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them here. It might seem extraordinary, that Dr. Priestley, should have so far forgot the common decorums of society, as to have given to the world the name of his antagonist. Every author has a right to remain anonymous, the merits of no controversy ought to be affected by the personal character of the disputants ; and the very existence in a manner of a periodical review, depends upon the impossibility of afcribing each article to its particular writer.--This is Dr. Priestley's reasoning upon the subject.
“ As a writer, no man, I will venture to say, has been more observant of punétilios than I have been ; but when a man's moral character is arraigned, as mine very materially is in this publication, he certainly has a right to the name of his accuser, if he can come at it. Indeed, no man af honour will advance füch a charge against another without, at the same time, giving his own naine.
But perhaps, a much better defence, than any Dr. Priestley could have set up, is afforded him in the reply of his antagonist.
The name of an Author is of little consequence to the public; and to bis argument it is of no consequence at all. Its obfcurity will not leflen the force of his reasoning, in the estimation of a judi. cious and unprejudiced reader: And were it as splendid as your own, it would give no weight to what is frivolous, and no authority to what is false,
Names, however, have great influence with readers of another description, and you who have written fo copiously on the association of ideas, know the use of the doctrine perfectly well, and can apply it to your own purpose with a dexterity which does great credit to your art and skill in mancuvring a controversy. The great difficulty lies, in doing all this with an appearance of christian meckness and fimplicity;, and in throwing the serpent into the back ground of the piece, while all the dove is brought forward in full relief. Ars eft celare artem: And it is the utmost point of art to keep up this " covert and
convenient ferming;" for fimplicity, in trying too much to look like berself, looks so much like something else, that we are ready to suspect that the serpent haih only been guilty of one of his old tricks, and hath ftolon a foreign shape in order to play bis game quith more success.'
While Mr. Badcock remained a Monthly Reviewer, it would have been wandering extremely from our province, to have faid any thing of his pretensions as a writer. Now. that he has come forward in a separate publication, it would be as cowardly to refuse a verdict, as it would before have been childish to pronounce it. He has certainly some ability, and considerable facility of language. There is a flippancy, and a fluency in his style, which will always command the admiration of fome, and excite the ignorant wonder of many. But this readiness of expression is polished with no grace, and stamped with no character,
He is fierce without being terrible, and his rage is unattend. ed with either dignity or strength. Upon the whole we cannot help recommending to his attention the latter part of the prediction of Dr. Prieftly. “ If he should ever really study the subject of this controversy (which it is evident enough he has not done yet) he will find that he is mistaken with refpect to every part of it; and if he ever comes to reflett upor bis conduit in this business in a moral light, he will feel more than I should wish him or any man to do, except for his own good."
Art. IX. The New Annual Register; or General Repository of Hif
tory of Politics, and Literature, for the Years 1780, 81, 82, and
83. 8vo. 6s. each, boards. Robinson. THE general value of performances of this kind is fuf
ficiently obvious. They are calculated alike for instruction' and entertainment; and they lerve to accumulate for pofterity, very ample materials of intelligence and inforination. They are a fource from which the Historians, the Philosophers, and the Antiquarians of future times may derive the most important topics upon which to employ their penetration, their research, and their eloquence. "No period could possibly be inore'interesting than that at which the present undertaking has commenced. The cone tefts between France and Spain, the prosecution of the American war, the agitated condition of Ireland, the rise of county associations, and a variety of other objects of moment attracted curiosity, But that this work should be as perfect as poffible within itself, there is pretixed to the first volume, A Review of all the principal transactions of the present reign.' This introduction while it is allowed to be masterly as a composition has the effect to prepare the rcader for the full exhibition of the public affairs for the year seventeen hundred and eighty, with which the anthors of the present undertaking thought it proper to begin their career.
The Annual Register published for Mr. Dodsley had previously obtained a very considerable reputation. But while it' degenerated from its original merit, it adopted very ftrenuously the language of faction and party; and its mode of publication became so uncertain and dilatory, that it was impossible to guess at what period its compilers were to submit their efforts to the public.
There thus arose a neceflity for the publication of " A New Annual Register' which should exhibit the advan, tages of the old, without its defects. The conductors of this new work were apprized of the difficulties they had to encounter ; and they had the courage and the ability to fura mount them.
The great divisions of this undertaking have a reference to the following departments--to British and foreign Hils tory, to principal occurrences, to public Papers, to Biographical anecdotes and characters, to Manners of Nations, to Philosophical Discoveries and Speculations, to Antiquities, to Miscellaneous Efsays, to Poetry, and to domestic and foreign Literature. These points are equally fertile and important; and it has been the endeavour of the conductors of the New Annual Register to exercise with regard to them, the utmost perspicuity, copiousness, and impartiality. 4:
While we remark that those portions of the volumes before us which are chiefly to be considered as collections are manag. cd with propriety and skill, it is our duty to observe that in the original departments there are exhibited a highdegree of information and the exercise, not only of ability, but of candour. The domestic and foreign History is doubtless the most important branch of the undertaking; and such it has been attended to with a proportioned effort. It even appears to us that this branch has uniformly improved. The last vor lume poffesses in this article superior, advantages, allumes, & form morę united and compact, and exhibits a brighter and a happier narrative.
In the Review of domestic and foreign Literature there are ftrong traces of extreme labour, joined to critical acumen, But whát renders this article particularly conspicuous, are the interesting brevity with which the author" points to the strength and weakness of different productions, his judicious impartiality, and the zeal he inspires for the cir.. culation of knowledge.
It is also to be observed, that to the second volume of ihe present undertaking, there are prefixed discourses concerning the progress of erudition, literature, and tafte in. Great Britain. These discourses are able and judicious, and we shall amuse our readers with a short extract from that which appears before the second volume.
• The elegance of the pulpit forms no great objeet in our present survey. The discourfes of our best and most celebrated divinęs were rational, fenfible,' and judicious: they contained excellent in. structions, conveyed in plain, clear, and sometimes elegant language: they are a valuable part of English literature, have eminent moral and practical merit, and excell in explications of fcripture : but they seldom afcend to dignity or pathos ; they feldom attain that subli. mity, variety and tenderness which might, perhaps, be expected from the important and interesting subjects which the preacher has to recommend. If any one is to be distinguished from the rest of the pulpit orators of his time, it is bifhop Sherlock. The general character of his fermons, like that of those of contemporaries, is the calm and perfpicuous mode of composition. But they have usually a greater elegance; and they occasionally rise to a certain degree of
grandeur. We remember that the conclufion of one of bishop Sherlock's discourses is uncoinmonly striking and sublime. There is, likewise, in him, a refinement of sentiment and reasoning, which we are not sure to be always founded on truth.
. Another matter, well delerving of our consideration, is the state of Hiitorical Writing. The light in which we before mentioned
Rapin, was only that of his political value and influence, and he is not an object of attention in the point we have now in view. The cir'cumstance in which our country had long failed, and wherein it had little title to fame, was the composition of history. Many works, indeed, we had, of great use with regard to information, but they were destitute of elegance and dignity. It was reserved for the latter end of king George the Second's reign, to enable England to vie with foreign nations, and even with the authors of antiquity, in this mode of writing. To Mr. Hume and Dr. Robertson we are indebced for fo noble a revolution. But we say the less of thein at present, as they will come before us hereafter, when the name of a Gibbon will be added to them, and when, perhaps, fome other names will not be found unworthy to be recorded.
• It was a long time before this kingdom shone in biography. A number of single lives had been written, and there were a few genesal collections; but they were not recommended by any uncommon excellence, either with respect to choice in selection, neatness of compofition, or fagacity of reflexion. The translation first of Bayle feparately, and then another tranilation of him, with the addition of a multitude of lives, extending the work to ten volumes folio, introduced a more general taste for biographical knowledge. "The Bi
ographia Britannica” succeeded, being consecrated to the worthies of our own country. Both the “ General Dictionary," and the Biographia Britannica are works' of very unequal execution; but, notwithstanding this, they are considerable objects in the literary history of the period. Of the single lives which were published, few could be compared with that of Cicero, by Dr. Middleton. Mallet's account of lord Bacon might have deserved to have been distinguished, if he had been more particular in his furvey of that great man's philosophy. Biography hath lately become a favourite Itudy with the public, and our future survey of it will hold it out in all its lustre.
We may observe, by the way, that the age was marked by scientific, as well as biographical collections. Harris's and Chambers's Dictionaries are works of no small consequence, and the latter hath been remarkably popular. The productions of this kind, in which universal science has been thrown into the alphabetical form, for general instruction, have enabled the bulk of the people to acquire Tome little portion of knowledge, upon any subject that excites their curiosity, or requires their attention.
• Another species of writing, historical in its nature, but fictitious in its foundation, Romance Writing, was carried to a singular degree of perfection, by two extraordinary men in this way, Fielding and Richardson. These gentlemen were remarkably different in their talents, but both were excellent in the kind of composition they adopted. Fielding, taking Don Quixote and Gil Blas for his mo3
dels, was admirable in the humorous novel, and in the representation
*Among the various objects which engaged the attention of a
• If we look back to the state of the arts of Painting, Sculpture, and Design, in the period we have been considering, we fhall not, in this respect, find much cause for triumph. The two first Georges, though excellent monarchs, were no patrons of these arts, being destitute of taste with regard to them, and ignorant of the glory which they reflect upon a country, Nor had the nation, in general, though growing in wealth, splendour, and luxury, acquired that delicacy of discernment which is necessary to excite a proper emulation among the artists, to animate their exertions, and to push them on to perfection. There were, however, some portrait and landscape painters, and some engravers, who might deserve to be plauded in a more particular hittory. The inimitable Hogarth it is needless to mention, whose humours and moral paintings, which are almost sufficient of themselves to compensate for the defects of the age, are univerfally known, admired and telt. Sculpture is not only gaining ground, but making great advances under Roubiliac; and Architecture was much improved by the knowledge and patronage of Lord Burlington. . Gardening was the art that was the most diftinguished by its rapid progrets to the height of tatic and elegance,