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publick. Quere, what are we to understand by a negative translator 2 The following portrait of the archduke Charles may gratify the curiosity of the American publick.
This picture is well-drawn, and makes us acquainted with the person of a hero, who long since might have rescued continental Europe from the disgraceful chains of Gallick slavery, had not his genius been checked, and his plans thwarted by the mean jealousies of his own infatuated court. There is a defect, however, in the third sentence, where there are several nominatives without a verb.
“Ferino was given the command of the right wing.” This is not English. He should have written, The command of the right was given to Ferino.
Mr. Davis occasionally attempts the pathetick.
This is on a level with the style of a lady’s maid, in her first essay at novel-writing.
If any doubt should remain of the modesty of Mr. Davis, the following note must remove it.
Mr. Davis is not very accurate in his language, nor well founded in all his assertions. He uses the neuter verb glide in an active sense, (“where the Seine glides its waves’) contrary to established usage, and affirms that General Moreau “transcends Xenophon in a military capacity, and rivals him as a scholar.”
That the General is a great soldier, no one will deny, but, that his literary talents equal those of the all-accomplished Athenian, is an assertion, which requires better evidence, than the mere islse dirit of Mr. Davis.
On the whole, this work is a catch-penny production, and adds nothing to the wealth of literature, or to the reputation of the writer.
Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society for the year 1799. Vol. VI. Boston, S. Hall. 8vo. fish. 288.
WE have now advanced, in the irregular course of our criticism, to the sixth volume of the Historical Collections. As in our former reviews we have stated so fully the importance and the dryness of the documents in general, their value to the regular annalist, and their indifference to the ordinary reader, we shall spend no further time on these or collateral topicks, but shall proceed to a cursory statement of the papers in this volume. Before, however, we begin our critical duty, we shall say a few words on the Rev. Dr. Clarke's and Rev. Dr. Belknap's characters, of which some account is prefixed to the work. Dr. Clarke has been estimated too highly as a man of letters, both in general conversation and in the volume before us. He certainly was not a scholar of the first or the second class. Unquestionably he was a man of the mildest disposition, of the most amiable temper, and of easy, unassuming deportment. These are qualities always important and highly commendatory ; and in Dr. Clarke they originated a course of con
duct, as a man, a christian, and a
preacher, perfectly correspondent. But to celebrate him “as distin-, guished in the literary world,” as “no common proficient in the liberal arts and sciences,” is a benevolent extension of eulogy, which resembles a glaring, though unintentional violation of truth. It is also highly detrimental to our lit. erature, because it stops the progress of ambition ; and it is injurious to our renown in Europe, because foreign scholars in vain seek for erudition or literature in the writings of Dr. Clarke ; and they have a right to contend, as perfectly applicable, what we are disposed to consider as probably true, that “de non apparentibus et de non existentibus eadem est ratio.” The Rev. Dr. Belknap is a different character. His writings exlibit large extent of research, much depth of investigation, and variety of knowledge. He knew something of physical science. He chiyfly delighted, like the Ger
man literati, in laborious operation, yet in his Foresters he is easy, cheerful, and witty. We do not mean, that even Belknap was a great scholar in the dignified acceptation of the term, but his reading was very extensive, his information remarkably varied, and his reflections clear, full, and efficient. This conclusion easily results from a perusal of all his works, particularly ‘the History of New-Hampshire,’ ‘ the Century discourse,” and ‘the 'American Biography.’ In our opinions of literary men of this country we are always cautious, and therefore we wish to be clearly understood. Eulogy here is perfectly absurd. It is either the vilest daubing of colours, or the most grotesque caricature of expression. If a man write an historical work, he becomes a Sallust ; if he stitch together doggrel couplets against democracy, he is transformed into a Butler; preachers have been likened to Masillon; and, by some strange, incomprehensible metempsychosis, Antonius and Crassus of the Roman forum are revived in more than former splendour in the persons of American pleaders. “Remarks made during a residence at Stabroek Rio Demerary, lat. 6. 10. N. in the latter part of the year 1798. By Thomas Pierronet.” This paper contains much curious information, and some valuable facts. We submit the following to our readers.
The interiour will probably never be brought to a state of cultivation, owing to the want of drainage ; or at least the tract fixty miles from the sea, which is a vast drowned swamp. All the improvements have been hitherto made on the sea-coast, and on the banks of the rivers, and very rarely has a plantation been carried farther back. The labour in forming a new plantation is immense,
ther they experience a milder fate. Theft and desertion are generally left to the fiscal, whose agents apply from two to five hundred lashes (according to their sentence) with a long whip, which lacerates them horridly. These lashes are always applied on the bare breech, and the culprit prevented from fitting thereon for three months.
Crimes of greater magnitude are extenuated by the rack, and subsequent decapitation.
The negroes are allowed the privilege of the Sunday, when they come into the town, either to work in cleaning out the trenches, &c. or, with a load of fruit or vegetables, which they dispose of for their own emolument. After they have received the amount of their perquisite, they either lay out the money in procuring some little necessaries, or otherwise in drinking, gambling, and dancing; and the day is generally concluded by one or more battles.
“Specimen of the Mountaineer, or Sheshatapooshshoish, Skoffie, and Micmac Languages.”
The vocabularies add to our knowledge of Indian languages. The author’s source of information is apparently good, yet what is the reason that he does not tell his own name : He often is known by the emphatical l ; but now, for the first time in the world, a personal pronoun designates nobody, except a metaphysical entity.
“ General John Winslow’s Letter to the Earl of Halifax, relative to his coliduct, and that of the troops under his command, on the Ticonderogo expedition in 1756.”
As General W. was “the only person, who had been in the whole of these matters,” he is entitled to be heard, and his narrative has the the appearance of candour and fidelity.
“Secretary Willard's Letter to Mr. Bollan, agent for the colony of Massachusetts-Bay, relative to the failure of Crown-Point expedition, and reimbursement from G. Britain.”
“ Letter from William Bollan, agent for the colony of Massachusetts-Bay, to the speaker of the house of assembly of that colony.” “A memorandum of divers particulars, shewing the exhausted state of Massachusetts province, and the necessity of a considerable parliamentary grant, to relieve its distress, and enable it to answer the demands for the publick service in the next campaign, referred to in the preceding letter.” From various documents in these Collections, Mr.Bollan seems to have been a most active, faithful colonial agent. In the civil history of Massachusetts he is often mentioned with honour. His various memorials, petitions, and statements shew a mind replete with proper information for the benefit of the colonies, and if he was as respectable in private life, as he was diligent and laborious in publick exertions, the state of Massachusetts ought not willingly to let his memory die. “A brief state of the province of Quebec, as to its constitution, number of inhabitants, laws, commerce, population, circulating property, tenure of real property, science, &c. written in the year 1787.” This paper may be consulted with some advantage. The official information is good, because correct ; but facts have shown many of the commercial opinions to be false. It will give some idea of the colony of Canada in 1786, but since that period new laws of parliament, treaties, and the growth of the United States have variously affected that country in its settlement, fur trade, civilization, commerce, and agriculture. “Continuation of the narrative of newspapers published in NewEngland, from the year 1704 to the revolution ; in a letter from
one the members to the president the society.” This memoir continues the history of New-England newspapers to the year 1770–2. It is interspersed with various information and minute political literature. There is a queerness and a quaintness in the narrative, which resembles the manner of a pleasant old gentleman telling culious anecdotes of times before the revolution. It concludes with an account of Connecticut newspapers by Mr. Noah Webster. “Mr. Dummer’s letters to Mr. Flint.” “James Cudworth's letter to Governour Josiah Winslow, de
clining his appointment to a mili
tary command.” In a note, added to explain this letter, it is mentioned as probable, that the writer was appointed to the command of certain forces, raised on account, of a sudden alarm that the Dutch had taken some ships in Virginia, and having possessed themselves of New-York, were bound for the northward ; but from Hutchinson it is clear, that the news did not arrive at Boston till August, 1673, and Cudworth’s letter is dated in January 1673. The letter deserves perusal from its patriarchal simplicity. “James Cudworth's letter to Gov. Josiah Winslow.” This letter was written during the first expedition against Philip. “Letter from John Easton to Governour Josiah Winslow of Plymouth colony.” Explanatory of the Indian law respecting ship-wrecked goods. “Letter from Nathaniel Thomas, on the expedition against Philip, to Governour Winslow.” “A Letter from Secretary Rawson to Governour Winslow, to be communicated to the Council.”
This letter is dated Boston, 14 March, 1673–4, and relates some proceedings of the government of Massachusetts in reference to “the late and present actings of the Dutch in the sound.” “ Letter from Gov. Leverett to Gov. Winslow.” “ Letter from Edward Palmer to Governour Josiah Winslow.” “ Letter from John Freeman to Gov. Winslow.” “Return of loss, in Scituate, in Philip's war.” These relate to Indian wars in 1675–6. “Edward Randolph's letter to Governour Josiah Winslow, relative to his proceedings at Piscataqua.”
“Sachem Philip, his answer to .
the letter brought to him from the Governour of New-Plymouth.” “Edward Rawson's letter to the Governour of New-Plymouth, soliciting aid for the college at Cambridge.” “Letter of instructions from the Massachusetts General Court to William Bollan, their agent at the court of Great-Britain.” These instructions were made in 1756, to assist Mr. Bollan in an humble and earnest application to his majesty for relief from the grievous burden the province was under from the impressing of seamen, fishermen, and others, for the manning of his majesty's ships of war. “Letter from Leonard Hoar, M. D. to Josiah Flint.” In this long letter much advice is given upon studying, and common place books or paper books, as the writer calls them. It is curious to observe, what books were once read and recommended. Peter Ramus, who now is hardly consulted even by the metaphysician, is in this letter extolled, as
“ the grand, the incomparable.” Dr. Ames’s Medulla is known only to the reader of catalogues. And for direction and encouragement in devotional exercises and holy meditation who would now read “The practice of Augustine, Bernard, or Gerard ; or of more modern worthies J. Ambrose, R. Baxter, B. Hall, or W. Watson, as to the theoretical part” 2 The works of these men are now the secure lodgments of spiders, book lice and flies in winter. Their merit is almost unknown even to the theological inquirer. They lay in old libraries, as long lances and baronial shields in gothick armouries, testimonials of ancient elaboration and gradual decay. “Some hemoirs for the continuation of the history of the troubles of the New-English colonies, from the barbarous and perfidious Indians, instigated by the more savage and inhuman French of Canada and Nova-Scotia. Began Nov. 3, 1726. By Benjamin Colman, D. D.” “Letter from Henry Newman, to the Rev. Henry Flynt.” Upon some books for Harvard College. “Letter from Paul Mascarcnc. to Governour Shirley.” This relates to the history of the government of Nova-Scotia from 1710 to 1748 with suggestions of amendments. “Prince and Bosworth's petition to the government of Plymouth, relative to the mackarel fishery.” “Letter from William Bollan, agent for the Massachusetts, at the court of Great-Britain, to Josiah Willard, secretary of that province, respecting an intention of governing the colonies like Ireland.” “Mr. Bollan's petition to the duke of Bedford, relative to French encroachments, 1748.”