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36. Trientalis Europæa?—" Winter green. Pirola rotundifolia."
Certainly not pyrola rotundifolia. It may be trientalis Europæa, which inhabits both Europe and America. It is laughable to observe that after Mr. Henry bas dubbed it rotundifolia, he tells us that the leaves are heart shaped! In the engraving they are oval!--Their true form is lanceolate.
How far the work before us is entitled to the character of a complete American Herbal, has been pretty well ascertained from the notice we have already taken of it. It remains for us to say something of the merit of the work iş a medical point of view. Every thing valuable, that relates, not only to exotic but to indigenous plants, which are known to European and American writers, has been taken from them: and both the descriptions and the account of their medical virtues, are given in such an imperfect manner as to afford much less information than could be obtained from consulting the original writers.
Of the few remaining plants which Mr. Henry may claim as exclusively his own, nothing certain can be known until they are placed in other hands for examination. If we may rely upon his account of the “ dragon's claw,” it must at least be possessed of singular properties. But, who ever heard of nitre liquifying by exposure to the air? which he informs us is the case with this nitrous plant! If it be true, as he says, that his " beth root obviates the gangrene of mortification,” it must be
very valuable. His account of the medical virtues of the caulophyllum thalictroides, and its application in an obstetrical case, is really amusing. After having sagaciously ascertained that a young woman whom he visited at the period of parturition, was pregnant, by feeling her pulse and asking her questions, he remained until she was delivered of a beautiful boy! But we are informed, with great solemnity, that this uncommon event of a woman being speedily delivered of a beautiful boy, was owing to the miraculous power of a dose and a half of his papoose root!
With respect to the appendix, "containing many choice medical secrets, never made known to the world before;" it abounds with the same kind of specifics and nostrums, which occasionally fill the columns of our newspapers.
It is the general usage of medical practitioners, of a certain class, to derive their specifics, as well as their knowledge of them, from afar. We have had our specific doctors from Europe, from Africa, and from Asia; and lastly comes Dr. Henry, from the Creek nation. We had often heard that the Creek Indians were great doctors! but it happens fortunately on this occasion, that we, as well as Mr. Henry, have been among them, and attended particularly to the state of their materia medica. Such is the imperfect knowledge of this tribe, that they are entirely unacquainted with the medical qualities of the podophyllum peltatum, and sanguinaria canadensis, plants which abound throughout the nation. We did indeed hear them extol the virtues of their famous black drink, and speak of the wonderful effects of a species of sisyrinchium, employed as an emenegogue, in a style equal to that of Dr. Henry himself, when treating of the papoose root.
After witnessing the many errors with which this work abounds, it was with regret that we beheld its publication sanctioned by any respectable medical authority. But the sacrifice of literary or medical reputation, is not the only evil to be apprehended in this instance. Much mischief may be done by masters and mistresses of families attempting to identify American with the European plants, which are preposterously figured by the herbalist. Many of our umbellatæ, in particular, might be stumbled upon for those engraved, and the result be fatal. Cicuta maculata, which is a deleterious plant, might readily be mistaken for angelica sylvestris, and cause the masters and mistresses of families, as well as those who have rejoiced at this publication, to repent of their folly when too late.
Memoires de Goldoni, &c. i. e. Memoirs of Goldoni, and of
his theatrical productions. By himself. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris. 1814.
[From the Monthly Review.] BIOGRAPHY is a term which has a different import on the opposite sides of the British channel. From Marseilles to Calais, it implies the full and explicit delineation of character and conduct, even to the smallest incidents and most fleeting thoughts that present any peculiar distinction between the individual and the collective species; and, in embracing the better side, it turns not away from the more dishonourable traits that may mark the man. This system of self-espionage was first instituted by La Montaigne; it was carried to an extravagant length by Rousseau; it returned to its primitive temper under the happy pen of Marmontel; and it lends occasional amusement to the pages of their imitator Goldoni. A biographer on this side of the channel is contented with relating what may be related; while on the other side, that which was never intended to be recorded forms an equal, and unhappily the more entertaining, part of the story. Not to mention the real frankness of La Montaigne, the affected frankness of Rousseau, the natural and ungarnished history of Marmontel, the avowed and unblushing infamy of Richelieu, and the naivete of a Stahl, who were both the subjects and the authors of their histories, we may trace the same desire to reveal the man, and the whole man, in the memoirs of Grammont, written by an English apostle of the French school; and yet more prominently displayed in the gallery of portraits bequeathed to us by Si. Simon. Of all biographers, this last is possibly most true to nature; of all servitudes, that of a despotic court is possibly the most degrading to the heart and mind; and if the
caractere haineux,” attributed to the duc de Saint Simon, has not misguided his pen, of all courts since the pagan courts of Tiberius and Nero, that of Louis XIV, in his latter days, abounded most in the monotony of human misery. The perfect portraiture of the master and his slaves, by the severe but vigilant Saint Simon, will descend to posterity together with the unjust eulogies of partial historians and biographers, and
act as a corrective on minds that are liable to be dazzled by false glitter or deluded by false taste.
No country has produced a harvest of biography so copious or so excellent as France;-to seize and delineate a character exactly, neither to exaggerate nor extenuate, neither to omit nor to set down aught in malice, is the pride of French biography. This may not have been avowed, although, from the increasing and never satiated demands for French memoirs, it is evidently though silently admitted; and indeed, paradoxical as it may scem, we question whether any human invention can devise and string events together, as agreeably as they spontaneously fall in the chequered life of a man of enterprise. Still, with all due respect to the Sieur Goldoni, we do not class his memoirs with those which have given interest to this style of composition. A decent writer of the language, in the early part of his memoir he is a clumsy copyist of Hamilton and Marmontel; while, a stranger to their natural and easy graces, he seeks an antithesis in almost every sentence, and an unseasonable pleasantry in almost every paragraph. The larger part of the two volumes which we have before us, forms an almost continued tissue of successful or unsuccessful levities; and, as the unsuccessful are ninety and nine against one, the value of the work must rest, not on style or seatiment, but on the events of a varied life, and on the light thrown by it (in a most unpleasant manner) on the progress of that theatrical talent of which the development has obtained for the author a considerable share of popularity. The very appearance of the pages, arranged as they evidently are by the author's direction, in so many divisions, presents a certain idea of unconnexion, or, to use a French term, a decousu of manner, which, although attempted for the purpose of alluring, suc. ceeds only in fatiguing the reader. We have no continued narrative; all is ambitious,—all is scintillation,—digression,apropos, and consequently disappointment. Not to speak of that vulgar tone which is contracted by habitual intercourse with the green-rooms, and with the premieres amoureuses of so many strolling and stationary companies, we cannot but reprobate a certain light and trifling mention of actions and sentiments that are too important to be converted to a jest.
We are far from denying that Italy is much indebied to this writer for attempting the reform of her comic theatre; neither can the author, who has witnessed in his life-time eighteen editions of one hundred and fifty comedies in prose and verse, be in need of much apology for presenting to the world his portrait, drawn by his own hand:--but, besides the propriety
of giving some account of himself, M. Goldoni was influenced by another motive yet more forcible, viz. self-interest. Perceiving that several of his works were printed without his permission (a larceny admitting no redress in a country like İtaly, which is divided against itself,) the injured author, to put a stop (as far as he could) to future pillage, resolved to preface every subsequent volume with a detached morsel of his biography: which should serve the triple purpose of signmanual to the genuineness of the edition, as a preface, and also as a farther advance to the history of his whole life; and, as it appears to have been his intention to live writing, he conceived that his last comedy for the stage would contain
for its introduction nearly the last of its author's history. The dissipation of Paris; in which capital he passed his latter years, interrupted this scheme; and, contenting himself with translating from the Italian the part which was already finished, and making a few additions, he has furnished us with the present work.
Goldoni was born at Venice, as he tells us, in a grand and noble mansion, but his family was originally of Modena. His grandfather, Charles, consoled himself for the loss of his first wife by espousing a widow, one of whose daughters he consigned in marriage to his son. • My mother,' says the author, " was a pretty brunette: she was a little lame, but very inviting. His grandfather, devoted to a life of pleasure, hired a inagnificent country house, six leagues from Venice, where he excited the envy of all the neighbourhood by the splendour of his entertainments: but, being deprived of this house by the artifice of an envious man, he settled at Carrara, farmed all the possessions belonging to the prince at Venice, increased his expenses, represented comedies and operas at his own house, and attracted thither the best actors and most famous musicians of the day. Visiters also flocked from every quarter. "I was born,' says Goldoni, during all this bustle, and in this abundance; how could I despise the theatre? How could I dislike gayety?'— My mother,' (he continues, in the character of a comic writer, we suspect, rather than truly) · brought me forth almost without a pang, and she loved me for it the better. I did not announce my entrance into the world by cries, and this gentleness seemed to give presages of my pacific character, which from that hour have never been belied. I was the jewel of the house; my nurse declared that I had wit; my mother charged herself with my education, and my father with my amusement. He constructed a puppet-show: he directed the motions of the figures with his own hand, as