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being Public Characters. It has been a practice of late, and we are sorry to observe that it is countenanced by the example of systematic biographers, to publish the lives of men who have done nothing remarkable. The elevation of petty incidents, or of household sayings, mounted on Johnsonian stilts, may astonish some readers, and divert others : but all must ultimately be disgusted.
After these general remarks on the inferior part of this com. pilation, we shall give a specimen of the execution of its less exceptionable articles, by quoting the life of the present very respectable Bishop of Salisbury:
* This prelate, who is a native of Scotland, has been long cele. brated both in the clerical and literary world. He was educated at Christ-Church, Oxford, of which college he was a student in 1738, and having taken orders, settled in Shropshire. During his residence there, he published “ Milton vindicated” (1748). In this work, he detected the forgery of LAUDER, a learned Scotsman; who not content with pointing out a number of passages in the writings of Masenius, and other modern Latin poets, which Milton appeared to have imitated in his Paradise Lost ; had the wickedness to translate about forty lines in all) from Milton's work into Latin,—to ascribe these translated lines, to his modern Latin poets,—and to represent Milton as having originally stolen them, with mean and gross plagiarism. The forgery was base ; yet the English were still willing to regard every syllable of Milton's poem, as flowing from original poetical inspiration. The pretended detection of his plagiarisms, excited among them emotions of general shame and rage. The Whigs, the enthusiastic admirers of Milton's politics, as well as of his muse, regarded Lauder's publication, as a contrivance of the Scottish Jacobites: for their confusion, Douglas seasonably discovered an inaccuracy in one of Lauder's quotations. He pursued the investigation, and luckily detected the forgery. Lauder sunk before him, and was overwhelmed with odium and ignominy. Douglas de. rived from this incident the first rise of his fortunes. The English thought, they could never be too grateful for so seasonable a support of their poetical idol.–After all, it must be owned, that Lauder's erudition and acuteness were superior to those of his opponent ; and that his plan of tracing, in the authors which Milton must have read, the sources of some of his excellencies, was that of a judicious and even philosophical critic.
· Dr. D. next entered the lists with Archibald Bower, who pretended to have been a commissioner of the holy inquisition at Mactrata. Bower proved a more doughty adversary than Lauder; accused Douglas, as the creature of the English Jesuits, who had orders, from their superiors, to ruin Bower's reputation in England ; denied the charges which were urged against him ; and defended himself with a How of virulent and superlatively abusive language which has scarcely ever been equalled in controversy.
• Douglas continued to rise in reputation and to gain new friends. In 1754, he published “ Criterion,” an answer to David Hume on miracles, which is now forgotten. His first work had recommended him to the learned, the last to the religious world ; and about the year 1760, he began to reap the benefit they entitled him to, for he was then appointed one of the king's chaplains. In 1762, he was nominated one of the canons of Windsor: and was soon after presented to the united livings of St. Austin and St. Faith, in London.
• Among the many friends Dr. Douglas had made, was the late Lord Bath, who bequeathed him his library. But General Pulteney being unwilling to part with it out of the family, paid him the Full value, and on his death, about three years after, left it once more
to him. From Windsor, our divine was, in 1776, removed to be a | canon of St. Paul's; and after possessing that canonry about twelve years, he was, in 1788, advanced to the Deanry of Windsor.
• In these situations, the Doctor not only enlarged his circle of friends among the great, but was introduced to the notice of the king and queen, and acquired a considerable degree of royal favour. He was next raised to the episcopal bench, on the death of Dr. Law, Bishop of Carlisle, and on the translation of Dr. Barrington to Durham, in 1791, he was translated to Salisbury ; by the possession of which see, he has become chancellor of the order of the garter.
• The episcopal character of Dr. Douglas is a subject of universal admiration, while benevolence and candour distinguish him in private life. Regular in the discharge of the duties of his high station, he commands the love and respect of his diocese. In short, as a dignified clergyman and scholar, a gentleman and a christian, he is equally respected, and admired.
· When the ships sent out on discovery under Captain Cook returned, Doctor Douglas was appointed to inspect and arrange the journals; and the admired introduction prefixed to that work is the offspring of his pen.
• The Doctor was a member of the Literary Club in Essex-street, instituted by Dr. Johnson, Murphy, &c.
Z.' From this extract, the reader may form a competent judgment of the general style and manner distinguishable in the book. There are few profound reflections, or nice discriminations of character : the writer's thought“ keeps the road way ;' and if the reader likes his pace, he may jog on with him, at this rate, through the greater part of his narrations.- Dr. Douglas, it is hoped, will hereafter find a better-informed biographer ; in common with many other eminent persons whose characters are here exhibited. A 2d vol. of this work is just advertized.
Art. XVI. Mr. Weld's Travels through the States of North America.
[ Art. concluded from the last Rev. p. 11.] our former article respecting this work, we accompanied the author through about one half of his travels; we have now to attend him through the remainder, and to afford our
readers some farther specimens of the entertainment here prepared for them.
The greatest degree of cold experienced in Canada is during the month of January; when, for a few days, it is often 80 severe as to subject those who are exposed to it, to the most imminent danger. The Canadians, however, have not that dread of its severity, which is generally entertained by those who have never experienced a greater degree of cold than is usually felt in Great Britain.
• Winter in Canada (says Mr. Weld) is the season of general amusement. The clear frosty weather no sooner commences, than all thoughts about business are laid aside, and every one devotes himself to pleasure. The inhabitants meet in convivial parties at each other's houses, and pass the day with music, dancing, card-plaving, and every social entertainment that can beguile the time. At Montreal, in particular, such a constant and friendly intercourse is kept up amongst the inhabit. ants, that, as I have often heard it mentioned, it appears then as if the town were inhabited but by one large family.
• By means of their carioles or sledges, the Canadians transport themselves over the snow, from place to place, in the most agreeable manner, and with a degree of swiftness that appears almost incredible ; for with the same horse it is possible to go eighty miles in a day, so light is the draft of one of these carriages, and so favourable is the snow to the feet of the horse. The Canadian cariole or sledge is calculated to hold two persons and a driver; it is usually drawn by one horse: if two horses are made use of, they are put one before the other, as the track in the roads will not admit of their going abreast. The shape of the carriage is varied according to fancy, and it is a matter of emulation amongst the gentlemen, who shall have the handsomest one. There are two distinct kinds, however, of carioles, the open and the covered. The former is commonly somewhat like the body of a capriole, put upon two iron runners or slides, similar in shape to the irons of a pair of skates ; the latter consists of the body of a chariot put on runners in the same manner, and covered entirely over with furs, which are found by experience to keep out the cold much better than any other covering whatsoever. Covered cariokes are not much liked, except for the purpose of going to a party in the evening, for the great pleasure of carioling
consists in seeing and being seen, and the ladies always go out in most superb dresses of furs. The carioles glide over the snow with great smoothness, and so little noise do they make in sliding along, that it is necessary to have a number of bells attached to the harness, or a person continually sounding a horn to guard against accidents. The rapidity of the motion, with the sound of these bells and horns, appears to be very conducive to cheerfulness, for you seldom see a dull face in a cariole. The Canadians always take advantage of the winter season to visit their friends who live at a distance, as travelling is then so very expeditious; and this is another circumstance which contributes, probably not a little, to render the winter so extienely agreeable in their eyes.': Rev. Oct, 1799.
At the distance of eighteen miles from the town of Niagara, are those remarkable falls of water which may justly be ranked among the greatest natural curiosities of the known world. Mr. Weld has presented to his readers four engraved views of the falls of Niagara, taken from different points of observation. The astonishment excited in the mind of the spectator, from the contemplation of objects so stupendous, must indeed be beyond the power of language to describe! The height of the great fall is one hundred and forty-two feet; that of the others one hundred and sixty feet.From the centre of the Horseshoe Fall, or Great Fall, arises a prodigious cloud of mist, which may be seen at the distance of many miles. It is generally supposed that the circumference of these falls is at least six hundred yards. They are separate from each other by two small islands; and the whole extent of the precipice, including the islands, is computed to be thirteen hundred and thirty-five yards. The quantity of water carried down these falls is found, by calculation, to be six hundred and seventy thousand, two hundred and fifty-five tons, every minute.
• Amongst the numerous stories current in the country, relating to this wonderful cataract, there is one that records the hapless fate of a poor Indian, which I select, as the truth of it is unquestionable. The unfortunate hero of this tale, intoxicated, it seems, with spirits, had laid himself down to sleep in the bottom of his canoe, which was fastened to the beach at the distance of some miles above the falls. His squaw sat on the shore to watch him. Whilst they were in this situation, a sailor from one of the ships of war on the neighbouring lakcs happened to pass by; he was struck with the charms of the squaw, and instantly determined upon enjoying them. The faithful creature, however, unwilling to gratify his desires, hastened to the canoe to arouse her husband; but before she could effect her purpose, the sailor cut the cord by which the canoe was fastened, and set it adrift. It quickly floated away with the stream from the fatal spot, and ere many minutes elapsed, was carried down into the midst of the rapids. Here it was distinctly seen by several persons that were standing on the adjacent shore, whose attention had been caught by the singularity of the appearance of a canoe in such a part of the river. The violent motion of the waves soon awoke the Indian; he started up, looked wildly around, and perceiving his danger, instantly seized his paddle, and made the most surprising exertions to save himself; but tinding in a little time that all his efforts would be of no avail in stemming the impetuosity of the current, he with great composure put aside his paddle, wrapt himself up in his blanket, and again laid himself down in the bottom of the canoe. In a few seconds he was hurried down the precipice; but neither he nor his canoe were
It is supposed that not more than one third of the different things that happen to be carried down the falls re-appear at the bottom.
ever seen more.
: From the foot of Simcoe's Ladder you may walk along the strand for some distance without inconvenience ; but as you approach the Horte-shoe Fall, the way becomes more and more rugged. In some : places, where the cliff has crumbled down, huge mounds of earth, rocks, and trees, reaching to the water's edge, oppose your course; it seems impossible to pass them; and, indeed, without a guide, a stranger would never find his way to the opposite side ; for to get there it is necessary to mount nearly to their top, and then to crawl on your hands and knees through long dark holes, where passages are left open between the torn up rocks and trees. After passing these mounds, you have to climb from rock to rock close under the cliff, for there is but little space here between the cliff and the river, and these rocks are so slippery, owing to the continual moisture from the spray, which descends very heavily, that without the utmost precaution it is scarcely possible to escape a fall. At the distance of a quarter of a mile from the Great Fall we were as wet, owing to the spray, as if each of us had been thrown into the river.
There is nothing whatsoever to prevent you from passing to the very foot of the Great Fail; and you might even proceed behind the prodigious sheet of water that comes pouring down from the top of the precipice, for the water falls from the edge of a projecting rock; and, moreover, caverns of a very considerable size have been hol. lowed out of the rocks at the bottom of the precipice, owing to the violent ebullition of the water, which extends some way 'underneath the bed of the upper part of the river. I advanced within about six yards of the edge of the sheet of water, just far enough to peep into the caverns behind it; but here my breath was nearly taken away by the violent whirlwind that always rages at the bottom of the cataract, occasioned by the concussion of such a vast body of water against the rocks. I confess I had no inclination at the time to go
farther; nor, indeed, did any of us afterwards attempt to explore the dreary confines of these caverns, where death seemed to await him that should be daring enough to enter their threatening jaws. No words can convey an adequate idca of the awful grandeur of the scene at this place. Your senses are appalled by the sight of the immense body of water that comes pouring down so closely to you from the top of the stupendous precipice, and by the thundering sound of the billows dashing against the rocky sides of the caverns below; you tremble with reverential fear, when you consider that a blast of the whirlwind might sweep you from off the slippery rocks on which you stand, and precipitate you into the dreadful gulph beneath, from whence all the power of man could not extricate you; you feel what an insignificant being you are in the creation, and your mind is forcibly impressed with an awful idea of the power of that mighty Being who commanded the waters to flow.
• Since the Falls of Niagara were first discovered, they have receded very considerably, owing to the disrupture of the rocks which form
the precipice. "The rocks at bottom are first loosened by the con* *stant action of the water upon them; they are afterwards carried away, and those at top being thus undermined, are soon broken by the weight of the water rushing over them; even within the memory