« AnteriorContinuar »
country. The work emanates from a clergyman, who was induced to travel for the benefit of his health. His sons, and his accompanying friends, an old college acquaintance, kept journals of their tour; from which trouble our author, as he informs us, was exempted, on account of his health. ese narrations, written in the form of letters, were sent to England, and now appear in print. They present the public with particulars, which, in our opinion, were too unimportant to be entered even in a private journal. To look in these volumes for any satisfactory information, would be to seek for disappointment. All that we have been able to learn from their perusal is, that the author professes to be a very pious man; and, though a protestant divine, a warm admirer of the ecclesiastical ceremonies of the Catholic Church. We have only to add, that we wish the pious exhortations, plentifully diffused as they are throughout the work, were sufficient to compensate the reader - for the total absence of the instruction he is taught to expect, by the title of the publication.
Journal of a Tour in Asia Minor, with Comparative Remarks on the
Antient and Modern Geography of that Country. By William
Leake, F.R.S.-8vo. pp. 362. Murray. The work before us does honour to the author as an antiquarian and a scholar, as well as an enterprising traveller : it is rendered particularly valuable by the accuracy of attention which has been bestowed on its comparative geography, illustrated by maps and antiquarian research ; and the information it conveys will be rendered the more desirable, since the difficulties of travelling in Asia Minor will henceforth be greatly augmented by the insurrection of the European Greeks. One of the great national advantages which England has reaped from the frequency of modern travels in the classical regions of Greece and Italy, is the purification of architectural taste, which has resulted from familiarity with the noble monuments of antient eminence. Under this view, we were gratified and edified by the following dissertation on the theatres of Greece and Asia Minor :
"The advantage of the Asiatic, over the European, construction in Greek theatres, consisted only in the increase of capacity derived from the obliquity of the two ends of the cavea. As the spectators in the upper seats of the two extremities must have had a very imperfect view of the scene, the Asiatic construction may, perhaps, have been adopted to provide accommodation for the classes who cared less for the drama than for the dancing and dumb-show of the orchestra : and these classes may, perhaps, have been more numerous in the Asiatic, than in the European, cities of Greece.
In Asia Minor, the lower part of the cavea was generally excavated in a hill, and the
upper part was built of masonry raised upon arches ; so that there was a direct access from the level of the ground at the back of the theatre into the middle diagoma, either at the two ends of the diagoma, or by arched vomitories in the intermediate parts of the curve, under the upper division of the cavea. The same mode of construction occurred also in some of the theatres of European Greece, though in the more ancient theatres of that country it seems to have been the common practice to excavate all the middle part of the cavea, and even the seats out of the rock. It seldom happened that theatres were constructed in plains, as it added so much to the labour and expense of them : instances of this, however, exist at Mantineia and Megalopis. As the scene and every part of the theatre relating to the spectacle stood on level ground at the lowest part of the building, it has invariably happened, in all the remaining theatres of Greece and Asia, that the parts belonging to the scene have been more or less buried in their own ruins, and in those of the cavea, which rises among them like a crumbling mountain. It is only by excavating, therefore, that we can arrive at an exact knowledge of the construction of that which is the most important part of the Greek theatre: but, when circumstances admit of a complete examination of the theatres of Hieropolis, Patara, Laodicea, Side, of some in Syria, which are in a remarkable state of preservation, and of two or three in European Greece ; great light may be thrown on many interesting inquiries relating to the ancient drama."
Mr. Leake enters deeply into the question of the Plain of Troy, which has so often and so abortively employed the acumen and research of various authors.
“ It is a necessary consequence,” says Mr. Leake, "of placing Troy on its heights to the S.E. of Bunarbashi, that the river flowing from the sources which give that village its name (meaning Spring-head), is the Seamander of Homer : that the large torrent which flows through a deep ravine on the eastern side of the heights, is the Simoeis : and that, notwithstanding the much greater magnitude of the bed of the latter, and occasionally of that stream itself, the united river, after the junction in the plain, was called by the name of the former, Scamander. In support of this opinion, it has been justly observed by Lechevalier, that Homer's description, allowance being made for poetical exaggeration, is correct, both as to the springs themselves, and as to the very different character of the two rivers : nor can it be denied that the two hills, that of Bunarbashi and the higher eminence behind it, correspond to the mention by Homer of Ilium, and its citadel Pergamus. The termination of the slope towards the spring, accords also with the idea which we receive from the poet of the extent of the city on that side, and of the position of the gate Scææ or Dardaniæ, which was near the principal outlet towards the plain.”
After all this and every other argument, the poems of Homer will be as much admired, whether the site of his battles be discoverable, or otherwise. We do not, we must confess, think the question of so much importance as some antiquarians are inclined to suppose. We, indeed, are now, and have long been, of opinion, that Egypt was the source from whence Homer drew his tale of Troy Divine, its holy war, and its warring gods; and that the prince of bards gave the story a new dress, as to its origin, its agents, and its scene, in order to gratify his countrymen. It ought to be remembered, that there was a city of Troy in Egypt, besieged by Sesostris, which Sesostris is, undoubtedly, the hero of some of the sculptured battles to which Mr. Hamilton alludes, and for any of which he and Denon furnish copies in their works.
POLITICAL ECONOMY AND POLITICS.
A Treatise on the Principles of Indemnity in Marine Insurance,
Bottomry, and Respondentia; and on their Practical Application in effecting those Contracts, and in the adjustment of all claims arising
out of them. For the use of Underwriters, Merchants, and Lawyers. i By William Bewicke, of Lloyd's.-8vo. pp. 498. The subject of Marine Assurance is of immense importance in this country, and there is so much difficulty in reducing the various cases that are constantly occurring, to any uniform standard, by which they may be decided, that our Courts of Law are constantly presenting the odious spectacle of disputes between the underwriters and the assured. In England, Marine Assurance has hitherto been chiefly conducted by individuals. There are only two partnerships allowed to underwrite, viz. the Royal Exchange, and the London Assurance, which are able to embrace only about four parts in the hundred of the business transacted; yet a struggle has been made by these companies, as well as by the gentlemen who meet together at Lloyd's coffee-house, to prevent this monopoly from being broken down, or invaded. The motives of the latter for aiding in upholding the monopoly are obvious, since they are aware, that, were there a sufficient number of companies legally authorised to insure, a great part of the business now transacted at Lloyd's would be transferred to other quarters. Companies having a permanent established character to support, durst not litigate, as individuals, because loss of reputation would destroy their business; whereas an individual is less conspicuous; and whatever he may transact as an underwriter, constitutes, in general, but a small portion of the business on which he depends. In the present state of things, to prevent misapprehensions on both sides, it is of the utmost importance, that every contingency respecting Marine Insurance, should be as well explained and understood as possible ; by which alone merchants can be enabled to understand the manner in which they ought to effect their insurances, in order to secure to themselves that indemnity against sea-risk, which it is their object to obtain.
We regard the present production as well calculated to be serviceable to merchants and underwriters. The author evidently possesses a thorough knowledge of the subject on which he treats : without much knowledge, he could not have given so broad a view of the various cases which have already been decided by the judgment of the courts of law ; much less could we have so ably discussed various other questions which may yet arise ; nor have canvassed so judiciously the principles of law and equity, on which such questions may be determined.
From this publication, mercantile men may learn so to form their contracts, as really to effect the security they seek. Since it too frequently happens that, from want of sufficient experience and due circumspection, adequate stipulations are not made by the parties insured,
we consider the intelligence here imparted as truly valuable to that class of persons for whose benefit Mr. Bewicke’s book is particularly intended.
Considerations of the State of the Continent since the last General
Peace. Part I. Essay on Liberalism. By the Author of Italy
and the Italians, in the Nineteenth Century. -8vo. pp. 238. Territt. These “Considerations,” in reality, form an attack on liberalism, and by consequence a defence, by implication, of the late proceedings of the Holy Alliance. The author has taken upon himself a difficult task. In such a cause, all the charms of style and all the potencies of argument, are necessary, to pursuade and convince.
To throw a hue of cheerful futurity over the prospects darkened by the blighting and stagnant land-fog of the Holy Alliance, would, indeed, demand the charms of the necromancer, as well as the crucibles of the alchemist. Even the puny glimmer of light, caused here and there by the irruption of irrepressible discontent, is associated rather with thoughts of regret, than of congratulation, since it is followed by a thicker darkness.
Wherever the execrable bayonets of the Holy Alliance move, the same hostility to free opinion is manifested, attended by the same withering results. It is against the press, that the mortal war of these new Titans is openly declared and waged ; and to destroy the press, they would pile Pelion on Ossa. The liberty of the press is a shield, behind which the altar and the throne, as well as the popular tribune, are equally secure; for, in its pure and polished convex, as in the shield of Orlando, both the demagogue and the tyrant behold their fierce and exaggerated features, and, ere the lifted blow of their hostility has fallen, are petrified into stone.
We extract the following, as a testimony of our author's more moderate, and, therefore, praiseworthy, opinions with respect to Spain and Greece:
“ The knotty question which agitates the public mind at present, namely, the interference of France in the affairs of Spain, has no direct connexion with the subject of this essay, which, besides, was written several months ago, when this particular case was not yet in contemplation. With regard to the original and more essential question of the right that the different classes of Spaniards have to be consulted upon, and to concur in, the establishment of new institutions for their country, and of the expediency of such a concurrence, there can be little discrepance of opinions ; but in this the difficulty lies. The Spaniards never were a very pliant race, the actual irritation of their feelings must have rendered the various parties yet more intractable; and the French, supposing them to have the most conciliatory intentions, will find it, perhaps, as difficult to manage their friends as their enemies. It is to be regretted that the exaggerations of universal liberalism throughout Europe, have injured the particular cause of Spain, by connecting it in some degree with schemes which were originally foreign to it. Liberalism appears to have rendered an equally bad service to Greece.”
We the more decidedly adopt this opinion of the author, because we are convinced, that the allies will yield nothing to free opinion, except “ upon compulsion;" and we think that, finally, necessity will compel them. The chances certainly are, that if they rashly persist in forcibly holding back the advancing destiny of man, they will one day be dashed to earth, by the irresistible revolution of its great wheel; and that, while they close the steam-valve of the accumulating energy of mind, they will, sooner or later, experience the effect of its insuppressible expansion.
“I have heard some curious confessions,” says our author, “ during my stay in France,-I have heard dissatisfied men, who had no personal reason to complain, exclaim, — It is true, we are at peace, we are tolerably well governed, we enjoy plenty ; but we are tormented by ennui; we have been accustomed to bustle and activity, and we must have something stirring again, coute qui coute.' So that, for the purpose of affording employment to the exuberant faculties of these restless persons, France and the rest of Europe must be disturbed again, revolutionized, invaded, and ruined ! This evil spirit is not limited to France, it exists also in Italy, in the Belgian provinces, and in other countries which were once annexed to, or dependent upon, the French empire.”
To allay this discontent, the advice we would offer, differs from that of the author under our review. Let the continental powers, instead of meddling with the affairs of other nations, look to their own. Let them, if they wish to avert the shock of future revolutions, fulfil the promises of those constitutional ameliorations which they once made, and which they have violated. They made a compact with the spirit of the age, when, in order to put down Napoleon, they needed its support. Napoleon was put down, and they broke the compact. This formidable name is still the watch-word of the anti-liberals ; and the holy allies and their advocates adopt a species of chiaro oscuro artifice with regard to him, darkening all the least shining traits of his character, but copying his blemishes; they practise the vices of his ambition, without its redeeming qualities. The errors of great and talented minds are like specks which rise on the surface of a splendid luminary; consumed by its heat, or irradiated by its light, they soon subside and disappear. But the wrong-headed perverseness of mean and narrow intellects resembles the excrescences which grow upon a body naturally cold and dark; no fire to waste, no ray to enlighten them, they assimilate to, and coalesce with, the worst qualities of our nature, and acquire an incorrigible permanency in their union with kindred frost and kindred opacity.
The Periodical Press of Great Britain and Ireland: or an Inquiry
into the State of the Public Journals, chiefly as regards their Moral
and Political Influence.-1 vol. 8vo. pp. 219. Hurst and Co. This publication, though limited, in bulk, to one thin octavo volume, is ample in the latitude of its subject; and, however superficial in its observations, extends them over a vast and varied surface. The Introduction of Printing; Benefits of Free Discussion; Conduct of Foreign Governments ; Abortive Revolutions ; Licentiousness of the Press; the London Press; the American Press; the Irish Press; the Effects of the French Revolution; the Measures of Government; the Legitimate Mode of punishing Libel; these, and a diversity of other equally important topics, have furnished the author with materials for thinking; and, as far as the scale on which he planned his undertaking would permit, he has sounded the principles on which his premises rest, and developed their arcana.
The value this writer gives to what De Lolme so justly calls, “ the censorial power of the British people,” reflects on his politics no small degree of honour. The free press enjoyed by Englishmen is to them a blessing, as inappreciable as the bare contemplation of foreign despots, is odious and terrific. If we hail the invention of Laurentius, of Haarlem, as a gift from heaven, the absolute rulers of the Continent regard it as a judgment inflicted upon us for our sins. If, for more than two hundred years, the labours of the press were chiefly restricted to religious subjects, and the service of the cloisters, by its own innate strength, it at length burst its monastic bonds, and poured abroad its sacred influence of light and liberty. Again and again have the jealousy of tyranny and superstition intercepted its illuminating radiance; and again and again have its own half-stified embers sent forth their renovated flames, and re-enlightened the temporarily darkened world. In fitful alternations would its ardors blaze and subside, till energies of its continually-augmenting fervor, aided by the fanning wings of the Reformation, attained a strength that defied every exertion of its enemies ; that, with a triumphant glow, exults at this moment over their baffled malignity. In spite of the clouds interposed, from time to time between Englishmen Crit. Gaz, Vol. 1. No. 2.