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lustrious person was born, and in which he died; this would help the British youth to recollect the series of our kings, and in course fix in their minds the chronology of events;-a circumstance to which due attention is not always paid in our systems of education.
The sketches here exhibited are those of Alfred the Great, Friar Bacon, John Wickliff, Geoffrey Chaucer, Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Thomas More, Cromwell Earl of Essex, Bishop Latimer, Sebastian Cabot, Bishop Jewell, Sir Thomas Gresham, the admirable Crighton, Sir Francis Walsingham, Sir Francis Drake, Lord Burleigh, William Shakspeare, Sir Walter Raleigh, Lord Bacon, Andrews Bishop of Winchester, Sir Edward Coke, Earl of Strafford, John Hampden, Dr. William Harvey, Admiral Blake, Earl of Clarendon, John Milton, Andrew Marvel, Algernon Sydney, Archbishop Tillotson, John Locke, Lord Chief Justice Holt, Bishop Burnet, William Penn, Mr. Addison, the Duke of Marlborough, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Robert Walpole Earl of Orford, the Earl of Stair, Sir Hans Sloane, General Wolfe, Lord Anson, the Earl of Hardwicke, Sir John Barnard, George Lord Littelton, Lord Clive, William Pitt Earl of Chatham, David Garrick, Captain James Cook, Sir William Blackstone, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Bishop Lowth, and John Howard,―The lives of Jonas Hanway, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the Earl of Mansfield, were intended to have been given: but, at the close of the volume, we are told that another arrangement and selection had been found necessary, In a second edition, these may possibly find a place.
Embracing the most eventful and important periods of English story, this rich variety of biographical matter must prove acceptable to young readers, and to such as thirst for knowJege, which they are obliged to "snatch," as Pope says, "not take." The memoirs are introduced by judicious remarks from the pen of Dr. M.; some specimens of which we think it may be gratifying to our readers to subjoin.-The life of Latimer
That a religion whose distinguishing character is charity and benevolence, should ever have been employed as an engine of persecution, is mortifying to those who enter into its celestial views, and to the sceptic and the infidel furnishes a weak but plausible argument against its authenticity. In these days, indeed, when bigotry and superstition are justly exploded, it must astonish every sincere Christian, to reflect, how it could have entered into the conception of man, that God could be honoured by a flagrant violation of his express commands," to love one another;" and that the kingdom of heaven was to be gained by the perpetration of crimes at which human nature turns pale. Yet it may be instructive to the rising generation to
know, that in former times fires have blazed, and human sacrifices have been offered up, under the name of a religion that abjures them.
Latimer, Ridley, Hooper, and Cranmer, all men of eminence in learning and station, suffered at the stake, in the sanguinary reign of the bigotted Mary, and sealed the truth of genuine Christianity with their blood. We have selected the life of the former, as appearing to us to approach nearest the standard of primitive simplicity and virtue, and as furnishing the brightest example of suffering patience, and of fortitude in trial."
The attention of the young student is thus directed to the history of Sir Edward Coke, Lord Chief Justice of England:
Of all the professions, that of jurisprudence affords the fairest and most promising field for abilities to shine in. The divine, with very slender pretensions to talents, may mount on the props of patronage or connections; the physician is often more indebted for success to his address than his skill; but neither patronage, connections, nor address, can make a man an able lawyer or an eloquent pleader. In this line there must be intrinsic merit, which at last will surmount all difficulties, and trusting to itself alone, will, if at all called into action, command that attention which the generality of men are obliged to court. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that there should be so many candidates for the honours of the bar; and that, from among so many competitors, there should be some splendid instances of a right direction of faculties, and successful labours.'
Farther to stimulate the exertions of youthful genius, and to excite a laudable ambition, the Doctor thus begins the memoir on the celebrated Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon :
To preserve integrity of conduct, and consistency of principle, amidst public convulsions, when force generally sets right at defiance -to adhere to what is just and honourable, regardless of what is expedient or profitable, is the character of a great and a good man. How far lord chancellor Clarendon deserves this praise will be seen from a brief survey of his life.
This celebrated statesman and historiographer was descended from an antient family in Cheshire, and was the third son of a gentleman, possessed of a small fortune, who resided at Denton, near Hindon, in Wilts; where the future chancellor was born. With no prospects of a patrimony, nor protected by great alliances, he had his fortune to make by his own merits; and in the history of men it may be remarked, that for one who has increased the original honours of his family, and enlarged his hereditary possessions, thousands have pursued retrograde movements, and sunk what they felt no necessity to advance. Hence the aspiring and virtuous mind, ungifted by fortune, may draw the most favourable arguments for hope and perseyerance; and when it views the elevation which others have reached, acquiesce in the toil which is requisite to gain the ascent.'
This British Nepos (the title and idea of which were suggested, as we need not tell the classical reader, by a Latin book much
read in schools, entitled "the Lives of illustrious Personages by Cornelius Nepos") is preceded by an advertisement, addressed to parents and tutors, in which Dr.Mavor, with a view of developing the latent faculties of judgment and reflection, and of impressing the youthful mind with right principles of action, recom mends that each life be made the subject of an exercise to be written by the scholars, and presented to their master once in a week, or oftener.' This hint is worth regarding. The example of the good and wise has always been considered as singularly conducive to virtue; and this mode of studying biography must give it peculiar efficacy. Mo..y.
ART. XII. Solitude considered with Respect to its dangerous Influence upon the Mind and Heart, selected and translated from the original German of M. Zimmerman. Being a Sequel to the former English Translation. Svo. pp. 316. 58. sewed. Dilly. 1798.
T 'HOUGH we may consider Mr. John George Zimmermann as a rational and finished writer, he is so regularly moderate that we should wonder at the very general popularity of his productions, were not the anecdote-gleaners and retailers of common morality every where in high favor. He is wellsuited to that multitude of lounging readers, who want an instructive and pleasant book, while confined to their seats by a teazing hair-dresser or a rainy day. He is a philosopher for the parlour-window. His life of Haller, his essay on National Pride, his medical and other minor works, have all passed with approbation through the hands of a polished public. Yet his writings have left but few enduring traces of their existence: like those tulips and polyanthusses which variegate the garden without perfuming it, which low with but a feeble welcome, and wither again unmissed. They breathe an unexceptionable and rather a liberal spirit. They are written with a studious neatness, which in his time passed for exquisite elegance: but they never arouse by boldness of expression or prominent originality of thought. A redundance bordering on tautology, a variation of expression rather than of position, and a babbling love of amplification, render his prose tedious to the apprehension of a quick and apt reader. His treatises, like that of Abbt on Merit, were ranked among the classics of his country, while it had no classics. The beauties of Zimmermann would comprise little besides anecdote.
The translatot of the present work informs us that
Zimmerman's celebrated Treatise on SOLITUDE has long been known to the English Reader by the very elegant Translation made
from the French of M. MERCIER: but, unfortunately for the fame of the German writer, his sentiments have thus been most materially perverted and misrepresented: Of Twelve Chapters contained in the original work, on the various consequences of solitary habits, the French version comprehended only Four; and those such as treated only of the salutary effects of Retirement. By this means, instead of appearing in his true character as a philosophical reasoner on the subject of Retirement, ZIMMERMAN has been considered only as an amiable recluse, painting, with the lively but visionary colours of romantic attachment, a state of life, which, incautiously embraced, or obstinately adhered to, renders its votary burthensome to himself as well as useless to mankind.
How contrary this was to the real character of this admired writer, it is hoped the present volume will manifest. He will here be seen in his true light, not only as a man abounding in a noble and delicate sensibility, and possest of a rich and elegant imagination; but as a rational moralist, a comprehensive and enlightened Philosopher, investigating the influence of Solitude in its different stages and various forms; balancing its benefits and mischiefs; proposing regulations, and suggesting remedies.'
We shall now extract a fragment:
The Student, secluded, by his peculiar pursuits, from the usual resorts and paths of life, frequently enters into the world at an advanced age. Some, discouraged by the neglect that marks their introduction to society, or deterred by the ridicule to which their learned uncouthness exposes them, shrink back into their retirement; despairing of ever acquiring such habits as may render them capable of social intercourse with the gay, the elegant, and luxurious; and thus at once abandon, for ever, those scenes to which a little more resolution and perseverance would have familiarized them. Others, finding the world as little agreeable to their tastes and opinions, as they are to those of the world, renounce its commerce, as a measure equally desirable for both. Some, who, perhaps, conceive they shall be looked on as having transfused all their mind into their compositions, and therefore be regarded and rejected with disdain, like empty bottles or squeezed oranges, will not encounter with their presence a society, to which it is not expected they can any longer afford instruction or entertainment. Many are there, also, who decline company, because they observe with contempt, how rarely the most numerous assemblies contain any persons capable of just and manly reflection; and that the vain and frivolous rise in insurrection, as it were, against every word that carries in it either energy or meaning.
For these, among other causes, many characters, distinguished for their genius and knowledge, though ambitious to instruct and delight mankind, too realily forego the reciprocal benefits of the social circle. But this is no trifling loss to them. The mind will generally feel a deficiency, if to its literary acquisitions there be not added the observation and experience of living manners and passions. Without these it sees not the end to which its benevolent exertions
should be addressed; nor the means and instruments, by which to attain them; neither is it likely ever to acquire that fine sense in morals, and exquisite sensibility of taste, which seldom fails to be caught by a vigorous and correct mind from the conversation of various characters, and an intimate discrimination of manners. The best and sagest moralists have ever sought to mix with mankind; to review every class of life; to study the virtues, and detect the vices, by which each are peculiarly marked. It has been by founding their disquisitions and essays on men and manners, upon actual ob servation, that they have owed much of the success, with which their virtuous efforts have been crowned.
The society of the great, the gay, the informed, nay, of the mean, the solemn, and the uninstructed affords a continual criterion whereby to judge of the ideas we may have entertained: and at the same time offers new accessions to them; it may be employed by the studious as a means of criticism on their own works, since they may thus incidentally advance and discuss opinions before they venture on the irrevocable step of committing them to the judgment of the public. By the experiment that may be made on every one, learned or ignorant, with whom we hold discourse, we may not only bring to a touchstone the truth of our tenets, but learn how we may best elucidate and express them; and remove the impediments which might otherwise oppose their being favourably received, or assented to. Many, who have stored their minds with science and philosophy, and strengthened their faculties by meditation, attempt to enlighten the world from the obscurity of solitude; but having lived to themselves only, inattentive to the rules of ordinary life, and ignorant of the necessities and obligations that result from its various forms, these inexperienced sages know not what objects to select for displaying their knowledge, nor through what medium to convey their instructions. Unskilled in the manner of framing their address, they shock and repel, when they would wish to conciliate and engage; they command where they should persuade; and, on the contrary, where they might, with propriety and effect, employ the imperative language of assured truth and confident justice, they surrender their advantage, and betray their cause by a tone of humility and indecision.
When the mind is once smitten with the love of science, and becomes eager to urge its powers to their utmost stretch, it usually resigns itself without reserve to the means of gratifying this ambition. The opportunity afforded by retirement to promote these means gives it a hold on the sincere student, from which he is unable, and deed unwilling to release himself. If he is ever prevailed on to leave the quiet and freedom of his beloved privacy, at the solicitation of friendship, to mingle with society, it is by a painful violence to his inclinations, which prevents him from participating in the pleasures of the novel scene, to learn its lessons, or obtain its honours. Suddenly transported into the midst of a crowd, whose interests, feelings, and prejudices, variously modified by chance and condition, agree among themselves only in differing altogether from his, he is bewildered in the strange intricacy and complication of