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to the extent which is desirable, take the place of the coarser
pleasures in which many of their unoccupied hours are at
present passed. The first thing therefore to be done, by
those who are anxious to bring about the salutary substitu-
tion in question, is to take measures for the supply of this
If it were necessary, in order to promote a general habit
of reading among the labouring population, to provide each
family with a separate collection of books, it could scarcely
be hoped that even the importance of the object would be
deemed sufficient motive for the requisite expenditure. But
fortunately an ample provision of books for many families
may be secured by the establishment of a single library to
which they shall all have access. The most economical
mode in which this may be done is by the plan which has
been recently adopted in some parts of Scotland, of dividing
the entire collection of books intended for the use of a parti-
cular district into so many itinerating libraries, as they are
called, each of which, after having been exhausted by the
readers in one locality, is removed to another, and its place
supplied by a fresh store. The inhabitants of each subdivi-
sion of the district in this way have the benefit of the whole
collection at the cost of only one of the itinerating portions
of it: if, for instance, it consists of a thousand volumes, and
there are ten stations, the readers at each station obtain the
command of a thousand volumes by the purchase of a
hundred. It is the same thing as if the possessors of so
many libraries, which each consisted of different works,
were to exchange their collections with one another till each
book had gone the round of the whole number.

In a town, however, where there is a large population collected in one spot, it is most convenient to have a single stationary library. In this country we have very few libraries that can be called public in the most extensive sense of that epithet, that is to say, open to all who choose to enter. We only at present recollect two which are established upon this liberal principle, the Cheetham or College Library at Manchester, and Archbishop Marsh's Library in Dublin. Both of these are extensive and valuable collections; but neither, we believe, is much frequented. From the description of books of which they chiefly consist, they are indeed not at all adapted for the use of the working classes, and were evidently intended by their munificent founders, not so much for popular resort as for consultation by persons engaged in particular studies or literary inquiries. The hours, accordingly, during which they are kept open are, if we mistake not, such as quite to preclude the labouring man from ever looking near them. The same remarks apply to the library of the British Museum, admission to which is granted to all persons properly recommended. Of the other large collections of books existing in all parts of the country, and open to particular bodies of persons, who are either their associated proprietors or otherwise legally entitled to the use of them, there are as yet very few to which the labouring classes have access, with the exception of those in some of our larger towns which have of late years been established in connexion with Mechanics' Institutes; and these consist, we believe in all cases, chiefly, if not exclusively, of scientific treatises, intended to aid the work of the lecture-room. The most remarkable collection of books of general literature for the use of any portion of the working classes, which we recollect to have heard of, is that formed many years ago at the lead-mines belonging to Lord Hopetoun in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and which consists of several thousand volumes. The books, we have heard, are much read by the workmen, and the tastes and habits thence acquired have produced a marked effect on their character and demeanour.

Sir John Herschell, in the excellent discourse the title of which we have placed at the head of these observations, has suggested the plan of annexing to such public libraries as may be established for the general use of the inhabitants of great towns a subordinate department appropriated to the labouring classes. After noticing the resolution which had been passed by the shareholders of the Windsor and Eton Library to throw open the general collection of books to a class of subscribers at a lower rate than that which confers the privilege of access to the newspapers and periodical works, he proceeds as follows:-" I augur every thing from the approbation the proposal has met with, but I should be sorry, I confess, that we should stop short at that point. My own impression is that we should make a still farther step, and provide a considerable stock of books for a class of

| subscribers who should subscribe nothing but the reading of them-books of which we should supply the perusal gratis to all who choose to apply for them, leaving, perhaps, some very trifling deposit, to ensure their return. I do not mean, of course, that our most expensive works, or valuable works of reference, should be so lent out, but on the contrary, that cheap editions, or second-hand copies, should be expressly set apart for that use. The choice of the works to be admitted into this department, too, would call for some discrimination." The writer then goes on to point out the necessity of keeping in view the providing of amusement as well as instruction for this class of readers. "There is," he says, "a want too much lost sight of in our estimate of the privations of the humbler classes, though it is one of the most incessantly craving of all our wants, and is actually the impelling power which, in the vast majority of cases, urges men into vice and crime: it is the want of amusement. It is in vain to declaim against it. Equally with any other principle of our nature, it calls for its natural indulgence, and cannot be permanently debarred from it without souring the temper and spoiling the character. Like the indulgence of all other appetites, it only requires to be kept within due bounds, and turned upon innocent or beneficial objects, to become a spring of happiness; but gratified to a certain moderate extent it must be, in the case of every man, if we desire him to be either a useful, active, or contented member of society." He then points out with great force how little provision is made by the present arrangements of society in this country for the cheap, and innocent, and daily amusements of the labouring population, and how few means they have of relaxation after the fatigue or monotony of the long day's work. He also calls attention to the important circumstance of its being physically impossible that the amusements of a condensed population should continue to be those of a scattered one-that a large multitude of persons crowded together into the narrow space of a town should preserve the same habits of out of door recreation with their forefathers who were spread over a wide extent of country in cottages or villages; and hence he urges the necessity of considering of some substitutes. "Now of all the amusements," he says, "which can possibly be imagined for a hard-working man, after his daily toil, or in its intervals, there is nothing like reading an entertaining book, supposing him to have a taste for it, and supposing him to have the book to read. It calls for no bodily exertion, of which he has had enough, or too much. It relieves his home of its dulness and sameness, which, in nine cases out of ten, is what drives him to the ale-house, to his own ruin and his family's. It transports him into a livelier, and gayer, and more diversified and interesting scene; and while he enjoys himself there, he may forget the evils of the present moment fully as much as if he were ever so drunk, with the great advantage of finding himself the next day with his money in his pocket, or at least laid out in real necessaries and comforts for himself and his family, and without a headach. Nay, it accompanies him to his next day's work, and, if the book he has been reading be anything above the very idlest and lightest, gives him something to think of besides the mere mechanical drudgery of his every-day occupation,-something he can enjoy while absent, and look forward with pleasure to return to.

The following illustration with which Sir John Herschell enforces his remarks is too capital to be omitted:-"I recollect," he says, "an anecdote told me by a late highly respectable inhabitant of Windsor as a fact which he could personally testify, having occurred in a village where he resided several years, and where he actually was at the time it took place. The blacksmith of the village had got hold of Richardson's novel of Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded,' and used to read it aloud in the long summer evenings, seated on his anvil, and never failed to have a large and attentive audience. It is a pretty long-winded book, but their patience was fully a match for the author's prolixity, and they fairly listened to it all. At length, when the happy hour of fortune arrived, which brings the hero and heroine together, and sets them living long and happily according to the most approved rules, the congregation were so delighted as to raise a great shout, and, procuring the church-keys, actually set the parish bells ringing. Now, let any one say whether it is easy to estimate the amount of good done in this single case. Not to speak of the number of hours agreeably and innocently spent-not to speak of the good fellowship and harmony promoted-here was a whole rustic population fairly won

over to the side of good, charmed, and night after night | leisure of his evenings from the public-house, we are conspell-bound within that magic circle which genius can trace so effectually, and compelled to bow before that image of virtue and purity which (though at a great expense of words) no one knew better how to body forth with a thousand life-like touches than the author of that work. If I were to pray for a taste which should stand me in stead under every variety of circumstances, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness to me through life, and a shield against its ills, however things might go amiss and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading."

vinced that no considerable success will be obtained unless a newspaper be one of its attractions. It is quite enough to expect that even with this aid we should be able to overcome the temptations of the other place of resort, and to secure a preference for merely intellectual entertainment over those gratifications that appeal so strongly both to the senses and the social feelings. There could be no difficulty in so managing this matter as to prevent it from becoming any occasion of dissension among the subscribers to the library. There are unobjectionable newspapers advocating each of the great This example of the blacksmith and his delighted audi- political interests and creeds that divide the nation; and the tory may, we think, furnish a hint for a plan of providing fair plan would be, to provide the mechanics' reading-room reading for a considerable number of persons at a small ex- with two or more such journals of opposite opinions. If all pense, which, in some circumstances, might be worth trying. who attended should in this way be afforded a view of both Why might not a single book be made to afford entertain- sides of every great public question, so much the better. It ment at the same time to many persons by being read aloud is an advantage which the lower description of public-houses, by one of them, as Pamela' was by the blacksmith, while especially in country towns, rarely afford to their visiters; the rest listened? In this way a set of the novels of Richard- and it is one of no inconsiderable value. In considering this son, which might be picked up for a few shillings, might point, we are to remember, that it is quite out of the quesserve a whole village for three months, and those of Scott tion, even if it were desirable, in the present times, to for twice as long. The single book that was wanted for attempt to keep the mechanic or labourer from reading a this cheapest of all processes for the diffusion of literary newspaper, if he reads at all. For that enjoyment alone he pleasure might be merely borrowed for the time, and then will resort to the public-house, if he cannot have it elsereturned no worse for the use that had been made of it. In where; and the reading-room, therefore, will fail in its most that case almost the only expense incurred would be for the important object. few lights and the fire that would be required during the winter evenings. We are quite sure that if the village schoolhouse or other large room was to be opened every week-day evening for a couple of hours, and all who chose invited to attend while the schoolmaster or clergyman read aloud in continuous portions some work either of fiction or of history sufficiently calculated to arrest attention, he would never want a numerous audience; and we really do not know in what other way, with judicious management, more pleasure could be conferred, or more good done. All who presented themselves, old and young, should be welcome; and the working man should be directed to come in his working dress, keeping his better attire as a proper distinction wherewith to honour the Sabbath. We should much like to see this plan fairly tried in several instances-by clergymen, landed proprietors, or others having similar advantages for influencing and directing the popular mind. The effect would go far beyond the innocent amusement that would be afforded for the moment; an atmosphere of kindly feeling would be generated among all who composed the assembly by the enjoyments they had shared together; and the common interests and images of pleasure with which their fancies had been simultaneously charmed, and their hearts made to beat in unison. Philosophical experiments, too, and explanations of the phenomena of nature, might be occasionally intermixed with the readings; and in this way a large amount of humanizing knowledge generally diffused. We do not despair of seeing our magnificent public foundations made, by some such plan as this, to yield far more effective service than has ever yet been obtained from them in the education of the people, and the general promotion of civilization; nor do we think the most sacred of them all would be at all desecrated, or perverted from its proper intention and use, by such a reformation.

To return, however, to the subject of reading-rooms and libraries of circulation. Another suggestion of Sir John Herschell's is, that extreme scrupulousness should be exercised with reference to the admission of works on politics and legislation. From among the books set apart for the use of the working classes, indeed, he adds, he would strongly advocate their exclusion altogether; on the ground, that the true object of such an institution as he recommends would be, not to establish a school of politics, or to propagate opinions, but, by generally enlarging the information, and cultivating the mental powers, to enable every man to form his own opinion on this, and a great many other subjects of deep import, with a generally better chance of forming a right one than he has at present. In so far as respects books that might be lent out upon the plan suggested by Sir John Herschell, we should be inclined to go along with him in this opinion. These should be, generally, such books ás might be perused with pleasure and advantage by every member of the working-man's family, by his wife and grownup children as well as by himself. Works on politics and legislation can hardly be regarded as coming under this description. But, wherever a reading-room is established with the object of drawing off the labourer or mechanic during the

Although, however, such reading-rooms for the labouring classes may be very fitly attached to public libraries, supported by the subscriptions of persons in a higher rank of life, and very important aid may be given both in their first establishment, and in their management generally, by these subscribers, it would not, we conceive, be advisable that no part of the expense should be defrayed by their frequenters themselves. On various accounts, each ought to be called upon to pay a price for admission, however small. They will value their privilege all the more, and make the better use of it, for its costing them something; and the exaction would besides prevent the place from becoming the resort of a concourse of mere idlers. In return also for their contributions to the support of the establishment, they would become fairly entitled to a share in its management; and that would be another good. They would scarcely, indeed, without this participation, feel it to be really their own concern, nor take sufficient interest in it, nor prize its benefits as they ought.

This is a large and important subject, to which we shall return from time to time. The preceding remarks are hints which we throw out after a perusal of the little tract of Sir John Herschell. Connected with this subject, we have to state that we shall be happy to receive from all persons interested in libraries for the great body of the people, any facts relating to their formation and progress. We are anxious that our Review for the Many should contain all the most valuable statistics of the progress of knowledge.




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3 vols. post 8vo. London. Bentley. 1831. 17. 11s. 6d. THE announcement of a new novel by Miss Edgeworth sounds almost like that of a recovered work by one of the ancient classics. As a writer of fiction she has been so long silent that we have got into the habit of thinking of her rather as a historic than as a living personage. Since the appearance of her Patronage' in 1813, she has, we believe, published nothing except her two tales of Harrington' and Ormond,' which appeared together about four years later. After working her wonders for some sixteen or seventeen brilliant years-from the publication of her Castle Rackrent,' not the earliest of her productions, but the first which set her fairly in the world's eye -she has, for a period of about equal length, been contented to sit among the spectators of the show in which she used to play so conspicuous a part. She seemed to have broken her staff and drowned her book. For nearly the whole of this time another great Prospero filled the stage, who acknowledged that he had caught from Miss Edgeworth the first impulse of his art, and professed to have no higher ambition than to achieve for his native land something of the same service which she had so admirably done for hers. With the single exception we have already mentioned, from the moment when the Scottish novelist suddenly presented himself, his Irish predecessor retired, as if by a preconcerted

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arrangement. Since then every season has produced its abundant harvest of novels, just as it has of apples; or rather for we must not ascribe to nature what we owe to art-the novel manufacture has flourished much as the cotton manufacture has done, each throwing off, every succeeding year, its increasing quantity of stuff. From all this busy fabrication Miss Edgeworth has stood aloof. She has shown no ambition to connect her name with the era of the Literary Gazette. The good-nature of that kindest of Journals has never been called upon to puff any of her wares. Its much-persecuted editor will hardly be able, we apprehend, from his boasted collection of such applications, to produce any notes of hers soliciting his laudation.* This is one case of female talent in which his fostering care has not been found necessary to nurse the tender plant. But perhaps Miss Edgeworth is one of the ninety-five most eminent persons of the age, who, as the public was informed, very much to its surprise, the other week, have been active contributors to the Gazette' ever since its commencement. This will sufficiently account for her abandonment of novel writing during all that time.

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But, on the other hand, she has rarely been excelled in the force and vividness with which she paints these goings-on of actual life, both high and low. She combines, in a wonderful degree, the delicacy of a woman's observation, with a masculine boldness and firmness of hand. Nothing can exceed the distinctness of her lightest touches. Let her sketches want what else they may, they are never deficient in breadth, in clearness, in that sort of effectiveness which arises from their being brought fully out from the canvass. There is nothing hazy, or otherwise obscure, in any part of the picture. Yet Miss Edgeworth's novels are as manifestly the productions of a woman as Sir Walter Scott's are of a man. Female feelings, predilections, and modes of viewing life, are stamped on every page. The wit and humour are female, and the reflections, and even the diction.

A chief animating ingredient of all she writes is the spirit of a hearty sincerity. She works her way through her story with as much apparent earnestness as if she were one of the actors in it. There is no needless dallying on the road over which she conducts us; no episodical detainments; nothing but pushing right forward. All her ornaScott's career having been brought to a close-sooner mental passages are for use as well as ornament. And this than we might have expected to lose that light, but not makes the whole read like actual life. The lesson, too, before it had showered upon us a far greater amount of comes upon us with the force of personal experience; and pleasure than the genius of any one man ever before afforded thus a much higher moral value is given to these tales than to his contemporaries-it is with no common interest that, in belongs to most other fictions. With the charms of fiction such circumstances, we witness the re-appearance of his they unite the authority of truth. Accordingly, as if aware distinguished forerunner. It sends our thoughts twenty of this power which she possesses, and keeping in mind the years back, to the time when Waverley,' and Guy Man- responsibility attached to it, the authoress has usually pronering, and all those other bright creations as yet were not, posed to herself a high moral aim in her works, and they are, and gives to the retrospect of what has since come and gone for the most part, as instructive as they are entertaining. something of the air of a dream. It is like getting out again Helen is a tale of the present age-from some passages, ininto the daylight after having been seeing visions in the deed, we should be entitled to say, of the present or the last enchanter's cave. For, as compared with that of Scott, Miss year—although there are other things in it that will scarcely Edgeworth's world of fiction is much more of an every-day assort with that supposition. One of the conversations, for world. All the delineations of the former are more or less instance, implies that it must have taken place subsequently tinged with the rich radiances of poetry, and, like as they to the death of Sir Walter Scott; but we should have to are to life, still glow with a warmth, which, if it could be go back to a considerably earlier date to get to the state of measured by a thermometer, would certainly be found to be things elsewhere described, when there was no communicabeyond that of real life. Do we say this in disparagement tion between England and Russia except once in the five or of the nature and truth of these glorious pictures? So far six months; and the loss of the single ship of the season from it, that this elevation above the reality is essential to cut off the two countries from all knowledge of each other their beauty and power as pictures. The truth of a history, for that length of time. There are several other minute inor of a surveyor's draught, is one thing; the truth of a poem, consistencies or improbabilities in the conduct of the plot, or of a painting, is another-not consisting, like the former, which a little management might have avoided; but, upon in rigid exactness of transcription-in a Chinese copying of the whole, it is skilfully constructed and developed, and the the thing to be represented-but demanding the harmonious interest well-preserved to the close. Helen Stanley, the diffusion over it of the light of the artist's imagination like a heroine, is an orphan, brought up by an indulgent uncle to veil, and the ennobling of all its features by that mysterious large expectations, but, by his sudden death in involved investiture. In Miss Edgeworth's tales too there is, of circumstances, left, in early youth, with a very scanty procourse, much of this alchemic transmutation of the literali- vision, having generously insisted that the fortune which her ties of life into something brighter and more aerial; but she uncle had secured for her before his difficulties commenced, does not transport us so far away from, she does not lift us should be given up to his creditors. In these circumstances so high above, the prose of our ordinary existence. Her she is invited to take up her residence with the intimate scenes have been usually taken from her own times. Her friend of her childhood, Lady Cecilia Clarendon, the daughter characters are almost all drawn from originals, whom she of the Earl and Countess Davenant, and just married to may be presumed to have seen in flesh and blood, and they General Clarendon. The General had first met Lady Ceoften remind her readers of persons whom they have them-cilia at Florence, where, a year or two before, Helen had also selves met with or known. With all her powers of fiction within a certain range, she has little or no romance in the composition of her mind. The materials of her descriptions have all been gathered while she has been moving about in the waking world. She dreams no dreams, and pours no lofty lays, of" old, unhappy, far-off things, and battles long ago. The themes she loves are of a more humble order;

"Familiar matter of to-day;

Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again."

* Our publisher is desirous to insert the following note upon this passage:

The editor of the Literary Gazette, in his paper of the 1st of March, has done me the honour to think that my personal opinion of his work may be matter of public interest. He says, though somewhat obscurely, that if he were moved by "certain shabby treatment," he could publish various applications made by me for favourable notices of my own publications. I must earnestly beg the editor of the Literary Gazette to be so "moved." He has my full mission to publish every note I have written to him in the course of my life that can in the least sustain his allegation that I have been, at any time, amongst the number of those who have, with bended knee, implored him to vouchsafe them a flourish of trumpets. If he will send me copies of these applications, I shall be most happy to aid in giving them publicity.-CHARLES KNIGHT.


been. At that former period, among the admirers of Lady Cecilia had been a Colonel D'Aubigny, an accomplished profligate, whose arts had enabled him to make a temporary impression on her feelings, and to engage her in a correspondence, which she kept concealed, not only from her parents, but even from her young friend. But this connexion had been entirely broken off some time before the arrival of General Clarendon, who, however, has formed a resolution never to marry a woman who has had a previous attachment, and only offers his hand to Lady Cecilia after having received from her the assurance that her affections had never before been engaged. Out of these relations of the several parties, the perplexities and distresses which make up the story arise. D'Aubigny having died, his papers fall into the hands of his brother; and, among the rest, the letters of Lady Cecilia, which she had every reason to believe had been destroyed. They find their way to her husband, and she then, as the only way to arrest the dreaded discovery, implores Helen to acknowledge them to have been written by her a scheme which is made practicable by the close similarity of the handwriting of the two, and by the circumstance of the letters being subscribed with a fictitious signature. To this deception her prayers and agonies obtain the assent of her affectionate friend. The expedient is only the commencement of a long web of falsehood, in the folds

of which she becomes every day more and more entangled, without having the courage to make the requisite effort to extricate herself, and to save Helen, whom her ungenerous conduct is sacrificing. At length, however, she is so hampered in the toils she has woven for herself, that nothing can add to her misery and degradation; and then, the nobler part of her nature rising from the pressure under which it had been all but suffocated, in a burst of feeling she makes full confession of all the meanness of which she had been guilty.

From this very general account of the plot of the work, it will be perceived that it is one of high capabilities; and we need not say that of many of the situations which it affords the gifted authoress has taken admirable advantage. The difficult point, in particular, of reconciling Helen's acquiescence in her friend's proposal, with that truthfulness which is made to form the basis of her character, and still more with the female delicacy for which of course she has credit, is managed with consummate skill. The movement of the story is also, upon the whole, ingeniously and naturally conducted. We are not sure, however, that the moral lesson which it is intended to teach is, after all, very clearly brought out. It is evidently meant that we should take the example of Lady Cecilia as a warning against the danger of the first deviation from veracity. In the frightful maze in which she becomes gradually involved, we are presented with a picture of the manner in which he who once sets his foot on the treacherous quicksands of deception is led, step by step, farther away from all secure treading, till he soon finds himself ready to be swallowed up by the waters that have closed in behind him, and encompass him on every side. But, in this instance, was it really a breach of veracity that principally occasioned the sufferings described? Does not the original and chief cause of Lady Cecilia's miseries appear rather to have been her unfortunate flirtation—or whatever more serious name it deserved-with D'Aubigny; the encouragement which she had given to the addresses of that unprincipled individual, and the correspondence with him into which she had been imprudent enough to enter? Had it not been for the dishonourable conduct of this person in preserving these letters, it does not appear that the first misstatement, with which she had deceived General Clarendon, would have brought any unhappy consequences with it. It is true that even the secrecy with which the correspondence in question had been carried on, may be regarded as having involved a species of deception; but the main error here was of a different kind; it consisted in permitting at all the advances of a person of D'Aubigny's character. On the one hand, had it not been for this first false step, the nature and essence of which did not lie in deception at all, neither her subsequent impositions, nor their eventual detection, would have involved her in anything like the perplexities and wretchedness which they actually occasioned; and, on the other, had she even ever after conducted herself with the most perfect truth and openness, this capital impropriety of which she had been guilty would have left consequences behind it perhaps not much less dreadful than those to which she subjected herself by her attempts to escape from the humiliation of confessing her indiscretion. At most, she can only be regarded as having, by the obliquity of the course which she pursued with this view, aggravated the distresses of a position which, however, would at any rate have been one of no inconsiderable pain and awkwardness. Whatever the authoress may tell us, we doubt much if General Clarendon, with his proud and punctilious temper, and the morbidly sensitive state of his mind upon that particular subject, would have made a wife of the cast-off conquest (shall we say? for it does not appear how the connection was put an end to) of the notorious D'Aubigny, if she had frankly told him before marriage how far she had gone under the sway of her previous passion, especially seeing that its unworthy object was at this time still alive. Of the readers of her history, therefore, some will probably be even inclined to think that, upon the whole, she gained rather than lost by the concealment and falsehood to which she had recourse; while others, admitting that it would have been better for her to have acted a more honest part, will still trace the embarrassments and miseries that overtook her chiefly to another kind of impropriety altogether than that the dangers of which the book is written to illustrate. No doubt, even in this view, there is a valuable lesson to be gathered from the story; but then the one which its incidents are mainly contrived to inculcate,

is worse than lost-it is made to appear delusive and unsound; for the casuistry of passion, at least, will be too apt to argue that the mere falsehood by which Lady Cecilia attempted to impose upon her husband, might evidently have answered its purpose, and exposed her to no inconvenience, had she not, by the great imprudence she had previously committed, exposed herself to trials and mortifications from which neither falsehood nor truth could have afforded her complete shelter.

Lady Cecilia is throughout the work the principal figure. She and not Helen is the heroine of the tale-understanding, by that name, the person who is brought most constantly and prominently forward, and whose actions and fortunes we pursue with the most eager regard. As a character illustrative of the manner in which many good qualities may often be found mixed up, in the same human being, with great weaknesses, she is, we think, very skilfully delineated-a great deal more so, for instance, in so far as this point is concerned, than Lady Teazle, in the School for Scandal,' whose deviations from propriety certainly go much too far to entitle her to retain any of our respect as a woman of principle or virtue, even after she draws back from the perilous brink to which she had ventured. By way of contrast to Lady Cecilia, we have an extraordinary personage, Miss Clarendon, the sister of the General, whose sincerity is perfectly savage. This excellent, but somewhat formidable lady, cannot conceive the possibility of any seed of goodness remaining in a heart which is at all given to duplicity or indirectness; and even such of the conventional civilities of society as imply anything like a profession beyond what is felt, are her scorn, and are set at nought by her without scruple. She is, we think, made a little too much of a bear. Helen, in the hands of a writer possessing greater powers of pathos than Miss Edgeworth exhibits, might have been made a good deal more interesting. The quiet of her character approaches too nearly to tameness and insipidity, or at least is made to appear to partake of these qualities, in consequence of the writer having failed to bring her forward sufficiently in such circumstances as might have called up the full strength and depth of her affections, and, without violating the habitual calm and patience of her endurance, have justified an occasionally more passionate display of the sorrows by which her heart was wrung. She is too, like many other modern heroes and heroines of fiction, the author's mere drudge, or doer of all work, who is always ready at a pinch, and without whom, indeed, the story could not be carried on, but who is, at the same time, in all other respects, one of the least important persons that move in it. Her farewell letter, however, to Beauclerc, in the third volume, is, we acknowledge, very fine, and will bear to be read even after Julia's to Don Juan, or the less passionate, but not less tender or affecting lines, addressed by the parting spirit of Campbell's Constance to her Theodric. As for this same Beauclerc, the lover of Helen, he forms, in our opinion, the grand disfigurement of the book. We cordially sympathize with another of the characters, who, pestered by the nuisance on one occasion, used, we are told, to give vent to his agony by muttering deep and low between the teeth, "What a bore!" He is certainly an insufferable annoyance. Not as described by the authoress, with whom, exceedingly to our amazement, he is a prodigious favourite, but as exhibited by himself, we can consider him as nothing else than an addle-pated coxcomb, who has taken it into his head that he is a man of genius, and by dint of affected eccentricity, and the vehement mouthing of commonplaces, seeks to bring over other people to the same conceit. Being a person of large property, he is tolerated and applauded in a course of wilfulness, absurdity, and noisy nonsense, which, without that circumstance to give him consequence, would have only exposed him to ridicule. There is one scene in particular in which he figures, and evidently in the writer's notion makes a great display, the whole of which is really quite deplorable. We mean that in the first volume, in which such a terrible row is produced by a declaration of this shallow stripling, that he was glad he had never seen Sir Walter Scott. We would really entreat Miss Edgeworth to omit this chapter in the future editions of the work, and to find some other depository for the eulogy upon her illustrious deceased friend, for the sake of inserting which it has evidently been composed, and which in itself is not amiss as a piece of rhetoric, though sadly out of place here. It is rather on stilts, indeed; but nevertheless it is by far the brightest thing that Beauclerc produces in the

course of the book. We should be glad too if this young gentleman could be made a little more sensible generally; but we fear he is a hopeless subject. The better way perhaps would be to make a new lover at once for Helen, instead of attempting to mend her present one.

Of the other characters, the most conspicuous are the Countess Davenant and General Clarendon, and both are well conceived, and the former, especially, vigorously drawn. Some of the most powerful scenes in the work are those which derive their life and interest from Lady Davenant. We very much prefer her intellectual displays to those of peor Genius Beauclerc. The General is not a showy personage, but he is very distinctly defined; and the single element which makes up his character-the spirit of an English gentleman-is made to tell with great success, in winning for him our esteem and respect. The man of wit and brilliancy among the dramatis persona, is a Horace Churchill; but he is somewhat slightly sketched, and some of his exhibitions are, we think, not a little absurd, especially his rounded periods stolen without acknowledgment from printed books, and his grammatical criticisms. There is also a Mr. Harley, a person of talent and of political eminence, who, however, is rather described than exhibited, and who plays no part in the plot. Nor should we forget Lord Davenant, who, in one scene related by his wife, makes a very striking figure, and wherever he is brought forward throughout the work, displays both good feeling and good sense; always excepting the part he acts in the memorable scene about Sir Walter Scott, where the whole company make fools of themselves, and where his lordship in reply to Lady Davenant's recommendation, that they should have patience while Beauclerc's fit of singularity and contradiction is on, exclaims, "But I have not, and will not have patience," being, the authoress assures us, "although his good nature seldom failed, now quite in dignant." The only humorous sketch, is that of a Lady Masham; and it is executed in the broad farce style. There are likewise, however, some satirical delineations of female subjects.

which has been made in the real spirit of diffusing knowledge and rational enjoyment.

A MEMOIR OF ZERAH COLBURN, Written by Himself, &c. &c., with his peculiar methods of Calculation. 1 vol. 8vo. Springfield, United States. 1833. THE boy whose extraordinary powers of calculation so long excited the attention of the world, is now a minister of the Methodist persuasion in the state of Massachusetts, and has published this memoir of his early wanderings in America, England, and France. The book, though tinctured in parts with the peculiarities of his sect, is, in every particular but one, creditable to his feelings and understanding. To this point we shall at once advert, as an explanation arising out of it must precede any quotation. When in England he received much attention from various individuals, which degenerated into what he thinks culpable neglect in several instances. He may be right or wrong, but he was certainly inconsiderate in publishing the names and conversation of men who are still alive. Though there is little but what reflects honour on the individuals mentioned, they had some right to be consulted upon the appearance of their names in this Memoir. He probably forgot that copies of his work must reach England, or we feel sure he would not have committed such an oversight, especially since, to the mass of his countrymen, Lord A- or Mr. B- would have been as distinguishable symbols as the full length names of persons, who can be to them objects of no interest. We shall take the liberty of suppressing these names, and even of changing the initials.


Mr. Colburn, as we shall see, never studied mathematics deeply; and there runs through the book a curious spirit of research into the probable design of Providence in gifting him with his peculiar faculty. He puzzles himself to find out why he should have been finally disposed of in a pursuit so remote from his presumed destiny, that not even a knowledge of the multiplication table is necessary to the strictest fulfilment of its duties. He says that "certain unforeseen and unfortunate causes have prevented, and still prevent, his reaching and sustaining that distinguished place in the mathematical literature of the age, to which, on account of the singular gift bestowed upon him, he seemed to be destined." On this point we must say a few words, because, though we, in common with the rest of the world, are struck with admiration at the extraordinary arithmetical powers which occasionally develope themselves in children, there is a misdirected wonder, arising from ignorance of the extent of service which such attainments may render to society.

As in most of her later productions, the world to which Miss Edgworth has chosen to confine herself in the present tale, is that of fashionable life. It is not, perhaps, the world in which her genius is most in its true element, as those will probably agree in thinking, who remember her Castle Rackrent, and how richly in some of her other earlier works she has painted the natural flow of Irish archness, drollery, and whim. But her knowledge both of society and of the springs of human action fits her well, too, for furnishing an animated and finished picture of such scenes as she has here undertaken to describe. In her new performance, we have all the characteristic excellencies of its predecessors of the same class. Time does not seem to The terms "mathematics" and "calculation" are usually have at all impaired the powers of the gifted authoress. She confounded. Nothing can be more incorrect: many perenters upon, and makes her way through her story with the sons have an extraordinary taste, and even love, for calcusame life and spirit, the same vigour and cordiality as ever. lation, who never exhibit more than average mathematical Her feelings are as fresh, as warm, and as eloquent as in power, and vice versa. Sometimes the two faculties are united her youngest days. The present work, by-the-bye, ought to in a great degree, but this is not of common occurrence. put down the foolish notion, that the best parts of Miss We do know distinguished mathematicians who are expert Edgeworth's former novels were written by her father. and correct calculators; but we know others, as distin"Envy," as one of her own characters here remarks, "gra-guished, who detest computation, and will invent methods tifies herself continually by thus shifting the merit from one person to another; in hopes that the actual quantity may be diminished, she tries to make out that it is never the real person, but somebody else, who does that which is good." In none of these preceding fictions is there any thing of superior merit to what that now published presents us with, in the conception and the whole development of the character of Lady Cecilia Clarendon. It is a masterly contribution to the philosophy of human nature, and evinces the very highest powers of original, just, and delicate delineation. In conclusion, let us hope that Helen is but the precursor of other tales from the pen of the greatest now of our living novelists. Affixed to one of the pieces in the late edition of her collected works-the "Letters of Julia and Caroline"-we find the notice, "written in 1787," so that that pen has now been in exercise for little short of half a century. It has, however, as we have said, lost none of its point, and might, to all appearance, go on "inditing good things" for half a century longer.

We have to add, that Miss Edgeworth's former works have been collected into a beautiful and cheap edition, in 18 volumes, price 5s. per vol. The proprietors, Messrs. Baldwin, will, we trust, be amply rewarded for this effort,

of avoiding it rather than undergo the drudgery. We are convinced that there are many bankers' clerks in London who have formed more Arabic numerals than Newton, Laplace, and Lagrange put together: indeed, it is recorded of the latter, that he never attempted a numerical application in his lecture-room without breaking down, though he was certainly the first mathematician in Europe at the time.

The utility of an instantaneous calculator, considered as distinct from his mathematical power, may be very easily measured as a question of political economy. His methods are usually unique, and such as cannot be followed by other persons not gifted with the same degree of quickness. He does not, therefore, create power for others, as Napier did when he invented logarithms, which made calculation more easy for all time to come; but he is, for the term of his natural life, more men than one, so far as his own pursuit is concerned. If he makes calculation his profession, and does as much as twenty other men could do, being paid, of course, twenty times as much, he drives nineteen men to some other pursuit, and society gains the difference for his life. At the same time, the rational amusement and satisfaction which he always affords to others is a positive benefit, so long as it lasts, and so is the history of it when he is gone. We

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