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The line where the hand joins the arm is often double. When it is pure and well colored, it denotes a good temper. If straight, prosperity. If crooked, embarrassment. If from the joint a line springs and rises towards the root of the middle finger, it is a sign of prosperity; the degree of happiness and success will be in proportion as the line is more marked. If this line ends at the bottom of the hand a little below the root of the little finger, misfortunes and rivalry. When the line of health is wanted, it is a sign of a violent death; and he will be an unfortunate knave, who has not the line of fortune. If the triangle which the line of life forms with the line of health, be large and open, it announces natural generosity, magnanimity, and bravery. If it be narrow, avarice, obstinacy, and cowardice. The same remark applies to the oblong square which the line of health forms with the line of fortune.'
ART. XVI. Biographie Nouvelle de Contemporains. Tome dixhuitieme. Paris. 1825.
IN N former numbers of our Review it was made a subject of just complaint, that notoriety was bestowed by the ingenious authors of this dictionary, on many individuals who had done nothing to deserve it, and who, perhaps, if their wishes had been consulted, would have preferred remaining in their native obscurity. If the seventeen volumes which have already been noticed, were liable to this animadversion, still more reprehensible is the volume now before us the eighteenth ;-which is, altogether, with the exception of a few names, a mass of the most undistinguished characters that ever were brought together. Verily, the letters R and S, which fill the double columns of this tome, seem to be peculiarly unfortunate in the catalogue of fame. Richelieu, Robespierre, Romilly, Roland, Rousseau, these are among the few who have raised the former initial to eminence by their virtues or their crimes. The latter symbol is still more unfortunate; for, if we except the assassin of Kotzebue, Sand, San Martin, and a few others, there is scarcely a single name on the whole list worth being recorded. Those which we have mentioned are so well known, that it would be superfluous at this time to enter into details concerning them.
ART. XVII. Coup d'œil sur l'Histoire de la Civilisation. Par
HE "progress of civilization" is a theme which has but recently engaged the attention of philosophic writers, though it is one pregnant with curious and important matter,
particularly if it be considered with reference to the vast strides which have been made in social improvement within the last five-and-twenty years. The well known philosopher Kant furnished some ingenious, if not profound, ideas on this subject, in a little treatise on the natural and progressive developement of nations; and, recently, M. BoDIN has appended to his epitome of the History of France a summary view of the History of Civilization, which would have been extremely valuable, if it had not been disfigured by an affected imitation of the style of Voltaire, and, what is much worse, by a large infusion of anti-Christian principles. His view of the establishment and consequences of the "New Law" is a perversion of facts, and an application of false principles, from the commencement to the conclusion. He endeavors, indeed, to conceal his hostility to Christianity under the mask of philanthropy: but the little sneer, the doubtful insinuation, the hollow tribute of respect, betray his disguise at every step, and mark him out as a zealous, though a feeble, partizan of the infidel school of D'Alembert and Bayle. Passing over, therefore, all his polemical matter, and the slow advances which were made in civilization before the discovery of the art of printing, we come at once to the eighteenth century, which, in every aspect, presents the most memorable contrast to the age that preceded it.
In the seventeenth century, a belief in magic, prodigies, sorcery, and supernatural apparitions, prevailed among an immense majority of those who are called well-meaning persons, and even among men distinguished for their knowlege. In the eighteenth, the progress of reason and experience have wholly destroyed this credulity among the enlightened classes, and very considerably diminished its influence among the lower orders of the people. Sometimes, indeed, the people even yet stone pretended witches; the judges, however, no longer burn them. This is a great point gained. This intellectual and immense revolution and its entire accomplishment must give the last blow to superstition. It is no longer assisted by a false and unmeaning literature; for literature is every day becoming more subject to the dominion of reason. Doubtless all the phænomena of the universe are not yet solved but we no longer think of believing in any derangement of the system of nature, in order to supply our ignorance of any particular law. This uniformity is perhaps less poetical than the unknown chaos of antiquity: but civilization tends to alienate itself from all those things that were formerly poetical. Nevertheless, it possesses also its own poetry and its own wonders.
It is in the eighteenth century that attention to general utility has begun to manifest itself in a decided and practical manner. Some great cities of Europe now think of providing for the subsistence, convenience, and welfare of the inhabitants, whereas formerly the
interests of their masters formed the only rules of police. In England, particularly, the spirit of association among individuals, encouraged and authorized by a representative government, has produced establishments of public utility, and institutions of the most philanthropic description. In France, where the government always interferes in every thing, individuals cannot associate of themselves; the government must not only invite and authorize them, but even prescribe what it wishes them to do.'
M. BODIN then proceeds to contend, that the benevolent institutions in France and elsewhere, would have been much more generally beneficial, if they had been founded on the broad basis of philanthropy, instead of Christian charity. We apprehend, that if no higher motive had been given to mankind for assisting each other in their infirmities and wants, than that which arises out of the mere pleasure of doing good, we should have had by this time but a very small number indeed of those hospitals, alms-houses, and public schools, which, as Mr. Burke happily remarked, shoot up their spires every where around us, and, like electric conductors, avert the wrath of Heaven. Philanthropy is capricious, cold, and limited to this life; it is, if left to its own guidance, exceedingly apt to degenerate into infidelity, and to afford the utmost latitude to the passions. Whereas Christian charity is uniform, fervent, and elevated beyond mere earthly considerations; while it impels us to assist others, it raises and purifies our own minds, and prepares them for a better existence. Besides, it is assuredly a nobler duty to give for the sake of HIM who gave to us, than for the mere gratification of our confined, often mistaken, feelings of compassion.
We have no animadversion to make on M. BODIN'S History of Commerce, in its connection with civilization. He sums up some of the most important modern improvements in the following paragraph:
The post-office establishments, the perfection of roads, public carriages, canals, the new power of the application of steam to navigation, have brought distant places comparatively near to each other. By means of the Gazettes, one of the greatest benefits bestowed upon us by the art of printing, civilized nations communicate with each other every day, and every man who knows how to read may enter into communication with the universe: they serve, besides, as the organs for those opinions which are diffused throughout different communities. The system of mutual instruction will ultimately place all mankind in connection with books and public journals. Telegraphs have, as yet, been used only by governments; in progress of time, they will infallibly be applied to the service of private individuals, and commerce will derive from them material assistance. The luxury of utility, supplanting, by
degrees, the luxury of vanity, has disseminated the means of enjoyment; convenience in dress and in habitations has, of late, been particularly consulted. Those who confound civilization with corruption fall into a great error; for corruption springs from the extreme disproportion of fortunes; whereas civilization tends to equalize them. The system of lending money on annuities, the savings' banks, the insurance companies, protect movable capital, and impart to it that stability which heretofore gave a superiority to property in real estates. National banks in becoming the depositories of industry, are calculated also to give a useful direction to large capitals, which, by their mobility, and the necessities of the community, are always kept in circulation. The system of loans has, in our time, given another function to banks, that of being the depository of governments. Heaven be praised, war becomes every day so much more expensive, that the rulers and their people will often adhere to peace, if only for the sake of economy. They have already discovered, that there is much more to be gained by freely exchanging their produce with each other, than by mutually levying contributions with force of arms. Kings are already allied for the maintenance of their authority and general peace. If they preserve tranquillity, it is a great point gained; treaties of commerce will follow, and thus alliances will be formed among the people. The English have given a great example to Europe, by taking the first step towards the complete abolition of duties which operate as prohibitions.'
The author next glances at the great improvements which have taken place in medical science, in the regulation of prisons, in the penal codes of Europe, and in the general topics of legislation. He concludes his sketch with a series of conjectures as to the future advancement of the world, most of which, though they seem somewhat chimerical, are not unlikely to be realized. We have little doubt, with M. BODIN, that, in the course of time Mahometanism will be extinct, the Greeks will be free, and the English empire in India independent of Great Britain. We fear, however, that China will not so readily come into our notions of civilization as M. BODIN expects; and that the representative system of government will be slower in its progress over Africa, and the South-Sea islands, than he seems to imagine. We agree with him in thinking, that those terrors, which are sometimes conjured up, of a new invasion of barbarians from the North, are idle dreams. The power of Russia is indeed colossal, but she is eager for civilization: her races of slaves have none of the ferocity of the antient Germans: the press exists; and the time for conquest and spoliation has wholly past away.
It is a remarkable fact, which must strike any one who considers this subject, that different epochs of cultivation have successively appeared in different parts of the world, and
have successively disappeared so completely as to leave very few traces behind them. It cannot be doubted, that the arts possessed by the antient Egyptians descended from Upper Asia. From these different sources, the Greeks derived the means of perfecting their own inquisitive genius. Alexander, then the Romans, extended the sciences, arts, and literature of Greece over a great portion of our hemisphere. Lost for a season, during the incursions of the northern hordes, those treasures were, in progress of time, found again, in the books to which they were committed. These books being multiplied by the art of printing gave birth to new productions, and thus the civilization of antiquity, restored and refined by modern society, can never more be extinguished.
ART. XVIII. Le Corsaire, Poëme en Trois Chants, traduit de l'Anglais de Lord Byron, en Vers Français. Par Madame LUCILE THOMAS. 8vo. pp. 116. Paris, Hubert; Bath, Duffield; Londres, Hurst et Robinson. 1825.
o few successful translations have been made from English poetry into French verse, that we are very much disposed to encourage every attempt of this nature, however imperfect it may be. It is impossible for those of our Gallic neighbours, who are unacquainted with our language, to form a just estimate of the lofty genius of Lord Byron, the rich gracefulness of Moore, or the tender purity of Wordsworth, so long as they can peruse the verses of these poets only in the spiritless prose-translations which they at present possess.
This version of the Corsair, by Madame THOMAS, is by no means devoid of merit. We subjoin a few stanzas, in order to give the reader an opportunity of comparing them with the original.
"Une voile! une voile !" A la poupe ils se rendent.