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Near Observer has rather the talents of an able, than the adroitness of an experienced writer.
Art. 39. Thoughts on the theory and practice of the French Conftitution. . In four Letters. 8vo. 36 pp. 15. Blamire. 1794.
We are sorry that this tract did not sooner come under our notice, for it is full of argument and discussion. The author, who subscribes himself “ an Englishman,” examines the new doctrines respecting the Sovereignty of the people, and the rights of man, as they are described in the French constitution of 1792, and how far they are reconcileable to reason and common sense; and, by tracing the progress of the revolution, determines that they cannot exist in practice. The second letter contains a curious account of the fate of the editors of the Paris Gazette, and of the Paris Journal ; who were executed within a few days of each other, one for writing against the constitution, the other for writing in its favour. P. 14. The third letter shows, that there never was such a medley of revolting cruelty, shamefyl injuftice, and difguiting absurdity, as was exhibited in the murder of Lous XVI. The last letter treats of the rapid changes of government in France, the arrogant pretensions of reforiners in this country, their falle affertions, and their readiness to use (if they dared) the sword instead of the pen. This little tract is worthy of being preserved among the valuable productions, to which the affairs of Europe have lately given birth.
Art. 40. Thoughts on the public Duties of private Life, with Refen
rence to present Circumstances and Opinions. By Thomas Macdonald, i Ejq. Svo. 75 PP. 25. Cadell. 1795.
In an essay elegantly written, and replete with the most generous sentiments, expressed with energy and truth, we cannot but regret a want of care in the choice of a title, or a want of method in the explanation of the plan, which throws an obscurity over the whole. Were we to name this publication, we should call it “an Efray on the private Virtues which conduce to public Happiness;" which title, though not very remote in mearing from the prelent, appears to us with much more clearness to explaini's object, and illuftrate its contents. Some want of method and rezular connection in the tract wili, after all, a little obscure its merit, which, however, we should conceive to be too great, to suffer it, as the author, towards the conclufion, appears to apprehend, to fall “dead-born from the press.” The following paslage alone ought to rescue any tract from ruglect, and we can aflivre our readers, that it is only one out of many that are excel. lent. After remarking some particulars that are praifeworthy in the character of Englishmen, Mr. Macdonald thus adinirabiy fignatizes the bareness of demagogues.
“ But even here we may trust too much to the strength of national character. A people are never ftationary. They are either riting or falling in the general scale of manners and public virtue. We have here our mobs; composed of all ranks of persons. We have also our patierers of mbs-men who would declaim against the obsequio
ousness of courts, and yet practise a species of adulation a thousand times more base. It is more base, in proportion as it is more mir. chievous and dishonest. The flattery of a courtier is diffolved in air: it amounts to no more than an established and familiar formula; addressed, in general, to those who hear it but as a sound, and can answer it in terms of equal insignificance. But this is not so with that part of a mob which is composed of the fimple and unsuspecting among the lower ranks of the people. Their orator becomes their idol. They believe him to be their friend. They listen to his vile and hackneyed protestations, as the effusions of fincerity and regard : and thank him by acclamation, for seducing them from their labour and tranquillity, and teaching them to believe that they are an oppresled and unhappy people. They thank him for a boon, which, for aught he can tell, may involve many a poor family in misery. The man who, for purposes of ambition, can thus deliberately practise upon all that is honest and right in the natural frame of uncultivated minds, of what villainy, were it well masked, would he not be capable ?" P. 68.
Many other striking passages will be found in this tract, among which the character of an English independent country gentleman is 'one of the most conspicuous; it is drawn with vigour and elegance, and, as the author aflures us, from living models. Nor is the charac. ter of the British ladies delineated with less spirit, or less attractive truth.
Art. 41. A fezu Words in Favour of the British Conftitution. By
one of the People. 8vo. 70 pp. 15. Debrett. 1795. A very night declamation, from “ a youthful pen,” (p. 29) about the British Constitution, and various other matters. A sketch of several reigns, from that of King John to the Revolution, furnishes this profound lesson, “ that the Constitution of Great-Britain, as it is now modified, was not the work of a moment, nor even of a single century,” P. 24. The author says he is “unhackneyed in the paths of literature ;" we should have guessed otherwise from one circumstance—the eking out of this little book by an extract of twenty pages together from Guthrie. pp. 31–51.
Of the concluding period, the only competent critic is Mr. Fox, who is there desired to weigh the accession of this defender, against the defection of several friends.
ART. 42. Observations on a Letter to the Prince of Wales, in Confe
quence of a second Application to Parliament, &c. and on those figned Neptune and Legion. In the same Pamphlet. 8vo. 28 pp. 15. Griffiths. 1795
The sentiments of a firm and energetic reasoner, expressed with due respect for the parties whose characters are involved in the investigation of a circumstance, which appears to be here met fairly, firmly, ... and dispassionately.
BRIT, CRIT. VOL. VII. FEB. 1796.
ART. 43. Remarks on thare Pollages, in Mr. B-lham's Memoirs of the
Reign of George the Third, which relate to the British Government in India. 8vo. 81 pp. 28. Owen. 1794.
Mr. Belsham, in the work alluded to, has entered very much into detail upon the administration of India. In the course of this history, he has described, in no very amiable colours, the supposed malversa. rion of Mr. Hastings. To diminish the impression which this may produce, is the object of the present pamphlet; and the author (whom we underland to be Major Scott) has certainly acquitted himself with considerable credit as an advocate. And as the public has already paid so liberally for the impeachment of the Governor General, they should not hesitate to pay a couple of shillings for a vindication, which cir. cumstances seem to prove so well founded.
ART. 44. A Letter to the Deputy Manager of a Theatre Royal, Lon
don, on his lately acquired Notoriety, in contriving and arranging the Hair-Powder Ad, commonly called the Poll-Tax. With a further Exposition of the said A8. Including several Particulars inserted for the Protection of Housekeepers, &c. against Informers and Spies. 8vo. 32 pp. 15. Allen and West. 1795.
After a careful perusal of this pamphlet, we cannot but acknowledge that it is written, as the author declares, on the hair-powder act; but what he ineans to prove, and whether the work be intended to cenfure or to applaud the said act, we are wholly at a loss to determine.
ART 45. An Address to the Electors of Sonthwark on the following
Subjcéis: 1. Their late Petition to Parliament : 2. The Conduct of their Representatives on that Occasion: 3. The State of the British Narim: 4. Thir Duty under the present Circumstances. By an Elector. 12 mo. 32 pp. 6d. Smith, Lincoln's-inn-fields. No date.
If any person is desirous to see a strong specimen of the infiamma. tory language employed to excite discontent, and to stimulate dir. content into fury, he may cat an eye upon this pamphlet. How conititutional it is, may be judged from the following maxims: 1. That no member of parliament is any thing but the servant of his conftitu. ents : 2. That, therefore, the will of his conftituents ought to be the only rule of his conduct, &c. &.c. The author does not scruple to fuggest even murder in no very concealed manner. P. y.
ART. 46. A Letter to the Magiftrates, Burgefes, &c. of the Royal
Burghs of Scotland. By John Donaldson, Ejg. 8vo. 16 pp. 6d. Cadell.' 1795
The author of this letter has already come before us in a plan of moral and municipal reform. We delivered our judgment upon his design in reviewing that work, and therefore have only to remark on the present pamphlet, that it expresses the author's strong conviction of the utility and practicability of his projects for universal reformation.
ART. 47. A Treatise on the Dropsy, wherein the various kinds of the
Difeafe are considered, with their different Coufes, &c. &c. The Absurdity of the present general Mode of Cure exposed, and a different one recommended, as pursued by the Author. To which is added an Appendix, containing a few remarkable Cases which had been given up, and abandoned as incurable, by medical Practitioners of the highejt Character and Reputation, but were aflerwards cured by the Mode proposed; adduced as a Proof of its superiority over the common Method. By a Physician. 1795.
“ A considerable part of the following work,” the writer says, “ was originally published in Latin, at Leyden, when he took his degree of doctor of physic, at that University ; it was then thought not devoid of merit.” Ic is now republished, with such additions and improvements, as thirty years practice has enabled him to make. As the doctor's name was doubtless affixed to the first impression of the work, it is not easy to account for his modeity in witholding it from the present more improved edition. After giving a sufficiently accurate account of the different species of dropsy, and of the methods commonly pursued in attempting the cure of them, which the writer obferves are almost constantly unsuccessful, he proceeds to describe a process by which he has often succeeded, he says, in cafes lett as desperate by physicians of the first eminence. But, as the most mailrial part of this process confifts in the exhibition of a preparition in. vented by himself, and kept, for the present, as a secret, we nust refrain from giving any opinion upon the subject. The author pro. mises, on another occasion, to divulge his secret.
Art. 48. Medical Extracts. On the Nature of Health, with prac
tical Observations: and the Laws of the nervous and fibrous Systems. By a Friend to Improvements. Vol. Il. 810. 6s. Robinsons, &c. 1795
It is not easy to give an analysis of this singular book, we must, therefore, content ourselves with informing our readers of what it is composed. It is properly called extracts, or fcraps, as it confills almost entirely of passages, principally from modern auchors, disciples of the new, or Brunonian, fyftem, of which the author is so ena. moured, that he scruples not to call the inventor, Dr. Brown (p, 136, as it is numbered, but in reality p. 2) “ another Newton.”
Amongst the extracts, as they are called, is an account of the late plague at Philadelphia, not extracted from, but contatting of almost the whole of the curious account of that dreadful visitation, written by Mr. Carey, which we noticed in the fourth volume of the Britith Critic *. Of the author's attachment, or rather bigotry to his system, the following is a striking example, " Some very pleasing experiments," he lays, p. 200, “ are related by Dr. Peart (whose name
would be oftener mentioned with fill higher respect, were we fortu. nate enough to rank him among the many illustrious converts to the new chemistry) which prove that partial exercise conveys a glow over the whole body." But the most remarkable part of the book is the bill of fare, or table of contents, which, with the title pages, &c. fills upwards of seventy pages; that is, a space equat to something more than a third part of the text. For, although the last page is numbered 334, from this must be taken 134 pages, contained in a former publication, of which this is to be considered as a continuation. But as no reference is made in the title to a former part, this must tend to mislead the purchaser, who has actually only 200 pages for his fix shillings, a circumstance we think it our duty to notice. Art. 49. A fert Treatise on Canine Madness, particularly the Bite
of Mad Dogs; fomé Cautions to prevent the Danger, and Remedies for Injuries received thereby, together with those of other enraged Ania mals. By a Physician. 8vo. 50 pp. 15. Kearsley,
Extracted, verbatim, the writer should have added, from Dr. Mead's essays on ihose subjects, contained in his mechanical account of poisons.
Art. 50. Dialogues between a Pupil of the late John Hunter and I'llé
Foot, including Posjnges in Darwin's Zoonomia. 8vo. 102 pp. 38. Beckett. 1795.
This writer, like a doughty knight of old, attacks all comers ; Mr. Hunter, the admirers of Mr. Hunter, the late critical reviewers, the present critical reviewers, and Dr. Darwin, are here the objects of his lance. Not fatisfied with having written a satirical work againit Mr. Hunter's doctrine, and a satirical life of him after his deceale, he seems to feel himself ill used, that no person will come forth to answer him: and, as no one else will do him that honour, he has made a man of Araw, and answered himself. We hope he has done it very much to his own satisfaction, and only with him more active antagonifts in his next controversy.
Art. 51. A Letter to the Lord Bishop of Worcester, occafioned by his
Strictures on Archbishop Secker and Bishop Lowth, in his Life of Bishop Warburton, no u prefixed to the Quarto Edition of that Prelate's Works. By a Member of the University of Oxford. Svo, 41 pp. 15. Cooke, Oxford ; Rivingtons, London. 1796.
There are few readers of the Life of Bp. Warburton, lately produced (we cannot properly say published) by the Bishop of Worcefter, who have not lamented with us, that the learned prelate should have been so far biassed by his early prejudices, as to speak in a depreciating manner of two such men as Archbishop Secker and Bishop Lowth. In the tract before us the fame of the former of these personages is vindicated temperately, but strongly, the cause of the other is sup