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Dr. Orræus's Description of the Plague at Jalle and Moscow,
England separated from America. Excellence of her Con-
The Power of the Commons. Controuled by the People ibid
Westminster Election. Jealousy of the Commons concerning it ibid:
Conduct of the Minister compared with Mr, Fox's
For ) ANUARY, 1785.
The History of Greece. By William Mitford, Esq. The first vo*
Jume. 4to. 16s. boards. Murray. N the present historical age, it is with extreme pleasure
that we announce so great an undertaking as 6. The Hils tory of Greece.' For hitherto a work of this sort lias remained among the desiderata of literature. And, it is obvi, ous that it could not have been attempted at a period when historical compositions were more completely understood, and when the public were more disposed to attend to them.
The difficulty of this task was sufficiently apparent to Mr. Mitford. His subject, while it is extensive, is complicated; and his materials, while they are various, are defective. He had occasion for all his diligence and ability; and he has exerted them.
As he intended that his performance should be as complete as possible, he has entered very deeply into the earlier stages of the Grecian story; and, in the volume now before cus, he discovers that he is not only an historian, but a philosopher, and an antiquary... While he collects facts he is ftudious to give them their proper importance. When he meets with knotty and problematical points, he consults not his ease by avoiding them : he is anxious to show his strength in their solution. And, when he is opposed by seeming or real contradictions, and by hoftile theories, he employs himself to search out the trøth by ingenuity, speculation, and research.
The first chapter of his History is devoted to the affairs of Greece, from the earliest accounts to the Trojan war. In his second chapter he exhibits the early state of Alia Minor, ENG. Rev. Vol. V. Jan. 1785. A
and is very ingenious in detailing the circumstances of the Trojan expedition. His third chapter examines the religion, government, jurisprudence, science, arts, commerce, and manners of the early Greeks. On this wide field the march of our author is in general steady and secure. The liberality of his mind is every where as conspicuous as the extent of his information; and instruction and amusement are fcattered with a profuse hand. Upon the early manners of the Greeks, he is particularly entertaining, and our readers may be pleased with what he has observed on the subject of the condition of their women.
• Women in the Homeric age,' he observes, enjoyed more freedom, and communicated more in business and amusement among men, than in subsequent ages has been usual in thosc castern countries; far more than at Athens in the flourishing times of the commonwealth. In the Iliad we find Helen and Andromache appearing frequently in company with the Trojan chiefs, and entering freely into the conversation. Attended only by one or two maid-servants, they walk through the"streets of Troy as business or fancy lead them, Penelope, persecuted as she is by her suitors, does not scruple occasionally to lbow herself among them; and scarcely more reserve seems to have been imposed on virgins than on married women. Equally indeed Homer's elegant eulogies and Hefiod's severe sarcasm prove women to have been in their days important members of society. The character of Penelope in the Odyffee is the completest panegyric upon the fex that ever was, composed; and no language can give a more elegant or a more highly colored picture of conjugal affection than is displayed in the conversation between Hector and Andromache in the fixth book of the Iliad. Even Helen, in spite of her failings, and independently of her beauty, Steals upon our hearts in Homer's description by the modesty of her deportment and the elegance of her manners. On all occasions indeed Homer dhows a disposition to favour the fex: civility and attention to them he attributes moft particularly to his greatest characters, to Achilles, and still more remarkably to Hector. The infinite variety of his subjects, and the historical nature of his
poems, Ied him neceffarily to speak of bad women : but even when the black deed of Clytemnestra calls for his utmost reprobation, fill his delicacy toward the sex leads him to mention it in a manner that might tend to guard against that reproach which would be liable to involve all for the wickedness of one. With some things of course widely differing from what prevails in diftant climates and distant ages, we yet find in general the most perfect decency and even elegance of manners in Homer's descriptions of the intercourse of men and women. Of this Helen's conversation on the walls of Troy in the Iliad, and in her court at Sparta in the Odyffee, afford remarkable examples. One office of civility indeed, which we find usually performed by women in the heroic age, may excite our wonder: the bufiness of attending mon in bathing seems to have been peculiar to women ; and, in compliment to men of rank, was performed by virgins of the highest rank. When Teleinachus visited