Page images

The Philosophy of Sleep. By Robert Macnish, Author of the woodland choir, one after another, become hushed,

verse of all this activity and motion is observed. The songs of the “ Anatomy of Drunkenness," and Member of till at length twilight is left to silence, with her own star the Faculty of Physicians of Glasgow. Glasgow. W. and the falling dews. Action is succeeded by listlessness, R. M‘Phun. 1830.

energy by languor, the desire of exertion by the inclination

for repose. Sleep, which shuns the light, embraces dark. The most celebrated philosophers of every age have ness, and they lie down together most lovingly, under the endeavoured to investigate the nature of sleep, but it is sceptre of midnight.” still little understood by the ablest physiologists and

Our author briefly notices the position assumed during metapbysicians, and its phenomena are the subjects of sleep,—“ Sleep,” says he, “ may ensue in any posture of various popular superstitions. No sooner does the sun sink below the horizon, than the stimuli of light, heat, riding in this state for a long time, without being awaken

the body ; persons fall asleep on horseback, and continue noise, and the bustling occupation of the day, are with ed. "Horses sometimes sleep for hours in the standing drawn, and man, participating in the general repose of posture.” It may be added, that all animals choose a nature, resigns himself to its soothing and mysterious particular position for themselves during slumber. The influence. It was, by the ancient mythologists and poets, camel places his head between his fore feet, the monkey, described as the brother of Death, and in a splendid Roman like man, lies on his side. A species of parrot (the marble, described by Montfaucon, was represented under the image of a child asleep, with its arms resting on the psittacus galgulus) hangs by one foot on the branch of a

The duration of sleep, and the influence of habit, mane of a sleeping lion, thus intimating that its power is also an interesting subject of observation. Most adults subdaes alike the strong and the weak—the most fero require from six to eight hours sleep. It is a common cious and the gentlest beings upon earth. In this respect, it resembles the fell avenger of man's fall,—for, but we have known many persons who enjoy the best health,

notion, that an hour before midnight is worth two after; equalising all the human race, it reduces to a similar state who for years have been in the habit of prolonging their of helplessness the high and the low, the rich and the vigils long after the “ witching hour,” and who seem to poor ; so that the pampered lord, reposing on his soft adopt the maxim of the facetious character in Shakspeare, couch, beneath a canopy of gold, does not enjoy more who maintains, that “ to be up after twelve o'clock, and placid rest than the poor peasant, who, stretched upon then to go to bed, is to go to bed early; therefore, to go his straw-pallet, has been lulled to sleep by the wind to bed after midnight, is to go to bed betimes." But this howling round the walls of his weatherbeaten cottage. is certainly a very heterodox doctrine, which, we appreBut it is to be remembered, that sleep does not always hend, will lead few to the Temple of Hygeia. The visit us as “ tired nature's kind restorer,” for not unfrequently, and especially during mental excitement or bodily extraordinary is

subjoined quotation will, however, sufficiently prove how indisposition, it comes accompanied with frightful dreams, incubi, and somnambulism; in which conditions, the

THE INFLUENCE OF HABIT ON SLEEP. mind and the body seem intluenced by laws inexplicable

“ Seamen and soldiers, from habit, can sleep when they to us, and such as almost render philosophically correct will, and wake when they will. The Emperor Napoleon

was a striking instance of this fact. Captain Barclay, whert the observation of the poet" Our life is twofold ; sleep performing his extraordinary feat of walking 1000 miles in hath its own world."

as many successive hours, obtained at last such a mastery From such considerations, it is obvious that Mr Mac- over himself, that he fell asleep the instant he lay down. nish, who is already known to the public as the author

The faculty of remaining asleep for a of a very popular work, has been happy in the choice of great length of time, is possessed by some individuals. Such a subject for his present volume; for we can scarcely con

was the case with Quin, the celebrated player, who could ceive any person producing an uninteresting or unpopular beth Orvin, who slept three-fourths of her life ; --with

slumber for twenty-four hours successively ;-with Elizabook on the Philosophy of Sleep. The theme embraces Elizabeth Perkins, who slept for a week or fortnight at a so many phenomena, the very mysteries of which excite time ;-with Mary Lyell, who did the same for six successan intense degree of interest ; it is replete with so many ive weeks—and with many others, more or less remarkable. curioas, yet manifest facts, that the investigation, at every | A phenomenon of an opposite character is also sometimes step, rouses the imagination of the poet, and appeals, at observed, for there are individuals who can subsist on a the same time, to the judgment of the philosopher. To surprisingly small portion of sleep. The celebrated General explain the proximate cause of sleep, our author, follow- Eliot was an instance of this kind; he never slept more ing the hypothesis of D'Arroin, has recourse to the

influ- than four hours out of the twenty-four. In all other reence of the sensorial power, which he increases or dimi- wholly of bread, water, and vegetables. In a letter com

spects, he was strikingly abstinent, his food consisting nishes, and directs from one channel in the body to an-municated to Sir John Sinclair, by John Gordon, Esq. of other, exactly as suits the exigency of the difficulty which Swiney, mention is made of a person named John Mackay requires to be explained. Having very briefly stated

the of Skerray, who died in Strathnave, in the year 1797, aged intiuence of this mysterious principle," which, after all

, ninety-one; he only slept on an average four hours in the is only a sorry substitute for the nervous fuid, or animal twenty-four, and was a remarkably robust and healthy spirits of the ancients, he proceeds to treat of the several surgeon, John Hunter, only slept five bours during the

Frederick the Great of Prussia, and the illustrious subjects connected with the Philosophy of Sleep which same period. The celebrated French General Pichegru, are more generally interesting. The first extract we shall informed Sir Gilbert Blane, that during a whole year's give, will afford a specimen of the author's style, and we campaigns, he had not above one hour's sleep in the twentymay entitle it


Many still more extraordinary instances of well-at“ Night, observes the poet Montgomery, is the time tested anomalies in the duration of sleep are recorded in for sleep,

' and assuredly the hush of darkness as naturally various medical journals ; and a highly respectable phycourts to repose, as the meridian splendour flashes on us siologist, attempting to explain them, observes, that sleep the necessity of being at our labour. In fact, there exists varies so much in intensity, that the dead slumber of a a strange but certain sympathy between the periods of day few hours may be worth what is vulgarly called a “dogand night, and the performance of particular functions sleep" of many hours. The author of the work before during these periods. That this is not the effect of custoin, us hazards a supposition, that, “ generally speaking, the might be easily demonstrated. All nature awakes with the larger the brain of any animal is in proportion to the size rising sun. with murinurous delight, the flowers, which shut under of bis body, the greater is the necessity for a considerable the embrace of darkness, unfold themselves to light, the portion of sleep. Birds and fishes, which have small cattle arise to crop the dewy herbage, and man goeth forth brains, require less indulgence in this respect than laud to his labour until the evening.' ”At close of day, the re- animals.” Now, in reply to this, it may be observed,

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

that man, who requires more sleep than most other ani- sensorial power, while other parts remain asleep, or are mals, has not the brain proportionally larger, for, as 'deprived of their sensorial power. Hence, after the faCuvier has shown, among the cetacea, the dolphin and the shion of certain eccentric philosophers, he supposes that porpoise, among birds, the eagle, blackbird, canary, spar- the different mental faculties are to be referred to differrow, linnet, &c. have proportionally larger brains. It ent portions of cerebral substance; but what are all the may be urged also, that the ass sleeps less than any other articles of his creed on this point he does not, nor was it animal, and, indeed, seldom lies down, excepting when necessary for bim, to explain. His theory of apparitions nearly exhausted from fatigue ; yet, in this example, the is briefly stated :—“I would impute them,” says he, brain, in proportion to the size of the body, is less than “either to the intense power of illusion operating in a it is found in the stag, wolf, sow, hedgehog, &c., and in fearful dream, or to a morbid excitement of certain faculmany other animals who enjoy a longer period of sleep. ties of the brain.” These opinions of the author we have We do not think, therefore, that any such correlative be- adduced merely for the information of our readers, who, tween the bulk of the brain in proportion to the size of will naturally enquire what are his theories on these subthe body and the quantity of sleep required, will be found jects, not that we are either inclined to attach any imto exist. But the most remarkable, yet common, phe portance to them, or to disprove them by any formal repomena attending sleep, are unquestionably dreams. And futation. we are afraid that too many have reason occasionally to The chapter on Somnambulism is certainly not so incomplain, with the gloomy and desperate Manfred, that teresting as we anticipated, for a variety of most curious, their “ slumbers, if they slumber, are not sleep; but a and, at the same time, well-authenticated cases, are upon continuance of enduring thought, which then they can record, which might, with propriety, have been here in, resist not.” Many philosophers, and especially the Car- serted. . The following observations, however, may be tesians, have argued that the mental faculties are never interesting to the general reader : altogether inactive during sleep; but this opinion is opposed by our author, who argues that "there ought to be “There are the greatest varieties in the state of sleep no difficulty in admitting that the mental powers may walkers; some hearing without seeing; others seeing cease to act in sleep, for the same thing undoubtedly hap- without hearing: Some possessing a state of consciousness pens in various other conditions." He instances cata- almost approaching to the waking state ; others being iú a lepsy, apoplexy, and the lethargy that occurs in persons condition little removed from perfect sleep. On this acrecovering from drowning ; but these cases are not alto count, while we may manage to hold a conversation with

one person, another is altogether incapable of forming a sind gether analogous, for it never has been maintained that gle idea, or giving it utterance, even if formed. For the the mind continues active when the functions of animal same reason, the first, guided by a certain portion of intellect, life are for the time being suspended. All that is main pursues with safety his wild perambulations ; while the tained is, that the relation of the mind to the body can- second, driven on by the impulses of will, and his reasoning, not be altered or dissolved so long the organs of ani- faculties locked up in utter stupor, staggers into dangers of mal life continue to perform their appropriate functions ; arouse a sleep-walker ; and many cases of the fatal effects

It is not always safe to and it is probable that ideas of extreme faintness may thence arising have been detailed by authors. Nor is it at occur during sleep, or even during delirium, which may all unlikely that a person, even of strong nerves, might be not subsequently be remembered. The incongruity of violently agitated by awaking in a situation so different dreams bas been particularly noticed by all writers; and from that in which he went to bed. Among other exama very philosophical author has suggested that, in oppo- ples, that of a young lady who was addicted to this affection sition to a Diary, we should keep a Nocturnal, for the may be mentioned. Knowing her failing, her friends inade purpose of recording the psychological mysteries as they chamber, in such a manner that she could not possibly get out.

a point of locking the door and securing the window of her successively occur, Such a work would perhaps form a One night, these precautions were unfortunately overlookpleasant enough comic annual, and we would by no ed, and, in a paroxysm of somnambulism, she walked into means exclude from it the following

a garden behind the house, While there, she was recog.

nised by some of the family, who were warned by the noise “I remember dreaming on one occasion that I possessed awoke her; but such was the effect produced upon the

she made on opening the door; and they followed and ubiquity; twenty resemblances of myself appearing in as

nervous system, that she almost instantly expired." many different places in the same room, and each being so thoroughly possessed by my own mind, that I could not

We entertain a very high opinion of the abilities of Mr ascertain which was myself, and which my double, &c. On Macnish ; but we feel ourselves bound in candour to this occasion, fancy so far travelled into the regions of ab- state, that we do not regard this work as likely to raise surdity, that I conceived myself riding upon my own back his fame in the estimation of men of science. Neverthe-one of the resemblances being mounted upon another, and less, we admit that it contains much information that both animated with the soul appertaining to myself, in such will both amuse and instruct the general reader ; and we a manner that I knew not whether I was the carrier or the therefore recommend it to the attention of the public. carried. At another time, I dreamed I was converted into a mighty pillar of stone, which reared its head in the midst of a desert, where it stood for ages, till generation after ge- The Heiress of Bruges : A Tale of the Year. Sixteen neration melted away before it. Even in this state, though

Hundred. By Thomas Colley Grattan, Author of unconscious of possessing any organs of sense, or being else than a mass of lifeless stone, I saw every object aronnd

“ Highways and Byways.” In four volumes. Lon-the mountains growing bald with age, the

forest drooping

don. Colburn and Bentley. 1830. in decay; and I heard whatever sounds Nature is in the

MR GRATTAN succeeds better as a novelist than as a castom of producing-such as the thunder-peal breaking over my naked bead, the winds howling past me, or the historian. Yet, even in the first-mentioned capacity, we ceaseless murmur of the streams. At last, I also waxed have faults to find with him of no little moment. These old, and began to crumble into dust, while the moss and ivy we will be better able to express after laying before our accumulated upon me with the aspect of hoar antiquity." readers an outline of his story,—a task which, consider

The difficulty of explaining satisfactorily the proximate ing the intricate and bustling narrative crowded into four eause of dreaming is acknowledged by every author; and long volumes, is likely to prove of no easy accomplishconsidering that Mr Macnish writes rather for the popu- ment. lar than scientific reader, we are not surprised to find The hero of the book is a Count Ivon de Bassen veldt; that he has not thrown any light whatever on this ob- the heroine, Theresa, daughter of Van Rozenhoed, Burgoscute subject. He explains the difficulty, by supposing master of Brussels. We begin our story, as politeness that, during slumber, certain parts of the brain continue dictates, with the lady. awake, or supplied with their accustoined proportion of Theresa's father was originally a poor goldbeater. By


warily and judiciously expending, under the direction The siege continued, and De Bassenveldt's troops were of his father confessor, a treasure which he found in his reduced to the last extremity. A breach had been made, garden, he gradually raised himself to be the wealthiest which was to be stormed ere dawn; and, in the event of man in Bruges ; and, after serving in the minor offices the Archduke's troops being beat back, a mine had been of government, to be its chief magistrate. In his rise, prepared. De Bassenveldt was ready with a countermine. he carried up his ambitious spiritual guide along with The attack was made and beaten off; and before the behim. Van Rozenhoed's daughter was beautiful as her siegers could spring their mine, the troops of the garrisin father was wealthy, and the nobles of the land were had broken the line of blockade ; and Count Ivon, the among her suitors.

But she loved Lambert Boonen, a last man to leave his paternal abode, had fired his train, nephew of the Prior of St Andrews, (her father's old and blown the miners, and the troops collected to renew ghostly comforter,) secretary to the Burgomaster. the assault, into one common destruction. Theresa, after

Ivon de Bassenveldt was one of the bravest defenders this dreadful event, during which she fancied sbe sw of the liberties of the Netherlands; but he lay, at the Lambert overwhelmed in the ruins of a fallen tower, was same time, under the imputation of being the most reck- conducted almost unconsciously by two faithful adherents less libertine of the age. He had carried off a Morisco to Bruges. girl, named Beatrice, from the convent in which Theresa On her arrival in that city, she fell into the hands of had been educated, and it was reported that she lived as Count Lyderic de Roulemonde, who had been appointed his paramour in the castle of his ancestors, in which he its governor. She found her father also his prisoner. and his black Walloons held out so stoutly against the Lyderic pressed his suit with the impetuosity of a masArchduke Albert. According to the tradition of the ter. Van Rozenhoed temporized. Meanwhile, a battle country, his progenitors had been powerful sorcerers, and was stricken between Prince Maurice-who had been his father had been a violent and bloody man. Alto- joined by De Bassenveldt—and the Archduke, almost gether, Connt Ivon, although a brave and free-spirited under the walls of Bruges. The latter was discomfited, warrior, was regarded as rather a dubious sort of cha- and fled through the city, eagerly followed by the black racter.

Walloons and their commander. Unopposed by the Van Rozenhoed, who was devoted to the liberties of panic-stricken citizens, Count Ivon and his followers his country, was denounced to the Archduke Albert, as swept through the town to the governor's house, in time holding intercourse with Prince Maurice of Orange. He to rescue Theresa, whom Lyderic was about to carry : was suddenly arrested, and carried to Brussels to stand with him on his flight. In Count Ivon, whom she had his trial. Thither his daughter was forced to follow him, so long regarded with a mixture of aversion, and what : and an attempt was made to terrify her, by the prospect might alınost be terined love, she recognised her humble of her father's danger, into an immediate marriage with lover, her father's secretary, Lambert Boonen. They Count Lyderic de Roulemonde, whose pretensions the were soon after united with the blessings of the honest old gentleman had at first inclined to favour, although the Burgomaster, and of the Prior of St Andrews, in whom treachery of the Count had induced him to change his all men now recognised Count Ivon's father, doomed to intentions. There was nothing that Van Rozenhoed now death by the Spanish government, and who had only sucso anxiously wished, as to see his daughter the bride of ceeded in eluding their pursuit by the assumption of the De Bassenveldt. That young nobleman was the main cowl. prop of the liberties of the Netherlands, and, in regard to We are conscious that this outline can give but a very his bad character in other respects, it might be that the imperfect notion of the character of the book ; since many good Burgomaster believed common slander had repre- characters, brought forward with a degree of prominence sented the Count as worse than he was, or it might be which scarcely admits of our calling them subordinate, that the charitable senior looked forward to better beha- hang so loosely upon the main plot that we bave not even viour after youth had sowed its wild oats.

once needed to advert to them. This fact will direct the By the courage and dexterity of Lambert Boonen, reader's attention to what we consider one of the principal assisted by an old servant of Van Rozenhoed, Theresa faults of the work. The author has been more anxious to escaped from Brussels ; but, on her way to seek refuge show his learning, than to construct a compact and plausiin a convent, she and her deliverer fell into an ambush of ble narrative. He will omit no person nor transaction De Bassenveldt, and were carried prisoners to his castle. that seems to him characteristic of the age. He fears De Bassen veldt was doubly an object of dread to Theresa. more the reproach of not knowing some trifle of antiquiShe loved another, and Count Ivon was the suitor for her rian research, neither instructive nor amusing, than that hand, whose pretensions were backed by paternal authori. of introducing what merely obstructs and distorts the

But, more than this, on the very evening that he free current of his story. This infers a species of vainstole Beatrice from the convent, he encountered Theresa glory, akin to that which might restrain an architect in the garden, and had insulted her, by an unequivocal from covering up his foundation, lest any of his workmandeclaration of his licentious love.

ship should remain unadmired—and equally dangerous. The first person whom our heroine encountered in De Whatever be our employment, there is much of our labour Bassenveldt's castle was Beatrice. The Morisco wore the which the world ought never to see, the existence of dress and arms of a soldier. She soon convinced her which it ought only to be allowed to conjecture, by the young friend that the bond betwixt herself and De Bas- perfection of what does come under its cognisance. senveldt was not that of love, but of devotion to a com The next blemish of Mr Grattan's work to which we

She declared that Theresa was the object of advert, is of a deeper die, and more inseparably interhis affections, and became a suitor for him. At the same woven with the texture of his story. The principal time she promised that he would respect the situation of characters are not true to nature, and they are grossly the fair maid of Bruges, nor intrude himself into her indelicate. De Bassen veldt is introduced to us as in presence without her consent. No restraint was laid word and deed thoroughly licentious. Beatrice is the upon her interviews with her captive lover.

And although, in Theresa, the author has atScarcely had Theresa been carried into the castle, when tempted to pourtray a purer character, he takes a strange it was invested by the troops of the Archduke. The and perverse delight in pointing out to us, that under all heroism evinced by De Bassenveldt, his commanding her spirituality, unknown to herself, lies a substratum geuius, the delicacy of his forbearance, the knowledge of of the same impetuous sensuality, that constitutes the his love,-all began to exercise a strange influence over almost exclusive characteristic of the two others. Nay, the mind of Theresa. Of late, too, she had seen little of so prominently does he bring this forward, that to this Boonen. Her constancy began to waver, but her feeling odious feature he attributes the chief power in the furof honour came to her aid.

ther developement of Theresa's character. It is her first

mon cause.


interview in the convent garden with De Bassenveldt, the authority of its history in general, but the truth of that gives its tone and temper to her future life.

its statements in every even the most minute particular; We have said, that to bring this lower class of human and he is not entitled, under any circumstances, to hapropensities soconspicuously forward-tolinger upon their zard a single speculation which goes upon the supposition portraiture with delight-to dress them up in the mere that there is either wilful misstaternent or inadvertent tricious ornaments of simile and metaphor, is grossly in- ignorance in the revelations of God. -- Again, in so far delicate. We may add, that it is destructive of all poetry as Scripture criticism is concerned, and the connexion of -and the romance-writer, if in any degree elevated above profane with sacred history, the ground has been so frethe mere caterers to the circulating library, is allied to the quently travelled over, and so minutely examined by poet. The imagination is a pure, intellectual essence, learned and ingenious men, that it presents few difficuland takes her flight heavenward. They who seek to ties to the modern enquirer, and leaves him scarcely a elog ber wings with sensual affection, instead of merely chance of any important discovery. The valuable works sprinkling them with its dew, in order to renovate their of Sbuckford, Budeus, Prideaux, and especially Stackpowers, degrade her from her just rank. We have just house, not to mention the elaborate writings and learned said that the author's characters are, in consequence of the researches of Mosheim and Lardner, supply all the imundue pre-eminence which he gives to this least lovely portant information upon this subject which we require, feature of their character, not true to nature. Their or can expect to receive. But although these are the passion may nerve man to one daring deed, but it can works to which the theological student must always look not form a character. Earthy and transitory, it sinks for information, it must be confessed they are little adaptdown under its own excitement, enfeebling the frame, ed for the use of the general reader ; and when popular and confusing the brain, which yielded themselves to its treatises upon almost every subject are so much in fashion, guidance. In his Beatrice and De Bassenveldt, he has we are not sorry that the history of the Bible should in attributed to passion, which is in its existence momentary this shape have a chance of gaining admission to libraries, as the lightning, a permanence of existence, which is from which, in any other form, it would certainly have attributable to reason alone. He has represented as ever been excluded. delicious and ever beautiful, what palls upon the taste Considering the success of Mr Milman's History of more rapidly than thought, -what withers and grows the Jews, we must say it was somewhat bold in Messrs hideous as swiftly as Spenser's Duessa. Mrs Shelley Colburn and Bentley to start so early in their series a showed more knowledge of human nature in her picture publication which, from the similarity of the subject, can of the lovely, but frantic prophetess, in her Castruccio. only be viewed in the light of a rival to that popular

Our last objection to Mr Grattan's book is, that his work. We trust, however, that their attempt will prove principal characters are less the representatives of their

as successful with the public as it is satisfactory to us. time, than of the fictitious personages, the perusal of We speak not from any hostility to Mr Milman, or diswhose fabulous bistory gave such delight to its idlers. respect for his talents; and in regard to the very work in We know that the approved romances in the year sixteen question, we have already done justice to its high literary bundred, dragged out their slow length, in mazy involu- merits. Our reason for giving a decided preference to tions of such laboured perplexities as Mr Grattan's hero Mr Gleiy's work, is simply because he always shows a delights to spin around his mistress; but we know that scrupulous regard for the authority of the sacred record, in real life men acted under the joint influence of passion which it is his business to illustrate; while the modern and reason, much as they do in our own day. We have historian of the Jews not unfrequently betrays a carelessadvanced in science, we have advanced in retinement, but ness and rashness of speculation, and a dandyish irrevethe leading principles of human action were the same in rence, altogether unbecoming both his subject and his the year 1600 that they are in the year 1830.

profession. We have no patience with the man who reWe have shaken Mr Grattan thus roughly, because we cords the history of God's chosen people as if he were really have an esteem for bis talents, and wish to see him writing a chronicle of a savage Indian tribe, and is disawake from the dreams in which he is indulging. He posed to take the same liberties with the sacred writings evidently possesses an active, glowing, and strong mind. as if they were only so many quippos. Many of his incidental portraits show no mean powers

Mr Gleig's Introduction is both well written and apof reading the enigma of human nature. But in his con propriate; it states and shortly illustrates the principal tinual straining after effect, and even in his exaggerated arguments which prove the authenticity and genuineness language, we recognise a mind which has already missed of Scripture history, and the truth of our religion genethe straight and narrow path of true taste. He must rally. The history itself is written in that clear and exert himself to recover it; and in this task no one can nervous style which characterises our author's other assist him, for if he has not tact sufficient to discover for works. There is no affectation of fine writing, but, in himself the right road, no one can show it to him. ' In the absence of much novelty, wbich, indeed, the nature the parish of Imagination, every one is guided by his own of the subject precludes, there is a neatness of arrangeeyes. All blind vagrants, led by poodles, are strictly ment, and a conciseness of narration, well calculated to prohibited by the church wardens.

excite and sustain the attention. The present volume carries down the history the suppression of Absalom's rebellion. The more interesting portion, by which we

would be understood to mean simply the comparatively National Library, No. II. The History of the Bible

. less known period, is reserved for another volume, till the By the Rev. G. R. Gleig, M. A., M. R. S. L., &c. &c.

appearance of which, we must reserve some observations In 2 vols. Vol. I. London. Colburn and Bentley. on the chronology which Mr Gleig adopts in common 1830.

with many modern writers, together with some other A History of the Bible, however well executed, is points of less importance. We shall then, too, give our not a work for which we feel disposed to give an author final judgment on the merits of the work itself; and in

much credit, so far as it is an abstract of events resting the meantime, to justify the favourable opinion which we i upon authority, which no well constituted mind will have already expressed of it, we beg to quote the follow

think itself at liberty to call in question. The task is easy; ing passage, which contains a rational and probable view the bistorian is relieved of the labour to which, in other of cases, he is obliged to submit, of comparing counter statemnents, weighing probabilities, and deciding between con

“ There appears to be good ground for believing, that flicting authorities. Here the believer in Scripture in- with the use of letters, as well as with most other arts and spiration has no choice he must acknowledge not only sciences, the antediluvians were well acquainted ; and that

[ocr errors]


they were conveyed, by Noah and the survivors from the to the heroine, by a gay Lothario, the colonel under whom great Deluge, to the new world. It bas, indeed, been ably he serves. At last the knave proves too clever for himargued, that the Mosaic account of transactions previous to self, and the lovers are united. The intricacies of the the flood, was compiled from certain documents preserved by the family of Noah in the ark; and, if the case be so, it is plot are well contrived, and the denouement satisfactory. difficult to imagine that the immediate descendants of that A degree of liveliness and bustle is kept up throughout family could be illiterate, or, in the proper sense of the the novel, by the episodes, arising from the war between term, barbarous. i As men departed, however, in small the British and Americans. A great many happily tribes from their common centre, and settled themselves in sketched characters (occasionally verging upon carica the midst of dreary wastes or gloomy forests, they would tures) flit before us like the figures of a magic lantern. every day find less and less leisure for the cultivation of li- On the whole, Camden, if not absolutely a work of geterature and science; and, in a few generations, would unavoidably become too much sunk to attribute to such pursuits nius, is something almost as good, a lively and amusing any value. Exactly in the same ratio would increase their

novel. inability to comprehend the idea of a Being everywhere

We are not in the least degree national, and therefore present, yet himself invisible; and the tradition that some we are angry at the author for the following picture of a such being existed would remain in full force, long after Scotch innkeeper. The peasantry are discussing the prothey had ceased to be aware where it had originated. Such bability of Gates beating Cornwallis : a state of things would naturally lead to the substitution of some visible symbol, as the sun, the moon, and the planets;

« « What say you, landlord, will Gates be in Camden in next would follow the deification of deceased benefactors, a week, or not? of men who had performed great exploits, or enjoyed a

“ This question was addressed to old Dalgousie, wbo, brilliant reputation during their lives, in honour

of whom without taking any share in the conversation, was engaged statues may have been erected; and, last of all, would arise in making preparations for dinner. He answered, with the practice of worshipping these statues themselves, as the the greatest coolness, “I think he might reach Camden in very gods whom they were intended to represent. As to

that time, unless prevented by some act of Providence.' the peculiar superstition of the Egyptians, the worship of

" A general laugh followed this characteristic answer. the brute creation, that has been fully and satisfactorily ac

**Ah, Gousie, Gousie!' replied Duskie, ' you are neither counted for by Warburton, in the fourth book of his Divine fish, flesh, nor fowl. Tell us bonestly, now, your opinion ;

do Legation. It was unquestionably occasioned by the em

think Gates will be in Camden in a week, or not? you

«i « I think he wull, Master Dusky, either as a conqueror ploying, in hieroglyphic writing, the figures of different animals to denote the attributes of their different gods, or

or prisoner ; but the Lord only kens which.' the different attributes of the true God; for when the

• The schoolmaster of the village, who formed one of the meaning of the hieroglyphic was forgotten, the grovelling company, repeated the chorus of the old song: minds of those who had long treated it with reverence con

• And this is law, I will maintain, tinued to do so still, and, not knowing the import which it

Unto my dying day, sir, had among their forefathers, considered it as the likeness of

That whatsoever king may reign, some unseen god. Hence it seems to be, that the graven

I'll be the vicar of Bray, sir.' images of animals were worshipped long before the animals Our next specimen is of a sterner character. Gates is themselves, as is completely proved by the idolatrous erection of the golden calf by the Israelites at Mount. Sinai.

on a night march, in hopes of surprising the British That people possessed numerous herds of cattle; and, had troops: they been accustomed, with their Egyptian ancestors (?), to

* The moon is very bright to-night, Buckly,' said Lieuworship the living animals, their women would not have tenant Butterworth. been called upon to give up their ear-rings, for the

“ • Yes,' replied the person addressed, looking up, ber

purpose of forming an inanimate emblem of the gods which ladyship, surrounded by her stars, reminds me of the de

brought them out of Egypt.' Such was the state of the scription which I have read of Queen Elizabeth surrounded · world, or, at least, into ihis state it was rapidly falling, at by her maids of honour. Elizabeth was very partial to

the period when Abram, the illustrious ancestor of the jewels, and was as chaste a virgin as the moon is generaliy Jewish nation, was born.”

represented by us poets.' In taking leave of Mr Gleig for the present, we shall

"• Us poets ! replied the other ; ' who the devil made only add, that his plan of reserving his objections and

you a poet?'

" • Silence in the ranks !' cried the deep voice of the brianswers for a conclusion to each chapter, is decidedly an gadier, who was then riding by. improvement upon the clumsy habit of mixing them up “ The order was obeyed until he had passed; the ebitwith the narrative, and thereby interrupting its flow and chat then recommenced. This would be a beautiful night distracting the attention of the reader ; we are not sure

for hunting, Buckly.' that it would not have been a still greater improvement be at bay in the morning.'

"Yes; we are out on a kind of hunt, and the buck will to have disencumbered the body of the work entirely of

Ile at bay indeed! replied the other. I'll bet one these formal objections, and subjoined them, together with thousand continental dollars, that he's off to Charleston tothe proper answers, in the form of notes, at the end of the night, like a race-horse. Do you think he's mad? volumes.

* "I don't think he's in a very good humour, unless he's changed mightily. I've had a brush with him before to

day: he's as fierce as a wild cat.' Camden, a Tale of the South. In three volumes. Phi « • You think he'll fight, then?'

ladelphia : Carey and Lea. London: A. K. Newman “ • Fight! yes, like the devil: his name's Fight! and Co. 1830.

“ To this no reply was made, and the column moved on

in uninterrupted silence. These volumes are by an imitator of Cooper, but a clever “ In the meantime, Gates rode at the head of the Mary

There is, indeed, a peculiarity about them, which land division, and conversed with the baron in a rather con- , renders them more likely to become universally palatable tidential tone. All goes well, so far, baron.'. in this country, than the works of the gentleman we have his lordship ; 'he certainly is ignorant of our intention,

“ • Yes, sir; I think we have fairly stolen a march upon named. The author of Camden, with a laudable impartiality, mingles villains with beroes in the American, as posts, unless he is disposed to retreat."

««• I do not understand his motive for calling in his outwell as in the British ranks. Not so Cooper; where

« He will not retreat,' said De Kalb, positively. his countrymen and ours come into collision, it is twenty • If he don't retreat, he shall be destroyed, or it shall to one that the former are models of perfection, the latter not be my fault. Another hour will put us in possession the rascals of the piece.

of Sawney's creek, and then let bis lordship look to himself. The story of Camden (the book takes its name from the What time have you, baron? my watch is too fast." principal scene of action) is, as every novel ought to be, the moonlight, replied, “ Half past eleven:

“ The baron pulled out his watch, and, holding it up in a tale of true love, crossed at first, and ultimately triumphant. Captain Templeton, the hero of the piece, is deep interest. · Hark! I hear the sound of a water-course.

“• What sound is that in front?' said Gates, in a tone of thwarted in the prosecution of his honourable addresses Is it possible we are so near it?"

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »