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tion of the kingdom: he wrote also a very ingenious essay on the origin of the Spanish language, entitled, Paleografia Espanola; and he edited a description of California, compiled by Padre Venegas. These works Mr Laborde has embodied into one, and imagined for it a title compounded of the titles of all three.

The chapters on the Spanish Literature, Theatre and Language, demand a much longer commentary than we have leisure or inclination to bestow. Mr Laborde has afforded few materials for criticism ; but left ample room for dissertation upon these subjects. His catalogue of authors is full of names; but his estimate of their merits is vague, and seldem extends beyond a general praise or disapprobation of their works. lle has contrived, however, in the few remarks he has offered, to console us for their brevity. What regard, in fact, is due to a critic, who pronounces Herrera to be one of the best of the Spanish historians ; or what impression does he give of his acquaintance with Spanish literature, when he crowds his pages with obscure names, and omits that of Fray Lewis de Leon, whom his countrymen esteem one of their first pocts, and the purest certainly, and best, of their writers in prose? Fray Lewis de Leon is not the only author of celebrity, whom we have missed in Mr Laborde’s ample, though ill furnished catalogue. We looked in vain among his poets for Rioja, and among his historians for Moncada, Santæ Colomæ, Mondejar, Sandoval, Lopez de Ayala, Pulgar, and, if we dare place him in that list, for Antonio Perez. As to the authors of the present day, we very soon discovered, that it was idle to look for them. A passage, which Mr Laborde, in the hurry of publication, had neglected to craze from his original notes, satisfied us, that, whoever was the author of his chapter on Spanish literature, it was composed before 1779, when the poem of the Cid was published by Sanchez, and probably soon after 1758, when Fray Gerundio first made its

appearance. In his account of the Spanish stage, Mr Laborde has given the following description of that amusing species of drama peculiar to Spain, called Saynete. Saynetcs,' he observes, are short

prose

comedies in one act, which very naturally represent the manners, habits and customs of the common people, with their modes of life, and the grotesque and comic scenes to which these may be supposed to give rise. Every thing in these pieces is natural ; every thing is imitated with so much fidelity and truth, that the spectator imagines himself a witness of real transactions. The plot is usually simple, but lively; and the dialogue abounds with point and repartce. The acting greatly as

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sists the effect. The Spanish performers have an inimitable talent. for this kind of low comedy; they appear to have been born and bred in the different conditions they represent; and the illusion produced is complete.'

To the truth and accuracy of this description, we can bear ample testimony. A stranger, who is desirous of studying the peculiarities of character, manners, customs, or dress, that prevail in the different provinces of Spain, will not easily find a shorter or better school, and certainly cannot find a more amus. ing one, than the theatre, when these saynetes are represented.'

In his chapter on the State of the Arts, we meet with the following remarks on the Spanish school of painting, which appear to us to convey a just and not exaggerated idea of its merits.

• Of all the liberal arts,' observes Mr Laborde, “ painting is that which has been most cultivated in Spain, and in which its natives have best succeeded. The Spanish school is little known, and deserves to be more so. It holds a middle place between the Italian and Flemish schools. It is more natural than the first, more noble than the second, and participates in the beatities of both. in the correctness of design or nobleness of form, that the Spanish artists usually excel, but in the pure

imitation of nature, in grace, truth, effect, and expression of feeling.'

But, even upon this subject, where Mr Laborde seems more at home than in any other part of his work, he cannot, by some strange fatality, mention a date, without commiiting a blunder. Velasquez, whose portraits of Philip III. and IV., and of the Count Duke of Olivares, are among the most valuable of the pictures in the Royal Palace at Madrid, he tells us, was born in 1653, and died in 1725; that is, was born thirty-two years after the death of Philip III., eight years after the death of the Count Duke, auld only twelve years before the death of Philip IV. The real dates of the birth and death of Velasquez, were 1599 and 1660.

The concluding chapters on the Physical Constitution of the Spaniard's, on their Character and Manners, their Usaves and Customs, their Dress, their Ceremonies, and Public Festivuls, are executed, on the whole, with judgment and discrimination. We select the following observations on the Spanish character, as aífording, with the extracts which we have made in these last pages, the most favourable specimens we have been able to give of Mr Laborde's performance.

• Some customs and some traits of character run through all the provinces. The national pride is everywhere the same. 1.iard has the highest opinion of his nation and himself, which he energetically expresses in all his gestures, words and actions. This opinion is discovered in all ranks of life and classes of society ; in crimes and in virtues ; among the great and the small; under the rags of poverty as much as in the royal palace. Its result is a kind of haughtiness, repulsive sometimes to him who is its object, but useful in giving to the mind a sentiment of nobleness and self-esteem, which fortifies it against all meanness. This pride may be considered as one cause of the great number of persons who quit the world, and embrace the ecclesiastical profession; the slightest contempt, the least constraint, often produces on these haughty dispositions the effect of real misfortunes.dowed with strength sufficient to do the same duty to the successive parts which may be a waiting us.

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• The Spaniards are extremely reserved ; they have little of those exterior demonstrations, of that deceitful show which is called politeness. They do not make advances to a stranger ; they wait for him to begin ; they watch his conduct; and do not give him their confidence, till they think they know him. Their address is serious, cold, sometimes even repulsive ; but, under this unpromising exterior, they conceal a worthy heart and a great disposition to oblige; they scatter around their benefits, without endeavouring to make a merit of them; and grant without having promised.

• The Spaniard is very slow in all his operations. He often deliberates when he ought to act, and spoils affairs as much by his temporizing as other nations by their precipitation. They have a proverb contrary to one of ours ;--they say, that one should never do to day what may be put off till to-morrow. This slowness of the Spaniards appears incompatible with the vivacity of their imagination ; it is the consequence of the distrust and circumspection that are natural to them; but when their pride is irritated, their anger provoked, or their generosity stimulated, they wake in a moment from their apathy, and are capable of the most violent and the most noble actions.

We apprehend, that, in the last paragraph, Mr Laborde has hit upon

the true defect of the Spanish character,-the one certainly the most prejudicial to them in the arduous conflict in which they are at present engaged. This disposition of mind makes them confound procrastination with deliberation; and imagine that, when they have put off an important determination, they lave acquired some security, that, when taken, it will be a right

To the activity, knowledge, and foresight of their assailants, they have nothing to oppose, but an invincible constancy and firinness, which reverses have never shaken for a moment. If they have not achieved victories, they have not suffered themselves to be dispirited by defeats. If they have been improvident in success, they have not been despondent in misfortune. Their armies have been dispersed, and their towns pillaged; but the possessions of their enemy are still limited by the immediate terrors of his power; and extend not, after all his victories, beyond the precincts of his camps and garrisons.

The hypocrisy with which Mr Laborde bewails the misfortunes of a war, the most unjust and unprovoked of any undertaken ira

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times and in virtues; among the great and the small; under 1:
hags of poverty as much as in the royal palace. Its result is a la
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, repulsive sometimes to him who is its object
seful in giving to the mind a sentiment of nobleness and self-esten
thich fortifies it against all meanness. This pride may be en
ered as one cause of the great number of persons who quit te
vorld, and embrace the ecclesiastical profession ; the slightest an
empt, the least constraint, often produces on these haughty digui
ions the effect of real misfortunes.

The Spaniards are extremely reserved; they have little of the xterior demonstrations, of that deceitful show which is called palis ess. They do not make advances to a stranger ; they wait for la o begin ; they watch bis conduct; and do not give him their com ence, till they think they know him. Their address is serious all ometimes even repulsive; but, under this unpromising exterior

, the onceal a worthy heart and a great disposition to oblige; they su er around their benefits, without endeavouring to make a merit /

nem; and grant without having promised.

The Spaniard is very slow in all his operations. He often do erates when he ought to act, and spoils affairs as much by his te orizing as other nations by their precipitation. They have a pront ontrary to one of ours ;--they say, that one should never do to di shat may be put off till to-morrow. This slowness of the Spanis ppears incompatible with the vivacity of their imagination ; it isu onsequence of the distrust and circumspection that are natural nem; but when their pride is irritated, their anger provokash / seir generosity stimulated, they wake in a moment from there ly, and are capable of the most violent and the most noble actius

We apprehend, that, in the last paragraph, Mr Laborde la t upon

the true defect of the Spanish character, -- the one to inly the most prejudicial to them in the arduous conflict in welist

ey are at present engaged. This disposition of mind make em confound procrastination with deliberation; and imapit at, when they have put off an important determination, die ive acquired some security, that, when taken, it will be a nyt ne. To the activity, knowledge, and foresight of their acu its, they have nothing to oppose, but an invincible constang id firmness, which reverses have never shaken for a momen they have not achieved victories, they have not suffered the Ives to be dispirited by defeats. If they have been improrile

success, they have not been despondent in misfortune. The mies have been dispersed, and their towns pilaged; but the poi ssions of their enemy are still limited by the immediate rema recincts of his camps and garrisons. The hypocrisy with which Mr Laborde bewails the misfortung a war, the most unjust and unprovoked of any undertaken i

A considerable portion of the letters now before us are pubIished, we should suppose, rather as curiosities, than on account of their intrinsic excellence. Several of them-and by no means the worst in the collection---were written, it seems, while the author was under fifteen years of age; and would ceftainly be considered as extraordinary performances-even in this age of premature womanhood and infant accomplishment. The subsequent letters, indeed, scarcely keep the promise that is held out by those early effusions. They are not at all more lively or more natural; and are all the worse, we think, for being more plentifully garnished with moral reflections and morsels of elaborate Hattery. If the correspondence does not improve faster in its subsequent stages, we fcar greatly that there will be no climax in the reader's admiration.

The merit of the pieces before us seems to us to consist mainly in the great gaiety and vivacity with which they are written. The wit, to be sure, is often childish, and generally strained and artisicial; but still it both sparkles and abounds : and though we should admire it more if it were better selected, or even if there were less of it, we cannot witness this profuse display of spirits and ingenuity, without receiving a strong impression of the talents and ambition of the writer. The faults of the letters, on the other hand, are more numer

In the first place, they have, properly speaking, no subjects. They are all letters of mere idleness, friendship, and fattery. There are no events,–10 reasonings,-no anecdotes of persons who are still remembered, --no literature, and scarcely any original or serious opinions. The whole staple of the correspondence consists of a very smart and lively account of every-day occurrences and every-day people,-a few common-places of reflecrion and friendship,--and a considerable quantity of little, playíul, petulant caricatures of the writer's neighbours and acquaint

All this has a fine familiar effect, when interspersed with more substantial matter,--or when it drops from the pen of «f weięht and authority ; but whole volumes of mere prattlement from a very young lady, are apt, however gay and innocent, to procluce all the symptoms of heavier reading.

A second, and perhaps a greater fault, is want of nature and simplicity; and this, in so far as we can judge, pervades the whole strain of the correspondence. There is an incessant effort to be witry or eloquent, which takes away from the grace of success, and makes failure ridiculous. There is no slow from the heart, -- 110 repose for the imagination,--no indolent sympathy of con

fidence.

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