Изображения страниц

the alpine plants are kept during winter, as Mr. Boose, the gardener, thinks the Vienna winter too severe for thein.

The inhabitants of these princely buildings are no ways unworthy of them; the rarest palms and shrubs peculiar to the tropics, grow here in their native pride. The corypha umbraculifera extends its large leaves twelve or fourteen feet around : the caryota urens af. cends to the height of sixteen or eighteen feet; the cocos nucifera and elacis guineensis grow with great lux. oriancy; and many rare shrubs, natives of the fame fa. voured climate, though not so peculiarly indicative of their country, are here equally exuberant. The citha. rexylum quadrangulare is twenty feet high; big nonia leucoxylon, malpighia glabra, and the coffee tree fixteen feet ; and the ruitzia laciniata, carolinea, princeps et insignis, with others less rare, twelve to fourteen. The rhapis flabelliformis has a stipes above ten feet high ; the hernandia fonora and helitteres apetala, with their large leaves, contribute their part to beautify this princely collection.



THE LATE MRS. GODWIN. T has often been remarked, that a literary life is

[ocr errors]

the general interest of biography. Mr. Gibbon, how. ever, was an exception to the reinark-a remark which seems to have originated rather in the difficulty of gathering from surviving relatives an account of their literary friends, than in the avowed paucity of the characters themselves.

We promised some account of Mrs. Wolstonecraft, 2 name by which she is better known than that of


Godwin, to the readers of The MONTHLY VISITOR. Being far from unmindful of this promise, we used every exertion within our reach to fulfil it; but we are forry to confess, that such exertions have not answered our hopes. Perhaps Mr. Godwin, at some future day, may give us that information which at present we cannot acquire. He may favour the world with a biography of his deceased wife.

From the little which we have been able to learn, it appears that Miss Wolstonecraft had not changed her original name, till her marriage with Mr. Godwin. But, a woman of strong sensibility, she had not, all this while, been a stranger to love. Report has mentioned Mr. Fufeli as the person who first inspired her with this sentiment. It was purely an attachment, on the part of Mrs. Wolstonecraft, in which she'acted with great honour and fortitude. She was then the dearest friend of Mrs. Fufeli, and on a visit to her. She revealed her situation to that lady, as the cause of leaving their house, and went abroad. In this, or some other excursion, she met with the celebrated Mr. Imlay, author of a Topographical Description of America. Their intimacy was not of long continuance. Mr. Imlay indeed, had proposed marriage to Mrs. Wolstonecraft, but the rejected it on account of her pecuniary embarrassments, which in that case were made over to him. She had by Mr. Imlay a daughter, who has been edu. cared according to those rules which are prescribed by the author of the “ Rights of Women.”

Latterly there have been a number of gentlemen mentioned as the admirers of Mrs. Wolftonecraft; of which number is Mr, Opie. So faint were the conceptions of the literary circles to the union of Mr. Godwin with Mrs. Wolstonecraft, that the first men.. tioned gentleman, Mr. Opie, from his polite attentions to that lady, in their occasional meetings at the houses of their friends, was selected as her future husband.


Ff 3

It seems that these circles not only knew very little of the matter, but that, had they attended to the rules of the new-school, they must have pronounced a different verdict. It was at the house of our principal poetess, the British Sappho, that we witneffed the following scene.

There were present, among many of the literati, Messrs. Opie and Godwin, and Mrs. Wolftonecraft. Mr. Opie was, as usual, very attentive to Mrs. Wol. stonecraft. But the philosopher-the lover of Mrs. Wolstonecraft, and the great man who contends thar men may live without sleeping, was himself fast alleep in the chimney-corner. This insignificant incident might have taught our fashionable lookers-on, that Mr. Godwin and Mrs. Wolftonecraft, poffefsing, thus eminently, the happy quality of mutual distance, were marked for man and wife ! She did not long enjoy the pleasures of this philosophical union. She died in childbed, on Sunday the roth of last September.

Here we terminate the history of Mrs. Godwin. The few additions which we might make could be supplied by rumour--perhaps malice, but we choose not to league with either; and we can only subjoin to these fimple traits of her existence, some idea of her perfon and character : in the latter sense, both as a writer and a woman.

IN PERSON she was above the middle stature, and rather bony : her eyes were poor and inexpreflive; yet, from the strength of her forehead, there was something commanding in her countenance. She was flow in conversation ; seemed to study her words, and might be thought to lie in wait for repartees.

Her WRITINGS are certainly of the first stamp. Her thoughts were bold and clear; her style nervous: there was fomething masculine in the whole of her. But her philofophy was not the most happy ; especially for a female. Miss Imlay has been spoilt by it. This girl,

[ocr errors]


not above five years old, is a fufficient antidote to the mistaken fpeculations of her mother. Mrs. Wolftonecraft was not in love with Christianity; and it is a question with fome, whether infidelity be at all friendly to that fweetness and urbanity of soul, and that gentlenefs of manners, which must endear the woman to fociety.

ASSURE you that I am not one of those men who

wish to derive importance from the occasion. I have, for fome time past, been particularly filent. I have feen enough, indeed, of the depravity of this age, to have induced me to an opposite behaviour; but I thought our age fo depraved, that nothing less than a molt fignal instance of turpitude and deformity, could fouse us to a fenfe of our Áruation.

I have read in the European Magazine for last September, fome memoirs of " William Beckford, esq. of Fonthill :" and I will trouble you with a few remarks on this fingular and unprecedented paper.

When the character of an individual has been pube licly understood as degraded to the foulest practices of the most foul and unnatural times, it is not sufficient to assign such a belief to the efforts of " detraction,


” and “ ingratitude;" it is necessary to prove, that individuals have been slanderous and ungrateful that a nation has been ignorant and malicious. By a sophism which our laws permit TRUTH IS A LIBEL; and we dare not explain to the public, the wretched enormities of certain men. I had almost said, it is well for those men thas we may

I beg leave to correct the affirmation. While men can be secure in iniquity, if it does not reach to a public tribunal; and while those whose high places,

[ocr errors]

« malice,




as the preceptors and protectors of our morals, ought, at least, to make them neuters in crime, shall, under the influence of bribes, explain vice into virtue, and depravity into greatness; where is our common security? how can we depend on any profeflions of truth and what shall preserve, amidst these vile and intricate practices, the social relationships, the unavoidable duties, and the dearest sympathies of life?

In this day, Mr. Editor, a good memory is not among the least of our qualifications. We seem too apt to forget the dispositions and instructions of those who have gone before us; and some men would profit themselves of this temper. But we do not forget-we shall not forget alderman Beckford—and, with this perfect re. collection of the father, we may gather, from the chronicles of our land, no imperfect recollections of the son. This son, we are told, is a man of consummate abilities, but (most unfortunately!) he has been perverted in the exercise of his talents, by the following circumstances, “ It may be thought ftrange, (says the European Magazine) that Mr. Beckford, with the abilities generally attributed to him, should not have produced them more on the scene of public life.”. .“ But che world fhould know, that with talents, and particularly that of eloquence, fitted to have made a brilliant figure on this ground, (parliament) Mr. Beckford, unfortunately, wants that strength of constitution necessary to bear that constant attendance, fatigue, and those late hours required in the house of commons." The newspapers are full of this subject; though they have not given us a single idea on the origin of Mr. Beckford's " wants," as they respect his strength of conftitution."

Perhaps, Mr. Editor, some people ought to know, that there is a constant re-action in nature. Evil rever goes unpunished. The man who seduces an innocent girl, adds another to the number of those unhappy woinen, whose contagions bring many a seducer to ruin and to death! There is high justice in these matters;


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »