« PreviousContinue »
Art. XIII. A Circle of the Arts and Sciences, for the Use of Schools and young Persons, containing a clear yet brief Explanation of the Principles and Objects of the most important Branches of Human Knowledge. By William Mavor, L. L. D. 12mo. pp. 476, four engravings. Price 4s. 6d. bound. R. Phillips, 1808.
AS our endeavours to produce a reformation in some of the veteran
bookmakers have not been so successful as we could wish, we shall on the present occasion change our method a little; and instead of pointing out how we conceive a book might have been rendered better without deviating from the author's plan, we will shew a young man who is just setting out in this honourable profession, how he may make as useful and as saleable a book as that which now lies before us.
First, we would say to him, be sure to make your title promise a great deal more than you mean to perform. Thus, if you call it a Circle of the Arts and Sciences,' take care, as Dr. Mavor does, not to comprize much above half of them: for example, take " Agriculture, Algebra, Architecture, Arithmetic, Astronomy, Botany, Chemistry, Chronology, Drawing, Electricity, Ethics, Galvanism, Geography, Globes use of, Grammar, History, Hydraulics, Hydrostatics, Laws, Logic, Magnetism, Mechanics, Mensuration, Military Art, Mineralogy, Music, Mythology, Optics, Penmanship, Physiology, Pneumatics, l'olitics, Rhetoric, Theology, Trade, Trigonometry, Zoology" and omit Anatomy, Dialling, Dyeing, Geometry, Heraldry, Navigation, Perspective, Poetry, Sculpture, and a great many more, just as striking and serviceable as those you retain.
2. Adopt the alphabetical arrangement, because that will save you abundance of trouble in arranging the subjects according to their mutual relations; and besides, will shorten your labour, as your plan will in this respect correspond with that of the Encyclopædia which the bookseller has lent you to furnish you with the information necessary for your
3. In choosing your subjects for engravings (for you must have plates), take care to fix upon at least one topic respecting which you do not comprehend the detail; as that will give you a chance of blundering where it is least to be expected. If, for example, you do not know that the orbits of the planets Ceres and Pallas intersect one another; why then--let one of your plates be the solar system, and so shall you present the public with an incorrect plate, as Dr. M. has done. Do not forget, also, to make a reference to some plate which is not in the book: thus, if your plates relate to Astronomy, Architecture, Botany, and Drawing, you must take care, under the article Penmanship, to say, "see plate STENOGRAPHY."
4. Take especial care to recommend some books published by your bookseller. Thus, if it be Sir Richard Phillips, say that "the best practical guides to Geography are the copy-books and the grammar of Goldsmith," and that Joyce has carried the practical part of arithmetic to as high a degree of perfection as the subject perhaps allows."
5. These minor particulars duly borne in mind, proceed with your work, by turning to the proper article in the Encyclopædia, and transcribing a few of the definitions duly separated by questions. Thus, in Mensuration, say "what is a line?" and copy the definition; "what is a right line?" and copy another definition. You will find this very easy,
pleasant, and safe; if you only take due care to make the last two words of your question, and the first two of your answer the same. You need not
always, however, adhere so strictly to accurate definition: for
6. You should, now and then, describe a thing in language that will do nearly as well for any other thing; as this will exemplify the rules about the "genus proximum," and the "differentia" given by yourself under the head Logic. Thus, say of Music, it is an innocent luxury, which is unnecessary indeed to our existence, but which greatly improves and gra tifies the sense of hearing :" for, if you change the last word, you may make the same phrase serve for snuff or tobacco, by only properly introducing smell or taste. You may also say, with Dr. Mavor, that Arithmetic “is that science without which the business of life in civilized socie ty can scarcely be carried on for a single day;" because this, you know, will serve just as well for cooking, or shoemaking.
7. Aim sometimes at a little obscurity. Thus, when you are speaking of an active agriculturist, say " he has spent his life in promoting the best interests of his country." Do not hesitate, though you are aware the term necessarily means religious interests. Thus also, say "the capital of a column is that whose plan is round." Say that Gothic architecture is "light and delicate to a fault:" that "Logarithms are (see Joyce's definition) by changing multiplication into addition, and division into subtraction," &c.; because there is an advantage in having nothing clear in the sentence but the reference to some treatise published by your bookseller; and haply the reader may purchase every thing written by the same, authors. Do not forget to say that the planets 66 are opaque bodies which describe ellipses of larger and smaller degrees, and nearly circular round
8. Introduce skilfully a few childish or nonsensical questions, with ap propriate answers. Thus you may ask, "is not the dodo an inelegant bird?"" is not the peacock a beautiful bird?"
does not the toad bear,
a great resemblance to the frog "" is not the kingfisher a beautiful bird?" "What is the disposition of the fox," or "of the tiger?" " is algebra useful in the resolution of mathematical problems?" which is almost as wise as to ask whether a spade be useful in gardening. "Where is mercury found?" An. “ Mercury or quicksilver is found (not in the clouds, or, at the moon, but) in the earth at great depths !"
9. Declare your intention not to treat upon a subject, and then introduce it in a part of the work where ngb dy expects it: that will create surprize. Thus, when treating of architecture, you may divide it into "civil, military, and naval," but declare you shall only attend to the former." Then, when you treat of the "military art," you can introduce military architecture, and especially “naval architecture," with great effect.
10. To swell out your book and make a little matter go a great way, take care that your questions and answers be, as far as possible, tautologous. Here again, our author will supply you with examples: for in
"Q. Did not the introduction of gunpowder cause a change in the art of war?"
A. The introduction of gunpowder has made a great change in the
"Q. Has not the invention of gunpowder rendered modern wars more expensive?
"A. The invention of gunpowder has rendered modern wars infinitely more expensive?"
Q. Did the American war produce any change in military tactics?"
"A. The American war produced a grand change in military tac tics."
"Q. Did the war arising out of the French revolution occasion any changes?"
"A. The war occasioned by the French revolution has produced great and important changes," &c. &c. &c.
11. To shew how ignorant an author may be, introduce a copious sprinkling of blunders in different parts of your work. To display your knowledge of geometry, affirm that "if the circumference of a circle be multiplied by half the diameter, the product will be the area :" and do not explain any where how to find the circumference from the diameter. shew how well you are acquainted with physical astronomy, make a gross mistake (as our author does, p. 43) in illustrating the nature of the tides. Take care, also, as he does, to manifest your ignorance of the law to which magnetic and electric attractions conform. Shew that you have nearly forgotten your Latin, or that you know not the meaning of gravitas; which you may easily do by following the example of Dr. M. and saying there are several kinds of gravity, two of which are the attraction of cohesion and that of gravitation" Say also that gravity is "denominated relative gravity when immersed in a fluid :" for many readers love to be startled occasionally with an absurdity. Say farther, that the needle " at present declines about 24 westward, and seems to be still advancing towards the west. In your enumeration of metals take our author for your example, and say they are 23 in number," omitting Rhodium, Palladium, Iridium, Osmium, Cerium, and Professor Davy's two new metals Potasium and /Sodium. Lastly, affirm that "the human eye is of a globular form," and then immediately contradict it by adding, that it is more prominent before than behind."
We could add many more rules tending to facilitate this branch of manufacture: but we fancy it will be unnecessary. For we believe that, by following the directions here given, and acting up to their spirit in other particulars not specified, almost any one of our readers, if he could persuade himself to undertake the task, would produce in one month, “ a Circle of the Arts and Sciences," just as copious, as perspicuous, as profound, as correct, as useful, and as worthy of public encouragement, as that whose title is placed at the head of this article.
It would be unjust, however, were we not to state, that in our estination the Law, Politics, and Theology, though not quite what we could wish, are far the best parts of the volume: we really regret that Dr. M. did not, instead of compiling such a miserable farrago as the whole, enlarge the parts just adverted to, and give them to the world in a distinct work under some appropriate title.
Art. XIV. Miscellaneous Poetry, by Thomas Green, Jun. of Liverpool. 8vo. pp. 131. Price 3s 6d. bds. Longman and Co. --1809. WHEREAS it hath been humbly represented to us, in our court of
criticism, that great damage hath accrued and doth yet accrue to the interests of literature in this realm, from the scarcity and exorbitant price
of paper, and that the said scarcity is in great measure occasioned by the incontinent waste of paper committed by scribblers of rhymes and other idle matters, to wit, by the writing and printing of such words as here follow,
"England expects" (immortal Nelson cry'd)
"That you will make your duty all your pride;" &c. &c. We therefore, in consideration of the premises aforesaid, do strictly enjoin and command you, Thomas Green the younger, and all other the poetasters and poetastresses of this realm, that from the date hereof, until such time as it shall be certified to us that the customary market price of paper is reduced twenty per cent, you and every one of you do entirely desist from spoiling any more paper by printing any such matters as aforesaid, and from spoiling any more paper by writing any such matters thereon save and except one quire of foolscap paper each per week. Under penalty &c. Witness &c. &c. this first day of February, 1809.
Art. XV. Eine Predigt zur Befcerderung der wohlthatigen Entzwecke der Gesellschaft von Freunden nothleidender Auslander, &c.
A Sermon preached at the German Lutheran Chapel in the Savoy, 28th August, 1808, by C. F. A. Steinkopff, A.M. Pastor of the Congregation; for the Benefit of the Society of Friends to Foreigners in Distress, with a brief Account of the Society. Svo. 20. pp. Price 1s. Escher, Bohn, "Burditt. 1808.
NUMEROUS are the paths, and often difficult to be avoided, which
lead to poverty in our native country, though surrounded by our kindred and intimate acquaintance; and severe are the trials which usually attend that state, even with these mitigations of its misery: but the sojourner in a strange land, amidst people of an unknown speech, scorned by the populace, and peculiarly exposed to snares and impositions, appears much more liable to sink into a state of want, and to be involved in its tmost distresses and horrors. A society formed for the recovery of our fellow men from afflictions so deplorable, well deserves encouragement from every class of the inhabitants of this favoured country, whether natives or foreign residents; and we are glad to find that it has obtained an extensive and respectable patronage.
The Sermon, now in our hands, is excellently adapted to promote the important object of this very laudable institution. We regret that the language in which it was preached is not more generally understood in this country; and we do not doubt that if the discourse spoke intelligibly to an English car, it would make a powerful impression on many an English heart. It combines (what we seldom meet in charity sermons) genuine evangelical principles, with plain and pointed arguments for beneficence. The following translation of a short paragraph must suffice for a specimen of the preacher's manner.
"Blessed are the merciful (or compassionate); for they shall obtain mercy." All the good which they do, renders them not proud, but humble. They think not highly, but meanly of themselves. They require not a recompence, as if intitled to it in justice; but they hope for, and expect it, from the free grace of God, who is faithful, and hath promised it to them. They freely forgive others; and He forgives them. They bestow freely; and God often bestows on them, even in this world,
so liberally, that they can joyfully exclaim, with the Psalmist, "They who seek the Lord shall not want any good thing."
This Society does not confine its charitable exertions to the assistance of any class of people distinguished by national or religious diversity. It rejects none but the impostor or the licentious. It liberates the unfortunate debtor, relieves the aged and the sick, and restores to their native countries persons who otherwise could not rejoin their families or friends. In the course of the preceding ten months, it had thus assisted,44 Germans, 10 Dutch, 10 Swedes, 10 French, 5 Swiss, 3 Italians, 3 Norwegians, 2 Danes, 2 Russians, 1 Spaniard, and 1 Pole. Some af fecting instances are specified. We think it an omission, that persons who receive subscriptions for so useful an institution are not named in the pamphlet before us; we take the opportunity of supplying the defect, by mentioning the worthy preacher, who resides at the Savoy; the Rev. G. Brunnmark, Prince's-Street, Ratcliffe-Highway; the Rev. C. Schwabe, 6 Little Ailie Street, Goodman's Fields; and the Secretary, Mr. Charles Murray, Bedford-Row. The profits of the Sermon will be given to the Society.
Art. XVI. Fingal, an Epic Poem, by Ossian, rendered into verse by Archibald Mc Donald. 8vo. pp. 160. price, 7s, bds. Cadell and Davies, 1808.
THIS versification of Fingal is certainly not destitute of merit; though frequently incorrect both as a poem, and as a translation. We have no idea that a work of this kind, however meritorious, would obtain popularity either among those who admire, or among those who despise, the Gaelic bard, as he appears in the prose of Macpherson; but there may be some readers, to whom the melody of metre and rhyme, together with the additional perspicuity, which he has received from the labour of Mr. M. may, so far compensate for the loss of his peculiarities of spirit, manner, and phrase, as to enable them to peruse the performance with considerable pleasure
A few lines from the beginning of Duan the First, may enable the reader to judge of this version by comparing it with Macpherson's. Up, up, I Swaran saw, amidst his pow'rs,
Tall as a rock the giant monarch tow'rs.
So low'rs on high a cloud that threatens rain.
"All vet'ran soldiers, arm'd with sword and shield,
"Her gallant heroes, and undaunted hosts." p. 5.
A dissertation of thirty pages is prefixed, containing a summary view or the Ossian controversy, which the author regards as satisfactorily decided in favour of the genuineness of the poems, by the publication of Macpherson's Copies of the MSS. he is believed to have destroyed. (See Ecl. Rev. Vol. IV. pp. 318, 479.),