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Art. 33. A most solemn and important Epistle to the Emperor of
China; on his uncourtly and impolitic Behaviour to the Sublime Ambassadors of Great Britain. By Dr. John Wolcot, (Olim Peter Pindar, Esq.) 4to. 18.6d. Walker and Edwards. 1817.
Long as Dr. Wolcot was known under the name of Peter Pindar, he was never accustomed to place his real and his fictitious appellations in juxta-position : but he has now been silent for so considerable a period, and so many poetic scribblers have endeavoured to pass
for him or as his Pindaric descendants, that he seems to have judged it necessary, on once again wielding his quill, to identify himself with his pseudo-denomination. It is not the first time, however, that he has gone as far as China for a subject; and now, he tells us in his title-page, Facit indignatio versus :
• I, who had dropt the Muse's quill,
And long had left th’ Aonian hill,
To scourge a monarch of the East,
For mocking monarchs of the West,
A Lord of Britain and advent'rous Knight.' The reported ill success of Lord Amherst, on his recent embassy to China, has excited the patriotic resentment of our old friend P. P.; and he has expressed his vituperations of the Chinese Emperor in terms that may amuse and please English readers, but will certainly neither incense nor amend his Imperial Majesty.
At the commencement, the poet both blames and pities the bad policy of the Chinese in rejecting our addresses, while he slily hints at a predilection for Chinese productions which, he says, was arising in this country.
Know, we were growing all Chinese
Nought but the Eastern style could please ;-
Where (for the noses of the great,
His Highness may vouchsafe to treat)
ad fill'd our fam'd Saint James's Park;
Cats play their gambols - parrots squall
Toads, frogs, and snakes, and lizards crawl,
To rival the rich scenes of Yving-ming !' &c. &c. Finally, the bard notifies the disappointment of our Court, and threatens what the
Dreaming of presents in return,
So cramm'd with treasures of the East,
From stem to stern with bag and chest,
< Thou never didst vouchsafe, perhaps,
sublime on maps;
Hast treated us with pompous scorn
Beneath thy notice-beggars born-
Her thunder soon would shake thy crown,
Thine high imperial pride to gall,
Force thee to leap the Chinese wall,
To feed on horse with Tartar tribes again.' The reader will recognize in this poem the lawful (or unlawful) manner of its well-known facetious author: but the subject, perhaps, has contributed to render it less remarkable than his former productions for wit, fun, and satire.
MISCELLANEOUS. Art. 34. Manuscrit venu de St. Helène, d'une Manière inconnue.
8vo. 7s.6d. Boards. Murray. 1817. Art. 35. Manuscript transmitted from St. Helena, by an unknown
Channel. 8vo. 7s. 68. Boards. Murray. We suspected the authenticity of this publication from the first moment of its appearance ; and not the least of the reasons that we discovered for this opinion was its own assertion that it came from St. Helena through an unknown channel.' Had the MS. been genuine, every exertion would have been made to prove it so, and to demonstrate the means by which it came to this country : to say nothing of the palpable absurdity of an unknown channel : it could not come but by a channel that might be known. Our inquiries on the subject, however, have converted our doubt of its fabrication into certainty: and when we inform our readers that the book is decidedly an “ invention of the enemy,” we have only to add that it is not a “ weak” one. Well, however, as the fabrication has been managed, yet, being a fabrication, it has no real interest. Art. 36. A Letter to William Smith, Esq. M.P. from Robert
Southey, Esq. 8vo. Murray. 1817. Mr. William Smith, the Member for Norwich, whose liberal principles are well known, and acknowleged even by his opponents, is reported to have lately read in the House a passage from Mr. Southey's poem of Wat Tyler, in which the rights of equality are strongly enforced; and then to have contrasted it with another quotation attributed to the same author, selected from a recent number of a periodical work, of a tendency directly opposite, and vehemently abusing those who still hold any of Mr. S.'s former opinions. At the end of six weeks from the commission of this offence, Mr. Southey issued forth a letter of vindication ; in which, as he terms it, he purposes to treat his calumniator with just and memorable severity. With regard to the passage from the periodical work, he endeavours to shelter himself from responsibility because that publication is anonymous, and report, which
may be mistaken, is the only authority by which any particular paper can be attributed to one person or to another. * This defence we should be inclined to allow in its full force, were not the antient and established rule of secrecy in periodical criticism now so much disregarded, and the names of the contributors to the publication in question circulated with every degree of notoriety. Mr. Southey must therefore be contented to take the consequences of the exposure which has been courted. He enters into a laboured defence of his gradual change from the political opinions which the French revolution scattered throughout Europe,' to those which he now holds; and, in a strain of alternate defence and abuse, he remarks on the production which has created so much notice. This is surely unnecessary. Mr. Smith does not find fault with the work, nor with Mr. Southey for changing his political creed: but it is the virulence with which Mr. Southey visits those who differ from his present sentiments, and who avow opinions if not entirely, at least nearly, the same with those which he formerly professed, that has called forth the observation and excited the disgust not only of Mr. William Smith, but of every other moderate man.
It is ludicrous, while Mr. S. disclaims “the habit of egotism,' to observe the numberless instances of inordinate vanity with which these forty-five pages are filled. We lately had occasion to notice this vice in one of his laurelled poems; and, from its reappearance in prose, we fear that it is a rooted habit. The concluding passage, in which he writes a page in his own history, and proclaims the imperishable nature of his productions and his name, in which, in short, he is “ his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle," – forms a climax of self-conceit that has no parallel.
* If Mr. Smith has no right to attribute to Mr. Southey's pen an article in one periodical work, how does Mr. Southey found his claim to appropriate any part of another to that of Mr. Brougham?
CORRESPONDENCE. A very modest letter, signed Samuel Whitchurch, informs us that the lines on Mary Wollstonecraft, quoted in our Number for April last, p. 369., from the “ Remains of William Read," were transcribed with very little variation' from stanzas written by Mr. Whitchurch in 1804, “ in memory of a late celebrated female writer," and published in a small work intitled “Hispaniola."
We know not what are the two productions of Mr. W.'s pen, which, he observes, have escaped our notice.
In our last Number, (p. 104.) we are requested to state, the price of Bigland's Geography was erroneously put down at 6s. instead of 25. 6d. bound. Accidents of this kind would be prevented, and much inconvenience avoided, if publishers would always print or mark the prices of books on the first page.
* The APPENDIX to Vol. LXXXII. was published with our last Review.
For J U L Y, 1817.
Art. 1. Nicmoirs on the Ionian Islands, considered in a Como
mercial, Political, and Military, Point of View; in which their Advantages of Position are described, as well as their Relations with the Greek Continent: including the Life and Character of Ali Pacha, the present Ruler of Greece; together with a comparative Display of the ancient and modern Geography of the Epirus, Thessaly, Morea, Part of Macedonia, &c. &c. By Gen. Guillaume de Vaudoncourt, late of the Italian Service. Translated from the Original inedited MS. by William Walton, Esq. 8vo. pp. 502. 155. Boards. Baldwin and Co. N UMEROUS as have been our late publications on the sub
ject of Greece, we have as yet had nothing to announce that bears the stamp of research conducted under the sanction of government, or productive of the fruits of official investigation. In this respect, the work before us is clearly distinguished from those of ordinary travellers; the author having evidently had access to a series of public documents, and having in fact brought together a stock of information which it would have exceeded the competency of any private individual to collect. Gen. de V. has not chosen to prefix any explanatory notice relative to the manner of his obtaining possession of these materials, or even as to the capacity in which he served at the time of their coming into his hands; and the preface of the translator is confined to a few general observations on the prospect of dismembering the Turkish empire: with an insinuation, however, that the book now given to the world contains a large portion of the official and inedited information of the French cabinet. We learn, also, from different passages in the volume, that the General visited Constantinople; and we perceive that (p. 44.) the public offices of that empire were open to him in a way that implies his investiture with an official character, either diplomatic or military, on the part of the Italian government, which in those days was the same with that of France.
As to the composition of this work, our readers will soon perceive that our testimony is of a mixed nature; and that VOL. LXXXIII. Q
the author, while by no means devoid of a claim to approbation in some respects, has in others laid himself open to considerable animadversion. We have not here, as in the pages of Dr. Clarke, a string of quotations, or of tedious local disquisitions; the remarks are conveyed in plain and concise language; and the compass of information is much beyond that which is generally dealt out to the public in the same space: — advantages which would have rendered the present volume eminently entertaining, as well as useful, had the writer bestowed more pains in finishing his composition, or had the translator corrected the deficient style of the original. This, however, he has by no means done: so that our commendation must be restricted to the matter of the volume; which, contrary to the usual practice, surpasses the promise of the title-page, since, in addition to a very full memoir on the Ionian islands, we have a number of general observations on the Turkish empire. The leading outlines of the whole are, a Geographical Account of Modern Greece ; — an Historical Notice of Ali Pacha ; - the Political Situation of the Turkish Empire, particularly with regard to Austria and Russia ; and the Importance of the Ionian islands, either for attacking or defending the Turkish Empire. --- We begin by extracting the author's account of the Manners of the Ålbanians :
• The Albanian soldiers, accustomed to the cold temperature of their mountains, and dressed in a cloak of some considerable thickness, dread neither cold nor heat, which they equally withstand without changing their cloaths. In the winter wrapped up in their cloaks, and in the summer extended upon them, they sleep on the hard ground; they seldom take pains to construct barracks for themselves, and still inore rarely make use of tents. They are extremely sober; and their military ration, consisting of two pounds of flour of maize, wheat, or buckwheat, and this frequently reduced to one half, is sufficient for them, with a few black olives or pilchards, which they purchase out of their pay, of which they are extremely economical. They rarely receive meat, and still more so, wine. — They are more active than the Osmanlis, or original Turks, among whom they enjoy such renown, that there is not a pacha of any consequence who is not desirous of having some of these Arnauts in his pay. - They have no idea of regular discipline, and even do not know what it is to be placed in rank and file. Each troop collects around its respective chief, and fights separately from its neighbouring one. They usually enter into battle with shrieks and reproaches, in which they delight, something like the heroes of Homer, and then the fire commences entirely at the will of the soldiers. After the battle has lasted for some time, a suspension of arms usually takes place, when the invectives and reproaches again commence; successively afterwards the engagement is resumed, and if at the expiration of some time