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they are of a gradual growth, the successive deposits of several generations-to those who have not seen the materials out of which it was formed, the works of Vasari, Baldinucci, Pascoli, Bottari, and of many others.
The lives of the painters have commonly been written in a manner worthy of gentlemen, scholars, and men of talent, of themselves, and of their marvellous works. The commencement of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci in Vasari, is a good specimen of the tone in which the biography of a great man ought to be written. "We see the greatest gifts showered down by • the celestial influences upon human beings, many times naturally, and sometimes even they are preternatural: thus beanty, grace, and excellence, (virtu,) rush down together headlong on • the same person, so that which way soever he turns himself, ' every action appears so divine, and he leaves so far behind him
all other men, that he makes it plainly manifest, (as in truth it • is,) that these are gifts of God, and are not acquired by human
art. This men saw in Leonardo da Vinci, in whom, besides a . beauty of person, that can never be sufficiently praised, there * was a more than infinite grace in every action, and so great
and so absolute was his excellence, (virtù,) that to whatever dif• ficult matters he turned his mind, he brought them to perfec• tion with ease. There was in him a mighty power united with
dexterity; a soul and a worth that were ever royal and magna• nimous; and the fame of his name extended itself so greatly, • that not only in his own time he was held in estimation, but augmented far more with posterity after his death,' &c. &c.
It is in this spirit of encouragement that the biographer ought to sit down to write the life of a great man.
Lanzi complains that some of his predecessors have been too minute, and have detailed many very unimportant circumstances in the lives of painters. It is doubtless fitting and expedient that there should be works, in which these smaller matters are omitted; when we contemplate, however, the productions, not only of the first, but of the second and third-rate masters, we grow so fond of them, and, as it were, so enamoured of the individual, that we feel obliged to the writer for communicating the most trifling particulars of his private life. Besides, these little anecdotes are aids to the memory; we remember them easily, and other more important matters, which are perhaps less adhesive in themselves, cling to them, and are recollected by their assist
Through love for Giotto, we are glad to read even his jests; for be, like most men of talent, was a wit. Let us forgive him then for being amusing, although Lanzi will not. Tbe good Abate has a right to consider such light matters as lying
far beneath the dignity of history, and to be as serious as he pleases ; but he should suffer other men to enjoy their laugh:
sic utere tuo, ut non lædas alienum,' is a just maxim ; so use your own gravity, that you hurt not, nor impede the facetiousness of other men. What harm is there in such an anecdote as this? One day when Giotto was taking his Sunday walk, in
his best attire with a party of friends, in the Via del Cocomero at Florence, and was, as usual, in the midst of a long story,
some pigs passed suddenly by, and one of them, ranning be'tween the painter's legs, threw him down. When he got on his legs again, instead of swearing a terrible oath at the pig on the Lord's day, as a graver man might have done, he observed, laughing, -- " People say these beasts are stupid, but they
seem to me to have some sense of justice, for I have earned “ several thousands of crowns with their bristles, but I never gave one of them even a ladleful of
life !" The anecdotes are more amusing and valuable, because men of genius, and especiallyartists, have commonly been highly eccentric. It is not to be denied, however, that if the lives of the painters were written at full length, they would make a work of an enormous size; on the other hand, we may reply confidently, that however long the collection might be, it would to many seem too short. It is one powerful and irresistible charm, that they had all the simplicity which characterises genius and true greatness ; we too often, on the contrary, feel tempted to say, in these disingenuous days, when we have been in company with any distinguished person,--he is a great man, no doubt; but he is evidently a great quack also.
The effect of introducing a work of merit on any interesting science, is to give an impulse to the study of that science, and to induce the public to consult other works that treat of it. This effect Mr Roscoe's labours are well calculated to produce; and he deserves, and will receive, the thanks of all lovers of the fine arts, for his contribution towards the advancement of objects, which they have much at heart, and which they consider of high importance.
The reward of literary labour, and especially of translation, which is by no means the least useful, is unfortunately extremely low, in proportion to the large remuneration which less difficult and less valuable exertions receive in Great Britain. The history of art is the most interesting portion of history; and it is a most desirable thing to have learned and erudite eyes. These and similar considerations press now upon our minds; and make it appear to be more just, as well as more gracious for us, to repeat our approbation of Mr Roscoo's design, rather than minutely to
pry into the execution of it; to search for inaccuracies, and to make a catalogue of mistakes. He has here afforded his countrymen another opportunity to acquire some knowledge of the fine arts, and of their history, which assists the mind in reflecting upon the productions of the great mastere; teaches us to admire them upon sound principles, and redoubles the pleasure of contemplating them, and so shows the truth of the ancient saying, that the most wise are the most happy. This knowledge, moreover, as Lanzi well observes in another work, forms, in the present day, a necessary part of polite education. L'
avere qualche cognizione di belli arti, e della storia di esse, • forma oggimai una parte della civile coltura : ajuta la mento • a riflettere su le produzioni dei grandi artefici; insegna a lo • darle con fondamento ; radoppia in vederle il piacere : verificandosi in questi casi, ancora, quell
' antico detto: che il più 6 sapiente è il più beato,'
Art. V.-Economie Politique, Ouvrage traduit de l'Allemand de
M. Schmalz. 2 tomes. Paris, 1826.
great value. The author does not appear to be acquainted with the great discoveries that have been made in Political Economy in this country during the last fifteen years, and which have given a new aspect to the whole science. M. Schmalz, on the contrary, is attached to the system of M. Quesnay; and endeavours to prove the superiority of agriculture to the other branches of industry, on account of its yielding a produit net, or rent, to the landlord, over and above the common and ordinary profit on the capital employed in cultivation. He has not adverted to the fact, that when agricultural industry is most productive, that is when none but the best of the good soils are cultivated, no rent, or produit net, is obtained from the land; and that rent only begins to appear when the productiveness of the capital employed in agriculture begins to decline, or when it becomes necessary to force superior soils, or to resort to those that are of inferior fertility, to obtain supplies of food for an increasing population.
Luckily, however, scientific discussions embrace only a very small portion of M. Schmalz's work. By far the greater part of it is of a practical character, and is deserving of every commendation. The author is a most able and intelligent advocate and expounder of those great principles of security and freedom, with
out which no people can make any considerable progress in the career of civilization. He has set the injurious effects of restrictions on the free disposal of
property and industry, and the pernicious influence of monopolies, whether in favour of the crown or of individuals, in the most striking point of view. Various abuses in the domestic economy of the Prussian States are specified ; not factiously, however, but with the considerate freedom of a philosopher, anxious to promote the real interests of prince and people, and aware, at the same time, of the danger of rash and ill-considered attempts at innovation, and of the difficulties and obstacles to be encountered in every project of reform. We are glad to learn that the work has been very successful in Germany: for its circulation cannot fail to be productive of great advantage. And as it is written by a privy councillor of his Prussian Majesty, and is dedicated to the Prince Royal, it shows, what indeed was otherwise sufficiently known, that the principles advanced in it are not regarded unfavourably by the government.
M. Schmalz sets out with a brief statement of his leading or fundamental principles; which, as has been already observed, are identical with those of the French Economists. He then proceeds to inquire into the circumstances common to the different professions, and the means by which they may be made most productive. We extract his remarks on two of the divisions into which he has distributed this part of his work :
Les Professions ne prospèrent que par la justice et la liberté. Avons nous besoin de rappeler que partout où la sûreté individuelle est sans garantie, l'industrie est inactive et sans vie ? On sait assez que le despotisme a appauvri, autant que la beauté du climat et la fertilité du sol ont pu le permettre, les contrées autrefois si riches de l'Asie-Mineure et de la Grèce. Que ne seraient pas ces contrées sous un gouvernement protecteur de la sûreté et de la liberté indivi. duelles ! Lorsque l'arbitraire peut à tout instant dépouiller l'homme du fruit de son travail, comment prendrait-il la peine d'acquérir ? Comment, sous un gouvernement despotique, tout ne languirait-il pas dans la paresse et la misère ? Un individu parvient-il, par l'exercice d'une industrie cachée, à se procurer quelque gain ? il l'enfouit aussitôt, dans la crainte d'exciter l'avidité du pacha et de ses délégués. Le possesseur de ce capital enseveli n'ose le prêter à son voisin, pour l'employer dans son commerce, étendre ce commerce et le faire prospérer.
“ On voit, par-là, combien sont bornées les vues d'un gouvernement despotique, où toutes les lois de la justice ne sont pas garanties. Si les exactions d'un despote peuvent arracher d'un pays quelques millions ; sous un gouvernement sage, dans un état de liberté, ce même pays en produirait mille fois davantage.
· Le bénéfice que fait un citoyen profite à tous les autres.-La plus douce satisfaction qu’un prince puisse épronver, c'est de voir ses sujets accroître progressivement leur aisance, et assurer celle de leurs enfants, par le travail. Or, plus un métier profite à celui qui l'exerce, plus il atteint ainsi son but, et plus il prospère. Et, sous le règne de la liberté, un bienfait admirable de l'ordre social, c'est que, par un enchaînement vraiment merveilleux, le succès, la fortune de l'un, loin de porter préjudice à la fortune des autres, lui est au contraire favorable. Car, lorsque tous les membres d'une société peuvent librement exercer leur industrie, comment l'un d'eux s'enrichirait-il au détriment d'autrui ? Nul ne peut gagner dans la profession qu'il exerce, qu'autant qu'il est utile par cette profession à ses concitoyens ; et ceuxci n'ont recours à lui, que parce qu'ils en retirent de leur côté un avantage réel. Au contraire, lorsqu'un absurde système de banalité investit quelques privilégiés du droit exclusif de pourvoir à tous les besoins des autres habitants du pays, de s'enrichir sans peine à leurs dépens, indubitablement ceux-ci s'appauvrissent.' Tome i., pp. 58, 59.
M. Schmalz then goes on to treat of agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial industry, and of the circumstances most favourable for their progress. He next investigates the principles of the mercantile or exclusive system of political economy; and having shown the fallacy and contradiction of the principles on which it is founded, he proceeds to discuss the systems of Smith and Quesnay. His partiality to the latter, has led him to espouse some erroneous theories ; but his practical conclusions are almost all sound and liberal.
Having unfolded his system with respect to the production of wealth, and endeavoured to exhibit the great and universal principles on which the progress of society depends, M. Schmalz goes on, in the next and most important part of his work, to consider in what cases, in what way, and to what extent, Government may advantageously interpose to promote the progress of opulence and civilization. It is, indeed, impossible, owing to the changes that are perpetually occurring in the internal economy of nations, and in their external relations in respect of others, to draw any distinct line of demarcation, between what may be called the positive and negative duties of governments ; or to resolve what Mr Burke has justly called one of the finest problems in legislation, that of determining 'what the state ought i to take upon itself to direct by the public wisdom, and what it
ought to leave, with as little interference as possible, to individual exertion. But although it may be impossible previously to decide upon the measures that ought to be adopted in particular emergencies, there is, speaking generally, no great difficulty in deciding as to the system of policy best calculated, under ordinary circumstances, to give the greatest activity to industry, and to call forth all the resources of talent and ingenuity. In the organization of specific measures, such as the imposition of