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REVIEW AND ANALYSIS.
Mr.Mounteney.we trust, will excuse the liberties we have taken with himself individually, and also his book. He is a bold man himself, and has indulged in great freedom of speech, and cannot fairly refuse the same license to others,—chough it sometimes happens—oddly enough—that those mostgreedyof libertyfor themselves are the least tolerant of it in their compeers. We hope Mr. Mounteney is not one of those. His work has no claim whatever to the grave and dignified title of "An Historical Inquiry," yet it is neither uninstructive nor unentertaining; he has collected some valuable materials from good sources, of which we will now avail ourselves to furnish out a paragraph or two, illustrative of war and the history of great men.
BRUTALIZING TENDENCY OF WAR.
War is by no means a school of humanity, nor drawing room pastime. It tends to harden the heart, and render men callous to the sufferings of their fellow-creatures. When the French army, says M. Miot, was about to move from Tentoura, there remained in the huts on the sea-shore wretches who waited to be removed. Among them was a soldier afflicted with the plague, who, in the delirium which mostly accompanies it, imagined, on perceiving the army in motion, that he was about to be abandoned. His mind at once portrayed to him the frightful extent of his misfortune; and the horror of falling into the hands of the Arabs, so strongly affected his feelings, that he attempted following the troops on foot. Seizing for this purpose his knapsack, on which his head had rested, he twice essayed to walk; at the third effort he sunk down near the water's edge, and became rivetted to the spot which fate had destined him for a tomb. The reader will perhaps imagine, that this poor soldier's comrades stopped to help him, and support his tottering steps :—no such thing! on the contrary, l.e was only au object of disgust and derision to them. They shrunk from him as from the blast of the desert, and indulged in brutal mirth at his reeling motions, which resembled] those of a drunken person. 'He has got his quarters,' exclaimed one :—' He will not go far,' exclaimed another:—and when the hapless wretch fell for the last time, some had the barbarity to add, 'He has made good his lodgment V
In the retreat of sir John Moore from Spain, in 1808—9, "I have seen," says the Journal of a soldier of the 71st regiment, '• officers of the guards and others, worth thousands, with pieces of old blanket wrapt round their feet and legs—the men pointing at them with a malicious satisfaction, saying, 'There goes 3000/, a year!'
or, 'There goes the prodigal son on his return to his father, cured of his wanderings!' Even in the midst of all our sorrows, there was a bitterness of spirit, a savageness of wit, that made a jest of its own sufferings." p. 76.
FLOWERS OF CHIVALRY.
Edward of England, commonly called the Black Prince, was, we are told, endowed with every virtue, civil as well as military. At the taking of Limoges, however, in 1376, this paragon of princes was so enraged at what he was pleased to call the treachery and resistance he had met with, that he determined to satisfy his vengeance in the blood of its inhabitants; an indiscriminate slaughter was accordingly commanded, and upwards of 3000 men, women, and children paid the forfeit of their lives, to appease the choler of the conqueror of Cressy and Poictiers.
About 1667, the great Turenne received orders to lay waste the province of Alsace; he was too great a disciplinarian to disobey; but the commands forwarded were so literally carried into execution, that even those who issued them desired that the havoc might cease, "Tis very well," coolly observed this heto, " I will insert the minister's desire in the order of the day!"
In 1678, the Prince of Orange, after, wards William III. of England, possessing full knowledge at the time, that peace with France had been signed at Nimeguen, attacked the French marshal de Luxembourg; in this battle about 4000 men, not to speak of the wounded, lost their lives, sacrificed to the vanity and wantonness of glorious king William.
In 1740, Frederick the Great of Prussia commenced hostilities against Austria, and at the head of a large army invaded Silesia. What was the real motive for the war—a war by which thousands lost their lives, and as many more were condemned to pain and sorrow for the remainder of their existence? We will answer this question: Frederick was young, rich, enamoured with glory, troubled with few scruples, and wanted something to do. The Brandenburgh monarch was troubled with the blue devils, and set about plundering and cutting of throats to chase away the vapours. This was a philosophical hero!
When Saladin, king of Egypt, refused to ratify the capitulation of Acre, the king of England, Richard I. ordered all his prisoners, to the number of 5000, to be butchered; and the Saracens found themselves obliged to retaliate on the Christians with the like cruelty.
The morning after the battle of Cressy, won by Edward 111., was foggy ; and as the English observed that many of the enemy had lost their way in the night, and in the mist, they employed a stratagem to bring them into their power. They erected on the eminences some French standards, which they had taken in the battle ;"and all who were allured by this false signal were put to the sword, and no quarter given them.
Oliver Cromwell having made a breach in the walls of Tredah, in Ireland, immediately ordered the assault. Though twice repulsed with loss he renewed the attack; and himself, along with Ireton, led on his men. All opposition was overborne by the furious valour of the troops. The town was taken sword in hand; and orders being issued to give no quarter, a cruel slaughter was made of the garrison. Even a few who were saved by the soldiers, satiated with blood, were next day miserably butchered by order of Cromwell.
The battle of Frawenstad was fought in February 1706. The earl of Schullenbourg commanded the Russians; the grand marshal Renschild led on the Swedes. The combat did not last a quarter of an hour; the Saxons made no resistance. The Muscovite army was completely defeated: it in fact only marched on the field to run away; and this was accomplished so speedily, that 7000 loaded muskets were picked up on the ground, their owners not having had time to discharge them. A corps of 6000 Russians threw themselves on their knees, and pleaded for mercy, but they were inhumanly massacred six hours after the strife was over, and this because some of their compatriots had behaved ill elsewhere, but chiefly because it was not known what to do with them.
Want of room compels us to pass over the massacres of CJlenco, Culloden, and many others which occurred during the French revolutionary war. It is by such examples, that Mr. Mounteney seeks to extenuate the military execution ordered by Bonaparte at Jaffa!
"Itisof great consequence in the education of the young, to encourage their instinctive taste forthe beauty and sublimity of nature."—Alison'
The man who contents himself with a mere cursory view of the broad volume of creation, whose every line bears proof of intelligence divine, may not inaptly be compared to the superficial reader, whose fancy being satisfied with first impressions,
disdains the sober'exercise of inquiry and research. Enthusiastic and sincere as may be his admiration of the beauties of nature, he is nevertheless a stranger to that harmonious simplicity by which they are organized and controlled:
Hence larger prospects of the beauteous whole
Such an observer of Nature, while he enjoys the exhaustless variety which embellishes and enriches the surface of our earth, is lost to that
"secret world of wonders" ," .
which gives birth to the numberless progeny. It is by tracing the analogy of cause and effect, that we alone can arrive at the most important truths of philosophy ; and it is in such glorious pursuits alone that consists the true preeminence of a rational and accountable being. No study is calculated to impress us with so correct an idea of the omniscience and omnipotence of the Divine Architect, as that of Geology; or the internal structure of the earth. It abounds with eloquent appeals to the understanding, at the same time that it rebukes the weakness and pride of our nature; and, by contrasting the vastness of the Creator with the littleness of the creature, it enables us to obtain the inestimable treasure of self-knowledge.
Such are the philosophical advantages of this branch of human study. The pursuit is of the most re-creative character; and its details and minutisc abound with unceasing variety and delight. The interesting narrative of extraordinary facts with which it is enriched are sufficient to render it popular, while its claims on a higher order of intellect are readily acknowledged. The arrangement of rocks and mountains is simplified, although their position may at first strike the beholder with astonishment, and appear difficult of explanation. The state of the mineral world, and the disposition of the surface on which wc walk are also disclosed andaccounted for. Earthquakes'and volcanoes, considered by the vulgar and unlearned as so many prodigies, or unexplained phenomena, and in former ages as portentous of divine vengeance, are proved to be among the ordinary operations in the grand laboratory of nature, and which belong to an indefinite series of changes or revolutions, by which the surface of our earth has, from time to time, been affected and diversified. Again, a variety of occurrences, which superstition magnified into phenomena, and with which she imposed on the ignorant,
are proved to be the simple results of mechanical combinations, or the operations of certain explained agents. Caverns and grottos are the sportive architecture of nature, and the beauty and splendour of which, were it not for the pursuits of the geologist, would remain concealed, or be gazed at with comparative indifference.
But the most interesting, and deservedly popular division of our subject, is the discovery of Fossil Organic Remains, inasmuch as they prove to be so many connecting links in the grand chain of the history of the world, in all ages. Here are subjects for the profound study of the religious or contemplative philosopher; and hence he deduces facts and reasoning of vital importance. Around him, he sees the wreck of past ages, while he meditates on the changes which are there imperceptibly taking place; and may thus be said to be opening to him a glimpse of futurity. The extinction of animals, whose previous existence is corroborated by these remains, llustrates many portions of natural history, and introduces us to a vast fund of information on subjects of curiosity and delightful research.
We wish our readers to consider the foregoing general observations on the study of geology, as introductory to a series of papers on that subject, which we intend shall occasionally occupy a place in the future numbers of our Miscellany. In the present age of improvement the public mind is largely occupied on subjects of experimental philosophy, which spirit is alike honourable to the industry and ingenuity of its.professors. The connexion between natural and experimental philosophy will ensure attention to both those branches of study, lest, perchance the pride of man should induce him to neglect the former. Such has been sometimes the case. Hence the ruins of a splendid city would be sure to excite inquiry, while a mountainous and romantic tract of country would scarcely be noticed. The discovery of another mine inGolconda would indeed be a prize to a trafficking adventurer; but the naturalist, or he who
studies the philosophy of nature, would not exchange his cabinet for so great a prize! We intend to divide our researches on this subject into distinct papers, somewhat upon the arrangement we have already suggested. In addition to facts and reasonings, it will be our duty to present the reader with the latest and most important discoveries connected with the study of geology, and we trust that h« may, therefore, calculate on the superior satisfaction resulting from combining the labours of preceding and contemporary intelect.
Srts and &cun«s.
The progress of theoretical science may always be distinctly traced by the improvements which are made in instruments of practical and general utility. Hence it has been well remarked, that the long list of our'patent-roll offers more certain and mure decided evidence of the scientific superiority of England, than the multitude of works on every branch of philosophical inquiry which arc continually issuing from the press. We daily see discoveries, hitherto ranked rather as affording matter of amusement to the unlearned, or of abstract speculation to the philosopher, opening, by their application, new channels for industry, and becoming the source of benefit to all. Perhaps no philosophical discovery could promise fewer practical advantages than that of j fulminating compounds: yet their application to fire-arms, independently of the service which they have rendered to sportsmen, has been the means of affording employment for the ingenuity and the labour of many who would otherwise have been obliged to turn their attention to far less profitable occupations. As the principle of the percussion-locks is generally known among sport«men only, we shall offer no farther apology for the following account of them ;—the first, we believe, which has been published of their present form.
The annexed figure represents the lock of a fowling-piece. The internal mechanism of the springs, &c. being entirely similar to that of the common flint and steel lock, is not represented in the figure. The lock F.is drawn as upon whole cock, E E part of the stock to which the lock is screwed, D the barrel. The upper part A of the cock is hollowed out into a conical cavity, nearly fitting the conical pivot B, upon which the cock falls with great force when the trigger is drawn. The touchhole passes down through the pivot B into the barrel D. C is a small aperture in a plug of platinum, through which part of the gas evolved by the explosion escapes. The detonating compound is contained in small copper caps, represented by G. These caps are in the shape of a thimble, and are formed out of very thin plates of copper. The plates are cut into pieces of the form of a cross, as H; and these crosses being driven through a hole by a punch, the caps are immediately formed.
The detonating mixture is composed of chlorate of potash and sulphur, with a small quantity of charcoal: these ingredients being thoroughly mixed in a mortar with a little water, the composition is spread out upon a flat surface into a thin plate, and cut by means of a punch into small circular disks, as I. These disks being properly dried, are fixed by means of a little gum-water to the bottom of the copper caps, and their surface afterward polished by means of a wooden peg, to which rapid motion is communicated from a lathe. One of the caps being placed upon the pivot B, will be exploded by the fall of the cock, and the inflamed gas passing through the touch-hole down the pivot B, will enter the barrel and ignite the gunpowder. A new cap is of course required for every discharge. The principal advantages possessed by these guns over those of the ordinary construction, are greater certainty and rapidity in the discharge, and their being free from the inconvenience of the priming becoming damp, or falling put of the pan by carriage.
It is not more true, that the cares of business must be relieved, and the pleasures of life be invigorated by public amusement, than that of all public amusements, the drama is the most rational, and under proper regulation, the most advantageous to society, The time has been when the theatre was the last place in which men would seek for examples of honor, or women expect to hear the precepts of virtue, when libertines went to
the play, to see how prudes would receive licentious jests ; and the really modest of the softer sex, had no other protection than that of their masks. But the scene is altered. The wit of Congreve, the broad humour of Vanbrugh, and the vivacity of Farquhar, it is true, are no more; but with the fire of their brilliant hilarity, the noisome fume of their ribaldry has departed, and society is a gainer by the change. Now, while purity of sentiment ennobles the language, decency of manner characterizes the action of the stage, and the good sense of one sex is gratified, jvhile the taste and delicacy of the other are respected.
Persuaded that, while the dialogue of the drama is made subservient to the purposes of virtue and morality, the entertainment it affords is entitled to a high rank among the mind's relaxations; that its precepts, its examples, and its fanciful devices, its wit, its mirth, and its music, (to say nothing of the useful knowledge of the world which its ever-shifting scenes convey,) form an union of recommendations that no impartial judge is able, or ought to resist; we mean to make a constant attention to the drama one of the prominent features of our work. Not only all new pieces, and all new performers, will have the Circulator's prompt and due notice; but every conspicuous display of merit will receive its just measure of applause, and the eulogy of managerial judgment and ability, keep pace with that of histrionic talent.
It is no small pleasure to us, to reflect, that the present stock of theatrical talent is so considerable as to afford ample scope to the disposition we shall always evince, to "praise where we can." At both our national theatres we see pretensions to sanction the warmest language of commendation; and those pretensions will never appeal to us in vain. A Kean, a Macready, and a Young, a Braham, a a Sapio, and a Sinclair, a Stephens, a Paton, and a Tree, will not only shine on the boards, but in our columns. But justice nevertheless will chasten our liberality. The honesty of unbiassed criticism will pervade the language of encomium, and the censure of defects, where they really exist, invariably accompany the approbation of merit. It has been with these unswayed feelings, this strict sense of the duty every commentator owes to the public, that we have recently visited the theatres. Charmed as we have been with a variety of clear and strong conceptions of character, pathetic and powerful acting, and sweet and energetic vocal intonation, we have not suffered ourselves to be cheated of our judgment j our readers will not
find that we have been carried away with a speech, or intoxicated with a song. The excellence we extol must be solid and settled: must exist in the mind, voice, and manner of the performer, and depending wholly on spirit, taste, and study, owe nothing to chance or accident. An actor may occasionally be physically feeble, and a singer temporarily out of voice ; but such isolated inequalities will rarely have our notice, and never our censure, or ridicule. The soul, the sentiment, in both; the impulse that lives in the. heart, and the guide that resides in the head, secopded by powers that nature kindly bestows, and study judiciously improves ;—these qualities will command our respect, and with us will always apologize for the momentary failure of external requisites.
These observations are sufficient to explain(the principles on which our theatrical critique will be founded, so far as concerns the representation; but every department in the business of the theatre, immediately connected with the amusement and gratification of the audience, will be minutely attended to: neither the grace and agility of the dancer, the skill of the scene-painter, the contrivance of the machinist, nor the labours of the tailor and dress-maker, will be disregarded. Considering that every thing which is subject to propriety and impropriety, has, on that very account, its lesser or greater consequence, we shall have our eye upon every thing that by its nature is submitted to the public judgment; and while we liberally acknowledge and commend merit, in whatever shape it presents itself, shall faithfully point out, and decidedly disapprove, whatever demands disapprobation. In a word, the acting, the singing, the dancing, the scenery, the machinery, and the wardrobe, will be within the sphere of our observations, and the extended picture of our comments will indicate, as we hope, the hand of a complete dramatic censor.
If we have not in this, the initiatory number of our periodical, entered upon the task of our proposed criticism, it is because we deemed it regular and necessary to previously apprize our readers of the plan on which it is intended to be conducted. To the real world, the movements of the mimic world are far from being without their importance. The latter, professing to be but the copy of surrounding realities, often becomes in its turn, the model of what it affects to imitate; and, released from the critic's vigilance, would be in danger of corrupting, what it was originally designed to improve. So true is this latter remark, that its substance will never be out of our recollection. It will strongly and closely draw our atten
tion to the moral tendency'and bearing'of every new drama. With the noble exam? pies of Euripides and Sophocles, Menander and Terence, Racine, and Corneille, Moliere and Voltaire, and our own Shakspeare and Beaumont and Fletcher, before our eyes, we shall occasionally draw the comparison between their laudable objects and those of our modern dramatists j and making their labours and intentions the measures of; the excellence we wish to see emulated by living authors, give our own writers that station in the great scale of dramatic merit, which properly belongs to their several pretensions.
By this short synopsis, it will be perceived, that if we are friends to the stage, we are friends to the best interests of society; and that if, while we declare ourselves in favour of public amusements, we place the drama in the highest rank among them, it is in part because we think it calculated to inform the understanding, but more on account of its capability to improve the heart.
Sirthomaslawrence has just finished a portrait of his Majesty, which is intended for his grace the duke of Wellington, and will ornament the drawing-room of Apsley house. The head of this portrait, which is a whole length, is nearly the same, in regard to position and view, as that of the King in his robes as knight of the garter, of which duplicates have been sent to the Universities, to the Pope, and to the different Sovereigns of Europe. But the peculiarity of the present portrait, which distinguishes it from all others of his majesty, is the blue military uniform. This dress renders the picture interesting in another point of view. Sir Joshua Reynolds had often declared, that no picture could have a rich and harmonious effect which had blue for its principal colour. This was disputed by Gainsborough, who produced, as an evidence to the contrary, that very celebrated picture called the Blue Boy, in the collection of the earl of Grosvenor. The present picture of his majesty may be considered as a confirmation of Gainsborough's opinion, it being particularly excellent in its colouring, notwithstanding the blue dress.
The President has also just finished a portrait of the Lord Chancellor, which he declares himself to be his finest head. He is not arrayed in his robes, but appears as in domestic life.
Mr. Croker has also sat to sir Thomas Lawrence. He wears a waistcoat of black velvet, which produces an effect remarkable tor its richness and brilliancy, .j