Imágenes de páginas

the scientific lives, many are hardly inferior and tropical luxuriance of life. For instance, to that of Leslie, from which we have al- a single instance, indeed one which in itself is a ready given an extract.

world of new revelation-the possible beauty The · English Opium-Eater's' Life of of the female character had not been seen as in Shakspeare is a very curious performance, life the radiant shapes of Desdemona, of Imo

a dream before Shakspeare called into perfect and might well deserve to be made the sub- gene, of Hermione, of Perdita, of Ophelia, of ject of a separate criticism. We, in fact, Miranda, and many others. The Una of Spenintend to take the author to task by and bye ser, earlier by ten or fifteen years than most of on several points; but in the mean time these, was an idealized portrait of female innowe willingly acknowledge that he has dis-cence and virgin purity, but too shadowy and unplayed much ingenuity and sharpness of

real for a dramatic reality. And as to the Grecian logic in this singular tract, and are sure the that any prototype in this field of Shakspearian

classics, let not the reader imagine for an instant specimen of it about to be quoted cannot power can be looked for there. The Antigone fail to interest our readers :

and the Electra of the tragic poets are the two * After this review of Shakspeare's life it be- leading female characters that classical antiquity comes our duty to take a summary survey of his offers to our respect, but assuredly not to our works, of his intellectual powers, and of his sta

impassioned love, as disciplined and exalted in tion in literature, a station which is now irrevo

the school of Shakspeare. They challenge cably settled, not so much (which happens in our admiration, severe, and even siern; as imother cases) by a vast overbalance of favourable personations of filial duty, cleaving to the steps suffrages as by acclamation; not so much by the of a desolate and afflicted old man; or of sisterroices of those who admire him up to the verge under circumstances of peril, of desertion, and

ly affection, maintaining the rights of a brother of idolatry, as by the acts of those who everywhere seek for his works among the primal ne

consequently of perfect self-reliance. Iphigenia, cessities of life, demand them and crave them again, though not dramatically coming before as they do their daily bread; not so much by beautiful report of a spectator, presents us with

us in her own person, but, according to the eulogy openly proclaiming itself, as by the silent homage recorded in the endless multiplication of a fine statuesque model of heroic fortitude, and what he has bequeathed us ; not so much by his of one whose young heart, even in the very own compatriots, who, with regard to almost agonics of her cruel immolation, refused to fora every other author, compose the total amount of get, by a single indecorous gesture, or so much his effective audience, as by the unanimous "All as a moment's neglect of her own princely de. hail!" of intellectual Christendom: finally, not scent, that she herself was “a lady in the land.” by the hasty partisanship of his own generation, the warm, breathing realities of Shakspeare ;

These are fine marble groups, but they are not nor by the biased judgment of an age trained in there is “no speculation” in their cold marble the same modes of feeling and of thinking with himself, but by the solemn award of generation eyes; the breath of life is not in their nostrils; succeeding to generation, of one age correcting

the fine pulses of womanly sensibility are not the obliquities or peculiarities of another; by the throbbing in their bosoms. And besides this imyerdict of two hundred and thirty years which measurable difference between the cold moony have now elapsed since the very latest of his reflexes of life, as exhibited by the power of creations, or of two hundred and forty-seven Grecian art, and the true sunny life of Shakyears if we date from the earliest; a verdict speare, it must be observed that the Antigones which has been continually revived and re-open, of character, like the aloe with its single blosa

of the antique put forward but one single trait ed, probed, searched, vexed, by criticism in every som: this solitary scature is presented to us as spirit, from the most genial and intelligent, down to the most malignant and scurrilously

an abstraction, and as an insulated quality; hostile which feeble heads and great ignorance whereas in Shakspeare all is presented in the could suggest when co-operating with impure

concrete; that is to say, not brought forward in hearts and narrow sensibilities; a verdict, in relief, as by some effort of an anatomical artist, short, sustained and countersigned by a longer

but embodied and imbedded, so to speak, as by series of writers, many of them eminent for wit the force of a creative nature, in the complex or learning, than were ever before congregated system of human life ; a life in which all the eleupon any inquest relating to any author, he he ments move and play simultaneously, and with who he might, ancient or modern, Pagan or

something more than mere simultaneity or co-exChristian. It was a most witty saying with istence, acting and re-acting cach upon the other, respect to a piratical and knavish publisher, who nay, even acting by each other and through made a trade of insulting the memories of de- cach other. In Shakspeare's characters is felt ceased authors by forged writings, that he was whole and in the whole, and where the whole

for ever a real organic life, where each is for the “ among the new terrors of death.” But in the is for each and in each. They only are real ingravest sense it inay be affirmed of Shakspeare,

carnations.' that he is among the modern luxuries of life; that life is a new thing, and one more to be co Who can read such a passage as this veted, since Shakspeare has extended the domain of human consciousness, and pushed its without asking why the author has written dark frontiers into regions not so much as dimly so little ? descried or even suspected before his time, far Many of the names which we have alrealess illuminaied (as now they are) by beauty dy noticed would of themselves furnish a


sufficient guarantee that no noxious or of-, sciences which have made such rapid and fensive strain of sentiment was to intermin- sure progress as those of Comparative Anagle in the work to which they lent their tal- tomy, Puysiology, and MEDICINE. The

The Editor is well known to be study of fossil remains, now the right hand strictly attached to the Whig side of poli- of geology, has given an impulse to comtics, but he had too much candour or saga-parativo unatomy hitherto unknown. The city to think of making an Encyclopædia labours of Cuvier led the way in this spethe repository of party views. In the econo- cies of inquiry, which is now carrying on mical theories of some of his contributors, it with the most singular activity and success is impossible that we should concur—from in every part of the world. Comparative one or two of them we differ widely—but anatomy, which had previously been an obwithout exception they seem to have drawn ject merely of curiosity and of occasional an elevating and purifying tone of mind research, became in Cuvier's hands the bafrom just and manly consideration of the sis of natural history and physiology, and nature of such a work as this, and composed the mainstay of geology. In his Leçons their several disquisitions in a calm and d'Anatomie Comparée,' a work in five volphilosophic spirit. The articles on Legis- umes, he has given the details upon which Lation and on the Laws and Government he formed the philosophical classification of England, by Mr. Empson, are equally which we have already mentioned; and in distinguished by their ability and modera- the splendid Museum of Natural History in tion ; and Mr. M'Culloch has condensed Paris he has preserved actual proofs of the a great mass of knowledge, which men of facts upon which this great generalization all parties should be glad to see so put to is founded. Regarding every animated begether, in his POLITICAL ECONOMY, Ex- ing as destined for a special purpose, and CHANGE, INTEREST, Taxation, PaPeR-MON- pursuing this fundamental idea, he drew EY, and PRINCIPLES OF BANKING. Mr. the general conclusion that every bone, Malthus drew up the skilful compendium and fragment of a bone, bears the mark of of his own views under the head of Popu- the class, order, genus, and even species, to LATION; Mr. Ricardo the lucid article on which it originally belonged. From these the FUNDING System; and Mr. Mill simple truths have sprung all those fine disbrought all his usual resources to the Es- coveries and noble views respecting the says on Colonies, ECONOMISTS, and Pris- successive creation and extinction of races on DisciplINE. To Professor Napier we of animals which give interest and grandowe an able article on the BALANCE of eur to the science of geology. Nowhere Power. The subject of the English Poor have these researches been pursued with Laws, which will probably for many years more ardour and success than in England; to come be a subject of contentious interest and, if we except the gigantic charnelboth in England and Scotland, has been house of fossil remains in Paris already treated in a very useful manner by Mr. mentioned, nowhere have collections of Coode. The kindred subjects of General fossil osteology been more numerous and Law and STATISTICS, the last of which has ris- valuable. The splendid cabinet of the en into great popularity as a science through- Earl of Enniskillen and Sir Philip Egerton, out every part of Europe, have also occu at Lewes, possesses a scientific interest pied a due share of attention. Three ela- which could only have been given to it by borate treatises on the Canon, Civil, and the knowledge and talents of such proprieFeudal Law, have been contributed by Dr. tors. Irving ; the statistical article on the Navy The Essays on Human and Comparative was drawn up by Sir John Barrow, whose ANATOMY, on Surgery, and on VETERINAofficial position gave him the best opportu- ry Medicine, written by Dr. Craigie, Mr. nities for the task; and to the same hand we Miller, and Mr. Dick, are copious and inowe many of the most valuable topographi- structive; and in the article PhysioloGY, cal and geographical articles in the work, by Dr. Roget, the reader will find the cloamong which that on Cuina may be spe- ments of the science, and a full account of cially mentioned. The greater number recent discoveries drawn up with admiraof the papers on European Geography and ble perspicuity. The articles on Medicine, Statistics were written by Mr. Jacob, and Practice of Physic, and PATHOLOGY, writthe Asiatic articles by Nr. Buchanan : to ten by Dr. William Thomson ; on MENTAL Mr. Jacob we also owe the notices of the Diseases, by Dr. Poole; and on Poisons, principal Counties, Cities, and Towns of by Dr. Christison, &c., complete the circlo England, and to the Rev. Edward Groves of our knowledge on the healing art. the corresponding series for Ireland. The last and the most interesting of the

There are, perhaps, nono of the practical scionces which our limits permit

us to no

tice is that of Theology-a branch the the venerable prelate. One of the most least studied and the least appreciated of important articles connected with this suball our knowledge. Forming an element in ject is from the pen of a layman. In this the early training of us all, memory some- Mr. Douglas of Cavers, well known to the times retains amidst our secular pursuits a literary world by the eloquence and power slight trace of the meagre alphabet which of his writings, but more affectionately by it has learned; and the faint impressions his labours of love among the erring and of domestic example, and the associated the ignorant, has given us a deeply interestfragınents of divine truth, may sometimes ing account of the religious missions which have power to direct and restrain the will characterize and honour the age in which when interest or passion are its assailants. we live. Another article equally striking But the great truths of theology are through- is that by Dr. Gilly, under the head of out the busy world in general neither ob- Valdenses,-an eloquent account, from perjects of study nor grounds of action: the sonal observation, of that small community gaiety of the social circle is neither enli- of Protestants, who, in the secluded valvened by their joys, nor disturbed by their leys of the Cottian Alps, have for many terrors, and if men's breasts are ever touched centuries maintained the purity of their with a holy influence during the brief hour faith and worship, and kept up the vestal which they weekly dedicate to eternity, it fire of their mountain church in the midst is but the ripple of the summer breeze, of privations and persecutions not yet exwhich subsides as it advances, and leaves tinguished. no under-current either of feeling or of We are tempted to quote part of this thought. It is fortunate, then, for beings paper, which ought at least to possess a thus constituted—thus indifferent to the very lively interest at the present time :highest and most permanent interests of their nature--that a fow of the mustard. The reigning King of Sardinia, Charles Albert, seeds of divine truth should be scattered is disposed to show them kindness, and to place even in the uncleared forests and the path-them on a level with his other subjects

. He has less jungle of accumulated knowledge. In proved this by numberless acts of favour: but the the pursuit of frivolous amusement or of in Piedmont, and the baneful influence of the

iiara and the mitre are too strong for the crown lucrative science, some passing hand may Papal authority, so late as September 1837, be induced to crop the salutary blade, or wrung from the reluctant King iwo articles in he who reads to scoff may by reading still the new code of Sardinia, by which the intolefurther have learnt to pray. It may be in rant edicts of the 16th and 17th centuries are the moral as it is in the physical world, that renewed, and may be put in force as soon as the we only learn to appreciate the value of the Roman hierarchy' shall feel itself strong enough

to do so. condiment when we have discovered its

In the mean time another engine is virtues among our daily food; and those rich order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus has

employed against the hapless Valdenses. The who are the salt of the earth, and that contributed 95441,, and an income of 6801. which is the salt of knowledge may display, a-year, towards the establishment of a fraternity their highest qualities only when in a state of missionary priests at La Tour, whose busiof association with what is wicked, or of ness it will be to make proselytes from the decombination with what is poisonous. It is scendants of a race which has never yet swerved in the energy and force, indeed, of their from its faith, but which will now be exposed

more than ever to the threats and artifices of an re-agency that the moral and material ele, adversary who knows well how to turn opportuments exhibit their strongest affinities and nities to advantages. their highest powers.

· The Protestants of England have not been We hold it, then, to be a peculiar ad- inattentive to the condition of their brethren in vantago to readers of all ages and ranks the valleys of Piedmont. Public collections that in most of our current encyclopædias the kingdom, and the Society for the Propaga

have on several occasions been made throughout articles of sound theology are interspersed tion of the Gospel in Foreign Parts is the trustee with those of secular learning, and we are of considerable funds raised in their behalf; a confident that in no work of the kind has committee in London, consisting of the Archthis been more judiciously done than in that bishop of Canterbury, several Bishops, and other before us. The primary article on Tueology persons of distinction, has also been employing was written by Bishop Gleig; and neither contributions in aid of the clergy, hospitals, and in the additions since made to that, nor in schools of the Valdenses, and watching over any of the subsidiary essays—though di- their interests, since 1825. vives of various denominations appear

· The difficulties with which the Valdenses

have now to contend are poverty and reduced the list of contributors—do we find any numbers, being confined to limits which do statement of doctrine on any leading point not produce subsistence for more than a very inconsistent with the orthodox exemplar of' limited population. They also labour under the


disadvantage of having to learn three languages, rial, of that too from quarters hitherto inbefore they can receive competent instruction. accessible, must, like every other advanTheir national language is Italian; their verna- tage, have had its concomitant evils. The cular tongue is a provincial dialect peculiar to labour of control and superintendence must their district: and the language of instruction is French, because in that only they can obtain have been proportional to the standing of books of devotion used by Protestants.

the workman ; and it must have required • If the Government of Great Britain should temper and decision of no ordinary qualicease to exercise its good offices at the court of ty to enforce unity and symmetry of execuTurin in behalf of the Protestants of Piedmont, tion, and to combine such various elements or if the people of Great Britain should become in anything like just and definite proporindifferent to the moral and spiritual wants of tions. Great, however, as these difficulthis impoverished community, the religious liberties of the Valdenses will be no more, and

ties are, there are others still greater, the lamp of this little mountain church will be which analogous experience only cau enaextinguished for ever.'

ble us to estimate. In the case of a jour

nal like our own, or almost any other speSuch is a very general account of the na- cies of periodical work, if the editor is disture and character of the different classes appointed in receiving an article, he must, of articles which compose the • Encylopæ- indeed, but he also can, immediately redia Britannica.' Those who have explored, place it with another, whether on the same as we have done, many of its departments, or on some different subject. The mechanwill, we trust, regard our estimate as nei- ism of the press goes on with a few inapther partial nor exaggerated. To those preciable pauses; the work issues with its who have not had this advantage, or who wonted regularity, and the public can disare unacquainted with the work, we can cover nothing more, if they discover anyoffer but the guarantee of illustrious names. thing at all, than that an article of slender But however great be the merits of the merit, or on some rather obsolete topic, has leading contributors to a work of this kind, found its way into the number. But the there is one individual—the editor—who case is very different with an encyclopædia. must be the mainspring of the undertaking, If the illness of an author, or the sudden and to whom a very great share of praise call of business, or any other cause, premust be due. In editing this work, Pro- vents him from fulfilling his task at the apfessor Napier brought to the task all the pointed time, the whole machinery is experience which he had acquired during stopped. The alphabetical arrangement the publication of the Supplement which must be adhered to; and a treatise on preceded it. From his extensive literary Chemistry, or Medicine, or Political Econconnexions he succeeded in commanding omy, cannot be written on the


of the the services of authors who had never be-moment. The printers and engravers and fore written for similar works, and who bookbinders are thrown idle, and the ediwere prompted by no other motives but tor is left to consider whether he will wait, those of friendship. When men of the for months perhaps, for the article of which very highest reputation were the avowed he has been disappointed, and which is percontributors to an encyclopædia, authors of haps half-finished, or call in the aid of inferior name, though of equal fitness for another writer, who may take a still longer their respective tasks, were not likely to time to complete his task. No less harasswithhold their aid. In fact, it was deemed ing must be the case, which we can easily an honour to contribute to a work thus sus- suppose to be equally common, when an tained ; and we have no doubt that one of author produces an article three or four the many difficulties encountered by the times longer than the allotted space. Thinkeditor was to select the best qualified from ing his own subject the most important, he the numerous recruits that focked to his treats it fully, and perhaps admirably, but standard. This facility of obtaining the on such a scale as to render its admission best qualified assistants was, no doubt, in- impracticable. To cut it down, or to allow creased by the liberality of the publishers. another to cut it down, is wormwood and The authors of articles of profound science, bitterness; and the editor must either rewhich, commercially speaking, had no vaject it altogether and give mortal offence to lue but in an encyclopædia, were, we are his friend, or by the compromise of a assured, remunerated as handsomely as slight abridgment introduce the still giganthose who communicated the most popular tic production and destroy the symmetry of articles; and the labours of men of high his undertaking. But, notwithstanding talent, were thus, as it were, created by the these difficulties, to which the present work work.

must have been peculiarly exposed, there But this ample supply of literary mate-l is less appearance of disproportion in its

parts than in any other encyclopædia that weary voyage, and become a well-informed we have had occasion to examine.

man before he reached his destination. In a work of such magnitude as this, the Considering the imperishable nature of liberality of the proprietors is best seen in books, the cheapness with which they are the number and nature of the maps, en now produced, and the rapidity and extent gravings, and woodcuts. At the commence of their production, we are convinced that ment of the publication the geographical some great revolution must soon take place articles were illustrated only by quarto in their manufacture and use. Libraries, maps, but these were afterwards cancelled, both public and private, are now extending and a new series of a folio size substituted themselves beyond reasonable bounds. in their place. These maps form a com- Apartments cannot be found to contain plete and excellent atlas. The engravings, them; and there are many libraries where upon steel, are numerous and well execut- the volumes stand three feet deep, and thus ed; and the introduction of woodcuts into become inaccessible to their owners. Ini the text, a plan new in encyclopædias, has the progress of accumulation wing after given a peculiar value to many articles. wing must be added to the storehouse of In those of STEAM, STEAM-ENGINE, and learning, and librarian after librarian, till Steam NAVIGATION, though almost every space, as well as funds, are exhausted. But page is illustrated by numbers of the most if this be the case at present, with our recorrect and beautiful woodcuts, yet the pro- stricted trade and limited communication prietors have given no fewer than TWENTY- with foreign states, what must be the conTwo splendid engravings-five of them in dition of our libraries when railway interfolio-to illustrate these articles alone, course shall have made the nations of The plates, too, are executed with the min. Europe one family, speaking each other's uteness of working drawings, and in the languages, and creating a new demand for present predominance of civil engineering, each other's intellectual productions ? Unas connected with locomotive and steam- fortunately for authors there is no epidemic boat engines, they must be an invaluable among books, to thin their ranks, and present to all who pursue that interesting render necessary a new supply; and the profession.

fire-proof inventions of the present day exFrom the observations which we have tinguish the hopes which were sometimes already had occasion to make, our readers realised from the timberboards of our books may have drawn the inference that an en- and the wooden carpentry of our libraries. cyclopædia like this must be a work of There is, therefore, no law of mortality by great utility, even to those who possess, or which the number of books is regulated have access to, ample libraries. With an like that of animals; and, since we cannot index enumerating every article in the control their accumulation, we should enwork, and also the leading topics which deavour, as soon we can, to reduce those articles contain, we can at once direct their magnitude and increase their portaour attention to any subject upon which we bility. require information ; and if we do not find The compression of many hundred all that we desire, our attention will be volumes into an encyclopædia, forming a turned to sources from which it can be ob- complete library of itself, has been a great tained. But if the mature cultivator of step towards the accomplishment of this letters and science finds such a companion desirable object, and it is probably the only almost indispensable, of what value must it one of which in our time we shall reap be to the young, perhaps narrowly provided advantage. But it is only a step; and and obscurely situated student, in the years though we cannot foresee the extent to when the foundations are to be laid ! How which the principle of compressing knowabsolutely inappreciable must such a reposi- ledge, not only in its corporeal but in its tory of knowledge be to the unlettered intellectual phase, may be carried, yet we reader of all ranks, to the humble artisan as clearly recognize certain steps in the prowell as to the country gentleman and the cess which may be immediately taken, and opulent manufacturer and merchant ! Oc- certain consequences flowing from them cupying only four or five cubic feet of space, which cannot fail to excite our highest exit would not encumber either the traveller pectations of ultimate success. or the emigrant; and an Australian or New Zealand settler, who left his home with no Smith, is a delightful' improvement of human

• Railroad travelling,' says the Rev. Sydney other accomplishment but that of being life. Man is become a bird : he can fly longer able to read, write, and count, might with and quicker than a Solan goose. The mamma such a companion beguile his long and rushes 60 miles in two hours to the aching finger



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