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England possesses a decided advantage over every nation in Europe, with respect to the environs of noblemen's houses in the country. The forests and parks in Germany and Italy are left in their natural state, excepting that avenues are made for the high roads. We are not prepared, as in England, for the sight of an inhabited castle or palace, by a display of superior cultivation or characteristick accompaniments.' p. 235.
'If we take a comparative view, it will be found that gardens in France or Germany are seldom equal in point of extent to the pleasuregrounds in England. They are in general contiguous to palaces, and are crowded with statutary, or rather images. These, of very coarse and disproportionate workmanship, are placed in rows in the avenues, which cross each other at right angles; and the trees are clipped into various shapes, with the bark painted white. Such is the garden of the elector at Wirtzburgh; and there are others in Germany upon a similar plan.
The royal gardens in France are scarcely less artificial, but they abound in the best works of their sculptors; and though there may be found many marble and bronze statues and groups of great merit as to their execution, a classical foppery may he said to pervade the whole, and no scenes can be farther removed from nature.' p. 242.
"The pride of Italy is the frequency of broad shade afforded by porticos or lofty clipped hedges. The umbrageous pines and chesnuts are usually excluded from the ornamented garden, and abound only in the forest. Their perfectly harmonizing landscapes are found only in imagination and on canvas; for the art of reducing a district of country to the rules of picturesque beauty, practised in England, is unknown to them. A few years ago, prince Borghese patronized Jacob Moor, who was the boast of the British nation, and then studying at Rome as a landscapepainter. He not only felt the beauties of Claude Loraine, but rivalled them. Under Moor's direction, the prince determined to remodel the ground adjoining to his incomparable villa on the Pincian hill. The gardens of the Medici and Albani villas, and those called Boboli, near the grand duke's palace at Florence, are laid out in a stiff taste, with walls of evergreens, straight alleys, marble fountains, and crowds of statues. Yet I am inclined to think, that this style, now obsolete in England, is best adapted to Italy; where a constant and strong sun would soon destroy velvet lawns, and the broad shade in a street of clipped trees or covert walks is more coincident with the idea of local luxury.' p. 245-251.
'When at Rome I visited the gardens of the Prince Borghese on the Pincian hill, (then recently laid out by Jacob Moor in the English taste) 'accompanied by a virtuoso, who, after coldly listening to my praises, replied Oh, ma non c' è ombra!-Milizia, an Italian critick, has done justice to the English style: In Inghilterra il buon gusto de' giardini è commune; ivi la sola natura modestamente ornata e non imbellata, vi spiga i suoi ornamenti e le sue beneficenze per render i giardini asili d'un piacere dolce e sereno.'-Mem degli Architetti, t. ii. p. 206. pp. 250, 251.
We were rather surprised at meeting with the following as
sertions in Mr. D.'s work, because it could hardly be unknown to him, that Sir W. Hamilton mentions a pane of glass, extant in the window of a Roman villa at Portici, when giving an account to the Society of Antiquaries, of the antiquities discovered in that city: it may be seen in the Archaiologia.
We know positively of no instance of the use of glass among the Greeks. Those fragments the Romans have left us are much more numerous than valuable, in their urns, lachrymatories, and other small vessels. Pliny speaks of coloured glasses made to imitate precious stones, and gems, but that the white was the more rare. There is no instance of plain superficial glass used for mirrors or windows; which latter were sometimes composed of thin laminæ of alabaster, or leaves of mica, Some small pieces of thick green glass have been found among ruins; but that circumstance does not prove them ever to have been applied as windows; none of which, with glass, have been discovered at Herculaneum. Pitiscus speaks only of alabaster of selenite, as adopted by the Romans to admit the light, and exclude the air, at the same time.' p. 254. Staining of glass is an elegant and curious art.
'The materials for which (says Mr. D. describing this process.) are prepared in crucibles, and are all taken from the mineral kingdom. Cobalt makes blue. The different shades of red, brown, and chesnut-colour, are made with calx of iron in different degrees of preparation. Crimson is procured from calx of copper when immersed in water, and green from copper dissolved in vegetable acids, or from other acids precipitated with alcali. Crimson and bright red are made from calx of gold; one grain of gold will colour four hundred particles of glass of the same weight. Calx of silver makes yellow, which is likewise effected by calx of lead united with antimony. Violet colour and purple are procured. from manganese. The menstruum is said to be the essential oil of beanflowers; and when the glass so prepared receives the design of the artist from the cartoons with its shades and demitints, the whole is again placed in the furnace; the tints are thus incorporated with the whole mass, and become immoveable.' pp. 257, 258.
We wish Mr. D. in his next edition would revise the construction of the following passage, which seems to infer a much closer connexion between Paris and London, than is altogether agreeable to the feelings of an Englishman. The dance of Maccabre (Holbein's Dance of Death) was painted on the walls of the cloisters of the Innocents, at Paris, and in those of Old St. Paul's Cathedral, London, which were double, one placed above the other.' p. 36.
Art. VI. An Inquiry into the State of the Nation at the Commencement of the present Administration. 4th Edition. pp. 218. Price 5s. Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, and Ridgway, London. 1806.
HE lively interest which this publication has excited, and the high rank and political connexion ascribed to its author, na
turally led us to expect a work characterized by extensive information and deep sagacity. Such have, doubtless, been also the expectations of many of our readers, and, therefore, without detaining them by preliminary observations, we shall immediately lay before them a faithful analysis of its contents, from which they may judge how far the opinion which we shall give of its merits and tendency is consistent with truth and candour.
In a short introduction, the author laments that the state of the nation has not, for several ycars, been discussed in parliament, and fears that the change of ministry has precluded such an inquiry there. With a view, therefore, of assisting the public in examining the question out of doors, his statement is drawn up. "It is," he adds, " a very humble attempt at providing a substitute for the information respecting the state of their affairs, which the people would have received from the deliberations of their representatives, had the formation of the new ministry been so long delayed as to have given time for an inquiry into the state of the nation."
He arranges the disquisition under three general heads: as it refers to the state of our foreign relations, our domestic economy, and our colonial affairs; although it is to the first of these only that the discussion actually extends.
Under the subdivision of consequences of the late continental alliance, he begins with noticing the assurance of ministers in 1808, that they would solicit the mediation of Russia towards an amicable adjustment of our differences with France; and asserts that, so far from our intercourse with that country having any such tendency, its object was nothing more than the formation of a fresh coalition against France, which was obstinately persisted in, till the treaty of concert of April 1805 was concluded. After making this assertion, the ground of a serious charge against this country, for insincerity in our answers to the pacific proposals of the French government in 1805, he proceeds to place the impolicy and folly of our conduct in a strong point of light, by contending that the league had no consistent or definite object in view. Implacable hostility to France, was, in his opinion, the uniformly actuating motive of all our endeavours; and to attack her, and try the issue, the only fixed point of concert. In this accusation we cannot think our author very successful; for no sooner has he made it, than he gives an enumeration of the purposes for which the allies avow that the league was formed. These are stated to be" the independence of Holland, of Switzerland, the re-establishment of the King of Sardinia in Piedmont, the future security of the Kingdom of Naples the evacuation of Italy by the French forces, the evacuation of Hanover, and the establishment of an order of things in Europe, which may effectually guarantee its security and independence.
He endeavours, it is true, to represent these objects in so absurd a point of light, as to deprive them altogether of the importance attached to them in the opinion of the coalition, and thus imagines that his assertion is confirmed, that they had no precise object in view. But supposing that the coalition had not formed a sufficiently distinct idea of the purposes they wished to accomplish, we are still of opinion that he has greatly underrated their value, and the apparent probability of attaining them. It will not, moreover, surprize us to see the conduct of the present administration, in various instances, demonstrate the fallacy, as well as the unfairness of many vehement assertions on similar topics.
The author proceeds to shew, that it was bad policy to urge the commencement of hostilities, under the pretence of resenting the recent seizure of Genoa by the French, and contends that it was not only ill-concerted, but ill-timed; that it was our business" to curb the sudden resentment of Austria and Russia, until it could be displayed with effect; and to retard the moment of their attack upon France until their mutual relations were cemented, and their resources were ripe for so dreadful a contest." (p. 26.) He appears here to have lost sight of a very important argument on the other side of the question, viz. that perpetual aggrandizement on the part of France, and consequent diminution of strength on the part of those whose interest the allies were to protect, must have eventually led to the defeat of any coalition, unless speedily formed and put in motion.
Our author thinks it unwise also, that the negociation for the alliance was begun with Russia and Sweden, as principals, instead of Austria.
“Her resources were to bear the shock of the war, or her existence was staked upon its issue; yet we do not apply to Austria, but to Russia, or rather we first apply to Austria, we find she is not ready or not willing to begin the war for her own interests; and therefore we go to Sweden and Russia, who happen at the time to be in an ill humour with France. This was surely not the best way of securing the cordial union of Austria." p. 27.
This is certainly loose writing, whether the assertion be true or false; but where momentous conclusions are intended to be derived from such a statement, it merits more serious reprehension.
He next adverts to the prospect held out that Prussia would join the coalition, and endeavours to prove, not only that there was no foundation for such hope, but that there was greater reason to conclude she would unite with France. In the whole of the argument we discover a very decided tone of opinion, without a proper statement of the circumstances, upon which only a correct opinion could be formed. This important defect is attempted
to be supplied, it is true, by extracts from official papers, yet these seem selected rather to support our author's own particular views, than fairly to elucidate the subject of inquiry.
On a material occurrence, the violation of Anspach, we find something very much like a contradiction; he says, "the accidental circumstance of the violation of Anspach, which no one could have foreseen, first determined Prussia not to attack the members of the league." (p. 44.) But in another part of the pamphlet, p. 123, he mentions as one of two grievous errors of the Austrians, their " expecting the enemy would respect the Prussian neutrality."
Here again he finds cause for censure, and deems it wonderful that no attempt should have been made by England to avail herself of this happy revolution in the sentiments of Prussia.
"Not indeed," he adds, " for the vain purpose of inducing Prussia to join the league, which the very day before she had been prepared to oppose, but in order to use her new enmity towards France as a means of regaining the ground which the allies had lost by their rashness, and of submitting the whole dispute to Prussian mediation before it went further, at a time when France would have listened to whatever came from Berlin; while the forces of Austria were not irreparably injured, and the armies of Russia were still unimpaired." p. 47.
It hardly need be stated, that Lord Harrowby was actually deputed on a mission to Berlin at this critical juncture, and was unfortunately delayed at Harwich, by contrary winds, for a very unusual time. What was the precise object of his Lordship's mission we do not pretend to say; but we admire that sagacity which declares what it ought to have been. We are astonished at the ingenuity which discovers that a power, incensed by violent aggression, would be a fit mediator between the aggressor, and other powers with whom he was at open war; and that this aggressor, after victory had crowned his injustice, would tamely admit the impartial interference of a power which he had dared to insult before.
It is doubtful indeed whether Prussia was so ill-disposed to the confederacy as our author would presume; for it would seem that some sort of treaty actually existed between Russia and Prussia, although he decries the authority of M. Gentz, who assures us of the fact; and at the same time says, "it is inconsistent with the plan of his inquiry, to cite any authorities which are not official." (p. 49.)
Whether this assertion be official or not, we conceive that the well-known character of this statesman, might have led our author to suspect the possibility of his being rightly informed, and at least should have softened those reproaches, which perhaps might prove to be unfounded.
The conduct of the allies passes next under his examination,