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object of a Review is to give an account of the present state of science, and as we have not had an opportunity of enlarging on the subject fince the publication of some important works, we hope it may be excused.
Mr. Hamilton proceeds to give an account of the other mineral productions of this country, and he defcribes them with great clearness and precision : we are sorry, that the length of this article prevents us from being more particular on the fabject. The concluding letter affumes a higher tone, and vindicaces
of God to man.' He speaks to the sceptic in bold energetic language, and with striking arguments and pertinent instances, shows, that the structure of the earth displays consuminate wisdom ; that its history, as well as the history of its inhabitants, is favourable both, to natural and revealed religion, -Such are these interesting Letters, which we cannot recommend inore forcibly, than by their having engaged fo large a share of our attention, at a busy and a troublesome period of our ana.. nual labour.
Dei Cataclismi Yofferti dal Noftro Pianeta Saggio Poetico, per
feruire di Prodromo a un Poema Filofophico e Theologico. A Poetical Sketch of the Revolutions that have happened in the
Natural History of our Planet ; intended as a Specimen of a
Philosophical and Theological Poem. 8vo. 25. Crutwell, Bath. TH
HIS performance, of which we have both the original
and the 'copy, is somewhat extraordinary.--It contains the plan of a philosophical poem, intended to have been writa ten in Italian blank verfe ; in which the author designed to have compiled a theory of the changes that have taken place in our globe, and to reconcile to our reason, by the afdistance of ancient mythology, the various and intricate phænomena which the foflile kingdom prefents.' It was to have been complet. ed in twelve books, and from several passages, as well as from his many other performances, we may perceive that the author, Il Signor Abbate Fortis, was neither defective in learning, nor brilliancy of fancy. He was a native of Venice, and published a Tour into Dalmatia-he is now dead, and of course nothing farther, at least from him, can be expected toward filling up the present very imperfect outlines. It appears indeed never to have been his intention, for he concludes his ketch with informing us, that
• The design of this poem is not, and probably never will be completed. The author has fo far abandoned all thoughts of it, that he ha's for some time ceafed to work at it, and it is more than probable that this situation will compel him to content himself with the sketch he has put into verse, with out making farther progress.. bi What those circumitances were to which he alludes, we know not-pcfbbly a narrow income, and laborious ayocations. The difficulty of the talk alone would have been, indeed, a sufficient reason for relinquishing the attempt. To wield the machines that are here proposed to have been introduced, sequired no common hand. The necessary exertions were evident, but the fuccefs of them by no means clear, u Had the plan been i completed, we apprehend, it would have been more curious than entertaining, more fcientific than poetical. To a few philosophic minds it might have appeared inftructive and amusing; to the million, wild, confüred, and unin. tereting. 7. Of the translator's' abilities the following poetic fragments, and there are many fach occasionally fcattered through the arguments of the different books, will give ne anfavourable idea. The gnomes; raréixthus introduced as bringing offerings to Plutor bris,bslulɔ ci 1006 3.17.299414
Struck with his lebonthanatate"
in hideous' yawn." Earth opes Hér in molt tores,
Forthcome the gnomes--their tribute they prepare, ",",
Beings' compos'd of freither earth nor air ola's
The various vapours of the falph'rous mine
To form thefe hated Iprites their powers combine.
Illuinines, far and near, the dark profound, tras
And the gtim trobp in hidedes lutre thews. "
As er'it, with penfive fteps I've wandered o'er ci során
Each mould'ring arch, and time worn corridor, Yi
On fome poer lazar dart ebligne his beam;
The Philosophical Dictionary: or, the Opinions of Modern Pli
lofophers on Metaphysical, Moral, and Political Subjects. In Four Vols. 12mg. , ,125, Jewed.
. Robinson. THE 'HE Dictionary was, we find, originally a common-place
book for private use; and probably, tlike other colo lections of the fame kind, it was filled by the authors' which occurred, rather than collected from the best, chofen after the -knowlege had become more exact, and the judgment more mature. If this fufpicion explains the reason of the choice in frowe rospects, it adds' credit to the author's studies in others; we do not find many i exceptionable authorises, and there are many valuable extrads... The publication may add to the 'amusement of travellers, who carry few books with them, satisfy the curiofity of those who cannot purchase many books, or have little cime to read them.'' un pinzolol in '
sul The origin of this collection will aifosexplain another' de.' fect; but it is one that should, it pullible, be supplied, viz. the omision of particular references to the works of the autshor. When we are pleased with the subject, interested in the reasoning, or willing to pursue an opinion in its confequences, the door is closed, and we are almolt precluded from any farther information. The man of science and literature, in a well-furnished library, may in the less voluminous au -thors, soon turn to the original work; but this collection is not deligned for him, and probably will never be his object. It may, however, cheat the defultory reader into useful ftudy; it may roule - the curiosity of the more attentive; and occafionally remind the scholar of what he has forgotten. To all these, more particular references would be of great fervice. In another view, the omiffion is of consequence. In the works of every original author, there is sometiores a peculiar system, very generally a discriminated manner, and what may be called a tone of mind, which distinguishes and characierises the work. On this accounts a passage which perhaps is lingua larly beautiful, highly uteful, and easily understood, when le. parated from the work, and frittered into an extract, may appear unmeaning, triding or absurd. The objection indeed militates againīt the whole design, but it is only alleviated by a particular reference.
In the felection, too much is taken from Voltaire and Hume : the former is an unfaithful guide, because his excellencies and errors
are 100 intimately mixed; and his belt information and justelt decisions, are generally.contamin. d by his fancies, or destroyed by his errors. Many of Mr. Hume's most innocent pallages are fufpicious, for in all his works he
was systematical: he had one end in view, which he seldon loft light of. We ought, however, to add, that ne paliages, so far as we have observed, are selected from either, that may be in any respect pointedly injurious; and in these instances, we should be well contented with the name of the author only.
Much is taken from Helvetius and Locke.Somewhat from Hartley, Montesquieu, Beccaria, Raynal, Rouffeau, D'Alembert, Priestley, Williams, Burke, A. Smith, Robertson, Gibbon, &c. &c. The extracts chiefly relate to the conduct of life, and general precepts of morality. Soine controversial subjects occur, and, under these heads, the different opinions are selected from the most able combatants on either side.'
The editor professes that the love of truth, and warm wishes for its diffusion, were his sole objects in the publication. To his professions we have no reason to object, and such designs must always thare our approbation,
Ibe Recess ; or a Tale of other Times. Vol. II/' and III. 12mo.
N our fifty-fifth Volume, p. 233, we reviewed the first
volume of this interesting story; and 'ere the author was yet known to fame,' we encouraged and cherished her rifing genius : 'concurring applauses have ratified our decisions ; but long delays and indecisive hesitations seem to have impeded the progress of the story. It had raised a curiosity, which perhaps mifs Lee was apprehensive the should not be able to gratify; or, in poffeflion of fame, the might be afraid of hazarding her acquisition by another attempt. Whatever may have been the motive, the finished state of the volumes compensates for the delay; and the artificial contexture of the several incidents, the near approaches to romance, without trespafling on probability, as well as the accumulation of unexpected distress, fx the eager' attention, and gratify the imagination, without an insult to the judgment,
The subsequent volumes contain the adventures of the Sirters, after their feparation. Ellinor, the youngest, is beloved by Elizabeth's other favourite, the spirited and gallant Effex ; but, by the machinations of the jealous qucen, to
whom their birth is accidentally revealed, by a complication of the deepest policy, and the most detestable villany, the is married to lord Arlington. After his death, she escapes to Effex, with a mind thaken by misfortunes, and a reason scarcely fixed, after its difturbance by the most cruel insults:
the rejoins him in Ireland, and is again separated from him by his fudden return to England. In her progress to rejoin him, the news of his death totally destroys her reason, and fhe escapes from a fixed and settled melancholy, only to furvey once more the picture of Effex, and to expire in the tu. mult of conflicting sensations.
Matilda is carcely more fortunate. After the death of Leicefter lhe is carried to Jamaica, then in possesion of the Spaniards, by the artifice of a pretended adınirer. Her adventures and imprisonment there are gloomy and distressing: at last, the returns to England, to witness the unhappy con. dition of her ffers. Her daughter, however, the daughter of Leicester, grows-up, and blooms with all the charnis the might have expected to inherit. ' In her the mother again revives, and in ber, expects again to live; but, by a series of adventures well arranged, this darling daughter finishes her days by poison in a prison.
Such is the imperfect outline of a story, drawn from history: it may be styled familiar history, for it fills up the vacant charms with those little incidents not unsuitable to the greater events, or the temper of the actors. We know, for instance, that Essex lingered in Ireland, and distinguished his campaigns by few spirited or decisive actions. We are here told, that Ellinor was intercepted by Tiroen, and the hours which hould have been spent in the contest were idly protracted by negotiations for her deliverance Again : we know that, from the time of Effex's execution, the queen was restless,' disturbed, and unhappy. A well-managed incident is supposed to explain the cause of her distrels. Elinor, with the cunning which generally accompanies madnets, deceives bier own guards and those of Elizabeth, and reaches the royal bedchamber, to pierce her heart with a blow of a different kind, but not less fatal than that which had deprived her of Effex—' to speak daggers, but use none." To deceive the kepers, to whom she was intrusted, that the might escape lo Effex, it was reported that she was dead; so that Elizabeth is supposed to consider her as a speare, cominillioned to wound her bofon, with another 'arrow. We shall select this part, as a specimen of our author's powers of description.
. The queen, wholly funk in the chilling melancholy of incurable despair, and hopeless, age, resigned berself up to the influence of those evils.-Her ladies were often employed in reading to her, which was the only amusement her chagrin admitted.- One memorable night it was my turn-Elizabeth disa mified every other attendant, in the vain hope of finding a repose of which the had for ever deprived herseli. I purtacd my talk