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with in these volumes, we are really at a loss to conje&ture. If the publick Mould demand a new edition of the do&or's Miscellanies, we would recommend to him to ornament it with a representation of Diogenes the Cynic trampling upon the cloak of Plato.
IV. A Revieau of Ibe Characters of the principal Nasions in Eu.
sope. Two Vols. 8vo. Pr. 8s. 64. in boards. Cadell. THERE is no species of knowledge of higher importance
I than that of human nature; it is a science which, as Lord Bacon expresses it, comes home to the bofums of all mankind, and is therefore worthy of the attention of men of all ranks and stations in life ; however various their studies and pursuits, they are all equally capable of receiving improvement and information from this most inftru&ive and noble branch of philofophy. Other sciences and intellectual acquifitions feem to be confined to particular professions ; but the knowledge of human nature is the concern of the whole fpecics; divines and philosophers, lawyers and physicians, ma. thematicians, philologers and poets, are equally benefited by this great fcience, which seems so well calculated to throw light upon those studies, to which they peculiarly attach themfelves, and which from thence derive their last perfection and refinement. This important branch of knowledge is by nothing more effectually promoted, than by studying and exa. mining the spirit, manners, and character of different nations, in all of which, human nature, though essentially the same, is fo diversified, as to give rise to the moft curious and useful obfervations; and the species in general cannot but be highly improved by a combination of the several particulars that are laudable or worthy of imitation amongst the national bodies, into which the inlabitants of the earth are subdivided. Hence it is mentioned as one of the most distinguishing circumstances in the chara&er of the fage Ulysses, that he had studied the manners and customs of a variety of nations, and seen a num. ber of different cities,
muros bominum multorum vidit & urbes. This has made the taste for travelling so conspicuous in all ages amongst men of a philofophical turn of mind; and nature feems to have placed such a variety of products in different. countries, in order to introduce that commercial intercourse, which contributes lo much to improve and civilize the species, that, as the celebrated Montesquieu observes, wherever commerce has prevailed, mildness of manners and rational prin. ciples have distinguished the nation by which it has been cul.
tivated. Having premised thus much concerning the inport ance of the work before us, we shall proceed to give the reader an analysis of the first volume, which turns upon the national character of the English, French, Italians, and Spaniards, reserving the second volume to a future examination.
The author begins by observing, that there is no stronger proof of the inconftancy and mutability of all human things, than the prodigious change effe&ted during the courle of the two last centuries, in the minds, manners, and political conftitution of the people of Great Britain. He considers the Reformation as the first step they made towards shaking off that mental Navery under which they had groaned during ro. 'many ages, though the nation continued still to be fettered by the weight of an oppressive and almoit unlimited power in be government. But at the Revolution the English nation seemed to thine out in its complete effulgence. Since that time, though changes have happened, yet they have been rather of personages and collateral accidents; the main body, as it were, of that spirit, which informed the nation, still sublists unaltered and unin paired ; and the English of those days were, in every effential respect, the same people they are at present.
Our author then proceeds to observe, that the present Eng. lilh are less under the influence of prejudice, than any other nation whatever, according to the unanimous avowal of foreigners themselves. He instances in the little respect paid to royalty, as well as to noble birth ; at the same time justly observing, that the want of reverence for their betters in the English common people, may be deduced from the unfortunate æra of our civil wars in the last century. The English nobility and gentry, however, are in general, as our author remarks in their praise, persons of far superior abilities to their equals in rank in other countries; this he ascribes to their being born in a land of freedom, wliich secures them an education on a much more liberal plan, than the maxims of most other European governments wiil adınit of. The impartiality of our author to his own country appears in the succeeding pages, where the propensity of the English to suicide is animadverted upon, as distinguishing the nation in a deplorable manner from every other civilized people.
This very just and merited censure is followed by an observation, the novelty of which, we must own, surprises uss namely, that love, however known in other countries, is no where else so powerfully felt as in England. This observation we can by no means subscribe to : that of the celebrated Montesquieu appears much inore consonant to reason, and better fupported by experience, viz. that the influence of love
is is proportioned to that of the several climates ; that in the frozen regions of the north it is hardly known; that in temperate climates, there is a sort of caprice, or whimsical parfion, which the natives' seem to mistake for it; but that in warm climates it is the life, the soul, and the invigorating principle which animates the inhabitants. Here he has occasion to take notice of the superior beauty of the English women to that of the fair-sex in other countries, a superiority allowed them by all foreigners.
Our author proceeds to vindicate his countrymen from the charge brought against them by the French, of being of a ferocious disposition, prone to indulge itself in scenes of blood and barbarity. To clear them from this imputation he observes, 1, that the rack and other cruel methods of extorting confessions are not in use among the English: 2. that murders, assassinations and duels are much less frequent in England than In other countries : 3. that even robbers and highwaymen in England are feldom guilty of acts of inhumanity. In the subfequent pages, he draws a sort of parallel betwixt the English and French theatres ; but so much bas been said upon this subject, that it seems to be quite exhausted, and we think it altogether unnecessary to add any thing farther upon that head. Next follows a high encomium of our English artificers, with regard to which we apprehend notwithstanding, that the French will hardly submit to his decision. After having thus enumerated the characteristic qualities of the English, and refuted most of the charges brought against them by foreigners, he conclucles with an observation of M. de St. Evremcnt's, that no nation whatever displays more courage in the men, more beauty in the women, and a greater portion of good sense in either sex.
In the subsequent Essay, which turns upon the character of the French, our author proves the great ignorance in which that people lived before the reformation, from their belief in witchcraft and exorcisims, and the many absurdities which occur in their history. He continues to observe that the heats occasioned by opposition to the reformation, and the frenzy of duelling, farther retarded the improvement of the French, as did several subsequent broils during the reigns of succeeding kings, insomuch that silk was in those ages so rare in France, as to be worn by none but royal and princely personages. The age of Lewis XIV. is, as he justly observes, the epocha at which the French may be said to have risen above water, At that period they from domeftic faclion and strife grew into concord and unanimity. From an almost intire stagnation of wade and commerce, they engaged at once in manufactures
and business of every denomination; and though they had been before in total want of shipping, in a short time they ex, tended their navigation to every quarter of the globe. But the French are at present, he says, sunk to a degree of pufillanimity and abje&ness, equally low with that of any Eu. sopean nation whatever ; infomuch as though forms of law re. main, their validity cannot preponderate against court favour, which whoever is capable of securing, may bid defiance to all' the laws and judges of the kingdom.
Our author next takes notice, that the over great commu. nication between the two sexes in France, is productive of fee veral ill consequences; gravity being from the perpetual concomitance of the women almost totally effaced in the men ; while from the same cause modesty and softness of behaviour have, in the fair sex, given way to a vivacity and forwardness, that can only become the other. He then juftly ridicules the infatuation of the French for noble birth, which is so univers sally prevalent, that even domeftics think theinfelves entitled to notice and regard in proportion to the quality of their mar. ters. However, he acknowledges that the nobility of France are a brave and gallant body of men. With regard to the lawyers and gownsmen he observes, that they are in a particular manner discountenanced by the court, whose authority is often exerted against the sense and judgment of the French parliaments. Next to the dignitaries of the law, thore, he says, who shine most in France by the influence and importance of their fiation, are the farmers-general and financiers, the richest individuals of this kind in Europe. Many of these patronize literature, and live in a liberal hospitable manner, which procures them general esteem.
The account our author gives of the French clergy, in which they are extolled for the regularity of their lives, and their diligence and labour in the duties of their function, seems liable to some objection. The French prelates are noted for their debauched luxurious lives, in which they are but too often imitated by their inferiors. With regard to the abbés, who being neither ecclefiaftics nor laymen, but a mongrel tribe, are, of consequence, restricted by no particular rules ; they lead many of them a life of dissipation and libertinism, and devote themselves as much, or more than any other set of men to the society of the fair sex, with whom they are often highly successful, as they surpass all their countrymen in the -arts of Aattery, and the talent of insinuating themselves into a female's good graces. It is justiy observed by our author, that in their manner of meeting death, the French, as well as other European nations differ clientially froin the English : 'a
Frenchman is by the dread of death often rendered the prey of those watchful alert friars, who go about comforting the fick, and extorting from their purses those donations and largeffes, which contribute fo materially to their fubsistence. . .
In the course of his review our author proceeds to the fpecies of beings called in France petit maitres, a race well known in England by the appellation of fops and coxcombs ; and the description he gives of them is lively and pi&turesque. He then touches upon the article of cleanliness, in which the French are, with truth, affirmed to be greatly inferior to the English ; as many of the former, whilst they appear abroad as spruce and fine as their toilet can make them, Jeave such homes behind them as our meanest tradesmen would be loath to dwell in. With respect to the boasted superiority of the Paris architecture over that of London, our author ascribes it intirely to the immense quarries of stone in the neighbour. hood of that city. He at the same times proves the greater progress of prosperity among the people of England than amongst those of France, from a comparison of the environs of Paris with those of London; as likewise from that air of elegance which our public diversions have, far beyond those of the French. He, however, acknowledges that Paris has one manifest advantage over London, in the number and decorations of its public gardens; but adds, that neither the Tuilleries, the Luxemburg, nor the Palais Royal, can in all the days of the year equal that exhibition, which on any fair Sunday enchants those that walk in St. James's Park. Whilft our author acknowledges the great superiority of the French ladies in all the arts of pleasing, he laments that the evil genius of gallantry often perverts all their good qualities, rendering them fubfervient to very iniquitous ends; and concludes his observations upon the French with a wish, that it may never find its way into this island, and that our fair country-women may continue to preserve the reputation of being not only the most beautiful, but also that much nobler praise of being the moft perfect and amiable patterns of modesty.
This review of the national character of the French is followed by an inquiry into that of the Italians : his first observation on these people is that they have for some centuries addicted themselves to the theory of politics, as much as their ancestors did to the practice of war; no European nation having produced a greater number of political and historical writers, many of whom are very worthy of perusal. Notwithstanding this, few countries in Europe are worse governed than Italy; and no people, he says, are more wretched than the generality of that nation. In fact all the states in Italy, except those of Lucca