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names and dates, interspersed with very few useful or interesting remarks.


The early Scottish drama is altogether a barren subject. veneration for antiquity, and national partiality, naturally induce the industrious scholar to rescue from oblivion and ascribe some portion of merit to every old work or fragment which his researches may discover. Amidst the rubbish, no doubt, a gem is sometimes found, which, polished and enriched by an able artist, sparkles in the literary cabinet with renovated lustre. Such is Sir Tristram, a metrical romance of the 13th century, by Thomas of Ercildoune, of which Mr. Scott has lately presented to the public a splendid and valuable edition. These early productions in general derive their importance from opening a field for ingenious criticism to glean whatever may display the customs and manners of the times. Considered as works of genius, the peculiarities of the early Scottish dialect probably lead a stranger to attach less, and a native more, merit to the poetical labours of former times than they intrinsically deserve. Notwithstanding, however, the national celebrity of Barbour, Dunbar, Douglas, Lindsay, and the royal poets of the house of Stuart, we may safely affirm that no foreigner and few Englishmen can receive any satisfaction from a perusal of their works, adequate to the previous labour necessary to render them intelligible. The northern constellation of talents which during the 18th century illuminated the departments of history and philosophy, may diminish every Scotchman's anxiety for the poetic fame of his ancestors. Those, however, who are fond of dwelling with pleasure on every minute and trifling circumstance will, in addition to the few names of real eminence, find in Mr. Irving's biographical sketches a copious catalogue of writers, who lived in such and such a reign, made verses, and died.

ART. 43.-A new Treatise on the Use of the Globes, or a Philosophical View of the Earth and Heavens, &c. By Thomas Keith. 12mo. 65. Boards. Longman. 1805.

In elementary works of this kind the arrangement is a principal object, not for the sake of erecting a beautiful system, but simply for the learner's ease. Considering the subject in this light, we

could have wished all that well-selected matter which is inserted between parti. chap. 1. and part ii. chap. 1. of the present treatise, to have been reserved to the end of the volume. Otherwise the lucidas ordo' is well preserved. The definitions are perspi cuously arranged and well worded, except that of centrifugalforce, p. 39, which is by mistake confounded with a very differ-1 ent thing, projectile force.

The questions for examination, with references to the pages where the answers may be found, is a very useful part of the present publication; indeed, we think that no elementary treatise design. ed, as this is, for the instruction of youth, should be without a collection of such questions.

The author merits commendation for the form of his book, as the same matter might easily, by an increase of type and margin, have been expanded into an octavo volume. Upon the whole, we recom

mend Mr. Keith's treatise as an useful compendium for learners of the age of fourteen and upwards. For younger scholars, unless of extraordinary powers, something simpler is requisite.

ART. 44.-Sequel to the English Reader, or elegant Selections in Prose and Poetry, designed to improve the highest Class of Learners in Reading, to establish a Taste for just and accurate Composition, and to promote the Interests of Picty and Virtue. By Lindley Murray. 2d Edition, with Alterations and Additions. 8oo. 4s. Longman and Rees. 1805.

The second edition of this excellent school book contains the addition of nine extracts selected from Addison, Carter, Cowper, Hawkesworth, and Dr. Johnson; with an abridgment of lord Lyttelton's Conversion of St. Paul, from the Encyclopædia Britannica; an Appendix also of 62 pages is subjoined, containing biographical sketches of the authors from whom this selection is made. These are executed with brevity and neatness, yet we' think it would have been a preferable plan to have PREFIXED these memoirs to the work, for the same reason that in teaching the Latin and Greek classics every skilful master makes his pupil read the life of the author he puts into his hand, before he enters upon the study of his works. We have, however, no hesitation in recommending this as the best selection of its kind; and perhaps in a future edition Mr. Murray may be induced to take advantage of our hint.

ART. 45.-Considerations on the best Mode of improving the present imperfect State of the Navigation of the River Thames from Richmond to Staines, showing the Advantages to the Public, the Navigator, and the Owners and Occupiers of Houses, Mills, and Lands, in the Vicinity, by improving the Navigation of the River in Preference to making a Canal. By Zach, Allnut Henley. 8vo. 2s. 1805.

The state of the river Thames above Richmond, and indeed of most rivers in England, is a disgrace to the country. They are left almost entirely to themselves. There is no regular system by which the acts of nature in wearing the banks and in making shoals are constantly attended to, so that those injuries might easily be repaired, which being neglected become formidable nuisances, and either check navigation or subject the country to inundation. The river Thames ought to be, and might be easily made, navigable almost to its source; and in China there would be vessels upon it till there was no mean of keeping six inches depth of water in the channel, or it was not wide enough to admit a narrow barge. The writer of this little work, a very ingenious man, who has invented a method of printing maps of estates and surveys of land with moveable types, is surveyor of the second and third districts, and has paid great attention to the navigation on the Thames. From his observations he conceives that very great improvements may be made in it, and in this we are very much in clined to agree with him, at very little expence; and he has dilated with great judgment on the following heads of his work: 1st. The navigation of the river Thames is very important by its extensive

course and connection, and lately is become more so by its reception of the additional trade of several other navigable rivers and canals recently made into it. 2dly, The navigation upwards, bétween Richmond and Staines, from the violence of the current &c. is, in places, dangerous, tedious, uncertain, and expensive. 3dly, Repeated but ineffectual trials at a considerable expence have been made to amend the navigation between Richmond and Staines, by ballasting, and making weir-hedges, jettoes, &c. 4thly,The mode of effectual amendment is by making opening weirs, with side cuts and pound locks. 5th, Three weirs, side cuts, and pound locks, are necessary for such effectual amendment. 6. The expence of such weirs, side cuts, and pound locks, will not exceed 20,000l. 7. The present trade will, at the small additional toll of only 2d. a ton a voyage, pay for the whole of these improvements. And 8. Many great and material improvements will be obtained by such effectual and cheap amendments to the barge-masters, navigators, land-owners, wharfingers, millers, and the public in general. The Thames is of so much consequence to the public, that any attempt to meliorate its state deserves serious attention; and to those who are to take it into consideration we recommend the above remarks, which may be consulted with advantage by those who are concerned in the navigation of other rivers. The writer's plan of printing maps of estates with moveable types is capable of -great improvement, and deserves encouragement. By his method, on the same sheet that relates the particulars of the estate to be sold, is given a plan of it, by which every bidder may gain more information by one inspection than he could by a laboured detail in writing. The plan, we perceive, has been already adopted at some sales at Garraway's; and on sending a small plan of the estate by post to Mr. Henley, he returns, at fixed prices, any number of printed plans upon a larger scale, according as they are desired.

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THE letter signed No Soldier' did not arrive in time to be answered in our last. Taking no notice of this writer's bad grammar in the first line, nor of his bad pun in the second, we proceed to observe that it was not our intention to establish what he calls a rhythmical creed,' but merely to set some reasonable bounds to the liberties which every versfier thinks he has a right to take, because he finds passages in our best poets which sanction those liberties. However, the instances which No Soldier' brings forward, are not parallel; and if they were, we can refer him for the justification of our censure to much better critics than ourselves. But we know how to appreciate both the value and the motive of a remonstrance, which smells strongly of Bedia.

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An answer to the Lover of Truth's last letter shall be left at Mr. Mawman's, as before.

We are much flattered by the good opinion and good wishes of Philo-Criticus.'

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ART. I.-An Historical Review of the State of Ireland, from the Invasion of that Country under Henry II. to its Union with Great Britain. By Francis Plowden, Esq. 2 Vols. 4to bound in 3. 41. 4s. Egerton. 1803.

IT is a fact not a little remarkable, that while the history of Great Britain is known by most men of liberal studies with considerable accuracy, and those of the principal nations in Europe are, at least in their general outlines, very familiar to them, the domestic annals of a country so closely connected with our own as Ireland, have been almost universally overlooked. Our English historians present us indeed from time to time with short and imperfect notices of the state of our neighbours, but even these are only introduced as it were by necessity, to illustrate such transactions in England as are directly related to them, or to display more fully the portrait of some English hero. Carent quia vate sacro, is the cause which has covered with oblivion the objects of historic, as well as poetical celebration. But our neglect of Irish history before the Revolution is not excusable on this pretext; the work of Leland, though too prolix in the earlier part, combines with much elegance of style and judiciousness of remark, an undeviating impartiality, rare in the history of every nation, and certainly not least so in that of Ireland. Since the Revolution indeed, the progress of that long political conflict which terminated in the union, has hardly been illuminated by a single ray. In England we still indeed desiderate the candid and discerning historian, who shall select and combine the most important events of our own country during the eighteenth century; but the mass of materials accessible to all, and known to many, has better enabled us to expect in patience the arrival of such a phenomenon. With respect to Ireland, this is not the case; and we naturally hail with pleasure a CRIT. REV. Vol. 5. June, 1805.


publication, which professes to supply a deficiency of which we have long been sensible.

The appearance of Mr. Plowden's volumes is rather formidable. Imagine to yourself, gentle reader, two quartos, containing respectively 1003 and 1480 pages. The latter indeed, for your greater comfort, is bound up in two parts. Yet we do not mean to insinuate, that Mr. Plowden might not have been less moderate in his demands upon the public studies. We doubt not that he has omitted, exclusive of advertisements, almost as much letter-press of the Dublin Evening Post as he has inserted; that many pamphlets, especially on the treasury side, have not been transcribed; and that he might have added, from the stores of his own mind, many thousand reflections, little inferior in importance and profundity to those which at present decorate his annotations. Perhaps indeed

⚫ Cynthius aurem

Vellit, et admonuit:"

Mr. Godwin has told us, that the timely interference of Apollo, in the shape of Mr. Phillips, saved the commonwealth from a third volume of the Life of Chaucer; and certainly a cold-blooded purchaser of copy-right might tremble at the reams of paper to which Mr. Plowden's manuscript must have extended. In this age of sciolists, learning is not bought by the cubic foot. These three chopping bastards, each as large as an infant Hercules,' are not guests for the tables of dilettanti ; and, upon this account, we think it possible that some individuals may look over our effusions, who will neither purchase nor peruse Mr. Plowden's history.

There is a notion which seems very prevalent among historians, that the importance of facts is inversely as the square, or some higher power, of their distances. Now, in spite of the beautiful analogy between moral and physical laws which this theorem presents, our regard for truth compels us to admit it with some hesitation. Are the wars of the League less interesting than those of the Fronde? Ought the distracted times of Charles the First to fill a less space in history than the cor responding period of the ensuing century, gliding on with an unruffled stream through peace, riches, and tranquillity? Ignorant people indeed always suppose the events of their own age to be vastly more wonderful than any which have gone be fore, as rustics conceit their own parish-church to be the finest in Christendom; but it is not the duty of an historian to ac commodate his plan to prejudices which are wholly incom patible with all philosophical reasoning upon time past. But the rules according to which Mr. Plowden has dilated or condensed his narrative, are beyond all example disproportionate

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