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Harmony of the Gospels, &c. In 6 vols. To which is prefixed, an Account of the Life of the Author. Also—Scriptores Romani. An elegant, uniform, and complete series of those writings, which from their just celebrity have acquired the appellation of the Latin Classicks. The Philosophy of Rhetorick. By George Campbell, D. D. F. R. S. Edinburgh. Principal of the Marischal College, Aberdeen. A new edition, with the author’s last additions and corrections. In 2 vols. A Biographical . Notice of the Author, from authentick sources (not contained in the English edition) will be prefixed to the work.
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Riches: or the Wife and Brother. In five acts; founded on Massinger's comedy of the City Madam. By Sir James Bland Burges, bart. 2s. 6d.
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Mr. Thomas Haynes has in the press, New and Interesting Discoveries in Horticulture, as an improved system of propagating fruit-trees, evergreens, and deciduous ornamental trees and shrubs. The Rev. William Bowdwen proposes publishing by subscription, in ten volumes quarto, a Literal Translation of the whole of Domesday Book; with the modern names of places, adapted as far as possible to those in the record. A new edition of Dr. Russel's History of Modern Europe, continued to the Treaty of Amiens by Dr. Coote, will shortly be published. To be published in demy and post 8vo. with fine engravings after pictures by Smirke, also in royal 18mo: without the plates, The Arabian Nights Entertain
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*- (The following interesting biography of lord Nelson, is selected from the ... Quarterly Review. Two articles relating to this extraordinary man have already appeared in the Select Reviews, and it was not intended to make further selections from the materials which crowd the British journals on this subject. But the present publication is conveyed in a style so spirited and pure, and contains so many interesting particulars of the greatest of naval heroes, that we think an apology would have been due to our readers, if we had not permitted them to participate with us in the pleasure of its perusal.] Ed. Select Reviews,
Biographical Memoirs of Lord Viscount Nelson, &c. &c. &c.; with Observations, Cri. tical and Explanatory. By John Charnock, Esq. F. S. A. Author of the Biographia Navalis, and the History of Marine Architecture, &c. &c. 8vo. pp. 429. Appx. 39. London. 1806. The Life of Lord Nelson. By Mr. Harrison. 2 vols. 8vo, pp. 904. London. 1806. The Life of Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronté, &c. By T. O. Churchill. Illus. . trated by engravings of its most striking and memorable incidents. Royal 4to, pp. ... 100. London. 1808. ; : The Life of Admiral Lord Nelson, K. B. from his Lordship's Manuscripts. By the Rev. Stanier Clarke, F. R. S. Librarian to the Prince, and Chaplain to his Royal Highness’s Household; and John M*Arthur, Esq., L. L. D. late Secretary to Admiral * Lord Viscount Hood. 2 vols. Imperial 4to. pp. 556. London. 1809.
OF all literary tasks, that of the writer has not been familiarly cona biographer might appear at first to versant with him whose memory he go be the easiest. He has but to relate undertakes to preserve, he will be | his tale simply and faithfully, and if deficient in knowledge, and the por... " "the subject of that tale be one in trait will fail in those finer lines * * whose history the present age or which give individual character. If, the future cano feel any rational on the other hand, he has been nearinterest, the o wills support ly connected with the dead, he will : * : style. Philosophick biography, hardly become an impartial historian. u uiring higher powers, is It is difficult for him not to extenuate o: much greater utility “some things, or to set down others than an unambitious narrative, which, in malice; at least, it is scarcely when full and faithful, enables the possible for him to escape the suspithinking reader to extract its philo- cion of having done so. sophy for himself. But seldom does There is also another cause of such a specimen occur. For if the imperfection in biography. The wriVol. IV, - . K
ter may have sense enough to avoid that idle exaggeration which eventually injures the reputation it is intended to aggrandize; he may understand how his task ought to be performed, and be disposed to perform it with fidelity, and yet circumstances may exist which compel him to leave it imperfect, and therefore in some degree unfaithful. The feelings of the living must never be sacrificed to the celebrity of the dead; and before the time arrives when the whole truth might allowably be told, those persons from whom alone it could be collected, pass away with their generation. The life of Thomas Day, the author of Sandford and Merton, was written by one of his friends, and the most extraordinary and characteristick incidents of his life were totally suppressed. Chatterton was insane—better proof of this than the coroner’s verdict is, that there was insanity in his family. His biographers were not informed of this important fact; and the editors of his collected works forbore to state it, because the collection was made for the benefit of his surviving relations, a sister and niece, in both of whom (both are now no more) the disease had manifested itself. In these cases the suppression was allowable and right; but not unfrequently the dead have been embalmed, when for the instruction of posterity they ought to have been dissected. It is not necessary, that the evil deeds of all men should be written in brass; but the effrontery of cloaking them over, not merely. by indiscriminate culogy, but by praising them for qualities the very opposite to those by which they were marked, is a species of falsehood as severely to be reprobated in literary history, as the crime of bearing false witness is in a court of law. There may be no occasion to gibbet such offenders; but it is intolerable that they should lie in state.
The time is not yet come when the life of cur great Nelson can be
sphere of action all who have gone
temper to execute all the important
lector and reporter of such authen-" tick intelligence as lay widely scat
son undertook a work upon a larger
fully and faithfully related; his private history cannot be laid open without greater injury to individual feelings than the publick has any right to inflict for the gratification of its curiosity; and of the political transactions in which he bore so great a part, the views which he entertained, and the projects which he formed, there are some which could not be exposed without great and manifest imprudence. We have before us four lives of this admirable man, who, like our own Shakspeare, surpassing in his
before him, remains himself, we fear, never to be surpassed, and probably ". never to be equalled. The first is by so Mr. Charnock, author of a Biogra-, phia Navalis, and of a laborious and expensive History of Marine Archi- . tecture. Mr. Charnock had a passion ... for a naval life, and not being permitted to follow it, employed himself with great ardour upon naval history; but he was of two eager a *
works which he undertook. Born to fair prospects, and endowed with * talents the most promising, and a . disposition to employ them honourably and usefully for himself and for society, his life was embittered and shortened by undeserved misfortunes. Captain Locker, the late lieutenant governour of Greenwich hos-pital, suggested this undertaking ..." even during the life of Nelson, and o supplied him with a series of letters or and with all the information which . he possessed. Mr. Charnock had no other sources of private history; and s for those publick actions “wherewith all Europe rings from side to side,” he contented himself with copying the Gazettes and Naval Chronicles, Professing to be only a faithful col
tered, he proposed, if no other per
scale, to devote to it all the intervals a o which “an uncertain state of health o - *** e * --
rest of the world. But when Mr. Stanier Clarke announced himself as the authorized biographer, the publick were equally grieved and astonished that such a task should be consigned to such hands. This gentleman undertook a History of the Progress of Maritime Discovery, which was to extend to seven ponderous quartos. The first made its appearance in 1803, and was so decidedly condemned that no second has followed it. Never was the severity of modern criticism more righteously administered. The author believed that a Roman catholick king had a Jew rabbi for his confessor; he believed that the works of Adam were in existence; he believed in Kissaeus; he believed in Jacob Bryant; he believed in lieutenant Wilford; he believed in the Puranas, the books of the Buddhists, the Pharangh-Jehangari, and the Buddha-dharmacharya-sindhuh;
-- he believed that Noah's ark was the
best model for a ship, and to show his learning, he always called that ark the divine Thebath. Never had any work displayed such a mass of mock erudition crude as it had been swallowed down, such an accumulation of irrelevant and worthless matter, and such a deficiency of requisite knowledge. He published also a collection of accounts of shipwrecks, under the title of Naufragia, in the first volume of which he inserted a story as fabulous as Philip Quarle; and in the second, when the criticks had charged him with this absurdity, vindicated himself by asserting that he knew the story to be false, but had inserted it nevertheless, because the example which it held forth would be as useful as if it were true. What merits then, after such proofs of incapacity, had Mr. Stanier Clarke to plead, that the publick documents for the Life of Nelson should be delivered into his hands : The base system of favouritism has done injury to England, without extending itself te literature.