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NEW QUARTERLY REVIEW.
RETROSPECT OF THE LITERATURE OF THE QUARTER,
The third volume of the New QUARTERLY monieux, sublime !" But we proceed to sort opens with the Retrospect of three months not the little heap before us. rich in literature. Of history we have few Sir Archibald Alison continues his History achievements that may not be lightly despatched of Europe in a volume of 740 pages, which in this skimming summary. Biography offers comprises the period between 1819 and 1823. nothing that can arrest us. Travellers never This thick tome comprehends all the merits and shall cease in this restless Anglo-Saxon land; all the demerits of its elder brother. We have but they are less rife than at other times. Even the same careless condensation of annual registhe poets are rare. If the novelists are nume- ters, which, always excepting the carelessness, rous, there are scarcely any tall-headed poppies we hold to be its special merit, and to give it a
The scientific works may be certain humble household use. We have the reckoned up with little power of numeration; same crazy crotchets, the same froth of whipped and the miscellanies, although their name may platitudes, the average quantity of bad Latin be legion, offer small mark for criticism. The and bad English, and about an equal amount fact is, that it is not the season for the publica- of bad taste. In the exercise of the secondtion of important books. We have had foggy named of these Alisonian habits our author has days in town, and wet days in the country- been so fortunate as to found a new city. Scipio days when an arm-chair and a book would seem obtained the surname of Numantinus by deto be the only refuge from killing ennui. But stroying the city of Numantia: Alison deserves there is a fashion in this, as in other matters, and greater honour, for he has produced an ancient the fourth quarter of the year is not that wherein Spanish city, whereof all classical authors have the press is especially parturient.
been unaccountably ignorant: it is called Nu. “Quand on n'a pas ce que l'on aime il faut mantium. The Alisonian felicity in classical aimer ce que l'on a.” Sooth to say, there are, allusion is now tolerably notorious. We were among the few books we have, some that are rather surprised lately to find what a treasury well worthy of attention, and which, perchance, of fun this author is to the Germans: but how might have been overlooked in a dense crowd. can it be otherwise when such passages as these Such are they not all. Alas, that it should so are rife?_“In truth, at that period it may be be! What a happy and what a popular task said that he held the keys of the cavern of Æolus would be our's, if we could pen all our criti- in his hands, and that it rested with him to uncisms upon the model of that suggested by lock the doors and let the winds sweep round Voltaire for Racine—“Il n'y a qu'à mettre au the globe.” Poor Æolus ! Even Venus would bas de toutes les pages--beau, pathétique, har- have forgiven thee had she known that Alison
the historian was going to convert thee into the represents, and whom he then plainly intimates keeper of a store-cupboard. Poor Virgil! This to be, in his opinion, unworthy of her own tais the Alisonian version of those lines lents or her own sex. We find, however, that
-cavum conversâ cuspide montem the game is no longer worth running—Sir ArImpulit in latus ; ac venti, velut agmine facto, chibald Alison has been found out.
Quà data porta, ruunt, et terras turbine perflant. If Sir Archibald Alison were capable of apSir Archibald is, however, of opinion that preciating “philosophy teaching by example, " there is a natural connection between emi- we would refer him to a volume noticed in nence in scholarship and oratorical power,” and a subsequent article. A lady has displayed it being one of the best-establishedof modern the industry, learning, and critical impartiality facts that Sir Archibald is no orator, perhaps which our male historian wants. For curious we ought not to insist upon these matters. Still research we have met with no recent work that the historian should have some compassion for excels this inquiry into the neglected facts historical orators, and, if ignorant of the lan- anent mediæval popes, emperors, kings, and guage they used, should get some one to trans- crusaders. late it for him. At page 273 there is a
Professor Creasy's “ Account of the British translation of a very celebrated speech delivered Constitution" also deserves a passing word. We by M. de Serres in the French chambers, dur- recommend it specially as a substitute for Deing the debate upon the proposition (of 1819) lolme; but we have given an analysis of it in a for a general amnesty. This speech, according separate article. to Alison, concludes in these words--
Of Mr. Beale Post, who brings us a volume In the irrevocable category should be placed the fa- of British History,t we would speak with all mily of Buonaparte, and the regicide voters. The rest respect. He is a man of learning and labour. are only exiled for a time. To conclude in one word– He must not be put aside with a sentence like the regicides, never !
"Ah, Sir Alison,” we think we hear the poor the mob of scribblers. Notwithstanding the "ghost of Serres expostulating, “ Jamais does hostile judgment of the “Révue Numismatique,
not always mean “never.' Although you reite- and the attacks of Messrs. Evans and Acker" rate it a hundred times :* it may mean for man, Beale Post has done much hard work ; "ever,' or, according to your English idiom, and, without at all going into the question of
for ever and a day;' an idiom, Sir Alison, the Caractacus coins, we must add that he has " that will describe two great historians, that is done it well. Had he here limited himself to " to say, yourself and Thucydides. The Athe- an illustrative volume upon the coins of Cyno“nian has already taken the és aci, and the rest belin and Caractacus, Carausius and Allectus, “ will exactly do for you. Sir Alison, I will he had been upon his own ground, and we “ tell you one little story. The Abbé Pom- should have noticed his labours with unqualified
pignan was a very bad translator also; and pleasure. But Mr. Beale Post insists upon " when he translated · Laments of Jeremiah, being an historian. Here we must decidedly • Madame de Stäel wrote of him
protest. He has but one qualification for his "Savez-vous pourquoi Jérémie
assumed vocation. He has neither style nor Se lamentait toute sa vie ?
critical judgment; nothing but mere industry. C'est que le prophéte prévoyait
He has attempted to give the details of the Que Pompignan le traduirait.'"
whole Roman period of British history, and We must leave the historian and the ghost of for this purpose he has admitted the validity of the orator to settle this matter between them, Welsh traditions, and has accepted the genuinehoping, nevertheless, that the Frenchman's ghost ness of apocryphal authors. Llwyarchhen, may not be so peculiarly supernaturally gifted Taliessin, and Aneurin are to Mr. Beale Post as that ghost spoken of in the twenty-second fountains of pure history. This really is not page of this veritable history. +
to be endured. Sir Egerton Bridges, having We had marked some other passages, and a crotchet that he was entitled to a peerage, and had intended to notice a most gross and utterly finding a difficulty in convincing genealogists unjustifiable attack npon Miss Martineau, whose of his pedigree, wrote and published an exceedmeaning he perverts, whose sentiment he mis- ingly good peerage, wherein the doubted pedi
gree was quietly assumed as an ascertained fact. * Not satisfied with this most frightful display of ig. It is a trick of exactly the same class to write a norance, the author adds-" The expression used by M: history in order to give currency to doubtful de Serres, jamais (never), made an immense sensation,"
coins, and to work it up with Welsh Triads. † “ It did not establish a throne surrounded by re- One word more, and we will remit Mr. Post to publican institutions,' but a republic surrounded by the ghost of monarchical institutions." The italics are the author's. This is showman's English.
" There you
| Britannic Researches, or new facts and rectifications see Lord Nelson a-dying, surrounded by Captain of Ancient British History, by Beale Post. Lond. J. Hardy."
R. Smith. 1853.
his numismatic labours. Of course this volume by him, so far as they related to English hiscontains a great deal about Stonehenge. The tory.
The tory. Some of these materials have now been theory it propounds is, that all the wonderful utilized, and Mr. Macintosh, who has dealt part of these druidical remains belongs to a tenderly and piously with his father's labour, time posterior to that of the Romans. We are has given it a certain air of completeness by not going to combat the paradox; but a man continuing it, with the aid of the collection just has a right of property even in his wildest ab- named, to the time of the Reformation surdities. Mr. Post must have known, and The “ Mémoires pour servir” are not very ought to have stated, that this notable hypothe- numerous. The most important, and also the sis owes its parentage, not to himself, but to most amusing, are some letters from the poet Mr. Herbert, who, as we believe, first produced Gray to Mason. This correspondence has long it in his “Cyclops Christianus."
since been scanned by a biographer, and, having A new library edition of Sir James Macin- been bought at a public auction, is now printed, tosh's History of England almost deserves to with the explanatory notes of the Reverend John be considered as a new work. It was time that Mitford. It is a pity that Mason did not give Macintosh should be separated from the very us more of them when he composed his Life of indifferent company wherein he was placed in Gray. His own letters, which form by no the Reverend Dionysius Lardner's Cabinet means the least interesting portion of the volume, Cyclopædia; and that his history should take he of course could not have printed. We see so an individual and independent form. It is true much here of the inner workings of the poet's that the work is, as the author declared in his mind, and so much also of the art of polishing first preface, but an abridgment, a sketch, an for which Gray was so famous, and we have outline—"an outline useful as an introduction, so affecting a picture of the loves and sorrows and convenient as a remembrancer;" and it is of poor Mason, that we must confess this volume also true, that, even as an abridgment, it is very has yielded us great pleasure, and we recomfaulty. For instance, we may search in vain mend it heartily to all who can enjoy such through those three volumes for the names of reading. the kingdoms of the Heptarchy. Even if it The Journals and Correspondence of Gewere not a mere fragment—the hand of the neral Sir Harry Calvert” will be very useful author was arrested by death while he was trac. and valuable to any one who may be about to ing the history of the Massacre of St. Bartho- write a History of the Walcheren expedition ; lomew, and marking its effect upon the atro- but despite its large, loose, open type, it is rather cious doings of the Duke of Alva in the Ne- a heavy book to get through. We much mistake therlands--even if the author had lived to the public taste if it ever become popular. complete his design, this work could never The “Memoirs of John Abernethy" are no have done service as an abridged history more than the life of a surgeon, and will interest of England. The facts and dates of history only the craft. A succession of autobiographies, are not clearly and succinctly stated; and like those of Moore and Haydon, has accusthose events which every one is expected to tomed the public to expect, in a book of meknow are not always found in the narrative; moirs, journals rife with sketches of contempoand they are seldom brought out into their rarics, and correspondence interesting in anecnatural prominence. Still there is so much dote. Had Abernethy kept a journal, and had philosophy and sound constitutional information Mr. Macilwain printed it, we should have found in these volumes that they deserve the careful marvellous entertainment in these two volumes. study of every student of English history.* We The reader will, however, discover nothing here have always thought it a great pity that Macin- but hospital and dissecting-room talk, tosh ever undertook this book. He was not Mr. Peter Burke has been detected in doing adapted to the yeoman's service of an abridg- a little bit of literary patchwork.t His new Life ment, but he would have written a noble work of Edmund Burke is, it seems, taken in great had he confined himself to some division of the part, without acknowledgment from Dr. Bissubject, and illustrated it with his stores of set's too-well-remembered volumes. The result thought and indefatigable research. Upon the has been a show up, for which we are very death of Sir James the Messrs. Longman sorry. Mr. Burke is a very hard-working bought up the manuscripts and memoranda left booksellers’ author, and—what can you expect?
The “Memoirs of Dr. Pye Smith, D.D.," We must, however, discharge our conscience by who was theological professor of the old Coldeclaring that all the peculiar excellencies of Macin- lege at Homerton, is a large book with very tosh's work are to be enjoyed quite as thoroughly by little in it. After reading a great deal we found means o the old duodecimo three.volume edition, which may be bought at any old book-stall for seven and sixpence, as they are by means of these more elegant and t" The Public and Domestic Life of Edmund Burke, costly octavos.
Esq.," by Peter Burke, Esq. Ingram Cooke and Co.