[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


Archibald Speirs, Esq. in this county.)




Charles Fraser, Esq. (Brahamcastle, Inverness-shire.)

Rothsay, &c. Buteshire.

Duncan Campbell, Esq. a lieutenant general, and colonel of the 91st regiment. (Lochnell, Argyllshire.)1


Sir Alexander Don, Bart. ten-Don, in this county.)

St. Andrew's, &c. Fifeshire.

Sir David Wedderburn, Bart. (Ballindean-house, Perthshire.)



William Elliot Lockhart, Esq. advo-
cate. (Borthwickbrae.)
Selkirk, &c.

Sir John Buchanan Riddell, Bart.
brother in-law of the Earl of Rom-
ney. (Riddell, Roxburghshire.)

Sir Charless Edmonstone, Bart. unclein-law of lord Hotham. (Duntreath, in this county.)

Stranraer, &c. Wigtownshire. Hon. James Stewart, brother of the earl of Galloway, a lieut. col. in the army, and a captain in the third regiment of foot-guards. Sutherlandshire.


NATIONAL patronage of the higher departments of the fine arts in Great Britain appears to be the only stimulus now wanting to call forth as great powers as were ever manifested in any age or country.— The spirit of liberty and of patriotism which raised the arts to such eminence in Greece, exists in full force in this favoured island. But the policy of our government has not hitherto emu~ lated that of the ancients in this respect. It seems to have been a prin(New- ciple with us to leave the arts to their own unaided efforts; nor perhaps

George M Pherson Grant, Esq.(Ballindalloch, in this county.) Wigtonshire.

James Hunter Blair, Esq. (Dunskey, in this county.)

Outlines of a Plan for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts.


will this temporary neglect eventually prove injurious to them. Vigorous, in all probability, will be the manhood of that infant whose earliest days are unattended by a too solicitous anxiety, and who is not urged by unnatural warmth and mistaken tenderness into a premature and deceptive maturity. It is well known how rarely painters have been formed in regular and richly endowed academies. With as much hope of success indeed might similar institutions be founded for the education of poets. It is with painting as with poetry. Every one may be taught mechanically to draw and paint the human figure, and every one may be taught mechanically to read and write. But as all those who acquire the latter qualifications are not expected to become poets, so ought not all those who acquire the former qualifications to be expect ed to become painters. Without that almost divine inspiration which enables its possessor to seize every distinctive characteristic of the human mind and form, to comprehend the flights of the most exalted virtue, and in imagination to accompany the most depraved spirit to the lowest abyss of its degradation, to strike with unerring precision every note on the extensive gamut of human passion, to exhaust the world of reality, and then to disport in the world of invention no true poet or no true painter was ever found. Beings thus "framed in the prodigality of nature" most rare; and as so few sparks can be collected from the Promethean torch, surely they ought to be fanned into flame by the breath of public applause and encouragement. Although, therefore, injudicious attempts to foster mediocrity into excellence must ever prove abortive, yet when genius, asserting its legitimacy by surmounting all the obstacles opposed to it, appears prepared for efforts not more honourable to itself than to the country at large, it becomes our in

terest and our duty to furnish the means by which the dignified objects that it has in contemplation may be accomplished.-At this time of day, it can scarcely be necessary to dwell on the tendency of the Fine Arts, when properly directed, to exalt the individual and national character. A strong, though a negative proof of the general sentiment on this subject is to be found in the laudable vigilance with which the prostitution of the pencil to the cause of vice is sought out and punished. The legislative precautions adopted on this head are a sufficient acknowledgment of the power of the pencil. But let us not rest with the prohibition of evil-let us proceed to the encouragement of good. Licentious art is justly dreaded for its baneful influence in cherishing and gratifying some of the basest and most sensual appetites of the human breast-from moral art, on the contrary, every thing is to be expected that is calculated to invigorate the purest and noblest feelings of our nature.-What indeed can be more productive of salutary effects than the exhibition, in a language intelligible to all, of those incidents of domestic and those deeds of public life, which comprise examples of every description of excellence? How many passages does the sacred volume contain, how many events do the British annals record, that afford to the painter ample opportunities of illustrating the mild and the heroic virtues; of enforcing the precept of religion, and animating the ardour of patriotism!-It is not enough, however, that we are convinced of these truths. Our conviction ought to show itself in some active effort. And this consideration, Mr Editor, brings me to the purpose of my letter, which is, with your leave, to suggest to the British public, through the medium of your Miscellany, a mode by which, in my humble opinion, the arts might in a few years be made to flourish to a degree unprecedented in modern

modern times.—The mode which I recommend is simply "to form collections of the works of the greatest living painters, in every city and large town in the empire."-The success which has attended the exhibition of individual pictures, such as those of Mr West, and others, has long impressed me with the idea that the magistracy, or other constituted authorities, of every city and large town, might constantly, and without inconvenience, employ the ablest Artists in the production of works of the highest class of art. Let them begin by obtaining one fine picture; let that picture be exhibited at the usual and moderate charge of one shilling to each visitor, and let it be intimated to the inhabitants of the place in which it is so exhibited, that, as soon as the receipts amount to the purchase money, the picture will become the property of that place, and will be hung up in the Council-chamber, the Court of Justice, or some other hon ourable, conspicuous, and well-chosen situation. There can be little doubt, that in most cases this desirable object would soon be effected; and when one picture became paid for in this manner, another might be procured, and the same process be repeated. A double rivalry would speedily give irresistible energy to such a system. The employed and the employers would both be fired with a noble emulation, the one to distinguish themselves by their talents, the other to distinguish their native city by the possession of works of intrinsic value, which, in addition to the advantages that I have already described, would attract the visits and compel the admiration of strangers from every part of the kingdom and of the world. I am, Sir,

Your very obedient servant, W. I. THOMSON.

Edinburgh. 26th, December 1816.

January 1817.

Particulars of the Failure of the Expedition up the River CONGO.

E regret to learn, by accounts from the coast of Africa, the unfortunate issue of one of the expeditions lately sent out for the purpose of exploring that continent. It is known to our readers, that, for the purpose of discovering the termination of the mysterious Niger, two expedi tions were fitted out; one to set out by land, in the track pursued by Mr Park; to penetrate to the banks of the Niger, and, building vessels proper for the navigation of the river, to pursue it to its termination-the other to proceed by steam boats up the great river the Congo, under the supposition that the Niger turning to the south, falls into this river, and thus pours its waters into the Atlantic. The first expedition was commanded by Major Peddie, the latter by Captain Tuckey. Major Peddie was at Senegal at the end of September; but Captain Tuckey had proceeded up the Congo earlier, it is said, than was expected; and the following extract of a letter, received at Lloyd's, mentions the return of the expedition, with the fatal cause of it :


"Bahia, 30th Oct. 1816. "We are enabled to give you a piece of intelligence, which, though not of a commercial nature, will to many be of great interest, we mean the failure of the expedition sent out by your government early this year, under the command of Captain Tuckey, whose object was to explore the river Congo. Like all former enterprises of a similar kind, and notwithstanding the presumed discernment and skill of those concerned in the planning and executing of it, there appears to have been a want of foresight, both as to the time and means; however, as no doubt publicity will in due time be given to all their proceedings, it will suffice for us to acquaint


you, that yesterday arrived in this port his Majesty's ship Congo, and Dorothy transport, from Cabenda in 28 days, under the command of Mr Fitzmaurice, formerly master, but who succeeded in consequence of the death of Captain Tuckey and the lieutenant, both of whom died at sea, the former on the 3d, and the latter on the 5th inst. It appears that they arrived at the mouth of the Congo about the 3d of July, and leaving the transport (which only accompanied them an inconsiderable distance) they proceeded in the sloop, which was built purposely to draw little water, up the river to the extent of 120 miles, when her progress, and even that of their boats, was stopped by insuperable difficulties, principally, we believe, by the rapids, which they express as beyond all description. Determining still on the further prosecution of their undertaking, the men were landed, and it was not until they had marched 150 miles (and 120 more than any white person had been before), over a barren and exceedingly mountainous country, after experiencing the greatest privations from the want of water, and being entirely exhausted by fatigue, that they gave up the attempt. Hope enabled the most of them to traverse their route, and regain the vessel; but, alas! nature had been completely worn out, for most of them, say 25 out of 55, died 24 hours after their return, comprehending all the scientific part of the expedition; and we believe only eight on board are now in a state to work the vessel; but as their chief want seems to be nourishment, it is to be hoped the others will soon be brought round. Suspicions are entertained that many died by poison, administered by the Blacks, and Mr Fitzmaurice says, that he is persuaded that he could penetrate an immense way into the country without apprehending danger from any other cause, as the people are very

pusillanimous, and easily intimidated. As a matter of courtesy and expediency, they asked permission of the Kings to pass through their respective territories, which was generally readily granted; at the same time they were furnished with plenty of Blacks as guides, at a moderate charge, but latterly advantage was taken of their difficulties. Mr Fitzmaurice and the surgeon are determined on a new attempt, if the Admiralty will fit out another expedition, and as he thinks he can provide against all casualties, he has great hopes of attaining the desired end.

Yours, &c. S.D. and W.”

To the above unfavourable account, we have to add a letter from on board the Dorothy, which accompanied his Majesty's ship Congo on this ill-fated expedition. The Dorothy had reached St Salvador, on the east coast of Brazil, on the 30th of October, the date of the letter in question, in a miserable state, from the sickness which had attacked the crews of both vessels. Captain Tuckey returned on the 18th of September to his ship, af ter having been engaged with eight men in exploring the river, until they were all seized with sickness, and compelled to make the best of their way back for medical assistance. On the 22d of the same month, the Dorothy and Congo, with the double boats, proceeded to Cabenda, with a view to obtain refreshments, and to try the effect of the sea on the health of the crews. The vessels arrived there on the 27th, and on the 1st of October they quitted that place, the Congo having lost in all 17 men by death, and having then 32 on the sick list. Captain Tuckey and Lieutenant Hawker, of the Congo, both fell victims to the fatal disease. The command of the Congo now devolved on the Master, and it was resolved to proceed to Rio Janeiro. Gunther, the Master of the Dorothy, at this

« VorigeDoorgaan »