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philofophy that is not benevolent is falfe and deftructive. It is impoffible for man to know the truth: but it is of no importance whether his felicity be founded on truth, or on delufion.'
The next fubject is on the Caufes of Taffo's Madness, taken from Manfo's Life of the Italian Poet. It is fyftematically defcribed; but Taffo's own account, in his letters, is the most curious part: he was certainly mad, ratione modoque.' Mr. Heron's reflections are worth tranfcribing.
The high things, which Manfo heard, doubtlefs originated from Taffo's warm attachment to the Platonic philofophy; that fublime tiffue of dreams and vifions. I would remark, upon the whole fubject of this letter, that it is a woeful proof of the weakness of the most exalted mind, when it lays the rein upon the neck of imagination. A man of genius cannot take too much care to prevent his fupernatural fancy from affuming any power over common life. The effect of imagination upon the mind is like that of lime upon a fruit-tree; a little buried at the root, will make it healthy and flourishing; but too much will totally destroy it.'
The forty-fourth Letter is on Literary Forgery; but the author takes no notice of that fpecies of it which confifts in publishing under borrowed names. But we believe it to be as innocent as the afcribing modern productions to an ancient author; and we have fully examined the subject, in our review of Chatterton's productions, afcribed to Rowley: Mr. Heron agrees with us in this opinion.
He then confiders which of the Roman authors were really originals. In his opinion, Plautus has fome pretenfions to this quality: Lucretius is in the middle rank between an original and an imitator: Horace is a copyift, except in his fatires and epiftles; and this Sabine puppy' of the two hundred and thirtieth page, is in the three hundred and ninetieth an original and exquifite writer: Oyid is an original in his Fafti and Metamorphofes, two works of inferior value: and Celfus, the most servile of copyifts, is faid to deserve the fame title: Phædrus, Juvenal, Perfius, Lucan, Pliny, Boethius, and above all, velut inter ignes Luna minores,' Tacitus, are accounted originals. On the whole, thefe decifions are juft: Celfus, Pliny, and Lucan, are the only flagrant exceptions; and thefe were owing probably to his not understanding the fubjects of the two former authors, and not having read the last. It is not the firft inftance, in which Mr. Heron has decided on the merits of an author, with which it is pretty certain he is little acquainted.
The forty-fixth Letter contains fome very juft Remarks on the Diftinction between Reading and Learning, and the Impropriety of calling a Man, who has only read much, with
out Reflection, learned. The next Letter is intended as a fupplement to the former analysis of fcience from Bacon. It contains fome additional remarks on moral philofophy, and focial science.
The forty-eighth Letter is on Taffo's Language, and contains a good apology for fome of his too figurative expreffions in the Gierufalemme liberata.
The forty-ninth Letter is an Examination of Addison's Criticisms; and, as Mr. Heron has often spoken in the most difrespectful style of this author's decifions, we fhall felect a fpecimen of his remarks.
Spect. No. 5. Addifon hath given more proofs than one of his very flight acquaintance with the Italian language. Armida is, in the opera of Rinaldo, called an Amazonian enchantress, or more properly an enchanting Amazon (taking enchanting in rather an uncommon acceptation), not from her being of the nation of the Amazons, as Addifon ftrangely misunderstands it; but from her being an enchantrefs and virago. The remark on the Chriftian magician is equally abfurd. The magician doth not deal with the devil, as Addison mifreprefents it much in the fpirit of an old woman, but with angels, the dæmons of Platoniím; who were thought the fervants of good men, and none but the good. Before fuch criticisms no work can ftand. The critic totally mifreprefents the meaning, and then writes criticisms upon his own mifreprefentations. The noted attack on Taffo, which follows thefe odd blunders, is difmiffed in pity and filent contempt. Taffo it innocent of the charge, and must be honourably acquitted. The English of Mr. Addifon's vio lent hatred of the opera is, that he wrote for the English theatre, and was mortified to fee it neglected for the Italian.'
The other hypercriticisms are, as ufual, a ftrange mixture of petulance and good fenfe; of a decifive manner, and incorrect reafoning.
The following Letter, fent with the Confeffions of Rouffeau, only contains a parallel between him and Cardan. They were both their own biographers; both egotists; and both, fometimes, fublime.—The fifty-firft Letter contains fome of Sadi's apologues, tranflated from the French. They are of unequal merit none of them deférve to be very particularly distinguished.
The fifty-fecond Letter contains fome farther Remarks on Taffo. They relate to the conduct of the poet; for his language had been already confidered. We cannot follow the critic in this path; but shall felect a paffage, which feems to deferve attention.
With regard to the faulty characters in the Gerufalemme, I think that there are far too many female warriors in it. We
are obliged to Virgil for the first perfonage of this fort; the very fenfe of Homer admitted no fuch dreams. Dacier hath well obferved that a circumftance that is pofitive fact in real life, might yet be much too improbable for poetry. We know from history that Vermina, the daughter of Syphax, was in the field fighting in affiftance of Hannibal, when he received his laft defeat from Scipio; a circumftance, which, being fo recent, probably fuggefted Camilla to Virgil. We know from hiftory the martial fpirit of Bonduca, of many Scandinavian ladies, and the like; yet all these will not vindicate the admiffion of female warriors into poetry, where the grand truth of nature is the object, not the paltry truth of fact. Tafso hath, however, a very strong apology to offer for his fometimes making the word warrior of the feminine gender, and that is the coincidence of his ftory with the times and manners of chivalry: times and manners which prefented fo many inftances of this folecism in coftume, as almost to elevate truth of fact into truth of nature.'
The remarks in this Letter, frequently difplay both tafte and judgment.
The next fubject is Literary Hyprocrify, or rather the affected modefty which fears, or would be thought afraid, to decide. Our author laments the lofs of the confidentia fui," which he thinks is unknown. It may perhaps be one of his merits, that he has endeavoured to recall it. While thefe Letters remain, this quality cannot be forgotten. The following is a picture from nature.
A yet more glaring literary hypocrify is that by which an ignorant man affumes the garb of fcience; as the worst hypocrify in the moral world is that by which a vicious man affumes the mafk of religion. In the latter, a hypocrite may often be discovered by pushing his fimulation too far; and in the like manner a literary impoftor is apt, not to display too much learning, for he hath got none; but, to ufe the character of a learned man in the extreme. He shakes his head at the moft trivial queftion, and, with many hems and ha's, fays it is a difficult point, a very difficult point indeed, and would require very mature examination. When any perfon prefent fays the point is very easy, takes it in hand, and folves it to the fatiffaction of every body, the hypocrite of learning shakes his head, fays that folution is trivial; and perhaps is polite enough to hint that it equals the understanding of the audience; but that he, upon proper occafion, and to a learned company, could have given a much more profound account of the matter.'
The fifty-fourth Letter is on falfe Fame, and the Difficulty of acquiring folid Reputation. There is fome merit in this Letter; and we may fafely trust the dictates of an author, who has shifted his shape so often, with this view.
The following Letter is on the Character, the Language, and the particular Beauties of Taffo's Jerufalem delivered;"
and concludes a criticifm on this poem, which though generally too favourable, is, on the whole, very valuable.-The next fubject is the Degrees of Scientific Fame. We believe the sciences are arranged according to general opinion, but by no means correctly. The inventor of the forty-feventh Propofition of the first book of Euclid, deferves more of mankind than all the epic writers who have ever flourished; yet epic poetry is in the first, and geometry the last part of the fcale.
The laft Letter is on Criticism and Critics, in which we fhall not follow Mr. Heron, because he again defcends to ribaldry and impertinence. It is furprifing, that an author who poffeffes fome fair pretenfions to fame, fhould debafe them with fuch a contemptible alloy.
We have freely followed our author, and impartially awarded him his due praifes and cenfure. We shall not, therefore, give any general character of his work, for its merits and its faults are fo nicely blended, that it would delay us too long again to review them: but we must add a word or two at parting. At first fight of the book, we were ftruck with a great fimilarity between it and the Thirty Letters of Mr. Jackson : each feemed to have left the beaten tracks for the more retired fhades of science: each has illuftrated Shakspeare, and endeavoured to draw fome valuable author from obfcurity. In the progrefs of our perufal, this fimilarity was more ftriking ; and we found many paffages fo much alike, that we could not be ignorant of their fource. But here the parallel fails. Mr. Heron cannot contend with Mr. Jackfon in ingenuity, in propriety, or decorum. We differed, in one inftance, from the latter; but we continued to read and to esteem him: we fometimes admire the talents of the former, but we wish to remember him no more.
Obfervations on the Difeafes incident to Seamen. By Gilbert Blane, M.D. F. R. S. 8vo. 6s. Murray.
IT T must be pleafing to humanity, to fee war defpoiled of fome of its horrors, and that the advantages arising from navigation are not purchased by the health of a hardy, laborious, and useful race. Captain Cook carried his fhips from arctic to antarctic regions with fo little lofs, that he seemed almoft under the protection of a preferving providence, to teach mankind how much may be attained by a careful attention to the means in their power. The hurry attendant on the equiping a numerous fleet, the fervices in which they are engaged during a war, and the very different arrangement neceffary in a fhip of force, will, in a great degree, prevent the fuccefsful plans from being followed with any very minute exactness.
Yet great attention feems to have been paid in every department; and, after the crews had been for fome time together, after old infections had been crushed, or worn out, the fleet in the West Indies feems to have enjoyed an unexampled ftate of good health. After it had refitted at New York, in 1782, a fquadron under lord Hood kept at fea, in a high latitude, near twelve weeks, without any appearance of fcurvy. Commanders have indeed been lately more attentive to this part of their duty; and, though marine difcipline is faid to be on the decline, the management of the feamen in this respect is much improved; and, through the whole hiftory, we find the beft regulated ships the most healthy. More care is now taken of the clothes and births; provifions are better prepared, antifcorbutic diet more freely intermixed with falted meat, and the firft approaches of difeafe more carefully guarded against.
We do not find any thing very new in this work; but many important improvements are brought together, delivered under the fanction of an able and intelligent author, and enforced, through his reprefentations, by the orders of the admiralty. It is our duty to obferve, that the regulations propofed in his memorials were not unknown or uncommon in the fleet; many commanders had obferved and enjoined them; but it reflects no little credit on Dr. Blane, that he has rendered them more general, and established them by the highest authority.
The first part of this work is hiftorical: it is a clear, exact, and unvarnished relation of facts, frequently illuftrated by ufeful tables. We cannot give any regular analyfis, but shall fubjoin an abstract of fome striking particulars. In the early periods of the war, the fleet was very fickly, but lefs unhealthy than the French fleet, where difcipline is lefs regarded. In the progrefs, each fleet grew more healthy, for which one caufe may be affigned, viz. familiarity with contagion. In the French fhips, for inftance, taken in 1782, the dirt was fo offenfive, as to produce a contagious fever in those men fent on board, while no fever was found among their own men : and, in our own fleet, different crews, when joined in one ship, though each were healthy before, foon ficken. Our author feems to overlook this cause, though the facts which have been mentioned are taken from him; he attributes it to the men knowing each other, and their commander better; to fuperior difcipline; to the infection, brought by preffed men, having been exhaufted. Somewhat may be, perhaps, allowed to each of these causes, though very little; yet the great and continued health of the crew of the Formidable may, in some degree, be attributed to them. The chief diforders in the early part of a war, are fevers; these disappear in the tropical climates, and become fluxes; in low latitudes, fevers lofe