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the whole, nor to any of the incidents. If there had been any plagiarism in the case, or if parts of the story had been borrowed from other writers, the merits of the combination, and of the inferences which it suggests, would still remain due to Mr. CUMBERLAND. The impression which the story is calculated to leave upon the mind of the reader, is a chilling horror of the atrocities that were concealed in the chambers of the inquisition, or were practised by its chiefs. What exposes imposition, what makes injustice more revolting, or cruelty more abhorred, is so far a service rendered to the best interests of humanity.
Among the historical narratives, the moral apologues, the domestic delineations, the critical disquisitions, and the classical lucubrations in the OBSERVER, many might be selected for more particular praise; but, as these are well known, and have already passed the ordeal of public approbation, the attempt would be superfluous and the labour vain.
On the style of the OBSERVER, or, indeed, on Mr. CUMBERLAND's style in general, but little praise can be bestowed. To is however, in many particulars, a correct image of his intellectual character. It is rather weak than strong; rather easy and diffuse, than compressed and forcible. There is much evident facility in the execution, but there is little beauty in any of his combinations. What he does, he seems to do without effort; and indeed of that effort, which leads to great results,
he was incapable. He does not deal much in metaphor or imagery. Though he was a poet, his mind was not a cabinet of gems. There is little dazzling in what he says, or in the way that he says it. His wit may sparkle in a sin. gle sentence, but never shines through a whole page. If his general manner does not weary the reader, there are hardly any passages in all his works,
, upon reading which a vivid transport is excited, and an enthusiastic glow felt. This is the province of genius and of genius of a high order ; but among the illumined children of heaven of that stamp we cannot rank Mr. CUMBERLAND. There was much good sense and some elegance, but no celestial fire, no divinity within him.
The structure of his sentences, in his general style of composition is in the highest degree tedious, desultory, and inelegant. He has few harmonious periods.
He often seems not to know when to come to a full stop. He heaps clause upon clause, Ossa upon Pelion, and Pelion upon
Ossa, till, there seems no end of his accumulations. His sentences at other times resemble a sort of labyrinth, where the clue of the meaning is lost before you reach the termination. When he begins to write, he always seems inclined to ramble; and he rambles on from semicolons to semicolons, and colons to colons, till he almost forgets that there ought to be a period to his toils. Of this defect the instances are too numerous to need any more particular exposition. But the following sen
tence, which is taken at random, may serve as a specimen. The reader will find it in the 28th number of the OBSERVER. The court of CATHARINE of Medicis, but more particularly that of Anne of Austria, brought the characters of women into much greater consequence and display than had before been allowed to them; the female genius, called forth from its obscurity, soon assumed its natural prerogatives: a woman's wit was found the first engine to cut the knot of intricacy, or, if possible, to disentangle it; the ladies in that famous regency, were no less fitted to direct a council than to adorn a court; the enlightened state of present times, and the refinement of modern manners, have happily discovered, that in the proper intercourse of the sexes are centered all the charms of society ; it seems as if a new world had been found out within the limits of the old one : associated as we now are, we are left without excuse when we mistake their characters, or betray them into unsuitable connexion by disguising our own: every unmarried man has time enough to look about him, and opportunities enough for the fullest information: it can be nothing therefore but the misguiding impulse of some sordid and unworthy passion, that can' be the moving cause of so many unhappy matches.'
In the above, there is but little unity in the subject; no concentration in the thoughts ; no perspicuity in the sequence of the ideas; no elegance in the arrangement of the clauses; no
harmony in the period. Even the first sentence in the first number of the work is long and desultory, He must have a good respiration, who can read it through without a greater pause than is proper; or than the commas, semicolons, and colons authorize.
But while that justice, of which criticism ought never to lose sight, requires these animadversions upon the style of Mr.CUMBERLAND, still it cannot be denied that he made several valuable additions to the stock of our national literature. His OBSERVER in itself has many merits, to which no reader can be insensible. It is well calculated both to divert and to instruct; to amuse him, who reads merely to forget the lapse of time, as well as him who reads for more valuable purposes. It is not of all writers we can say that they promoted, or even laboured to promote, the best interests of their species; to enlarge the sphere of active charity; to multiply the tender sympathies of humanity; to diffuse the qualities that most adorn our species, and the civilities that most embellish the varied intercourse of life. Is not this high praise ?--but, high as it is, it is not higher than what is due to Mr. CUMBERLAND.
If we may judge from the example of Mr. CUMBERLAND, à long continuity of literary toil has no tendency to abridge the period of human life. For when we consider the individual diversity and the general mass of his writings, who has written more? But, much as he wrote, he preserved his health to a