« ForrigeFortsett »
Art. XXV. The Case of Johanna Southcott. By P. Mathias, i Surgeon. 8vo. 24 pp. Is. Callow. 1815.
We would not recall the attention of our readers to the me'mory of this wretched woman any farther than may be necessary to prove the credulity and folly of this enlightened age, in allowing themselves to be for a moment interested in such a scene of infatuation and fraud. We should, at the same time, remark that the pamphlet before us is the only sensible or decent account which we have seen of this infamous transaction; and we heartily coincide with Mr. Mathias in the following declaration : '
“ Should the minds of the public be at this period at all curious to learn any thing about Johanna Southcott and her ailments, I here with all due respect and diffidence present them with my opinion of her case, formed early in the beginning of her disorder, strengthened in its progress, and fully confirmed by its conclusion. That some of the medical gentlemen consulted by ber should have mistaken her symptoms, and accounted differently for her complaints, is not in the least surprising. In practice this occurs every day, with little imputation upon the skill of the practitioner. But that any one medical man should be so far mis. taken as to perceive in her signs of pregnancy, to believe himself, and endeavour to persuade others to believe that they did really exist, is as surprising, as that any one of sound intellect should be found to place implicit confidence in her pretensions, her predictions, and her promises. That some medical men have been so mistaken, so imposed upon, and so instrumental in imposing upon others, we have their own declarations in proof; that not only one, but multitudes of persons, who in other respects cannot be deemed of unsound minds, have believed from the bottom of their souls in Johanna's fallacies and delusions.is a fact--which must be allowed, and will be hereafter with shame recorded.” P. 18.
Art. XXVI. A Narrative of the Revolution in Holland. By Go
W. Chad. 8vo. 254 pp. 9s. 6d. Murray. 1814. Since the first ebullitions of liberty in Holland, and the landing of the Prince of Orarige on the shores of his hereditary dominions, little has been heard of the Dutch, except a very long speech at a very ill-chosen time, upon their new constitution, in one of our houses of Parliament. We are not displeased, therefore, to reçur to the history of their exertions
in the cause of national liberty. The struggle of Holland to emancipate herself from the dominion of the usurper would, at any other period, have been a shining event in the records of history ; but so 'magnificent was the splendour of the more extended transactions on the great theatre of Europe, that the brilliancy of every minor exploit has, in a manner, been extinguished. We should be sorry, however, if the least of these efforts in the glorious cause of freedom were to fade off from the page of history; let them all stand recorded to posterity from the highest to the lowest ; that no state, however snall in territory or contracted in resources, may hereafter despair of success in opposing itself to the brunt of the contest, for all that is essential to its national and moral existence.
The voluine before us contaiiis an able and impartial account of the Revolution in Holland, from the first symptoms of rebellion against the French authorities to the contirmation of the new constitution. The style is simple and perspicuous, and . the arrangement clear and judicious. Mr. Chad has made good. use of the opportunities afforded him of getting information from the highest quarters, and he has imparted it to us in a manner which does him much credit. The contrast between the condition of Holland when an independent state, and when indler the tyranny of Buonaparte is well dra wa up; we shall therefore give it to our readers at length.
“ Formerly, the Dutch merchants were the great retail dealers of Europe. They imported colonial prociuce and English manufactures, and distributed them to the Germans, and to other nations of the continent. The numerous and capacious ports of Holland enabled them to unload their vessels even at the doors of their warehouses, from whence a multitude of navigable canalsconveyed their merchandizes to the interior, and to the different continental markets. A very considerable part of the whole po- • pulation was employed in the various branches of this traffic; and when the communication with England and the colonies was cut off, principal and subordinate were involved in common ruin. The great number of merchant-seamen, of warehousemen, and porters, were at once deprived of their means of livelihood; and, although some of the younger classes were enabled to prolong their existence as conscripts or deputies, the remainder were lett. . utterly destitute; and, while all classes became daily less able to purchase, the tradesmen, whose profits ought to have been derived from selling, became continually more oppressed by the increasing weight of the taxes.
« In France, the effects of the continental system was somcwhat allegiated by the licence trade, and the exportation of the various productions of an extensive and fertile country, which were forced upon the rest of continental Europe, as well as by
the encouragement which was afforded to her manufactures; but ·all. alleviations were denied to Holland. The few licences which were granted to the Dutch, were attended by duties so exorbi. tant, as to make them useless. Thus, when the Java entered the Maese, 2s. were levied upon every pound weight of the coffee and sugar she brought; and the duties upon this ship alone amounted to about 50,0001. sterling. At the same time, every measure that avidity could suggest, was pursued, to crush the remnant of Dutch commerce, and sacrifice Holland to France. · The Dutch troops were all clothed and armed from French manufactures and arsenals. The frontiers were laid open to French commodities; which were introduced, without duty, and the Dutch manufacturer was undersold in his own market.
“ It is difficult, if not impossible, to calculate the extent of the evils thus jāficted upon Holland; but the following circumstances may afford some idea of the sweeping calamity. The population of Amsterdam was reduced from 220,000 souls to 190,000, of which a fourth part derived their whole subsistence from charitable institutions, whilst another fourth part received partial succour from the same sources. At Haerlem, where the population had been chiefly employed in bleaching linen, made in Brabant, and preparing it for sale, whole streets were levelled with the ground, and more than five hundred houses destroyed. At the Hague, at Delft, and in other towns, many inhabitants had been induced to pull down their houses, by their inability to pay their taxes, or keep their habitations in repair. Ruin was every wbere eminent. The preservation of'the dikes required annually an expense, now estimated at 600,000l. sterling, was greatly neglected. The sea inundated the Polders, and threatened to resume its antient dominion over a great part of the country. Meanwhile, all classes of the people were crushed under a load of suffering--a great part of the population was reduced to beggary, and all were suddenly deprived of those, articles of colonial produce which had slimnost become necessaries. Even the most opulent families only escaped complete. poverty, by diminishing their establishments, and adopting the most rigid economy: and there remained no source of wealth or distinction, no object of ambition to which a Dutchman could aspire. Commerce Pias extinguished -no one could voluntarily enter the army or navy, to fight ior the worst enemy of his country. The clergy were not provided with a decent subsistence and the antient laws of the country had given way to the Code Napoléon; so that the old practitioners had to begin their studies anew, ånd young men were discouraged from applying themselves to the drudgery of learning, a system which was very unpopular, and perhaps unfit, for a commercial country. And, independently of all this, it must be remembered, that in Holland trade was a passion, as well as a means of acquiring wealth ; the Dutch felt deeply the loss of their national pursuit, and the aggravation of their calainity was crowned by their being compelled to
sacrifice sacrifice themselves in a cause they abhorred, and in the service of a power which had robbed them of their independence, and reduced them from freedom to slavery, from prosperity to misery, and from a high pitch of national glory to the lowest state of national degradation." P. 30.
In the latter part of the volume the form of the new consti, tution is given at length, accompanied with some observations, in which the modesty and good sense of the author are conspi. cuous. We can recommend the volume to all who may feel an interest in the transactions which it records. .
ART. XXVII. Musical Anecdotes, by Mr. Burgh. 3 vols.
12mo. Longman, 1814. .. - The public, and particularly that class of readers to whom the work is more immediately addressed, are greatly indebted to Mr. Burgh, for a very interesting, and instructive selection of Musical Anecdotes. Sir John Hawkins, and the late worthy Dr. Burney, the one an Amateur, the other an enlightened Professor, published very' elaborate, and comprehensive Histories of Music. It is however rather remarkable, that during the last five and twenty years so few attempts have been made to reduce within a moderate compass, or to adapt to the taste of the generality of readers, the annals of a science, which forms so essential a branch of modern female education.
The Author, as indeed he himself informs us, appears to think that no work of this kind had previously been published in our language, and observes in the first letter, addressed to his daughter, for whose entertainment he professes to have under taken the task.
• The historical department of this charming science I shall take upon myself: you will thus be relieved from the toil of travel, king through huge volumes equally learned and uninteresting, in search of those amusing Anecdotes, which are even interwoven with the study of the liberal arts, and the refinements of polished society. In a word, you will thus obtain many subjects of blameless conversation, released from the fatigue of encountering the pedantry of speculation, and the dullness of criticism,"
We wish strongly to impress on the minds of parents, and of those ladies, who are at the head of female seminaries of educa. tion, the following apology for Music, extracted from the preface to these letters.
« The Author of the following sheets is strongly impressed with the idea, that Music is not only a harmless amusement, but if pro
perly directed, capable of being eminently beneficial to his fair countrywomen. In many instances it may be the means of preventing that vacuity of mind, which is too frequently the parent of libertinism : of precluding the intrusion of idle and dangerous ima. ginations; and, more particlarly among the daughters of ease and opulence, by occupying a considerable portion of time may prove an antidote to the poison insidiously administered by the innumer. able licentious novels, which are hourly sapping the foundations of every moral and religious principle.”
From these extracts the reader may form some idea of the style and character of these Letters. The author writes with the zeal and impartiality of an amateur, and displays in every part of this little work a considerable degree of information on every branch of polite literature, however remotely connected with . Music. The typographical inaccuracies, particularly in the first volume, are numerous: these however we trust will be corrected in the next edition. ·
The progress of Music from the primary invention of the Pandean Pipe in remote antiquity, to the present state of instrumen-, tal perfection; is traced with a degree of accuracy and perspi. cuity, which can only be the result of much reading enlivened by a considerable portion of enthusiasm, and perseverance. Unlike the generality of publications denominated “Anecdotes”--this work will be found to perform more than it professes, and to copa tain a regular, entertaining and well digested History of the Science of Music.
As a specimen of the author's powers of contributing to the public stock of innocent pleasure, we shall present our readers with some well written observations upon the Italian Opera, and upon the productions of its two brightest united ornaments, MOZART and METASTÁTIO. - “ We shall close an account of the King's Theatre in the Haymarket, by observing, that, in our idea, as a school of the arts, an opera is an object of national importance. It presents the most beautiful living pictures to the eye; and as, by the unbounded: scope of the romance, in which it roams, every region may be traversed, and every idea of the imagination embodied and personified, its powers of creation are unlimited. It thus seeks to present the most captivating forms to the artist, while by the united force of Poetry, Painting, Music, and Action, it possesses an irrea: sistable influence on our hearts. Its spectacles may, and ought to be rendered favourable to morals, as well as taste. The sensations which its Music excites, are never so exquisitely fine, as when.? aroused in the cause of virtue. Every person turns with satiety from the repetition of a scene, in which the eye and ear are to be gratified by mere prettiness of show and sound-while the force of genuine passion, which exalts, softens, and improves the best af