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enemies of man, and the victims of those who are at once rebels to their their own folly.
country and their God. T. Ungrateful scoundrels, that, H. Rebels let us be as long as we if I had my will, should all be ship- are ruled by tyrants. ped off to-morrow to your respective 7. Atheists! countries, where your crimes have H. Hypocrites ! already merited the gallows. What T. Liars! are you but the refuse of Europe, H. Dissemblers ! fugitives from states where your T. Vile, bloody-minded jacobins ! restless malignity strove in vain H. Proud, detestable aristocrats! against wholesome order, and vipers T. How dare you, rascal, use such who sting to death that bosom which terms? gave you an asylum ?
H. Your humble imitator, sir, am H. Fit companions, once more I; I dare do all, as the poet might say I, for those impious monopolists have said, that other rascals dare. who deny us the rights of human T. Do you call me rascal, sir? nature ; because, forsooth, we were H. No, sir; I miscal you gentleRot born among you. More savage, man, that's all. you, than those savage tribes with 7. Take that, sir (kicking). whom every stranger is an enemy ; H. And, to be out of your debt, for, with you, it seems, every guest take that, sir (striking). is a slave!
Having little relish for this species T. How dare you abuse the go- of debate, and other persons being vernment that fosters and protects present to see fair play, I hastily you ; by whose indulgent influence withdrew. This being a pretty you are what you are ; and which, good specimen of the fashionable if your ingratitude, were treated as political conversation, I have amused it merits, would reduce you in a mo- myself by giving you this account of ment to the beggary and dirt from it, which, I hope, may likewise whence you sprung !
amuse some of your readers. H. I can't tell. I wonder at my own audacity as much as you. For a slave like me to pretend to question the will of one who has my life, liberty, and property in his own For the Literary Magazine. hand, and may kill or banish me just as caprice shall prompt him, is MODES OF HISTORICAL WRITING. a rashness truly surprising. To supplicate his mercy, to pamper his THERE are three methods which arrogance, to confess that his power a historian may pursue with reover me is no more than simple spect to those great subjects, of laws, equity, that I have no shadow of manners, and the rest, which are so pretence to aspire to an equality much more interesting, for the most with him, to take an equal share in part, than a mere narrative of transthe government of myself and my actions, and for the sake of which fellows, is by far the safest way. alone, in many periods, civil trans
T. I understand your irony. And actions are worth knowing. so you would insinuate that you He may interweave them with have a right to enter my house, to the body of his narration, either inclaim a seat at my table, and share cidentally, as Herodotus, Froissart, the possession of my wife and chil- and most writers of contemporary dren, would you?' That is one of history have done, or by way of ilthe rights of human nature, is it?lustration, like the greater part of All exclusive property, all house- modern writers; or, secondly, he hold and conjugal privileges, are may station them in preliminary arrant tyranny and usurpation, I books, or reserve them for appendiwarrant you. Maxims worthy of ces, wherever they bear only a ges
neral connection with the main bo. son cannot so easily be incorporated dy of the work, still pursuing the with it, without distracting us by former method, where it is essential frequent transitions, losing that time to discuss the causes, or elucidate which is required to recal our ideas, the circumstance of particularevents. and bring our minds to the proper Such is the plan of Robertson, in his focus, and rendering it difficult eiCharles V, and of Hume, in his His. ther to refer to particular passages, tory of England. The arrangement or to study collectively any particuof Gibbon is compounded of these lar subject. two kinds, but partakes much more To this confused, immethodical of the former. The third scheme disposition, the third plan is directof disposition is that of Dr. Henry ; ly opposite. It seems indeed at first in which every distinct subject forms to be the very reverse of confusion : a distinct chapter, and the corres- every genus has its chapter, and ponding chapters in each successive every species its section. Yet this volume may be read as a continued extreme accuracy of arrangement independent account of the matters may sometimes defeat itself. Many to which they relate.
facts are to be found, of which we Of these, the first is beyond com cannot well say whether they should parison the most pleasing to those be referred to the civil or ecclesiaswho read history as a source of tical departments, to the history of amusement. The fatiguing monoto- science or of art. Thus, the disc ny of battles and sieges in war, ca- putes between Henry II and Becket bals and negociations in peace, so are related by Dr. Henry under the palls on the mind in almost every his. head of religion, though no events torical work, that intermingled pas. could be of a more general nature. sages, which illustrate laws, litera. But, what is more material, there is ture, or manners, show like Oases great danger that too rigorous an in the great desert, and afford rest. adherence to the systematic division ing places to the weary reader, from may produce a jejune spiritless perwhich he may launch out again re- formance, a mere anatomy of histofreshed into the tedious wilderness. ry, more resembling the dry preci, These passages are in many of the sion of an index or chronological tabest authors more precious, by be. ble, than a skilful and harmonious. ing rare. Man, so studious to re- combination of the several parts of cord his crimes and his miseries, the work. Such is, perhaps, in some 'casts a careless eye on the laws degree, the case with Dr. Henry's which protect, the arts which adorn, production, and the commerce which enriches A field is likewise thus entered, him. It was not incleed till lately, larger than any one can reasonably that the great and leading uses of hope to explore ; and the writer is historical knowledge seem to have naturally induced, by the very disbeen well understood, or that philo- position which he adopts, to dwell sophy, with Montesquieu as her high with unnecessary minuteness on ma. priest, ta'u ht us to consider the ny subjects, which, as they reflect progress of the species as of more little light on civil 'history, and fur. importance than the pedigree of nish little towards philosophical kings, and commissioned those pain. views of the species, ought to be selful, though sometimes refractory dom and slightly noticed. Such are drudges, the antiquarians, to labour long details of theological schisms as her pioneers in the collection of and heresies, which properly fall facts, which her more favoured sons under another province, and impose must afterwards combine and gene- a needless obligation on the writer, ralize. Hence, in modern histories, the fulfilment of which will perhaps these interesting branches bear a excite the gratitude of few of his much greater proportion to the main readers. Such too is the history of stock than formerly; and for that rea- language, a subject extremely inter
esting in itself, but, for the same rea. Others, which owe their present apsons, rather injudiciously mingled pearance to the agency of subterra. with very different matter.
neous fires, may have previously The second of the three methods existed at no great depth under the. above mentioned is, therefore, best surface of the sea, and in such a suited to the greater part of histo- state as to preserve the rudiments ries. In the standard works of of future plants from the contact of Hume and Robertson, while the air or other causes of corruption. chain of events is never broken by Amid the physical convulsions which long dissertations, the narrative is may have agitated various tracts of agreeably varied and perspicuously the earth's surface, some of the ma. illustrated by occasional digressions, ny sources of vegetable reproducand general views of the state of so- tion may have been kept alive, while ciety are introduced in proper pla- the fortuitous movements of wind, ces, without a tedious accuracy, or water, and birds may have also conan attempt to exhaust materials of tributed their aid. In reasoning, an indefinite extent.
however, on such a subject, we may truly say, that we are of yesterday, and that we know nothing. History,
eager to keep pace with the busy For the Literary Magazine.
but fleeting events which harass the successive generations of rude and
of civilized society, presumes to dis. ORIGIN OF PLANTS. dain the silent yet majestic march
of nature, who steadily observes her THE first vegetation of a new course, heedless of the clamours of soil, remote from continents and the contending factions, and of the miintercourse of man, is a botanical series which man inflicts on his broproblem of difficult solution. Ob. ther. And thus, since the days of jections may be made, with much Theophrastus till those of Linnæus, plausibility, to the received notions the flower, which has not ceased, of winds, water, and birds convey. with the return of spring, to disclose ing an adequate and sufficiently va- its beauty, or dispense its fragrance, ried supply of seeds in a state fit for and the more homely herb, which germination. The hypothesis of has continued to minister to the temporary and partial acts of crea- shelter or sustenance of animated tion, adapted to existing circum- beings, have, as subjects of inquiry, stances, is unphilosophical, and by been condemned to peculiar neglect. no means countenanced by facts. The affinities and migrations of What have these supplementary the vegetable families, in the early acts effected for the island of Ascen. and subsequent ages of the world, it sion, a volcanic ejection of compara. is now impossible, from want of protively recent date? Its immense dis- per documents, to ascertain. Either tance from land rendersits acquisition they never found a place in the reof seeds difficult and precarious. gisters of man, or, if they did, their There are but two ways of supply- history has for ever perished. What ing it with seeds, one by the water given tract of land can, at this day, of the ocean, the other by birds. By exhibit the uninterrupted genealogy one or other of these ways, it has got of its vegetable tribes? Impressions possession of three species of plants, of races, long since extinct in the and only three, a singularity no colder latitudes, are still visible in where else known.
various strata of schistus, coal, and Many existing islands are, proba. iron stone. Their prototypes have, bly, only portions of continents, and perhaps, perished, or, perhaps, they received their quotas of vegetable exist in Africa or Indostan. germs in periods of high antiquity.
ON AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS.
For the Literary Magazine. It is thus that the traveller afo
fected to sneer at us poor Americans, for our attachment to the noble
pursuits of history and politics. 66 THE' Americans," said I would fain know, Mr Caviller," splenetic friend of mine, who has returned I, “ how the time of a citravelled a good deal in America, tizen can be better employed than « are a nation of readers. Taking in watching the conduct of his goone with another, a far greater vernors, in detecting their mistakes, number of the people devote some and, if need be, censuring or disof their time to reading, than of any placing them. For what end has other people in the world. In the power of chusing our governGreat Britain, France, and Germa- ors and legislators been vested in us, ny, those who do, or who can read, if we do not exercise it with judgbear a very small proportion to the ment and vigilance ; if we do not inrest. They are scarcely one to quire into their claims to our favours, twenty; but, in America, almost and regulate our choice by the tenevery man is a student.
dency of those measures which we • They read not casually, or now know they will adopt? and then, but regularly and daily. “ But mere political discussions They betake themselves to reading do not wholly engross these publicaas punctually as to dine or to labour. tions. Are they not continually supSurely, then, they must be a very plied with intelligence from all parts learned nation. All their minds of the world? And do they not inmust be turned to a generous and form us of the fate of battles, the enlightened key. Society must schemes of statesmen, and the change wear, among them, a face totally of rulers, in every part of the world? different from that of any other na And what objects are more sublime, tion, and is not this so?
more interesting to the rational in“ Why, one must pause a little, quirer, than the successive scenes of and inquire what is it they read ? this great drama? Books of history, or poetry, or sci “ There is no soul among us so ence, or morals?
Much depends sordid and groveling that has not upon their kind of reading. Are
an active curiosity in relation to they meagre ballads, or fabulous le. these great events. He will always gends? If they be, we can only ex- lay down his groat for the sake of pect them to be confirmed in every knowing what they are about in silly prejudice or vile superstition. Germany, Egypt, or Bengal. The A sort of volume is left, daily at eve. scene cannot be so remote but we ry man's door. What are its usual have an eye to it; and sultan Tipcontents? To judge of its efficacy, poo, and field-marshal Suwarroff, it is necessary to know the tenor
are people with whom every Ameof it.
rican, the meanest and most labori“ If we examine them, we shall ous among us, is as intimately acfind them to be nothing more than quainted as with his next door newspapers ; pages in which the neighbour.” two factions, who divide the nation, Not convinced by these reasonings, perpetually fight their battles; and, my companion continued to insinuin every species of invective and ate, that to know the incidents of a stratagem, endeavour to get the German and Italian campaign, canbetter
of their adversaries. In this not very materially benefit a native school, you may judge what pro- of America, who has his bread to gress the American student is likely get by his industry, and his family to to make in the art of governing his cherish by domestic virtues. He passions, enriching his fancy, or en- prated much about the necessity of larging his understanding.
limiting our attention, in the first
place, to our own family affairs; till a little time has rendered the and, if those will allow any of our issue of transactions certain, and stay time to be employed in general pur- till you have the whole of a particusuits, he urged that it ought to be de- lar event, in all its parts and incivoted to the improvement of the dents, before you, instead of indulgheart and the understanding, bying a childish impatience, and eawritings that explain to us our per- gerly swallowing every mutilated sonal duties, and illustrate them by lying rumour. A little time will not familiar, pertinent, and amusing ex. only afford you an authentic account amples ; by books that advance us of an event, but will save you all in the knowledge of the properties that expence of time which is wastand processes of nature ; that make ed in procuring and reading premaus, or tend to make us, better fa- ture, unauthentic, and, what is thers, husbands, and neighbours, bet. worse, unintelligible statements. ter artists or husbandmen.
“ If the knowledge of great events, “ Now, no instruction of this passing in the other hemisphere, be kind,” he continued, “ can be gain- of any value, newspapers, as at preod from the bickerings of faction, sent conducted, are liable to insurvulgarly politics, and from the shreds mountable objections; inasmuch as, and fragments, trifling, contradicto- instead of faithfully and accurately ry, and vague, to be found in news. affording this knowledge, they only papers, and gravely dignified with tend to confuse, bewilder, and misthe name of history. Is any profes- lead. In all they give us, there is sional skill, any maxim of domestic such confusion or contradiction of economy or of social conduct, any dates; such opposite accounts of the improvement in the condition of same events; such idle and incesourselves or our neighbours, to be sant repetitions, that no mortal can drawn from these fountains? How extricaie himself from out the chaos. is any man the better in his taste, After a week or a month's study, a his temper, or his fortune ; how is man may safely conclude that a cerany man the wiser, in any art or tain battle has been fought, or a cerscience worth knowing, by hearing tain treaty ratified; but as to the that the king of Sweden is playing causes and circumstances that belong the fool heroically, and that policy to them, the memory is burthened has made the king of Prussia á with a discordant and obscure mass. knave; that Bonaparte has made of these he knows nothing, till some himself brother to emperors, and impartial and enlightened observer kings of his brothers ?
has collected, arranged, sifted, and " A newspaper, considered as one weighed the accompanying testimoamong a merchant's documents, is ny, and, profiting by lights for which a very good thing; as conveying, in it was requisite patiently to wait, or due season, information of what is deeply to search, he delivers, in a to be bought and sold ; of ships are narrative of half a page, what had rived, or departing, or taken, or filled, in its impure and chaotic state, shipwrecked—may not be conveni- not less, perhaps than a hundred ently dispensed with by the owners columns of a hundred gazettes. of ships, and the venders and buyers “ But even admitting that there of commodities; but why so many is some use in perusing these desul. of its pages should be stuffed with tory and impertinent details of news, declamation against individuals, and what have I, a plain farmer perwith scraps of news respecting the haps, or a man of some studious vooperations of armies and ambassa. cation, physician, lawyer, or divine, dors in another hemisphere, is not or a country shopkeeper or city arcasily conceived.
tisan , what has such a one as I to “ If these events are worth know- do with this long history of shipping, ing, it is ridiculously absurd to seek this catalogue of sloops and brigs to the knowledge in this way. Stay be sold or freighted, these lists of
VOL. VI. N. XXXIX..