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the character of the Spaniards, whose kingdom is now almost reduced to that degree of insignificancy, as to be numbered with those empires that sublift only in historical remembrance.
Thus have we gone through the first volume of this perforance: our opinion of it upon the whole is, that many of the reflections, are equally curious and just; the style, in general, nervous, and flowing.
V. The Hilory of Charles Wentworth, Esq. in a series of Let
ters. In Tbree Vols. 12mo. Pr. 75. 6d. Becket. THE editor of these volumes, in a very well written ad
vertisement, declares that a part of the history contained in them is founded in truth, in order to apologize for some circumstances which might be deemed censurable in a performance wholly fi&titious. After having told us that the letters are more replete with sentiments than incidents, he gives his own opinions concerning novel-writing, to which all readers of novels will not, perhaps subscribe. “Novels that meerly entertain, merit no encouragement, because they divert the mind from more useful objects; to make them a vehicle of instruction under the mask of amusement it is necessary that they be not too interesting : wherever curiosity is greatly excited the mind becomes impatient to know the final event, aid every moral or instructive reflection that may be interposed, suspends the gratification of its curiosity, and is on that account either read with disgust, or entirely past over.' The editor afterwards informs us, that the Letters are not distinguished by the peculiarities of style ; · Because such peculiarities do not exist among the polite or learned part of mankind, who, in speak. ing, or writing, are governed, not so much by their own sentiment and judgment, as by the laws of decorum, ceremony, and fashion, which, from the servile obedience they receive, induce an apparent, but fallacious similarity of character, sentinent, and behaviour among us, and confound our real dispositions.'
The history begins with an account of Edward Wentworth, esq. the father of Charles, who, after having assisted at all the military operations in Germany, during the war, particu, larly at the memorable battle of Dettingen, obtains, by his valour and his prudent conduct, a majority in an old regiment. After the peace he is unfortunately overheated with wine, drawn into a dispute with a young officer, which terminates in a duel, as the major cannot with honour put up with the provocations he receives. To military honour hą.
falls a sacrifice, and leaves two sons to the care of a mother, who seems, both from her maternal affeaion, and excellent understanding, very well qualified to undertake so important a charge. Her eldest son, Edward, is fober, sedate, and enters himself a student at Cambridge, in order to prepare himself for ordination. Her youngest, Charles, who has an uncommon share of vivacity, and whose passions are too impetuous to be controuled by reason, chuses the profession of surgery. He is, therefore, placed with a Mr. S- , an hospital surgeon. His mother, upon his first entrance into the world, addresses a very sensible letter to him: he soon, however, disagrees both with Mr. S- and his family, and ibat dil, agreement produces a second letter full of falutary admonition from Mrs..Wentworth. He then writes to his brother, turns his moral principles into ridicule, and acquaints him with an affignation he has made with a beautiful girl, having first seen her at a place to which women of disputable characters are admitted, adding that her brother had procured hiin an inter.. view with her. He seems determined to take advantage of his intimacy with the lady, but professes that it gives him the greatest unealiness to think that the pleasure expected from that intimacy, must be purchased, probably, at the expence of her future happiness. His brother, with a becoming spirit, and with much good senfe, diffuades him, in his answer, from following his inclination, to the destruction of innocence. Charles, in reply, tells him that he finds himself quite unable to reflect upon moral and serious subjects, that he is already weary of his mistress, and that her reproaches on the change in his behaviour to her only excite compassion instead of love. Some time afterwards Charles writes again to his brother to inform him that he is become extremely enamoured of a young lady whom he met with at the play; that be met her again at his aunt Clinton's, and that he finds her to be a Miss Sophia Stanhope. [This young lady is mentioned in an advantageous manner by several of the letter-writers.) Charles begins, in a little while, to be uneasy at his inferiority to Miss Stanhope, who has both fortune and merit. Miss Stanhope, however, foon discovers herself to be neither insensible of his passion, nor offended at it; and when he tells her that before he knew ber he was content with the station in life which he had chofer, but that he is tormented to think of his inability to raise her to the elevated rank the deserves ; she allures him that she does not see the necesity of an equal fortune on both sides, provided there is on each side a sufficiency to make two people happy ; yet The, at the same time, declares that she cannot, being im. perfectly acquainted with her own heart, or his merit, cone to A a 4
any determination about giving him her hand, fuppofing him to be ever so rich ; but adds, that as her sentiments concerns ing him are of the favourable kind, she is willing to receive his visits, with her inother's permission. In a short time after this interview, fresh debates are carried on very warmly between Charles and Mr. S 's family, who complain to Mr.. S-- of his irregularities, and of his treating them with disa respect. In consequence of their complaints Mr. S proposes a separation, and offers to return a reasonable part of the money he had received with him, and to cancel the indentures. With this view he writes to his uncle Wentworth who was his guardian, and who agrees to consult Mrs. Wentworth about his proposal. With the proposal Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth are both very well satisfied. Mr. S- then refuses to abide by his promile. Charles imputes the revolution in his mind to his unwillingness to return any of the money, and to his hopes of driving him, by ill treatment, to leave him without the pay. ment of it.
While things are in this situation, the brother of Miss Jackson, the girl whom he had seduced, and of whom he was tired, calls on Charles to let him know, that his after's situation cannot be any longer concealed, and urges him to atone for the injury he had done her by marriage ; adding, that her. parents threaten to abandon her in case of his refusing to make her his wife. Charles tells Mr. Jackson, that he is sincerely affliéted at the unfortunate event, as his connections with Miss Stanhope put it absolutely out of his power to marry Miss Jackson. Mr. Jackson leaves him, breathing revenge. Struck with the ill consequences resulting from the indulgence of his criminal passions, he promises amendment, but plunges out of one foily into another, in order to diffipate his melancholy ideas. Dining with some friends, he becomes intoxicated; in that condition he goes to Vauxhall-Gardens. He meets Sophia and her mother, &c. and very indiscreetly joins their party, though Sophia informs him that she is particularly engaged. Imagining that the perceives his situation, he retires, alhamed of his unbecoming appearance. To make an apology for that appearance, he waits upon her the next day. She tells lim; that the requires no account of his actions, as she is in no way interested in his conduct. She then gives him a letter, and quits the room. The letter is from Miss Jackson, who charges him with reduction, after a soleinn promise of mar. riage with the assistance of medicinal potions. On Sophia's return to him, he swears he never promised to marry Miss Jackson, nor ever had recourse to the unnatural proceedings inentioned in her letter. He confefies, however, the inti.
macy macy which had been between them. Sophia assures him the has been taught to believe, that falsehood is often confirmed by oaths; advises him to repair the injury he has done Miss Jackson in the most laudable manner, and leaves him. Attributing this letter to Miss Jackson's brother, he calls him a coward, and wishes he had merited more honourable satisface tion. Our hero, upon this occasion, receives a letter from his brother, which is admirably penned. The following passage ought to be seriously attended to by many of the gay fellows of the age ; ' A man, who by his misconduct has deserved an affront, has no right to resent it; and he who is base enough to affront another without cause, is unworthy of any thing þut contempt.'
Charles, now driven to despair, resolves to go on board a Thip in the Downs bound to America ; but finding it necessary to gain Mr. S-_'s consent to his resolution, that he might be furnished with proper testimonials with regard to his proficiency in surgery, and finding also that he could not obtain those testimonials without acquainting his uncle with his design, whose concurrence he had no reason to expect, he forges a letter from Mr. Wentworth to himself, wherein he inakes him say that he had consulted his mother about his proposed voyage to America, and that Ne had given ber consent provided Mr. S-'s approbation could be procured. Mr. S--appeared to be surprized, but makes no objection to Charles's voyage, as his uncle and mother approve of it. He then gives him a letter to carry to his uncle. Having opened it, he finds that it will discover his design, and therefore suppresses it. He makes a slight excuse to Mr. Wentworth for his visit to him, steals his indentures, by the help of a false key, sets out the next morning for London, carries a letter of his own writing to Mr. S— , in his uncle's name, produces the indentures, and tells him, that he may refund what he thinks proper, as his uncle submits entirely to his generosity. Mr S - refuses to advance any money, but joins with the surgeons of the hospital in giving him recommendatory testimonials. With these testimonials, and with thirty guineas in his pocket, he goes on board, intending to pay for his paffage by officiating as a surgeon, and leaving his brother to plead in his behalf to his mother, to whom he is afraid to write. Before his departure, he writes a letter to Sophia, in a very pathetic and delicate ftile.
Charles, on his arrival at Barbadoes, settles himself advan. tageously with a surgeon of reputation there, who being from ill health, unable to attend all his patients, allows his new pupil a falary of 1501. per annum ; who, by his abilities
and application, renders himself fo necessary to Mr. G- S that he admits him into a partnership with him, on his promising to undertake all the business. Charles imagines that Miss G- S thinks favourably of him as well as her father, but he cannot bring himself to give up Sophia, tho'bis hopes were very, distant. From Barbadoes he writes to England to his brother, to gain intelligence about Miss Jackson, that he may remit some money to her, as he can only in a pecuniary way make her any amends for his dishonourable behaviour to - her. In his next letter to his brother he tells him that Miss - G---s is married to a practitioner of phyfick ; and that Mr.
Gma-s, finding his son-in-law willing to come into partner. Thip, had given him gool, to relinquish his share of the business. With this fum and with what he had saved, our adventurer became proprietor of a privateer, which takes a large French ship, bound from St. Domingo to Brest, richly laden with indigo, cocoa, coffee, cotton, sugar, &c. and carries her to Antigua with a Dutch Thip also, having on board French fugars. By these prizes he clears 4000l. On the signing of the peace he becomes a planter on the coast of Guiana, in South America, under the dominion of the States-general of the United Provinces, though a considerable part of it is inhabited by British settlers. He gives an account of a revolt of the Naves in the adjacent colony of Berbice, which turns out fortunately for him, as he purchases a plantation cheaper than he could have done at another time.
During Charles's residence in Barbadoes his brother Edward falls in love with a Miss Conway, the friend of Mifs Stanhope, but as he has only a fellowship, and cannot marry without injuring the lady, he will not accept of his mother's alhitance, lest he should, by so doing, lessen his brother's expectations; Charles, in return, declares that he voluntarily renounces every thing but his mother's affe&ion,
By the death of his uncle, Charles comes into the pofleffion of almost ten thousand pounds : his landed estatė, amounting to about six hundred a year, Mr. Wentworth left to his eldest nephew, Edward. In consequence of this acquisition Edward marries Miss Conway; and receives a letter from his brother, which informs him that he has sold his plantations, one of them for ninety thousand, the other for a hundred thousand guilders, and that he is preparing to revisit his native land.
Just before Charles is expected home, Miss Stanhope receives a letter from Mifs Jackson. Miss Jackson, after a very dissolute life, into which the fell from having too great a propensity to pleasure, seeks an'asylum in the Magdalen-house, and from thence writes to Sophia to exculpate Mr. Wentworth