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To this we may add that, if the mere contemplation of virtue in oxternal objects is so very delightful, there can be no wonder that it should be found infinitely more so when we behold it in ourselves. It must be confefled, indeed, that some of the an. cient philosophers, and particularly the Stoics carried this maxim to a ridiculous length. According to their absurd system, the inward satisfaction of the true sage, was sufficient to render him insensible to all the evils of human life; the most excruciating torments of the body, as they pretended, could not affect the internal felicity of his mind; for a truly wise man might be even happy in the tortures of Phalaris's' bull.
Such extravagant notions as these deserve not a serious refutation :, for might we not as well assure a man, who is racked with the gout or the stone, that the prospect of the verdant meadows of spring, or the golden fields of autumn, are sufficient to remove his pains? The sense of moral beauty, like that of the physical, can give no degree of pleasure, which may not be counterballanced, or even effaced by preponderating pains.” From these considerations our Author draws a consequence; which, though he thinks it may, at first, appear a little singular, he takes upon him to say, is no less just. This is, that a pure love for virtue, which passes for something so difficult of attainment, as one of the highest degrees of mystical perfection, and with many as a mere chimera, is notwithstanding the most common and most .natural thing in the world. Every moral sensation, says he, is an act of pure, disinterested, affection; in which the mind dilplays its love for virtue, in consequence of that pleasure it takes, in admiring virtue for its own fake.
The third memoir in this class, is entitled the Analysis of Reason, and is written by Mr. Sulzer; who, in a preceding volume of this history had given the public an Effay on Genius. Mr. Sulzer obferves that the term, reason, is taken in a twofold acceptation : that is either as the general concatenation of universal truths, agreeably to the idea of Leibnitz; or as the simple faculty of reasoning in the individual, conformably to that of Wolfíus. In the first sense, reason is, in every rational Being, that collection, or sum, of philosophical knowlege it is poffeffed of: in the second sense, it is merely the faculty of acquiring such knowlege. There are two things, therefore, says he, to be enquired into, the faculty itself, and the acquifitions of that faculty. With this duplicate view, is the memoir before us composed; which, though it may afford little novelty or satisfaction to those who are profoundly versed in the subject
, cannot fail of impressing a very advantageous idea of the abilitics of the Writer on the mind of the Reader.
The last memoir in this class, treats of the doctrine of Infnites, and was written by the late Mr. Premontval; a philoso
The natural History of Nations.
547 pher of much greater ingenuity than folidity; but nil nifi bonam de mortuis.
In the fourth, and last class of this work, viz. the Belles Lettres, we have a dissertation on Jodutha, the ancient idol of Saxony and the March of Brandenbourg, by Mr. Kuster : to which' succeed several academical discourses and eulogies ; for which we have no place of infertion.
La Physique de l'Histoire, &c.
elementary Principles of the temperament and characters of
12mo. Amsterdam. 1765.
HE office of a literary Reviewer is perhaps one of the most
approbation or blame; or whether he thinks it incumbent on him, in the case of mediocrity, and in justice to the public, to bestow neither; he is himself morally certain of becoming the object of the severest censure. It were indeed a stale subject of complaint, to mention the vanity of Authors, the partiality of their friends, or the malice of their enemies : we shall not take up our Reader's time, therefore, with remarks on either of these topics. There is a very serious and plausible ohjection, however, that hath been of late repeatedly made to the conduct of literary journalists, and particularly to the English Reviewers. They are said to be much too severe, and sarcastical in their treatment of those Authors, whose Writings are submitted to their consideration : as a proof of which are brought the more candid and favourable examples of those ingenious and learned foreigners, who first engaged in works of this kind. Le Clerc and 's Gravesande, we are told, pointed out the errors of miltaken writers with candour, reprehended even the petulant with tenderness, and spoke of all with politeness and urbanity. We shall not enter into a strict examination of the truth of this arsertion ; there were doubtless among the primitive Reviewers many gentlemen of the most candid and amiable dispositions : but we cannot help thinking that their tenderness for individuals much too often clashed with that justice and impartiality they owed to the public. Add to this, that even the more deserving of the former must be prejudiced, by that indiscriminate mode of treating the most contemptible Writers with the same cerëmony as the most respectable. But, be all this as it may, the ingenious Authors of the above objection's should consider that, there hath been a great revolution in the world of letters finçe O 02
the the first institution of modern literary journals. The circumstances of things are changed with the times, and the fame degree of encouragement, necessary to be given to writers in the infancy of literature, may be no longer expedient; nay, may ei en be prejudicial, if continued beyond the time of its exigence. We do not pretend that any of the arts and sciences are brought to that degree of perfection, as to stand no longer in need of farther cultivation ; or that works of imagination are fo numerous and excellent, as to make it needless to foiter the tender plant and cherish the opening bud of rising Genius. Certain, however, it is, that long after the revival of letters in Europe, the number of good books in the capital branches of scientific and literary knowlege, was by no means great; the modern languages themselves indeed were hardly arrived to a re essary degree of precision and perfection. The state of the literary world resembled that of an infant colony, whose peofle required various grants and concessions ; to which in a more fourishing and stable situation, they could support neither claim nor pretenfions.
How different is the state of this republic at the present juncture! The writings of the ancients are not only made our own, by valuable and accurate translations; but a new temple of science hath been erected on a basis far more extensive than the Juins of the old. In the mean time, encouragement is so far from being wanting to induce men of genius to prosecute farther discoveries and improvements in science and literature, that such purluits are almost inseparably attended with evident gain. An Author is no longer a Being dependent for precarious fubfistence on the favour or caprice of individuals; literary property, a thing almuft unheard of till the present century, is become an object of importance in our courts of law, and one of the most considerable articles both of our domestic and foreign commerce. What is the consequence? What, indeed but that of being over-run with mercenary pretenders to genius and learning; who not only prostitute their petty talents for gain, but use a thousand little arts, and enter into as many illiberal schemes and partial combinations to raise a literary reputation; in order only to sell that also to the beft bidder! Were there any of these arts practised, these combinations entered into, in the days of Le Clerc? Did Writers at that time of day make an open traffic of their fame as well as their genius? The latter, indeed, may have been prostituted in all ages; but it was referved for this pecuniary-minded age, to arsive at that highest species of mercenary refinement, the making the most of a literary good name.
At such a time and in such circumstances, therefore, ought not the tone of a literary Reviewer to be changed? Ought
is not to be very different to what it was an hundred years ago, when the conduct of Writers and their motives for becoming such, were fo totally different? When Authors were inspired only by Minerva, Apollo and the Muses ; when their obedience to that inspiration was purely disinterested ; it was expedient, it was laudible, to cherish with all imaginable tenderness, and give all poffible encouragement to such as employed their talents in the service of mankind; contenting themselves with the reward conferred by Fame. But when solid pudding hath obtained so great a superiority over_empty praise; when open plagiarism is no longer a crime, and Fame is only made the procuress of fortune, ought not both the seducer and the bawd, when discovered, to be brought to condign punithment? To act otherways, would, in many cases, be to convert a tenderness for some into cruelty toward others; and mercy in general into injustice.
We have been led involuntarily into the above reflections, partly by some insinuations thrown out in the foreign as well as domestic prints, relative to this subject; and partly by the perufal of the work before us, with the recommendation that aca companied it. We are ever ready to do justice, and to shew mercy, particularly where the latter may not tend to increase the offence; but we cannot agree to fet mere book-makers upon the same footing as original and genuine writers. It is for this reason we must run the hazard of offending a valuable correspondent, by declining to give our fuffrage in behalf of the per formance before us; which, though it contain many Ihrewd and ingenious remarks, on the effects of phyfical causes on the characters and manners of mankind, appears to us, in a great meafure, to be taken from a work published long since entitled
L'Esprit des Nations, and some other performances of a similar nature ; the real design of which this Author doch not appear very well to comprehend.
Recueil des Pieces relatives à la perfecution suscitée a Motier-Tra
vers, contre M. J. J. Rousseau. A Collection of the most interesting Pieces that have been pub.
lished, relative to the Perfecution of Mr. Roufleau, at Motier Travers in Switzerland. 8vo. 1765.
He first piece contained in this collection, came separately before us; and we have given a pretty ample account of it in a former article See Page 595 of this Appendix.
The second piece in this miscellany is entitled a Refutation of the preceeding libel; and is written by Professor de Montmollin, pastor of the churches of Motier-Travers and Boveresse. In altercations that depend so much on matters of fact, as at present, it would be hypercritical to stand upon the punctilios of stile, or to expect many of the graces of fine writing, Perhaps Mr. Rousseau himself hath been sometimes deceived in supposing that deference paid to his judgment and opinions, which in fact proceeded only from the admiration excited by his method of delivering them. Certain it is that the pastor de Mont-mollin has greatly the disadvantage of Mr. Rousseau, and even of the letter-writer his friend, in point of diction What he wants in abilities, however, he seems determined to make up in acrimony. Not that be affects a sarcastical mode of expression, . so much as a malicious turn of sentiment; plainly endeavouring to throw a false or contemptible light on the most ingenuous and unexceptionable actions of his antagonist. As he does not invalidate however any material point of fact, advanced in Mr. Rousseau's favour, we pass on to the next piece; being a second letter, by the Author of the first; who hath fubfcribed his name Du Peyrou, and hath addrefled it to Lord, Wemyss, Baron Elcho. In this letter, the invidious reflections and malicious misrepresentations of the above-mentioned pastor, are pointed out; and their Author represented with no little severity. But, as we doubt not our Readers will be better, pleased to hear what Mr. Rousseau himself hath to say on the occasion; we shall proceed therefore to make a few extracts from one of his own letters, contained among the pieces entitled justificatives ; and of which we have here no less than thirteen; consisting of rescripts from the King, arrets of council, declarations of the elders, and requests of the community that appeared during the course of this persecution. It being represented that Mr. Rousseau had greatly regretted his having bestowed a public encomium on his persecutor, he begins his letter with taking notice of that circumstance,
Motiers-Trayers, Aug. 8. 1765. No, Sir, never, whateyer you may have heard, thall I re. pent of having commended M, de Montmollin. I praised him for the merit I had experienced in him, his truly pastoral behaviour towards me. I never commended his character, as I knew nothing of it. I neves praised his veracity, his candour or his fobriety. I must even confess that his person, looks, and behaviour were extremely difgufting to me, and I was astonish. ed 10 Think fuch seeming kindnefs, humanity and virtue should be concealed under so gloomy and forbidding an aspect. But checked this rising antipathy'; thinking it unjust to judge of