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this country, is contained in the catalogues of our booksellers. It will be seen, by reference to these documents, that a large proportion of English literature has been transplanted to our shores. Many of the English authors such as Shakspeare, Junius and Blackstone-Reid, Stuart and Beattie-Southey, Scott, Moore and Byron—and most of the standard novelists—have been naturalized, and multiply like the polypus on our soil. Domestic journals cannot exist, unless they are garnished with the flowers, and seasoned with the salt, which we import from the British isle. A very spirited competition is maintained by our traders to procure“ a first copy” of any new works of merit, and editions' of 500 to 1000 are speedily sold. The mere courtesy-right, if it may be so denominated, of republishing the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews,* was recently purchased for a consideration of eight or ten thousand dollars: a sum far exceeding what has ever been paid in this country for a copy-right, excepting in the case of judge Marshall; who is said to have received fifty thou. sand dollars for his Life of Washington.
Now let it be recollected that, in no instance scarcely, where the American character is concerned, does it receive a liberal construction abroad. Instead of consulting our constitution, the commentaries upon it in the Federalist, and the decisions under it which have been reported by Dallas and Cranch, British writers decide upon our government and our judiciary from the representations of Ash and Janson. Yet our relish for English books suffered little abatement, notwithstanding such offensive conduct, until the publication of two articles in the Quarterly Review, which betrayed so shameless a disregard of truth, so much bitter malignity, such a remorseless hostility, against every thing that bore the American name, that those who disseminated the work as a proper antidote to a rival journal,-among whom we were very zealous-regard it with a degree of disgust that is scarcely removed by the admirable manner in which the writers in this journal often inculcate the purest doctrines. So that these peo
* It is a custom among the honourable and liberal of the trade, not to interfere with one who republishes an English book, by putting another edition in market, except under very particular circumstances.
ple seem to strive, by their merciless butchering, how far they can alienate our feelings towards the subjects, since we have renounced our allegiance to the king. John Bull, says the Edinburgh reviewers, cannot be put “so much out of his way, as by agreeing with him. He is never in such good humour as with what gives him the spleen, and is most satisfied when he is sulky. If you find fault with him, he is in a rage; and if you praise him, suspects you have a design upon him. He recominends himself to another by affronting him, and if that will not do, knocks him down, to convince him of his sincerity. He gives himself such airs no mortal ever did, and wonders at the rest of the world for not thinking him the most amiable person breathing. John means well too, but he has an odd way of showing it, hy a total disregard of other people's feelings and opinions.".
On the subject of American literature they are carefully silent. In the article which has produced these remarks, it might be supposed, from the title prefixed to it, that the two journals in question constituted a mirror in which the whole literature of the country would be seen reflected. The “ succint view" of the first mentioned journal is confined to a detection of a false principle in ethics, without informing the public that the Magazine contains a variety of well written articles on the commerce and literature of this country, and has been distinguished by the manner in which it has exposed the misrepresentations of those Eng. lish writers, who have pretended to describe the naval actions which occurred during the late war.
The Port Folio is the oldest literary journal that is now published in this country, having struggled along through good report and evil report, since the commencement of the present century. This is the first time, as far as we know, that the British public have been informed of its existence, in so formal a manner; and we have to regret that the English editor, instead of giving a “succinet view" of our labours, should have been content with a paragraph, from our prospectus, the meaning of which he has misconceived. We never acted under the absurd persuasion, that we could shut our eyes against those lights of experience which are blazing so vividly in the mother country. We are too poor, too young, to carry on business for ourselves. In every number, almost, of this journal, during the few months that it
has been under our direction, it has been shown, that we are willing to draw from the pure wells of English literature. In England, the diversion of baiting an author, Dr. Johnson says, has the sanction of all ages; but it is not so here. With us, a work generally issues from the press under the cover of certain names, of sounding import with the vulgar, who will recommend a book sometimes merely, it must be conjectured, because they are thus enabled to see their names in print. If the reviewer has the hardi. hood to investigate the merits and demonstrate the shallowness of a book-no matter how great may be the deficiency, the community sneers at his vanity and the writer hates him for his honesty. Hence we have generally suffered such trash to bubble along on the stream of oblivion, without visit or search, and have preferred the course of recommending, on better authority than our own, the admirable models which are constantly issuing from the British press. On this subject we deny the influence of any “ narrow principle:” we feel that those who are engaged in the pursuits of literature are all of one great family, and that it is the general interest to “ cultivate a reciprocal good understanding."
A: we have occasion to dilate on this subject in another article, we shall conclude by assuring the respectable editor of the Critical Review, that we receive his admonitions in the spirit in which they were intended, and shall be glad to promote an “interchange" of literature, with those who resemble this gentleman, in his good sense and good manners.
CRITICISM.-An Experimental Inquiry into the Chemical Properties and
Medicinal Qualities of the principal Mineral Waters of Ballston and Saratoga, in the state of New York. With directions for the use of those waters in the various diseases to which they are applicable, and observations on diet and regimen. TO which is added an Appendix, containing a chemical analysis of the Lebanon Spring in the State of NewYork. By William Meade, M. D. Philadelphia, Harrison Hall. 8vo. pp. 195. 1817.
This is a book containing not only a good analysis of our mineral waters at Saratoga and Ballston, but a very accurate and useful account of their virtues, and the disorders wherein they may be exhibited with safety or otherwise.
Hitherto no regular analysis has been made of any of our mineral springs, excepting those of York county, and Carlisle, in Cumberland county, by Mr. Cutbush and judge Cooper. . The Bedford springs have not yet been analyzed, nor any of the springs that attract our citizens in Virginia; such as the Warm Springs, the Sulphur Springs, &c. Hence it is manifest, that whether the use of them be pernicious or salutary, is mere matter of accident; for no physician can safely prescribe them, until he accurately knows their contents, and is thus able to apply them in proper doses to the proper disorders they are adapted to relieve.
In these respects Dr. Meade's book is extremely useful, and may serve as a model for publications of this kind, as it not only exhibits with chemical accuracy the contents of the waters examined, but treats also with medical accuracy of the disorders wherein they are calculated to do good or harm. Beside these parts of his plan, he has given us a mineralogical and geological description of the country where the springs in question are situated; a necessary part of such a book, because the mineralogy of the country is a key to the contents of the springs that rise in it, and forms an essential part of their natural history.
Our readers will be gratified by the following synoptical table, extracted from Dr. Meade's work, which contains, in a small compass, much useful information.