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A REVIEW OF REVIEWS.
VIIERE are fashions in the “ Republic The able criticisms of Dr. Rose, were the
foundation of this prosperity. The Dr. ism of social life ; and a rage for inflated, has the credit of having written the first wordy, and florid title-pages, distinguished article in the Review, viz. : “ An Account the era of the establishment of the “Month and Abstract of the first Volume of Mr. ly Review,” (1749.) Swift tried to scold, Grove's Posthumous Work, entitled, A and Arbuthnot to laugh them out of system of Moral Philosophy." Dr. Rose countenance; but in vain. Johnny Bar kept an Academy at Chiswick; he was ber had taken strong grounds in the author of a translation of Sallust, and edpremises; and woe to that unlucky scribe itor of several compilations, in Latin, who brought to his shop, for sale, a man French, and English. He died in 1786; uscript prefaced by a title-page of " learned and Arthur Murphy has recorded his virlength, and thundering sound !"
tues in some of the most touching lines Cicero was contented to let the text which ever constituted the “storied urn” speak for itself; and gratified his friend a witness of the dead, and a teacher of ship, by prefixing the name of " Brutus" the livingto his treatise on Orators, "LELIUs” to
" Whoo'er thou art, with silent footsteps trend that on FRIENDSHIP, and “Cato” to the The ballow'd mound where Rose reclines his head. discourse on Old AGE. To be sure, he
Ah! let not folly one kind tear deny,
But pensive pause where truth and honor lie. confesses to Atticus, that he had a volume
llis, the way wit that fond affection drew; of prefaces, or introductions, always ready
Oft heard, and oft admired, yet ever new;
The heart that melted at another's grief; by him, to be used as occasion required.
The hand in secret that bestowed relief; Herodotus and Æschines, the one in his Science untincturd with the pride of schools, nine books, the other in his epistles,
And native goodness free from formal rules;
With zeal through life he toiled in Learning's canse, gracefully prefixed the naine of a Muse to
But more, fair Virtue, to promoto thy laws: each of these divisions; and the latter llis every action sought the noblest end;
The tender husband, father, brother, friend. calls his three orations, respectively, by
Perhaps e'en now from yonder realins of day, the names of the Graces.
To his lov'd relatives he sends a ray; How then would these modest worthies
Pleas'd to behold affections like his own
With filial duty raise the votive stone." have opened their eyes at such titles as, “ Matches Lighted by the Divine Fire ;" To suppose that a "Review,” under the “ The Ocean macro-micro-cosmick of one most favorable circumstances, can ever Sachs ;" “ Some fine Baskets, baked in the secure general popularity among literary Oven of Charity, carefully conserved for men, is as unreasonable as to anticipate a the Chickens of the Church, the Sparrows Newgate enthusiasm for an executioner, of the Spirit, and the sweet Swallows of or for a judge, during criminal sessions. Salvation !” Griffiths had observed this Many must be sentenced, some decapitaextravagance with no little concern ; and ted; all must be tried, and he who escapes it has been supposed that a desire to cor to-day, may be turned off to-morrow. rect it, first gave him the idea of the All who are condemned, rebel at their “Monthly Review!" He thus adverts sentence; and those who are honorably to the evil, in his first advertisement : cleared, consider that they have received “ The abuse of title-pages, is obviously nothing but justice; and are apt to grumcome to such a pass, that few readers care ble that unreserved praise, and florid to take in a book, any more than a ser commendation, are so scarce, where they vant, without a character.” His example are so richly deserved. It is very much conforms to his precept; for his own pre with authors and Reviews, as with lawface to so important a work, hardly con yers and their clients. We were congrattains twenty lines; the first two of which ulating an able advocate upon the grattake the ground, that “ undertakings itude which must reward successful pro which, in their execution, carry the de fessional zeal. “Nay, sir," replied hesignation of their use, need very little "if we fail to gain a cause, we are blamed preface.”
for our stupidity ; if we succeed, the cliThe projector met with but little suc ent considers his case so plain a one, that cess, at first; and, indeed, several times we could not help succeeding." declared to his friends, that he would We decline reviewing the fifty-four abandon the undertaking, but he perse years of editorial labor which Dr. Grifvered ; and his energy and patience se fiths bestowed upon the child of his youth, cured their usual reward, and established the companion of his meridian, and the his journal in a profitable circulation, if solace of his old age, "The Monthly Renot in general favor.
view." He who supposes that the purity
of the ermine was preserved without spot or blemish,—that the sceptre was always wielded for the punishment of error, and establishment of truth,-for this long reign of half a century, must have derived his theory of human nature from the precepts of revelation, rather than from the practice of men; he estimates frail man, as he ought to be, not as he is. Indeed, Griffiths may be blamed for more than ordinary literary turpitude, in one memorable case at least, which we do not care to enlarge upon; and for which sore punishment visited the delinquent in his lifetime, and his memory, since his death. We have seen in the first number of this review, that Dr. Johnson had but little respect for the moral and religious opinions of the “Monthly Reviewers." We cannot give our readers a better idea of the style of these “Reviewers,” than by some extracts from a few of their two hundred and odd volumes, which are now peaceably arranged upon our shelves, surrounded by the works of those who once wurted their smile, and trembled at their frown. Is it not an instructive theme this solemn calm, which succeeds the storm of passion and the war of words? Around us are arrayed the depositories of those minds which were busy in their generations, in striving for the applause of their own age, and the esteem of posterity. Combatants, rivals, once, they are at peace now! The Reviewer and the Reviewed, the Satirist and his victim, know no more the voice of strife, and the jarring of angry dispute! Theobald dreads not the lash of Warburton; and Cibber has forgotten the unenviable distinction assigned him by Pope! Were it not that Cicero has called the library, 5 the Soul of the house," surely we should denominate it the city of the dead; or rather, the battle field, where the victor and the vanquished, together, have “bit the dust!” But we digress. We were about to submit some specimens of the manner in which the “Monthly Review” led the unhappy culprits, who received an adverse sentence, to execution. “ The Adventures of William B-ds—, com
monly called Devil DICK.” “ The public are really more obliged to us Reviewers than they imagine. We are necessitated to read every thing that comes out, and must, consequently, submit to the vile drudgery of going through those loads of trash, which are thrown in upon us under the denomination of Lives, Adrentures, Memoirs, Histories, fc. How reasonable our complaint is may easily be judged of by the readers of William B-ds-w. The author must cer
tainly be deeply read in the Newgate memoirs or Tyburn history: a collection of these he has jumbled together, and published to plague us, in the form of DEVIL Dick."
“ The Adventures of Dick II azard." “We have here the history of the gaming table, and its consequence-a prison. The chief merit of this performance is, that it exceeds not one volume.” (Monthly Review, Vol. XI., page 470; 1754.) “An Enquiry into the Occasional and Stand
ing Similitudes, &c." 6 This mild Hutchinsonian is very angry with his humble servants, the Reviewers, whom he calls Infidels and Scorpions; but as he treats the worthy Archdeacon of Northumberland as a mere jesuit, page 76, we could not expect better words from him.
* To such as read his book, it may not be improper to offer this advice, viz., that they pay not too much regard to his representation of things; but that they rather have recourse to the Holy Scriptures; and for assistance herein, to the writings of the above-mentioned Archdeacon, for our Hutchinsonian Enquirer hath as little candor as good manners.' (Vol. XV., page 516; 1756.)
What an unkind cut! Verily, the “Reviewer” handles a two-edged sword ! As if it were not enough to immolate the unlucky Hutchinsonian, he builds over his grave, a triumphal arch in honor of the libelled Archdeacon! In the following introduction to a critique upon "The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy (since so celebrated), the Reviewers give the public a piece of their mind; and plainly tell all authors what they may look for at their hands:
“The Authors of the Monthly Review being determined never to lose sight of truth and candor, are neither to be misled by favor nor irritated by reproach ; neither perverted by prejudice, nor borne down with the current of popular opinion. The books that come under their cognizance will be considered with the same impartiality, whether the Authors be their friends or their foes, in plain clothes or prunella, in power or in prison. They would willingly indeed have their censure fall upon books only, without any regard to their authors; but it is certain that a man may be immoral in his writings as well as in his actions, and in that respect he will always be liable to the censure of those who consider themselves not only as judges in the Republic of Letters, but as members of society, and the servants of their country.” Then follows a very
proper reprimand to a very guilty author. by the established laws of criticism. We, (Vol. XXVI., page 31 ; 1762.) Anon, the on the other hand, are obliged by our
Reviewer" bewails the hardships of his plan, to take notice of every new book and lot:
pamphlet that appears in the British do“The office of a literary Reviewer is minions; and to separate the corn from perhaps one of the most ungrateful upon the tares, and the sheep from the goats : earth; for, whether he find occasion for but, in doing this, were we always to give approbation or blame; or whether he 'our reasons' for pronouncing a tare a thinks it incumbent on him, in case of tare, or a goat a goat, we should find our mediocrity, and in justice to the public, work swell most enormously under our to bestow neither; he is himself morally hands, and far exceed the bounds of a litcertain of becoming the object of the se erary journal.” So far, very well; but verest censure. It were indeed a stale
the poor authors must not expect to essubject of complaint to mention the van cape thus lightly: the Reviewers proceed, ity of Authors, the partiality of their Besides, we often meet with pub friends or the malice of their enemies: lications which are so much beneath all we shall not take up our Reader's time, criticism (and which, yet, must be no therefore, with remarks on either of these ticed) that it would be the vilest prosti topics. There is a very serious and plau tution of the noble art we profess, were sible objection, however, that hath been we formally to apply its rules to the inof late repeatedly made to the conduct of vestigation of such rubbish.” (Vol. LV., p. literary journalists; and particularly to 300, 301; 1776.) the English Reviewers. They are said Our “Reviewers” were good-natured to be much too severe and sarcastical in fellows, notwithstanding these savage on their treatment of those Authors, whose slaughts upon stupidity, or mediocrity, as Writings are submitted to their consider they deemed them. Witness their lenient ation : as a proof of which are brought handling of the author of " The Final the more candid and favourable examples Farewell, a Poem, written on retiring from of those ingenious and learned foreigners London." The Poet thus addresses the who first engaged in works of this kind. critics : Le Clerc and S. Gravesande, we are told,
“Ye sage Reviewers! ye, whose monthly toil pointed out the errors of mistaken writers Spreads twilight knowlerige over all the isle ; with candour, reprehended even the petu
Who, Luna-like, your borrowed beams bostow
On those that seldom to the fountain go: lant with tenderness, and spoke of all with Ye sage Reviewers! who with skill condense politeness and urbanity. We shall not en In narrow limits every author's sense, ter into a strict examination of the truth of
Who bring all Europe's learning in a page:
And all the wit of all this witty age; this assertion; there were doubtless among Who bind huge quartos in a little cell, the primitive Reviewers many gentlemen
Like Homer's Iliad in 8 walnut-shell;
Who strip the goose-quill hero of renown, of the most candid and amiable dispo By putting purchased of a tasteless town; sitions: but we cannot help thinking that
Ye who as literary monarchs sit, their tenderness for individuals much too
Waving your sceptres o'er the realms of wit;
Who show each obvious and each latent fault, often clashed with that justice and impar Each venial error, and each brilliant thought, tiality they owed to the public." (Vol.
Forbear! forbear! nor your dread wrath dispense,
On this my first, and this my last offence!
Nor let me find myself for this Adieu,
Hung, drawn and quarter'd in the next Review." a great revolution has occurred in the world of letters since the first institution To this rather satirical invocation, the of “Reviews;" and that this castiga
* Reviewers” thus pleasantly respond: tion of which the smarting authors com
“Yes, gentle bard, thou shalt be spared ! plained, was very wholesome, and most not for thy prayer, but for thy worth ; and beneficial in its tendency. Whether the in the hope that thou hast not bade the sufferers were as easily satisfied with world a' Final Farewell."" (Vol. LXXVII. these arguments, as school-boys are re page 375, 1787.). With that apparent in conciled to the application of the “birch,” consistency which sometimes surprises us by the assurance that it is for their own in despots, the “ Reviewers” extended good,—we are not informed. The “Re more clemency to a bold claimant, than to viewers” complain that, some are so un
a cringing suppliant; as a proof of which, reasonable, as always to expect reasons
see the unfeeling manner in which they for the opinions given of the works re despatch the unlucky, though doubtless viewed. *Our brethren on the continent, truly amiable, Miss Eliza Thompson. do not admit all publications into their
“ Poems on Various Subjects. By Miss Reviews; they have, therefore, more room
Eliza THOMPson." to expatiate; and their attention is chiefly bestowed on works of some importance,
ADDRESS TO THE REVIEWERS.
To wait her doom as fixed by your decree, whose merits they may try and determine, Lo! at your bar, a trembling maiden see;
Who, self-convinc'd enough you'll find to blame, dissatisfied with our account of Mr. Implores your mercy only, seeks not fame.
Burke's Reflections. He thinks that we In generous pity, then, for once excuse
discover ' a determined spirit of opposition The feeble efforts of an untledg‘d Muse. She asks no praises where no merit's due,
to the whole of that work.' We have But O, for once, forbear your censure too."
read and heard of others who are of a Now is not this moving appeal sufficient very opposite opinion ; and who have acto melt the heart of a Nero, or a Helioga
cused us of an undue partiality in the balus? Perhaps so, but not the heart of Right Hon. Gentleman's favor. This is a "Monthly Reviewer,” for hear the un but one more, added to the numerous ingallant knave :
stances that daily occur (and to nobody, “O'tis so moving, we can read no perhaps, oftener than to Reviewers,) of more!” That is, no more of the “ Ad the impossibility of pleasing everybody.” dress to the Reviewers."
We have not space in the present num“ The poems, indeed, we are under the ber, for any comments upon the establishnecessity of perusing. But as Miss Eliza ment, progress, &c., of the
“CRITIThompson will not allow us to criticize CAL REVIEW," commenced in 1756. It them, our readers must be content with comes, however, within the history of the an extract from one of the best in the “Monthly Review,” to mention that the collection:
establishment of the former journal sti
mulated Griffiths to endeavor to enlist A young Divine a Lady's guest Last Christmas chanced to prove,
some new talent in the “Monthly.” He Who boastingly his heart profest
was pleased with Goldsmith's conversaA stranger was to love.
tion upon literary topics—for the Doctor “Cupid," he said, "might sboot in vain, He ne'er could wound his breast;
did not always “ talk like poor Poll,” and No maid on earth could give him pain, an arrangement was made (1757) for Or break his nightly rest."
board, lodging, and a small stipend on the Two Ladies, much enragd to find
one side, and such literary labor as might Affairs in such a posture, Each had resolved within her mind
be required, on the other. And now here To punish this vain boaster.
was a strange household indeed! And we From a hair broom they found at hand,
might amuse our readers, by telling them Some bristles they cut small,
how Goldsmith, who never attended to Mix'd with some pepper, salt, and sand, And strew'd his bed withal."
his own business, was censured by Grif
fiths for neglecting his. How Goldsmith “ Alas the poor parson! He must have got tired at an early hour of the day, of passed the night in almost as uneasy a the drudgery of reviewing prosy volumes, manner as the boaster described in the and left his desk for a stroll in Hyde Spectator:
Park, or somewhere else.* How Mrs. *** To be serious—If the fair author puts Griffiths wanted to have her share in the no more pepper and salt in her pies than “ Review," and how Goldsmith thought she does in her poems, poor though we are she would be better employed in “reviewwe desire not to be admitted as her guests.” ing" the larder, and furnishing him with (Vol. XXVII., page 493; 1787.)
& more plentiful breakfast, and a better Heartless Reviewer! Unfortunate Miss dressed dinner. But part of this belongs Thompson! The difficulty of pleasing to the history of the “CRITICAL REevery body, does not seem to be peculiar VIEW," and the balance will, perhaps, be to our times; for in Vol. IV. N. S. for 1791, gladly spared by the gentle, or savage, a malcontent is thus noticed. “D. G. is reader, as the case may be.
THE following incidents of border ex told, without the least attempt at embel
perience, are written out from mate lishment. rials furnished by an accomplished lady Mary Nealy was born on the 20th Auresiding at Paddock's Grove, in Illinois. gust, 1761, not far from Charleston, South They were communicated to her by the Carolina, but when she was very young, heroine herself, and by her children and her father removed his family to Tennessee; friends; and are related as they were first the emigrants passing through Georgia to
* It is only fair to state that Goldsmith protested that he faithfully labored for the stipulated time,-pine to two o'clock.' This harassing arrangement-which seems to have been galling to all concerned-lasted only a lew months.
the place where now stands Chatanooga. no great distance. No aid came, however, The family were sent down the Tennes and the helpless girl was compelled to go see River in canoes, taking with them on with her captors. They were three their household stuff
, clothes and provi- days without food ; at length a bear was sions, while the father drove his horses killed, and a piece of flesh given to the and cattle along the banks; the two par starving captive, which she ate raw. This ties joining each other at the Muscle imprudence produced severe illness, which Shoals, where they proceeded by land to was relieved by drinking a quantity of the locality afterwards called Nealy's the bear's oil, according to Indian preBend, on the Cumberland river, near the scription. site of Nashville. This must have been The prisoner was offered her choice beabout the time of the first discovery of tween becoming the wife of the chief's that spot--named “the French Lick” son, or the slave of his oldest wife; she which was made, according to Haywood, chose the latter, and soon made herself so by a party of adventurers descending the useful that the savages determined to Cumberland on their way to Natchez.* spare her life. The party continued some Our adventurous pioneer lived here sev time in Tennessee and Kentucky, and eral years, among the buffaloes, elks, often encamped in canebrakes. One night wolves, etc., which crowded the adjoining in attempting to escape-for the hope of hills and forests, probably familiar with finding her way back to home and friends the sight of few human faces, and seeing was still cherished by the unfortunate but at intervals the French hunters and girl-after leaving the encampment, she trappers from the north, who ventured chanced to step on a sharp fragment of so far into the wilderness. Mrs. Nealy cane, which ran entirely through her foot. took upon herself the task of teaching her She was of course recaptured, and sufferdaughters, hearing their spelling and ed the extremest agony from the wound, reading lessons, while she was busily which was not entirely healed for months spinning on her little wheel, material for afterwards. During this time, having their garments. This simple instruction learned something of the Indian language, was all the girls received: when other she frequently heard the advice given to settlers came, and a primitive school was kill and scalp her, rather than be troubled established, the sons were sent three with carrying about such a poor cripple ; miles to attend it every day, the path and it is probable that nothing saved her through the woods being so infested with but her knowledge of sewing and other wolves that they were usually obliged to kinds of work, which made her a valuago on horseback.
ble servant to her mistress. After the commencement of the Revo Notwithstanding the failure of this atlutionary struggle, when hostilities threat tempt, the hope of being able to avail herened the inhabitants of that remote fron self of an opportunity to escape still had tier, the family, with others in the neigh- possession of her mind. One night when borhood, sought refuge in a fort; the men the Indians had encamped on the bank venturing out as opportunity permitted, of a small stream, a heavy storm came to attend to the cattle and cultivate their To obtain shelter, Mary climbed into fields. Nealy was engaged in making a tree completely canopied by a luxuriant salt, and was sometimes assisted by his grape-vine. In a short time after she had daughter Mary, or Polly, as she was thus secured herself, a fierce gust of called. On a Sabbath morning in the wind uprooted a large tree near by, and fall of 1770, the young girl, wearing her it fell with a tremendous crash, immediSunday dress, left the station in company ately over the place she had quitted. She with her father, and walked with him to heard the savages calling to her amidst the bank of the river, where for the week the darkness and the driving storm, and past his manufacture of salt had been when they received no answer, ascergoing on. Mary happened to be standing tained by their exclamations that they supat some little distance from her father, posed she had been killed. A flash of when she suddenly heard the report of a joy penetrated her heart; here was an gun, and saw him fall to the ground. opportunity of escape ! She remained She had only time to see an Indian leap still, while the Indians called and shouted from his covert, when she lost her con repeatedly; but when they were silent, sciousness in a swoon.
On her recovery,
fear began to shake her new-born hopes. she found herself in the grasp of two of the She had been severely punished for the savages, who were dragging her off with previous attempt, and threatened with the all possible haste, evidently apprehensive tomahawk if it were ever repeated. of pursuit from the station, which was at Should she leave the tree, the dogs would
* See “ Pioneer women of the West”-Memoir of Mary Blodsoe.