Page images

though pretending to soften the asperities of the Irish towards the country with which they have been united ; he every where labours to prevent conciliation and advantage, and incessantly brings forward every.. ir." cumstance which can keep up the animosity of ine unfortunate Irish. Every act of the English go.nrnment towards Ireland is represented as treacherous and tyrannical ; while the Irish are held up as the most peaceable and loyal subjects upon earth. There is no Englishman who is more attached to the Irish nation than ourselves, or perhaps few who know more of their real character, their virtues, and their defects; but any reader who should form his opinion of them from this miserable publication, would indeed be woefully misled. It is one of the most dull, partial, and incorrect compilations we have ever met with.

In concluding this article, we shall call the attention of the public to what is, perhaps, the most splendid volume ever brought forward in this or any other country. We allude to the Brief History of Ancient and Modern Indice* ;' with engravings from R. Chase, esq. pictures, and Col. Wood and Lieut. Hunter's views in the Mysore, a work, which though it have no literary pretensions, is, to accord with the wishes of its royal and noble patrons, brought forward with all the most sumptuous efforts of art. Every beauty which can be derived from paper, printing, engraving, and colouring, has been called in to its aid; and the numerous folio plates, which form the bulk of the work, have so much the appearance of original drawings, as to deceive even artists themselves. Such a publication is a striking instance of the taste and opulence of the British nation, and its list of subscribers will be a lasting proof of the liberality of the great, in their patronage to men of genius.

* Vide Notices, p. 455.

TOURISTS. For the amusement of a leisure hour, or for the suiperior purpose of acquiring local information, there is scarcely any class of literature more valuable than that which is composed of the labours of tourists. Writers of this description seldom fatigue us with abstruse reasoning, or profound dissertation; yet, if possessed of talent, they have the means of exciting much pleasure, and of imparting much information. We accompany them in their rambles, we enter into their views, and we participate in their acquisitions, without the trouble of quitting our own parlour, or of retiring from the so- · cial hearth of domestic happiness.

British literature possesses much standard excellence in this department. JOHNSON's “ Tour through the Hebrides," notwithstanding the prejudices by which it is in some parts disfigured, will ever be read with respect, attention, and pleasure; BRYDONE's “ Tour through Sicily and Malta" exhibits a fund of rich niaterials, alike gratifying to the antiquarian, the historian, and the philosopher; and a variety of other works might be mentioned, which confer credit on the writers, and reflect honour on the country.

The last year, indeed, cannot he said to have furnished us with any very important addition to our stock of tours; yet it has not been wholly destitute of some performances wliose durability will be more than ephemeral.

The Rev.John Evans,who, at a former period, published an interesting description of North Wales, has, in performing the “Tour through South Wales*,” now completed his account of the principality. It is pleasing to mark an increase of merit; and it would be injustice in us not to mention, that, though MR. Evans's former publication was entitled to much praise, the present is far superior.

Notwithstanding the number of Welch Tours which had appeared, there was still an ample field for inves

[ocr errors][merged small]

tigation; and the botanical, antiquarian, historical, and miscellaneous observations of this gentleman will be found well deserving of attention.

His style is correct and pleasing, his observations are acute and sensible, and the genuine spirit of Christianity which pervades the work, materially exalts the author in our estimation.

SEMPLE's Walks and Sketches at the Cape of Good Hope" may more properly be classed with Tours than with Travels, though the work does not strictly belong to either. Mr. Semple, possessed of feeling, piety, and benevolence, is a disciple of the Shandean school; and occasionally endeavours to sketch characters and scenery with the free and playful pencil of the inimitable Sterne. His description of the Table Mountain is sublimely interesting, and inspires the most pious sensations. His reflections on the Slaves at the Cape are animated and pathetic, but partake too much of that sentimental whine which, of late years, has been so much the fashion, when treating on subjects of this nature. It must, however, be admitted, that the poor Hottentots, who are under the control of the Dutch boors at the Cape, are dreadfully circumstanced.

Those who possess the best means of information know, that the slaves of the British merchants, in the West Indies, are better provided for than the peasantry of any country in Europe ; but the unfortunate Hottentots are subjected to the lash of animals as ignorant as themselves, and infinitely more brutal. But, “let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung."

Mr. Semple's relation of the mode of travelling, living, and hunting, at the Cape and its vicinity, though not new, is amusing. Some occasional inaccuracies of style, however, obtrude themselves ; and it must be objected, that, throughout the work, there is too much of what may be termed sentimentality.

The Hon. MRS. MURRAY, of Kensington, has presented the public with the second volume of her “ Companion and useful Guide to the Beauties in the Western Highlands of Scotland, and in the Hebrides*.This

· * Vide Notices, p. 450.

lady appears to be of a most intrepid spirit, possessed of a superior, and even masculine intellect, and capable of contemplating nature in its wildest forms. We have perused her description of Fingal's Cave, and of the Isle of Staffa, an island which was not visited by Dr. Johnson, though he passed near to it, in his way from Ulva to Jona, with sentiments of admiration, scarcely inferior to those which the fair author appears to have felt on first viewing them. The description is, in the highest degree, picturesque and sublime. To every reader who is capable of appreciating the wild beauties of nature, the perusal of MRS. MURRAY'S book must afford a most exalted pleasure; and, to those who follow her in her tour, it must prove invaluable. Were we at all disposed to find fault, we should remark, that a redundancy of description sometimes prevails, and that the fair author has not always been sufficiently select in the anecdotes which she has inserted. On one of these, however, which will be found in the present volume, MR. HOLCROFT has constructed a melo drame, called “ The Lady of the Rock,which has bcen repeatedly performed at one of our winter theatres.

Of a nature very different from any that we have yet noticed, is COLONEL THORNTON's “Sporting Tour through the Northern Purts of England *," $c. The eccentric author of this tour, who certainly possesses a most competent knowledge of all that relates to hunt. ing, hawking, fishing, &c. &c. affects to offer remarks on English and Scottish landscape, and to present observations on the state of society and manners. The sporting Colonel does, indeed, present us with an account of the characteristic scenery of the Highlands, and with some botanical remarks; but, as these were quite out of his way, they are borrowed from another person. The Colonel has been charged with the most outrageous egotism ; but our readers may depend upon it, that he is a hearty, good-natured fellow, excellently well plea. sed with himself, and willing to be pleased with others; and, for our own part, we should like vastly to taste his venison and his claret at Thornville Royal.

; Vide Notices, p. 463.

[ocr errors]

Another eccentric work, but infinitely tess amusing, and more pernicious than COLONEL THORNTON's, is Bristed's Pedestrian Tour through Part of the Ilighlands of Scotland*." It would scarcely be accredited, that two young men, as Mr. Bristed represents himself and his fellow-traveller, Dr. Cowan, to be, should set out from Edinburgh, in the tattered garb of American sailors, “ because they conceived that no other mode would afford them so good an opportunity of surveying the beauties of the country, or give so great a facility of seeing and investigating the manners of the people, unvarnished by courtesy, and undisguised by interest." This, however, is stated to be the fact. They set out early in the morning, in the dress above-mentioned, MR. BRISTED wearing spectacles, a very usual appendage, probably, of an American sailor! At Leith, as might naturally have been expected, they became the theme of ridicule and laughter from the fishwomen, watermen, and porters. The ardour of philosophers is not, however, to be damped by trifles, and on they proceeded. But, unfortunate disaster! a disaster against which their philosophy was scarcely able to bear them up, on the last day of their journey, they expend. ed their last shilling, on a wretched dinner at Carn. wath. “We limped off from the house,” exclaims the forlorn pedestrian, “ without receiving a single smile, a single look of compassion, a single wish expressed for our welfare, from any one human being in the place. A little spotted black and white spaniel seemed to pily us, [sagacious and philanthropic brute !] for he couched at our feet, wagged his tail, and looked up wistfully in our faces; for which deed of kindness, the big-bellied hostess [elegant expression !] gave him a terrible kick, that made the poor creature cry out and howl most miserably!

The doctor was very bad, shockingly debilitated, and almost starved, yet he contrived to crawl back to Edinburgh; but poor Mr. Bristed was much worse, for he was so very, very bad, so very shockingly debilitated,

* Vide Notices, p 464.

« PreviousContinue »