Imagens das páginas

produce or merchandize, in contradistinction to money. 2. The Spanish author does not say that the frutos of the island amounted to so much, but that the frutos imported and exported at the Havana, amounted to that sum. 3. He does not speak of the island of Cuba at all, but of the Havana.—Estala, xx. 69. If Mr Pirikerton had only reflected that his statement makes the island of Cuba export above seven times more in fruits, than all Mexico does in every article of merchandize, he could scarcely have committed such a blunder.

P. 539.—' Estanco de tabaco,' is ' monopoly of tobacco.' Mr Pinkerton translates it' deposit.'

P. 541.—* Asesbr letrado, ' is an assessor bred to the law. Mr Pinkerton makes it' a learned assessor.'

P. 548.—' Fiel executor,' is * clerk of the market' in the original. [Estala, xxvii. 286.) Mr Pinkerton makes it ' sworn proveditor.'

P. 549.—* Caidas de Caballos, ' means, < falls from horses.' Mr Pinkerton pleasantly translates it ' heels of horses.'

P. 5 39.—' Para lo contenciofo de efte ramo forma el Xefe tribunal con un afefor que le da S. M. fifcal y notario. * (Eftala, xxvii. 292.) This Mr Pinkerton tranflates, ' In difficult cafes he has an affeflbr, fifcal, and notary.' It ought to be, ' Exchequer fuits are tried by a court confifting of the intendant and his aifeffor, who is named by the king, affifted by the fifcal and notary.'

P. 554.—' The inhabitants may be 600.' The original is, 'ima feifcientos vecinos;' [Eft. xx. i24.) i.e. * the houfeholders are about 600.' The fame miflake repeatedly occurs in Mr Pinkerton's book; and in p. 63i, (note), he corrects a fuppofed inconfiftency of Eftala, which is in reality a blunder of his own, arifing from his miftake of vecinos for inhabitants.

P. 54i.—' The affeflbr has a falary of i060 dollars derived from lawfuits.' A falfe tranllation; it is ' from the municipal rents.' {Eft. xxvii. 297.)

P. 556.—' Hides of beeves.' The original is, ' cueros al pelo, . i.e. ' undreffed hides.' (EJl. xx. i09.)

Ibid.' Coarfe foap.' The original is, • Sebo deffelido,' f. e.

* melted tallow.'

P. 570.—-' To expedite the work of the miners.' The original is, ' para habilitar los trabajos de minas,' (Eji. xxvii. 302.); i.e.

* to make advances to the miners to enable them to undertake and carry on their work;' habilitar is the technical phrafe for fuch advances, and anfwers to the phrafe, * to mount," ufed in our manufacturing towns. But a very remote approximation to the meaning of the original always fatisfies Mr Pinkerton; and he is feldom fo lucky in his gueffing as in the prefent inftance.

Ibid.—' Eleven and a half per cent• are then dedu&ed for the dues of the bank.' It fhould be, ' the duties of eleven and a half per cent• (payable to the crown) are taken from the gold and filver delivered into the bank.' (Eft. xxvii. 303.)

P. 587.^-' Caufes judged in two by the oidors.' The original is, ' Se exercita en dos por los oidores el de los juicios eiviles,' (Eft. xx. I05.); i. e. 'in two of the chambers civil caufes are tried by the oidors.1

P. 596.—' The addition of 32 per cent• is on account of the price of filver at Cadiz.' How the price of filver at Cadiz fhould juftify a political arithmetician in adding 22 per cent• to the value of goods exported from that city, we could not eafily imagine; we therefore naturally fuppofed, that Mr Pinkerton, with his accuftomed want of thinking, had refted fatisfied with the firft guefs at the fenfe of his original; upon turning to which, we accordingly found, 22 per cent• added 'to the official value of goods exported, '—' para equalarlos al precio de plaza en Cadiz,' (Eft. xx. 822.); L e. * to bring the official value to the market price at Cadiz.' If it is requiring too much knowledge of Spanifh in Mr Pinkerton, to expert that he fhould have diftinguifhed plaza, a market, from plata, filver, at leaft we may truft that a builder of geographical fyftems fo ' noble, fcientific and luminous,' (I. xxii.) fhould not fet down reafons like the above, which are abfolute nonfenfe, and to which he could have attached no one idea when he put them in words. It would certainly be too romantic to fuppofe that he fhould have known that filver is not dearer in Cadiz than elfewhere, but rather cheaper. *

It is quite unneceffary to multiply further the examples of this nature with which every part of this work abounds, and efpecially the additions made to the prefent republication. We have faid enough, to fhew how far the opinion we have already given is well founded, that, with all its pretenfions, the new portion of the book is a moft hafty and flovenly performance; eked out, by more than the excefs of the ordinary book-makers' arts ; and compiled with fo little qare or knowledge, (where it is not mere tranfcript of noted works) as to render it at once a moft unfafe and moft cumbrous guide.

In a work of this description, style is no doubt a secondary consideration: yet must we say a single word upon it, both because Mr Pinkerton's pretensions are as high in this as in any other particular, and because we have to vindicate ourselves from


* A parallel inftance of thoughtleflnefs ocenrs in fpeaking of the Swedifh finances; ' Sweden owes ten millions to Hamburg, it fesms, and therefor: is filled with the paper money of that city!'

all share in the following heavy charge which he brings against the literary journals of this country. * Their eulogy of the style' (says he, speaking of the notice taken of his first edition) * does credit to their own judgment.' The reason is certainly unexpected. 'As in the opinions of foreigners eminently versed in the English language, such is the purity of the grammar and expression, that they were as seldom obliged to refer to a dictionary as in any other production whatever of the English language; and the voice of foreigners must in this respect be regarded as an infallible test.' Those who dispute the perfections of his style after this, are likened ' to the Scotch schoolmaster in Smollet, who came to London to teach the pronunciation of the English language,' which, to be sure, is not quite so whimsical as making a French critic's taste the standard of English style. Now, for our own parts, as we are called upon to choose, we have no hesitation in siding with the Scotch schoolmaster, rather than the French critics, being verily persuaded that the discovery of a worse style than Mr Pinkerton's is reserved for some distant age. The specimens which we have been obliged incidentally to give of this ' pure and perfect' manner of writing, are sufficient to make the reider acquainted with its merits. But Mr Pinkerton will have ' nunerous examples of bad style' from all who presume to censure him. (I. xxiv.) So we must comply, and briefly indicate some passages of peculiar note.

• The first visitation of Greenland.' (III. 3.) 'The love of glory like the vast mechanical force of steam, another vapour.' (Hid. 86.) '. Even their authors cannot advance in the direct road to the temple of fame, but stray into thickets and devious paths of quaint expression, where they often lose their health and reputation. They also often die of bombast and obscurity.' (III. 181.) "We venture to doubt the accuracy of this last assertion. 'The lake of Titica now ascribed to the viceroyalty of -La Plata.' (Ibid. 504.) 'The conjunct flood.' (513.) 'Barbaric civilization.' (586.) • The soil displays a great variety of barrenness.' (267.) 'The brilliant plumes of the royal goose do not save it from destruction.' (608.) • Conspiracy timeoitsly discovered.' (647.) * Numerous are our edible sea-fish.' (I. 133.) 'Dependant on the secretaries of state is the state paper office at Whitehall.' (Ibid. 50.) The pastoral effect of the following description is striking. 'The cows seem to have been originally from Holstein, and the utmost attention was paid to warmth and cleanliness, so that, even in summer, the animals appeared in the meadows clothed with ludicrous care.' (I. 511.) The subJim* is cultivated in the following high wrought .passage." 'The

• ^ • •Moskoestroem, Moskoestroem, or Malstroem, is a remarkable whirlpool off the shore of Norland, * which will involve boats, and even ships; nay, the bellowing struggles of the whale have not always redeemed him from the danger.' (I. 549.) The following sketch of the domestic occupations of a venerable patriarch well known to every critic, is rapid, but masterly. * Mistakes multiply^ and an old hallucination becomes the father of a numerous. progeny.' (I. xii.)—' This edition has gained in perfection what it lost in delay.' (xvi.) With many other instances of one thing being said for the sake of sound, while a perfectly different thing is meant.

Such are a very few o£ the specimens which every page of these volumes furnishes, to make us dissent from ' those foreigners eminently versed in the English language,' who rate so high our author's f purity of grammar and expression.' Something more than a journey to Paris, and an unshaken faith in his own perfections, is requisite to make Mr Pinkerton worthy of half the praises he lavishes upon his book, and its style. In truth, it was long ago observed by a shrewd judge, that good sense is the source of good writing; and with that our author does not appear to be ' considerably imbued.'

Art. XII. An Account of the Life and Writings of James Beattie, LL.D. late Professor of Moral Philosophy and Logic in the Marischal College and University of Aberdeen i Including many of his original Letters. By Sir W. Forbes of Pitsligo, Baronet, one of the Executors of Dr Beattie. 2 vol. 4to. pp. 840, Edinburgh and London. 1806.

We cannot transcribe this title without some feelings of sadness, which we think will be participated by most of our readers. Nothing can be more melancholy than the closing scene of Dr Beattie's life; and his amiable biographer had scarcely given to the world this account of the sufferings and virtues of. his friend, when he, too, was called away from this scene of separations, and left society to lament a loss at least as irreparable. The author of the Minstrel will of course be further known, and longer remembered; but the moral fame of his friend will not be circumscribed, either by a narrow sphere, or a short duration. Over all this country, at least, his exemplary probity, and un.i


* It is off the fhore of Norway. Norland, in profe, is a province fituated, not on the North Sea, but on the Gulph of Bothnia.

wearied beneficence, will not soon be forgotten; and if this were the proper place for such a record, it would be easy for us to collect from facts, which are both recent and notorious, the materials of an eulogium, for which poets and philosophers would be gainers by exchanging their laurels.

It is not, however, with the personal merits, either of the author or the biographeT, that we are now concerned, but with the writings which they have given to the public; and of these, we are sorry to say, that our judgment is by no means so favourable. For what Sir William Forbes has written in these volumes, we can easily forgive him; but he cannot escape censure for much of what he has published. In his own person he has said little; and that little he has delivered with so much apparent candour, such a natural partiality, and such a total absence of all sort of offensive pretension, as would disarm a more ungentle criticism than any which we profess to exercise:—but he has filled two quarto volumes with the correspondence of his friend; and protesting, as we have always done, against the multiplication of needless quartos, and the publication of ordinary epistles, we cannot avoid saying, that his book is a great deal larger, and a great deal duller, than we are bound to tolerate.

The life of Dr Beattie is a tale that is soon told; and could excite, perhaps, no great interest in the telling. His letters, again, which occupy at least nine tenths of the work, can scarcely be considered as letters at all. With the exception of those very dull ones which relate to the business in which he was immediately engaged,—the printing of his books, and the advancement of his fortune,—they appear to us to be mere bits of dissertation, apd fragments of criticism; and might almost be mistaken for college exercises, or portions of lectures on rhetoric and belles lettrea. In this point of view, they certainly are not altogether without merit; for they are often neat, lively, and ingenious; but they are totally destitute of the familiarity, simplicity, and confidential directness of a private correspondence; and, at the same time, are too trifling, superficial, and unconnected, to be of any value, when considered as miscellaneous speculations. In short, they contain no anecdotes or sallies of wit,—no traits of character,—and no play of natural humour or fancy, to recommend them as letters; and it is needless to say, that there can be no duller, or more unprofitable reading, than two thick quartos of slight criticism and broken dissertation. There are other faults in the letters, too, which would have gained concealment ,from a more impartial editor. There is a good deal of paltry conceit and animosity towards his literary opponents, and something too like adulation towards bishops and pious noblemen, and old ladies of rank and fortune.

« AnteriorContinuar »