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While we object to Miss Seward's censure of Horace's rural descriptions, we are aware that there are many beautiful passages in the writings of other authors, which comprehend a great variety of minute details: but their excellence does not consist in prolixity. Two instances in Comus occur to us, in which there is a peculiar beauty, because the time of the day is designed by the progress of rural occupations:
"Two such I saw, what time the labour'd ox
We confess that we should wish to see this accomplished lady's talents exercised, in future, on original composition ra ther than on translation. The tones of her muse are naturally solemn and plaintive, and they will not easily assume new mo, dulations. Her admirers will require no change of manner; and, as Miss Seward has ever shewn herself in her works the friend of Genius and of Virtue, we have no doubt that her productions will continue to meet with support, from the most liberal and best-informed part of society.
ART. II. A View of the Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution; in Thirteen Discourses, Preached in North America between the Years 1763 and 1775 with an Historical Preface. By Jonathan Boucher, A. M. and F. A. S. Vicar of. Epsom in the County of Surrey. 8vo. pp. 700. 9s. Boards. Robinsons 1797.
HE attention of the reader of this volume will be caught at the opening of it, and he will be materially instructed in the principles and views of the author, by the dedication to George Washington, Esq. This dedication is written in a manly and elegant strain, and opens thus:
In prefixing your name to a work avowedly hostile to that Revolution in which you bore a distinguished part, I am not conscious that I deserve to be charged with inconsistency. I do not address myself. to the General of a Conventional Army; but to the late dignified President of the United States, the friend of rational and sober freedom.'
Mr. Boucher afterward observes:
I bring no incense to your shrine even in a Dedication. Having never paid court to you whilst you shone in an exalted station, I am not so weak as to steer my little bark across the Atlantic in search of patronage and preferment; or so vain as to imagine that now, in the evening of my life, I may yet be warmed by your setting sun. My utmost ambition will be abundantly gratified by your condescending, as a private Gentleman in America, to receive with candour and kindness this disinterested testimony of regard from a private Clergyman in England. I was once your neighbour and your friend: the unhappy dispute, which terminated in the disunion of our respective countries, also broke off our personal connexion: but I never was more than your political enemy; and every sentiment even of political animosity has, on my part, long ago subsided. Permit me then to hope, that this tender of renewed amity between us may be received and regarded as giving some promise of that perfect reconciliation between our two countries, which it is the sincere aim of this publication to promote. If, on this topic, there be another wish still nearer to my heart, it is that you would not think it beneath you to co-operate with so humble an effort to produce that reconciliation.'
After having commended Mr. Washington's resolution to terminate his days in retirement, and expressed a hope that he will not, however, abstain from all interference in public affairs, the writer thus concludes:
That you possessed talents eminently well adapted for the high post you lately held, friends and foes have concurred in testifying: be it my pleasing task thus publicly to declare that you carry back to your paternal fields virtues equally calculated to bloom in the shade. To resemble Cincinnatus is but small praise: be it yours, Sir, to enjoy the calm repose and holy serenity of a Christian hero; and may "the Lord bless your latter end more than your beginning !”
A Preface next follows, consisting of nearly one hundred closely printed pages; in the beginning of which the author enumerates the several histories of the American contest that have hitherto been published, and all of which he censures as being partial and defective: not even excepting the account given in the (old) Annual Register, which has been generally attributed to the masterly pen of the late Mr. Burke.-This failure of faithful narratives induced Mr. Boucher to submit his sermons to the public, in order to assist future inquirers in this arduous investigation.' Pref. p. xxii-iii.
Merely as Sermons, (says Mr. B.) or even as Political Treatises, in themselves, and unconnected with the circumstances under which they were written, being the productions of a private clergyman, who began to think seriously on such subjects only when he was called upon to write upon them, I am sensible their claim to the public at
tention is slender. Had they not, however, seemed to myself, and to some kind friends to whom they have been shewn in MS. to contain some information which has not elsewhere been noticed, but which may help to elucidate a difficult but important period of our history, they would never have been drawn from that oblivion to which they had long been consigned.'
I have selected for this volume such discourses as seemed to myself most likely to shew (in a way that can hardly be suspected of misrepresentation) the state of two of the most valuable Colonies, [Virginia and Maryland] just before, and at the time of the breaking out of the troubles. And I am willing to flatter myself, that every attentive reader will find in them something to illustrate the great event to which they chiefly relate. It is not within their compats, nor do I pretend, to give more than an outline of the history.'
The discourses are in number 13, and bear the following titles: On the Peace in 1763: On Schisms and Sects: On the American Episcopate: On American Education: On reducing the Revenue of the Clergy: On the Toleration of Papists On Fundamental Principles: On the Strife between Abram and Lot: On the Character of Absalom: On the Character of Ahitophel: On the Dispute between the Israelites and the Two Tribes and a Half: On Civil Liberty, Pa sive Obedience, and Non-Resistance: A Farewell Sermon, from Nehemiah, vi. 10, 11.
The Preface includes an inquiry into the causes of the revolt of America,' and points out some of the many interesting consequences which it either has already occasioned, or may be expected hereafter to occasion.'-In his conclusion, Mr. B. says:
For my principles and my doctrines I ask no other indulgence than that, in this age of liberty, I may at length be permitted to avow them, if without praise, yet without danger. My sincerity, I trust, will not be questioned. If, in stating what I believe to have been facts, I have erred, it must be owned that I have gone wrong with such means of being right as not many others have enjoyed. Nor can I with decency be contradicted in these statements by any man, who, even with superior talents, has not had equal opportu nitities of forming his judgment, nor given the same unequivocal proofs of his sincerity.
That many of the doctrines maintained in this volume are no longer in fashion, I am not now to learn. They were not adopted, however, without examination: and having adopted them, I could neither be so base towards others as to recommend such doctrines as, though more popular, did not appear to me to be founded in truthnor so disengenuous to myself as to be ashamed to avow what I do believe to be true.'
That there are many errors and defects in my work is highly probable: all I have to plead in their behalf is, that, as far as I know
my own heart, they are involuntary. Any controversy about my doctrines I beg leave to decline; and, at the age of threescore, a request to be excused from such a task, I hope, will not be deemed unreasonable. But, if I have mis-stated a single fact, and much more if I have misrepresented and wronged any man, however obscure, or however obnoxious; on it's being pointed out to me, I will, with much pleasure, retract such misrepresentation, and ask pardon of the person whom I have involuntarily injured.'
In the course of this prefatory discussion, the author proposes, as the most likely expedient to preserve the American Provinces from ruin, an Union with Great Britain; not, as formerly, as Parent-State and Colonies, but on the broad basis of two distant, distinct, and completely independent states." Supposing that this proposition should not be adopted, then, he says, what is to hinder Great Britain, while yet she possesses fleets, wealth, skill, and spirit, and above all while yet she possesses her antient uncontaminated principles, from transporting her Empire to the East ?-There she might possess a territory inferior in extent only to the neighbouring kingdom
From these extracts, the reader may form some idea of the nature of this publication, and of the principles and abilities of the author. As he tells us that he declines all controversy about his doctrines, and that he cannot with decency be contradicted in his statements by any man who has not had equal opportunities of forming his judgment,' there is little room left to us for criticism on the performance. To controversy about his doctrines, differing decidedly from him as we do, we are as little disposed as the author himself; and we cannot assert a right to dispute his statements, on the principle which he lays down. As water disturbed in its course will in time regain its level, so will the arguments on these subjects which Mr. Boucher agitates, and the reputation of his book in all points of view, be best determined by the quiet judgment of posterity, when the tumults of parties have subsided. We may, however, observe that Man is often more easily deceived by himself than by others; and that, while Mr. B. inveighs against parties, he seems not to have suspected that he may himself be inrolled in such a class. Acquainted as he is with writers on different subjects, he cannot but allow of some toleration, and speak favorably of some arguments in behalf of free inquiry but tests, subscriptions, and other barriers of a similar nature, are with him of the utmost moment. It must be allowed that he displays extensive reading, considerable knowlege, talents for vigorous and eloquent composition, and many laudable sentiments. In a variety of his observations we sincerely concur, and several passages we deem excellent :
but to examine the work critically would lead to those disputes concerning heresy, schism, sects, episcopacy, divine right, &c. which have been so often maintained with little satisfaction, and less conviction.
The general tenor of the discourses may be seen by their titles, which we have already transcribed. Several parts of them, as the author acknowleges, bear more resemblance to senatorial speeches or popular harangues, than to instruction and exhortation delivered in the House of Prayer; and, setting aside the disputed question respecting the propriety of introducing political subjects in a pulpit, it can scarcely be expected that they will be impartially and thoroughly discussed in such a place, and under such circumstances.
The character of Dr. Franklin is severely scrutinized and depreciated by Mr. Boucher; and of the great Locke it appears as if he would be thought to speak with mildness, when he says of him and his disciples, they have the demerit only of having new-dressed principles which are at least as old as the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.'
To conclude: it must be supposed that this volume will afford some insight into the memorable events of which it treats, as the author's long residence in America must have given him opportunities of information which the distant observer could not obtain. The accuracy of it, however, can only be manifest to and vouched by those who were equally well or better informed; and then its quantity and value must be determined by comparison with the materials already supplied :-a task which will probably be executed only by some future patient, candid, and judicious historian. Hi. but re-written by G.2.
ART. III. The Experienced Farmer, an entire new Work, in which the whole System of Agriculture, Husbandry, and Breeding of Cattle, is explained and copiously enlarged upon; and the best Methods, with the most recent Improvements, pointed out. By Richard Parkinson, of Doncaster. 2 Vols. 8vo. pp. 300. in each. 11. 1s. Boards. Robinsons. 1798.
POETA nascitur, sed Agricola fit. Nature makes the poet, but experience is necessary to constitute a good farmer. A thorough knowlege of agriculture cannot be obtained without continued and attentive practice; yet judicious publications may be of great use to the farmer, because in fact they enable him to compare the experience and observations of others with his own; thus enlarging his mind and exciting him to new exertions. The mere plodding farmer may gain money, but he will not advance agriculture as a science. He goes round like a mill