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tries than in his own. Notwithstanding, however, all the untoward circumstances which have prevented the genius of Bentham from being justly appreciated by his contemporaries, it must be accounted an instance of rare good fortune, that such a man as Dumont became his acquaintance and his friend. If it very seldom happens, that, to such extraordinary talents as Bentham possesses, is united an ardent desire to devote them totally and exclusively to the service of mankind; it is no less uncommon to find a writer possessed of the eloquence, the powers of development, and the perspicuity and vigour of expression which so eminently distinguish Dumont, contented, instead of applying his great endowments to some original work which might immortalize himself, to submit, from no other motive than that of benefiting his fellow-creatures, to the humble office of setting forth another's ideas to advantage, and of advancing another's fame. As the merit of the greatest philosopher of antiqnity would have been little known to posterity but for the sublime writings of his eloquent disciple, so it is possible that, but for Dumont, Bentham's reputation might never have emerged from obscurity.
It is not, however, to Mr Bentham's style alone that we find reason to object. Nothing, in our opinion, can be more injudicious than the manner in which he has, in his various writings, combated existing evils. It has been truly said, that we always weaken our attack when we exaggerate the abuse attacked. This, Mr Bentham appears to us almost always to do; and when we observe the language in which he inveighs against the supposed frauds of lawyers, the corruption of boroughmongers, and the imputed profligacy of public men of all parties, we blush to find some features of resemblance between one of the first philosophers of the age, and that unhappy class of literary persons, whom necessity impels, or the capricious appetite of the publick invites to exaggerate, and misrepresent, and calumpiate, in pursuit of a subsistence at once discreditable and precarious.
Art. XI. Rome, Naples, et Florence en 1817. Ou Esquisses sur
l'Etat actuel de la Societé, des Meurs, des Arts, de la Litterature, &c. de ces Villes célébres. 8vo. pp. 365. Paris & London. Delauny & Colburn. 1817.
thor proposed to himself to set down, without any other arrangement than the order of time, what he saw from day to day, with such remarks as occurred to him ; and to select for publication his notes respecting the three great cities of Italy beyond the Appennines. It is evident, however, that the value of a work constructed upon this plan, must depend wholly upon the talents and accomplishments of the author; and that the cursory observations of a superficial, flippant, ignorant person, must form one of the most insignificant books in the world. It will be as empty as his conversation, without any of the liveliness, by means of which a great deal of silly talk is often made bearable in society; and it will contain none of the materials by which a dull author frequently contrives to make a tolerable book out of other men's sayings or writings.
The writer of this volume is announced, in the newspaper advertisements, though not in the title-page, as a Baron Stendahl. He tells us, at the beginning of his journal, that he is thirty years of age; is attached to the embassy at Berlin; and was thrown into transports approaching to delirium, on receiving the leave of absence which enabled him to see Italy. Mais (adds he) je me cache soigneusement du Ministre; -and the reason is a whimsical one— les eunuques sont en colere perma• nente contre les libertins.' From the envy, then, of his unfortunate superior, (for jealousy of course is out of the question), he anticipates a cold reception for at least two months after bis return; but he consoles himself with the reflexion, that he shall enjoy himself in the mean while; and who knows,' he asks, • if the world will last three weeks?' The first paragraph of the work which we have analyzed, may give the reader a guess of the flippant character he has to deal with, in the person of the Baron de Stendahl.
The first of his various passions is apparently for musick. When he arrives at Munich, he is highly gratified at witnessing the attentions paid to Madame Catalani ; but when he gets to Milan, and sees the Scala, he is beside himself. "Mon voyage 'est payé. Mes organes épuisés n'étaient plus susceptibles de
plaisir. Tout ce que l'imagination la plus orientale peut rêver . de plus singulier, de plus frappant, de plus riche en beautés • d'architecture; tout ce que l'on peut se représenter en drape
ries brillantes, en personnages qui, non seulement ont les habits, mais la physionomie, mais les gestes des pays où se passe
l'action, je l'ai vu ce soir.' (p. 2.) This is the first impres. sion; but the second is still more violent; and he concludes a page and a half of rapture by saying, that he is intoxicated and transported while he writes,' Night after night he goes to the same place, and his transports suffer no sensible abatement ; for he goes on raving about the actors, actresses, decorations,
and orchestra, the whole time of his stay at Milan. Solliva, the composer of the opera which he saw, is compared to Haydn and Mozart, and also to Correggio. The singers are lauded in proportion; though some of them are mentioned rather unceremoniously, especially the prima donna, who, though praised abundantly for her voice and science, is broadly asserted to have derived great improvemeut from having lived with Veluti, one of the class formerly noticed as being en colere permanente contre les libertins ;' and, still more strange to tell, she is also characterized as ' amoureuse de l'amour. We really cannot see what right the author has to publish all the disgusting slanders of the green-room, with the names of the parties at full length. About this period of his progress, breaks out that hatred of the English which never quits him during his whole journey. In the only remark upon Milan not connected with the theatre, be says the Milanese is remarkable for two things, • la sagacité et la bonté;' and he adds, quand il discute, il est le contraire des Anglois, il est serré comme Tacite.' It is some comfort, however, to find, that we are blamed in good company; for it seems, dès qu'il ecrit, il veut faire des belles phrases toscanes; et il est plus bavard que Ciceron.'
From Milan he goes to Parma; stops an hour to see the frescoes of Correggio, one of which makes him cry; and at Bologna he halts thirty-six hours, sees ten galeres, and hears two concerts. He despatches the science of the learned city very quickly— Je suis presenié aux savans ; quels sots!! Arrived at Florence, he flies to the theatre, and is enchanted with an opera of Rossini, (or, as he terms him, mon aimable Rossini'), who has, it seems, composed a new 'Barbiere di Sevilla."" This daring attempt at rivalling the masterpiece of one of the first of all the masters, is considered by our author as the mark of a • true genius '--though we doubt not there are some who will deem this rather impudent than bold. At Florence there is literally nothing but such remarks upon the opera. But the Baron holds this to be the most important of all subjects; and makes mention, with great complacency, of a judge's wife playing as primà donna, and a captain of horse the primo buffo. • Il n'y a jamais' (he adds) · de honte en Italie, à faire ce qui
est raisonnable; en d'autres termes, le pays est moins gâté par la noblesse.'
At Rome he is greatly dispirited by the want of a good opera; meets everywhere crowds of English, who, to all his musical observations, only reply by 'rema kz taken from Burney ; and having little to amuse him in the way of practice, he takes to speculating upon various points of larning connected with
bis favourite study. He asks why there is a pleasure in hearing a person sing when you are melancholy; and he answers, that • this art, in some obscure manner which does not hurt our • amour-propre, makes us believe in the existence of pity, and • that it gives the consolation of tears.' He lays it down, however, that the art is positively hurtful to tender minds under affiction for the loss of some beloved object~' Il ne fait que nuire,' says he, * et il hâte les progres de la phthisie.' We submit to him, whether certain branches of it have not a greater tendency to produce this effact than others; as playing on the flute, or other wind instrument. One of the pleasantest evenings which he appears to have passed in the Eternal City, was at the house of a certain lawyer, where he heard very good musick, and very sensible conversation, particularly in a tête-àtète which he had in a corner with a very fat man ;-who proved to be a rich tailor.
At Naples, the Baron commits immediately an infidelity to his favourite Scala ; the San Carlo, just rebuilt, was opened while he was there, and he was present of course. He is so overwhelmed with delight, that for several days he cannot criticise at all; and then he discovers the vocal part to be indifferent. It seems the Italians are as great enthusiasts as himself, and they have a peculiar delight in seeing the opening of a new theatre. The persons most rigid in their economy at all other times, he says, willingly give forty louis for a box on such an occasion; and he saw several people who had come from Venice on purpose, and returned the day after—' Avares (he remarks) pour • les petites choses, ces gens-ci sont prodigues dans les grandes.' As the effects of the first night wear off, he becomes discontented with the whole of the Neapolitan musick, and admits that he leaves Naples sans une seule jouissance musicale.'
The Baron's first visit to Rome and Florence, on his way to Naples, seems to have exhausted all he had to say upon musick; - for, from the time of his leaving Naples, we hear little or nothing of that topick, which had till then engrossed literally every page of his journal ; and as he is a man of some liveliness and acuteness, with all his flippancy, we find his observations frequently worth attending to, when the subjects become somewhat more important. The eulogium of Cardinal Gonsalez is the first to which he turns his attention upon his second arrival at Rome, From every thing that is known of that able and enlightened minister, we believe the praises bestowed upon him in this book, are the reverse of being exaggerated. We know not the authority upon which the anecdote told in p. 122 is given ; but it mezils sone attention, is authentick. The fanatical, or rather HighChurch party, it seems, are perpetually beseeching the Pope to remove a minister whose measures they represent as calculated to increase the number of the damned among the subjects of • the Church.' The measures which fill them with this holy dread, are not particularly mentioned, except one, which unquestionably must have the alleged tendency, the admission of lay persons into the different departments of the administration. We apprehend, however, that some other improvements which this wise ruler has introduced, must raise a similar alarm
among their Eminences, more especially the abolishing the right of sanctuary, so that a murderer can no longer take refuge in a church, or other consecrated place. The abolition of torture, too, we conceive, may have caused much disquiet in those holy bosoms; a disquiet not to be altogether allayed by the reservation of their undoubted rights of self-infliction, whether by fasting or flogging. Now, when those pious Cardinals, from time to time frighten the Pope with their pictures of the great increase in the total amount of the damned, in consequence of such wicked devices, his Holiness, it is said, sends for the author of all the mischief, Cardinal Gonsalez, who speaks as follows.
“ Je juge des crimes secrets par les crimes qui arrivent à la connaissance des tribunaux, et non par les rapports des confesseurs : un souverain est responsable, aux yeux de Dieu, de tous les crimes que ses lois laissent commettre. Los crimes et l'esprit général de friponnerie étaient diminués des deux tiers sous le gouvernement français. La perversité a reparu sous le gouvernement ultrà qui m'a précédé. Je reviens aux mesures françaises. J'ai déjà trois cents assassinats de moins par an : ce qui fait probablement six cents damnés de moins.” p. 122.
The author adds these reflexions.
• Les trois quarts des cardinaux sont très pieux ; mais comme nos grands hommes d'état, ils n'ont que l'expérience de la solitude. Ce qu'ils savent des hommes, ils l'ont appris dans l'histoire du seizième siècle. Ils ne se doutent pas du leur ; tout ce qui est jeune à Rome, sent fort bien qu'il faut donner une autre forme au principe religieux. Si la forme continue à choquer le fond, la source tarira, et, se faisant jour par des conduits secrets, ira former les superstitions les plus extravagantes. Les jeunes prélats qui ont voyagé sont convenus avec moi que le seul pays du monde où il y ait encore de la religion, c'est l'Angleterre.' p. 122, 123.
At Fiorence, our author seems never to be pleased. The singular beauty of the place, and the rich stores both of ancient and modern art, have little power to fix this true Parisian. The VOL. XXIX No. 57.