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The Cigifbee is the fubject of the eighth letter; and we have fo often had occafion to exhibit this contemptible animal, that we shall not expofe him here again to view. The ninth Letter is of the ranting kind-new exclamations on the beauties of Italy-but alfo (which pleafed us much more) several panegyrical effufions, well felt, and well expreffed, on the unparalleled merit of the Grecian authors and artifts, and particularly of the Grecian ftatues. Mr. SHERLOCK's mind dilates itself, when he contemplates thefe immortal models of tafte and genius; and he confiders the univerfal decline of true tafte in the fine arts, as principally owing to a neglect of the study of the Greeks. Here he feems to be much in the right;and he does not embrace this truth coldly, as appears by the following paffage: "I am fo full of this idea, that having "formed the defign of compofing a confiderable work in Eng"lish, I am refolved, at my return into my own country "(Ireland), to read over again the Grecian authors, and to "follow them as my only models." -What he fays of the influence of the Grecian models in forming the great artists in Italy, and the most celebrated authors in all nations, we think perfectly true. The Grecian ftatues and edifices formed Raphael, Michael Angelo, and Palladio.-The Grecian bards. formed Virgil-the Grecian orators Cicero-Menander was the model of Terence, Herodotus of Livy, Thucydides of Sailuft,and Pindar, Anacreon, and Alceus, infufed the fpirit of Attic genius and grace into the odes of Horace. Mr. SHERLOCK confiders Racine and Boileau, as the French authors that owe their fuperiority to the study of the Greek writers. Taflo and Metaftafio furpaffed all the Italians by the fame means; and to thefe models alfo Addifon and Pope owed their pre-eminence among the English.-We are not quite clear about Pope's intimate acquaintance with Grecian literature; we think, at leaft, that Milton would have been a more ftriking example of the sublime influence of Grecian lore on British genius. But however that may be, we cannot help being both surprised and offended at the following note, in which Mr. SHERLOCK has eftimated the respective merit of four nations. "I affign,
(fays be) the first place in every refpect to Greece, the fe"cond to Italy, the third to France, and the fourth to Eng"land."We appeal to the manes of Bacon, Boyle, Shakefpear, Milton, Newton, Halley, Dryden, Addifon, Pope, Thomson, Hume; we may appeal likewife to Robertson, West, Reynolds, and even to the minor poets and orators of the prefent time, againft this decree of Mr. SHERLOCK.
The eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth Letters contain good advice to a young poet bleft with genius, and eager for fame. But fometimes the counfels of our Author are fuch as ought
not to be followed without certain precautions; as when he re commends hiftory as the true fource from whence a profound knowledge of the human heart is to be derived, and advises his young man to follow Rochefoucault, Tacitus, Machiavel, La Bruyere, and Richardson, as the beft guides in this research.To us it appears, that history is a fallacious picture of human nature; it never prefents the mild and peaceful fcenes of domeftic life; it exhibits to our view but a small number of actors from the collective body of mankind, and these actors, for the most part, come mafked upon the ftage: and then, as to the authors above mentioned, they all, excepting the two laft, turn up generally the corrupt fide of human nature, and, from a fpirit of melancholy and mifanthropy, tinge even its fairest qualities with the fame difmal hue. Again,-When Mr. SHERLOCK recommends the study of the mathematics, or, at leaft, of the first fix books of Euclid, as adapted to produce rectitude of judgment, and a habit of reafoning with accuracy, he may, perhaps, be in the right; though we are rather inclined to think, that mathematical precision rarely extends its influence beyond the bounds of mathematical science. But were this piece of advice well founded, we ftill wonder to find him apprehenfive that it may be looked on as a paradox; fince it is known to be a trite and generally-received maxim, from the days of Pythagoras down to our times, and has been inculcated almost in every book that has been written upon the fub. ject of education. It may be (as our Author expreffes himfelt) one of his favourite thoughts; but it is a common-place one of the first rate; and the ravings of honeft Will Whitton, the commentary of Newton on the Revelations, and the irregular plans and innumerable tautologies of Barrow's fermons, tempt us ftrongly to doubt of its folidity.
In mentioning the poets whom the young bard ought to confider as models, it was natural indeed to place Homer at their head the harmonious numbers, the towering imagination, the animated descriptions, the pathos, the energy, the fimplicity of that immortal bard, render him, in these refpects, a model to all ages. But to tell us, as Mr. SHERLOCK does, that Homer was acquainted with all the fciences, and all the arts, this, indeed, is a paradox of the firft magnitude. Why, Sir, Homer could neither write nor read; and, if we are not much mistaken, reading and writing were unknown among the Greeks for many centuries after his time; fince it feems highly probable, that alphabetical writing was borrowed, by them, from the Phenicians about 554 years before the Chriftian æra, when compofition in profe was introduced into Greece by Pherecydes of Syros. It is true, you are not the only one who has advanced this paradox: A cloud of witneffes have gone before you, tefti
fying in favour of Homer's erudition, and maintaining that all the philofophy of the Greeks iffued forth from his brain, as Minerva did from that of Jupiter. But how do these men confirm their teftimonies? By arbitrary explications, forced allegories, and by reafonings that are inconclufive in the highest degree; not to mention that the pretended fcience they attri bute to Homer is, for the most part, a motley mafs of errors, contradictions, and abfurdities. The truth is, Homer was a great poet, but he was neither a philofopher nor a philologift.
-The twelfth and thirteenth Letters are judicious, animated, full of excellent thoughts happily expreffed.-Utinam fic omnia dixiffet.
The fourteenth Letter contains a warm panegyric on the Earl of Briftol (Lord Bishop of Derry) and on Homer; and it is not easy to fay which of them he praifes moft. There is no doubt but that they have both great merit, each in his line and way,and that the line and way of both is elevated and extenfive. Lord Bristol feems to be our Author's declared Mecænas; at leaft, this is the third publication which Mr. Sherlock has dedicated to this Noble Prelate. For our part, we think the offerings not fufficiently proportioned to the tafte, genius, and dignity of the patron; for, after all, thefe Letters are rather the light and hafty effufions of familiar correfpondence, than inftructive relations of the ftate of literature, arts, manners, and fociety. They are indeed the effufions of a mind that is very far from being deftitute of taste and knowledge, nay, of a mind that poffeffes the former in a very high degree; but they are only flight and rapid hints on fome few of the many objects that must have prefented themselves to the observation of our traveller; and as they were addreffed in familiar letters to his friends, they do not feem to have been of confequence enough to be offered, with a ferious dedication, to his Noble Patron. The great work which our Author has in contemplation, will, no doubt, be more worthy the protection of that noble, learned, and ingenious Prelate; the prefent publication would have been dedicated, with lefs impropriety, to his daughter Lady Charlotte, whofe graceful and amiable portrait is drawn beautifully, and in vivid colours, by Mr. SHERLOCK in one of these Letters.
Reflexions Hiftoriques et Politiques fur le Commerce de la France avec fes Colonies de l'Amerique - Hittorical and Critical Reflections on the Commerce of France with her American Colonies. By M. WEUVES. 8vo. Geneva and Paris. 1780.
HIS Work is highly efteemed by the knowing ones in the line of commerce. It contains extenfive views, feems to APP. Rev. VOL. Ixii.
be compofed with precifion, and muft be more especially of ufe to those who trade with the French iflands in America.
AR T. XII.
L'Intrigue du Cabinet fous Henri IV. et Louis XIII. terminée par la Fronde-The Political Intrigues or Negociations of the CabinetCouncil under Henry IV. and Lewis XIII. ending with the Troubles of the Fronde. By M. ANQUETIL, Regular Canon of the Congregation of France, Correfpondent of the Royal Academy of Infcriptions, &c. 4 vols. in 12m0.
Work comes from the fame hand to
Twhich the public is indebted for the juftly-applauded
piece of modern hiftory, intitled, The Spirit of the League, which unfolds with fuch accuracy and candour the scenes of blood and horror that were exhibited by the ambition and bigotry of the faction of the Guifes. The prefent Work, though Jefs ftriking, is not however lefs inftructive; for if it does not exhibit a series of warlike exploits, which astonish, it opens ufetul views of the workings of ambition, and the other human paffions, that neftle in the cabinets of princes, and from thence spread their pernicious influence through human fociety.
The Work is divided into nine Books. In the firft, we fee the painful efforts of Henry IV. to restore order and fubordination in his kingdom-the spirit of faction and the remains of the League forcing this prince to acts of feverity, against his natural propensity to clemency and indulgence-the progrefs of navigation and agriculture, and the flourishing ftate of the kingdom.In the fecond, we fee this monarch, victorious over his enemies, enjoying peace at home and abroad, but imbittering his felicity by an inconfiderate paffion, which cafts a cloud over the remainder of his days, and furnishes a pretext for the Queen-Confort to perfevere in a line of conduct that is pernicious to the kingdom.In the third, Mary de Medicis, devoted and abandoned to infolent favourites, adopts all their prejudices against the princes, who arm, and the parliaments, who murmur. Here we meet with a variety of objects, prefented in a very interefting manner; fuch as, the character of Mary de Medicis, the triumph of Condé, the remarkable hiftory of the Marefchal D'Ancre, the difgrace of the QueenMother, the contest between her and Condé, &c.In the fourth, Mary de Medicis regains her credit, opposes her fon, who, incapable of governing without a leader, falls into the hands of Richlieu, whofe influence and afcendency, after having fuffered feveral checks, is confirmed by the difgrace of his principal enemies.In the fifth, the genius of this minifter difplays all its powers, and renders him mafter of the King. His accumulated fucceffes excite envy-powerful cabals are
formed, into which the Queen-Mother, the King's brother and nearest relations, and feveral magiftrates and military commanders of the first rank enter; all of whom are punished, for their attempts to overturn the minifter, by exile, imprisonment, or death. In the fixth, the Frondeurs, though fupported by the parliament, and become makers of the metropolis, by the famous four des Barricades, are obliged to conclude a peace, which is followed by a variety of intrigues, in which the poli tical operations of Richlieu are curious, and well reprefented. The death of that cardinal and Lewis XIII. the rife, favour, and qualities of Mazarin, and the beginning of the regency of Anne of Auftria, make alfo an interefting part of the contents of this book.The feventh, eighth, and ninth books exhibit to us a kind of moving picture, in which the figures, fometimes vifible and fometimes concealed, advance, retire, unite, feparate, change fides, every moment, and efpoufe different and oppofite plans and interefts with the utmost inconftancy, Here we fee Paris blockaded by Condé, through the inftigation of Mazarin, this prince arrefted by the joint efforts of the Frondeurs and the minifter,-fet at liberty again by the former, in fpite of the latter, who is obliged to quit the kingdom,-the Frondeurs joining the court to deftroy Condé,-the return of Mazarin, the re-union of all the factions against him,-civil war, the flight, return, and triumph of Mazarin,-while the Fronde, like a fire-work, after throwing out, for a while, fquibs and rockets, confumes itself, and goes out in smoke.
The events related in thefe Volumes, when joined with the Spirit of the League, forin a regular and connected history of the cabals and factions that agitated the court and kingdom of France during the courfe of a century. Our Author obferves, in his Preface, that thefe events exhibit to us important truths and useful leffons, relative to the true ends and methods of government. Some of these leffons are relative to the French nation; but the following feem to be of much more general application and utility: ift, That the monarch must be un+ happy who is implicitly governed by his minifters, and becomes, in their hands, a crowned flave, forced to maintain, againft his difcontented fubjects, principles and measures that have not his own approbation; 2dly, That as authority has its limits, fo has refiftance its limits alfo; and that it is therefore the indifpenfable duty of the fupreme councils of a nation, whose proceedings are the objects of public examination and attention, to follow meafures and rules of conduct, equally remote from a fervile condefcenfion and an inflexible and factious obftinacy.
At the head of this inftructive and entertaining Work we find a catalogue of the principal political writings that have been O 02