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own day are chiefly anxious to entertain, to surprise, and to die vert ; and if, at any rate, they attain their object, all ends are answered : the managers of our theatres repeat their performances; the newspapers tell us that they are written and acted with discrimination, and the author, in the warmth of fancy, wears the laurel wreath. In the midst of this general decline of true taste and judgment, Mr. Holeroft comes forward with a manly spirit, and with sentiments that do bim honour. He laments in his Preface, that works of rudiment, of disquisicion, nay even of mere compilation, are often treated with a refpe&t, which a comedy, or tragedy, where wit, invention, genius, and all the highest faculties of the mind have, or ought to have, been employed, seldom meets with.” He adds, · The theatre has a most powerful influence on morals, and this influence increases with industry, and as the means of gaining admission among the lower class increase. Much time is there spent to the best, the noblest of purposes : the body's fatigues are forgotten ; the mind is beguiled of its care; the sad heart is made merry; fictitious sorrow obliterates real, and the fool, imbibing virtuous and heroic principles, is roused and impelled to actions, thạc honour not only individuals but nations, and give a dignity to human na!ure.'
This is Mr. Holcroft's idea of the use and end of the drama. We are pleased to find an author who has made a juft estimate of his art, and we entirely agree with bim, when he says, “It is most piteous, that not only the learned, but the political world, should treat the ftage with neglect, nay, with contempt; and that they do not, on the contrary, combine, and employ the high powers which they possess, to the encouragement and perfection of an art, in its own nature so delightful, fo fascinating, and, above all, capable of contributing so infinitely to the happiness, as well as to the pleafure of mankind.' • Since these are Mr. Holcroft's notions of the art which he profesies, it will not be matter of wonder that he has produced a piece, which does not merely aim at the transitory diversion of two or three hours, but, more laudably, endeavours to send his audience away with a moral leffon impressed on the heart. He delivers himself, on this head, in so manly a style, that we Thall introduce him once more speaking for himself: his words are, • If I have written a comedy, which, perfectly moral in its tendency, and counteracting a fashionable vice, in danger of becoming a vulgar one, has charms suthicient to attract spectators, I am of opinion, that I have done my country an essential service. That some, who read this, may call me vain or presumptuous, is, to me, totally indifferent. The theatre is a subject of such consequence to Virtue, Happiness, and Man, that I cannot forbear speaking of it with a sense of feeling, which, I fear, I cannot impart.'
What author has, of late years, presented himself before the Public, in the dramatic line, with sentiments so true, so just, and so solid ? Should any of his readers call him, as he fears they will, vain and presumptuous, we honour such vanity, and such prefumga tion. To correct the manners, and mend the heart, is the true object of the Dramatic Muse, and he, who forgets the proper end of writing, will, in his turn, be foon configned to oblivion.
We mall say a word or two more concerning Mr. Holcroft's Preface.
Having acquainted us with his notions of the employment he has undertaken, he proceeds to give a detail of the disappoint. ments and difficulties, which he met with froni che manager of one of the theatres. On this part of his case we thall not expatiate, It will be sufficient to say, it is to be regretted that a writer, who has so much merit in the design and scope of his piece, fhould not be received in the moft liberal manner. If the managers with that themielves and their theatres Mould stand in a respectable light with the Public, they will do well to digeft Mr. Holcroft's honourable notions of the drama, and, for the future, to encourage genius, by letting it be seen that men of talents and education may dedicate their time to the fervice of the Dra. matic Muse, without being liable to meet with trick, sophiftry, and little artifices behind the scenes.
Of the comedy of Seduction, it will be but justice to say, that in respect of the moral precept it inculcates, it is intitled to the praise which the Author claims. Seduction has been the glaring vice of the age, and there is no doubt, but like all other fashions, it has spread it's influence to the lower classes of life. It was the praise of Augustus Cæsar that he made laws to vindicate the honour of the marriage bed. A poet has the laws of ridicule in his power; and if, by rightly employing them, he can counteract the torrent of mischiers that disturb society, he renders a service to his country. It is with this view, that Sir Frederick Fashion is exhibited in all the colours of vice and folly. Wich men of his stamp and character the ruin of the weaker fex is the consummation of glory. Accordingly Sir Frederick has used all his artifices for the purpose of triumphing over the peace and happiness of Harriet : Lady Morden, if possible, muft be added to the list of the wretches he has made, or wishes to make; and Emily, with a large fortune, must be carried off by stratagem, in order to marry her first, and leave her afterwards a prey to misery. From these several defigns the fable acquires its complication, and its variety in the winding up of the intrigue. Lady Morden, we think, is kept too long in a very uofavourable light. She appears ready to dach into all the extravagancies of fashion; but the secret is, the appearance is only assumed. Sbe means no more than to alarm Lord Morden, and, if poffible, to draw bis affections to herself. This secret, we fear, is too long kept back. It would, perhaps, have been more agreeable to the audience, were they to know, in the course of the bufiness, that all her airs of folly are the pious fraud of virtue. It may be added, that, if it incidentally appeared that Wilmot is endeavouring to do good by stealth, in the disguise of Gabriel (the awkward servant from the country) the Actor's opportunity of pleasing would be fairer, and the expectation of the audience would be raised to higher pleasure. Of Lord Morden's character we have some doubt. He is alhamed of being jealous, that is, of vindicating his honour. Sir Frederick Falhion behaves to him, too frequently, in a style which, to a man of sensibility, would be beyond enduring. Not only the courage, but the understanding of Lord Morden are often too equivocal. These things, however, are but flaws in a brilliant. The play, notwithstanding, has considerable merit. The dialogue, with the exception now and then of a phrase, or a single word too scholastic for conversation, is, in general, lively, and, at times, approaching to elegance. The sentiments are, almost always, juft. The wit is often happy, sometimes trite, and occasionally no better than a Aash in the pan: but taking the comedy of Seduction all together, we do not hesitate to say, that it is a production of considerable value, and, upon the whole, does great credit to the Author.
Art. XVII. An Amorous Tale of the chaste Loves of Peter the Long,
and of his most honoured Dame Blanche Bazu, his feal Friend
V informs us, in his advertisement, was written in or about the fifteenth century. Nothing, however, of date or authority, is brought in support of this assertion; and it is from the style and complexion of the performance only that we are to determine on its claim to antiquity.
Judging, therefore, from internal evidence, we conclude the hiltory of Peter the Long to be of a date later than that which it is made to bear. The Author, it is true, has selected some very old and obsolete words, which he sometimes manages skilfully enough; but he not unfrequently forgets himself, and in many parts of his work we find him writing as smoothly as a member of the Academie Françoise.
Bye we will present our Readers with a specimen of the performance :
Now at this time, while I a student was in the college of Navarre, being of age but fix and twenty years, it came to pass that my Lord and father was chosen to be Father-guardian ; in which day it so fell out, that I ran, speedily, when it I heard, to the church Rev. June, 1787.
of the reverend fathers, to return laud unto God for the honour his bounteous providence had done our family.
"Whenas I came into the church, I fell most devoutly on hy knees, in a dark corner, near unto the door; but no sooner had I my orisons, prayers, and thanksgivings began, than I felt something pull me by the arm, and heard a voice call softly, “ Peter, Peter." Now I directly and forthwith knew it was the voice of my feal friend, Blaize Bazu, the best beloved companion of my studies. “ Peter" said Blaize, “ my good friend, right glad am I that thou art come: yonder be my two filters Genevieve and Blanche, and I have here been waiting, them purposely to let thee see.”
I had not looked at Blanche not a minute, no I am certain not a minute, before, without knowing or suspecting aught, I fighed; yea from the very bottom of my heart. Angels, out of doubt, moit handsome be, and beauteous; but, no! not so beauteous, fure, as Blanche! Where she was, every heart in love must be! For mine own part, I certainly thought my soul would forth from my body start outright and into her bosom leap. Now and then I looked down, tried to turn away mine eyes, said my prayers more vehemently, and beat my breast hard, very hard ;-and my fighs were fo long and so wisnful! -No, nobody can believe how I fighed.
Blanche heard me, and turned, looked and marvelled at the extreme fervour of my devotion. For the believed, yea, beauteous as me was, she believed my sighs were for Heaven, and not for her.'
Believed that the fighs were for Heaven, and not for her • Nay, then,' exclaims the Reader, the performance is un. doubledly of ancient date : this can never be spoken of a Blanche of the 18th century-women are somewhat wifer in these days.' True: but this, we believe, is only one of our Author's feints.
Be this, however, as it may; be the history new or old,What,' we shall be asked, “are its merits?' To this we answer, in the language of Peter the Long-Merit no great deal discover in it can we. In a word, our Author's matter is as uninteresting as the generality of novels, but his manner will free quently induce a smile.
Mr. Holcroft has done sufficient justice to his original. In some of the poetical passages there is really a beautiful fimplicity, which may be thought characteristic of Spenser's time. We were particularly pleased with the following lines, from Love's Prayer :'
• Pearl of high beauty! peerless Queen! -
* He had been guilty of the high crime and misdemeanor of ra. vishing - a kiss,
For J UN E, 1787. IMPEACHMENT of Mr. HASTINGS. . Art. 18. Articles of Impeachment againft Warren Hastings, Esq. late
Governor General of Bengal, as voted by the House of Commons,
T laid before the Public, in the several parliamentary debates on them; and they now appear summed up in the formal narrative style, for the confideration of the high court which is to decide on their validity. Here are the first six articles delivered at the bar of the House of Lords, on the subjects of Benares, the Princesses of Oude, Farruckabad, Contracts, Fyzoola Khan, and Presents. Some others have since been added to them. Art. 19. True Policy; or, Helps to a Right Decision on the Prin
ciples advanced in Defence of Mr. Hastings. In Answer to a Pamphlet entitled, “ An Appeal to the People of England and Scotland in behalf of Warren Hastings, Esq.*" By one of the People of England. 8vo. 15. 60. Bell.
According to an exprellion used somewhere by the late Dr. JohnSon, this writer encumbers us with help: for public virtue and utility would be little worth, if their nature depended upon, and could not be understood without his far-fetched and abstrule diftinctions. He must certainly be embarrassed in his own conceptions, who employs a multitude of words to explain his meaning. There is something curious in seeing a small pamphlet overloaded wich three dedications; one to Mr. Sheridan, one to Mr. Pitt, individually, and a third to both in conjunction! An advertisement is added to all, including a general censure of our opinion of the Appeal; to which we can only add, that this writer has not as yet helped us to mend it: we have indeed received, from another quarter, good information that the Appeal was not written by the gentleman whom we then supposed to be the probable author of is.
PHILOSOPHY. Art. 20. Observations on the Causes and Cure of Smoky Chimnies. By
his Excellency Benj. Franklin, LL. D. F.R.S. President of the State of Pennsylvania; and of the American Philosophical So. ciety, &c. 8vo. 29. Philadelphia, printed; London, reprinted for Debrett. 1787.
These observations are the same, verbatim et literatim, with those which form the first paper in the second volume on the American Philosophical Transactions, just published. The plate is likewise the fame, only on a smaller scale than that in the Transactions.
* See Rev. April, p. 344.