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raise his fair locks;' then to spread them on the arch of the rainbow;' and to smile through the tears of the storm.' Of this kind of thing there are no less than nine pages; and we can so far venture an opinion in their favour, that they look very like Macpherson; and we are positive they are pretty nearly as stupid and tiresome.
It is a sort of privilege of poets to be egotists; but they should use it as not abusing it; and particularly one who piques himself (though indeed at the ripe ag o nineteen), of being an infant bard, '-( The artless Helicon I boast is youth;')should either not know, or should seem not to know, so muc about his own ancestry. Besides a poem above cited on the family seat of the Byrons, we have another of eleven pages, on the self-same subject, introduced with an apology, he certainly had no intention of inserting it; but really, the particular request of some friends,' &c. &c. It concludes with five stanzas on himself, the last and youngest of a noble line.' There is a good deal also about his maternal ancestors, in a poem on Lachiny-gair, a mountain where he spent part of his youth, and might have learnt that pibroch is not a bagpipe, any more than duet means a fiddle.
As the author has dedicated so large a part of his volume to immortalize his employments at school and college, we cannot possibly dismiss it without presenting the reader with a specimen of these ingenious effusions. In an ode with a Greek motto, called Granta, we have the following magnificent stanzas,
There, in apartments finall and damp,
The candidate for college prizes,
Sits poring by the midnight lamp,
Who reads falfe quantities in Sele,
The fquare of the hypothenufe.
Still harmless are thefe occupations,
That hurt none but the haplefs ftudent,
Compar'd with other recreations,
Which bring together the imprudent.
p. 123, 124, 125.
We are sorry to hear so bad an account of the college psal
mody as is contained in the following Attic stanzas.
Our choir would fcarcely be excus'd,
If David, when his toils were ended,
Had heard thefe blockheads fing before him,
In furious mood, he would have tore 'em.'p. 126, 127. But whatever judgment may be passed on the poems of this noble minor, it seems we must take them as we find them, and be content; for they are the last we shall ever have from him. He is at best, he says, but an intruder into the groves of Parnassus; he never lived in a garret, like thorough-bred poets; and though he once roved a careless mountaineer in the Highlands of Scotland,' he has not of late enjoyed this advantage. Moreover, he expects no profit from his publication; and whether it succeeds or not, it is highly improbable, from his situation and pursuits hereafter,' that he should again condescend to become an author. Therefore, let us take what we get and be thankful. What right have we poor devils to be nice? We are well off to have got so much from a man of this Lord's station, who does not live in a garret, but has the sway' of Newstead Abbey. Again, we say, let us be thankful; and, with honest Sancho, bid God bless the giver, nor look the gift horse in the mouth.
ART. III. Some Account of the public Life, and a Selection from the unpublished Writings of the Earl of Macartney; the latter consisting of Extracts from an Account of the Russian Empire, a Sketch of the Political History of Ireland, and a Journal of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China; with an Appendix to each Volume. By John Barrow, F. R. S. Author of Travels in China, &c. &c. Cadell & Davies, London. 2 vol. 4to. pp. 1150.
WE E have frequently had occasion to commend the abilities and industry of Mr Barrow; and the last time he came before us, we gave him a hint about writing fewer quartos. This advice, however, seems very little to his liking; and, indeed, he could not easily have taken a better way of showing how determined he was to reject it, than by coming down upon the public with a huge life of Lord Macartney. The private character of this nobleman was no doubt highly respectable; and his conduct, in several situations of no great consequence, as well as in
the important government of Madras, entitled him to the praise of a zealous and faithful servant of the public. He was by no means deficient in the ordinary talents which fit men for such employments; and by these, together with his diligent pursuit of place under all administrations, he raised himself, by regular steps, from the station of a private gentleman, to the proud eminence of the Peerage, the Bath and the Privy Council, where he shines upon Mr Barrow with a splendour that almost dazzles his eyes out. But, notwithstanding all this overpowering greatness, we really do think that his biography might have been comprised within less than four hundred quarto pages, and that a more rigorous selection might have been used in making the world acquainted with his state papers and literary compositions. Even if a certain mass of pages were wanting, why could not our author have published some of his Lordship's private correspondence with the many eminent men of his time, whom he seems to have known very intimately? The mere public life of this lord, is not a great deal more important than that of almost any other hero of the Court Calendar. Yet we must have a detail of every particular connected with it, considerably more minute than the narrative of Charles V.'s reign. There is really something so preposterous in this, that we wonder how it could have failed to strike even Mr Barrow, with all his profound veneration for his deceased patron, and his disposition to magnify his book as well as his subject.
The first of these ample volumes consists entirely of this history, by Mr Barrow, and an appendix of numerous despatches and other such documents illustrating the narrative. It is to be observed, however, that if any person shall so far interest himself in Lord Macartney, as to examine scrupulously the merits of his different disputes with his colleagues in the Madras government, and with the Calcutta presidency (to which the appendix chiefly refers), he will find very little here to assist his inquiries. Mr Barrow's statements are altogether ex parte; and while he loads us with his own panegyrics of Lord Macartney's every word and action, and produces all the noble governor's long defences of his conduct on disputed points, he scarcely mentions the reasonings of his opponents, and suppresses almost every document in which they were explained by themselves. In truth, like most biographers of persons recently deceased, Mr Barrow is not the historian, but the eulogist of his patron. Take his account of the matter, and Lord Macartney was a faultless mortal. Not a word escapes him, through the whole narrative, that can lead to a suspicion of his having had one frailty or imperfection, except in an instance which we shall afterwards notice; and there the trait
is given with the avowed intention of doing him great honour. Although, however, we are pretty sure that no such perfect character ever existed, we admit that much of Lord Macartney's public conduct was highly praiseworthy; and as he is allowed, on all hands, to have been an uncorrupted British governor in the East Indies, we shall bestow upon his history a degree of attention, proportioned rather to the singularity of such a character, than to the importance of any other quality in which he could be
said to excel.
George Macartney was the son of an Irish gentleman of respectable fortune, and was born at Lissanoure in the year 1737. As Dr Johnson pronounces it a kind of fraud, not to mention who the tutor was of a man of distinguished talents,' Mr Barrow commemorates, as the preceptor of his hero, a certain Dennis, an Irish parson, in whose house he lived for some years, and had access (of which he freely availed himself) to a library of books upon heraldry and genealogy. The prevailing bias of great minds may frequently be traced to some accidental circumstance in early life; and we presume, that Mr Barrow will thank us for suggesting, as a speculation worthy of his attention, whether Lord Macartney may not have derived from his early acquaintance with Clarencieux and Rouge Dragon, that propensity to titles, and unshaken love of the court and every thing about it, which constantly formed so conspicuous a part of his character through life. After taking a degree of Master of Arts at Trinity College, Dublin, he came over to London, and entered at the Temple, where he formed an intimate acquaintance with Burke, Dodwell and other eminent men. Having no intention, however, of studying the law, he soon went abroad, to collect,' says Mr Barrow,' whatever information was to be procured as to the physical strength and the resources of the several states of the Continent, and the character and politics of their respective courts;' in short, he made the grand tour; was much charmed with Switzerland, being himself of a poetical and musical turn; and saw Voltaire at Ferney, with whose society he was greatly delighted.' He also made the acquaintance of the late Lord Holland, through whose interest he was, soon after his return, appointed envoy to the court of St Petersburgh (which Mr Barrow will always call Petersbourg), and instructed to bring about, if possible, a renewal of the commercial treaty. This was certainly a creditable mission for so young a man (he was then only 27); and the more so, that he was appointed at a moment when, from the recent change in the government, and the elevation of Catherine to the throne, the councils of Russia were observed by other nations with peculiar anxiety. The manner in which he acquitted himself, is just one of the disputed points that Mr Barrow takes all his own way, and, with the
candour of modern biographers, leaves us to decide upon a statement of his patron's defence, without any detail of the accusation. At first, no doubt, every thing went on well. Sir George (for he was knighted upon his appointment) made a speech to the Empress on his presentation, which was greatly admired by the court, and which Mr Fox and Mr Burke were good-natured enough to praise for its uncommon neatness; purporting, that she had all sorts of perfection, and reigned over half the world. He then ingratiated himself, very sedulously, with Mr Panin, the prime minister, and began to propose the treaty. Panin expounded his own views for the extension and improvement of the Russian Empire; the principal of which were a confederacy in the North, founded upon the ruin of the French interest in Sweden, and a war with Turkey. He proposed, that England should accede to both these objects; and especially, that she should furnish money to bribe the Swedish Diet; in return for which, a strict alliance with Russia, and a treaty of commerce, were very much at her service. Upon both of these points, the Russian cabinet was firmly resolved that England should accede to their views; that she should both pay for the intrigues at Stockholm, and allow a Turkish war to be a casus fœderis. Sir George saw many objections to the first but the expence of the thing, evidently the only consideration worth noticing, in an economical view, never struck him. He details in a despatch, quoted by Mr Barrow we presume for its political acumen, how, by spending money in Sweden, we should raise the price of her commodities, and thus perpetually injure our own commerce. Nevertheless, so great was his abhorrence of French influence, fortified, says his biographer, by the dislike of Frenchmen which he had acquired on his travels, and which never left him through life, that he prevailed on his employers to send money from time to time for the purpose of bribing the Diet; and, though no precise statement is given of his negotiations upon the other point, it is abundantly obvious, that Russia did not yield it, because a despatch is printed in the appendix, written just before his departure, and repeatedly alluding to the Turkish clause as a difficulty remaining for his successors. By such means, a commercial treaty was, after much discussion, agreed upon; and Sir George, who speaks of it in terms of extravagant praise, and, indeed, lauds his whole conduct almost as profusely as if he were writing the life of a friend, overjoyed at having brought about so great an affair, proceeded instantly, and without any instructions, to sign it. Partly on this account, and partly because an article was inserted, reserving to Russia the power of making regulations for the encouragement of her trade and navigation, en reciprocité de l'acte de Navigation de la Grande