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the depositaries of the essays and dissertations of these gentlemen, particularly of the former. Mr. Knight's papers are, in general, the details of the results of ingenious experiments, explained on physiological principles, and they tend to establish, in a more striking point of view than was ever done before, the important uses of leaves in the vegetable economy-of light of the relative application of light and heat in forcing; and of the most scientific mode of raising new varieties of plants and fruit trees. Mr. Sabine's are chiefly technical or descriptive. One or two other contributors, as Mr. Salisbury, W. Williams of Pitmaston, and Mr. Carlisle, have treated their subjects physiologically as well as practically, after the manner of Mr. Knight; and the majority of the rest of the papers are descriptions of new varieties of forcing-houses or other objects used in gardening; of fruits, culinary vegetables, or ornamental plants, or successful modes of cultivating them.
With the exception of certain anniversary discourses, by Dr. Duncan, and some papers by other medical men, and Sir G. Mackenzie, almost all the memoirs of the Caledonian Society are by practical gardeners, and relate to improved modes of culture, or new tools or engines of gardening. No writer seems to take the lead; and none seem to blend, in any very useful degree, theoretical with practical knowledge. The Scotch Memoirs, therefore, are perhaps still more inferior to the London Transactions, in merit ihan in bulk and price.
The medals distributed by the London Society have been chiefly presented to patrons of gardening, rather than to practical gardeners ; some of them however rather illegitimately, as the gilt medal to Messrs. Hanrott and Metcalf, solicitors, for drawing up the deed and charter of the Society; some very gallantly, as that to Miss Coke, because she saw a melon plant growing in the open air, took it under her protection and sent a fruit thereof to be tasted by the Society. It is difficult to discover precisely for what some of the others are given.
The medals and premiums of the Caledonian Society have been confined almost entirely to practical men; and the objects selected have, in our opinion, been very judiciously chosen. In general, they are not papers on subjects, but actual specimens, of horticultural and ornamental productions, not to be produced incidentally, but at stated periods, and in competition with the whole Society, and as many other gardeners as choose to become candidates. This operates as a stimulus to exertion, and the consequence is, that such a number of excellent productions are brought forward at the periods of showing, that the judges feel it difficult to decide; and, in order to reward merit duly, are often obliged to give
secondary, and even third rate premiums for the same production. One point for which they have advertized premiums merits particular approbation; it is for the general neatness and order of gardens. This we consider an excellent plan, and likely, with the judicious distribution of premiums, to make complete practical gardeners, and to ensure to Scotland her established character in this particular.
We shall trespass on the patience of our readers with only one remark more as to the question, whether these Societies have taken the proper mode of attaining their avowed object, the promotion of horticulture ? Every one knows that the true use of societies of this nature is to excite a taste in the wealthy for the pursuits of the Society, and to procure their patronage and sanction to the exertions of individuals. Viewing the subject in this light, we think both Societies have acted wisely, though differently, and that, as was said another occasion, each is best in its own country. The splendid volumes of the London Society have been objected to as locking up valuable practical information from all who are not Fellows, or cannot purchase their works. But, whatever is truly valuable in a free and enlightened country soon finds its way to the public. The papers of these Societies form but a very trifling part of the services they may render the public; besides, a number of them are better enshrined in the pomp of a costly quarto for the rich, than transplanted into cheaper works to be bought by the practical man: some of them are frivolous, to say no worse, as one by the late President of the Royal Society in praise of an improvement by his gardener, which turns out, before the end of his paper, to be no improvement at all; others improper, as those by Messrs. Haworth and Salisbury, which are entirely botanical ; and many trifling, as one forwarded by Sir John Sinclair, from Sir Brook Boothby, then at Brussels, to say, that he' keeps under the red spider on his peach trees, by plucking off every leaf the moment he sees any on it,' &c. The Caledonian Memoirs likewise contain papers which the Society should not have admitted, of which Sir G. Mackenzie's on an economical hot-house, in which he proposes to ripen peaches in the dark, may be mentioned as an instance. Mr. Knight's papers on light and leaves appear to have been lost on this philosopher, as well as on Dr. Duncan, who had the ill fortune to laud him in one of his anniversary discourses.
But it is not (as we have said) by their papers that either Society will effect any great good. It is by the éclat and fashion which they will give to the study; and by bringing forward at their meetings, and through the influence of their premiums, the comforts and luxuries which horticulture can produce for the tables of the
wealthy. A demand will thus be created for superior operative gardeners, who will be more valued and better paid in proportion as they enlarge the enjoyments of their employers : and as the improvement of the circumstances of any one class is always connected with that of the others, better vegetables and fruits will in time find their way to the lower classes ; enjoyments will become comforts, and comforts, necessaries; and the beneficial impulse will be felt and acknowledged by the general mass of society.
Art. VIII.-Abrégé de la Vie des plus illustres Philosophes de
[ Antiquité. Ouvrage destiné à l'Education de la Jeunesse. Par
F. de Salignac de la Motte-Fenélon. Nouv. Ed. 1820. Paris. IN N a work bearing such a title as that prefixed to the head of
these remarks, it was easy to foresee whose character would furnish a prominent object of delineation : and, if we did not approach the portrait with all that reverence which the genius and virtues of the artist might seem to demand, we do not think the blame rests wholly with ourselves.
To that plastic intellect, by which alone any foreign literature, whether ancient or modern, can be seized and comprehended in its proper and national spirit, few people can make so little claim as the French. The most indulgent readers of Barthelemy (for we shall confine ourselves to a single branch of their aberrations) cannot always forbear to complain of that fine filagree work, which he has inlaid with the coarse ground of ancient republicanism : and among the various sources of error, which make Voltaire the wonder of the half-learned, and not unfrequently the ridicule of the well-informed, must be reckoned that feebleness of intellectual vision, which so rarely allows him to see any object in its proper* dimensions that lies beyond the walls of Paris. To that portion of the French drama (and it is no inconsiderable one) which has been founded on Grecian history, and supported by Grecian characters, it is scarcely possible to allude, without calling up a spirit of mockery and derision. Rough heroes turned into coxcombs, and loquacious coquettes brought from a country where the portion of the female was seclusion, ignorance,
. Hence that mixture of intrepid ignorance' and impudence, with which he treats an author, whom he was utterly unable to read ; whuse poetical powers infinitely exceeded his own; and from whose writings, whatever may be their other defects, a reader does not rise, as from Voltaire's, with a mirth that inclines to sadness, and, what is still unore dangerous, with a sadness that inclines to mirth.
· Ce poëte comique, qui n'est ni comique ni poëte, n'auroit pas été admis parmi nous à donner ses farces à la foire St. Laurent.' Such is the judgment which the writer of the prosing Henriade pronounces upon the author of the Knights, the Clouds, the Frogs and Birds!
and contempt, are among the most pardonable of its errors. How could a Frenchman of the old régime be made to understand, that where men can sacrifice to anibition, the altars of love stand neglected ! We have too many sins of our own to answer upon the score of the Greek Comedy, to allow us to be very severe with the trespasses of others. And yet, to see a man of Brumoy's stamp taking the elder branch of that deserving family under his protection, and brushing her up for the polite circles of Paris, as a fine lady does her country cousin, with some consciousness of the creature's wild graces, yet with more fear of her bold step and unaccountable stare ;-all this is such an effort of mistaken patronage and condescension as might create mirth in the most inflexible follower of Heracleitus, or even in Heracleitus himself.
We have not time to compare with this the opposite course pursued by the English and the Germans, or to do justice to that spirit of enterprise, which, instead of contenting itself, like a small annuitant, on its own stock, endeavours with true commercial spirit to pour into its literature all the treasures of its neighbours. Rousseau, in picturing to himself the pleasures which unlimited wealth confers, could imagine none more delightful than that which enables its possessor to sail from shore to shore, and taste the peculiar fruits of every country in their native raciness and flavour. These two most distinguished of moderu nations seem to be forming their idea of the pleasures of intellectual wealth upon the same plan. Unsatisfied with the resources, vast as they are, of their own literature, the great writers (and it should in fairness be added), the great readers of Germany and England make themselves masters, not merely of every language and tongue in their general bearings, but of their separate epochs and divisions, that they may seize with nicer discrimination, and taste with greater pungency of appetite the peculiar attributes and distinctions of each. Strong peculiarities of dialect and idiom, wide difference of customs and manners, striking varieties of religious and political relation-these, instead of being thwarted by the current of more general and habitual feelings, are the very object that animates pursuit, and the prize that repays it. With a daring intrepidity, they lift up the covering which lies upon the most distant periods of history, and leave each portion of literature to find its own proper station and value : with equal versatility, they turn from the gloomy mythology of the North to the glowing reveries of the East; and it is but a variation in their pleasures, to pass from the tenderness and sensibility of what is now termed the Romantic literature to the severe graces and masculine austerity of the classical. The fish, which assumed the colour of whatever object it came nearest to, may
be a fable in natural history, but it is none now in the intellectual history of man.
Something, we hope, has been said to justify the proposition with which we set out, and to explain in what sense our reverence for the author of Telemachus did not hinder us from surmising, that the taste of his nation might operate upon his own, and that the son of Sophroniscus might come out of his hands, not in the strong outline and manly cast of his national character, but somewhat such as Mrs. Montague, in her* earlier years, wished to see him, with his whiskers clipt, his beard shorn, and such general smoothness of face and aspect, as might enveigle young ladies into the art of drawing, without feeling the difficulties of their
progress. If the good sense of Fenelon has saved us from this mortification, it has only been to open upon us another source of disappointment, and to make us see, that though his good taste could preserve him from adapting the character of Socrates to the meridian of Paris, his learning was not sufficient to dispel some of those mistakes and errors with which the biography of that extraordinary man has usually been surrounded.
We shall make the reader but a very slender compensation by substituting our observations in place of those which would come recommended to him by the magic graces of Fenelon's style, but there are some lighter pieces of antiquity connected with the biography of Socrates, which do not appear to have fallen under the learned Archbishop's notice; and perhaps as much real instruction may be afforded by them as by the graver tone in which the life, of Socrates is usually conducted. By resuming a train of thought in which we lately indulged, these will necessarily fall under our notice; and before we conclude, the reader will have occasion to see why, in alluding to the entertainments of the higher classes of the Athenians, our mirth deviated into something not unlike a
We shall, without further preface, resume our inquiries into the · Private manners of the Athenians,' as if two Numbers of our Journal had not since intervened.
What people like in action, they soon begin to like in description; a theory of banquets became therefore as much in request at Athens, as the practice. Time has fortunately preserved for us four of these amusing legacies, and we shall proceed to take a short review of each.
The Banquet of Plutarch is posterior in date as a compo
• If you design to make any proficiency in the art of drawing, I would advise you not to draw old men's heads. It was the rueful countenance of Socrates or Seneca, that first put me out of conceit with it. Had my papa given me the blooming faces of Adonis and Narcissus, I might have been a more apt scholar.'
Mrs. Montague's Latters, Vol. i. p. 14.