Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

4to appeared at Zurich, addressed by Mr. Winkelman to Mr. Mengs, but without his name, intitled, “ Thoughts on Beauty and Talte in Painting,” and was published by J. C. Fuessli. When Cardinal Albani succeeded to the place of Librarian of the Vatican, he endeavoured to get a place for the Hebrew language for Winkelman, who refused a canonry, because he would not take the tonsure. The elector of Saxony gave him, 1761, unsolicited, the place of counsellor Richter, the direction of the royal cabinet of medals and antiquities at Dresden. Upon the death of the Abbé Venuti, 1762, he was appointed president of the antiquities of the apostolic chamber, with power over all discoveries and exportations of antiquities and pictures. This is a post of honour, with an income of 160 scudi per annum. He had a prospect of the place of president of antiquities in the Vatican, going to be created at 16 scudi per month, and was named corresponding member of the Academy of Inscriptions. He had thoughts of publishing an “ Effay on the Deprava, tion of Taste in the Arts and Sciences." The King of Prussia offered him by Col. Quintus Icilus the place of librarian and director of his cabinet of medals and antiquities, void by the death of M. Gautier de la Croze, with a handsome appointment. He made no fcruple of accepting the offer ; but when it came to the pope's ears, he ada ded an appointment out of his own purse, and kept him at Rome. In April 1768, he left Rome, to go with M. Cavaceppi over Germany and Switzerland. . When he came to Vienna, he was so pleafed with the reception he met with, that he made a longer stay there than he had intended. But, being suddenly seized with a secret uneasiness, and extraordinary desire to return to Rome, he set out for Italy, putting off his visits to his friends in Germany to a future opportunity. As he paffed through Trieste, he was affalfinated June 8, 1768, by a wretch named Arcangeli, a native of Campiglia, a town in the territory of Pistoia, with whom he had made an acquaintance on the road. This miscreant for a robbery had been condemned to work in fetters four years, and then to be banished the Austrian territories, on an oath never to return. He had obtained a mitigation of one of his fentences, and retired to Venice; but, changing his quarters backwards and forwards, he was so reduced in circumstances that he at length took up his lodgings at the inn to which the Abbé happened to come. Arcangeli paid such assiduous court to him, that he entirely gained his confidence; and, having been favoured with a light of the valuable presents which he had received at Vienna, formed a design to murder and rob him. He bought a new sharp knife on purpose ; and as the Abbé (who had in the most friendly manner invited him to Rome) was fitting down in his chair, early in the morning, he threw a rope over his head, and before he could disengage himself, stabbed him in: five different places. The Abbé had still strength to get down to the ground floor, and call for help; and being laid on a bed in the midst of the most violent pain, he had composure sufficient to receive the laft facraments, and to make his will, in which he appointed Cardinal Alexander Albani his residuary legatee, and expired in the afternoon. The murderer was soon after apprehended ; and executed on the wheel opposite the inn, June 26. Some of Winkelman's MSS.

got

Sot to Vienna, where the new edition of his “ History of Art” was prefently advertised. He intended to have got this work translated into French at Berlin, by M. Touffaint, that it might be printed under his own inspection at Rome. It was translated by M. Huber, so well known in the Republic of letters, who has fince published it in 3 vols. 4ro with head and tail-pieces from the designs of M. Oefer. An Italian translation of it by a literary society has been publifhed at Milan.

• Abbe Winckelman was a middle fized man; he had a very low forehead, tharp nose, and little black hollow eyes, which gave him an aspect rather gloomy than otherwise. If he had any thing graceful in his physiognomy, it was his mouth, yet his lips were too pro} minent; but when he was animated and in good humour, his features formed an ensemble that was pleasing. A fiery and impetuous disposition often threw him into extremes. Naturally enthufiaftic, he often indulged an extravagant imagination ; but, as he poflefled a Itrong and solid judgment, he knew how to give things a just and intrinfic value. In consequence of this turn of mind, as well as a neglected education, a cautious reserve was a quality he little knew. If he was bold in his decisions as an author, he was still more so in his conversation, and has often made his friends tremble for his temerity. If ever man knew what friendship was, that man was Mr. Winkelman, who regularly practised all its duties, and for this reafon he could boast of having friends among persons of every rank and condition. People of his turn of thinking and acting feldom or ever indulged suspicions: the Abbe’s fault was a contrary extreme. The franknefs of his temper led him to speak his sentiments on all occasions ; but, being too much addicted to that species of study which he so asliduously cultivated, he was not always on his guard to repress the fallies of self-love. His picture was drawn half length, fitting, by a German lady born at Kostnitz, but carried when young into Italy by her father, who is a painter. She etched it in a 4to size, and another artist executed it in mezzotinto. This lady was Angelica Kauffman. The portrait is prefixed to the collection of his letters published at Amsterdam, 1781, 2 vols. 12mo. Among his correspondents are Mr. Heyne, Munchausen, Baron Reidefel (whose travels into Sicily, translated into English by Dr. Forster, 1773, 8vo. are addressed to him, and inspired him with an ardent longing to go over that ground), Cound Bunau, c. Fuelli, Gesner, P. Usteri, Van Mechlen, the Duke de Rochfoucault, Lord (alias Mr. Wortley) Montague, Mr. Wiell; and there are added extracts from letters to M. Clerisseaux, while he was searching after antiquities in the South of France ; a list of the principal objects in Rome, 1766, &c.; and an abstract of a letter of Fuelli to the German Translators of Webb on the “ Beauties of Painting.”

With respect to the lives of several men of letters, who died in England and France, during the period in which the volumes before us were passing through the press, com. pilers have apologized with a proper modesty. These Lives are necessarily defective, and while such deficiencies ought to ENG. Rev. Vol. V. Jan. 1785.

D

call

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

call their attention to future improvements of their undertaking, they ought to stimulate the zeal of their correspondents to add to theirinformation by communications authenticated by proper vouchers and authorities. Meanwhile we can with propriety recommend the present work as containing à fruitfal fund of entertainment and instruction.

25. 6d.

Art. XI. Observations on the Rights and Duty of Juries, in Trials for Libels; together with Remarks on the Origin and the Nature of the Law of Libels. By Joseph Towers, LL. D. 8vo.

Debrett. THE 'HE high importance of the trial by a Jury, is not so

fully undertood as it ought to be. By this fortunate institution the people are made their own protectors, and are guarded against the encroachments of tyranny. But though this purpofe is obviously its foundation, the venality of judges, their ambition, and their desire to pay court to the crown, have engaged them in frequent attempts to destroy the privileges of jurymen. As the political establishment of a jury was designed to be a restraint upon the power of the prince, it follows, that the rights and duties of jurymen are necessarily to be interpreted with a construction the moft favourable to the people. No rule can be more certain or decided : yet of late, it has become a fashionable doctrine with the admirers of despotism, that juries in trials for libels, have no title to enter into the merits of the paper or writing objected to; that they ought to confine their attention to the fact of publication; and that upon the evidence of pubJication, they are to find the defendant guilty ; leaving the court to judge definitively of the innocence or criminality of the w.riting or paper under deliberation. This invention though courtly, is by no means ingenious; and cannot be defended by any arguments that are valid. Jť strikes at the root of the privileges of the jury; and puts it in the power of the judge to punish as a libeller, every author who may express sentiments that are disagreeable to the miniiter, although they are founded in reason, patriotism, and virtue.

Our author opposes this new and despotical doctrine with great success. He contends that juries have a right to try the whole matter in issue before them. This pofition is doubts less well founded. For in a prosecution for a libel, it is the crime that properly falls under the cognizance of the jury: it is in fact not the mere act of publication, but the publication of what is false, scandalous and feditious, that constitutes their jurisdiction as a criminal court,

in

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

In the prosecution of his subject, our author fortifies his opinion by extracts from the writings of several eminent lawyers, who being untainted by court-influence, were the more able to examine into and to scrutinize the rights of jurymen; with the greatest candour. Of their deep inquiries upon this subject, the refult was decisive and invariable. They pronounce it as certain, that juries are the proper judges both of the law and the fact.

With the collections he has made from distinguished writers, our author intermixes general reasonings of his own; and, it is our opinion, that his treatise deserves to be attended to at a juncture, when the judges are not very favourably disposed to the rights and duties of jurymen. His idea of the importance of the trial by a jury, carinot be circulated too extensively.

* The right of trial by jury is of infinite importance to the liberty of the subject. It cannot be guarded with too inuch yigilance, nor deferided with too much ardour. No part of the power of juries should be given up to the claims, or usurpations, of any body of men whatever. The rights of jurymen Mhould in all cafés be resolutely afferted, whether they be attacked by open violence, or whether the arts of legal chicane be adopted, in order to render them useless and nugatory. But if juries should ever be tame and senseless enough to give up the (right of determining the law, as well as the fact, in libel causes, the liberty of the press is then wholly at the discretion of the judges.

• Blackstone says of the mode of trial by jury, that it wag always so highly efteemed and valued by the people, that no conquest

, no change of government, could ever prevail to abolith it;' and that in Magna Charta it is more than onee insisted

on as the principal bulwark of our liberties.' He also says, that ' it is the most transcendant privilege which any subject can enjoy,

or wish for, that he cannot be affected either in his property his

liberty, or his perfon, but by the unanimous consent of twelve of * his neighbours and equals. But if juries are ignorant of their own rights; and timid in the exercise of those powers that the constitution hae given them, the value of this great privilege is exceedingly diminished. There can, however, be no ground for timidity in juries, in the upright discharge of the duties of their office: for, since the famous deterinination in Bushel's case, juries are in no danger of being fined or imprisoned, or suffering any other penalty in consequence of their verdicts, however contrary they may be to the direction of the court.

No parliament of this country has ever conferred upon the judges, a power of determining the matter of law in trials for libels, or the criminality or innocence of publications, independently of a jury. No evidence can be produced, that this is any part of the ancient common law of England. We may, therefore, venture to affirm, that it is not the law of the land; bụt is a mere aflumption of some of the judges, calculated for the extenfion of

theic

D 2

'heir own jurisdiction, to the prejudice of that of juries, to the prejudice of the subject, and to the subversion of the freedom of the press.

• It is manifeft, that if the Star-chamber doctrines concerning libels are suffered to prevail, if juries are reftrained from entering into the merits of such publications as are termed libels, and if profe tions for them are frequent, there will be a total end to the freedom of the press in this country. Whether the people of England, after the blood and treasure that have been expended for the establishment of national liberty, will suffer themselves to be deprived of it by the tricks, the arts, and the chicanery of law, is a point to be determined by themselves. If they lurrender up the freedom of the press, and the rights of juries, cither to open violence, or to legal subtilty and craft, their other rights will inevitably follow. They will no longer hold their present rank among

the nations of the world ; and must bid an elernal farewell to the honour; the dignity, and the felicity of public freedom.'

The praise which we have already bestowed upon the treatise before us, is sufficiently ample. The abilities of Dr. Towers are not of the first rate : his manner is rough and unrefined ; and his diction is neither remarkable for energy nor elegance.

T

Art. XII. Letters to Dr. Horsley, in Answer to his Animadversions

on the History of the Corruptions of Christianity. With Additional Evidence that the Primitive Church was Unitarian. By Joseph Priestley, L.L.D. F.R.S. 8vo. 2s. 6d. Johnson, 1783. HERE is perhaps no evil in this sublunary state, that

is not accompanied with its peculiar advantage. It was owing to circumstances, with which it is not necessary to trouble the reader, and by no means to design, that our account of this celebrated controversy was deferred beyond the time, in which it is customary to bring forward an ab. stract of new publications. The dispute is now, we believe, closed. We are placed upon an eminence, from which we may most advantageously discover the success and the milcarriages of either party. Controversy has this unpleasant circumstance attending it to the miscellaneous reader. He fees his author displaying all the ceremonies of triumph, pluming himself upon the decisive victory be has atchieved ; and he trembles to pronounce his verdi, uncertain whether, a few months hence, he shall not fee this boasted victor stripped of his self-imputed honours, and turned out, naked as a. gladiator, once more into the arena. Our situation enables us to remove this inconvenience, and to present to the public an impartial summary of the whole debate; and this we intend to perform in an uninterrupted series, in a review of • three larger publications, which now lie before us.

The

« ForrigeFortsæt »