網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

.

.סרה the noun סור and from ,מוסר

them. “ On what part will ye strike (smite) again; will ye add correction ?” But 1770 never means correction. His Lordship's crititicisms as well as Houbigant's, is indefensible. From 70' we have

, . The version should he · On what part shall ye be smitten again, should you repeat revolt?' This is the rendering of Ben-Melech cited by his Lordship.”

Isaiah liii. 8. “1917 789. Lowth supposes there is a reference to a custom which obtained among the Jews, when a person was capitally arraigned. The crime for which he was tried was published, and every one was called on to declare what he knew of the prisoner. This, to say the least, is far fetched. I prefer the common version. The Hebrew 747 and yzved, are almost always to be understood in the same sense. Compare Matt. xi. 16. with Luke vii. 31. where this generation in the former, is the same with the men of this generation, in the latter. We may render, “ The men of his generation who shall describe ?" i. e. who can describe their impiety, injustice and cruelty! The various reading min for b is so opposite, that I would admit it without hesitation. See Dr. Kennicott's first note, Lowth."

Ezekial i. 4. 66 790907 in. This is supposed to denote the calamities which were to burst on Jerusalem from her northern enemies, the Chaldeans. Compare Isa. xxix. 6. Jerem. xiii. 19. Michaelis and Rosenmuller consider this stormy wind, as only designed to heighten the following exhibition of the Cherubim."

Habakkuk iii. 13. “ nup. Houbigant and Newcome prefer the plural. “Green proposes reading you na for sun nar; but, as rom seems to be emphatically spoken of Pharaoh, should we not

“ the heads of the house of the wicked, in the destruction of the firstborn?" Dimock. For *, Capellus, Houbigant and Green read 298,To the rock on which the foundation rested. The death of the first-born is figuratively called the utter overthrow of the Egyptian houses.”

From an extensive and careful perusal of this edition of the Hebrew Scriptures, we feel ourselves prepared to pronounce on its merits, and regret that we cannot discharge our duty to the laborious Editor and the public, without reporting the numerous inaccuracies which have found their way into it. The text itself is not uniformly correct, nor are the misprints which occur in it amended in every instance in the published errata. In the inner margin and the notes we have detected numerous errors, none of which are noticed in the Editor's correetions. In many cases the readings of the Samaritan Pentateuch are misquoted, and the other authorities are not always put down in a faultless

These deductions from the general excellence of the work we are sorry to notice; but as the value of a critical edition of the Original Scriptures depends in no small degree on its accuracy, we could not with either satisfaction to ourselves or justice towards our readers, omit the mention of them.

thou didst wound

6 ,ראש מבית instead of ראשים בית father read

manner.

Having passed through the unpleasant part of our duty, we proceed to close our observations by giving both these volumes such aid as they may derive from our recommendation, which, though it he qualified by the recollection of numerous imperfections, is such as we would attach to a valuable and useful work, which will be of essential service in the hands of a judicious student. The critical and philological remarks with which they abound, impart to them great advantages. The works of Houbigant, Kennicott, Walton, and other distinguished critics, which Mr. Boothroyd has used, are too voluminous and expensive to be at the command of every scholar; nor are they accessible to every Hebrew reader. The copious readings therefore whichi Mr. B. has extracted from the collections of his predecessors, and the critical notes which accompany them, as they are calculated to supply the want of numerous expensive volumes, and as they constitute a body of important materials for the understanding and illustration of the Hebrew Bible, not to be met with in any other single publication, render the work before us highly interesting to every person who is directing his attention to the critical study of the Original Scriptures.

Art. III. The Life and Studies of Benjamin West, Esq. President of

the Royal Academy of London, prior to his Arrival in England; compiled from Materials furnished by Himself. By John Galt. 8vo. pp. 160. Price 75. Cadell and Davies. 1816. THIS HIS will be acknowledged, without question, one of the

most curious and pleasing pieces of biography that have appeared for many years. While the long-established celebrity, and the singularly amiable character of the distinguished person who is the subject of it, had made him an object of interest to a much greater extent than the circle of artists and the disciplined admirers of art, there has been but very little information generally communicated respecting the original unfolding of his talents and the course of his early life. Many of the youthful admirers of the green and florid old age of his genius, will now for the first time, learn how decidedly and irrevocably he was a painter when their grandfathers were yet in their infancy. It is gratifying, that before the termination of his hom nourable life and elegant labours, there should thus appear, under the direct sanction of his own authority, a narrative of facts so vitally connected with his ultimate attainments and character ; but facts so remote in time, and place, and the state of contemporary circumstances, and belonging so intirely to a departed race and condition of men, as to require a very considerable effort of mind to associate them with a man exercising at this hour his genius and mild virtues among us.

Ć

Mr. Galt very justly remarks, it was necessary the narrative should

appear in his own time, in order that the authenticity of the incidents might not rest on the authority of any biographer.'-It should seem that Mr. G. has been meditating (he does not make an explicit announcement) a history of the Arts in England, in which he felt a difficulty bow to dispose of the professional life of Mr. West. The interesting portion of it gi-en in this volume, was too long for an episode ;' at one time he thought of writing the whole of the President's life as a separate work; but he soon became convinced that the latter portion of that professional career belonged too essentially to the general history to admit of being so detached, and decided to leave it in that connexion, and publish the early history as a distinct work, comprising less, considerably, than one-third part of the life of the venerable and amiable subject.' And, distinguished as the long sequel has been by professional industry, and merits, and honours, this first portion is of so singularly remarkable a character, is so widely different from any ordinary history of the lives of artists, that we think it must surpass in general interest whatever can be related of the subsequent periods, which Mr. West has spent as a member of the professional community of the English metropolis.

So far as the thought of ancestry may justly affect the colour (if we may so express it when a painter is in question) of a person's reflections on the past, very few men can have greater cause for complacency than Mr. West. His father was descended of a family who, -, about the year 1667, had embraced the tenets of the Quakers, Colonel James West, the friend and companion in arms of Hampden, being said to have been the first proselyte. In 1699 they emigrated to America. - Thomas Pearson, the maternal grandfather of the Artist, was the con

fidential friend of William Penn.' But there is no interruption of the complacent sentiment in coming down to the immediate parentage. Every thing recorded of the character of the Artist's mother testifies to its excellence; and a most memorable circumstance puts beyond all question, and beyond all ordinary praise, that of his father-he gave the first example of the emancipation of Negro Slaves.

* As a part of the marriage portion of Mrs. West, he received a negro slave, whose diligence and fidelity very soon obtained his full confidence. Being engaged in trade, he had occasion to make a voyage to the West Indies, and left this young black to superintend the plantation in his absence. During his residence in Barbadoes, his feelings were greatly molested, and his principles shocked, by the cruelties to which he saw the negroes subjected in that island; and the debasing effects were forcibly contrasted in his mind with the morals and intelligence of his own slave. Conversing on this subject with Dr. Gammon, who was then at the head of the community of Friends in Barbadoes, the Doctor convinced him that it was contrary to the laws of God and Nature that any man should retain his fellow creatures in slavery. This conviction could not rest long inactive in a character framed like that of Mr. West. On his return to America, he gave the

negro his freedom, and retained him as a hired servant.' p. 3.

With the high advantage arising from this noble act of justice he stood forward eminently as an advocate of good principles, and zealously pressed the subject on the reason and conscience of the other Quakers of the district; whose conferences, held for the special purpose of arguing the question, terminated in the adoption of his principle, and the imitation of his example. The same effectual conviction soon extended through the com- . munity in other parts of the country; and finally, but at a considerably later period, about the year 1753, the question was

agitated in the annual general assembly at Philadelphia; when 'it was ultimately established as one of the tenets of the Quakers, that no person could remain a member of their community, who

held a human creature in slavery. We must quote the striking observation with which the Biographer concludes this statement.

• This transaction is perhaps the first example in the history of communities, of 'a great public sacrifice of individual interest, not originating from considerations of policy or the exigencies of public danger, but purely from moral and religious principles.'

Benjamin West, the youngest of a numerous family, was born near Springfield, in Chester County, in the State of Pennsylvania, on the 10th of October, 1738. A circumstance attending his nativity, made a strong impression on the minds of the people of the place, and not less on those of his parents, as appearing to them to presage something extraordinary in the destiny of the child. His mother was taken in labour, somewhat prematurely, as the relation seems to imply, at a religious meeting of the Quakers, in consequence of the overpowering effect of a discourse of a celebrated orator of the community, of the name of Peckover, whose address made at the same time a very strong impression on all the auditory, while, in an ardent and enthusiastic strain, that struck them as partaking of inspiration and prophecy, he represented the Divine judgements ready to fall with overwhelming desolation on the States of Europe, for their irreligion and immorality, and predicted the future greatness of America. It is no wonder that in a community whose economy of life was so placid, unvarying, and unspeculative, and whose religious faith predisposed them to apprehend preternatural intimations, such an incident should have appeared, to the parents especially, as bearing an extraordinary and ominous significance; and no wonder that Peckover should

have received the same impression. On making a farewell visit to the family, he charged Mr. West to watch with peculiar solicitude over the character of a child most indubitably, he declared, marked out for something extraordinary. No doubt the particular mode in which the prediction was to be actually verified, would have been nearly the last that would have occurred in his conjectures.

Parental anxiety was not lest to wait long for some indications of genius, and in its earliest recorded disclosure, it took that practical form in which it was destined to shine. Whether this ethereal element might bave been, by circumstances, brought out in a determination to some different practical form, in which it would have shone no less, it is in vain to inquire. We cite, in the Biographer's words, the incident, as one of the most pleasing and remarkable among the memorials of the dawn of talents, and as one of the most notable of the innumerable facts that throw ridicule on that notion of an affected philosophy, that all men are natively equal in mental capability.

• The first six years of Benjamin's life passed away in calm uniformity ; leaving only the placid remembrance of enjoyment. In the month of June, 1745, one of his sisters, who had been married some time before, and had a daughter, came with her infant to spend a few days at her father's. When the child was asleep in the cradle, Mrs. West invited her daughter to gather flowers in the garden, and committed the infant to the care of Benjamin during their absence; giving him a fan to flap away the flies from molesting his little charge. After some time, the child happened to smile in its sleep, and its beauty attracted his attention." He looked at it with a pleasure which he had never before experienced; and observing some paper on a table, together with pens, and red and black ink, he seized them with agitation, and endeavoured to delineate a portrait; although at this period he had never seen an engraving or a picture, and was only in the seventh year of his age.

Hearing the approach of his mother and sister, he endeavoured to conceal what he had been doing; but the old lady observing his confusion, enquired what he was about, and requested him to shew her the paper.

He obeyed, entreating her not to be angry. Mrs. West, after looking some time at the drawing with evident pleasure, said to her daughter, “ I declare he has made a likeness of little Sally," and kissed him with much fondness and satisfaction. This encouraged him to say, that if it would give her any pleasure, he would make pictures of the flowers which she held in her hand, for the instinct of his genius was now awakened, and he felt that he could imitate the forms of those things that pleased his sight.'

Mr. Galt celebrates this incident as precisely the birth of (the fine arts in the New World.' And here he takes occasion to display, at considerable extent, the state and habits of the Quakers in Pennsylvania at that period; partly in order to

« 上一頁繼續 »