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Let Vanity take a glance at the following portrait, in which she will find her likeness admirably drawn:
“ So weak are human kind by nature made,
I should feel a sincere pleasure if I could be instrumental in indu: cing men of taste, capable of appreciating its merits, to peruse this admirable poem more generally. Candour, however, calls upon me to acknowledge, that there are in it a few blemishes, of phrases bordering on indelicacy. This is truly surprising when the chaste and correct character of Young is considered.
Impertinence chastised. In a neighbouring city, a young man of a good family, but very ar. rogant and insolent, was one day with a large party fishing, and was very unsuccessful. A respectable citizen, a hatter by profession, was also fishing at the same time and place, and caught a large number of fish. The former went on board the boat of the latter, and with a very impertinent and revolting air asked to buy some. The hatter was disgusted at his hauteur, and peremptorily refused, in consequence of which he was grossly insulted. On his return home, the hatter sent a challenge to the offender, who refused to accept it, on the ground that it was beneath a man of his standing to meet a tradesman. He was therefore posted as a coward. To wipe away the disgrace, he took a cowskin and pistol to the shop of his adversary, with an intention to flog him. “You rascal,” says he, “I am going to chastise you for your insolence, and if you dare resist, I shall blow your brains out.” He was just proceeding to carry his threats into execution, when the hatter, who had received an intimation of his intention, drew a pistol from under his counter, let fly at the assailant, and sent the ball through the fleshy part of his neck, which produced such a stiffness of the part, as made his head recline quite a wry upon his shoulder, and quite disfigured him all the days of his life.
The Art of sinking in the profound. Poeta nascitur, non fit. That is to say, you cannot make a poet out of a barber's block.
I have before me a sublime pcem, published a few years since in this city, from which I venture to make a few extracts for the gratifi
cation of your readers, not doubting but they will agree with me, that they are as excellent in point of sentiment, as in sweetness and elegance.
Meditations on the tombs.
Lines like these have a peculiar advantage. A Christian may read them from left to right, a Hebrew from right to left, an inhabitant of Formosa from bottom to top, or a Japanese from top to bottom, and they will lose none of their sublimity or excellence.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
TURNBULL'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD.
ALLURED by the flattering commendations of the Monthly Reviewers; and by a strong desire to learn what effect an intercourse with Europeans had upon the Islanders of the Pacific Ocean, visited by captain Cook, I eagerly perused the volumes of Turnbull's Voyage. I confess my disappointment, both in the execution of the work, and the information I expected to derive from it: I do not, however, pretend that I read it without occasional pleasure and interest.
In the account given of Otaheite, the author is full and satisfactory; and so much of his relation as relates to king Tomahama, his military conquests, his civil improvements and extensive projects, deserves attention, and shows us indeed a savage chief of very uncommon talents and genius. The lamentable decrease of population, in the delightful Otaheite, from 200,000 at which it was estimated by captain Cook to about 5000 souls, in so few years, is shocking to humanity. But Mr. Turnbull's attempt to account for this terrible devastation by customs and modes of life, which always belonged to this people, is wholly unsatisfactory. The destruction of infants; the exposure to disease by sleeping in the open night air, and other circumstances mentioned by him, all existed prior to any intercourse with Europeans, and it is not to be presumed that they have been extended by that intercourse. The depopulation of this beautiful island must be traced principally to crimes and vices introduced by their acquaintance with the inhabitants of the civilized world, among which the destructive use of ardent spirits, and the fatal ravages of a disease before unknown to them, stand preeminent. The security of the savage life from the havoc of disease, is its simplicity in diet, and an abstinence from the indulgence of luxury and wealth ; but when they have at their disposal, the means of gratifying the most dangerous appetites, unshackled by the restraints imposed in a state of civilization, their destruction is inevitable. How have nations dwindled and disappeared in our own country by these means?
When we read in the titlepage of this book, that it is to give us a voyage round the world, in a space of five years, we naturally and fairly expect much information upon many and various parts of the globe; and cannot but be disappointed to find that the circumnavigator spent almost half of his time at Botany Bay; and made very transient visits indeed to a few islands in the Pacific Ocean; remaining no considerable time at any of them, except Otaheite: of the settlement at Botany Bay he indeed gives a very minute account; not only as to its present situation, but also as to its probable prospects; pointing out the evils which retard its prosperity, and may, if not judiciously removed, ultimately defeat it. There is apparent good sense in his observations on this subject, and much philanthropy. Those readers who are concerned for this establishment, will find this part of the work interesting.
Mr. Turnbull shuts out the hope of the philosopher from his voyage, by declaring that his views in undertaking it were merely commercial: without this information nothing would have been more difficult than to have discovered what was his object in these five years of toil and danger. I should have supposed it to have been to salt pork at
Otaheite; which is the only thing like business, that we hear of, in the whole tour; but what was to be done with it, when collected and salted, remains a secret to this hour. After the wreck and loss of his ship, he seems to have continued, with unabating assiduity, to gather and salt down the hogs of Otaheite; and even to have made a dangerous excursion to a neighbouring island in pursuit of this darling object.
The American reader will be gratified with the following extract; speaking of the Sandwich Islands, he says:
“ The Americans carry on in particular a most active trade with these islands, supplying them with property, at a very easy rate, in exchange for provisions; and, unless I am much deceived, will do more than any others, to exalt them, to a singular degree of civilization. The reader will here pardon me for introducing this remark on American commerce; so far does it exceed all former efforts of former nations, that even the Dutch themselves sink under the comparison: scarcely is there a part of the world, scarcely an inlet in the most unknown seas, in which this commercial hive has not penetrated: the East Indies is open to them, and their flags are displayed in the seas of China: and it must be confessed, to their honour, that their success is Well merited by their industry.” .
In the initial number of this Magazine, a very accomplished, and well-principled scholar, communicated to us a caustic criticism upon the COLUMBIAD of Joel Barlow. In this acute analysis of a national work, the author was certainly more solicitous to detect the blemishes, than to indicate the beauties of the poem. In short, he evidently affected the sterner style of the Edinburg Review, and displayed much of its wit, and all of its severity. As we knew this criticism to be the production of a man of uncommon learning, talents, and genius, as we respect him as a gentleman, a scholar, and a moralist, and, as, in our unbiassed opinion, we think most of his strictures perfectly correct, we did not hesitate, no, not for a moment, to give the place of honour to his production. This has excited not a little clamour against the Editor, who is again and again rebuked for his fancied prejudice against the Literature of his country. This is a very hackneyed topic of calumny, and the eternal jangling of this monotonous peal of old bells is a little wearisome, even to the leathern ears of an Editor, who, from the peculiarities of his profession, is obliged to listen to many an ungrateful sound. The Editor most certainly has no prejudices against Mr. Barlow, as a poet, and if at any time it were in his power, he would confer on him a benefit, rather than inflict an injury. Prior to the publication of this obnoxious criticism, and on many occasions since, at the table of several literary friends, the Editor has frankly spoken in commendation of many passages in the Columbiad, he has expressed a wish that certain of its beauties should be grouped, and with this wish he coupled no reluctant declaration that he would publish a more lenient, nay, a plausive critique, if any of Mr. Barlow's friends or admirers, competent to the task, would furnish the materials. The idea of deliberate hostility to this work, as an American production, is absurd; and we had imagined that a pretty long and laborious series of years, devoted to the encouragement and dissemination of native productions, was an abundant refutation of this obsolete, illiberal, and groundless opinion. The Port Folio most manifestly is, in all strictness, a Literary Journal, expressly intended to aggrandize the national character. It is nothing like a party paper, and is devoted to the views of no faction. We know Mr. Barlow only as a poet, and in that capacity he is amenable at the Bar of Criticism. He has put himself upon the country; and we shall certainly try him with the utmost impartiality. As a proof of the strict justice of our Court, we now publish the pleadings of his counsel. To drop the allusion ; in the Monthly Magazine for December and January last, there is a very elaborate analysis of Mr. Barlow's book. This article of criticism is as memorable for its good nature, as that of our correspondent is for its severity. We copy it cheerfully; and as it is one of our favourite objects to foster literary discussion, we are glad to have an opportunity to go, as the lawyers say, into the merits of the case. The public, after hearing both critics, will be prepared to decide the question, and from that opinion there is no appeal.
Having thus in a spirit of no fictitious candour expressed our frank opinion, it now remains for the Editor to remind Mr. Barlow and his apologists, his followers and his friends, that
All common exhibitions open lie,