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prefer it to any of those perishable materials with which we are surrounded, and of whose fickle and fleeting nature we are every day made sensible. For an immortal work, what artist would not select the finest and the hardest marble? And what author is there, who enters upon his task, without some faint vision at least of immortality?
It is from no disposition to cavil at Dr. Whitaker's motives, or to underrate his labours, that we venture on these remarks. His motives indeed are stated by himself briefly and modestly; and the work, both in its general merits as an historical narrative, and in the character and purity of its style, is such as to raise in us a very high respect for the author. It is our earnest wish too, that the cultivation of the Latin language may be kept alive from time to time, by such elegant and scholar-like performances as this; which invite criticism, and thus draw the attention of the age to a department too apt to be overlooked in the hurry of modern education. In the latter point of view, therefore, chiefly, the book will be examined; and in the execution of this duty, we shall not scruple to employ all the freedom, although we trust none of the petulance, which critics are accustomed to claim as their privilege.
We will first, however, present our readers with a brief account of the work as an historical composition. It includes merely the last unfortunate attempt of the Stuart family to recover the throne of their ancestors, commencing from the landing of the pretender's son on the coast of Scotland, in July, 1745, and ending with his final escape in September, 1746. It was long before the public were in possession of any well digested and authentic narrative of this affair; although it was one which brought the fortunes of the rival families very nearly to an equi-poise, and threw the kingdom into a state of greater doubt and alarm than any event within the last hundred and fifty years. At length, in the year 1800, appeared Mr. Home's history of the rebellion, a work sufficiently complete in its details, yet written with considerable interest and vivacity, and with something even of the dignity of history.
To this work alone, Dr. Whitaker seems to have been indebted for his materials. He is far indeed from attempting to conceal or disguise the fact, and regrets that the author, who died lately when almost arrived at the age of ninety, should not have lived to receive his acknowledgments. These, to say the truth, are not more than his due for, as far as we have observed, not a single document has been consulted, except this volume, no records have been searched, no authorities compared, no investigation attempted of plots, intrigues, counsels, or correspondence. Dr.
Whitaker has taken the case just as Mr. Home put it into his hands, and, except a brief account of the fate of the principal rebels, adds nothing of his own, to our historical information.
There is, however, a blemish which a little more attention even to this work might have removed. The opening of the narrative is singularly abrupt and defective. No review is given of the relative state of things in Europe when this rebellion broke out. The prince is landed, almost like one of the for an unxas, without any allusion to the war upon the continent, or any previous summary of the views of the French government. We hear nothing of the abortive project of invasion under Marshal Saxe the year before, of which project this expedition was but a miserable fragment;—we are not informed that the whole affair was originally a plan concerted with the French cabinet;—that Charles was sent for from Rome to Paris to head the intended invasion;—that after the failure of the first armament, and the death of Cardinal Fleury, whose scheme it was, that government became cool and indifferent; while the young prince, buoyed up by the hopes which had been infused into him, provoked by the treatment of the French ministry, and full of intemperate ardour, determined to hazard every thing, without foreign troops, almost without money, and with only a paltry provision of arms.
In lieu of such an introduction, which would have connected his subject with the general history of Europe as well as of this country, and which the author, with his power of condensing materials, might have dispatched in two or three pages, we are presented first with a slight review of the fortunes of the Stuart family; and secondly, with a description of the highlands, of the character of the inhabitants, their mode of life, and the system of clanship. Of these parts the first posseses the least interest, and is by no means so happily written as the rest of the volume. The author, to use a homely phrase, seems hardly to have got his hand in; and in the very first page a sentence occurs, beginning with Hoc certe,' so involved and obscure, that it requires two or three readings to catch its meaning. In this part, too, we notice one of those specimens of mistaken imitation, which we are happy to find do not occur very frequently.
Mitto Carolum a Carolo, de quo nihil æqui mediive profari licet, quum et meliori seculo patriis commendaretur virtutibus, et nostro fortasse propria ipsius nequitiá.' p. 5.
Dr. Whitaker surely is not serious in this opinion of the age in which he lives: and if not serious, why surrender his own good sense to the common-place satire and conceited antithesis of Tacitus? With the general style indeed, although it is in the main correct and pure, we have some little fault to find. One of the
chief advantages of the Latin language is well known to be its power of compression. Hence that nerve and energy, which are characteristic of the best Roman historians, that strength of colouring which makes even their homeliest pictures attractive, that weighty and authoritative tone which disposes us to listen with more than common attention, and to let nothing fall to the ground from an instructor whose words are always pregnant with meaning. Of this characteristic, which is most conspicuous in the works of Tacitus, Dr. Whitaker seems to have been fully sensible: but we could wish that instead of forming himself so studiously after this model, in whom the quality predominates to excess, he had more frequently tempered his style with the plain and unaffected flow of Livy. In the writings of this historian, whom we cannot but consider as far superior to Tacitus in all the greater virtues of composition, there is a gravity and sincerity, an expression of natural feeling, good sense and probity, which furnish an agreeable relief to his dramatic scenes and picturesque descriptions, and which make ample atonement for that failing, at which fastidious readers take most offence, the sparkling rhetoric of his speeches. But although we occasionally trace in Dr. Whitaker the impression of this great master, yet the manner and handling are certainly those of Tacitus. We continually discover his selection of topics, his pithy and pointed moral reflections, and rather more of his stiff and laboured diction, and his affected sententiousness than we can either admire or approve.
Of this, one specimen has been already given the following passage is in the same taste.
'Neque Jacobo exuli deerant egregia adminicula: primum ipsa fortuna quæ suapte naturâ ex imis retro volvi consueta, res humanas in orbem agere atque torquere gaudet; indè animi hominum, præcipuè Anglorum, &c. p. 5.
That in a grave discussion of the hopes which the exiled family had of recovering their dominions, Fortune should be personified, and represented as a powerful agent, can only be ascribed to the habit of initating a faulty model: and we are the more concerned to see it, because it favours the popular prejudice, that to write in this language is a puerile exercise, a mere trial of scholarship, unsuited to any purpose of real utility. If we would maintain the dignity of the employment, no caution is more necessary than to avoid every sentence the substance of which we should be unwilling to utter in our own language.
The second part of Dr. Whitaker's introduction will naturally remind the reader of the life of Agricola, which opens with a similar geographical disquisition. It is however conceived with the freedom and spirit of an original: possessing that distinctness
which always accompanies the descriptions of an actual observer, who has felt what he writes, and who copies faithfully from his own impressions. One or two sketches of highland manners and scenery cannot fail of being acceptable from such a pencil.
'Scotiâ omni bifariam diremptâ, limes ab æstuario Glottæ et Lominio lacu ad Donam fluvium in transversum ductus, a campestribus montana plerumque disterminat. Incolis prout hinc vel inde limiti adjacent, alius sermo, alia studia, alius cultus, dispar etiam animorum habitus. Hisce pecorum et armentorum cura perpetua, illi arvis agrique cultura incumbunt; utrique ex indole regionum. Namque montana, propter imbres assiduos et solum asperrimum, frugibus infelicia, pecudum tamen, bucularum equorumque pusillorum vim ingentem progenerant, quibus alendis, ac per interminata fermè montium valliumque spatia circumducendis, homines a teneris vagum desidemque morem colentes et parvo et rapto vivere adsuescunt. Hinc per bella campestri Scoto gravis ac suspectus accola montanus: idem domi ac per summam quietem ne sibi quidem ipse concors, modò totus hebescere, modò, ubi collubuerit, intentis præter cæteros mortales animi corporisque nervis conniti: per æstiva, dies integros, humi fusus, imagines nescio quas semisomni animo conceptas, naufragia, cædes, funera nutrire ac interpretari solitus; mox aucupio, venationi, piscibus captandis adhibitus, exuto propè seipso, laborum, inediæ, vigiliarum patientissimus; idem admoto ligone, aratro, textrinâ, rursum torpescens." p. 9.
Our remarks on the latinity, of which indeed only one or two apply to this passage, must be reserved for the sequel: in the mean time we cannot withhold the following masterly outline of the whole region.
'Caledonia fermè tota in montes asperrimos adsurgit, quibus plerisque vertices cacuminati, tempestatum ac scaturiginum vi assiduâ sulcati, alii ferrugineo, alii fusco colore, ignivomorum quondam montium spiracula haud obscuris indiciis referentes, quos inter lacunæ profundissimæ vel adultâ æstate nivibus oppleta albescunt. Nusquam major pluviarum vis effunditur: scilicet humores rarissimos ab Oceano, Cauro Notoque sævientibus oblatos, prima hæc atque editissima Britanniæ, objectu laterum gelidoque contactu, adeo et densant et confringunt, ut cœlum nebulis ac caligine fædum soli sæpissimè officiat, et torrentes per derupta et concava locorum in præceps effusi, exitu propter petrarum obices negato, ubique restagnescant. Quot igitur per montana Scotia valles, tot fermè et lacus; quos inter et amplitudine et amoenitate cæteris præstant Lominius, Nessus, Taus, Avus. Horum plerumque e vitreâ planitie eminentes cernuntur insulæ, quarum inter vepres ac virgulta etiamnum restant propugnaculi cujusdam aut cænobioli rudera. Scilicet, ubi in continenti Scotia, per latrocinia atque rapinas, nihil sancti, nihil tuti restaret, id egit sive religio sive ignavia, ut sponte sibi negata liberè spatiandi facultate, in arcto simul et abdito præsidium collocaret. Et partim fortasse hanc ob causam, partim ne à famelicis
lupis cadavera eruerentur, vitâ functos in locis circumfluis sepulturæ tradendi inter Scoto-montanos mos invaluit.' P. 10.
The highlander's manner of life, his dress and armour, his mode of fighting, the habitations both of the higher and lower orders are described with the same distinctness and accuracy: and the following passage, which leads to an exposition of the origin and nature of clanship, exhibits, with a trifling exception or two, a command of correct and proper diction, which reminds us of some of the best days of Roman literature.
Quicquid de Phoenicum Hispanorumve coloniis somniaverint homines malè feriatì, mihi in universum æstimanti persuasissimum est, ab orâ Galliæ in proximum Britanniæ littus, Celtas ratibus advectos inter arva finitima atque ubera consedisse; mox alios atque alios, velut undam undâ trudente, expositos atque in interiora insulæ provectos, tandem cæteris omnibus jure occupandi possessis, in Caledoniæ saltus ac solitudines penetrâsse. Equidem crediderim singulas plerumque familias singulas regionis asperrimæ valles insedisse: mox autem, fixo lare, sobolique procreandæ datâ aliquantisper operâ, servato cognomine, servato quoque in longum cognationis vinculo, in tribus integras, vel, si mavis clientelas excrevisse.' p. 21.
We shall give one extract more from this part of the volume, and we cannot perhaps select a better than the interview of Charles with the young Laird of Lochiel; an incident, upon which a living poet has founded one of the most pathetic compositions in our language. In the hands of Dr. Whitaker it is invested with the graver and more sober charms of history, and the latter part especially is delivered in the very accent and tone of Livy.
• Excensione factâ, Carolo Borodalii commoranti primus adfuit Lochielius, Cameroniorum regulus, qui, patre majestatis damnato, quanquam adhuc superstite, avo in hæreditatem amplam et opulentam successerat, acri vir ingenio, neque ab arte usuque belli alienus. Præter omnes montanorum duces Stuarti partibus impensissimè studebat Lochielius, literarum jugi commercio consiliorum interpres et adjutor. Cæterum ubi juvenem regium sine copiis, propè sine instrumento bel-· lico, pecuniæ fermè expertem, in littus ejectum magis quam expositum cerneret, hærere profecto vir prudentissimus, et ab incepto irrito principem absterrere: " Tempori haud satis opportuno cedendum: servandas occasiones, fortunæ, ubi primum arriserit, duci instandum : eà sibi utique cæterisque amicis curæ fore. Proinde vinci se pateretur et vela quam maturrimè retro daret." Obfirmato adversus rationes animo, Carolus, Galli perfidiam conquestus, mox suorum inter montanos promissa magnifica, disparem exitum incusat. "Enimvero id ipsum tempus in primis opportunum, Britanniæ, quem ferebant regem, tum cum maximè domi invalidum foras perculsum; ostenderetur modò inter montanos bellum, clientes Anglicanos, et opibus et numero formidandos, in signa sese extemplo conlaturos: maturato tantum opus esse." Etiam atque etiam reluctanti