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Coach in a storm, and his sketch of Rubbing Down the Post Horse. In such instances the positions are sometimes well imagined, but he was unable to give action to the parts.
“He therefore in general chose quiescent attitudes for his horses and other ani: mals. He felt his deficiency in anatomical knowledge, and was careful not to expose it by unsuccessful attempts to represent actions in which he could not place his model. He succeeded best in those animals that required least correctness of drawing, such as pigs, guinea-pigs, sheep, asses, and rabbits; in these, indeed, he is often, extremely happy; for no artist ever painted such subjects with greater feeling. He avoided the delicate proportions of the horse, by selecting such as were old, rough, and clumsy. A white horse was a favourite object with him, as it must be with every painter, from its affording a mass of light, with a most desirable opportunity for the display of colouring, owing to the variety of yellow and other tints with which it is diversified. Indeed, an old white horse of this description is one of the most picturtsque objects to be met with in rustick scenery.”
It would be committing an unreasonable trespass to proceed further in these extracts. Mr. Dawe has examined Morland's style of painting with a critical and professional eye, and it is not without confidence that we refer such of our readers to his volume, as may be disposed to pursue the subject further. They will find it very amusing, and well written.
FROM THE BRITISH CRITICK-EXTRACT.
Sermons on several subjects ; by the late Rev. W. Paley, D. D. Sub-Dean of Lincoln,
Prebendary of St. Paul's, and Rector of Bishop-Wearmouth. 8vo. 535 pp. Sunderland; printed. 1806_Philadelphia, republished, Hopkins and Earle, 1 vol. 8vo. -price S 1. 87 1-2.
PREFIXED to this volume is an extract from the will of the excellent author, in the following words:
* If my life had been continued, it was my intention to print at Sunderland a col. lection of Sermons-five hundred copies, to be distributed gratis in the parish-to deliver them to Mr. Stephenson, to print and distribute one copy in a family-first to those who frequent church, then to farmers' families in the country, then to such poorer families as have a person who can read, or are likely to read them. I would not have the said Sermons printed for sale."
Having received a copy some time ago, by favour of a very kind friend, and finding, on examination, that the discourses are truly worthy of the character and talents of the author, we applied to the person to whom we were indebted, for leave to give a publick account of them. By some accident, this letter received no answer, and we remained in suspense, between our un willingness to withhold from our readers the excellent instruction we might thus give them, and the point of honour, with respect to the executors of the author; who, for some reason, not easily to be guessed, forbid them to be printed for sale. At length, seeing them advertised as published, our scruples were at an end; but now again a doubt seems to be thrown upon the publication. Finally, however, we adhere to our last resolution ; for published they must be at some time or other, and nothing but good can be produced by encouraging the ardour of the publick to hasten that event. If this be in the smallest degree contrary to the wish of the friend who sent them, the fault must rest with him, for leaving our
A print which was highly admired by Girtin, who having been requested to Take a companion to it, after studying it for some time, threw down his pencil, exclaiming-That he could not do any thing like it.
† We are told that it has been stopped by the executors. In compliance with the duty of that office they are doubtlessly obliged to do so; but it is a misfortune to the publick that such was the determination of the author.
question unanswered; but in the effect we must cordially rejoice; for to have been enjoined silence, on such a subject, would have been very painful.
We have very carefully read the discourses, and are clearly of opinion that they are, on the whole, not inferiour in value and importance to any prior work of the learned and acute author. The style, it is true, has not received all the polish which he was capable of bestowing on it, and this, perhaps, was the principal reason why he determined to restrict the distribution of the volume. It has, indeed, a plainness, apparently studied, to assist the comprehension of the class in which he intended the volume to be published. There is merit, however, far above that of style, which some of these discourses possess in the highest degree, that of elucidating difficult points in a manner, clear, original and convincing. The talent to perform this was possessed by Dr. Paley, in so very eminent a way, that no person who knows his other works will be surprised at the fact; yet, even they who estimate his powers at the highest, would not, perhaps, have expected so much light, as he has been enabled to throw upon that most important as well as difficult subject, the ordinary operations of the Holy Spirit. This doctrine being so momentous to every Christian, and so decisive, when rightly understood, against the vain pretensions of en. thusiasts, shall take the lead in our account of the volume. After we have merely premised that the whole number of sermons is thirty five, and that they are all instructive, and not only pious, but calculated to inspire the zeal and fervour of true piety.
In giving unqualified praise to these discourses we have gratified our own feelings, and, since the writer is no more, we cannot be suspected of a wish to flatter. With respect to the works of authors of established fame, it has been well observed by a foreign critick, that reviewers are placed in a kind of dilemma. If they give only praise, they are thought to Hatter, or to be influenced by mere regard to a name ; if they censure, they are often accused of envy.
“ Nam cum nil nisi laudandum in libro repererit, in adulationis levitatisque suspicionem incurrat : cum vero reprehendenda quædam notaverit, invidiæ obtrectationisque crimen suscipiat.” But, with the same elegant writer,* we can say : “ Nos hunc scrupulum ipsi nobis antea exemimus, quam ad censuras scribendas accederemus; statuentes nobis hanc legem, ut in omnibus judiciis sententiisque nostris unum veritatem coleremus, eamque sanctam inviolatamque servaremus, et in neutram partem ab ea discederemus.
ORIGINAL AMERICAN REVIEW.
American Ornithology; or the Natural History of the Birds of the United States, il
lustrated with plates, engraved and coloured from original Drawings taken from nature. By Alexander Wilson. Imperial quarto, pp. 166. vol. i. price 12 dollars. Philadelphia, published by Bradford and Inskeep.
UNDER a plain, unassuming title-page, we have been surprised with the appearance and contents of the first volume of a new work, which, if continued through the succeeding volumes in the same style of elegance, and with equal fidelity to nature, will not only do honour to the individual and the country that gave it birth, but may serve as a model to the Ornithologists of Europe, where it is not likely soon to be surpassed. The advantages
Wyttenbach, in the Bibliotheca Critica, vol. i. part 4,
of correct, well coloured engravings, in books of this kind, are so many, and their effects so great, that they seem almost indispensable. In a few moments they speak more to the understanding, through the medium of the eye, than could be conveyed in a volume by words; and the impressions are not only received with more pleasure, but rendered much more lasting.. When to these are added interesting details of the objects themselves, in language at once familiar and elegant, the labours of the writer are entitled to the good wishes, at least, of every man of taste, and friend to literature. The present work, of which we propose to give some account, has every claim to the above merits. The engravings are not only executed with the superiour skill and precision of the two distinguished artists, whose names they bear (Messrs. Lawson and Murray) but are coloured in such a manner as to have all the effect of rich paintings in water colours ; while in the descriptive part the author has shown himself fully competent to, and familiar with, his subject.
The motives and designs of the writer are thus avowed in the Introduction. To the arguments he urges on behalf of his subject we cheerfully yield our assent.
“ As to the nature of the work, it is intended to comprehend a description, and representation of every species of our native birds, from the shores of St. Lau. rence, to the mouths of the Mississippi, and from the Atlantick ocean to the interiour of Louisiana. These will be engraved in a style superiour to any thing of the kind hitherto published and coloured from nature, with the most scrupulous adherence to the true tints of the original,
“ The bare account of scientifick names, colour of bills, claws, feathers, &c. Fould form but a dry detail ; neither in a publication of the present kind, where every species is faithfully figured and coloured, is a long and minute description of the form, and feathers, absolutely necessary-This would, in the opinion of some, be like introducing a gentleman to company, with “ Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. has on a blue coat-white pantaloons-hussar boots,” &c. &c. while a single glance of the eye over the person himself told us all this before the orator had time to open his mouth; so infinitely more rapidly do ideas reach us through the medium of the eye, than by that of the ear. But as time may prey on the best of colours, what is necessary in this respect will by no means be omitted, that the figures and descrip. tions may mutually corroborate each other. It is also my design to enter more largely than usual into the manners and disposition of each respective species; to become, as it were, their faithful biographer, and to delineate their various peculiarities, in character, pong, building, economy, &c. as far as my own observations have catended, or the joindness of others may furnish me with materials.
The ORSITHOLOGY of the United States exhibits a rich display of the most splendd colours, from the green, silky, gold-be-spangled down of the minute Humming Bird, scarce three inches in extent, to the black, coppery wings of the gloomy Condor, of sixteen feet, who sometimes visits our northern regions--a numerous and powerful band of songsters, that for sweetness, variety, and melody, are surpassed by no country on earth-an everchanging scene of migration from torrid to temperate, and from northern to southern regions, in quest of suitable seasons, food, and climate ; and such an amazing diversity in habit, economy, form, disposition and faculties, so uniformly hereditary in cach species, and so completely adequate to their peculiar wants and convenience, as to overwhelm us with astonishment at the power, wisdom and beneficence of the Creator!
“ In proportion as we become acquainted with these particulars, our visits to, and residence in the country, become more and more agreeable. Formerly, on such occasions, we found ourselves in solitude, or, with respect to the feathered tribes, as it were in a strange country, where the manners, language and faces of all were either totally overlooked, or utterly unknown to us. Now, we find ourselves among interesting and well known neighbours and acquaintances; and, in the notes of erery songster, recognise with satisfaction, the voice of an old friend and compation. A study thus tending to multiply our enjoyments at so cheap a rate, and to ead ris, by such pleasing gradations, to the contemplation and worship of the Great First Cause, the Father and Preserver of all, can neither be idle nor useless, but is Forthy of rational beings, and doubtless agreeable to the Deity.
The descriptive part of the book commences with the history of the Blue Jay, a well known American Species. The figure of this bird, given in the plate, is truly elegant, and seems a perfect copy from Nature. Its peculiarities are detailed with a great deal of minuteness. Noisy restlessness, depredations in the corn fields, and among the nests of other smaller birds, appear the most prominent features of its character.
“ Of all birds he is the most bitter enemy to the owl. No sooner has he discovered the retreat of one of these than he summons the whole feathered fraternity to his assistance, who surround the glimmering solitaire, and attack him from all sides, raising such a shout as may be heard, in a still day, more than half a mile off. When in my hunting excursions I have passed near this scene of tumult, I have imagined to myself that I heard the insulting party venting their respective charges with all the virulency of a Billingsgate mob; the owl, meanwhile, returning every compliment with a broad goggling stare. The war becomes louder and louder, and the owl at length forced to betake himself to flight, is followed by his whole train of persccutors, until driven beyond the boundaries of their jurisdiction.
" But the blue jay himself is not guiltless of similar depredations with the owl, and becomes in his turn the very tyrant he detested, when he sneaks through the woods, as he frequently does, and among the thickets and hedge rows, plundering every nest he can find of its eggs, tearing up the callow young by piecemeal, and spreading alarm and sorrow around him. The cries of the distressed parents soon bring together a number of interested spectators (for birds in such circumstances seem truly to sympathize with each other) and he is sometimes attacked with such spirit as to be under the necessity of making a speedy retreat.
He will sometimes assault small birds, with the intention of killing and devouring them; an instance of which I myself once witnessed, over a piece of woods near the borders of Schuylkill; where I saw him engaged for more than five minutes pursuing what I took to be a species of Motacilla (M. Maculosa, Yellow Rump) wheeling, darting and doubling in the air, and at last, to my great satisfaction, got disappointed, in the escape of his intended prey. In times of great extremity when his hoard or magazine is frozen up, buried in snow, or perhaps exhausted, he becomes very vo. racious, and will make a meal of whatever carrion or other animal substance comes in the way, and has been found regaling himself on the bowels of a robin (Turdus migratorius) in less than five minutes after it was shot.”
These traits are somewhat softened by the following, which are evidently drawn from nature.
“ There are, however, individual exceptions to this general character for plunder and outrage, a proneness for which is probably often occasioned by the wants and irritations of necessity. A Blue Jay, which I have kept for some time, and with whom I am on terms of familiarity, is in reality a very notable example of mildness of disposition and sociability of manners. An accident in the woods first put me in possession of this bird, while in full plumage, and in high health and spirits. I carri. I'd him home with me, and put him into a cage already occupied by a Golden-winged Wood-pecker (Picus Auratus) where he was saluted with such rudeness, and received such a drubbing from the lord of the manor, for entering his premises, that, to save his life, I was obliged to take him out again. I then put him into another cage, where the only tenant was a female Oriolus Spurius (bastard Baltimore.) She also put on airs of alarm, as if she considered herself endangered and insulted by the intrusion; the jay meanwhile sat mute and motionless on the bottom of the cage, either dubious of his own situation, or willing to allow time for the fears of Juis neighbour to subside. Accordingly in a few minutes, after displaying various threatening gestures (like some of those Indians we read of in their first interviews with the whites) she began to make her approaches, but with great circumspection, and readiness för retreat. Seeing, however, the jay begin to pick up some crumbs of broken chesnuts, in a humble and peaceable way, she also descended, and began to do the same; but at the slightest motion of her new guest, wbeeled round and put herself on the defensive. All this ceremonious jealousy vanished before evening : and they now roost together, feed, and play together, in perfect harmony and good humour. When the jing goes to drink, his messmate very impudently jumps into the saucer to wash herself, throwing the water in showers over her companion, who bears it all patiently; venturing now and then to take a sip between every splash, without betraying the smallest token of irritation. On the contrary, he seems to
take pleasure in his little fellow-prisoner, allowing her to pick (which she does very gently) about his whiskers, and to clean his claws from the minute fragments of chesnuts which happen to adhere to them. This attachment on the one part, and mild condescension on the other, may, perhaps, be partly the effect of mutual misfortunes, which are found not only to knit mankind, but many species of inferiour animals, more closely together, and shows that the disposition of the blue jay may be humanized, and rendered susceptible of affectionate impressions, even for those birds which in a state of nature he would have no hesitation in making a meal of.:
The Baltimore Bird (Oriolus Baltimorus) or Hanging Bird, is particu. larly described. The extent of its range, the singular formation of its nest, and the errours of European writers respecting its manners, are fully discussed. The author has also here, as well as elsewhere, given us a specimen of his poetical talents, which we could have wished had been suill more numerously interspersed. The circumstances of building and incubation are thus delineated.
High on yon poplar clad in glossiest green,
And waving breezes rock them to repose.
“With the dawn of the succeeding morning, mounting to the top of some tall tree that rises from a low, thick shaded part of the woods, he pipes his few but clear and musical notes in a kind of ecstacy; the prelude, or symphony to which, strongly resembles the double-tonguing of a German Aute, and sometimes the tinkling of a small bell; the whole song consists of five or six parts, the last note of each of which is in such a tone as to leave the conclusion evidently suspended. The finale is finely managed, and with such charming effect as to sooth and tranquillize the mind, and to seem sweeter and mellower at each successive repetition. Rival songsters, of the same species, challenge each other from different parts of the wood, seeming to vie for softer tones and more exquisite responses. During the burning beat of the day they are comparatively mute ; but in the evening the same melody is renewed, and continued long after sunset. Those who visit our woods, or ride ont into the country at these hours, during the months of May and June, will be at no loss to recognise, from the above description, this pleasing musician. Even in dark, wet, and gloomy weather, when scarce a single chirp is heard from any other bird, the clear notes of the Wood Thrush thrill through the dropping woods, from morning to night; and it may truly be said, that the sadder the day the sweeter is
" The favourite haunts of the Wood Thrush are low, thick-shaded hollows, through which a small brook or rill meanders, overhung with alder bushes that are mantled with wild vines. Near such a scene he generally builds his nest, in a laurel or alder bush. Outwardly it is composed of withered beech leaves of the preceding year, laid at bottom in considerable quantities, no doubt to prevent damp and moisture from ascending through, being generally built in low wet situations ; above these are layers of knotty stalks of withered grass, mixed with mud, and smoothly plastered, above which is laid a slight lining of fine, black, fibrous roots of plants. The eggs are four, sometimes five, of a uniforin light blue, without any spots.
The Wood Thrush appears always singly or in pairs, and is of a shy, retired, un. obtrusive disposition. With the modesty of true merit he charms you with his song,