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of the reverend gentlemen who have contributed to the wa), that since the year 1755, when an account of the population of Scotland was procured by the late Dr. Webster, the num. ber of inhabitants is, in many parts of the country, much encreased ; and both in agriculture and manufactures, improvement is equally conspicuous. The clergy in Scotland teem, in general, to have a comfortable, though not an ample sublistence; but the provision for the schoolmasters, in almost all the parishes, is miserably defective. We find, however, that there is a plan in agitation for remedying this evil; and it requires to be carried into execution with all poflibie dispatch. The present work, by diffusing over Scotland the observationsand experiense collected from every diftrict, must greatly promote the farther improvement of the country, and it ought to be attended with the additional effect, of exciting government to co-operate, with all its power, in every scheme for accomplishing that object. Many useful hints for this purpose may be found in the Statistical Account. It is imagined, that when the work is completed, it will conlist of about ten volumes ; and every friend to the interests of the nation must wish for the successful execution of a design, which promises not only literary entertainment, but great advantage to the public.
The Romance of the Forest : interspersed with some Pieces of Poetry. By the Author efs of A Sicilian Romance, &c.
9s. Jewed. Hookham. 1791. We spoke with respect of the Sicilian Romance; but this
lady *, for by the term (authoress) we must suppose it to be the production of a female's penghas greatly exceeded her firit work. The lovel before us engages the attention strongly, and intereits the feelings very powerfully: the general style of the whole, as well as the reflections, deserve also commendation. The greater part of the work resembles, in manalir, the old English Baron, formed on the model of the Castle of Otranto. We have the ruined abbey, a fupposed ghost, the Ikeleton of a man secreteiy murdered, with all the horrid train of innages which such scenes and such circumstances may be supposed to produce. They are managel, however, with skill, and do not disguit by their improbability : cvery thing is confiftent, and within the verge of rational belief: the attention
In the advertifement to the second edition, the styles herself Ann Rate cliffe, and we have no authority. for prelixing Mils or Mrs.
is uninterruptedly fixed, till the veil is designedly withdrawn. One great mark of the author's talents is, that the events are concealed with the utmost art, and even suspicion sometimes designedly mified, while, in the conclusion, every extraordinary appearance seems naturally to arise from caufes not very uncommon. The characters are varied with skill, and often dexterously contrafted.
In the third volume, the scenes are changed, and we are led to the wild and more picturesque scenes of Savoy. The def. criptions are in this place often beautiful, and seem to be drawn from personal examination. The family of De Luc, the worthy venerable pastor of Leloncourt, are described with equal feeling and elegance. We shall make no apology for copying one of the scenes in this neighbourhood.
• They pursued their way along the borders of the lake; sometimes under the thade of hanging woods, and fometimes over hil. locks of curf, where the scene opened in all its wild magnificence. M. Verneuil often hopped in raptures to observe and point out the fingular beauties it exhibited, while La Luc, pleased with the delight his friend expressed, surveyed with more than usual fatisfaction the objects which had fo often charmed him before. But there was a tender melancholy in the tone of his voice and his countenance, which arose from the recollection of having often traced those scenes, and partook of the pleasure they inspired, with her who had long since bade them an eternal farewell.
• They presently quitted the lake, and, winding up a steep ascent between the woods, came, after an hour's walk, to a green fummit, which appeared, among the favage rocks that environed is, like the blossom on the thorn. It was a spot formed for solitary delight, inspiring that soothing tenderness so dear to the feeling mind, and which call: back to memory the images of paffed regret, softened by distance and endeared by frequent recollection. Wild shrubs grew from the crevices of the rocks beneath, and the high trees of pine and cedar that waved above, afforded a melancholy and romantic shade. The filence of the scene was interrupted only by the breeze as it rolled over the woods, and by the folitary notes of ibe birds that inhabited the cliffs.
• From this point the eye commanded an entire view of thofe majestic and sublime alps whose aspect fills the foul with emotions of indescribable awe, and seems to lift it to a nobler nature. The village, and the chateau of La Luc appeared in the borom of the mountains, a peaceful retreat from the storms that gathered on their tops. All the faculties of M. Verneuil were absorbed in admi. ration, and he was for some time quite filent; and length, bursting into a rhapsody, he turned, and would have addressed La Luc, when he perceived him at a distance leaning against a ruftic urn, Ii2
over which drooped, in beautiful luxuriance, the weeping willow.
• As he approached, La Luc quitted his position, and advanced to meet him, while M. Verneuil inquired upon what occasion the urn had been erected. La Luc, unable to answer, pointed to it, and walked filently away.'
If it may appear, that we have commended this novel with an eager warmth, we can only say, in apology for it, that we have copied our real sentiments. The lady is wholly unknown to us, and probably will ever continue so. We must, however, consider 'The Romance of the Forest as one of the firit works in this line of novel-writing that we have seen.
Anna St. Ives, a Novel. By Thomas Holcroft. 7 Vols. 12mo.
Il is. Shepperfon. 1792. IT T is neceffary, in tracing the revolutions of literature, to
mark each new ära, from which improvements or alterations in any style of writing may be dated. We have seen the levelling principle, the pretended philosophy of modern times, rising above the systems and the opinions for ages held sacred; and, bursting the confines of speculation, boldly trying the practicability of its plans on a very extensive fcale. The process still goes on; and, while the event is uncertain, though we may offer our opinions, or call the experiment raih, we dare not decide on its fuccefs, or on the sum of happiness likely to result from it on the whole. In this ebullition of sentiments, an enterprising female rises to put in her claim for the Rights of Woman; and, to complete the climax, a philosophical leveller becomes the hero of a novel.
Frank Henley is the son of fir Arthur St. Ives' projector and surveyor, the director of his improvements at Wendbourne Hall, an artful, treacherous, and dishonest steward. Frank is, however, the mirror of modern excellence; cool, decisive, able, and philosophical. But, with courage to face danger and death in its worst forms, he is more than once beaten, because duelling is againft the rule of right; and following his strict lessons of morality, degenerates on some occafions into a coward. He loves Anna St. Ives; who, before she is thoroughly converted to the modern fyftem, feems to prefer Clifton; and, though his love is violent, it is still kept within the bounds of reafon. No murmur is heard, no figh escapes. At the hazard of his own life he faves his rival from drowning, in a manner which leads to a fufpicion of his own infanity; and which, if he had failed, might have very justly subjected him to the suspicion of improving the accident to his own advantage. Anna loves Clifton; but her love is rational and philosophical. She discusTes the subject at first with coolness; but rising in her enthusiasm, she kisses Frank, boasts of this kiss to Clifton's fifter, and afterwards to himself. Clifton's sister, who has a touch of this philosophy, though fond of her brother, makes no objection to the killing, and even pleads the cause of Frank Henley. Clifton, whole character is well drawn, ably and consistently supported, is not quite so philosophical. Anna's partiality in favour of Frank, the long folitary walks with her philofopher, the contempt which ihe freely expresses for Clifton, produce some very natural antiphilosophical effects, and drive him to desperate measures. He designs to force her to his will, but is awed by her reasoning, and not able to trust himself with this female reasoner, seizes her and Henley, confines him in a mad-house, and the lady in a separate, solitary mansion. All this part of the story is well told; the situations are interesting and affecting. -The lovers escape; Clifton is wounded almost mortally, but becomes a convert to reason, is allowed to live, and the passions, of course, subside. Anna is married to Henley:
Such is the outline of a story, absurd, often insipid, and unreasonably extended; but the character of Clifton, and the last volume, though the denouement is a little too abrupt and artificial, rife greatly above the rest of the work. It displays, however, no little defect in judgment to connect these events with the modern reasoning system, and with the dramatis perfonæ of levelling principle. Similar absurdities occur in the New Heloise; but the warmth, the imagination of the author, language the most polished, ideas the most seductive, by their glare lefsen the impropriety. Here they are canvassed, if disgust will for a moment admit the examination, in their native forms; they must consequently be almost instantaneoully rejected; and, if it were the intention of the author to ridicule the new doctrines, he could not have taken a more effectual step. But there are a few more serious exceptions. Reason, the dignity of virtue, or a consistent propriety, is the deity looked up to in the greatest distrefies: cunning and difhonefty succeed in their schemes; and, in one place, the force of an absolute promise is artfully attempted to be evaded. These are faults which demand the severeit reprehension, and compel us to disapprove of the work in general. The falhion, we truft, will not prevail, and the period of philosophical lovers will probably begin and end with Frank Henley.
A concise History of the County and City of Chester, from the most
authentic and respectable Authors; with descriptive and lively Observations on the Manners, Cufioms, &c. of the Inhabitants. A!/o the Life of St. Werburgh, the memorable Founder of the Cathedral of Chefier. Embellished with an elegant ground Plan of the City and Suburbs of Chester, taken from a recent
Survey. Small 8vo. 25. Sael. 1791. WHILE several places of inferior note have become sub
jects of particular research, it would be surprising if Chelter had not likewise its provincial historian. It is doubtless a town of great antiquity ; though we may be allowed, without the imputation of scepticisin, to, abate a little of the date affixed to its origin by fir Thomas Elliot; according to whom, the original name of this city was Neomagus, fo called from Magus, son of Samothes, son of Japhet, its founder, 2.40 years after the flood.
An assertion which, our author justly observes, if duly authenticated, places it on a line of antiquity with any other city in the universe.' Its second name, we are told, was Caerlleon, so called from Leon Vafor, or Gawr; who, as fome writers say, was a giant in Albion, and one of its restorers. Upon the settlement of the Britons it was next called Caerleil, and afterwards Caerlier, because these two British kings were enlargers and beautifiers of it, according to Stone and others.
So much for what may be called the fabulous history of Chester. Under the Roman government, it appears to have also different names. Sometimes it is called Ceftria ; at other times Deunana, Deva, or Devana Civitas, from its proximity to the Dee. In later ages it was stiled Legan Chester, and Lege Chester ; but in these days West Chester, or Chefter. It is supposed to have been the capital of the Ordovices, before the arrival of the Romans in this island.
This ancient and pleasant city stands upon the borders of the river Dee, about twenty miles south-east from the nearest part of the Irish Channel. It is accounted a very healthy situation, as standing chiefly on a dry fandy stone rock. Though it be not the seat of any staple manufacture, the number of inhabitants, at present, is said to amount to fifteen thousand, and is annually increasing. For the information of such of our readers as have never been at Chester, we present them with the description of the fingular plan on which it has been erected.
• The city is of a square form, which evinces the origin to have bren Roman, being in the figure of their camps, with four gates ficing the tour points, four principal ftreets, and a variety of lel.