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“ Prophecies for the year 1808,” the publisher of which has not miscalculated, at least in his project of making money by them. A celebrated novel-writer, Mr. Richster, known by the name of John Paul, has endeavoured to put an end to these discussions by his “ Sermon of Pacification.” The politics of the day, have given currency to some Historical and Geographical works. England has been singularly praised in the “ Relation” of Mr. Gæde, of which the second edition has appeared. Anderson's voyage to Zealand, translated from the English, is not of mućh importance. Two translations have appeared of the Voyage to Australasia, and of that of Olivier in Persia. The superb work of Soloyns, on the Hindoos, is already in part translated. There is also an Asiatic Collection of the Letters on Indostan, by Mr. Best, and a crowd of Philosophical Considerations, or Historical Compilations on the Religion, Manners, and Commerce of India. But we should distinguish, as a prodigy of erudition, the Geography of Indostan, by Wahl, of which the second volume has been published: it is to be regretted, however, that the manner of its execution, renders it scarcely legible; for attached to the text, there are frequently notes of ten, twenty, or even fifty pages, full of Arabian, Persian, or Sanscrit words. The introduction of the French code into several states of the German confederation, has given rise to more than thirty attempts at translations and commentaries. But it is expected that they will be all eclipsed by the system of French law, publishing by Mr. Erhard, a celebrated Jurist and Aulic Assessor. Dr. Kern has written a sort of General Philosophy of the new French law, under the title of the “ Spirit of Napoleonism."
In the midst of political changes, the peaceful altars of the Greek, Latin, and German Muses, are not deserted. There have appeared editions of Euripedes, Plautus, Persius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Vitruvius, and some other classics. A translation of Sophocles, and two which are begun of Æschylus, have not given great satisfaction; but that of the Greek Pastoral Poetry, by Voss, and of Cicero's Letters, by Wieland, gain universal approbation. There are a great number of Novels, and Collections of Poetry. The “New Proteus," by Mr. Linde, is much spoken of, and is said to be a ludicrous comedy between a drama and a farce. Mr. Ælenslæger, a Dane, has published a Poem, called “ Aladdin, or the Wonderful Lamp,” which is divided into two connected Dramas; and is the work of the greatest reputation this year. Nor has the Muse of Kotzebue been idle, that indefatigable writer enriches his Journal, “ The Sincere,” with several little novels and moral tales.
With regard the natu: al sciences we will now speak only of Cookery. Six or seven new Elementary works on that science, have appeared at the same time at Hamburgh, Hanover, and even in small provincial towns, where a man fond of good living would run a risk of starving. The honour of a translation has been given to Mr. Viard, an officer of the Kitchen, and author of the “ Imperial Cook,” which the Germans prefer to Mr. Grimod himself. To conclude, the 28th edition of the “ Vienna Cook” has been published, and suffices to show the taste of the Booksellers for cookery.
Among the odd titles of this year, is remarked, that of a Satirist, who calls his collection, “ Stones thrown from the Moon,” and that of a sort of politico-sentimental traveller, who accompanied the Prussian army in its retreat, and who gives to his account the title of “ Pieces of of Amber picked up on the Borders of the Baltic, during my stay at Memel.”
EXTRACT OF A PRIVATE LETTER.
Leipsic, August 14th, 1808. The interval between the two Fairs of Easter and Michaelmas, is always the barren season for bookselling in Germany. There then appear very few important works, for the authors and printers are preparing in silence the volumes which they are to bring to the next literary diet. During this interregnum, the newspapers govern with an unlimited authority, but yet an authority divided among so many rivals, that it resembles not a little the most complete anarchy, or if you please, the old constitution of the “ Holy Roman Empire of the German nation.”
We have, in the first place, three “Universal Gazettes of Science and Literature,” published at Halle, Jena, and this place. Their object is to announce and analyze all works printed in Germany, but so vast a plan is necessarily incomplete in some parts. The difference of opinions between these three Gazettes, is as remarkable, as the similarity in their appearance, but notwithstanding their division of sentiment, their style is pacific and serious, as is also that of the “ Literary and Scientific Herald,” published by the Academy of Gottinguen.
This is not, however, the case with the Journals merely literary. They have brought to perfection the art of bitter criticism. It is true they do not abound in delicate and acute pleasantry; but it is perhaps still more mortifying for an author to hear his judge prove by a subtle argument, that he has failed in his object, that he has drawn characters badly, that he has mistaken the rules of his art so much as to render it doubtful, whether he has any genius, any talent, or merely good sense. His Excellency the Privy Councellor Goethe, has lately been made the object of an ironical piece, in which he is exclusively praised, to the tune of one of the church hymns, by one of those innumerable poetasters, who imitate awkwardly his manner, and who introduce religion and the ceremonies of the church into their dramas and novels. Old Wieland has been severely criticised for his verbose and weak translation of Cicero's Letters. It is not the case here as in France. The Journals being published in cities often very distant from each other; it is difficult for even the most intriguing author to procure a unanimity of suffrages. Berlin, Leipsic, Weimar, and lately Vienna are the four cities from which literary decisions come, often the most opposite to each other. In the empire of the sciences, Gottinguen, Jena, Halle, and Leipsic have each their different opinions directing each its Journal.
Among the Collections and Journals most circulated at present, are the “ Sincere," or more properly translated “ The Free Speaker," published at Berlin by Mr. Kuhn. The “Gazette of the Polite World," printed here; the “ Morning Paper" of Stutgard; the “ Journal of Luxury and Fashion,” which appears at Weimar, as does also “ The Mercury of Germany." Among these Journals “ The Morning Paper" is remarkable for its merciless criticism. It lately reprimanded severely the greater part of the Professors of the University of Heidelberg. The University in a body published its justification in another Journal. None of the Journals I have mentioned, are confined to analysis or criticism; but combine little Novels and Tales, Literary and Historical Disquisitions, Anecdotes and Poetry. Some of them have a number of engravings, and are almost all printed better than any French Journal.
There are besides a multitude of Periodical Collections: one for Natural History by Mr. Voigt; another for the Physical Sciences in general, by Mr. Gilbert; two or three for Mineralogy; two Geographical Journals, and two Periodical Collections of Travels, and a very interesting “ Journal of Manufactures and Commerce.” They have been able to support for sometime a Periodical work devoted exclusively to Greek and Latin Literature, and translations from the ancients. We are overrun with a sort of work, which the Germans call Miscellen, that is Periodical Miscellanies, some of them are for France, others for England, Russia, the North, Italy, and Spain, in short, they Pretend to inform us of all that is passing in the Literary or Scientific way, throughout Europe.
I do not mention our political Journals; for though some hundreds in number, they are with three or four exceptions, as insignificant as our Literary ones are interesting.
Journal de l'Empire.
A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OF THE LATE
[In the American Daily Advertiser of the tenth of August last, was inserted an extract, from the Charleston Courier respecting the Vision and Death of Lord Lyttleton. Having since seen, says the Editor, several manuscript accounts of the same events differing materially from the publication, but which appeared to be very incorrectly copied, we have sought for and obtained, the original writing from which they had been transcribed, and present a faithful copy of it to our readers. The original (at present in our possession) is in the hand writing of Mrs. M-K-, a lady distinguished in the literary world for her piety and her learning, and for her dispute with the celebrated Dr. Johnson, on the right of private judgment in matters of religion. Admiral Woolsey was with Lyttleton when these extraordinary events occurred, verbally narrated them to Mrs. K—, who wrote them down, in his presence, for Mr. W- Sof the city of New York, who was in England in the year 1798.]
SOMETIME about sixteen or eighteen years since (dates not just recollected) Lord Lyttleton, on the fifth day of the week, came down to breakfast with his family, consisting of the widow Flood and three young women his cousins, all of them of doubtful character. He said be had, that night, a very frightful dream or vision; that a lady had appeared to him; that she opened the curtains of his bed, and bid him prepare himself for death. He started up in terror, incoherently saying, What, shall I not live three days? to which she replied, “No, you will not live above three days,” and vanished. This awful account frightened the women, who fell a crying; he, though secretly agitated, pretended to disregard the matter, laughing at their credulous folly, and professing to have no sort of belief or apprehension about it. Soon after Admiral Woolsey and a gentleman his cousin, of the name of Fortescue came in, and he related, jocosely, what he told as above; they listened, but pondered it in their minds—so did his attendant valet.
However, the subject changed: he proposed going with his ladies on seventh day (that is the last day of the visionary prediction) to his country seat at Pitt's place, near Epsom, and offered the two gentlemen his chariot to follow them to dinner there on that day; they agreed to the proposal; went there accordingly, and joined in great, real, or at least affected jollity at the festive board; Lyttleton being more than usually loquacious and desultory in his conversation; reciting the probable remarks that would of course be made whenever the news of his death should be announced. Among his gayeties, perceiving the women to be languid and gloomy, he took one of them and danced a minuet with her; then taking out his watch, and going up to the window, “Look you here, it is now nine o'clock, according to the vision I have but three hours to live; but don't you mind this Madam Flood; never fear; we'll jockey the ghost, I warrant you."
Still continuing in this seeming gayety till eleven, he called for 'candles to go to bed; an hour unusually early with him, as he used to sit up as long as he could keep his companions about him; but his pretence to retire was, because he had planned for the party to ride to breakfast early, at Epsom, and spend the day riding to survey the adjacent country. Soon after his retreat, the women took their candles, and went off; the two gentlemen were determined to sit in the parlour till the three predicted days were fully over, and got some negus to comfort themselves. In about half an hour after eleven, they received the sudden shock of a loud scream, from the stair-case, uttering these words—“He's dead! Oh, my lord is dead!” Instantly running up stairs, they found him in bed, fallen back and struggling; the Admiral put his hand to him, which the dying man grasped with such vehemence that it was painful to endure; but he spake no more. His eyes were turned up and fixed. They pierced the jugular vein, but no blood issued, and he was totally dead about one quarter of an hour before inidnight.
The Admiral, in this account, gave me the following remarkable particulars: That at the distance of thirty miles from Pitt's place, where this melancholy scene happened, there lived a gentleman, one of the libertine companions of Lord Lyttleton; and they had so settled, that whichever of them died first, the survivor should receive one thousand pounds. On this very night (being in bed and asleep previously) he rang his bell about one o'clock with great violence. His valet-de-chambre ran to him with all speed, and the following dialogue eðsued, as nearly as can be recollected:
Servant. Dear Sir, what is the matter?
Master. [Sitting up in the bed, with a countenance full of horror] Oh John! Lord Lyttleton is dead!
Servant. How can that be? we have heard nothing but that he is alive and well.
Master. No, no; I awoke just now, on hearing the curtains undrawn, and at the foot of the bed stood Lord Lyttleton, as plain as ever I saw him in my life. He looked ghastly, and said, “ All is over with me! You have won the thousand pounds,” and instantly vanished! Get a horse and go this moment to Pitt's Place, you may perhaps get intelligence of him there.