Imágenes de páginas

several years in his post of Chief what had previously escaped his obProcurator to the Synod, during servation, and thus establish his claim which he encountered great difficul to full credit, in his future literary ties from the most bigoted part of attempts, abroad and at home. The their priests, he received, in 1753, article is as follows: the appointment of Commissary Ge

“ Whoever has read this work, need neral to the Army, which office he

not be told how beautiful and harmonicontinued to hold till the Empress, ous the author's verses are ; as a translator, in the last year of her life, promoted however, he has often given something him to the post of Procurator Gene

very different to what stood in the origiral, and Privy Conference Minister. nal, and this, it would appear, for want In this important post, then consi of being sufficiently versed in the lan. dered as the head of the home de- guage. The judgments pronounced, in partment, he again met with power the introduction, often display superfici. ful enemies, and, among the rest, the ality. Sumarokoff, for instance, he says, then Grand Duke, afterwards Peter first broke the way for fables. True! the Third, who, on ascending the

but only as a translator and imitator of throne, immediately dismissed him

Gellert's ; (a celebrated German fabulist ;) from all his offices, on which the

no mention, however, is made of his Prince retired to his estates near Mos having been the first to make an essay cow. His short disgrace was, how

in writing original Russian tragedies.

Van Wisin, of Dutch extraction, was ever, soon ended, by the accession of

no imitator of Moliere's, but resembled Catharine, who lost no time in inviting him back to Petersburgh, where ter's works, French, so, in the former's,

him in this respect, that as, in the lat. he again found himself a member of Russian characters are faithfully copied the Senate. From that time forth, from nature, and the follies that surroundhe principally devoted his attention ed him castigated. The accounts of to the clerical and scholastic estab. Cheraskoff are quite erroneous, since he lishments, till, in the year 1766, he never shone as a lyric poet, nor is his retired from all public employment, Bachoriana a collection of his poems, but, with the highest testimonies of fa on the contrary, a romantic-epic poem, in vour and honour, and thus ended a

Ariosto's style. His great epic poem of political life, that, for frequent fluc

Vladimir' is overlooked altogether. The tuations, has few parallels.

Rossiade is not so much indebted to its

intrinsic worth for its publicity, as to the Being on the subject of Russian Literature, and having mentioned

excellent critical treatise on it written by

Professor Merslaekoff, in a Journal called Mr Bowring's Russian Anthology as the medium by which it has been

the Amphion. Bogdannowitsch is here

called the Anacreon of the Russians, introduced to the British public, I

though Nieledensky has hitherto been think it but justice to subjoin the unanimously designated by that name ; following objections lately made to

the former, properly speaking, having it, in a very eminent critical journal, never tried the genuine Anacreontic style. as a sort of rider to a former article The Chersonide, by Bobroff, is rather a on his work, in which the poetical descriptive than an epic poemThe acmerits of the author were most counts of Kostroff are most erroneous. amply acknowledged. I can easily He finished a translation of Ossian, but imagine that some of the errors here from Homer he only translated the first mentioned are mere mistakes, to nine books of the Iliad in alexandrines. which any author would be subject, After his death, Gnieditch commenced a nothing being more easy than to mis

version of it in the same measure, but take Russian names; but some of

soon changed his plan, and is now engathem are more serious, and Mr ged in a metrical translation of all Ho

mer's works. Shukowsky is a phenomeBowring possessing talents of the

non as a translator, and resembles Birger highest order, which he has now en

much less than he does Schiller. The gaged to exercise for a London per latter's Maid of Orleans' he has trans. riodical work, in the department of lated in a manner so admirably faithful Spanish Romance, it is desirable that and beautiful, that it in no respect yields he should thus have an opportunity to the original, which is saying much. afforded him of refuting so much of Mr Bowring says, that he (Shukowsky) this statement as may be unfounded, has generally retained the original meaor of correcting, in a future edition, sure. This, however, is the case only in

The Æolian Harp,'(the most successful is Schiller's • Maid's Complaint ; Dimi. of all his translations,) · The National trief's During a thunder storm' is a Songs,' and a few other pieces. Even the translation froin Goethe ; ' The Czar und names of the authors are not always the two Shepherds' is altered from Florian, correctly stated. In the introduction, for and • Love and Friendshipis by Milleinstance, Dershavin's name stands under roye. Of the national songs, the first is a verse of Dimitrief's : Stonet sivi golu- by Merslaekoff, the two others are old, kochik, gc.; and the poem of The Lord and erroneously understood. In regard and the Judge,' is not by Lomonossoff, but to the biographical notices we have hopes by Bershavin. In regard to Mr Bow. of something more detailed soon making ring's selection we may add, that, of many its appearance, since the writer of this poets, he has given, not their own original article has been informed that a history productions, but translations and imita of Russian literature, for Germany, is now tions; Shukowsky's romance, for instance, seriously in hand.”


DUNCAN'S TRAVELS IN AMERICA. There is no subject in which so brilliant. We have seen, and still many interesting considerations are see, a nation growing up under our combined as the United States. All eye. We see the elastic power of the communities of Europe, however population illustrated in a remarkadmirable in their constitution and able degree. And in the economy, policy, are old and stationary. Year quiet, and good order, with which a after year we thus see the same great and growing people are ruled, things; little change comparatively, we have also illustrated the equally and little advancement. The great valuable principle of self-governstream of human affairs has worn out ment; so that, to the politician and a channel for itself, in which it quiet- to the philosopher, the spectacle of ly runs; and however beautiful the American community, marching the spectacle, it wants variety, to be with such an irresistible and gigantic the subject of deep or permanent in- pace to the dominion of the New terest. But, in the United States, World, is replete with instruction. every thing is rapidly changing. Both may draw lessons from the Those States are only in progress. great moral experiment which is now, They contain within themselves the and has long been, in full operation germ of almost indefinite increase. on the other side of the Atlantic. Of They are, as it were, the seeds of late years, accordingly, the Amepopulation scattered from Europe, rican States have been looked upon on a wide and unoccupied country, with great interest from this counspringing up and producing an hun- try. All the details which have been dred fold. They are branches plant- published by travellers, regarding ed in a kindred soil, which are now their manners, institutions, and gospreading out into the most luxuriant vernment, have been eagerly sought foliage, and rivalling in beauty the after; controversies have been excited parent stock. The American com on the subject, some eagerly promunities, unlike the present States of claiming their partiality, by magnifyEurope, who grew, by slow degrees, ing every thing American, and others, from barbarism to improvement, were

with a less commendable spirit, runsuddenly Aung on the American ning to the other extreme, and reground, thoroughly initiated in the viling every thing belonging to this industry, the arts, and the improve country, with absurd and illiberal ments of Europe. They were no abuse. A better temper seems, howtyros in the art of civilization, but ever, since the last peace, to have were thoroughly furnished out with grown up between the two countries; all the necessary knowledge for cre we mean between that class, in both, ating, in the wide waste, an improved most apt to be infected with national society. There could not be a more prejudices; and we have little doubt, beautiful or interesting experiment, if the present good understanding than thus to see the arts of the old continues, of which there is every world suddenly let loose upon the prospect, that the mean envy which desert; and the result has been most was felt in this country, of the rising

greatness of America, will be gra- traveller, who goes through the Unitdually refined into a generous rival- ed States, should recollect that he is ship, and that the narrations of Bri- travelling in a beaten track, and that tish travellers who shall visit her he can only collect gleanings of what shores, in place of ill-natured re other travellers have left. To repeat marks, will contain a store of infor- what is before the public is tiresome. mation, and an unbiassed and dis- Of what use, for example, is it, at passionate view of the manners, po- this time of day, to tell us particulicy, and institutions, of this great larly of the local situation of Philaand rising people.

delphia or New York? No man need The present work is an illustra- to cross the Atlantic to bring home tion of this improving spirit, that has information of this sort. The best grown up in regard to America. The part of the work is the account of author seems to have a strong tinge the author's journey to Canada and of national prejudice, and of truly Quebec. He travelled down the St. British partiality, to every thing in Lawrence, and the narrative of his bis own country. He has nothing perilous navigation of the rapids, and philosophical about him; yet he of the state of the country, and mantouches on all that is American with ners of its inhabitants, is really ina great degree of temper and of just teresting. He should have confined feeling, which goes far to redeem himself, in this manner, to what bad many defects. The great fault of something of novelty in it, and not his work is, that he sets down too have spun out into two volumes much—he gives us the whole con what he was anticipated in by fortents of his common-place book, mer travellers. without considering, that many pet Mr Duncan, the author of the prety details, personal to the traveller, sent work, landed at New York, in are of no interest whatever to the which city he seems to have collectpublic. He is, it must be admitted, ed nothing worth recording, except at times, somewhat tedious; and if, an account of the famous steam-friin place of two volumes, he had only gate, with which, if the war had published one, his work would have continued, the Americans were prebeen all the better for this purga- paring to overwhelm our navy. It tion. What interest, for example, was well provided with powerful can the reader have, in the ordinary batteries, and its timbers were so details of a voyage across the Atlan- strong, that it was supposed they tic?. There is also, throughout, too would afford a defence against canmuch of detail about religion ; not non. The conclusion of peace prethat we consider the state of religious vented this new instrument of war instruction, in the United States, of from being ever tried; and the veslittle moinent. Any general sketch sel now lies, and it is to be hoped on this subject we should consider will long lie, useless. highly interesting. But then it In Boston, the chief objects worought to be general. A portrait of thy of attention seem to be the state some of the most noted religious of literature and of religion, and the teachers, sketched with life and bre- great penitentiary established to furvity, might even be given with ad- ther the ends of criminal justice. vantage, as an index to the general With regard to the University, we taste of the people on these matters. have, as usual, a variety of details, But circumstantial accounts of ob some of them of no great interest; scure individual preachers--of the and the account he gives of religion texts on which they spoke,—and even, consists chiefly of the particular texts occasionally, quotations from their which various obscure preachers chose serinons, must be tiresome, and bar- for the edification of their hearers. ren of instruction. His account of The success of the interesting expecolleges is also too much in detail ; riment of the great penitentiary estoo great attention is given to what tablished at Boston is a subject of is purely of a local interest; while, greater importance ; and the inforin the account of the principal towns, mation given respecting it is highly we have a great deal which may be interesting. The great object of this found in any ordinary Gazetteer. A institution is to combine the reforma

tion of the criminal with his punish- unhappy victims to the dungeon, ment. With this view, in place of without any further attention to being allowed to languish in idleness them except to prevent their escape within bis prison walls, the criminal -whose efficacy is founded solely on is set to work at whatever craft he its terrors, and which has multiplied has been accustomed to. He is thus its sanguinary punishments, until trained to industry, and recovered, they are too revolting to be execuif possible, from those habits of idle- ted. The importance of this grand ness, the necessary incentives to experiment going on before his eyes, crime. Accordingly, the prison is in favour of guilt and wretchellness, provided with the requisite imple does not appear to be at all apprements of a work-shop, of which it ciated as it ought to be by this wri. has also the cheerful appearance. ter.

His notions on the subject Going out into the court-yard, (says Mr

seem to be exceedingly commonDuncan,) we found in it a great number place; and his remarks are not borne employed in hewing blocks of granite into

out by the facts which he himself graduated sizes and shapes for building.

states. He observes : This is a staple commodity in the prison, Of the efficacy of the penitentiary sysand a stock of building stone is kept con. tem, as at present administered, the stantly on sale. In the work-shops we keeper appears to be very doubtful; and saw the prisoners variously engaged, as it is unquestionable, that an opinion prebakers, weavers, shoemakers, tailors, car. vails, in the larger cities, that for the pur. penters, turners, brush-makers, nailers, pose of either deterring from crime or rewool-combers, spinners, &c. &c. All forming the criminal, the penitentiaries seemed to be as busy and as attentive to are at present in a great measure ineff. their work as if it had been their chosen cient. The prisoners are in many reand voluntary employment ; and the spects too comfortable to feel their conworkmanship which they produced seem. finement as a severe punishment, for aled not only good, so far as I could judge, though the deprivation of personal liberty but some of it even of a superior finish is in itself a great hardship, it may to and appearance

very many be compensated for by a de

gree of comfort in clothing and habitaThe prisoners are not allowed to

tion, to which they are elsewhere unacutter a word in the presence of customed. It cannot be doubted, that, in strangers, and the greatest decorum America, they have now gone to the exand propriety of behaviour is en treme of leniency, in their criminal code, forced. « The female delinquents as we have to the extreme of severity ; are confined,” it is added, “ in a se theirs is undoubtedly the side on which all parate part of the prison, and are em humane persons would wish to err, but ployed in cooking, washing, and too much mercy to rogues is cruelty to sewing, for the establishment, as society at large, and is therefore to be a. well as in other branches of female voided, if we would wish to attain to a industry." There are suitable re

perfect criminal system. Much may be wards and distinctions for decency done, however, to improve the prison disof behaviour ; as there are for disor. cipline of the American penitentiaries, derly conduct, the penalty of solitary without, properly speaking, increasing the imprisonment, and the disgrace and severity of the treatment. inconvenience of being obliged to That this prison is too comfortable move about with a log of wood chain- to operate as a punishment to those ed to the foot. No corporal punish- - who are confined in it, is refuted by ment is allowed. We pass over all the the necessity of so many precautions necessary contrivances for accommo to prevent their escape ; and those dation and security, which are much who throw out such crude and illthe same in this as in other prisons. considered notions, do not reflect, It must be admitted, that if this sys- that punishment consists, not tem were found effectual for its great much in the physical sufferings of ends, it would need no other recom the body, as in the humiliation and mendation to every friend of huma sense of guilt which is felt in the nity. It would be the greatest pos- mind. Criminals may, no doubt, be sible improvement, if we could, in so degraded, as to be in a great deany manner, supersede that system gree callous to this feeling ; but the of criminal justice which consigns its object of such institutions as the pene


tentiary of Boston is to revive this in an enlightented system of moral dormant feeling of honour, and thus correction, and it is folly to suppose to render the criminal accessible to that this will ever prevent crimes. moral correctives. And, in this case, The seeds of misery and vice are no comforts of clothing or food will sown deep in the very constitution be considered a compensation for the of human society. These, we may degradation of punishment. Perso rest assured, under the wisest politinal restraint is, besides, a necessary cal contrivances, will spring up, and part of imprisonment; and this must produce their natural harvest of be found a punishment, unless, in crime. All that we can do is to paldeed, we are to consider, that there liate the evil. We cannot root it can be no punishment without the out; and it is the extreme of folly to infliction of bodily pain. The per look for such effects from any instifection of the penal codes would be tutions, however enlightened and to do away all corporeal inflictions, pure. which are in themselves degrading, The lavish profusion with which as well as revolting to humanity; pardons are granted is stated, by the and, for this purpose, the mind must traveller, as one obstacle to the sucbe dealt with some plan of moral cess of the system ; and he adds, that training must be adopted, to quicken want of accommodation renders this the moral feelings which may have necessary.

If there is a want of acbeen blunted for a time, and thus cominodation for the prisoners, and reach the criminal through the me if they are discharged, not on a prindium of his feelings. There is, in- ciple of mercy, but merely because deed, a deadness and an apathy in there is no room to hold them, this guilt, from which the mind can is not giving the system fair play. A scarcely be roused ; and, in this plan of this nature, pursued without case, physical restraint must be im- any fixed principle, never can sucposed on the hardened victim of hope- ceed. But if pardons are granted on less depravity. But on all that class any consideration of the merits of of criminals who may not have sunk the prisoners, we do not see that down to this state of degradation, mo- their profusion is to be complained ral discipline may be used with effect; of. This fact would rather mark the in which case it is not necessary to im- efficacy of the system. It is stated pose physical hardships on the priso- by the author, that, in the New ner-it is not necessary to lacerate his York state-prison, there were, in body by whipping, or anyother species 1814, 709 prisoners, of which numof torture. This harsh and degrad- ber 176 were pardoned. “ It is obing discipline would rather impede vious (he adds) that this system must than promote the effect of that higher be ruinous in its consequences, and and more refined process of training that there must be some capital to which he is subjected; while mer- defect in the criminal discipline of cy, and even a certain system of regu- the community where such a praclated kindness, may be no way incon- tice prevails. 'It sometimes happens, sistent with this species of punish- that the same individual is impriment. “ Too much mercy to rogues," soned and pardoned several times observes this traveller," is cruelty over for crimes which, in Britain, to society at large." If there be any would at once send him either to truth in this unmeaning remark, Botany Bay or to the gallows, and then society would be best protected thus rid society of him altogether." by cruelty to criminals. But expe The mere fact of these discharges, rience shews that this affords no se or pardons, is not of itself any evi. curity against crimes. On the contra dence against the system, unless it ry, though, in this country, forgery can be shewn that they were rashly is invariably punished with death, given ; and as to the allusion to the to gratify the vulgar prejudices of harsher practice of Britain, what is our merchants, the crime has increa- inferred from this? Are there, it sed tenfold, and is more frequent may be asked, fewer crimes commitin this than in any other country, ted' in Britain than in the United where the offence is not capital. The States ? and in what, then, consists true antidote to crime is to be found the superiority of the British system,

« AnteriorContinuar »