Page images
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]


Poetical Effays, by a young Gentle-
man of Oxford University,
Eays on Physiognomy, continued,
194, 265
Plowden's Thoughts upon the bene-
ficial Confequences of inrolling all
Deeds, Wills, and Codiciis, affc&t-
ing Lands throughout England and
Wales, 8vo.

Popular Commotions confidered as

Signs of the approaching End of

the World: a Sermon: By Wil-

liam Jones, M. A. F. R. S. 4to. 75

Poftfcript, by Anthony Pafquin, to the
New Bath Guide, 8vo.

Pofthumous Works of Frederic II.



Les Premices de ma Jeunese, c. 8vo.


Dr. Price's Difcourfe "on the Love

of our Country," 8vo.


Principles of Moral Philofophy invef-

tigated By Thomas Giborne,

M. A. 8vo.


Progreffes and public Proceffions of

Queen Elizabeth. By John Nichols,

F.S. A. 2 vols. 4to.


Prophecy of Ifaiah vii. 14, 15, 16,
compared with the Gofpel of Ma-
thew i. 18-23. By
ter, D. D. 8vo.
Proteftant Catechifm, tranflated from
the French, by S. Catlow, 12m10.

RADZIVIL, a Romance, tranflated

from the Rufs of M. Wockiow, 3

vols. 12mo.


Rayusford Park; a Novel, vols. 357

New Theory of Redemption, 2 vols.



The Death, c. of Mrs. Regency, 8vo.

Remarks by G. Wakefield on Dr.

Horley's Ordination Sermon, 8vo.





TAPRELL'S Effects of Divine Grace
in the Redemption of Sinners, 4to.


Principles of Taxation, inquired into,



Difcourfe on Tefs Sacramental. By
R. Robinfou, 8vo.

Theological Tracts, in Verfe and Profe,




[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]



For JANUARY, 1790.

Biographia Britannica: or, the Lives of the moft eminent Perfons who have flourished in Great Britain and Ireland, from the Earliest Ages to the prefent Times: collected from the beft Authorities, printed and Manufcript, and digefted in the Manner of Mr. Bayle's Historical and Critical Dictionary. The Second Edition, with Corrections, Enlargements, and the Additon of new Lives. By Andrew Kippis, D. D. F. R. S. and S. A. with the Affifiance of the Rev. Jofeph Torvers, LL. D. and other Gentlemen. Volume the Fourth. Folio. 17. 135. in Boards. Rivingtons.

IT T is pleafing to reflect that the British Biography, in this new edition, exceeds fo far in bulk and in importance what occurred in the last impreffion, The English foil continues to rear its sturdy oaks in almost every department of literature; and, to examine the merits of thefe monarchs of the literary world, as well as to detail the events of their lives, conftitute a task at once arduous, neceffary, and important. Biography, as we have often had occafion to remark, is neither an ignoble, nor an easy task: each man has his distinguishing features, which must not only be faithfully pourtrayed, but accurately arranged, and the compofition of the whole picture must be equally exact and confiftent. But it is not the character only of the individual which the author of a general fyftem of biography must confider. The mind of a literary man is developed and expanded in his works. Thefe are the bloffoms which engage more general attention, and are either attractive from their beauty, or interesting from their utility. The exertions of his mind will throw additional light on his character; and his opinions must be collected with care, and examined with impartiality. They must be brought into one fyftem; and again diftinguished as they are connected or contrafted with opinions and fyftems already known. If, in the publication of thefe opinions, difputes fhould have arifen, they must be confidered not with the diffuseness of the man, who would conceal nothing, but with the fagacity and precision of a philofopher, who can feleft the points of importance; the hinges on which the con VOL. LXIX. Jan. 1790.



troverfy hangs. In every part of this tafk, the biographer muft contend with contradictory reports, with ftudied fallacy, or accidental mifreprefentation. To discover truth, he must examine every material evidence, mult combine diftant events, and often, in the end, depend on probabilities, becaufe, at a distance from the period, thefe alone are left for his information. We have given only fpecimens of the difficulties which he must frequently meet with: they will be found often complicated with adventitious ones, or rendered more formidable by the total abfence of a clue. We have enlarged a little on them, as we hear with regret that the editor means to retire, not only from his oftenfible office, but from his very active share in the work; and, as we not only wish to apprife his fucceffors of the difficulty of their task, but to establish the foundation on which works of this kind fhould be appreciated.

The former volumes of the Biographia Britannica we noticed in our XLVIIth volume, p. 25; in the XLIXth, p. 185, and in the LVIIIth, p. 44, refpectively. To thefe articles we mult refer for information concerning the former work, and the conduct propofed for this edition: it is now our more immediate bufinefs to examine the fourth volume of this refpectable collection.

The circumftances, more immediately relative to this volume, are mentioned at fome length in the preface. The lives of Chatterton and Cook are, perhaps, of a difproportionate extent; but the editor apologises for this fault with unequal effect. We allow that works of this kind are deftined for a future age, when the fources from whence the information is drawn are become fcarce, or are forgotten; and an abridgment of the Voyages of captain Cook was a proper appendage to his Life. Perhaps, and the editor feems to allow it, the abridgment is too minute for a biographical dictionary only; but, while there is fo much original information to be conveyed, we forget the fault in the entertainment. The extent of Chatterton's Life is not fo well fupported: the difpute concerning Rowley was between bigotry, refinement, and error on one fide; and a genuine knowledge of antiquity, judgment, and difcernment on the other. It might have been difcuffed in two pages. Chatterton was no doubt an extraordinary young man ; but his dextrous imitations rendered him more corfpicuous than the extent of his knowledge, which, though much celebrated, will not be found greatly fuperior to what a lad of quick comprehenfion might have attained with the fame advantages. We muft continue to think that the Life of Chatterton, as it is written, is no pinament to the work. Dr. Kippis juftly obferves, that from the accumulation of new books, and the prejudices of fashion,


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »