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that a reviewer need propose to do. We shall, therefore, let “Relics for the Curious” declare their own character:
“QUEEN ELIZABETH.-In a second tour through England, soon after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the queen paid the aforesaid city another visit. The mayor, on her majesty's departure, among other particulars, said, “When the King of Spain attacked your majesty, egad, he took the wrong sow by the ear. The queen could not help smiling at the man's simplicity, which was further heightened, when he begged to have the honour to attend the queen as far as the gallows, which stood at that time about a mile out of the town."
“When Queen Elizabeth, in her progress through the kingdom, called at Coventry, the mayor, attended by the aldermen, addressed her majesty in rhyme, in the following words :
“ We men of Coventry
Are very glad to see
Good Lord, how fair you be !"
“ My royal majesty
Is very glad to see
An Historical Fragment, relative to her late Majesty Queen Caroline.
-8vo. pp. 112. 58. J. and H. L. Hunt. The author of this “ Fragment" has prefixed to it an advertisement, for the sole purpose, as it would seem, of declaring himself to be of no political party. He, however, not only announces himself as the most intimate friend of a particular confidant of the late queen; but, in many instances, evinces a partiality that, with those who did not really understand the merits of the case between her majesty and her royal husband, might have the effect of prejudicing her cause. What
be our own sentiments respecting the unfortunate misunder-, standing between the exalted parties, it is not unmixed with the opinion, that neither of them was perfectly free from error; and that on whichever side lay the greater portion of blame, it is now so much wiser to forget than to revive the subject, that nothing which can be said npon it, however pertinent and sensible, is so praiseworthy as silence.
That her majesty, whether guilty or innocent of the conduct with which she was charged, experienced the severest sufferings that illtreatment could inflict, and that that very treatment drew to her side the greater part of her adherents, is too certain to be disputed. Threefifths of the country saw the whole of the affair in its true light; and another fifth sympathized with her affliction, and yielded to that kind persuasion, which, like love, is allied to pity. We know too much of what may be called the secret history of the queen's persecutions and trial, not to be able to say much on the subject, did we think it proper; but, true to our own opinion, that there is more wisdom in silence than in discussing the case, even in the ablest. way possible, we dismiss this article; only observing, that we wish similar sentiments in the author of this publication had forbidden its production, or withheld
it from the press.
Crit, Gaz. Vol. 1, No. 1.
The Biography of the British Stage ; being correct Narratives of the
Lives of the Principal Living Actors and Actresses.- 1 vol. 8vo.
pp. 295. 9s. Sherwood and Co. WORKs of the nature of the present, from the manner in which they are generally executed by their authors, and brought forward by their publishers, (without saying any thing of the inferior importance of many of their subjects,) have, long-since, obtained a character, little calculated to recommend them to the attention of enlightened and reflecting readers : and this volume by no means forms an exception. The persons included in this theatrical catalogue, or chequered list of dramatis persone, are collected from the Green-rooms of Drury-lane, Covent-Garden, the Haymarket, the Adelphi, the Lyceum, the Surrey, and the Coburg theatres. From Kean down to Keeley, from Liston to Fitzwilliam, from Braham to T. Cooke; in a word, from the highest degree of dramatic or vocal pretensions, to the humblest, no example is wanting ; consequently, the crowd presented to us is as motley as numerous; as dull and insignificant in some of its component materials, as splendid and imposing in others. The style of the whole, if not absolutely vulgar, is too mean and hacknied to satisfy the taste of polite readers; while the critical remarks are much too feeble and incorrect, to cause such performers as Macready, Young, or Kemble, to be proud of a single compliment issuing from such a source.
Travels in Brazil in the Years 1817-1820. By Drs. Von Spix and Von
Martius.-8vo. pp. 625. 11. 4s. Longman and Co. The volumes before us contain the narrative of a scientific journey through the Brazils, at the instance of the King of Bavaria, to whom they are inscribed. The authors travelled, at the expense of no inconsiderable danger, privation, and fatigue, the American continent, from 24° latitude to the equator, and under the line from Para to the eastern frontier of Peru. We need not say how useful, as well as interesting, such a work is, at the present time, to the politician, the naturalist, the statesman, and the merchant. It, indeed, throws that light on the immense country formerly belonging to the crown of Portugal, which the public eminently wants, and doubtless it will be read with an avidity proportioned to the importance of the subject. No efforts to effect, either by favour or artifice, a rejunction of the late Portuguese dependencies with the mother country can, we feel assured, ultimately succeed.
The following is our travellers' notice of their first view of the Capital of the rising empire:
“Soon after, the noble entrance to the bay of Rio de Janeiro, though still at a distance, opened to our view. Steep rocks, like portals to the harbour, washed by the waves of the sea, rise on the right and left. The southern Pão Dáçucar, in the form of a sugarloaf, is the well-known guide for ships at a distance. Towards noon, approaching nearer and nearer to the enchanting prospect, we came up to those colossal rocky portals, and at length passed between them into a great amphitheatre, in which the mirror of the water appeared like a tranquil inland lake ; and scattered flowery islands, bounded
in the back-ground by a woody chain of mountains, rose like a Paradise full of luxuriance and magnificence. *
The banks, in bright sunshine, rose out of the dark blue sea ; and numerous white houses, chapels, churches, and forts, contrasted with their deep verdure. Rocks of grand form rise boldly behind them, the declivities of which are clothed in all the luxuriant diversity of a tropical forest. An ambrosial perfume is diffused from these noble forests, and the foreign navigator sails delighted past the many islands covered with beautiful groves of palms. Thus new, pleasing, and sublime scenes, alternately pass before our astonished eyes, till, at length, the Capital of the infant kingdom, illumined by the evening sun, lay extended before us."
In the preceding pages our authors describe the costume of the peasantry in the interior of the country, the style of their residences and mode of life, to which they add a sketch of the aboriginal inhabitants, whom the advancing circle of European civilization is gradually reducing in numbers and importance; and who, probably, will soon become extinct.
If the able manner in which they are delineated, exhibits Drs. Von Spix and Von Martius as no feeble rivals of their countryman Humboldt, the eloquent and splendid picture they give of the rich variety and profuse magnificence of South America, in her vegetable and animal kingdoms, is still more honourable to their literary talents. The following landscape is excellent:-
Scarcely were we beyond the streets and the noise of the town, when we stopped, as if enchanted, in the midst of a strange and luxuriant vegetation. Our eyes were attracted, sometimes by gaily-coloured birds or splendid butterflies, sometimes by the singular forms of the insects, and the nests of wasps and termites hanging from the trees; sometimes by the beautiful plants scattered in the narrow valley and on the gently sloping hills. Surrounded by lofty airy capias, broad-leaved and white-stemmed cecropias, thick-crowned myrtles, "large-flowered bignonias, climbing tufts of the mellifluous paullinias, far-spreading tendrils of the passion-flower, and of the richlyflowering hatched coronilla, above which rise the waving summits of Macaubu palms, we fancied ourselves transported into the gardens of Hesperry. A delightful prospect over the bay; the verdant islands floating in it; the harbour with its crowd of masts and various flags; and the city stretched out at the foot of the most pleasant hills; the houses and steeples glittering in the sun, was spread before our eyes.
We have, besides these strongly-painted views, splendid descriptions of Nature's bounty; and we accept the augury of future political prosperity which they are calculated to convey. All amelioration is, however, progressive. But the summer season of freedom will at length arrive; the cloud of error will be dispelled by the meridian ray of civilization; and the whole horizon of North and South America will be brightened by the permanent splendour of liberty, prosperity, and mental enlightenment.
A Summary View of America. By an Englishman.--8vo. pp. 503. ;
13s. Cadell, and Blackwood. The traveller here under our review has started forth from the crowd, (who have lately been juggled into a belief, that there is nothing good in America,) in order to see fair play, and to redeem the character of the Americans from the sinister imputations which ignorance, no less than jealousy, have occasioned. He who never travels, sees the world only in his own country; as he who never reads, sees the world only in himself, like Montesquieu's curate, who, instead of the moon, could see nothing in the telescope but the village steeple. The too great
A Summary View of America.
idea of the soil on which we tread disappears when we are compelled to consider, practically, the variety and totality of the globe :
“On examining most of the books of travels in America, by Englishmen,” says our author, “it will be found, that the impression which they are calculated to make, is on the whole, unfavourable.-Who, after reading the narratives of Ashe, Jansen, Fearon, Weld, Howitt, Howisson, Welby, and Faux, but would conclude, that the Americans are a rude, wild, dirty, crafty, and low-minded people ? **
* There are, unquestionably, some erroneous statements in one or two of them ; but I assert as undeniable, that truth has, for the most part, been supported, though candour has been laid aside. Now it is obvious, that, where this course is pursued, the object of publishing books of travels is defeated; understanding, as I do, that an author professing to inform his countrymen of a foreign land, its inhabitants, and institutions, ought, in justice, to give the good, as well as the bad, traits that present themselves. But when it is borne in mind, that the travellers above named appear to have passed through the country, without becoming acquainted with the most intelligent part of the community, or, at least, without that disposition to be pleased, which is so necessary in foreign lands, it may be inferred, that they were not qualified to do justice to the people concerning whom they have written.'
This Englishman's style is sometimes lax, and at other times unpolished; but he is a correct thinker, which, in a subject like this, is better than a polished writer. He is obviously one of those authors who reflect more than they write; we have too many who write more than they reflect. The following exculpatory passages, which relate to hospitality, civility, reception at inns, and the application of words, we have extracted. so as to follow the above preface in their natural order:
" The usual reception the traveller finds at the inns, is that of cold civility; but the landlord and the waiter, though not obsequious, are generally sufficiently attentive. Some things in country places a little discomposed me at first; but, resolving to act on the adage- of doing at Rome as Rome does, I soon lost the sense of uneasiness.”
Again, our English traveller affirms:
* I can truly say that, in by far the greater number of the inns I stopped at, I found comfort, civility, and attention. But then I endeavoured to give as little trouble as possible.. Good temper may be sometimes requisite ; indeed, without it, no person should think of leaving his native country.”
Besides the public towns, there are, in many parts, what are called houses of private entertainment; being houses where the traveller who has no objection to take his meals with the family, and conform in every respect to their habits, may find himself comfortable. To a pedestrian, like myself, they are very acceptable. One of the best houses that I stopped at in the whole country, was of this description. It was in the heart of Virginia, and so remote from any town, that I little expected, in such a situation, to find a house elegantly furnished. It being dark when I entered, I was fearful I might find some difficulty in removing any suspicions which might arise from the visit of a solitary, at such an hour. But, when I enquired if I could have a night's lodging, no difficulties were started. On going to my bedchamber I found it was one which, for neatness and comfort, would have done credit to any European city: yet this was in the mountainous district of Virginia, and surrounded by forests. But what pleased me most, was, to find a book-case well stored with choice authors.”
It appears, from an impartial traveller, that the Americans, so far from being so coarse and vulgar in conversation, as hath been alleged, carry their refinement and delicacy, in the choice of words, to a troublesome, and over-sensitive, extreme of nicety:-
“ Such is the refinement of language in America, that an Englishman, accustomed to genteel life, and taught to use the most polished phrases, may use expressions which in England would be suffered in any society; but which, in America, would subject him to the imputation of vulgarity, Feeling myself unwilling to offend, I became very careful in the selection of my words. But it sometimes happened that I inadvertently used such as are considered unwarrantable. * But whatever may be the defects of American conversation, it would be unjust to deny it the praise of decorum. Great care is taken to avoid hurting the feelings of any one. When a dissentient opinion is expressed, it is done with mildness. That bold and decisive opposition which has been supposed part of the national character of the English is rejected, as being too rude for civilization."
With regard to the American ladies, the author says: “ Though they have not the enthusiasm of the Irish, nor the sprightliness of the French, they are exceedingly to be admired, as they possess, in a supereminent degree, that softness which throws so much grace over feminine actions ; and which, when united with good sense, makes the strongest impression on the heart. Another trait, and a most interesting one, is the confidence they repose in those with whom they are familiar. They manifest no desire to conceal, under the garb of affectation, that warmth of heart which women, in every country but France, are said to possess.”
Our author next gives the following corrective description of one portion, at least, of the so-much-depreciated city and capital of Washington
“The room in which the house of representatives assemble in the capital of Washington, is one of the finest in the world. This may be thought a strong expression ; but I believe all who have entered it, will concur in its justice. It is semicircular; and the speaker's chair being placed in the centre of the diametrical line, the members are ranged in semicircles round him. The roof is supported by marble pillars ; crimson curtains, hanging in festoons, being between them. Over the speaker's chair is a gigantic French řgure, which is, I believe, intended to be emblematic of America. The floor being carpeted, nothing seems wanting to the comfort and convenience of the members, or to the elegant finish of the room. It has, however, one most unfortunate defect : the voice of the orator who is addressing the house, is often lost in reverberation. No corrective has hitherto been found for this defect. I have seen rooms larger and more splendid than this ; but I never saw one which seemed more completely to unite beauty and grandeur with utility.”.
The chapter on negro slavery in America, is well worthy the perusal of every sincere lover of liberty; for it is a truth which must be borne in mind, however painful the admission, that, while America has united with England in declaring the external slave-trade piracy, she retains her internal slave-trade in all its shocking and disgusting details.
While we agree with our traveller in deprecating the anomaly of negro slavery in a republic, we feel ourselves bound in candour to add, that the measure which he recommends to the American statesman, is a task as difficult and as momentous as ever fell to the lot of any body of public men -a task no less than that of making an entire change in a peculiar state of human condition, which has obtained obduracy from habit, and corroboration from time; of melting down the human massand re-casting it into a state of improvement and capacity to improve whatever was most stationary in the materials of that condition, most incoalescible in its elements, and most obnoxious to moral taste in its construction. It is only by degrees that the eaglet is enabled to gaze upon the sun. To couch the moral eye of a people is an arduous,
and may be a dangerous, undertaking. The negro must be prepared, by education, for the steady management, and unintoxicated appreciation, of his disenthralled freedom. Without this, the gift, like that of Swift's human immortals, would be a curse, instead of an advantage; and a source of public confusion, instead of public benefit.