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'I have had an opportunity of inspecting a variety of Mr West's pictures, but I cannot pretend to say with which of the two I was most disgusted, their composition or their coloring. The chief property of the former is dissonance and confusion, superadded to several striking irregularities in the drawing; in the latter are accumulated all the combined faults of the English school. Observe, for example, the large altar-piece in the chapel at Greenwich. What infinite difficulty there is, amidst this miscellaneous and huddled assemblage of figures, to distinguish the principal groupe! Neither does it imply much knowledge of anatomy to discern many dislocations in the arms and legs of several conspicuous figures. The coloring is so harsh and cold, that you are almost tempted to imagine the artist had painted a set of masked countenances.'
His strictures are hardly less severe, and quite as just, on the prevailing style of sculpture in England, at that period. Of the performances of Flaxman, however, particularly of his monument to lord Mansfield, in Westminster abbey, he speaks in terms of the highest admiration. He is pleased, through his translator, to pronounce this artist a constellation in the firmament of the arts.
The anecdotes interspersed throughout the book are related in a lively manner, and will constitute its chief attraction to a large class of readers. The following will serve as specimens.
'Nothing, in the opinion of a London shopkeeper, conduces more toward establishing his credit, than to have his shop decorated with the ensigns of royalty, and to be able to acquaint the public that he enjoys the protection of his majesty, or one of the princes. Thus you may see near Leicester Square a species of quack's shop very elegantly fitted up, the proprietor of which styles himself, "Privileged bug-destroyer to their majesties !"-On the new road you pass by a house with an advertisement, inscribed in very legible characters over the gateway, announcing that a "Vender of asses' milk to their royal highnesses the duke and duchess of York resides here!"-A short time ago, a strange conceit was entertained by a man, who manufactures wooden legs with much dexterity, and who has placed before his shop, in the Strand, an enormous sample of his art, as a symbol of his profession, which was no other than to apply for the title of "Manufacturer of wooden legs to his royal highness the prince of Wales!" It may easily be conceived, however, that the prince, who has the finest legs in the world, could not comply with this ridiculous request.'
In his observations upon the manners of the English coxcombs, the author commits a laughable blunder, which, whether
real or pretended, is an admirable satire on one of the reigning absurdities of the age.
'But of all their extravagances, their fashionable cant is the most absurd. It is generally an unintelligible gibberish; a compound of broken French, seasoned with some significant and original terms. There are always some which have a run. Thus, the "boar" lately made a considerable figure among them. At all public amusements, which created languor or satiety, every body complained of "the boar." This is the more extraordinary, as there are only foxes and hares hunted in England."
As the author has placed English manners, morals, and domestic life at the head of the long list of topics enumerated in his title page, we were not a little surprised to find that his remarks are almost exclusively confined to London. This is the more to be regretted, as the beautiful scenery of England would have employed the pleasing talent at description, in which Mr Gode principally excels. The specimen he has given us in this way, in the account of his journey from Dover to London, is just sufficient to make us regret, that he did not think proper to be more communicative. In the following extract, however, great allowance is to be made for the exhilaration, which every traveller experiences on his first introduction to scenes, on which he has long dwelt in anticipation.
The first cursory survey of England, presents nearly the same aspect, from whatever side a stranger may advance toward the metropolis. One of the most animated high roads, is that leading from Dover to London On leaving the little town of Dover, as you approach Ewell, a fine spacious plain lies extended before you, which gives the traveller a just idea of the highly cultivated state of the country. No spot is left without improvement; as far as the eye can reach, it discerns traces of laborious industry. All the fields and meadows are enclosed with green hedges, or fenced round with trees. The dwelling houses of the country people, and farmers, appear to be but newly constructed, and are only distinguished from the mansions of the town's people by their cheerful aspect. They are for the most part encompassed with a garden of flowers, and as every one follows his own humor in the style of building, they exhibit a great variety of architecture. Yonder you behold in idea a Gothic Chapel, another mansion is decorated with little pillars, and in a third you observe Roman pilasters jutting out beside Gothic bow-windows. The neatness, that reigns throughout, enhances the pleasing sensation excited by the prospect of universal plenty. The traveller indeed is
not a little surprised when he learns, that these mansions which he deemed the seats of country squires, are only the dwellings of farmers and peasants. He sees a lady seated in a bower of a little garden, with four young girls at her side, clothed in snowy robes of muslin. The mail coach drives up to the door; they rise and hastily advance to meet it. A gentleman from within exclaims with a joyful accent; "there are my wife and children,” He jumps out and meets with a most affectionate reception from his darlings. The gentleman and lady salute the travellers, in a cordial manner, the coach sets off, and the stranger on inquiring of his fellow travellers, who these gentlefolks are, is informed that they are a farmer's family settled in the neighbourhood.'
We must take our leave of this work with a sketch of the daily routine of two very different classes of Englishmen.
"About eleven o'clock it grows day with a London beau. He swallows a slight breakfast, slips on his riding coat, and hies away to his stable, where his coachman, grooms and lacqueys, are in punctual attendance. Here his horses are mustered up before him, he takes a strict cognizance of them, makes minute inquiries after their state of health and constitution of body, and distributes the necessary orders relative to their management. If the weather be favourable, he then saunters through the town, on horseback, or drives out in his curricle attended by his servants. His way leads him through all the fashionable streets, and commonly ends after a few rounds in Hyde Park. Should the weather prove unfavorable, he frequents the workshops of the most eminent saddlers and coachmakers, is received with much ceremony, and many professions of regard, bespeaks fresh articles, proceeds to the auction of horses, and every where meets his friends. He then takes a survey of those curious sights with which the eyes of the public are feasted in exhibitions, steps into a print shop on his way and demands the new carricatures; after which he enters a fashionable coffee house. It is now past three. Our beau takes a second breakfast in the coffee house, peruses the public papers, converses with his acquaintances, and arranges with them the parties of pleasure for the ensuing evening. About five he returns home. Here his valet de chambre assists him in adjusting his dress, in which he discovers much taste. Whilst this important business is going forward, he hastily looks over all the visiting cards that have been sent in during the day, and gives the necessary instructions upon this head. At seven he repairs to a genteel coffee house, if no pressing invitation to some grand entertainment call him another way; or as is more frequently the case, betakes himself to a friend's party, where he is always a welcome guest, and considered as a member of the family. About
nine he rises from the table in order to repair to the theatre, not to see the play which is now nearly over, (for such a practice would be quite unfashionable,) but to skip about from one box to another, to shew himself to the ladies, to ogle with strangers, or to range about the lobby with his friends, in quest of those fair ones, whose nets are always spread for gallants and guineas. Should he fortunately withstand these powerful temptations, he then repairs to a ball or rout about eleven, or to one of those splendid houses kept by certain women of fashion, who endeavour to retrieve the low state of their finances by play. About four in the morning he returns home, fatigued with his nocturnal excursions, and next day commences anew the same invariable round'
To one of my friends,' continues Mr. Gæde, I owe the following outlines of the rural employments of an eminent English statesman. He usually rises before seven in the morning. The first matin hours are exclusively dedicated to scientific pursuits, in which particular he always observes a fixed methodical order. At ten o'clock he repairs to the breakast parlour where the whole family are assembled. The newspapers are then examined, and the plans which the family have concerted for the day, proposed and arranged. About eleven they begin to separate. The gentleman mounts his horse, pays a visit to his tenants, traverses the circumjacent country, and in the course of two hours returns from his excursion. At this time his clients, and those who wish to converse with him upon business are in attendance. He usually consumes an hour with them in desultory conversation. It is now near two o'clock. The secretary makes his appearance. The letters which are come to hand are perused, and the pecuniary transactions revised. The secretary receives his instructions, and an immediate reply to the most urgent letters is transmitted by the master himself. His domestic then waits
upon him and the ceremonials of dress are adjusted. When this business is despatched, the books and pamphlets sent in by the bookseller, are slightly turned over, and the more important articles are noted and reserved for subsequent use. The hour of five is now past, and the gentleman repairs to the dining room, where the family are reassembled, with the addition of some select friends out of the neighborhood. Half an hour after five dinner is announced, and for this meal rarely more than an hour is allotted. The ladies withdraw, and the gentlemen discuss political and agricultural subjects, &c. while the bottle circulates till the hour of tea arrives, at which the lady of the house presides in the drawing room. The news of the town, family occurrences, and the modern productions of French and English literature, now become topics of discussion. The ladies arraign the literary heroes of the day; the gentlemen conduct their de
fence, or occasionally appear as their accusers. The literary performances, which lie upon the lady's toilet, are produced by way of reference; and passages are read aloud, which serve to refute or to corroborate an opinion already advanced. The lady sometimes takes her seat at a side-table, and overlooks favorite musical compositions. An elegant supper is served up at eleven, and about midnight the company break up.
In such harmless amusements a family day is consumed. It may well be conceived, however, that this arrangement is liable to many interruptions;-when an illustrious visiter is expected, when the master of the house makes a rural excursion, or when he follows the chase.'
ART. IV. A Collection of Cases overruled, doubted, or limited in their application. Taken from American and English Reports. By Simon Greenleaf, Counsellor at Law. Portland, 1821.
THE number of cases in this collection is nearly six hundred. Still it is by no means complete. Our own recollection and minutes furnish at least one hundred more; and it is probable that the full number of such cases, in American and English Reports, is one thousand. This statement may surprise some of our readers, and give occasion for new jests about the glorious uncertainty of the law. If, however, the number of reported cases, and the series of years during which they have accumulated, are considered, it will not be deemed strange or unfortunate, that a thousand legal errors have been corrected in half as many years. There are about four hundred volumes of cases decided in England and Ireland, since the reign of Edward II. We, of course, do not include in this estimate the broken cases of elder times, which may be gleaned from the old abridgments, and which reach back to the days of Henry III, nor the numerous little volumes containing accounts of a single case. There are also about one hundred and forty volumes of American Reports, all published since the organization of the federal government, and four fifths of them within the last twenty years.
That in all the courts in England and Ireland, with such extent of jurisdiction and press of business, there should be an average of two errors of judgment in a year, is surely no just cause of wonder or alarm. But our assumption, that there are New Series, No. 11.