As the sand feparated from the gold was thrown up in numberless large heaps in every respect similar to those railed by ants of a certain kind, the ignorant multitude gradually propagated wonderful accounts, and confounded obscure traditions with ideas partly true, but always exaggerated. To this must be added, that the proprietors of the gold-works were naturally jealous, and anxious to exclude from their valuable territory the inquisitive intruder as well as banditti; and that, besides the feverest prohibitions on pain of death not to enter the precincts of these sources of wealth, the principal avenues were constantly guarded, and the sentinels usually kept, for additional security, feveral of the well-known large Indian dogs.

Considering these circumstances, it will not be difficult to conceive, that, in order to give these guards every possible degree of security, they availed themselves not only of the obscure tradition relative to gold-digging and rapacious animals, but embellished the story with the most romantic and dreadful accounts of this auriferous country.

The sandhills arising from the process of purifying the gold they contained, 'were converted into works fabricated by large and dangerous ants, and the Indian dogs into griffons, which, perhaps, were occafionally dressed, furnished with artificial wings, and publicly exposed as guards on the most conspicuous heights.

We know, indeed, similar legendary tales of the Phoenician and Greek merchants, which, from political motives, were invented and propagated for similar purposes, in the then infant ftate of natural history. The author might, therefore, with great propriety have introduced a variety of classical passages tending to corroborate his ingenious hypothesis ; such as we read in Gefneri Præle£t. de Mavigat. Phænic. 6. s. Orpheus. p: 448. Beckmann ad Antigonum Caryst. p. 87.-the same in his Historia Natural. Veter. p. 144.

That the later and more enlightened Greeks smiled at such marvellous stories as were preserved in voluminous works, for instance, that of Gellius N. A. ix. 4. is partly evident from Lucian's Authentic Hiftory.

Our author concludes with some remarks on these wonderful animals, as applicable to the fine arts, while he gives some learned and useful hints for comparing those fables with the tradition relative to the famous expedition of the Argonauts, as well as the Mosaic account of the Cherub. “ It would not be very difficult," says he, “ to attempt a complete genealogical table of all these marvellous creatures, as the Cherub, the Griffons, the Sphinxes, the Baal-ze-Bub, the Hippogriffs, the Chimaras, the Dragons, the Satan, &c. &c. by arranging and claslifying them in the manner of Buffon : thus it could be


diplomatically and authentically proved, that all these mone fters, without exception, are the progeny of one common parent, and have made gradual transitions into different fpecies and varieties, according to the complexion of the age, the pecnliarities of climate, country, &c."

Such a inythological deduction, effected with a similar spirit of inquiry and penetration as we find in the small treatise before us, would certainly be highly instructive, by giving new and interefing views of objects already known to the classical ftudent,

Art. VI. Der Fürst des Neunzehenten Fahrunderts ; Super

der Staatskunft unserer Zeit. Petersburg, 1798. The Prince of the Nineteenth Century; or, a Syjiem of the

Politics of our own Times. Pocem

OLITICAL discussions on the principles of government,

coming from the frozen zone, are, indeed, a phenomenon, and, as such, the work here announced has a strong claim to public attention. The author even seems to surpass a Machiavel and a Mazarine.

« The former (he says) wrote for his own age, on principles con genial to the times ; but mankind (then in an infant itate) is now become a rigorous, courageous, and warlike youth, and govern. ments could not, at present, profper with those principles. Relarions (continues he) have changed, and the deportment of governments, like a prudent private individual, who never alienates his conduct from his circumitances, must change according to the latter."

From this principle, the author continues to point out the means for Sovereigns to govern in perfect security :

For All open despotisin is dangerous, and like the child that strikes blindly upon a hard table or in the eyes of its nurse, Mon will, and may very easily, be treated as men; then it is that they do not feel the rod of the driver, and will even kiss it. To treat men in such a manner is the standard of politics ; of which, from Nimrod down to the Neros, and from these down to Catharine and the French Directary, all rulers have availed themselves, but every one in his own way.

« All (continues he) is hypothetical ; circumstances, opinion, and wants, determine every thing. Profit by the firfi, govern the jicond, and create the third, and you may furrogate the politics of the Neros to those of Henry IV.”

We cannot describe better the spirit of this work than the author himself has done here. Thus he blends, in a masterly


manner, the trueft, fublimest, and most excellent ideas, with the most despicable, malicious, and illufory notions, so as to form a tout ensemble which will even bafile the most acute logician, and preposless him in favour of his sophisms and pa radoxes.

He pourtrays man in such odious colours, that the reader, attending to his picture of Princes, will censure the latter for not treating mankind in the true Eastern style. In the first part of his work, he allerts, that the French Revolution has been injurious to the cause of liberty, because all is to be ex+ pected from gradual reforms, but nothing from revolutions, In speaking of constitutions, the atithor represents that of Great Britain as the most favourable to despotism, and advises his ideal sovereign to get parliaments, &c. &c. He commends also duels, as the means of refining manners.

Another volume, which is to treat of education, is promised by the same author. Whom we suppose to reside much nearer the Rhine or the Elbe, than the Neva.

[ocr errors]

Art. VII. Voyage à la Guiane et à Cayenne, &c. i. e.

A Voyage to Guiana and Cayenne, performed in 1789, and the following Years. By L. M. B. Captain of a Privateer. 8vo. Pp. 400. Sold by the Editor, at Paris. Imported by

De Boffe, Gerard-strect. 1798.1 THIS

"HIS book contains a geographical description of Guiana count of the poffeflions and establishments of the French, the Dutch, the Spaniards, and the Portuguese, in those parts. But we have met with nothing new; no information that had not been given before in a more satisfactory manner, by former writers ; no anecdotes that excite interest; and no reflections that bespeak either depth of knowledge or strength of judgement. There are some few plates, with a tolerable map

of the country, and, at the end, a vocabulary of the French and Galibi, or the language of the Galibi Indians, the principal tribe of the natives of Guiana.

Art. VIII. Du Fanatisme dans la Langue Revolutionnaire, &c.

i. e. On the Fanatism displayed in the Revolutionary Language, and the perfecutionis excited by the Barbarians of the Eighteenth Century against the Chriftian Religion and its Minifters. By Jean-Francois de la Harpe. 8vo. Pp. 168. Bene, Dulau, and Deboffe, London 1797.



TE had millaid this interesting tract, of which it was

our intention to give some account in our first Appendix. It comes from the pen of an old metriber of the French Academy, who was formerly well known in the literary world, and intimately connected with the principal pbilofophists of the two last reigns; and who has, during the revolution, been alternately an object of panegyric and profcription, of reward and punishment, to the different rulers of the Republic. He received, if our memory fail us not, the fam of three thousand livres, voted him by the Convention, at the beginning of 1795. He is the author of many poetical and dramatic writings, academical discourses, and various other productions, published between the years 1759 and 1785; and, since the revolution, he has composed a Hymn to Liberty, in 1792; Virginia, a tragedy, in 1793; The Public Safety, or Truth for the Convention ; A Guarantee for all Frenchmen; res or No? will the Convention remain or not? and A Dialogue between a Stranger called Common-Sense and a Man of Candsur, in 1795; On the War declared by our last Tyrants againft Reafon, Morality, Literature, and Arts, a discourse delivered at the opening of the Republican Lyceum, on ihe 31st of Dec. 1794, printed in 1796; and since that he has written many political articles in the French Journals. The essay before us contains a justification of the French clergy from the asperlions of their enemies; displays, in a strong point of view, the folly of the revolutionary jargon; the fallacy of the revolutionary principles; the infamy of the revolutionary do&trines'; and the profigacy of the revolutionary heroes. At the beginning of his work, the author deems it expedient to explain what kind of philosophy it is, against which he directs his attacks.

“ As it is neceffary to anticipate the objections of men who al. ways confine their replies to what has never been said, I am obliged to apprize them that this philosophy, which (thank Heaven!) I treat with all the contempt it deserves, is nothing more than the philosophy of writers who chofe to call themselves philosophers, because they preached up atheisın, irreligion, impiety, hatred of all lawful authority, contempt of all moral truths, and the destruction of all the bonds of society. These men might possess sense, knowledge, and even talents, on other points, but, assuredly, it would not be difficult to prove, that their whole doctrine, calculated, according to themfelves, to enlighten the pesple, was the master piece of ignorance and absordity; and, in short, that they were the worthy precurfors of the revolutionary heroes, the Chaumelles, the Heberts, and the Marats," (P. 5.)

The author makes some just observations on the conduct of Mirabeau respecting the Civil Constitution of the Clergy; and

his remarks on the absurdity of the new laws, and of the cant terms of the revolution, are peculiarly pointed and strong.

“ It is pretended that by the new law against calumny, called Daunou's law, it is allowable to prove that a law is bad, but not to apply to it fevere and disgraceful epithets. Thus, when I shall have proved that a law is a violation of every natural and political principle, an attack upon the constitution and upon the sovereign people who gave it their fanction; that that law punishes the innocent and de poils him of his property ; u bence it follows that such law is, on the part of those who proclaim it as legislators and representatives of the people, a crime and an abomination; I shall not be allowed to call the law infamous, absurd, abominable ! -Is it not saying, in other words, 'In the name of liberty, free citizens, we forbid you to call things by their names, whenever those names are offensive to us.' Nothing is more confiftent, and this new law is truly revolutionary." (P. 17.)

Speaking of the false accusations preferred against the loyalists in La Vendée, and against the clergy who were accused of exciting the civil war in that country, he notices the hacknied allusions in the Convention and the Councils to those vast plots the ramifications of which extend over all France," on which he makes the following remark:

“ This phrase has been repeated a hundred times in the tribune, in the very fame words, and, particularly, in a folemn report in Ven. demiaire, in which it promised immediately to prove the vast plot (I have the report now before me). In fact, the cannon, the grape. Thot, and the bayonets proved, as usual, the vast plot, and since that time, no other proof has been required. In the same manner, ir was resolved to prove, by sticking up the lists of the votes of all France, that 252,000 votes constituted the majority of 950,000. The first lift was stuck up; the cannon of Vendemiaire rendered it unnecessary to stick up the remainder; and it was proclaimed, in the Convention, that France had accepted the decrees of Fructidor, (for re-electing two thirds of the Convention) and not a soul dared to deny it. If any one had been so boid, he would certainly have been massacred on the spot. This phenomenon will find its place amongst the rest and will crown them all; it is beyond all comparison, the most extraordinary occurrence that the world ever witnefled, and the circumftances attending it were equally fo."

M. de la Harpe, talking of the Jacobins, maintains, what nobody but the Jacobins themselves will be disposed to contest with him, that “men who have publicly made falsehood and calumny, a principle, a habit, and a duty, and who have been convicted of falsehood whenever an investigation has been allowed, must certainly be deemed unworthy of being believed on their own unsupported affertions, and these were the only


« ForrigeFortsett »