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tales under one general title, and joined by one con- to our knowledge on any of the great topics connecting narrative. The outline was by no means nected with the condition or future destinies of the prepossessing or natural, but as soon as the reader new world. On one national point only did the had got through this exterior scaffolding, and entered novelist dissertate at length-the state of the newson the first story, the genius of the author was found paper press, which he describes as corrupt and to be undiminished in vivid delineation of character debased beyond any experience or conception in this and description. The effects of gambling are de- country. He also joins with Captain Basil Hall, picted with great force. There is something very Mrs Trollope, and Captain Marryat, in representing striking in the conception of the helpless old game- the social state and morality of the people as low ster, tottering upon the verge of the grave, and at and dangerous, destitute of high principle or genethat period when most of our other passions are as rosity. So acute and practised an observer as much worn out as the frame which sustains them, Dickens could not travel without noting many oddi. still maddened with that terrible infatuation which ties of character, and viewing familiar objects in a Beems to shoot up stronger and stronger as every new light; and we are tempted to extract two other desire and energy dies away. Little Nell, the short passages from his American Notes,' which grandchild, is a beautiful creation of pure-minded show the masterly hand of the novelist. The first ness and innocence, yet with those habits of pensive is a sketch of an original met with by our author reflection, and that firmness and energy of mind on board a Pittsburg canal boat:which misfortune will often engraft on the otherwise buoyant and unthinking spirit of childhood ; Athin-faced, spare-figured man of middle age and and the contrast between her and her grandfather, stature, dressed in a dusty drabbish-coloured suis now dwindled in every respect but the one into a such as I never saw before. He was perfectly quiet second childhood, and comforted, directed, and sus
during the first part of the journey ; indeed I don't tained by her unshrinking firmness and love, is very remember baving so much as seen him until he was finely managed. The death of Nell is the most brought out by circumstances, as great men often are. pathetic and touching of the author's serious pas
The canal extends to the foot of the mountain, and sages—it is also instructive in its pathos, for we
there of course it stops, the passengers being conveyed feel with the author, that when death strikes down across it by land-carriage, and taken on afterwards by the innocent and young, for every fragile form from another canal boat, the counterpart of the first, which which he lets the panting spirit free. a hundred awaits them on the other side. There are two canal virtues rise. in shapes of mercy. charity, and love. lines of passage-boat ; one is called the Express, and to walk the world and bless it. Of every tear that one (a cheaper one) the Pioneer. The Pioneer gets sorrowing mortals shed on such green graves, some
first to the niountain, and waits for the Express people good is born, some gentler nature comes. In the
to come up, both sets of passengers being conveyed destroyer's steps there spring up bright creations
across it at the same time. We were the Express that defy his power, and his dark path becomes a
company, but when we had crossed the mountain, and way of light to heaven.' In the course of this tale
had come to the second boat, the proprietors took it
into their heads to draft all the Pioneers into it likethere are many interesting and whimsical incidents and adventures, with fine glimpses of rural scenes,
wise, so that we were five-and-forty at least, and the old churches, and churchyards. The horrors of the
accession of passengers was not all of that kind almost hopeless want which too often prevails in
which improved the prospect of sleeping at night. the great manufacturing towns, and the wild and
Our people grumbled at this, as people do in sucb ; reckless despair which it engenders, are also de
cases, but suffered the boat to be towed off with the scribed with equal mastery of colouring and effect.
whole freight aboard nevertheless; and away we The sketch of the wretch whose whole life had been
went down the canal. At home I should bare prospent in watching, day and night, a furnace, until
tested lustily, but, being a foreigner here, I held my
peace. Not so this passenger. He cleft a path among he imagined it to be a living being, and its roaring
the people on deck (we were nearly all on deck), and, the voice of the only friend he had ever known,
without addressing anybody whomsoever, soliloquised although perhaps grotesque, has something in it
as follows:- This may suit you, this may, but it don't very terrible : we may smile at the wildness, yet
suit me. This may be all very well with down-easters shudder at the horror of the fancy. A second story,
and men of Boston raising, but it wont suit my Barnaby Rudge, is included in Master Humphrey's
figure nohow; and no two ways about that; and so I Clock,' and this also contains some excellent minute
tell you. Now, I'm from the brown forests of the painting, a variety of broad humour and laughable
Mississippi, I am, and when the sun shines on me, it ! caricature, with some masterly scenes of passion
does shine a little. It don't glimmer where I live, and description. The account of the excesses com
the sun don't. No. I'm a brown forester, I am. i ! mitted during Lord George Gordon's riots in 1780
an't a Johnny Cake. There are no smooth skins may vie with Scott's narrative of the Porteous mob;
where I live. We're rough men there. Rather. If and poor Barnaby Rudge with his raven may be
down-easters and men of Boston raising like this, I considered as no unworthy companion to Davie am glad of it, but I'ın none of that raising, nor of Gellatley. There is also a picture of an old English that breed. No. This company wants a little fixing, inn, the Maypole, near Epping Forest, and an old it does. I'm the wrong sort of man for 'em, I am. innkeeper, John Willet, which is perfect in its kind | They wont like me, they wont. This is piling of it -such, perhaps, as only Dickens could have painted, up, a little too mountainoŭs, this is.' At the end of though Washington Irving might have made the every one of these short sentences he turned upon his first etching. After completing these tales Mr heel, and walked the other way; checking himself Dickens made a trip to America, of which he pub-abruptly when he had finished another short sentence, lished an account in 1842, under the somewhat and turning back again. It is impossible for me te quaint title of American Notes for General Circu- say what terrific meaning was hidden in the words of lation. This work disappointed the author's ad- this brown forester, but I know that the other pas. mirers, which may be considered as including nearly sengers looked on in a sort of admiring horror, and the whole of the reading public. The field had that presently the boat was put back to the wharf, already been well gleaned, the American character and as many of the Pioneers as could be conxed or and institutions frequently described and generally bullied into going away, were got rid of. When we understood, and Mr Dickens could not hope to add I started again, some of the boldest spirits on board
made bold to say to the obvious occasion of this im- woman herself (who would just as soon have cried) provement in our prospects, Much obliged to you, greeted every jest with! At last there were the lights sir :' whereunto the brown forester (waving his hand, of St Louis, and here was the wharf, and those were and still walking up and down as before) replied, “No the steps ; and the little woman, covering her face you an't. You're none o'my raising. You may act with her hands, and laughing (or seeming to laugh) for yourselves, you may. I have pinted out the way. more than erer, ran into her own cabin and shut herDown-easters and Johnny Cakes can follow if they self up. I have no doubt that in the charming inconplease. I an't a Johnny Cake, I an't. I am from the sistency of such excitement, she stopped her ears, lest brown forests of the Mississippi, I am ;' and so on, as she should hear him’ asking for her-but I did not before. He was unanimously voted one of the tables see her do it. Then a great crowd of people rushed for his bed at night-there is a great contest for the on board, though the boat was not yet inade fast, but tables-in consideration of his public services, and he was wandering about among the other boats to find a had the warmest corner by the stove throughout the landing-place; and everybody looked for the husband, rest of the journey. But I never could find out that I and nobody s
when, in t e midst of us allhe did anything except sit there ; nor did I hear him Heaven knows how she ever got there there was the speak again until, in the midst of the bustle and tur- little woman clinging with both arms tight round the moil of getting the luggage ashore in the dark at neck of a fine, good-looking, sturdy young fellow; and Pittsburg, I stumbled over him as he sat smoking a in a moment afterwards there she was again, actually cigar on the cabin steps, and heard him muttering to clapping her little hands for joy, as she dragged him himself, with a short laugh of defiance," I an't a through the small door of her small cabin to look at Johnny Cake, I an't. I'm from the brown forests of the baby as he lay asleep! the Mississippi. I am, damme!' I am inclined to
In the course of the year 1843 Mr Dickens entered argue from this that he had uerer left off saying so.
upon a new tale, Martin Chuzzlewit, in which many The following is completely in the style of Dickens of his American reminiscences are embodied, and -a finished miniature, yet full of heart :
which evinces po diminution of his powers. Indeed, There was a little woman on board with a little
in freshness and vigour of thought and style, and baby; and both little woman and little child were
versatility of character and invention, this story bids cheerful, good-looking, bright-eyed, and fair to see.
fair to rank among the most finished of the author's The little woman had been passing a long time with
performances. About Christmas of the same year her sick mother in New York, and had left her home
the fertile author threw off a light production in his in St Louis, in that condition in which ladies who
happiest manner--a Christmas Carol in Prose-which truly love their lords desire to be. The baby was born enjoyed vast popularity, and was dramatised at the in her mother's house, and she had not seen her hus
London theatres. Thus crowned with unrivalled sucband (to whom she was now returning) for twelve cess, buoyant in genius and spirit, and replete with months, having left him a month or two after their generous and manly feeling, we may anticipate for marriage. Well, to be sure, there never was a little
Mr Dickens à long and honourable career. "The diffiwoman so full of hope, and tenderness, and love, and culties to which he is exposed in his present periodical anxiety, as this little woman was; and all day long
mode of writing are, in some respects, greater than if she wondered whether he would be at the wharf: he allowed himself a wider field, and gave his whole and whether 'he' had got her letter ; and whether, if work to the public at once. But he would be subshe sent the baby ashore by somebody else, 'he' would jected to a severer criticism if his fiction could be know it meeting it in the street; which, seeing that read continuedly-if his power of maintaining a he had never set eyes upon it in his life, was not very sustained interest could be tested—if his work could likely in the abstract, but was probable enough to the be viewed as a connected whole, and its object, young mother. She was such an artless little crea plan, consistency, and arrangement, brought to the ture, and was in such a sunny, beaming, hopeful state, notice of the reader at once. This ordeal cannot be and let out all this matter clinging close about her | passed triumphantly without the aid of other qualiheart so freely, that all the other lady passengers en ties than necessarily belong to the most brilliant tered into the spirit of it as much as she; and the sketcher of detached scenes. We do not, however, captain (who heard all about it from his wife) was mean to express a doubt that Mr Dickens can write wondrous sly, I promise you, inquiring every time we with judgment as well as with spirit. His powers met at table, as in forgetfulness, whether she ex. of observation and description are qualities rarer, pected anybody to meet her at St Louis, and whether and less capable of being acquired, than those which she would want to go ashore the night we reached it would enable him to combine the scattered portions (but he supposed she wouldn't), and cutting many of a tale into one consistent and harmonious whole. other dry jokes of that nature. There was one little If he will endeavour to supply whatever may be weazen-dried, apple-faced old woman, who took oc-effected by care and study-avoid imitation of other casion to doubt the constancy of husbands in such writers-keep nature steadily before his eyes and circumstances of bereavement; and there was another check all disposition to exaggerate—we know no lady (with a lap dog), old enough to moralise on the writer who seems likely to attain higher success in lightness of human affections, and yet not so old that that rich and useful department of fiction which is she could help nursing the baby now and then, or founded on faithful representations of human chalaughing with the rest when the little woman called racter, as exemplified in the aspects of English life.' * it by its father's name, and asked it all manner of fantastic questions concerning him in the joy of her
HISTORIANS. heart. It was something of a blow to the little woman, that when we were within twenty miles of our desti- In depth of research and intrinsic value, the histonation, it became clearly necessary to put this baby torical works of this period far exceed those of any of bed. But she got over it with the same good humour, our former sections. Access has been more readily tied a handkerchief round her head, and came out obtained to all public documents, and private collecinto the little gallery with the rest. Then, such an tions have been thrown open with a spirit of cnoracle as she became in reference to the localities ! lightened liberality. Certain departments of history and such facetiousness as was displayed by the mar-1.
mar- | -as the Anglo-Saxon period, and the progress ried ladies, and such sympathy as was shown by the single ones, and such peals of laughter as the little
* Edinburgh Review for 1838.
generally of the English constitution-- have also extreme. In treating of the democracies or of the been cultivated with superior learning and diligence. democratical leaders, his statements are not less The great works of Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon, partial and exaggerated.'* It is undeniable that Mr still maintain their pre-eminence with the general | Mitford has over-coloured the evils of popular reader, but the value of the two first has been mate-government, but there is so much acuteness and rially diminished by subsequent investigations and spirit in his political disquisitions, and his narrative new information.
of events is so animated, full, and distinct, that he
is always read with pleasure. His qualifications were WILLIAM MITFORD.
great, and his very defects constitute a sort of in
dividuality that is not without its attraction in so The most elaborate and comprehensive work we long history have here to notice, is The History of Greece from the Earliest Period, by WILLIAM MITFORD, Esq. The first volume of Mr Mitford's history came before
[Condemnation and Death of Socrates.] the public in 1784, a second was published in 1790, We are not informed when Socrates first became and a third in 1797. It was not, however, till the distinguished as a sophist; for in that description of year 1810 that the work was completed. Mr men he
men he was in his own day reckoned. When the wit Mitford, descended of an ancient family in North- of Aristophanes was directed against him in the umberland, was born in London on the 10th of theatre, he was already among the most eminent, but February 1744, and was educated first at Cheam
his eminence seems to have been then recent. It was
his eminence seems to have been then recent school, Surrey, and afterwards at Queen's college, about the tenth or eleventh year of the Peloponnesian Oxford. He studied the law, but abandoned it on war, when he was six or seven-and-forty years of age, obtaining a commission in the South Hampshire that, after the manner of the old comedy, he was offered Militia, of which regiment he was afterwards lieu to public derision upon the stage by his own name, as tenant-colonel. In 1761 he succeeded to the family one of the persons of the drama, in the comedy of estate in Hampshire, and was thus enabled to pursue Aristophanes, called The Clouds, which is yet extant. those classical and historical studies to which he was Some antipathy, it appears, existed between the comic ardently devoted. His first publication was an poets collectively and the sophists or philosophers. I Essay on the Harmony of Language, intended princi- The licentiousness of the former could indeeti scarcely 1 pally to illustrate that of the English Language, 1774, escape the animadversion of the latter, who, on the which afterwards reached a second edition. While contrary, favoured the tragic poets, competitors with in the militia, he published a Treatise on the Military the comedians for public favour. Euripides and Force, and particularly of the Militia of the Kingdom. Aristophanes were particularly enemies; and Socrates This subject seems to have engrossed much of his not only lived in intimacy with Euripides, but is said attention, for at a subsequent period of his life, when to have assisted him in some of his tragedies. We a member of the House of Commons, Mr Mitford are informed of no other cause for the injurious readvocated the cause of the militia with much fervour, presentation which the cornic poet has giren and recommended a salutary jealousy relative to a Socrates, whom he exhibits in The Clouds as a flagistanding army in this country. He was neverthe- tious yet ridiculous pretender to the occult sciences, less a general supporter of ministers, and held the conversing with the clouds as divinities, and teaching government appointment of Verdurer of the New the principal youths of Athens to despise the received Forest. Mr Mitford was twice elected member of gods and to cozen men. The audience, accustomed parliament for the borough of Beeralston, in Devon. | to look on defamation with carelessness, and to hold shire, and afterwards for New Romney. in Kent | as lawful and proper whatever might amuse the mulHe died in 1827. The History of Greece' has titude, applauded the wit, and even gare general passed through several editions. Byron says of Mr approbation to the piece ; but the high estimation of Mitford as a historian— His great pleasure consists
the character of Socrates sufficed to prerent that comin praising tyrants, abusing Plutarch, spelling oddly,
plete success which the poet had promised hinuself. and writing quaintly; and what is strange, after all,
The crown which rewarded him whose drama most his is the best modern history of Greece in any
earned the public favour, and which Aristophanes language, and he is perhaps the best of all modern
had so often won, was on this occasion refused him. historians whatsoever. Having named his sins
Two or three-and-twenty years bad elapsed since (adds the noble poet), it is but fair to state his vir
the first representation of The Clouds; the storms of tues-learning, labour, research, wrath, and par
conquest suffered from a foreign enemy, and of four tiality. I call the latter virtues in a writer, because
revolutions in the civil government of the country, they make him write in earnest.' The earnestness
had passed ; nearly three years had followed of that of Mr Mitford is too often directed against what he
quiet which the revolution under Thrasybulus proterms the inherent weakness and the indelible
duced, and the act of amnesty should have confirmed, barbarism of democratical government.' He was a
when a young man named Melitus went to the kingwarm admirer of the English constitution and of the
archon, and in the usual form delivered an informamonarchical form of government, and this bias led
tion against Socrates, and bound himself to prosecute. him to be unjust to the Athenian people, whom he
The information ran thus :- Melitus, son of Melitus, on one occasion terms “the sovereign beggars of
of the borough of Pitthos, declares these upon onthly Athens.' His fidelity as a reporter of facts has also
| against Socrates, son of Sophroniscus, of the borough been questioned. He contracts the strongest indi.
of Alopece: Socrates is guilty of reviling the gods vidual partialities, and according as these lead, he
whom the city acknowledges, and of preaching other
new gods: moreover, he is guilty of corrupting the is credulous or mistrustful-he exaggerates or he qualifies-he expands or he cuts down the docu
| youth. Penalty, death.' ments on which he has to proceed. With regard to with declaring his wonder how the Athenians could
Xenophon begins his memorials of his revered master, the bright side of almost every king whom he has to describe, Mr Mitford is more than credulous; for such uncommonly clear innocence and exalted worth.
have been persuaded to condemn to death a man of a credulous man believes all that he is told: Mr Ælian, though for authority he can bear no comparison Mitford believes more than he is told. With regard with Xenophon, has nevertheless, I think, given the to the dark side of the same individuals, his habits of estimating evidence are precisely in the opposite
* Westminster Review for 18%
solution. "Socrates,' he says, 'disliked the Athenian poets, who esteemed the doctrine of Socrates injurious constitution ; for he saw that democracy is tyran- to their interest. Unsupported, his accusation would nical, and abounds with all the evils of absolute have been little formidable ; but he seems to have monarchy' But though the political circumstances | been a mere instrument in the business. Ile was soon of the times made it necessary for cotemporary writers joined by Lycon, one of the most powerful speakers of to speak with caution, yot both Xenophon and Plato his time. Lycon was the avowed patron of the rhetohave declared enough to show that the assertion of ricians, who, as well as the poets, thought their interest Ælian was well-founded ; and farther proof, were it , injured by the moral philosopher's doctrine. I know wanted, may be derived from another early writer, not that on any other occasion in Grecian history we nearly cotemporary, and deeply versed in the politics have any account of this kind of party-interest'opeof his age, the orator Æschines. Indeed, though not rating; but from circumstances nearly analogous in stated in the indictment, yet it was urged against our own country--if we substitute for poets the clergy, Socrates by his prosecutors before the court, that he and for rhetoricians the lawyers—we may gather what was disaffected to the dennocracy; and in proof, they might be the party-spirit, and what the weight of inaffirmed it to be notorious that he had ridiculed what fluence of the rhetoricians and poets in Athens. With the Athenian constitution prescribed, the appoint- Lycon, Anytus, a man scarcely second to any in the ment to magistracy by lot. “Thus,' they said, 'he commonwealth in rank and general estimation, who taught his numerous followers, youths of the principal had held high command with reputation in the Pelofamilies of the city, to despise the established govern | ponnesian war, and had been the principai associate ment, and to be turbulent and seditious; and his of Thrasybulus in the war against the thirty and the success had been seen in the conduct of two of the restoration of the democracy, declared himself a supmost eminent, Alcibiades and Critias. Even the best porter of the prosecution. Nothing in the accusation things he converted to these ill purposes : from the could, by any known law of Athens, affect the life of most esteemed poets, and particularly from Homer, the accused. In England, no man would be put upon he slected passages to enforce his anti-democratical trial on so vague a charge--no grand jury would listen principles.'
to it. But in Athens, if the party was strong enough. Socrates, it appears, indeed, was not inclined to it signified little what was the law. When Lycon deny bis disapprobation of the Athenian constitution. and Anytus came forward, Socrates saw that his conHis defence itself, as it is reported by Plato, contains demnation was already decided. inatter on which to found an accusation against him! By the course of his life, however, and by the turn of disaffection to the sovereignty of the people, such of his thoughts for many years, he had so prepared as, under the jealous tyranny of the Athenian deino- himself for all events, that, far from alarıned at the cracy, would sometimes subject a man to the penalties probability of his condemnation, he rather rejoiced at of high treason. You well know,' he says, 'Athenians, it, as at his age a fortunate occurrence. He was perthat had I engaged in public business, I should long suaded of the soul's immortality, and of the superinago have perished without procuring any advantage tending providence of an all-good Deity, whose favour either to you or to inyself. Let not the truth offend he had always been assiduously endeavouring to deyou: it is no peculiarity of your democracy, or of your serve. Men fear death, he said, as if unquestionably national character; but wherever the people is sove the greatest evil, and yet no man knows that it may reign, no man who shall dare honestly to oppose in- not be the greatest good. If, indeed, great joys were justice--- frequent and extravagant injustice -- can in prospect, he might, and his friends for him, with aroid destruction.'
somewhat more reason regret the event; but at his Without this proof, indeed, we might reasonably years, and with his scanty fortune-though he was believe, that though Socrates was a good and faithful happy enough at seventy still to preserve both body subject of the Athenian government, and would pro- and mind in vigour-yet eren his present gratificamote no sedition, no political violence, yet he could tions must necessarily soon decay. To avoid, therefore, not like the Athenian constitution. He wished for the evils of age, pain, sickness, decay of sight, decay wholesome changes by gentle means; and it seems even of hearing, perhaps decay of understanding, by the to have been a principal object of the labours to which casiest of deaths (for such the Athenian mode of exche dedicated himself, to infuse principles into the cution-by a draught of hemlock-was reputed), rising generation that might bring about the desirable cheered with the company of surrounding friends, change insensibly. His scholars were chiefly sons of could not be otherwise than a blessing. the wealthiest citizens, whose easy circumstances 1 Xenophon says that, by condescending to a little afforded leisure to attend him; and some of these supplication, Socrates might easily have obtained his zealously adopting his tenets, others merely pleased / acquittal. No admonition or intreaty of his friends, with the ingenuity of his arguments and the live | however, could persuade him to such an unworthiness. liness of his manner, and desirous to emulate his On the contrary, when put upon his defence, he told triumphs over his opponents, were forward, after his the people that he did not plead for his own sake, but example, to engage in disputation upon all the sub- for theirs, wishing them to avoid the guilt of an unjects on which he was accustomed to discourse. Thus just condemnation. It was usual for accused persons employed, and thus followed, though himself avoiding to bewail their apprehended lot, with tears to supplioffice and public business, those who governed or de cate favour, and, by exhibiting their children upon the sired to govern the commonwealth through their bema, to endeavour to excite pity. He thought it, he influence among the many, night perhaps not un-said, more respectful to the court, as well as more reasonably consider him as one who was or might becoming himself, to omit all this; however aware become a formidable adversary, nor might it be dithi. that their sentiments were likely so far to differ from cult to excite popular jealousy against him.
his, that judgment would be given in anger for it. Melitus, who stood forward as his principal accuser, I Condemnation pronounced wrought no change upon was, as Plato informs us, no way a man of any great him. He again addressed the court, declared his consideration. His legal description gives some pro- innocence of the matters laid against him, and obbability to the conjecture, that his father was one of served that, even if every charge had been conipletely the commissioner3 sent to Lacedæmon from the mo- proved, still, all together did not, according to any derate party, who opposed the ten successors of the known law, amount to a capital crime. But, in thirty tyrants, while Thrasybulus held Piræus, and conclusion he said, “it is time to depart-I to die, you Pausanias was encamped before Athens. He was a to live; but which for the greater good, God only poet, and stood forward as in a common cause of the knows.'
It was usual at Athens for execution very soon to work, Dr John GILLIES, historiographer to li follow condemnation-commonly on the morrow; but majesty for Scotland, published The History it happened that the condemnation of Socrates took | Ancient Greece, its Colonies and Conquests, tro place on the eve of the day appointed for the sacred volumes, quarto, 1786. The monarchical spirit of the ceremony of crowning the galley which carried the new historian was scarcely less decided than that of annual offerings to the gods worshipped at Delos, and Mr Mitford, though expressed with less zeal and immemorial tradition forbade all executions till the idiomatic plainness. The history of Greece,' sari sacred vessel's return. Thus, the death of Socrates was Dr Gillies, exposes the dangerous turbulence of respited thirty days, while his friends had free access democracy, and arraigns the despotism of tyrants. to him in the prison. During all that time he admir- | By describing the incurable evils inherent in every ably supported his constancy. Means were concerted republican policy, it evinces the inestimable benefits for his escape; the jailer was bribed, a vessel prepared, resulting to liberty itself from the lawful dominion and a secure retreat in Thessaly provided. No argu-l of hereditary kings, and the steady operation of wellments, no prayers, could persuade him to use the op: regulated monarchy. The history of Dr Gillies was portunity. He had always taught the duty of executed with considerable ability and care; a sixth obedience to the laws, and he would not furnish an edition of the work (London, 1820, four volumes, 8ra) example of the breach of it. To no purpose it was has been called for, and it may still be cousulted with urged that he had been unjustly condemned- he had advantage. always held that wrong did not justify wrong. He In 1799 MR SHARON TURNER, a solicitor, conwaited with perfect composure the return of the sacred | menced the publication of a series of works on vessel, reasoned on the immortality of the soul, the English history, by which he has obtained a highly advantage of virtue, the happiness derived from having |
aving respectable reputation. The first was a History of made it through life his pursuit, and, with his friends the Anglo-Saxons, the second a History of England about him, took the fatal cup and died.
during the Middle Ages : in subsequent publications Writers who, after Xenophon and Plato, have re
re- | he has continued the series to the end of the reign lated the death of Socrates, seem to have held them- |
of Elizabeth; the whole being comprised in twelve selves bound to vie with those who preceded them in
volumes, and containing much new and interesting giving pathos to the story. The purpose here has been
information on the government, laws, literature, and rather to render it intelligible-to show its connexion
manners, as well as on the civil and ecclesiastical with the political history of Athens-to derive from it
history of the country. From an ambitious attempt illustration of the political history. The magnanimity
nity to rival Gibbon in loftiness of style and diction, dr of Socrates, the principal efficient of the pathos,
Turner has disfigured his history by a pomp of surely deserves admiration ; yet it is not that in
expression and involved intricacy of style, that often which he has inost outshone other men. The circum
border on the ludicrous, and mar the effect of liis stances of Lord Russel's fate were far more trying.
narrative. This defect is more conspicuous in his Socrates, we may reasonably suppose, would have borne Lord Russel's trial; but with Bishop Burnet for
latter volumes. The early part of his history, devoted his eulogist, instead of Plato and Xenophon, he would
to the Anglo-Saxons, and the labour, as he informis not have had his present splendid fame. The singular
us, of sixteen years, is by far the most valuable. Mr merit of Socrates lay in the purity and the usefulness
Turner has also publislied a Sacred History of the of his manners and conversation; the clearness with
World, in two volumes: this book is intended to which he saw, and the steadiness with which he prac
afford to young persons a selected and concentrated! tised, in a blind and corrupt age, all moral duties;
view of the chief facts and reasonings on the credo the disinterestedness and the zeal with which he de
tion, intellectual design, and divine economy of the voted himself to the benefit of others; and the en
world, conceived and expressed in such a manner as larged and warm benevolence, whence his supreme
to suit the modern style of thought and argument in and almost only pleasure seems to have consisted in
which philosophical subjects are presented. doing good. The purity of Christian morality, little
WILLIAM Coxe (1748.1828), archdeacon of Wilts || enough, indeed, seen in practice, nevertheless is become
was the author of various historical works of a very 80 familiar in theory, that it passes almost for obvious,
| elaborate character. His Memoirs of the Life and and even congenial to the human mind. Those only
Administration of Sir Robert Walpole, published in will justly estimate the merit of that near approach
| 1798, in three quarto volumes, was the first tolerable to it which Socrates made, who will take the pains to
account of any part of our history subsequent to the gather-as they may from the writings of his contem
accession of the house of Hanover. It was followed poraries and predecessors—how little conception was
by Memoirs of Horatio Lord Walpole, in which there entertained of it before his time; how dull to a just was a view of the times between 1678 and 1757. moral sense the human mind has really been ; how These works derive a great value from the mass of slow the progress in the investigation of moral duties, original papers published in connexion with them, even where not only great pains have been taken, but though the author's style is heavy and inelegant the greatest abilities zealously employed ; and when His History of the House of Austria, 1807, and his discovered, how difficult it has been to establish them Memoirs of the Kings of Spain of the House of Bours by proofs beyond controversy, or proofs even that | bon, 1813, were almost the first English works should be generally admitted by the reason of men. / which an acquaintance was displayed with the It is through the light which Socrates diffused by his / materials of European history extant in other side doctrine, enforced by his practice, with the advantage | guages than the French and Latin. Artikel of having both the doctrine and the practice exhibited | Coxe also published the Life and select Worker to highest advantage in the incomparable writings of Benjamin Stillingfieet, and the Life and raper disciples such as Xenophon and Plato, that his life Duke of Marlborough. forms an era in the history of Athens and of man. Resembling Turner and Coxe in the vastness of
his undertakings, but inferior as a writer, wa DR JOHN GILLIES-MR SHARON TURNER
GEORGE CHALMERS (1744-1825), a native of ScotWILLIAM COXE-GEORGE CHALMERS.
land, and originally a barrister in one of the Ames
rican colonies before their disjunction from Britain. While the first volume of Mitford's history was His first composition, A History of the before the public, and experiencing that degree of nies, from their Settlement till the peace of me
3, apo favour which induced the author to continue his peared in 1780, and from time to time he gave
ve to the