those who have nothing left, not even in hope, to be allowed, in a condition of mere competence, the captivations of intellectual pleasures, which never cloy, never satiate, nerer disgust, admit neither of tedium, nor dissza tisfaction, and diffuse a serenity uninterrupted and everlasting.
But when authors, disappointed of useful employments, or unsuccessful in them, seek consolation in the vanity of passing illiberal judgments on others in secret tribunals, and become the means of involving them in similar misfortunes, the feelings of compassion yield to considerations of discretion and utility, in the assistance to be af