Page images
PDF
EPUB

torious, that it can scarcely be necessary to record another instance, in proof of it. There is, however, one method, by which they manifest this disregard which distinguishes them, from all other reviewers. Whenever the pages of other Reviews are stained by misrepresentation, the editors always pay some at tention to the complaints of the aggrieved author: but when misrepresentations, whether resulting from inadvertence, or malignity, find their way into the Edinburgh Review, their effect, so far as the influence of that publication extends, is to be perpetual. However deep the injury an author may sustain, his request that the mis-statement may be corrected, is uniformly neglected; and any attempt he may make to undeceive the public, through another medium, (though such an attempt can never completely meet the evil,) will only cause these northern critics to heap up for him a new treasure of wrath, to lie by, rankling and accumulating, till they are furnished with a convenient opportunity of pouring it upon his devoted head.

Your liberally conducted Magazine has always been the asylum, to which those who were the victims of these misrepresentations have fled. Since, therefore, the editor of the Edinburgh Review, has recently refused to attend to a very respectful request I made him, for the correction of some malignant falsehoods he admitted into that work, respecting my Treatise of Mechanics, you will oblige me highly, by indulging me with the only means now left me of obtaining justice; and allowing the following copy of the letter I sent Mr. Jeffray, to obtain a place in your widely circulated Miscellany.

Your's, &c. OLINTHUS GREGORY.

Royal Military Academy, June 6, 1809.

To the Editor of the Edinburgh Review. March 18, 1809.

Sir,

As the author of several of the admirable observations in the Critique upon Warburton's Letters (an article which I cannot help ascribing to you,) must be a lover of justice,* I beg leave

The Edinburgh Reviewers, however, take care to prove that it is very easy to round a period with the expression of generous and noble sentiments, though, they never touch the heart, or stimulate to liberal conduct.

to call your attention to a few remarks, occasioned by some of the animadversions you have admitted into your twenty-sixth Number, upon the history of steam-engines, and some other articles, selected, for the purpose of censure, from my Treatise of Mechanics, published more then three years ago. I am, however, unwilling to infringe deeply upon that time, which I am sure you can employ more pleasantly, and profitably, than in listening to the querulous accents of one of that class of mortals, which is reckoned proverbially irritable; and shall, therefore, confine myself to two topics: first, I will assign the motives which induced me to admit Mr. J. C. Hornblower's statement into my second volume; and then, since the reviewer has set ine the example of enquiring into motives, I will request the favour of you to enquire into the motives which could stimulate him to indulge in the insinuations, and grossly erroneous charges, contained in the note printed on the 236th page. After you have instituted such enquiry, I wish you may find that the motives which led to that statement were as pure, benevolent, and laudable, as those by which I was actuated.

At the time I was preparing the practical volume of the Mechanics, a volume which is professedly, and from its very nature, "a compilation," a friend, for whose judgment, talents, and character, I entertain a high respect, mentioned to me Mr. Hornblower (of whom I then knew nothing) as a man who had made the improvement of steamengines the chief business of his life; but who, through an unfortunate contest with affluent and powerful competitors, had been thrown into a state of comparative adversity and obscurity: I was urged to give him an opportunity, by combining history with description, to tell his own story, as a thing that might be serviceable to himself and his family, and ultimately beneficial to the public. If I assented to the proposal, it was not because I wished "to trouble the repose of an eminent man, retired from active life," but to recal the public attention to an ingenious man, of excellent moral character, whom 1 then considered, as thrust "from active life," when he possessed more than ever the power of being useful: not to infringe upon the laws of truth and justice", for which it is easy for any person to be a champion, when he thereby hopes to catch the smiles of a man" of ease and

affluence,"

affluence;" but for the sake of assisting indigent merit, and of bringing a subject again under discussion; that all who were able to judge, might ascertain where "truth" was manifested, and where "justice" was dispensed. I neither expected, nor wished, that Mr. Hornblower's statements should be passed over in silence: it was rather iny desire, that it should be strictly examined; that both he and Mr. Watt should be esteemed by the public, according to their real nerits. No person would be inore unwilling than myself, to countenance any depreciation of Mr. Watt's character, as a man of ingenuity and science: I shall be very happy, if the conduct of his ill-advised advocates does not leave an impression upon the public mind, that he is too much actuated by the spirit of monopoly for a genuine philosopher.

I need not tell you, in how many points Mr. Watt's present advocate has left Mr. Hornblower's positions untouched: they may be easily determined by any person, who will compare the two accounts. I will proceed to the second topic, on which I proposed writing; and which is, the deviation from truth, in the note at the foot of page 236. The Reviewer, adds that note, obviously for the purpose of asserting that, in the second volume of my Mechanics, the abstract of Coulomb's experiments,and the section on Horizontal Windmills,are taken with little variation, and no acknowledgment from Dr. Brewster's edition of Ferguson's Mechanics. The same is true, of the article on the teeth of wheels, and part of the description of the thrashing ma. chine." Now here, Sir, in a short note of ten lines, are four positive assertions; each of which is positively false: in contradiction to them, I affirm, first, that my account of Coulomb's experiments was printed before Dr. (then Mr.) Brewster's edition of "Ferguson's Select Lectures," was published, and that no two descriptions of the same experiments can possibly be more unlike; Dr. Brewster's being a concise summary, comprised in five pages of a large print; while mine is a detailed account, occupying nineteen pages, printed with a small type. In opposition to the reviewer's farther charges, of my having taken from Dr. Brewster, with no acknowledgment, I have to state as below. The piece in my first edition, extracted from Brewster, on Horizontal Windmills, begins thus: "Mr. Brewster makes also the following remarks, on the comparative power of horizontal and

[ocr errors]

vertical windmills;" and ends with an express reference to "Brewster's Ferguson, vol. ii." The extract from Brewster, in the article Teeth of Wheels', was preceded by these words, “ availing ourselves for the most part, of the judicious remarks just published by Mr. Brewster," and terminated, as in the former instance, by a reference to "Brewster's Ferguson, vol. ii." No part of the description of the Thrashing Machine," is taken from Dr. Brewster; but there is a small table, which both that gentleman and myself have derived from the same source; a source to which we have both referred. It would be a very heavy tax upon your patience, were I to add to the foregoing, some extracts from my second edition, (which the reviewer must have seen, because he refers to it); otherwise I could point to pages 421, 461, 485, 493, 508, of the second volume, for abundant evidence, that I never could wish to filch from, or to injure, Dr. Brewster.

The doctor, indeed, knows me too intimately, to entertain any doubt on that head; and, I may add, he respects me too highly, to leave me any room to conceive, he had any part in these insinuations: for, in a letter to me, bearing date February 24, he says, speaking of this critique, "There are mentioned in a note, some passages in your 2d Vol. which, in the first edition, had a resemblance to some passages in my Appendix to Ferguson. I need scarcely assure you, that this was done in consequence of no cominunication or request of mine. Upon the whole, from the slight glance I have got of the article, you will, I think, not he greatly displeased with the reviewer." In truth, I am not: his conduct, and the motives from which it emanates, rather excite my pity than my anger: but 1 think you must feel indignant, that the character of the Edinburgh Review should be degraded by its being made the vehicle of wilful falsehood, (for such, I fear, you will find it;) and Mr. Watt must be vexed to find that he has committed his defence to a man, who, by four deviations from truth, of easy detection, must inevitably weaken the effect of every other part of his statement.

For my own part, however, all I have to request is, that your love of "truth and justice" will induce you to state in Number 27, that the note, of which I now complain, is erroneous throughout. I know too much of the nature of Re

views,

views, to expect that this can be done in
very pointed language: but, I trust, you
will agree with me, that it ought to be
done in some way; and I cheerfully leave
the manner to your discretion, and li-
berality. With regard to your an-
nunciation of my motives, for introducing
Mr. Hornblower's history into my book,
it is a matter about which I feel but lit-
tle solicitude. Upon one thing, I may,
I hope, safely rely: if you do not think
proper to publish my letter entire, you
will not, by mutilation, misrepresent my
sentiments.
Your's, &c.

OLINTHUS GREGORY.

Woolwich, June 5, 1809.

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.

IN

SIR,

'N March, 1808, I troubled you with a short communication on the sub

ject of Friendly Societies, to which you gave the earliest place in your valuable publication; and in March last I again addressed you, with thanks for inserting so speedily my former communication; at the same time, expressing my grateful thanks to Mrs. Cappe, and to N. and P. for the information which, through your medium, they have so kindly fur nished, in answer to my queries, and soliciting still further information from them, and such of your other correspondents as are acquainted with that subject.

I have eagerly looked for the publication of my second letter, in every succeeding number which you have published since its date, in expectation of answers by this time; but as it has not hitherto appeared, I begin to suspect, either that it has not reached you, or that the press of other matter, which you consider to be of more importance, or your finding it to be unsuitable, has prevented you from inserting it.

I could wish it were suitable for you to give it a place as early as convenient. You will readily perceive, that the only object I have in view, is, to procure such information, as may lead to the effectual correction of the errors, into which the uninformed founders of the societies have inadvertently fallen, in forming their schemes: and some of the societies in this place, with a view- to remedy their situation, are, with much anxiety, waiting for the additional information solicited by my second, as well as a fuller discussion on my first letter. I conceive, that I cannot better succeed through any other medium, and that I

have gone to the fountain-head for the information I am in quest of, by my application, through your highly and justly esteemed, and widely circulated Magazine; and therefore beg the favour of your compliance with my present request, which, most probably, will be the last you will be troubled with from me on this head.

If the letter alluded to has not reached you, another copy will be immediately sent. As to this, please satisfy me in your next number, which will greatly oblige

Dumbartonshire,
June 22, 1809.

Your's, &c.

J. M.

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.

SIR,

Yin a late Number of your Maga

OUR Correspondent, DAY LIGHT,

zine, having made some observations on the late proposed Arch-way through the hill at Highgate, has led me to request, that you will also indulge me with giving an opinion respecting the improvement of a road, which has so long been found inconvenient to travellers.

The intended arch-way would have been attended with a great expense, probably far beyond the estimate; nor do I think, that the proprietors would ever have been remunerated, unless their act bad contained a compulsory clause, to make the travellers pass under ground, and pay their toll. Without such a clause, I am much inclined to think, that none but carriages heavily laden would have preferred darkness to light. But, Sir, it now becomes worth our enquiry, to know what other mode can be suggested of accommodating the public who pass that way; and whether this might not be effected at a far less expense, than the arch-way would necessarily have incurred.

The plan suggested by Mr: Thompson, in 1805, must, I conclude, have a reference to the Kentish-town road only, as it is there the parks of the two noblemen, I apprehend, are situated; but, I presume, by far the greater part of the traffic, and especially of heavy carriages, passes along the Holloway line of road. From the top of Duvall's-lane (to which the ascent is not considerable), I see no mighty obstacles in finding a pretty direct line of road towards Finchley Common, passing between Highgate-hill and Muswell-hill; and inequalities of ground would be overcome here, without injury to dwelling houses, and at an expense

within a reasonable compass. If an additional toll be necessary, let it be laid; for what reasonable person begrudges the payment of toll for value received in accommodation. Duvall's-lane is a good road, but the buildings have been permitted to be erected so near it, as to render it probably too narrow for the main road. It would not be difficult, however, to branch out at the Holloway road, in a pretty direct line towards the top of Duvall's-lane, and to preserve a sufficient breadth for the road, so that hereafter it should not be incommoded by buildings. By pursuing my plan, Sir, the wells at Highgate would not be drained of their water. Should any of the inhabitants on the present line of road complain, that their trade would be lessened by turning the road, I should reply, that the public advantage should outweigh that of individuals; for, with as much reason, might the inhabitants of Blackfriar's-road and Bridge-street object to a bridge directly communicating with the Strand; or those, on one part of Westminster, object to that at Vauxhall; as the inhabitants of Highgate complain of a new and better road being made for the public, without the fatigue of climbing their lofty and sandy hill. As I ain Row casting my eye over the roads near Holloway, I cannot refrain, Mr. Editor, from expressing my regret, that no more

told, Sir, that these straight and excellent lines of road, which are in various parts of the kingdom, were made by the Roman soldiery; and why should it be thought improper to employ the British soldiery in the same public works, and, especially, upon a plan that would contribute to their own comfort and advantage? If a regiment of militia (say the London or Middlesex,) were permitted by government, encouraged by their of ficers, and fairly paid by the trustees, to lend their physical strength towards the improvement of Highgate-hill, how much might be accomplished in a short space of time! And if a similar party of the military were to attempt the improvement of Ridge-hill, and, indeed, of all the considerable hills between London and Holyhead, it would surely be a public benefit. The great road communicating with Ireland claims, in my apprehension, our first care, and every practicable method should be adopted to facilitate our intercourse with the sister kingdom. These observations, Mr. Editor, are submitted to your notice; and if you think they will be productive of any good, I doubt not but they will find a place in your Miscellany. Your's, &c.

A FRIEND TO IMPROVEMENTS.

SIR,

YOUR

care has been taken to preserve the back To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. road, by Islington workhouse, from being hemmed in by buildings; and I must also complain of an equal degree of neglect, on the part of the trust, in not continuing the back road in a straight line to the Holloway road, instead of being permitted to pass round a corner extremely dangerous in the night-time.

To schemes of this nature, I am aware, the usual objections of labour and expence will be brought forward; but public objects should not be omitted, on these grounds. It has often been suggested, that our public roads might be greatly benefited by the employment of our soldiery upon them, when their military duties would permit; and, indeed, I think such a measure would be productive of great benefits, both to the public and to the soldiery, if conducted under proper regularity, and the men paid a suitable compensation for their time. They would then be thankful, and willing to work; and, by their exertions, alterations in our roads would be accomplished with great dispatch. We are MONTHLY MAG, No. 188.

YOUR correspondent, Mr. Bannantine's remarks on pastoral poetry, are very ingenious and entertaining. But I do not exactly agree with him in his opinion of Theocritus, and other pastoral writers: they deserved, I judge, better

treatment.

:

With respect to Shenstone's celebrated Ballad, I am cne of those few, who think with Mr. B. that a great part of it borders upon nonsense; inasmuch as to render the whole ridiculous It is an excellent subject for the burlesque and I really wonder that its namby-pamby strain, should have received praise from John son, and that it was never travestied before" the Devon and Cornwall Poets," thought proper to make merry with it. For the amusement of your readers, I shall insert in this place a few stanzas from the parody alluded to. After which, I must beg leave to recur to my first position, that Theocritus "deserved better treatment."

E

In

[blocks in formation]

"I sleep not a wink all the night,

And my days they do dolefully pass,
Till I see her (O! exquisite sight!)
Come tripping it over the grass.
Oh, say can'st thou hear me complain,
Nor list to thy shepherd so true?
O! come, and give life to the swain,
Who now is a-dying for you;
No hurt my sweet Phillis shall ail,
By Venus the goddess I vow,
For, whilst I am holding the pail,

Why She shall be milking her cow." Now for Theocritus, to whom I shall, for the present, confine myself. I allow, that many parts of the Sicilian poet might be exhibited in a view almost as ludicrous as the ballads of Shenstone. But, as Mr. B. has allowed good scope to pastoral poetry, and included in it "rural picture," as well as "natural sentiment", I am confident that I can make such extracts from Theocritus, as shall rescue him from the indiscriminate censure of insipid whining and vulgar rusticity.

First, for "natural sentiment and passion." In these excerpts, there would ap pear a genuine simplicity, tree from that cant or sing-song, of which Mr. B. so justly complains, if we could consider the sentiment only, and abstract. from it all the imitations of after ages. We must endeavour to do this, and we may judge of its merit with some degree of success. For the sake of English readers, I shall make my selections from Mr. Powhele's Version, instead of the original. But I must beg Mr. Powhele's pardon, for using his first version; as I possess his quarto edition only. In a subsequent edition of his Theocritus, Bion and Moschus, the translations, I understand, were corrected and greatly improved.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »