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mated defence of metaphysics, as compared with physics or geometry; which will readily be conceived to have been most refreshing to our Scottish entelechies; though, for certain weighty reasons, we do our national propensities the violence of passing it over with this slight notice. There is likewise a spirited and sensible diatribe on the qualifications of ambassadors, in which the author laughs to scorn the vulgar idea of the importance of great cunning and duplicity; and maintains, that with fair and upright proceedings, a frank and simple manner, and no more than a moderate and discreet reserve, more business will be successfully done in a week, than could be accomplished by finessing and overreaching, in half a century. The grand talent for a diplomatist, he observes, is, that of perceiv ving, quickly and correctly, the whole consequences of any measure;and being able to impress most strongly on those with whom he has to deal, the advantages which they will obtain by its adoption;-never dwelling upon any that are not real advantages, though he may be permitted to cast a little into shade those that will be gained by the other party.

There is a liberal and reasonable dissertation on the character and condition of women;-written neither with the insulting con. descension of masculine superiority, nor the still more insulting exggerations of ordinary gallantry; but, at the same time, so much adapted to the peculiarities of French manners and customs, as not to be entirely applicable to the women of any other country. All that is essential to the formation of a sound opinion on this important subject, may be stated, however, we think, in a very short compass.

Women have by nature a little more sensibility-a little more modesty and a little more impatience of intellectual application than men. In every other respect, they are, what circumstances have necessarily made them; and all the qualities by which they may be distinguished in any country, or in any condition, may be distinctly referred to the education, the laws, and the treatment to which men have subjected them. Their inferiority in bodily strength, and the constitutional accidents by which they are so liable to be unfitted for strenuous exertion, are no doubt the solid, though coarse, foundation of that actual power, which has enabled men to decide by what education, what laws, and what habitual treatment, their character and condition shall be determined.-If they really are such as displease our sex, therefore, we have ourselves only to blame; since we, and we only, have the power to controul the circumstances of which these are the necessary effects.

The laws over all Europe are pretty nearly the same; and go deeper into the question than we are always willing to allow. We

men are universally incapable of political functions; and excluded from the exercise of most honourable and lucrative professions. They are also universally postponed to males in regard to property; and during the life of their parents and their husbands, have generally no property at all. The result of all this is, that it is only by marriage, and by living tolerably with their husbands, that they can hope for any thing like independence, influence, or respectability, after the first bloom of their beauty, if they should happen to have any, is worn off-They are naturally led, therefore, to consider an advantageous marriage, as the great end of their existence; and to cultivate all the arts, and virtues-and vices, which they think may enable them to secure it. They have all the excuses, in short, for entering into mercenary connexions, from which men are excluded: But the necessity of marrying within a certain period, has an unavoidable tendency, we fear, to form a character of some little art,-and is favourable to dissimulation at all events, and concealment-if not to absolute simulation and deceit. The dependence in which they often continue, even after marriage, and the scantiness of the means which their legal incapacities leave them for attaining their objects, are not favourable to the acquisition of opposite qualities, or the correction of the habits they had previously been tempted to form.

This is the chief root of all that is peculiar, and of all that is defective, in the character of women in this country;-for their education, and their opportunities of improving in society, are nearly as good as those of the men ;-and there is not much in the general conduct of the other sex towards them which can fairly be said either to degrade their understandings, or to taint their morality. In France, as M. Grimm has justly observed, their education, and their general treatment from men, were far more objectionable. Without having the slightest opportunity of seeing any thing of society, they were sent at once from the nursery to the dull seclusion of a nunnery; and were taken out of it to marry some one whom they had scarcely seen, and were not expected to love; and when thus plunged into a world of which they were utterly ignorant, and for which they had received no preparation, the general manners of all the men they met, whether married or unmarried, were such, as almost to exclude the possibility of their possessing the domestic virtues, -or any others than those they did usually possess.

• Quand on réfléchit,' says M. Grimm, de bonne foi sur les malheurs inséparables de cette situation, bien loin de dire du mal des femmes, on est tenté de croire qu'elles sont en général beaucoup mieux nées que les hommes. On ne saurait disconvenir qu'il en est un grand nombre qui, en dépit de tous les obstacles, en dépit de

nos épigrammes et de notre morgue philosophique, jouissent de l'estime publique, du prix et des honneurs dus à la vertu. Si c'est par un miracle que ce sexe aimable est préservé du naufrage, ce miracle fait honneur aux femmes.'

There is, in another place, a short dissertation on the good and evil of luxury, which is distinguished by all the author's usual liveliness and ingenuity. He very wisely considers the question as one, in a great degree, of definition, and of circum

stances.

Dans le fait, tout est luxe. Jean-Jacques Rousseau a raison de regarder le premier qui mit des sabots comme un homme qui introduisit le luxe dans son pays; mais cela même devait lui apprendre à nous passer nos souliers et les boucles d'or ou de diamans avec lesquelles nous les attachons. L'un est aussi naturel que l'autre, ou plutôt n'en est qu'une suite nécessaire. L'état de maladie est un état de luxe; car il y a des peuples entiers qui ne le connaissent pas; parmi ces peuples, il n'y a que deux manières d'être, vivre ou mourir. Durant le premier de ces états, on se sent quelquefois plus ou moins dispos; mais on ne sait ce que c'est que de se coucher entre deux draps, et d'appeler un homme qui, en vertu d'un certain titre et en conséquence de certains systêmes, ordonne de certains remèdes dont il ne connaît pas l'effet, contre des maux dont il ignore la cause. Le luxe des médecins serait très-bon à retrancher dans un gouvernement éclairé, si l'on en connaissait les moyens.

Le luxe était excessif dans Rome, sous le règne d'Auguste; mais il était bien différent du nôtre. Je ne sais si la somptuosité des tables romaines peut entrer en quelque comparaison avec la recherche des nôtres; mais je sais qu'on ne peut comparer leurs dépenses en habits et en commodités à celles que nous faisons aujourd'hui. Les besoins sont si multipliés, qu'encore une fois, l'homme qui vit le plus simplement met à contribution l'industrie de toutes les parties du monde, et qu'il ne peut guère rien arriver dans l'Inde et dans les îles sous le vent, dont je nè ressente l'influence dans un carré de trois ou quatre toises, en tout sens, que j'occupe à Paris, rue Neuvede-Luxembourg.

Le luxe étant si différent d'un âge à un autre, d'une nation à une autre, ses résultats ne sauraient être les mêmes dans tous les temps. Si j'occupe, moi, petit particulier, pour ma subistence et mon entretien, plus de bras que n'en mettait en œuvre un consul, un prêteur de Rome, il est impossible, par exemple, que les peuples modernes entreprennent d'aussi grands travaux que les peuples anciens. Il nous faut trop de tailleurs, de tisserans, de rubaniers, de parfumeurs, de perruquiers, de manufacturiers de toute espèce, pour qu'il nous reste assez de bras pour des monumens publics. Un édile de Rome aura été en état de donner des fêtes plus magnifiques, plus réellement grandes qu'un roi de France, parce que celui-ci a dans ses états un trop grand nombre de petits commis à qui il faut des manchettes de dentelles et du galon sur l'habit. Il est évident que

deux genres de luxe si divers doivent produire des effets bien diffé. rens dans les mœurs et sur les esprits, et cette réflexion seule suflit pour juger quel cas il faut faire des écrits qui raisonnent sur le luxe en général, et qui appuient leurs raisonnemens de faits tirés au hasard de l'histoire de différens siècles.'

One of the most amusing passages in the work, is that where the worthy Baron, in a violent fit of spleen we suppose, fails foul of the invention of printing; and enlarges, with a whimsical ingenuity worthy of Jean-Jacques himself, on the manifold evils that have arisen from the prevailing habit of reading. When books were rare, and but few people could read them, those few, he observes, were persons of knowledge and discernment; and the writers adapted their compositions to the taste of that select party. Now, when we all write for the Public, we feel that we write for the vulgar, the stupid, and the prejudiced; and are tempted, if not compelled, to deal in false reasoning, false wit, and false eloquence, to obtain their approbation. Besides, when literature was of more difficult attainment, it was confined to persons of a higher rank, and more individual dignity and importance; and consequently assumed a more exalted tone than can possibly be maintained, where every hospital boy not only judges of the works of men of genius, but takes his place beside them in the library and on the bookseller's counter. In the remarks that follow, however, there is a greater foundation of justice.

La lecture est devenue chez nous une espèce d'occupation réglée; les personnes de la plus grande distinction et les mieux élevées, y consument une partie considérable de leur temps, et il n'y en a point qui n'aient à regretter plus ou moins le temps employé à la lecture des mauvais livres. Mais n'eût-on jamais lu que des ouvrages supérieurs, rien n'est plus contraire au génie, que l'usage de lire par habitude. Le génie veut rester recueilli et concentré en luimême; les idées des autres se dissipent, émoussent les siennes et en ôtent l'originalité, et pour ainsi dire la virginité. Il faut des alimens à un esprit supérieur, mais il lui en faut peu. Il doit lire, mais avec une extrême sobriété ; et j'oserais poser en fait, que l'homme du plus grand génie ne pourrait lire habituellement pendant trois ans de suite, sans devenir un écrivain commun et ordinaire. Voilà pourquoi nous avons si peu d'auteurs originaux; au lieu que les anciens ne lisant que peu, après avoir étudié pendant leur jeunesse dans les écoles, ne pouvaient manquer de produire des ouvrages de génie, quand par hasard ils se sentaient tourmentés par leur démon de créer et d'écrire. Le goût n'a pas été mieux ménagé par la multiplication des livres. Comme l'imprimerie en a fait une profession, on a cherché des méthodes, des patrons, des tours de métier, et la manière de faire un livre est devenue un art de manœuvre, comme celle de fabriquer du drap ou de la toile. C'est ce que nous appelons la méthode, et en quoi nous prétendons avoir une

grande supériorité sur les anciens. Pauvres sots que nous sommes, de prendre ainsi l'art trivial d'échafauder, pour le pouvoir de produire un bel édifice. Il n'y a dans nos livres méthodiques ni chaleur, ni trait, ni vue, ni génie; en revanche, l'esprit de dissertation, de division, de discussion y abonde avec l'ennui.

The Baron de Grimm is very favourable to English literature and English talent, throughout all this Correspondence. He prefers our novels beyond all degrees of comparison to those of his own country; and thinks that Shakespeare and Lillo came far nearer the standard of dramatic perfection, than any French writer whatsoever. He gives unbounded praise to the historical productions of Dr Robertson; and speaks of Hume*. as among the most illustrious of European philosophers. Richardson is treated, and not without reason, as the greatest inventor of the age; and Fielding, as we have already seen, is, by a still bolder senteuce, placed above the level of Rousseau. Thomson is mentioned repeatedly as a poet celebrated over all Europe; and the letters of Lady Mary Wortley are commemorated with due praise-in defiance of the unpopularity she had earned from the ladies of Paris, by pronouncing them less beautiful than those of Circassia, and testifying against their manner of arranging their rouge. We have also a great deal of Lord Chatham, and his eloquence; and it is the opinion of the Baron, that there are grounds for instituting an ingenious parallel, after the manner of Plutarch, between the character of that great statesman, and that of Oliver Cromwell!-By far the most distinguished of our countrymen, however, in his opinion, and indeed of all the individuals whom he mentions, is David Garrick; and the testimony which is here borne to his inimitable talents, gives us, we will confess, a stronger impression of his excellence, than the suspected praises of any of the laudatores temporis acti among our own countrymen. The English,' says M. Grimm, are a little given to exaggerate the merit of all the excellence they produce; but in this instance they have been guilty of no exaggeration. Garrick is in reality above all the praise that çan be bestowed on him. He must be seen, to be at all under

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He takes notice of a ludicrous blunder in the first translation of this author's history. He had observed of our early feudal government, that it had a considerable resemblance to a Polish aristocracy;' which the learned translator thought fit to render resemblat assez à une aristocratie polie!' We remember a small slip of the same kind being made by a great scholar in this city, who, in translating from one of the French chymists, took into his head, by an unlucky synceresis, to render le precipitat per se-the Persian precipitate.?

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