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judges of the subject than myself; and I shjl! be very glad to see them followed l>v improved lemaiks, upon tins tine and libeiai art. Your's, &c.
Wh.liam Jseilson. Dundalk, May Si, 1809.
To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.
SINCE my Inst communication on the subject of "Electricity, I have discovered, that Eustatlnus gained his information, concerning the phenomena there mentioned, from a Life of Isidore, written by Damascius, win) also composed four books de IncrediHIihus, which have never scon the light, but may probably lie concealed in thrVatican library ; where some unedited philosophical works of this author are stated, by llaischelius, to be preserved. They were probably of equal value with the Mirabilia of Antigonus the Carystiau, and the Incredibiiia of Apollonius and Phlegon Trallianus; the second of whom should be consulted for the sake of a curious description of the British Isles. This Damascius, of whose liistory I know little more than that he seems to have lived shortly after the time of Scverus, falls under the heavy displeasure of the pious and learned patriarch Photius; who, in more places than one, mildly reproves him with the appellations of n fool, an atheist, a polytheist, and an impious wretch, for sleeping, as he terms it, in the deep darkness of idolatry. At the same time, he does not withhold from him the praise of writing in a style neither inelegant nor obscure. If any judgment is to be formed from the little which remains of him, the good patriarch must have been easily pleased.
Before I transcribe the passage in question, as extracted by Thotius from ihe original woik, 1 will notice n-cunous coincidence of appellations, p. 1013, ad Jin.
Baf?'* Ji pi 2".;n, xat /ArtXirTa el tv i^'/r.:^', « Hoyri xalvsiamSla,. It should be obterved, to the credit of this sophist, that he docs not appear to be unacquainted with the Attic poets, since he quotes iEschylus, though the words are mixed with the profe, and F.upolis, p. 103.5.— We may collect from the winds of Photius, p. 363, that he was not fur removed from the age of Achilles Talins and Heliodorus. Bur to the extract in question, p. 1041. AXXa. xal TC7 (/. T!»] flr.pt "ATTiXar fva olT.*, TOV E-*>i/.*t. iv, awl ToL' oixfl'ovCiiuarif • ar'/TaXXg»> cnnhffa.e' i'frl r,t o Kali^f.:: a Blviifwv wati(, if t£» ri ftiytrTsi i%u nfi.
with respect to tlie encroachments of the frigid upon the temperate zones, this last supposition of Heraclitus, " the Darkling," as they called him, would be necessary, in order to restore the equilibrium of temperature—Hut I alludud to some notes on Athcuseiis, by " Graculus." At present I have mily the 20th number at liaiuj. Whv notQravrawao~iV? and why **?'-X°*3"i which word does not exist, when Casauhon lias given the true reading in^yjt.ou? Why, moreover, does he call the play of Pherecrates Corinnne, which is a mere error of Dalecampius, and not,
ns it is in the test, Con:
future opportunity I shall resume my strictures on these notes; recommending, in the mean tune, the author of them, when lie proposes emendations, carefully to assign them to their original owners—
May 14, iao'9. B. J. C.
To the Editor (>/'thc Monthly Magazine. sin,
"Unappropriate quotations or strained analogy, may shew reading, but they do not shew taste. That just and nappy allusion which knows by a word how co awaken a coi responding innge, or to excite m the hearer the idea which rills the mind or the Speaker, shevrs less pedantry and mors taste, than bare citations j and a nund imbued with elegant knowledge will inevitably betray liie opulence or its resources, even on topics which do not relate to science or literature. Well-informed persons w:]l easily be discovered to have read the best hooks, though they are not always detailing catalogues of authors."— Mrz. Mere's Strictures on Female Education, Cbjptci—Cctii-trtjt.cn.
P'rMIF.'-F are ceitainly very excellent X and judicious otiservations, and well deserving the attention of ihe female writers of the present day, (I mean those who dedicate their talents to the improvement of the rising generation), whose propensity to quotation I have long remarked, and have endeavoured, in vain, to find a reason for it. One cannot suspect such well-regulated minds of harbouring so weak a feeling as vanity; a desire to make a display of their reading, therefore, cannot be the motive. Is it then their extreme modesty and Jiffidence which will not permit them to advance any opinion, or lav down any position unsupported by authority? thoi'gh it is to be remembered, poetical authority is not always infallible. Letters are but one degree above conversation; yet (.he uvuly ilsi. Grant, whose pen (to
use a common phrase) runs away svitb her, sprinkles her letters with poetry in no sparing manner; and ns that lady would certainly say, were she writing on this subject,
"Where beams of warm imagination play, 1 he memory's soft traces fade away."
So l\Irs. Grant sometimes quotes incorrectly, and sometimes assigns to one author what belongs to another: it is txt be hoped these errors wid be corrected in the next edition, given to the public, of the interesting and entertaining Letters Ironi the Mountains.
iMi=» Hamilton, to whom the present age is so much indebted, is not so faulty in this respect as her sister writers; but, in the next, edition of her valuable Letters on Education, we may, perhaps, see a mistake corrected, which has long offended the eye and ear of every reader or Shakespeare: in telling us, that some children have learning thrust upon tbvin. Miss II. gives to the merry Sir John I'aistali the observations on greatness, made by the fantastic and melancholy MalVolio.
But what shall we say, when we find the law-giver transgressing her own laws? Ccelebs, the justly celebrated Cirlebs, though not the avowed production of Mrs. Mure, is yet universally supposed (a proceed from her pen; indeed, the style and sentiments speak it hers in every page: nicer having remarked, that I think the book repleie with good sense and judgment, and that it contains many very excellent observations on life and manners, it may appear trilling to notice the st}le; but as Airs. Mure observes iu n former production, " I here is no piety in bad taste;" so, withoutdetracting from the merits of the sentiments, I may observe, that they are sometimes delivered in sucii lofty pedantic language, as to be almosc unintelligible. This book consists vearly altogether of conversations, and according to her own rule, (vide quotation at the hcgimiint;), Mrs. M. has given almost all her characters a bad Uistc, fur almost all are extremely fond of making quotations and comparisons, which, not unfrcqiieiitly, are "unappropriate quotations mid strained analogy." Sir John liellield, we are told, has a fine taste ill poetry; yet, though he resides almost constantly in town, he lias nut learned (according to the happy expressions ih the just and admirable encomium on London, page '212), that " qnickuess of allusion, which bungs the idea before von 1 without without detail or quotation." Tlie following citations arc surely very awkwardly introduced:—Sir J. Beliield, speaking of Mrs. Fen t ham's daughter, says, " The damsels still remain, like Shakespeare's plaintive maid, ' in single blessedness/ they do not, however, like her, spend gloomy nights 'chanting cold hymns to the pale lifeless moon,' but in singing sprigbtlier roundelays to livelier auditors." Here we are first to be told in lofty verse what they do not do, before me hear in humble prose what they actually do. In the play from which this forced allusion and quotation is made, llermia asks the Duke what is to lieful her, if she refuse to wed Demetrius? The Duke tells her either to die, or to live in a cloister '« chanting, ike.'' but hints, that more earthly happiness is to be found in marriage than iu "single blessedness;" here we have no plaintive maid " chanting fninl hviiins to the cold fruitless moon" (which, by the bvc, is as Shakespeare wrote it. I wish these ladies, when they qu-ite, would turn to their Shnkespearts and Popes, and not give their lines from memory, which is a very treacherous faculty). Again, Sir John is quite poetical in his relation of what lie supposes occurred in his young friend's visit at Mrs. Fentham's; but he keeps within bounds, till he commits the absurdity of making Milton tell us what Ccrlebs did not do, before be tells us himself what he did do!
Ccelebs, as soon as he enters Stanley Grove, grows poetical; but as he almost as soon becomes a lover, we must allow him as n privilege belonging to that character, the full range of poetry; though it wonld surely he a greater compliment to the lady, were this verse original and not borrowed.
Is not the following line from Pope very awkwardly forced in (I may say) by that indefatigable quoler, Sir J. Beitield? 3Ur. Tyrrell proposes muking a general Vionfireofthe poets: after a reply from Mr. Stanley, Sir John eNclaims, " And if fuel fails, we might not only rob Belinda's altar of her
* Twelve tma of French rommcei, neatly gilt,'
"I do not like the task of censuring, therefore shall here close my remarks, with recommending to the female writers who adorn the present age, to preserve n |)lain and simple style, free from forced allusion and frequent quotation.
Tour's, &c. Se.ncx.
For the Monthly Magazine.
ACCOUNT O/'XHOMIS MAJOR'S CONFINEMENT in tlie Castle of' the Bastille, in the Year 1746, interspersed uith several A Ntxdotes <_>/' Popish Bigotry, in a LETTER M T HoMAS HOLLIS, ESO.
of Lincoln's Inn, E.r.s. and S.a.s. 1772, Revised and Published by his
GRANDSON, THOMAS WILSON.
THE morning after my confinement,
• A fentleman univerully known by the leiuicd, for bis cucclknt rojpi.
swer, further, than he seized me by • Lettre dt Cache', which was fully aulhcient, and his authority for what he was doing. My old landlady, too, was very desirous of knowing whither they had taken nie. She went early the next morning to enquire of the people near the Oashlle, whether they had heard ul any prisoner having arrived that day. They asked, If any belonging to her had hcen taken up. She said, ft young Englishman, who boarded with than. They answered, For God's sake do not say you know him, hut get away as fast as you can, lest yuu bring yourself into trouble. During my stay ul Paris, I frequently took a walk to view iny old habitation, the place of my capliviiy. When I stoptto look attentively at the prison, and make observations, if the centiiiel perceived mc, he would come up to me, and say, Monsieur, passrz xotrt cktmin—Sir, go about your business. This severity may be n proper check upon many violent, ill-designing people; hut at the same time, it must he a shocking weight upon the minds of others, who probably may have iunoceuc relations or friends confined there.
Possibly I might have remained a prisoner for years, languishing out the remainder of my days in close confinement end hopeless captivity, (perhaps, " with a rusty nail, scratching on a stick another day of misery, to add to the heap,") a» perpetual imprisonment has sometimes been deemed a favour, had not my landlord received a friendly hint from the conimissaire, when we left my lodgings, who kindly whispered in his ear—liaslitte. That gentleman behaved nobly as a man and us a citizen of the world, and I should certainly be wanting in gratitude, if I did not pay him this acknowledgement. It was fortunate for me, (hat 1 was not taken up in the street; had this been (he cast, none of my friends could haveknown what was become of mc, as they never would have thought, a person liktme, who came to France purely for study, cogld possibly be an object for the minister's attention, and commitment to the liastille, on affuits of stale; but would have naturally concluded, that by some accident I had hcen privately murdered. Had a change of ministry then been made, t might nave remained u prisoner the rest of my days; it being cmtumary for ihc succeeding minister, never to make enquiries utter the prisoners, taking it for granted, thnt their crimes occasioned theircoiifincment; and nsn caution to others, not to meddle with political alfuirs; consequently they remain
immured there, during their lives, unless released by application from their friends, which cannot always be done, it being unknown what persons arc there.
It is not improbable, that many who have suddenly disappeared at Pans, and who have never been heard of since, have unluckily been taken up in the street, at a distance from their friend* and acquaintance. The following anecdote was told me, by Dr. Longfield, who, when he resided at Paris, had contracted an intimacy with several learned gentlemen of dilferent nations ; they used to meet at a coffeehouse for the sake of conversation mid amusement. One night when live or six of them were at supper, an exempt entered, and took away a Spanish gentleman, who was never heard of more.
A nothercxtraordinarv circumstance was, of a young surgeon, who went to Paris tr» study his profession, having strong recommendations tn a French gentleman living near the rue St. Anionic. Immediately •n his arrival, he vent with his letter; but not finding hiiu nthome, left it, intending to call again, and dismissed his guide. In the mean time, taking a walk, lie happened to go by the Bastille,and,mistaking the entrance for a thoroughfare, by chance he passed the first centiiiel, whose back was towards him. However, he was stopped by tiie second, and not speaking French, he was taken before the governor; the account he gave of himself, was not sufficient for his release, and there he remained. Some time elapsed, and the Frenchman wondered that his English visitor did not appear; his friends in England were as much surprised, thev had no tidings of his arrival. At length, they wrote to Paris, to enquire for him; they received for answer, that he certainly had been there, by the delivery of his letter, hut that they had nut seen hint at nil. In short, he was giveu over. Three years had passed, when an oliiccr, who had formerly been stationed on duly at the Uastillc, supped ui company at thul gentleman's. This strange circumstance happened to be mentioned; the officer recollecting the time, said that when ha wivs stationed there, n foreigner was taken lo'.und, not giving a satisfactory account of himself, was secured. Possibly it might be the same; but desired hi* nanii might nut be mentioned, as giving intelligence. The French gentleman, through his friends, immediately made application to tin! minister; and timling the object nf their search in th<s Bastille, by their interest he wa< released, alter tiireeyeaft imprisunmcHt. imprisonment. To return to myself.— Monsieur Le Bas, (under whom I was studying,) waited on the governor at liis house in the euy, desiring that I might be permitted to engrave tor him in my apartment, and he would furnish me wiih materials. The governor, upon enquiry, found the implements to be such, as, by the duty of his olhce, he could by no means entrust me with, lest 1 might be tempted to do myself an injury. It is not unlikely, the account the governor had leceived of me by the exempt, from my landlord, being strengthened by the recommendations, and good opinion of Monsieur Le Has, might contribute greatly to the lenient manner in which i was treated.
The noise of bolts, locks, keys, and bars, are terrible beyond description; f cuuld hear the prison-doors unlock, and lock, a great while before they came to me, and a long time alter; this made me conclude there were several others in my condition. One day, 1 asked the keeper, if there were many of my countrymen fellow-inhabitants with me; it was very natural for me to enquire. lie stopped me short, by desiring me not to ask him any questions; and said, he was not suffered to talk with the prisoners. From that time, I uever held any conversation »idi him, but merely for necessaries. However, I found him to be a very keen artful fellow ; for one day he accosted me in tills manner; pray Sir! how is your money made in England ; is it like ours? 1 immediately perceived what he aimed at. Money to me then was, like the diamond to the cock in the fable, ol no kind of value. I gave a six livre piece (5s. od.) aud some small pieces besides, telling him it was all the money I had, and as he behaved civilly, he was welcome to it. lie took it, and was very thankful and obliging.
This was a most insinuating and genteel way of making uieseu»ibleof recompensing him for his trouble. It is true, he did isut usk me for money, not being permitted to take any from the prisoners; and had this circumstance becu known, he would ceitainly have been discharged from his place, and perhaps punished. The Trench are very nice in these affairs, receiving no money iu royal prisons, or palaces, which redounds much to their honour. The triile 1 gave, was entirely ■t my option, and therefore cannot be deemed any other than us u gift. I did not think, this money ill bestowed ; (not tbui I thought a composition here cuuld
set a prisoner free,) for amongothcr reflections, that intruded themselves at times, 1 had more than once this uneasiness occurred tu me, that n I remained long here, I might perhaps be forgotten, aud the impossibility of making my wants known, would have made starving an additional distress to imprisonment) and would have rendered my slate trulv deplorable, and superlatively wretched.* As I had occasion for linen, &c. the following billet was sent to my landlord, by order of the governor: "Monsieur Dennis will be so good as to send to Air. -Major, a flannel waistcoat,a night-cap, and shirts, tp the Bastille.—To -Monsieur Dennis, opposite St. Beimel's Church, St. James's street, Paris."
In the evening, the keeper used to bring a lighted candle. Being remarkably uneasy and fatigued, having racked my tortured mind to no purpose, closely scrutinizing into every circumstance and transaction, that 1 could recollect, to rind out, if possible, the cause of my being thus shut up; for in uncertainties, the mind is abundantly employed in racing a thousand phantoms, more terrihle in idea, than in reality. In this plight, I used to go to bed early, aud put out my candle, in hopes that sleep, which brings to a level the prince and the slave, would free me from reflection.
One night, the keeper not coming to nie so soon as usual, and being in the dark, I endeavoured to light my candle, which by the following accident I was enabled to do; in the strict search of my room, I had left no corner unexamined, I hud found upon the ledge of the chimney-piece, almost buried in dust, two or three matches, a steel, and a flint, but no tinder-box; upon which I struck a ligi i into the snuffers, and accomplished my wish. When the keeper came, opening the door, and seeing me reading by a candle, his astonishment was very great; he started, and gave a sudden spring backwards, believing me the devil, lie could not conceive how it was possible for mc to obtuin a light, as he knew there was no tinder-box in the room. I soon and* him, by shewing him the operation; otimwise he might (knowing me to be retic,) have raised some strange repot t witchcraft, by no means to my adntnti among a bigoted and sup.: people.
When I had been here a few tluys t