Page images

his armor and was dubbed knight errant, when it was stopped by the robber, Cacaruco, who with his companions proceeded to plunder the passengers, alleging in excuse that he had no other way of bringing up a large family with any decency. But his family was not long to enjoy the benefit of his industry, for the author learned, before leaving Spain, that he had been seized and executed.

In his account of Cordova, as well as in that of Seville, Cadiz, and of Gibraltar, where the journey ends, the author perhaps introduces historical recapitulations a little too copiously, which can be usually resorted to advantageously by a writer of travels, only for those striking events and incidents, which give a greater interest to living characters and present objects or places visited. As the journal proceeds, there is a little abatement of the freshness of coloring and individuality in the discription usually imparted to a traveller's style by the novelty of objects on first entering a country, and the distinct and strong impressions consequently made upon his own mind. From this cause, as might naturally be expected, from Cordova to the termination of the journey, the journal is less free, rapid, and vivacious than before. But it does not by any means sink into indifferent travels-making. We cannot but think that the historical epitome in the concluding part of the volume, might have been advantageously omitted, for the same reason that we should have preferred less of history in some of the preceding parts; and the pages in which the latitude, longitude, climate, fertility of soil, and other well known geographical and statistical facts, are given, add little to the value of the work, not because the author betrays want of talent or information in those abstracts, but because they are not what readers look for in a volume of this description.

Some parts of the division under the title of 'General view of Spain,' are among the best portions of the book. The sections upon the revenue, the army, the government, and the clergy, are full of interesting facts and just reflections; and the general view of the Spanish character bears marks of a mind of penetrating observation and good skill in generalizing. In this part of the book the author takes occasion, in a note, to pay a just tribute to the character and reputation of Mr Everett, our late minister to Spain, whom he found at Madrid.

We quote the sketch of Ferdinand the Seventh, whose administration of the government, the author, and justly no doubt, VOL. XXX.-No. 66.


attributes more to the clergy and the character of the great body of Spanish peasantry, than to any positive qualities and dispositions of his own.

'From these causes, then, and not from the sovereign will of a single individual, originate those persecuting decrees and apostolic denunciations, which have brought on Ferdinand the appellation of bloody bigot, and all the hard names in the calendar of abuse. There is much reason to believe, on the contrary, that he cares little for religion; and though by way of flattering the clergy and the nation, he may once have made a petticoat for the Virgin Mary, yet if the truth were known, he would doubtless be willing to do less for her than for any living Manola or Andaluza. The character of the present king is, indeed, little known in foreign countries, where, from the mere fact of his being called El Rey Absoluto, everything is supposed to emanate from his individual will. His character is not, in fact, so much a compound of vices, as made up of a few virtues and many weaknesses. He is ready to receive the meanest subject of his kingdom, and is said to be frank, good-humored, accessible, courteous, and kingly, in an unusual degree. He will listen attentively to those who appeal to him, appear convinced of the justice of what they ask, and promise compliance, without ever returning to think of the matter. Facility is his great foible, and yet is he occasionally subject to irritability and a disposition to be wrongheaded and have his own way, to the no small inconvenience of those who undertake to direct him. The faults of Ferdinand are partly natural, partly the effect of education. Instead of being trained up and nurtured with the care necessary to fit him for the high station to which he was born, his youth was not only neglected, but even purposely perverted,

'Godoy, whose views were of the most ambitious kind, took great pains to debase the character and understanding of Ferdinand. With this view, and partly perhaps to get rid of his own cast-off courtesans, he not only abandoned him without restraint to the ruling passion of his family, but even threw temptation in his way, well knowing the debasing effect of those early indulgences, which sap the moral and physical energies of youth. Thus a life of uninterrupted sensuality has deadened every manly and generous sentiment. The person of the king was noble and prepossessing in his youth, when he is said to have been the most graceful horseman of his kingdom. In 1808 he was the idol of every heart in the nation. Had he but proved worthy of this devoted loyalty, Spain would present us with a different spectacle. Even now, though his figure has been bent by long indulgence, and his features engraven with heaviness and sen

suality, yet is his appearance still rather pleasing than otherwise. There is about him a look of blunt good humor and rough jollity, which gives a flat denial to the cruelty ascribed to him. He is said to have a leaning towards liberalism-weak, perhaps, in proportion to the inefficiency of his character, yet rendered probable by the fact, that he is now more detested by the ruling party, and acting under much more restraint, than in the most boisterous period of the Constitution.' pp. 380, 381.

After what we have said, it is hardly necessary to add, that, on the whole, we think very favorably of the work; and the extracts we have made, being tolerably fair specimens, will, we doubt not, be thought by our readers to justify this opinion, and recommend it more effectually to their attention, than any general praise we could bestow. The modest pretensions of the author would entitle him to a liberal indulgence, if the faults of his production required it; but, compared with its merits, they are few and trivial. Though he proposes his book as the production of a youth, there is nothing in it of juvenile, excepting, perhaps, the rather enthusiastic admiration, and frequent mention, of female charms. The opinions seem to be formed with deliberation, and the reflections, in general, bear the marks of a just thinking.

ART. IX.-Titi Livii Patavini Historiarum Liber Primus et Selecta quædam Capita. Curavit Notulisque instruxit CAROLUS FOLSOM, Academiæ Harvardianæ olim Bibliothecarius. Cantabrigiæ, Sumptibus Hilliard et Brown. 1829. 12mo. pp. 296.

THIS selection from the remains of the great Roman historian, is designed for the use of those students in our higher schools, colleges, and universities, who have surmounted the difficulties of grammatical construction in the Latin language, and who are prepared to enter on a course of reading, where the higher qualities of style, as well as the structure, sentiments, and general execution of a work, become objects of attention. For this purpose, we know not how a book could be better adapted, than that which we have now named. Livy has been reckoned, even from his own time, among the greatest masters of historical composition; and his copiousness, no

bleness of expression, and splendid eloquence have called forth the loudest applauses of critics and commentators. If the selection of an author, in reference to the object in view, is unexceptionable, the manner, in which he is exhibited in this edition, deserves also our commendation. The first book, which is made up almost wholly of those great commonplaces which should be familiar to every scholar, is given entire. From the remaining books, to the end of the fourth decade, such parts have been extracted, as promise, from the events described, and from the manner of narration, to fix the attention, and deeply interest the feelings, of the student. That these extracts may have in no instance the character of mere fragments, the Épitomes of the books are published in their order; by a reference to which, the place in the history that each part occupies, and its relation to the whole, will be easily understood. This volume is likewise recommended by neatness and correctness, qualities so grateful to every scholar, and exhibits, in these respects, a striking contrast to the wretched guise, in which we find too many of the school-classics with which our book-market abounds.

In reading this volume, some suggestions occurred to our minds as to the use which should be made of it, and the practical purposes for which it is fitted; and it appeared to us, that a few remarks, bearing on these topics, might not be without their use. But what can be said now of an author, who has been before the world more than eighteen hundred years, and who has been examined, criticized, and weighed, in so great a variety of forms? Perhaps nothing; and yet, on the appearance of this work, some observations may be allowed, if recommended by brevity. We shall enter upon no discussion of the authenticity of the early history of Rome, of the diligence and faithfulness of its historians, and especially of Livy, in examining the monuments and early records of their country; or of their skill in weighing authorities, or of their impartiality in their final judgments. It will be suggested here, merely as deserving the consideration of the reader, whether due allowance has always been made, in deciding on the credibility of the Greek and Roman annalists, for the difference of manner during the early ages in transmitting a knowledge of events; and whether historical criticism, if not a distinct science among the ancients, may not still be recognised to no inconsiderable extent in their writings;-as common sense is the

same in all ages, and will often, where we little expected it beforehand, force its way and make itself heard, in spite of all obstacles. It may still further merit inquiry, whether, if opinions were to be formed of the diligence and accuracy of the moderns, their freedom from improper biases, and their willingness to allow to all their deserts, from the representations of the English historians of each other, and what they have, moreover, proved as well as asserted, even Livy has any great cause to dread a comparison. Our object is not so remote. We would rather consult the present convenience of our readers, their immediate interest, their practical advantage.

No one can read this volume, whatever he may have thought or heard of the popular eloquence of the Romans, without deeper impressions of its adaptedness to its object, its persuasiveness, its elegance, and its force. Time, which, in most subjects, detects so many errors of judgment and taste, has brought nothing to light here, which can offend the most correct, or shock the most fastidious. Let the addresses, orations, harangues, or whatever other name may best designate them, which are incorporated in the narrative of Livy, be brought to any proper standard, they will bear the trial; let them be weighed in any just balance, they will not be found wanting. Does the occasion require sound argumentation, or careful and exact reasoning? We find it. We find it. Is there opportunity for lively description, ardent and powerful appeals to feeling? or does the case in hand naturally awaken emotions of pity and sorrow, of resentment and indignation; or demand ridicule and sarcasm, censure and reproach? We meet them all, each in its proper place; and active must be the imagination of that reader, and quick his discernment in tracing the operations of the understanding and the workings of passion, who does not find himself disappointed at every turn, who is not often surprised by the unexpected pointedness and conclusiveness of the reasoning, the clearness of the statements, and the strength and pungency of the direct appeals to the auditors. Besides, there is a simplicity, a propriety, and an ease of transition from argument to argument, and from topic to topic, that leaves nothing to be wished.

This commendation may be thought high, perhaps extravagant; but we will proceed to a more particular examination. We turn, then, to the speech of Camillus to the commons of Rome, on the proposition to abandon the city, after it had been

« PreviousContinue »