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I increased my dose of calomel and took tea very copiously. In the afternoon of the day following I wrote to the worthy Mr. Duff, the consul-general, requesting him to send Dr. Fife, an English physician, who, on visiting me, confirmed what my hostess had said, adding, however, that the symptoms were favourable. He prescribed no medicines, but ordered me to take tamarinds and hot mint tea at intervals in large quantities. After a third restless night, I found my pulse was above 130, and the fourth day brought the crisis of my disorder. At night I was suddenly seized with extreme sickness, which lasted the longer, by reason of the great quantities of liquid I had taken; a profuse perspiration ensued, and did not abate until I was reduced from a robust habit of body to a state of extreme meagerness and debility. I now recovered rapidly, and in six days was enabled to visit Dr. Fife assured me that the favourable turn of my illness was owing friends. my to the calomel I had previously taken; and added, that if I had doubled the dose on the first appearance of the symptoms, there would, probably, have been no occasion for his attendance."
In estimating the merits of this work as a literary composition, we find no pretensions to reputation on the score of philosophical or historical reflection. Here are no attempts at general views, except in a few instances, when they are confined to the objects of the author's personal observation-trade, agriculture, and mineralogy, especially the last. The chief part of the volume is a plain narrative of local and individual occurrences; of the journey through a particular tract; of the situation of a certain town or village; and of the cultivation of a certain district or province. Though composed with care, and free from that repetition which we have so often occasion to censure, it might have been better had many of the humbler details been omitted or abridged. Mr. Mawe, as well as other writers of less modesty, has yet to learn how much may be gained by a discriminating selection of interesting circumstances; and by making a book consist of them, instead of aiming to incorporate with them a multiplicity of subor dinate observations.
A Critical Examination of the Writings of Richard Cumberland, Esq. with an occasional literary Inquiry into the Age in which he lived, and the Contemporaries with whom he flourish ed. Also Memoirs of his Life, and an Appendix, containing Twenty-six original Letters, relating to a Transaction not mentioned in his Memoirs. A new and improved Edition. By William Mudford, 2 Vols. 8vo. pp. 670.
(From the Monthly Review.)
Ar the sale of the library of an eminent scholar of the last age, a book was put up by the auctioneer with this puff, that it contained the doctor's manuscript-notes. Thus recommended, it obtained a high price; but, when the happy purchaser took home his lot, the only note which it contained was in these words-" This book is not worth reading." After having patiently proceeded through the present minute and elaborate exami nation of the numerous writings of Mr. Cumberland, within a page or two of the end we meet with a note by Mr. Mudford which is very similar in its purport to the above, and which ought to have saved him and the reader much trouble. In reference to the works of Cumberland which he has been so critically analyzing, he observes that " a very small portion of them will be required by posterity." What is the amount of this confession? It is a declaration that he had been wasting his talents in discussing the merits of writings which will never be sought.-Cumberland was a very voluminous author; as a play-wright " breeding every season," and in some seasons more than once: but it was not necessary that his biographer and critical examiner should now enter into a full discussion of the qualities of all his dramas, and dissect the several characters which they contain. After the public has been long apprised of the nature of an author's productions, and has decided on the life of some and the death of others, no good purpose seems likely to be answered by making the dead men pass a second time through the fire.
If we advert to these volumes as containing Memoirs of Cumberland's life, it is singular that Mr. M. should allege, as he does at p. 256., "his avowed purpose and design to be to produce an original work," when his narrative treads in the steps of the very Memoir which the deceased author had given of himself. Indeed, so largely had Mr. M. borrowed from the book on which his own is founded, that (as we are told in the second preface)" the pub. lishers of Mr. Cumberland's Memoirs conceived that the extracts which he had selected from them had a tendency to diminish the
value of their property, and obtained therefore an injunction re straining the sale of this work :" an injunction which has obliged Mr. M., in the new and improved edition, to cut out long passa ges which he had borrowed from the Memoirs of Cumberland written by himself, and very dextrously to fill up the places thus made vacant by rehearsing the substance of the expunged extract, and by subjoining opposite observations; so that the paging of the second edition exactly corresponds with that of the first, and the index at the end is adapted alike to both.
For undertaking a new life of Cumberland, perhaps little apology would be required from Mr. Mudford. He who sits down to compile memoirs of himself may be better acquainted with the subject of his book than any body else: but it is not very proba ble that he will tell all that he knows; and it may be fairly suspected, without a violation of candour, that judgment will at times be blinded by self-love. Different motives may be assigned for the same action, and a different colouring given to the same train of facts. It is manifest from the letters published in the appen dix to this edition, that Mr. Cumberland did not reveal all the material transactions of his life; and that his ministerial patrons are not chargeable with all that neglect of him of which he so bitterly complains in his Memoirs. His case of the Spanish mission, as told by himself, appears hard in the extreme, and a mystery is thrown over the affair which it is now difficult to unravel. The perplexing circumstance is not only that the king of Spain, to whose court Cumberland was sent, should offer to pay him his expenses, and that our court should withhold them: but that the king of Spain should make the proposal through his minister, accompanied by the declaration of a belief that these expenses would not be liquidated by the court of which Mr. C. was an ac credited agent.* It would hence appear that Cumberland did not execute his delicate business as a diplomatist to the satisfaction of his employers: but if the ministry refused him the remunera tion which he sought on that ground, they had previously allowed him to sell the patent of his office of provost marshal in the province of South Carolina, for a larger sum than he had expended in Spain, though this circumstance is not noticed in the account which he gives of himself. It will be said that his profitable sale of the patent of provost marshal was in 1770, and that his letter of recall from Spain was in 1781; and that the advantage obtain ed in one instance could not be fairly deemed a consideration for . his loss in the other: but however the case really stood, it is a fact that not even a memorial to Lord North obtained him
The expressions of the Spanish minister's letter to Mr. C. are remarkable: I have reason to apprehend you will find yourself abandoned and deceived by your employ ers.'
VOL. IV. New Series.
dress; and the singular assertion made by the king of Spain through his minister, on Cumberland's taking leave at Madrid, was verified. Will this curious affair be ever elucidated?
The facts which Mr. C. has related of himself afford ground for biographical comment, and may be considered as materials in the hands of a writer who undertakes a more finished representation of him than his own Memoirs afford. These,' says Mr. M., 'will always be regarded as an authentic history of his private and public life, as far as he has thought it proper to disclose the particulars of either; and they will always be esteemed for that fund of literary anecdote which they contain, and in the detail of which Cumberland peculiarly excels. A great chasm, however, they must leave in every thing relating to his writings, except the simple statement of their production, or of the events connected with their success or failure: and this chasm it has been my object to fill up in the present work' We must allow that, in the filling up of this chasm, we find much to applaud; and, if Mr. M. had not descended to that minuteness of criticism in noticing many of his hero's inferior performances, to which we have already alluded, we should have been still better pleased. His opinion of Cumberland and of his literary productions is offered with great freedom; and he gives us to understand that, had his conduct as a eritic been less unfettered, the proprietors of Mr. Cumberland's works would not have applied for an injunction restraining the sale of the first edition. With this business, however, we have no As little are we interested in the misunderstanding between Sir James Bland Burgess and the author. Mr. Mudford has shown a high spirit, and from the beginning of his work to the end manifests a determination to think and speak for himself. Regarding the incidents of Cumberland's life as so many pegs on which he might hang his remarks, Mr. M. digresses on every oceasion into reflections, with the propriety and justice of which we have often been pleased. Blame as well as praise is applied to his hero; and sometimes he artfully contrives to lash other authors over that gentleman's shoulders, of which practice Dr. Drake and Mrs. Inchbald may probably complain.
The work commences with some notice of Mr. Cumberland's literary ancestors, and particularly of Dr. Bentley, his maternal grandfather; and at the end of the first chapter we are directed to what is called a curious coincidence between a passage in one of Bentley's Boyle's Lecture Sermons and some lines in Pope's Essay on Man: but with this coincidence we are not so much impressed as Mr. M. seems to be; and we are surprised that he should object to Mr. Pope's introduction of the fiction of the "music of the spheres." This was allowable in a poet, though
not in a preacher. The beautiful line, so often quoted, "Die of a rose in aromatic pain," has no counterpart in Bentley's
Having dismissed Mr. Cumberland's descent, the biographer comes, in the second chapter, to the professed object of his undertaking, which is to write something about him, his works, his as sociates, and his friends, which he could not have written if he had wished, and which, perhaps, he would not have wished to have written if he could.' Mr. C.'s parental and school education pass in reveiw. The advantages which he drew from having a nother who possessed a cultivated mind are not passed over in silence; and Mr. M. contends for rendering our women so far accomplished that they may be proper companions for sensible husbands, and capable of instructing their children. He is averse to the plan of making household cares and domestic management the chief business of a woman's life, to the utter exclusion of all ornamental, of all elegant, and of all useful acquirements.' It is his opinion, also, that the business of the education of youth should be conducted more at home than it is at the present day; and, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of a public edu cation, he decides against it.
"The opportunities thus presented of laying the foundation of intimacies with men capable and likely to advance our fortunes in after life, are among the strongest arguments which the supporters of a public system of education have to advance. They are indeed arguments of great weight and importance; but I fear the instances are fewer than might be hoped where school connexions have ripened into those of manhood; or where the noble playmate has remembered his fellow when the lapse of years has led him to the possession of honours, wealth, and influence. Some cases, no doubt, may be ad uced, in opposition to this, proving the ultimate benefit of friendships formed at so early a period of life between boys of elevated and inferior conditions: and I wish, indeed, that they may be numerous, for I am afraid they are the only advantages which can be plausibly urged against the many evils attendant upon public education. The almost certain ruin of the moral character, the contagion of vice, the destruc tion of that simplicity of manners which is at once the offspring and the defence of virtue, the assumption of rude and boisterous habits which deform the outward man and corrupt his general demeanor, and the gradual relaxation of those ties of kindred by which social fit is supported and adorned, are some of the evils to be expected from public education; while they may all be avoided, and every certain benefit secured (for that which may arise from serviceable connexions, is but contingent) by private instruction."
Women, whose natural duties are domestic, need not and ought not to be educated in crowds, or in public se minaries; a situation