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Sacred History, Part IV.
Smuggler, The, a Tale,
Tales of the late Revolutions, by F. W. N. Bayley,
Le Traducteur, by P. F. Merlet,
a German Prince-Adventures on the Columbia River,
Tuomas ATKINSON—The Cigar Song,
A Sketch from Scottish History,
The Stranded Ship,
The Fountain in Winter,
Ode to a Sea Bird,
Song, by J. R.
Sonnets, from the Italian of Felicaja,
To-morrow, by GERTRUDE,
AUTHOR OF ANSTER FAIR-Anecdotes of Ferguson, Burns, &c. 384
ETTRICK SHEPHERD---Grizzel Graham,
KENNEDY (WILLIAM)- The Camera Obscura,
Ana, I., II., III., IV., V.,
27, 40, 69, 110, 244, 251, 288, 281, 297, 340
Collieton Castle, an Irish Tradition,
Dramatics, by a Dramatist,
Interview with Archibald Hamilton Rowan,
57, 99, 11
Tales of the Southern Moors,
The Enchanter's Flitting,
The Jeweller of Worms,
quaintance with the form and structure of a ship, with a
quantum sufficit of naval slang. At one time or another On Naval Timber and Arboriculture; with Critical Notes also, it is possible that he may have been under-forester
on Authors who have recently treated the subject of to some nobleman or gentleman in the neighbourhood. Planting.
By Patrick Matthew. Adam Black, | At all events, he has now amassed a little wealth ; is Edinburgh. Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and owner of a couple of sea vessels that trade from Perth or Green, London. 1831.
Dundee to the Baltic; and, in a word, he considers himThis is a publication of as great promise, and as paltry self as fully competent to enlighten the world on “ Naval performance, as ever came under our critical inspection. Architecture and Arboriculture.” From its title, “ On Naval Timber and Arboriculture,” We have always considered it as a fortunate circum- ' it will probably attract readers; but the intelligent among stance, when an author has the talent of delineating bis them will suffer considerable disappointment in the per
own character, and especially in the front of his book, u sal, as we must say that there are not ten pages of which saves a reviewer much trouble. We shall, there- ' really new matter in the volume, on those interesting fore, give Mr Matthew's Prerace entire, as it is short, subjects. Whoever is conversaut with any tolerable trea- and conveys a tolerable taste of his style and genius. tise on ship-building, and with three or four of the best “ It may be thought presumptuous in a person who : modern works on planting (now fashionably called Ar- has never had the curiosity to peruse the British classic boriculture), will find that the book furnishes a very su- authors on planting and timber,-Evelyn, HANBURY, perficial view indeed of what they have there learned, Marshall, Miller, Postey,—to make experiment of
hashed up a-new for the booksellers, with the sauc: pi. the public sufferance. The author does not, however, - quante of " Critical Notes on recent writers ;" that is, a think any apology necessary; as, if the public lose time
Fulgar, petulant, and outrageous abuse of the most distin- unprofitably over his pages, he considers the blame atguished among them; of Sir Walter Scott, of Sir Henry tachable to them, not to him. A writer does not obtrude as Steuart, of Messrs Loudon, Cruickshank, Monteath, a speaker does, but merely places his thoughts within reach. and even of Mr Withers himself, the Norfolk attorney ;
“ As the subject, notwithstanding its great importance, which last the author has felicitously selected as the might be felt, per se, dry and insipid? by the general archetype of his genius, and the model of bis style. reader, accustomed to the luxuries of modern literature, Tith more knowledge of the subject than the atwrney the author has not scrupled to mix with it such collateral for less he could not well possess), he is a ten times worse matter as he thought might serve to correct the aridity, writer ; while, for invate self-sufficiency and conceit, he The very great interest of the question regarding species, beats the attorney all to nothing. The plan and system variety, babit, has perhaps led him a little too wide. of his tacties is this :-If I, Patrick Matthes, have cou- “ There is one advantage in taking a subject of this rage enough to treat with consummate arrogance and kind, that few professional (literary] critics can meddle syperiority such writers as these ; it I at once call in with it, further than as regards style and language, with-, question their knowledge, and reprobate their practice, out exposing their own ignorance. Yet will the author holding out practice of my own, or pretended to be my experience the highest pleasure in being instructed and own, as much better, in its stead, how immeasurably sus corrected, wherever his knowledge may be found defecperior must I not appear in the eyes of the reader, who, tive, or when speculation or misconception of facts have i nine times in ten, is gulled by fearless claims and cool [has) led him into error. Knowledge and truth is (are] ness of assurance! Thus, I shall at once dash into public mental strength and healtlı ; ignorance and error weaknotice, and must support my pretensions, with the same pess and disease. The man who parsues science for its vigour and imperturbable countenance that puffep them own sake, and not the pride of possession, will feel more off
. But this, as Partridye says, is a non sequitur, Mr gratitude towards the surgeon who dislodges a cataract Matthew, as you will perhaps find, on putting it to the from the mind's eye, than towards the one who repairs proof. We know of do virtue, no quality in a distin- the defect of the bodily organ." guished writer, so attractive as MODESTY, or the absence After marking in Italics the peculiar beauties of this of all presumption of his own superiority, real or fancied. piece of composition, we would ask what should be The illustrious author first named, Sir Walter Scott, is, thought of the scholar in similar circumstances, who we may almost say, Modesty personified. The next, Sir should pretend that he never had had the curiosity to look Henry Steuart, is distinguished by the same character into Homer or Virgil, Demosthenes or Cicero; or of istic; and from Mr Forsyth to "Mr Cruickshank, the the physician who professed his unacquaintance with latest writer in the list (the attorney always excepted), Hippocrates or Galen, with Hoffman, Heberden, or they are eminently deserving of the same praise.
Cullen? Why, we believe only this, that he was either Mr Patrick Matthew, as we understand, is a small a very impudent, or a very shallow fellowr. But we are Jandowner on Gourdie hill, near Errol, in Perthshire, old birds, Mr Matthew, and not to be caught with such an inconsiderable orchardist, if we may so speak, who chaff as this, nor with the chaff of any grain that grows has a house, with a garden and shrubbery, where he on Gourdie hill. By the goddesses! we will show this makes experiments on fruit trees. Having been engaged, author that we have some knowledge of Arboriculture in his youth, in a seafaring line of life, probably as sur. ourselves, and can "meddle with his subject without exgenn's inate to a man-of-war, he has acquired some ac- posing our own ignorance;" and since he stands in need
of a mental oculist to dislodge the thick cataract of de- on recent Authors on Planting," seemingly the main object lusion as to his own talents and acquirements, by which of getting up the present volume, that is, of bringing Mr his " mind's eye' is obscured, we shall endeavour to act | Matthew himself into notice. After erecting himself, by for him in that capacity to the best of our power.
his own fiat, into the chair of criticism, he enters on his Mr Matthew is a man of a bold, inquisitive, and na- office with great formality. “ Having taken notes," he turally active mind. He is abundantly obstinate and says, “on the more prominent matter contained in the opinionative; tolerably ignorant of what be imagines he pages of recent writers, we believe we shall do the public knows best ; ill educated, half learned, but affecting learn- a service (for he always speaks with the dignity of the ing, and endued with unconquerable self-sufficiency, and plural] by printing these notes, accompanied by slight an unequalled opinion of himself. Of general science, remarks.” The first writer who comes under his review accordingly, he knows little, and less of vegetable physio- is Monteath, the honest wood-cutter of St Ninian's, logy, and the anatomy of plants. His turn seems to lie author of the Forester's Guide. The next is Walter towards natural history and geology, and also towards Nicol, to whom we owe the “ Practical Planter,” and politics ; in which last department the wildness and con- “Planter's Calendar," and who has been dead twenty fidence of his speculations will amuse the reader. As to years at least. Then comes Mr William Billington of his style, it is at times clear, though always ungramma- | Dean Forest notoriety, whom he calls the “ Robinson tical : but, for the most part, it is full of barbarisms and Crusoe of Planters;" but Billington, for every practical unintelligible idioms, neither Scotch, English, nor Irish ; object, is a man far superior to himself. and, were it not for its dulness, we should call it "prose The fourth recent writer brought forward, is Forsythe run mad.” The entire tract resembles a new quack me- of Kensington, of the last century, the well-known indicine, full of high stimulants, ignorantly and not very ventor of the tree-plaster, once supposed capable of renosafely combined, and which, till known and aualyzed, vating vegetable life. This is not a very recent author, might prove dangerous as well as attractive to young pa- as he has been dead these thirty years. The fifth is Mr tients (i e. young planters and country gentlemen), from William Withers of Holt, Norfolk, attorney; an orchard. the i ncessant puffing of the compounder. Thus far we ist also, like Mr Matthew; but the great object of his have done our endeavour to “dislodge the cataract” from envy, and (as before observed) the model of his style. our author's mental eye; and we trust, although he may “ Mr Withers,” he says, “the experienced and practical not feel “ the highest pleasure," he will yet bestow on us Mr Withers, the complete demolisher of the Scottish “the gratitude” which he promises in his Preface, for knights (that is, of Sir Walter Scott and Sir Henry that important operation.
Steuart,] together with his junto of experienced correMr Matthew's work is divided into five parts. The spondents, know nothing at all about the matter in dispute, Ist is on the structure of sea vessels; the 2d on British namely, the durability of oak wood; but we ourselves forest trees, suited to naval purposes ; the 3d on miscel-(that is, we, Patrick Matthew] will set them all to rights, laneous matter, connected with naval timber; and the by a few lines of elucidation.” Having thus, to his own 4th contains notices of recent authors, who treat of arbori- satisfaction, established his incontestable superiority over culture. In the first part, which is very short, we find all authors, dead or living, who ever wrote on timber, he an idea given of a ship's hull and timbers, with three proceeds to give his elucidation and examples. It is alwoodcuts; as also, by means of three more, we have di- most needless to say, how easy it is to write nonsense on rections for the training and pruning of trees, so as to fit any subject; or how difficult it is for a man of Mr Matthem for the construction of vessels ; all which are much thew's self-sufficiency to believe that he can ever write better given,--the first in any elementary book on naval any thing nonsensical. Instead of entering here on so architecture, and the second in the original works on intricate a subject as the question of the general superiorplanting, from whence they are copied, namely, those of ity of slow over rapidly grown oak (of which the former Miller, Marshall, Pontey, &c., authors that Mr Matthew is maintained by Sir Henry Steuart, and the latter by never had “the curiosity" to examine! The directions Mr Withers), we shall merely refer the reader to No. 67 for pruning are borrowed from Steuart and Billington; of our second volume (February 20th, 1830), where he the principles of neither of whom our author appears to will find the question very satisfactorily settled, and the comprehend.
ignorance of Withers fully exposed. The physiological In the second part, a very meagre and commonplace corollary of the argument, governed by the great principle account is given of the oak, larch, chestnut, beech, elm, of " ATMOSPHERIC TEMPERATURE,” we have there summed pine, and willow, the only seven forest trees used in ship-up at page 112, beginning at the words,—“ All trees have bailding. In this account, from our practical familiarity their peculiar soils and climates,” &c. And we will here with the subject, and especially with the writers above give the confused and garbled account of it, which the enumerated, we can declare, that we are not enabled to stubbornness of facts has forced our self-constituted critic detect one new idea, excepting this, that those writers, to adopt. as well as the most celebrated botanists and physiologists, “ The facts stated go to prove, that the quality of timwith Lionæus and Willdenow at their head, were all in the ber depends much upon soil, circumstance, and especially wrong in their manner of classifying, and generally treat- on variety; and that in the early period of the growih of ing these seven ship-building trees, until Mr Patrick trees, before much seeding, and when the soil is not much Matthew of Gourdie hill appeared to set them right! exhausted of the particular pabulum necessary for the kind Not only are they to be set right in these important par- of plant, that rather slow-grown timber is superior in ticulars, but even the phytological divisions of genus, strength to quick-grown ; especially when the quickness species, and variety, so long known and established, are exceeds a certain degree ; and when this degree is exceeded, all to be changed, and the more learned and felicitous the timber is not so weighty, and is well known not to ones of “breed, family, and individual,” substituted in be so durable.” And this is what is called, the “demotheir stead.— Next comes part third, containing a num lishing" the doctrines of the Scottish knights ! ber of miscellaneous observations on what he calls colla. The above five writers, dead and living, Mr Matthew teral topics, that is, tree nurseries, general planting, pru- thus summarily disposes of; but how was he to get rid ning, and even on monopolies, free trade, and the consti- of the Scottish knights themselves, and Mr Cruickshank, tation of Parliament, &c. ; topics which are surely of a the late able author of the “ Practical Planter;" Sir quite different breed, but they are all borrowed from other Walter Scott and Mr Cruickshank being on all hands writers, and introduced solely for the purpose of book- admitted to be the best practical writers of the age, and making; an art in which our author appears to be a con- Sir Henry Steuart the first writer, who, with the possiderable adept.
session also of practical skill, has attempted to apply the We now come to the fourth part, containing “Strictures sciences of physiology and chemistry to the art of Arbori