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Art. VI. Tremaine ; or the Man of Refinement. In Three
Volumes, small 8vo. London, 1825. WE are somewhat at a loss how to deal with this publica
tion, since its pretensions seem nearly equally divided between the honours due to an original treatise on moral philosophy, and the less imposing claims connected with the attractive form and decorations of fictitious narrative. The result of this ambitious endeavour to combine qualities not merely dissimilar, but conflicting, is by no means advantageous to the general effect. Both the gay and the serious portions of the tale are encumbered by the metaphysical discussions, which intervene with a very disagreeable suspension of the interest previously excited ; and we suspect that a large class of readers will yield to the temptation of passing over those parts of the volumes where the Author has evidently put forth his utmost strength.
Tremaine, the hero of the tale, is represented as an amiable, honourable, and accomplished man, labouring under one of the most tormenting of mental diseases, a sickly and fastidious refinement, which incapacitates him for the enjoyment of life, either in the abstract or the concrete. He has touched nearly all the varieties of existence, and receded from them all. Love, law, arms, ambition, fail him in the essay. He quarrels with one young lady, because he picks up an old garter ; with another, because she eats peas with a knife; he detects a third in reading Tom Jones; yet, rather capriciously, admires a fourth for studying Marmontel,-a writer whose compositions are quite as exceptionable, on the score of morality, as those of Fielding. Once, indeed, his heart had been more seriously agitated, by an interesting and innocent girl, who, in the absence of a former lover, was fascinated by Tremaine, but resumed her earlier attachment on the departure of the latter, and the reappearance of her first favourite.' Annoyed by the bustle of society, and disgusted at the ill-conceited selfishness of the world, this high-minded, though indolent and self-indulgent man sequesters himself in his country seat, but, unluckily for his eremetical plans, finds in his immediate vicinity, a lovely and accomplished girl, before whose beauty, worth, and sweetness, all his misanthropical resolutions
Fly, like the moon-eyed herald of dismay,
Chased on his night-steed by the star of day. Notwithstanding the disparity between twenty and thirtyeight, Georgina Evelyn cherishes a deeply rooted affection for her wayward lover; their union is, however, prevented by the discovery that, among his other freaks, Tremaine has been fastidious enough to take umbrage at the great verities of religion, and that he is sceptical as to the existence of a superintending providence. Evelyn, the father of Georgina, is a clergyman, and although he witnesses the failure of his daughter's health under the struggle between her principles and her attachment, he steadily maintains his resolution, until the infidelity of Tremaine is beaten down by argument, when the gloom is scattered, and all becomes happiness and bright anticipation.
We cannot say that all this is very skilfully managed. With much cleverness in parts, there is a heaviness and incongruity about the whole. Nor is the general interest in any way assisted by the obtrusion of party politics. We feel it, however, difficult to support these strictures by specific reference. The Writer's gayeties are scarcely to be exemplified without larger citation than we are in the habit of conceding on similar occasions; and with regard to his metaphysical gravities, although we have no dislike to an occasional discussion of such matters, we prefer choosing our own text. A middle course will suit us best; and as a recent attempt has been made to naturalize among us one of the most mischievously intended works of Voltaire, we shall adopt the following just strictures on the peculiar character of that malignant infidel, as an assailant of Christianity.
«« Now, then, if you please, for the ridicule which, you say, has so shaken you upon our late awful subject.”
6“ I alluded to Voltaire," answered Tremaine.
«« I thought as much," observed Evelyn ; " and I very much fear you mean in the trash of the Dictionnaire Philosophique,
«« It is true," said Tremaine.
«« This, in a man of your class and character of mind, is not what I expected !” exclaimed Evelyn. “ But will you point out the in. stances of this attempt at wit? for of wit itself, on these subjects, I have no hesitation to say he had none."
6 66 Voltaire no wit !” exclaimed Tremaine.
• " That I did not say,” replied Evelyn; on the contrary, I have willingly laughed with him, in his Contes, as well as wept with him in his Tragedies ; his ease and elegance, on almost whatever subject he handles, delight me; but I am equally moved, not merely with detestation at his impiety, but with wonder at the empty impudence with which he attempts to support it. Hume had some learning; Bolingbroke, at least, borrowed some; Epicurus made a great sect; and Cicero every where keeps the mind on the stretch ; but for this wit. of yours, if he had written nothing else, I should have only thought him a fool.”
€“ Can you blame me, however," said Tremaine; “ you, who own his wit, for paying tribute to it when I find it?"
16" By no means," answered 'Evelyo ; " but I deny the wit which presumes to prepare us for laughing, by imposing upon us what we know to be false ; and I am at a loss to understand how a man of judgment can be dazzled by sophisms so glaring, and, therefore, so contemptible, that I know not which to wonder at most, their idiotcy, or their impudence."
• “ To what do you particularly apply this severity ?” asked Tremaine.
"" Possibly to what you may have thought most witty,” replied Evelyn. " Take, for example, his illustration of the soul, by the clapper of a bellows, the body being, as he says, the bellows itself. • There is a clapper to it,' he says, which gives it motion and use, and which I have made for it,' he adds, under the name of soul. Yet the bellows can be pulled to pieces, and the poor soul goes with it." What child does not see that the bellows and the clapper are all one machine ; that, indeed, the machine cannot be a bellows, but a mere piece of wood, without the clapper : and if he must have a comparison for the
soul, it can only be the hand that uses it, and sets it in motion. This is wholly distinct, you see, from its body, and so far is for us; yet you, perhaps, have formerly laughed at this, Mr. Tremaine !"
““ Forinerly, I confess I have: certainly, not of late." (" And why not?"
"“ Not because what you say ought not to have been obvious before," replied Tremaine; “ but because from my humour at the time, some mist must have been before my eyes, which is now much removed."
• “ You rejoice me," said Evelyn, “and I will not therefore go on; otherwise I would wish you to consider the truth and fairness with which he asks if the Creator would condescend (alluding to the Jews) to be the King of usurers and old-clothesmen? The wit, you see, is in calling the subjects of the Almighty by these disgusting names. Yet the wit is a lie; for he has wilfully confounded the modern with the ancient Jews. Again, he is witty, to be sure, in asking what is meant by going up to heaven, when in the planetary system there is neither upwards nor downwards; and is most especially facetious when he says this heaven of ours is nothing more than a parcel of clouds and vapours. Who does not see (I am sure the merest child will) that he here wilfully confounds the atmosphere which surrounds the earth, and which we call heaven in physics, with the happy place, whatever it is, which we designate by that name in religion?”
«« This is true," said Tremaine.
"" Of a piece with this,” pursued Evelyn,“ are his sneers at the sacred story, where, labouring through falsehoods of his own invention, he tells you that the Patriarch Abraham found it convenient to pass off a beautiful wife for a sister, in order that he might make money of her, by disposing of her beauty to the King of Egypt. The whole wit is here lost, cause he statement is a Were I to go into all the blasphemies of the Dictionnaire Philosophique, and examine their witty dress, which seems so to have dazzled your imagination............"
ru My dear friend,” interrupted Tremaine, “ I will spare you the trouble; I have long given up, upon these subjects, even the wit of Voltaire." " Vol. III. pp. 107–110.
We do not know whether there exists any tolerable translation of the admirable · Letters of certain Portuguese Jews
to M. de Voltaire,' written by the Abbé Guenée. If not, it ought to be executed forthwith. With wit superior to that of the sneering infidel, and with knowledge and argument before which the empty cavils of the Malade de Ferney are scattered to the winds, the Abbé follows his antagonist through all his blunders and misrepresentations, and, with an urbanity that tempers his severest sarcasms, holds up to public ridicule and shame the exposed and baffled gainsayer.
Art. VII. 1. An Account of the Rise, Progress, and Decline of
Fever lately Epidemical in Ireland, together with Communications from Physicians in the Provinces, and various Official Documents. By F. Barker, M.D. and J. Cheyne, M.D.F.R.S. Ed. 2 vols. 8vo.
London, 1821. 2. An Historic Sketch of the Causes, Progress, Extent, and Mor
tality of the Contagious Fever Epidemic in Ireland, during the Years 1817, 1818, and 1819; with numerous Tables, Official Documents, and Private Communications, &c. By W. Harty, M.B. 1 vol 8vo. Dublin, 1820.
(Concluded from page 269.) 11 It has been always admitted, that Fever assumes very various
modifications under peculiar diversities of circumstances; and the subdivision of Continued Fever into different genera or species, has presented itself under greatly diversified aspects to medical observers. It must be admitted, that medical writers have commonly erred in multiplying the species of fever; they have assumed as diagnostic signs of the respective species, circumstances which have had their origin either in local or temporary peculiarities, and which, therefore, have had nothing permanent or uniform in their character.
To this cause we must attribute many of the changes which are obvious on comparing the opinions of medical writers on the subject of fever, at periods of time remote from each other. Cullen, who possessed a comprehensive mind, and a sound, perspicuous judgement, conferred an important service on medical science, by arranging, in his Nosology, the numerous species of Fever described by preceding writers, under a very small number of genera. He considered typhus as a distinct genus, possessed of a contagious character, and marked by peculiar
symptoms. In this opinion he has been followed by nearly all subsequent writers. It appears, however, from the testimony of many obseryers of unquestionable fidelity, who were engaged in superintending public establishments appropriated to the reception of cases of fever, that the phenomena observed during the late epidemic, did not correspond to this arrangement of the disease. It was found, that the cases of fever which could be distinctly referred to the influence of contagion, and those which could on rational evidence be referred to no other exciting causes than the ordinary changes in the state of the atmosphere, were not capable of being distinguished from each other by any certain diagnostic signs. The cases of fever originating from these very different causes, appear to have been absolutely identical ; and the examples of disease propagated from them respectively, appear to have presented all the varieties of form which continued fever is ever known to assume. It would appear, therefore, that the remarkable diversities of character under which fever is presented to the notice of medical observers, is to be referred to the influence of those numerous contingent circumstances by which it is known to be constantly modified. Circumstances of this description produce varieties, not distinct genera, or species. The establishment of this principle, as a conclusion drawn from various sources of independent observation, is an important step in our knowledge of febrile diseases assuming the continued form, and tends to simplify an important subdivision of diseases, which has been rendered complicated and obscure by the varying and uncertain results of partial and hasty observation.
Much diversity of opinion has existed concerning the contagious nature of Fever assuming the Continued form; and the public feeling has been unsettled by the recent discussions of this question as it relates to our Quarantine regulations. With that question as it regards the Plague, we have at present no concern. That is a disease unquestionably sui generis, and governed by its own peculiar laws. Nor could the determination of that question, whether in the affirmative or otherwise, influence our judgement in the smallest degree, in estimating the evidence which may be brought forward to prove the existence of Contagion as an exciting cause of Continued Fever. On so important a question, the evidence of competent medical observers is invaluable, especially when the sphere of observation, as in the present instance, has been most extensive, and when the evidence has been derived from various sources perfectly independent of each other.
The facts stated in both the works prefiexd to the present