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that free, constitutional form of government-which every friend • to the happiness and better civilization of his fellow creatures, i and to virtuous liberty and independence, ought to pray to heaven, might descend upon the suffering and degraded inhabitants of the despotic portions of Europe.'
There is nothing in the work before us, which gives so unfavourable an impression of the state of feeling and moral sensibility prevailing in Italy, as the account contained in the chapter on “Funerals and manner of burying the dead.” When the grave loses its power to chasten and refine the feelings, and its sublime behests are rendered loathsome and disgusting, by the heedless and cold-blooded manner in which the remains of a fellow being are committed to the dust, we can scarcely believe that the heart is less callous than the marble of the tomb. We shall only copy a part of the revolting description which our author gives of the burial of the poor. The poor, and all who die in charitable
establishments, are thrown into pits, naked, and without coffins. “I went to see three pits in a small cloister.'.... In the last pit, they were then burying; and a wretched, emaciated body,
that had been thrown in that morning, was lying across the "pile, with the top of its head cut off by the surgeons, and
the eyelids hanging back in a frightful manner. A yearly average of 2947 individuals are thus buried in pits, and without coffins, in the "holy city;" and, with a small charge for wax lights and the mass, it is called christian burial !
The Universities of Italy are enumerated by Mr. L. but without going into many particulars concerning them, further than to state their initiatory requisitions, the number of the students, and the salaries of the professors. Or Morghen, the celebrated engraver, and one of the professors in the academy of fine arts in Florence, who has under his charge a very promising American pupil, in the person of Mr. William Main, Mr. L. states the following facts-which show, that excellence in the fine arts maintains its distinction, and is not without its rewards :
• He lately finished a small plate representing our Saviour, the • head of which very little exceeded the size of one of the same figure engraved by him in his transfiguration by Raphael, with two hands in proportion, and a few clouds by way of a back “ground, for which he was paid thirteen hundred dollars. He is * now engaged, engraving a portrait—a head, (which could be • covered with a dollar,) two hands, and a small piece of white drapery, for which he receives two thousand dollars. The drapery is done by others, directed by him, at the expense of the proprietors of the plate.'
In a work, which in treating of the political state of Italy embodies so large an amount of its statistics, we looked for
some interesting statements respecting its agriculture—and were disappointed in finding nothing but a brief notice on the cultivation of rice. The subject of farming, has, for several years, occupied the attention of some of the most distinguished men in Tuscany, among whom is the grand Duke Leopold. They compose a society in Florence, and are advantageously known even
this side of the water,” by several scientific and valuable publications on the various branches of rural economy. This deficiency, however, is the less sensibly felt, as the state of Italian agriculture has been so well illustrated by Sismondi and Chateauveaux.a
A short chapter is devoted to “The Bonaparte family in Italy." As the name is one “at which the world grew pale," and which, in the course of the reverses that ambition must encounter, serves now only “to point a moral and adorn a tale,” we like to gather up the incidental information connected with its talent, its pride, its despotism, and its misfortunes. Lucien Bonaparte, it will be recollected by our readers, had a commanding agency in placing the government of France in the hands of Napoleon, on his return from Egypt. He subsequently fell under his brother's displeasure, and retired to Rome. His conduct, on the Emperor's return from Elba, is presented to us in the following extract—which illustrates the principle on which adulation is paid, in other countries, as well as in France.
• It is impossible to deny, that Lucien Bonaparte is equally distinguished by talents, manners, accomplishments, and appearance ; and if he had had less ambition, or his brother less jealousy, he would doubtless have made one of the most eminent statesmen and princes in Europe. The estate of Canino, together with the title, cost 200,000 dollars ; he also owns Tusculum, where he has made many excavations, and sold an Antinous and a Minerva Medicea, there discovered, for 15,000 dollars. In the chapel of this house, at Tusculum, named in the inscription over the gate, “ Villa Tusculana”-and it is difficult to think of a word which bears more agreeable associations-he has erected a tomb to his father, Charles, another to his first wife, and a third to a little boy, called Joseph Lucien.'
• The following is the account of one of the parties concerned, of the celebrated conduct of the prince in 1815. When the arrival of Napoleon in France was known in Rome, Lucien, accompanied by his secretary and the father Maurice, went to Switzerland, where he remained for some weeks in a small house upon the lake of Geneva. During this time, he saw no one but Madame de Staël. The friar
a Of Chateauveaux, whom we have not had an opportunity of perusing, we form our opinion from a well-written article on the state of agriculture in Italy, published in the North American Review, July, 1820.
was sent forward to Paris; and after much delay and difficulty, negotiated a treaty with the emperor, by which the states of the Pope were guaranteed to him in all events. When this treaty had been received and forwarded to the Pope, Lucien went to Paris and was lodged in the Palais Royal in great splendour. There begun tbat system of homage and adulation, for which the French are justly so remarkable, and into which they plunge without thought or scruple, at any change of the cockade. He received a hundred letters a day, expressing profound admiration for him—the great statesman, poet, and philosopher—the hope of the liberty, honour, and peace of France. The Institute, in particular, heard with great complacency a long poem concerning Homer, which the prince condescended to read at one of their meetings, though a few years before many members of this very lostitute had had the base and hateful indecency to oppose answering a letter, in which Lucien, thep in exile and disgrace, bad made an offering of Charlemagne to the library, and solicited the counsels and criticisms of his brother Academicians. He proposed and arranged the Champ de Mai, the idea of which was taken from his Charlemagne, and recommended to the emperor the dress of the national guards as a suitable costume ; but the emperor insisted to the last moment in going in imperial robes, and Lucien, having no prince's embroidered coat, was forced to have a white taf. feta cut for the occasion.'
We have already extended this article beyond the limits we had prescribed for ourselves, and must therefore leave, without any particular notice, a number of subjects on which Mr. L. has collected a variety of interesting information—taking it for granted that a work from the pen of an American, which has evidently cost much labour in its preparation, and, although in many respects offensive to taste, is upon the whole quite creditable to our literature, will be very generally perused by our reading countrymen.
ART. VIII. Melmoth the Wanderer ; a Tale. By the Author of
“ Bertram,” &c. . 4 vols. in 2. 12mo. Boston. Wells and
Lilly. 1821. 2. Précaution, a Novel. 2 vols. 12mo. New-York. A. T.
Goodrich, & Co. 1820.
We have now before us the last English, and the last American novel; and, startling as it may appear to some of our readers, who are inclined to think nothing praiseworthy that is native, we mean to examine their merits comparatively. We hope to see the day arrive, when an American author will not have to
send his book to England, causing it to make a double voyage, ere his countrymen will receive it with impartiality,—when, instead of sneering at the pretensions of a native writer, it
become fashionable to treat him with civility; or, at least, not to condemn his book before its leaves have been cut.
Mr. Maturin has been long before the public : he is at once the writer of tragedies, the author of novels, and the publisher of sermons. We are not so fastidious as to assert that a clergyman should not indulge his genius, and write novels—even plays; but we do contend that those productions should, but for the sake of consistency, be moral, or not subversive of moral principles. The author has introduced into Melmoth blasphemous expressions, which a christian would not wish to hear how much less should he repeat and give them circulation; and in his strictures against priests, he has betrayed an irreverence, to use the mildest term, of their religion. We do not mean to say that Mr. Maturin's intentions were evil; but we must assert that he does indeed “ lack much discretion.” If he has not decked vice in false brightness, he has brought her too near us, and made her features too familiar. Montorio was fairly criticised in the Review of its day; the errors were dispassionately pointed out, and the merits liberally praised. In his succeeding work, the Wild Irish Boy, the author evinced his neglect of the critic's advice ; in Women he seemed to have forgotten it; and in Bertram and Melmoth he has defied it.
In the preface to Melmoth, Mr. Maturin states, as a sort of apology for publishing a romance, the insufficiency of his profession towards his support. This circumstance is certainly to be regretted, though we think a proud or delicate mind would have shrunk from so broad an appeal to the public. But the author mentions a more surprising fact, that his romance is founded on a passage in one of his own sermons, and is an exemplification of the sentence in holy writ, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.” Our readers will perceive that this was treading on dangerous ground; that it required the author to bring to the task reverential and delicate feelings,-a strong inventive genius in conducting, and a powerful hand in describing the narrative. In what degree (in our opinion) Mr. M. possessed these requisites, will appear in the course of these remarks. It is granted that an author may presume any fact he pleases; that is to say, that his reader consents to accompany him beyond the bounds of probability, as long as he preserves the unity and keeping of his work. The impossible, therefore, which pervades Melmoth, would be no objection, did it not so often mingle with realities which destroy the
illusion, and break the above-mentioned compact between the author and his reader.
Melmoth, like all the works of this author, wants originality. It frequently and fatally reminds the reader of St. Leon; and is a compound of the legend of the Wandering Jew, and the Vampyre.
Melmoth, the hero of the book, has sacrificed his hopes of salvation for the possession of a protracted term of life. This scarcely human being wanders over the face of the earth, scattering desolation in his path, and endeavouring to tempt some victim to accept the dreadful boon under which he writhes. His machinations are described in different tales, linked, or rather thrown together, in most admired disorder. The story of the family of Walberg is, perhaps, the best ; exhibiting some strong and vivid description. The Walberg family are supported in affluence by a wealthy brother, who, however, refuses to see his sister or her children, but promises to bequeath to them the whole of his property. They enjoy some years of happiness, when the brother who supported them, dies suddenly ; and on opening the will it is found, that to the church is left the wealth which had fed the hopes of his relations. They are thus instantly reduced from affluence to poverty, and at length to absolute beggary and famine. It is in these scenes of horror that the author seems to delight, and describe with the pen of a lover.
or Hush," said Walberg, interrupting her—" what sound was that ?-was it not like a dying groan ?”'_“No-it is the children, who moan in their sleep, "-" What do they moan for ?” “Hunger, I believe," said Ines, involuntarily yielding to the dreadful conviction of habitual misery." And I sit and hear this,” said Walberg, starting up," I sit to hear their young sleep broken by dreams of hunger, while for a word's speaking I could pile this floor with mountains of gold, and all for the risk of Of what ?" -said Ines, clinging to him,-" of what ?-Oh! think of that! what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?-Oh ! let us starve, die, rot before your eyes, rather than you should seal your perdition by that horrible" - Hear me, woman!” said Walberg, turning on her eyes almost as fierce and lustrous as those of Melmoth, and whose light, indeed, seemed borrowed from his ; “ Hear me! My soul is lost! They who die in the agonies of famine know do God, and want none-if I remain here to famish among my children, I shall as surely blaspheme the Author of my being, as I sball renounce him under the fearful conditions proposed to me!-Listen to me, Ines, and tremble not. To see my children die of famine will be to me instant suicide and impeniteut despair! But if I close with this fearful offer, I may yet repent,-I may yet escape !There is hope on one side-op the other there is none-none