« VorigeDoorgaan »
of the decifions and remarks of the Author, we fufpect there is more wit than judgment; we think them fpecious, and we feel that they are not true. His preference of the Italian mufic to the French, which latter he calls, with much reason, a mufic that is null and without phyfiognomy, is juft in every refpect. His account of the eloquence of mufic, which confifts in touching by melody, and not in furprifing by the concurrence of inftruments, is written with judgment and tafte. His eftimate of the eminent Italian compofers fuch as Porpora, Vinci, Corelli, Pergolefi, is, in general, juft, and it is expreffed in fuch a spirited manner, and illuftrated by fuch lively images and allufions, as discover a very agreeable enthufiafm, and an uncommon vivacity of imagination. We do not however think that he fufficiently laments the palpable decline of true taste in musical compofition, fo notorious in Italy. This decline, this corruption of true tafte is become so univerfal, that the confervatorios of Venice are the only places which keep up the spirit of pristine melody, and genuine mufic; to which we may add a very, very small number of modern compofers, if the accounts we have received from fome eminent connoiffeurs, who have been on the fpot, may be depended upon. Prince BELOSELSKI acknowledges, indeed, the defects of the Italian mufic; which defects, he fays, are covered with graces; but he has entered too deep into the spirit of mufical faction, excited at Paris by those two famous rivals the German Gluck, and the Italian Piccini, and his attachment to the latter has, no doubt, more or lefs warped his judgment in favour of modern compofers; for he be-praises several of them in extravagant terms. Upon the whole this is really an ingenious, and elegant work; and it must excite fpeculation when we confider, that the Author is a Ruffian. It is fold by all the Bookfellers of Paris, and among others by Solfatier at the fign of the Bear and Fiddle.
XIX. Eloge Hiftorique de Philippe Duc d'Orleans, Regent du Royaume: i. e. An Hiftorical Panegyric on Philip Duke of Orleans. 8vo. Amfterdam. i. e. Paris. 1778. This is one of those laborious efforts to wash the Ethiopian, or (if we may use another metaphor) to file the rugged body of hiftorical truth in order to render it smooth and gloffy. Our Author fucceeds indeed very well in refuting the calumnies, and removing the fufpicions, which the death of the Dauphin, his confort, and his eldest fon, in fo fhort a time, had excited against the Duke of Orleans: calumnies and fufpicions, which the want of principle in this ambitious man, and his paffion for Chymistry, nourished confiderably. The event indeed fhewed the falfehood of thefe calumnies; for when the Regent was at the helm, and faw only one tender ftripling between him and the throne, he made no ufe of his power to remove this obftacle to his ambition. The
piece before us gives an interefting account of the education of the Regent, which was excellent, and of his tafte for the fciences, which was uncommon and extenfive. He applied himfelf with ardour and affiduity to mathematics, hiftory, drawing, mufical compofition and chymiftry. He had for the improvement of this laft fcience, one of the richeft and best conftituted. Elaboratories that has ever been known. Hither he went every day, received inftructions from the famous Homberg, made experiments under his direction relative to the vitrification of gold, with the great lens of Tfchirnaufs, which is at prefent in the collection of the Academy of Sciences; and it is to the united labours of the illuftrious difciple and his learned mafter, that the lovers of gems are indebted for a more expeditious and perfect manner of imitating them, than that which before their time had been employed in Italy. The Author follows this Prince through private and public life; the former was licentious and profligate, the latter exhibits many mafterly ftrokes of political conduct. His military hiftory is fhort. He fought under Luxembourg at Steinkerke, where he was wounded, and where also he ordered the wounded of the two armies to be treated with equal care, faying, that after the battle there were no more enemies on the field. The hiftory of his Regency is written in a very interesting manner, and does honour to his adminiftration, which was entirely directed to establish peace on a folid bafis. For this purpose he obferved a perfect neutrality amidst the Ecclefiaftical feuds about the Bull Unigenitus, fent into exile Le Tellier, that perpetual fomenter of mischief, appointed the pacific Fleury to the place of Preceptor to the young King, renewed the treaties with the Swiss Cantons, and entered into an alliance with England and the United Provinces, which fecured the tranquility of Europe.In the midst of his political career, a deep-laid plot was formed against him by Cardinal Alberoni, with a view to transfer the Regency of France to the King of Spain. Many persons of the highest rank in France were concerned in this confpiracy; which was difcovered by a lady of pleafure, was difconcerted by the dexterity and fpirit of the Regent, and produced the downfall of Alberoni; that gardener's fon, who in the year 1718, afpired to be the minifter of two great nations, endeavoured to excite a civil war in France, and attempted to change the conftitution of England.-The famous fyftem of finance projected by Law, and which was occafioned (fays our Author) by the immenfe debts of LEWIS XIV. who died a bankrupt for ninety millions fteling, expended to make his grandfon King of Spain, is unfolded in this work with perfpicuity and precifion.
The Regent died at the age of 50, of an apoplexy. His character has been very differently defcribed, and painted even in oppofite colours, by different writers. The heaviest charge
which this anonymous Panegyrift brings against his hero, is the advancement of Cardinal Dubois, who had been his tutor, and who owed his immenfe fortune to his difingenuous intrigues and his corrupt compliances with the paffions of his pupil. This profligate Ecclefiaftic, was at his death, Archbishop and Duke of Cambray, Superintendant General of the Poft-office, poffeffor of fix confiderable Abbeys, and firft Minister of State. We have nevertheless been told, on the best authority, that when the Duke of Orleans was informed of the fudden death of his favourite minifter, he immediately cried out, Voila donc l'ame du B- au Diable!
One of the moft commendable qualities in the Duke of Or leans, was a certain génerofity which elevates the mind above the impreffions of vindictive hatred. He behaved with clemency towards the Author of the famous Phillippiques (Le Grange), and being one day advised to avenge himself on a great perfonage whom he had in his power, he answered noblyI know that by one word I can get rid of a rival, and this hinders me from pronouncing it. Our Author obferves, that though enflaved to the pleafures of gallantry or rather voluptuousness, his attachment to women had no influence on his political conduct. One of his miftreffes, availing herself of a tender moment, when the Regent was diffolved in eafe and pleasure, to draw from him information about a matter of importance, the Prince took her by the hand and led her to the looking-glafs, Do you see, said. he, that charming head? it is made for the embraces of love, and not for the fecrets of the ftate.
The arts, more especially, had effential obligations to this Prince. He handled the pencil himself with dexterity and grace; he delineated the figures which adorn the French edition of the Greek romance of Daphnis and Chloe, that were engraven by Audram, and publifhed in 1718; and it is to him that the Public is indebted, in the firft inftance, for the collection of pictures in the Palais Royal, which is undoubtedly one of the nobleft in Europe.
Upon the whole we find the tone and tenor of this Eulogy, modeft, impartial, fenfible, and agreeable, exempt from those attempts at ELOQUENCE, which wear fuch an aspect of froth and fume in the general run of French Panegyrics. We think the manner of this anonymous Author a model worthy to be followed in writing the lives of eminent men.
XX. Voyage fait par Ordre du Roi, &c. i. e. A Voyage made by the (French) King's Order, in the Years 1771 and 1772, in different Parts of Europe, Africa, and America, with a Defign to afcertain the Ufefulness of feveral Methods and Inftruments contrived to determine the Latitude and Longitude, not only of the Ship's Courfe, but also of the Coafts, Islands, Rocks, and Shoals:
As alfo Refearches, defigned to correct Hydrographical Charts. By Meffrs. de VERDUN DE LA CRENNE, of the Academy of the Marine at Breft, DE BORDA, Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, &c. and PINGRÉ, Chancellor of the Univerfity of Paris, Aftronomical-Geographer of the Marine, &c, 2 Vols. 4to. Paris. 1778. With Plates and Charts, accurately delineated and engraved by the most eminent Artifts. After feveral voyages undertaken with a view to examine the feaclocks or Time-keepers of Le Roy and Berthoud, the late King of France, who had honoured thefe undertakings with his countenance and protection, issued an order, in 1771, for enlarging the sphere of these experiments, and taking into the plan of inquiry and investigation the whole of the important problem relative to the longitudes at fea. Accordingly, three eminent men, Meffrs. DE VERDUN, DE BORDA, and PINGRÉ, were ordered on a new vogage to make trial not only of the marine clocks or time-keepers of the two celebrated artists above-mentioned, but also of all the inftruments for the determination of the longitudes at sea, that were then known. Their commiffion alfo extended to all the poffible methods of afcertaining and determining the latitudes, and to every object bearing any tendency to promote the progress of navigation. The Reader will find, in these two volumes, a circumftantial relation of all the observations made during the execution of this important commiffion. In navigating along the coafts of Europe, Africa, and America, these learned men were convinced of the accuracy and utility of the marine-clock of Le Roy and Berthoud, and alfo of other inftruments, for the improvement of which they have propofed feveral new ideas, the refult of careful obfervation and repeated experiments. They seem to have neglected no occafion of pointing out the true fituation of places, feas, coafts, &c. and rectifying the fea-charts that are most in vogue. The Reader in perufing their obfervations will be furprized to find that the places which are the most frequented, are not always the best known, and among the many mistakes which our Authors have rectified, thofe relating to the island of Martinico are really fingular. The aftronomical and mathematical difquifitions, which make an effential part of this work, are intermixed with curious defcriptions of the most celebrated places, and with feveral inquiries and details relative to natural history. The description of the Canary Islands, and more especially of the Peak of Teneriffe, is curious and circumftantial: our Authors obferve, that the liquors carried to the top of this famous Peak become warm, that the water drawn in the Cave of Snow, about the middle of the mountain, which is exceffively cold, almoft boils when brought up to its fummit,—that on this fummit fpirituous liquors lofe all their ftrength, the malmfey of Teneriffe
all its tafte, and that white-wine affumes a colour, and fours; that the air is fo impregnated with fulphur, as to leave no other than a fulphureous tafte in the mouth, nor any other odour in respiration; that the skin of the face opens and fwells, and the lips are covered with bladders.
MONTHLY CATALOGUE, For FEBRUARY, 1779. POLITICAL.
Art. 10. A Vindtcation of the Lords of the Admiralty, on their Conduct towards Admiral Keppel: In Anfwer to a late Address, By a Gentleman of the INNER TEMPLE. 8vo. 15. Bowen. 1779. HE Addrefs to which this pamphlet is an anfwer, appeared in our laft Month's Review: See Catalogue, Art. 1.
The Author's aim is to prove, that the Lords of the Admiralty could not, confiftently with the declared juftice of the laws of EngJand, have refused to admit the charge of Sir Hugh Pallifer against Admiral Keppel; in confequence of which they legally, juftly, and prudently, ordered an immediate trial of the latter by a court martial. This vindicator of the Admiralty-board, reasons with coolness and judgment on the fubject; and in our opinion, has completely overturned the objections made by the addreffer; who, however, was not to be confidered as a contemptible antagonist.
Art, 11. Altercation; being the Subftance of a Debate which took place in on a Motion to cenfure the Pamphlet Whieldon,
of Anticipation. 8vo, 1s.
Art. 12. Deliberation, or the Substance of what may be spoken in the —— of in the Course of this Month. 8vo. 6d. Browne.
Successful, original, writers, are always followed by fervile imitators. The very ingenious Author of Anticipation could not fail of being honoured by attendants of this class.
Art. 13. Recantation; or a Second Letter to the Worshipful the Dean of Guild, and the Merchants and Manufacturers of the City of Glasgow being a complete refutation of every thing that has been advanced, or can hereafter be offered, in Favour of the Irish Bills, &c. 8vo. Is. Fielding and Walker. 1779.
Ironical and witty. The Author's first letter was pleasant, though on a very serious fubject; and he ftill keeps up his humour-till laughs, though we fear, with little profpect of winning.
Art. 14. A Speech on fome Political Topics, the Subftance of which was intended to have been delivered in the House of Commons, on Monday the 14th of December 1778. When the Eftimates of the Army were agreed to in the Committee of Supply. 8vo. I s. 6d. Cadell. 1779.
The fubftance of the following speech (the Author + tells his Readers in the previous Advertisement) was partly conceived before
* See Review for May 1778, p. 391.
+ Henry Goodricke, Efq. as we learn from the advertisements of this pamphlet in the public papers.