« AnteriorContinuar »
praise: but the quality in which he fails is discrimination; he wants altogether a calm and rational judgment: he has ardour, but it is too impassioned: he has intellectual activity, but it is not sufficiently refined; and he is too eager in the pursuit of his object to perceive, with the requisite degree of sensibility, the nice shades and delicate distinctions which mark the vari eties of style. With his selections from the Petrarcan muse, we have perhaps the least fault to find; because, in whatever the genius of that author attempted, he exhibited the same masterly hand, the same brilliancy of idea, and the same powers of imagination:- but Mr. Lofft's quotations from the French are poor indeed; and yet the sonnet is a species of song. to which that language is peculiarly adapted, and its poets have successfully contributed. If it were desirable to inundate the world with such a torrent of these sonnets, we could well have spared some of the original pieces to which we have before alluded, in exchange for more of the sweeter strains of Boileau, Moliere, and Voltaire.
Altogether, then, we think that the work will require considerable amendment, before it can deserve the reward of extensive circulation; and the too luxuriant branches must be lopped off with unremitted diligence, before the tree can acquire sufficient energy to bear either an agreeable or a salubrious fruit. With such abilities and acquirements as belong to the very respectable author, and with such an extensive and advantageous field before him, comprizing all the most admired poets of every age and nation since the revival of learning, he might surely have contrived to infuse a greater share of real interest into a production which is every way susceptible of pleasing ataractions. With these sentiments, we take our leave of Laura
a name endeared to us by the recollection of a muse which has been the companion of our earliest years; and whose graces, though they possess not, in our judgment, the most animating charms of some among her sister-songstresses, have yet gained so exalted a seat in our affections that the memory of them, we trust, will never be effaced.
ART. XI. Addenda to the Life of Mr. Park, prefixed to a Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa, in the Year 1805. 4to. PP. 27. 38. Murray.
WHILE we are ready to admit that every anecdote is interesting, even though it be inconsiderable, which relates to such a man as Mungo Park, we suspect that this Supplement to the Memoir noticed in our last Number was published not so much on account of the new matter which it contained,
for the opportunity which it afforded to the author for vindicating himself against certain charges and insinuations that have been alleged against him. The information obtained from Mr. Walter Scott does not assist materially in the delineation of the traveller's character. We are told that Mr. Scott confirm's the account which had been given of Park's cold and reserved manners towards persons with whom he was unacquainted; and it is easy to conceive that he was often displeased, not fis only by the impertinent inquiries which were directly put to him, but by the circuitous attacks which were made on him by curiosity under the guidance of finesse or false delicacy. Mr. Park may have been a great lover of poetry: but the evidence produced of the fact would prove every man to be such, for who is not partial to the songs of his native land? At page 5., expectation is excited only to be most cruelly disappointed; we are informed that, on one or two occasions, Mr. Park communicated to his friend several very remarkable and interesting adventures which had happened to him during his journey, but were not mentioned in his travels;' and then it is added, Mr. Scott is unable to recollect the anecdotes here particularly alluded to! At page 6., on the contrary, a circumstance is mentioned which we think might as well have been omitted.
Calling one day at Fowlshiels upon Park, and not finding him at home, Mr. Scott walked in search of him along the banks of the Yarrow, which is there a romantic stream, running among rocks, and forming deep eddies and pools. In a short time he found the traveller employed in plunging large stones into the river, and watching with anxious attention the bubbles as they rose to the surface. On being asked by his friend the reason why he persevered so long in this singular amusement; "This was the manner," answered Park," in which I used to ascertain the depth of a river in Africa, before I ventured to cross it; judging whether the attempt would be safe by the time which the bubbles of air took to ascend."'
The air which ascends is only that which is carried down by the stone, and the time of its return in the form of bubbles to the surface will depend not on the depth of the lake or river into which the stone or sinking body is precipitated, but on its size, or the violence with which it is thrown. If Mr. Park had no better mode of ascertaining the depth of rivers in Africa, he must often have been mistaken. Was he merely on the banks of the Yarrow, and did he mean to quizz his friend when asked the reason for his amusement?
amusing himself when Mr. Scott discovered his
A few short notices of some of the companions of Park in his unfortunate expedition are not improperly inserted; but, in our judgment, the calculations of the probable advantages of
African commerce, built on the slender and imperfect details of Mr. Park, might without any detriment have been spared. It is very true, as here stated, that at the rates at which he sold his goods to the Africans at Sansanding, his trade (supposing it to have been carried on by a private mercantile adventurer) would have been far from profitable:' but when it is considered that he engaged in trade on an emergency,' and to effect a specific object, it was unnecessary to make calculations on such data. The fact, indeed, might so far be regarded as ascertained, that the value of silver, in proportion to gold, is very considerably higher in Africa than in Europe, or in any other part of the world with which we are acquainted.'
We come now to the subject which seems to have operated as the prime stimulus in the publication of these Addenda. A long note is given, in which the author of the Biographical Memoir vindicates his remarks on the intercourse of Park with Mr. Bryan Edwards, and on the share which the latter took in the composition of the Travels which pass under the name of the former. The biographer adheres to his original position, and in our opinion completely establishes his point. We shall quote the passage:
The opinion given in Park's Life was simply this; "that without attempting to determine in what degree Mr. Edwards assisted in the composition of the Travels, it might safely be affirmed that the assistance afforded was considerable and important.' These words could not be understood to imply that Mr. Edwards was the author of that publication; but were meant only to express an opinion (as the context sufficiently shews) that he revised the work throughout, that he corrected and polished the style, expunged or altered particular passages, and occasionally introduced observations of his own, subject to Park's approbation. This is a general description of what is usually done by those persons who prepare the works of others for the press; and it is obvious that such literary assistance admits of all possible degrees. In some instances it may consist only of slight alterations, and is little more than nominal; in others it may affect the whole texture and fabric of the composition, and supersede the claims of the original author. The case of Park's work, if it could be thoroughly investigated, would probably be found to be somewhere between the two extremes; since it must be acknowledged to contain several striking passages bearing a great stamp of originality and strongly marked with those simple and natural beauties, of which there are various occasional traces in the Journal and Letters now published; whilst, on the other hand, considerable parts, and especially the observations on the state of slavery in Africa, may be confidently pronounced, from the peculiar character both of the style and sentiments, to have proceeded from the pen of Mr. Edwards.'
When, by the management which Mr. Edwards employed, Park was made to appear as indifferent to African slavery, and
even as an advocate for the slave-trade, it became the duty of a person connected with the African Institution to place this matter in a clear point of view; and we approve the Editor's conduct, for which he offers a sufficient apology:
The writer would have consulted his own ease, and acted more conformably to those rules of prudence which have been too often practised by writers of biography, had he avoided the mention of this topic. But he had undertaken to write Mr. Park's Life, not to compose his Panegyric. In performing this duty he conceived himself bound to exhibit, as far as was in his power, a just and perfect delineation of his character and conduct; and he would have violated this obligation by the suppression of any important truth. Many obvious considerations might have deterred him from alluding to the only incident in Mr. Park's life, which casts the slightest shade over the amiable and excellent character of that distinguished traveller. But the general impression which the publication of his Travels produced during the discussions on the slave-trade, and the reports, then prevalent, as to Mr. Edwards's share in that publication, are facts, which no person acquainted with the history of those times will deny to be true; and, in the judgment of the editor, they were important *. A fair and candid statement of the circumstances attending the composition of that work was, due to the public, and indeed to Mr. Park himself; against whom it is well known that strong prejudices have existed in the minds of numerous individuals who are warmly attached to the cause of the Abolition.'
The last note respects the question on the termination of the Niger. Some persons, crediting reports more recent than those of Park, have supposed that this river runs into the Congo, and is identified with it: but the safest way for the present is to s suspend even our conjectures, and to wait the result of those two expeditions which are shortly to take place under the directions of Government, and from which it appears that the wishes of the African Institution, mentioned in a preceding article, (p. 175.) have not been in vain.
The former of these is intended to pursue the course of the Niger, and ascertain the progress and termination of that river, as far as can be effected by following the plans of Mr. Park; the latter is to proceed immediately to the mouth of the Congo, and explore the course of that river, according to the suggestion of Mr. Maxwell, author of the Chart of the Congo, the very intelligent friend of Mr. Park, from whose correspondence several extracts have been given in the third note of the Appendix to this work. The duty of directing and
That the question, relating to Mr. Edwards's concern in the publication of these Travels was thought of importance by Mr. Park's family, is apparent from their transmitting to the editor, among the papers which were serve as materials for the Memoir, the Correspondence with Sir William Young, together with an examination of this question by Park's brother-in-law, Mr. Buchanan,
superintending the preparations for the former of these important missions has been committed by Government to Major-General Sir James Willoughby Gordon, Quarter-Master-General of the British forces; the arrangements for the latter have been entrusted to John Barrow, Esq. Secretary of the Admiralty. The nomination of these gentlemen to the services in question cannot fail to be highly satisfactory to the public; as it affords the best assurance of ultimate success to the undertakings, which can be derived from great zeal and ability on the part of those, to whom the care of superintending the preparations is entrusted."
Of these expeditions, the latter is the least hazardous, and the result must decide the question at issue: but to re-trace Park's steps will be perilous. With these vast undertakings for prosecuting discoveries in the interior of the immense peninsula of Africa, others of a less imposing kind might perhaps be advantageously combined.
to Egypt, to be united with Why are not some persons sent
those caravans which traverse Africa, visiting the great city of Tombuctoo, which no European has yet seen, and proceeding to the western coast? The leaders of these caravans, or coffles, might be induced by a stipulated reward to pledge themselves for the safe conduct of the Europeans through the whole of their route, and undertake to convey them first to Tombuctoo and then to the shores of the Atlantic,
ART. XII. The Morbid Anatomy of the Liver; being an Inquiry into the Anatomical Character, Symptoms, and Treatment of certain Diseases which impair or destroy the Structure of that VisParts I. and II. By J. R. Farre, M.D. 4to. 158. each. Longman and Co. 1812 and 1815.
Two numbers only of this work have hitherto appeared. It is intended to be limited to the investigation of tumours, scrofulous affections, and inflammation of the liver; and the object of the author is to detail a history of the symptoms of the case and treatment, to give a minute account of the morbid appearances discovered after death, and to exhibit the changes by a series of highly finished coloured engravings. The impor tance of combining the history of cases with the representations of them after death is most obvious; and, indeed, without this combination, the mere appearances of disease are comparatively of little value in the practice of medicine, being serviceable scarcely any farther than as illustrating the principles of physiology or pathology.
The first order of diseases of the liver includes tumours, which are thus defined: Swellings, either circumscribed or diffused, generally differing in structure from the natural textures of the