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57

THE DRAMA.

ORIGINAL CRITICISM. ramed characters of Beverly and Young Eaglefield are gire ,ir.ftructive and animated manner. Lord Alton is an excello

ren of true no ility; and Aldworth affords no incorrect portes in English gentleman of the old school. Our principal objetir

is work arifes from too much of the marvellous appearing in for i diroveries. For instance, the meeting between Colonel Frale, viher, and family; and that of Hamilton and Aldworth, at de rd of the second volume. Such circumstances, though politike, Parcely within the line of probability, and, whenever they occur

luction of this nature, considerably diminish the intereft und re experienced in the perusal of it.

XIV. New Tales of the Castle; or the noble Emigranti. Story of Modern Times. By Mrs. Pilkington. Newbery,

30.

XV. The Moralift; or amusing and interesting Dialogar Vatural, Moral, and Religious Subje&ts, calculated to affert nal and improving Entertainment to the ingenious Youth. Bp Author of Hamlain, &c. &c. West and Hughes. 1800.

VI. Hiftory of Jack and his eleven Brothers; containing

paration, Travels, Adventures, &c. Intended for the f little Brothers and Sisters. West and Hughes. 1800. vse of our readers who have observed with attention the proHcobinism, and seen what various forms it has assumed to

iss atrocious designs with the greatest facility, we make no robtruding upon their notice the above three Articles. 10

much as possible the untainted minds of the rising generaeing corrupted by the peftiferous doctrines of the day, we ceilary occasionally to examine even those books which lly written for the nursery. The purity of our intentions

will only be questioned by those who find their schemes - this exposure ; and the effect of them, we hope, will 2 the permanent benefit our children will derive from this

what is evil, and support of what is good. The two ele articles we can safely recommend to mothers and go. being amusing and instructive in a high degree. In the - we do not discover any of the mischief which it is our bate, we do not perceive any thing by which the infant mer be entertained or improved. We recommend to the particularly wishes to write for the accommodation of

vile his work, and, instead of a dozen unintelligible Eles, to confine it to one plain and simple narrative. :

Art. XVII. Management : A Comedy in Five Ads, as performed

at the Theatre-Royal, Covent-Garden. By Frederick Reynolds.

The Second Edition. 2s. Longman and Rees. London. 1800. THIS play resembles the other pieces of Mr. Reynolds in bustle,

1 incident, and vivacity. It has no great novelty of character ; but, such as it is, is so given as, we doubt not, to have afforded much mirth to the audience in the representation. Indeed the comedies of the present day are not calculated for the closet; they require all the aid which music, scenery, and acting can produce, to answer any of the purposes either of emolument to the manager, amusement to the public, or fame to the author. The characters of Sir Harvey SutherLand and his daughter are evident imitations, and it must be owned feeble ones, of Lord Elmwood and his daughter in Mrs. Inchbald's “Simple Story.”—Mift and Mrs. Dazzle may, possibly, be found in these days of excentricity, but they certainly are such characters as we have no acquaintance with. Lavish is, no doubt, to be viewed daily among the dashing loungers of the capital. The success of a play is no proof of its merit ; because the author has had the good luck, by a ludicrous representation of living manners, and an improbable com. bination of ridiculous circumstances, to keep the audience in good humour for an unusual succession of nights, it should not be taken for granted that it is a work that will survive for a single day the fashi. ons which it is intended to caricature. The oblivion to which the much-followed comedy of « Notoriety” is condemned, is a proof of this fact. But, indeed, we do not conceive that more than this is aimed at by the play-wrights of the day; and that they fucceed so well is a strong proof how much the national taste has altered, we must not say degenerated, since the time of Fletcher, Maffinger, and Ben Jonson. If Mr. Reynolds can be satisfied with such honour, he will continue to write as he has hitherto done; but as he seems to be capable of better things, we recommend it to him to attempt something of a superior nature; something that requires more than “ the vitality" of bad taste and frivolous admiration, to preserve it from 6 putrefaction." Abr. XVIII. The Wise Man of the East. A Play in Five Atts. " From the German of Kotzbue. By Mrs. Inchbald. 25. Ro.

binsons.

THE advertisement prefixed to this play informs us that it is an alteration of Kotzbue's comedy called, “ the Writing Desk.”— What merit the original may possess we are not able, from our own knowledge, to declare ; but if it have no more interest than we found in the “ alteration” it is, indeed, the most dull and unentertaining of his productions. There is nothing of novelty or originality in the plot; the feigned decease of a buiband, a father, and a lover, to

prove

THE

prove the affection of the wife, the duty of a son, and the attach. ment of a mistress, has more than once been seen on the English stage.

The characters are, in general, tamely delineated ; and the early in. timation which the audience receives of the real character of Avu

Thouna diminishes, in our opinion, much of that agreeable surprise which a better managed discovery is apt to produce. The integrity of Metland, the gentleness of Ellen, and the thoughtless levity of young Claransforth, mixed at the same time with much generosity of disposition, are not ill-pourtrayed ; but we certainly did not feel for them the same lively interest which some of Mrs. Inchbald's own characters have excited.

Art. XIX. Family Distress, or, Self-Immolation. A Play in

Three A&ts. Faithfully translated from the German. By Henry Neuman, Esq. Philips. London.

THIS is another production of Kotzbue, literally given by a German. Whatever allowances we may be inclined to make for his partiality to his countryman, we, as Englishmen, cannot acknowledge the truth of the following passage:

" It is (meaning the genius of Kotzbue, we presume,) Shakspeare without liis quibbles, his negligences, his incongruities, his violation of the most indispensible dramatic probabilities, yet still rich in all those energies of genius which have so expressively displayed the in. genuous ardor and fimplicity of youthful love and hope, the secret remorses of guilt, the meltings of tender, agonized affection, the wild conflicts of despair," &c. &c. &c. Meaning we conceive, that Kotzbue possesses all the excellence of Shakspeare, without any of his faults. It is not our business to enter at large into the comparative meriis of these two writers, neither, indeed, is it necessary;--the laurels of Shakspeare are in no danger from Mr. Neuman's pen ; but we do not augur favourably of the discrimination of a translator, who, in the very out-fet, exhibits such an instance of over-weening partiality for his author. Kotzbue has merit of an extraordinary kind we allow; but it must also be allowed, that he may possess it, and yet be far inferior to Shakspeare. Indeed, we conceive the genius of these two dramatists to be of a very different cast. Shakspeare was grand, animated, sublime, by nature ; and whenever he is delineating the softer passions of the heart, or the more frivolous traits of the human character, he evidently descends from the native dignity of his mind : it is the pencil of Reynolds employed on a butterfly. Kotzbue, on the contrary, seems more equal to the descriprion of domestic life, to the interesting, yet tender, conflicts of love and duty, of passion and principle. Yet, it must be confessed, he is not an im. partial advocate; for we do not recollect an instance where love is not triumphant over every opponent. Such, indeed, from the disposition of his mind, as described by himself in the memoirs of his own life, * might naturally be expected. This play is a proof of our affertion ; it,

* This work ihall be reviewed in our next Number,

hag

ORIGINAL CRITICISM. e the affection of the wife, the duty of a son, and the attaci

of a mistress, has more than once been seen on the English flage characters are, in general, tamely delineated; and the early is. ion which the audience receives of the real character of Ar na diminishes, in our opinion, much of that agreeable furpris l a better managed discovery is apt to produce. The integrin

land, the gentleness of Ellen, and the thoughtless levity di Claransforih, mixed at the same time with much generosity ch rion, are not ill-pourtrayed; but we certainly did not feel für he same lively interest which some of Mrs. Inchbald's owa ers have excited. XIX. Family Distress, or, Self-Immolation. A Play is le dits. Faithfully translated from the German. By Heary man, Elą. Philips. London. i is another production of Kotzbue, literally given by a

Whatever allowances we may be inclined to make for his
'to his countryman, we, as Englishmen, cannot acknowledge
of the following passage:
(meaning the genius of Kotzbue, we presume,) Shakspeare
is quibbles, his negligences, his incongruities, his violation
ist indispensible dramatic probabilities, yet still rich in all
ries of genius which have so expressively displayed the in-
Jor and simplicity of youthful love and hope, the secret

guilt, the meltings of tender, agonized affection, the wild
f despair," &c. &c. &c. Meaning we conceive, that
othes all the excellence of Shakspeare, without any of

It is not our business to enter at large into the comparaof these two writers, neither, indeed, is it necessary ;---the hakspeare are in no danger from Mr. Neuman's pen; but

Reid's Rise and Disolution of the Infidel Societies. 59 has its foundation solely on domestic difficulties, and the afflictions necessarily produced by them. The scene is laid in London. The tale is short, A merchant suddenly reduced from plenty and affluence to a state of the most exquisite distress. The effect of contending passions is given in an animated and affecting manner; and the reader feels himself involuntarily obliged to sympathize with the sufferers, in opposition to his conviction, that such a circumstance could not have happened in the capital of this country. We do not feel it necessary to enter minutely into the different characters of this piece ; let it fuffice to fay, that it is, to ufe a favourite expression of our Englith Roscius, concocted with Kotzbue's usual ability; and that it is not defaced with any of that offensive ingredient which has poisoned some of his most affecting productions. The translation, we doubt not,

is correctly given:

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gur favourably of the discrimination of a translator, who, Out-fet, exhibits such an instance of over-weening par. s author. Kotgbue has merit of an extraordinary kind out it must also be allowed, that he may possess it, and Ferior to Shakspeare. Indeed, we conceive the genius dramatists to be of a very different caft. Shakspeare rimated, sublime, by nature ; and whenever he is de. ofter paflions of the heart, or the more frivolous traits character, he evidently descends from the native dignity Et is the pencil of Reynolds employed on a butterfly. the contrary, seems more equal to the description of

the interesting, yet tender, conflicts of love and duty, rinciple. Yet, it must be confessed, he is not an im. 2; for we do not recollect an instance where love is not

every opponent. Such, indeed, from the disposition described by himself in the memoirs of his own life, * be expected. This play is a proof of our affertion; it thall be reviewed in our next Number,

has

Art. XX. The Rise and Dissolution of the Infide! Societies in this

Metropolis : Including the Origin of Modern Deism and Atheism; the Genius and Condųet of those Associations ; their Lecture-Rooms, Field-Meetings, and Deputations; from the Publication of Paine's • Age of Reason’ till the present Period. With general Considerations on the Influence of Infidelity upon Society; answering the various Objections of Deifts and Atheists; and a Postscript upon the present State of Democratical Politics; Remarks upon Professor Robifon's late 1York, &c. &c. By William Hamilton Reid. Svo. Pp. 117. Hatchard. 1800.

E are told that one forcible motive for digesting this narraVV tive was the notice taken by the Bishop of London, in his Lordship's excellent charge to his Clergy,* of the existence of certain Infidel Societies; and Mr. Reid, with a candour that does honout to his feelings and to his understanding, proves, in the most unequivocal manner, his competency to the task, by the following ingenuous confession :

o The author of this undertaking, having been involved in the dangerous delusion he now explodes, may reasonably be admitted a competent witness of the evenis which he relates; as may also the presumption, that he has demonstrated the impracicability of the Infidel Icheme, not merely from speculation, to whicli former writers have been confined, but from facts deduced from real life and actual experience.

"Like our predecessors, we are then no longer under the necessity of arguing without a living precedent; on the contrary, we have seen the principles of Infidelity transferred from books to men; from

See Anti-Jacobin Review, Vol. IV. P. 283

::

dead

dead characters to living subjects; not among a few isolated or spea culative individuals, but in numerous and compact bodies.

66 What was formerly a dispute, is thus brought upon a new ground; and from the heteregeneous composition of this upstart body, the question - Whether a Society of Atheists can subfift?' it is presumed, may now be decided in the negative."

Mr. R. declares his readiness, if called upon, to prove any thing which he has stated. We are not apt to be credulous, but we have no scruple to declare that no doubt remains on our mind of the authenticity of the facts here recited. The subject is most important and demands the closest investigation. The more remote causes of the growth of infidelity, which should certainly have formed the subject of a preliminary chapter, the author reserves for a postscript; and dates his observations from the appearance of the Age of Reafon, and its adoption by the London Corresponding Society.

" If the facts I am about to adduce were not well warranted, pofterity would not believe, that in consequence of the publication of a rhapsody against the doctrines of Christianity, hazarded by a theoretical politician in 1794, and under favour of the French revolution, a very considerable number of our countrymen adopted his notions ; and became equally as violent for the extermination of the Christian religion, as for the remedy of those civil abuses, for which alone their society was at first established !

só Without experience of the fact, who would believe that while the infatuated disciples of the new philosophy were declaiming against their clergy, for mingling politics with religion, they themfelves, employed missionaries to add deism to the democracy of their converts ! Or, who would credit that every religious obligation, in civilized society, was resisted as priestcraft, by the same persons who were the loudest in their demands, for what they chose to disguise with the name of a reform !"

The Age of Reason, however, it appears, was not adopted, without considerable opposition from the General Conimittee of the Society, 6. but as zeal superseded judgement in their discussions upon the subject, the epithets of d-m--d fool, and d-m--d Christian, ultimately prevailed; and a bookseller was soon persuaded, by the heads of the party, to undertake a cheap edition of the Age of Reason, for its inore ready dissemination through the divisions, at that time rapidly increasing in number every week : but after Williams, the bookfeller just alluded to, was imprisoned for this publication, his family received much less assistance from the society than from mere rangers.”

• In the hour of its admiration, this rhapsody was ridiculously terrned the New Holy Bible; a circumstance which fully evinced the intentions of Mr. Paine's partizans : in fine, the attachment of the party was carried so far, that the bare circumstance of having the Age of Reason in a house was deemed a collateral proof of the civifin of the possessor."

What must be the feelings of Mr. ERSKINE when he hears, that the lame Society which circulated with such assiduity and zeal his

own

ORIGINAL CRITICISM. id characters to living subjects ; not among a few isolated or fø lative individuals, but in numerous and compact bodies. • What was formerly a dispute, is thus brought upon a ma und; and from the heteregeneous composition of this uplu V, the question. Whether a Society of Atheists can fubfit.

piriumed, may now be decided in the negative." 11. R, declares his readiness, if called upon, to prove any thing h he has stated. We are not apt to be credulous, but we her cruple to declare that no doubt remains on our mind of the #

City of the facts here recited. The subject is most importa hvilands the cloleft investigation. The more remote caules et owth of infidelity, which should certainly have formed the Lof a preliminary chapter, the author reserves for a postscript

gus liis oblervations from the appearance of the Age of Rer nd its adoption by the London Corresponding Society. . f the facts I am about to adduce were not well warrante, ty would not believe, that in consequence of the public

a rhaplody against the doctrines of Christianity, hazarded by itical politician in 1794, and under favour of the French lon, a very conliderable number of our countrymen adopted ons; and became equally as violent for the extermination of illian religion, as for the remedy of those civil abuses, for lone their fociety was at first established ! thout esperience of the fact, who would believe that while Lusted disciples of the new philosophy were declaiming eir clergy, for mingling politics with religion, they then. ployed missionaries to add deism to the democracy of their

- Reid's Rise and Disolution of the Infidel Societies. 61 own pamphlet on the war, circulated also the impious production of Paine, which he so strongly and so ably characterized in his professional capacity. The intolerance of this sect of Democratic Infidels, in other words, Jacobins, is evinced by the profcription of two of their members, booksellers, for refusing to sell Volney's Ruins and Paine's Age of Reason. The minds of the Society are said to have been previously prepared for the reception of the lenseless but mischievous doctrines of these writers, « by the more learned and elaborate productions of Mirabaud's System of Nature, and Volney's Ruins of Empires : the latter, in point of style, is looked upon as the Hervey of the Deists; the former, as the Newton of the Atheists; and, as the System of Nature was translated by a perform confined in Newgate as a patriot, its fale was pushed, from the joint motive of serving the duthor, and the cause in which the London Corresponding Society were engaged.(P. 6.) Mr. Reid has fallen into the common error of representing Mirabeau (whose name, by the bye, he has mis-spelled) as the author of " The System of Nature," not one line of which was written by him. That infamous book was composed by Diderot and Damila ville, as we had occasion to observe in the Appendix. to our Fourth Volumie, p. 563.

The author gives an account of the means adopted for the diffufion of the principles of Infidelity; the chief of which was the pub. lication of cheap editions of mischievous tracts. Among the number are mentioned, Northcote's Life of David (which was intended to be followed by a biographical sketch of all the leading characters in the Old and New Testament 6 as the most certain means of bringe ing the Christian religion into contempt'); the Works'of Peter Annet, and the Rights and Duties of Citizenship, chiefly compiled from Voltaire. The books proposed to follow these were the Beauties of Deism; A Moral Dictionary ;-Julian against Christianity, and Le Bon Sens, ou Idées Naturelles opposés aux Idées surnaturelles ;a work which represents religion as the source of human ignorance, and of human calamity!

66 Next to songs, in which the clergy were a standing subject of abuse ; in conjunction with pipes and tobacco, the tables of the club-rooms were frequently strewed with penny, two-penny, and three-penny publications, as it were so many swivels against eltablished opinions; while, to enable the members to furnish themselves with the heavy artillery of Voltaire, Godwin, &c. readingclubs were formed. But still, so it happened, that those who dt{pised the labour of reading, took their creeds implicitly, from the extemporaneous effusions of others, whose talents were comparatively above their own. And yet these people were invariably in the habit of ridiculing Christians, in concert with the orators, for being blindly led by priests.

" After these notions of infidelity were in a manner established in the divisions, it is natural to suppose, that in choosing their dele. gates, those persons were preferred who were doubly recommended by their religion, and their politics ; in fa&t, this was so prevalent, that in the recommendation of any person to an ofice among then,

Or, who would credit that every religious obligation, in ociety, was resisted as priestcraft, by the same persons who loudest in their demands, for what they chose to disguile Eame of a reform/" of Reason, however, it appears, was not adopted, without e opposition from the General Conimittee of the Society, eal luperseded judgement in their discussions upon the epithets of d-m--d fool, and d-m--d Christian, ultimately ar.d a bookseller was soon persuaded, by the heads of the dertake a cheap edition of the Age of Reason, for its Hillemination through the divisions, at that time rapidly 2 number every week: but after Williams, the bookaded to, was imprisoned for this publication, his family ch less aslistance from the society than from mere

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our of its admiration, this rhapsody was ridiculously -w Holy Bible ; a circumstance which fully evinced

of Mr. Paine's partizans : in fine, the attachment of carried so far, that the bare circumstance of having calon in a house was deemed a collateral proof of the Elleffor." be the feelings of Mr. ERSKINE when he hears, that y which circulated with such asliduity and zeal his

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