ePub 版


Travels to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. By the Viscount de Chateaubriand. Translated by Frederic Shoberl.

THE Viscount, on leaving France, proceeded through Venice, embarked for the Morea by the Adriatic, landed at Modon, and thence visited Sparta, Argos, Mycenæ, Corinth, and Athens; embarked again at Cape Sunium, passed the Cyclades to Smyrna; thence travelled to Constantinople, joined a body of Greek pilgrims for the Holy Land; arrived at Joppa, travelled to Jerusalem, and ends the first volume with a description of the Dead Sea.

The first thing that strikes us is, the vast body of information which this traveller brought with him, not in his portmanteau, but in his head.__ The only books he tells us with which he was provided were Racine, Tasso, Virgil, and Homer, which latter he had interleaved, for the purpose of writing observations. We are led to infer, therefore, that all his remarks are from memory on the spot. On one occasion, he corrects himself by a note for some error in the text, attributing it to defect of memory, and not having at the time Herodotus in his pocket. We are thus made to suppose that all his observations were the spontaneous results of the recollections of his former studies, and if so, we must say he carried about with him, like Julius Scaliger, in the crown of his hat, a mass of ancient and modern knowledge of which no man but himself was ever the bearer. Among the instances of his recondite recollection is a curious fact of English history; the fancied tomb of Eumæus and his faithful dog brings to his mind one ungrateful dog recorded in history: -"He was called Math, and belonged, if I recollect rightly, to one of the kings of England, of the House of Lancaster." We confess ourselves sacked even in our own annals by the tenacious Viscount. Math is not at present within the compass of our memory, though we do not deny his possible existence.

The next trait is no less characteristic of the amiable vanity of his country. He everywhere finds the name of Frenchman respected and beloved. He meets with two Turkish officers of the Pasha's guard at Tripolizza, who were disposed to take liberties with him; but the moment they were informed he was a Frenchman, there were no civilities they did not heap on him, though his appearance and worn-out clothes were little calculated to exact them. He even met with a Turk who spoke French fluently. When it is recollected that many years after, when the Greeks were no longer appointed Dragomans or interpreters to the Porte, and it was necessary to look out for a Turk, not one could be found who could speak any language but his own, this rencontre of the Viscount was rather unexpected.

A third characteristic of our author is the vividness of his imagination. He makes out a plausible theory from a glance, he clothes his fancies in the garb of reality, and as his imagination bodies forth the form of things unknown, he actually gives to " airy nothing a local habitation and a name." His great discovery is ascertaining that ancient Sparta is not the modern Misitra, but Palæochori, and he prides himself on it as much as his countryman and contemporary Chevalier did, on finding that the hill of Bonarbashi was the site of Troy-and with not so much reason. It is quite amusing to contemplate him standing on an eminence which he supposes must have been the Acropolis, and pointing out where the different places mentioned by Pausanias and others must have stood, though he himself acknowledges that nothing could be more completely obliterated than every trace of the ancient city, where not a single object was left to guide conjecture. He sees in his mind's eye, rolling in a fine phrenzy, the Sept.-VOL. XLV. NO. CLXXVII.


Chalciæcos, or brazen temple of Minerva, where Pausanias was stoned by his mother. He thinks he discovers on a stone traces of the letters ▲▲ΣM, and he asks, could they have belonged to the word FEAA】MA, and be part of the pedestal of the statue of Laughter, which Lycurgus erected? He tells of a notice of Jerusalem found on another, which must allude to the alliance with Sparta, mentioned in the Maccabees; and when he can no longer see invisible objects by day the night recalls them, for the constellation of Leda is glittering over his head, and with her come all the progeny of her eggs.

With these, and a few similar national traits, which are small drawbacks on the weight and authenticity of a traveller's details, we know not a better informed or more agreeable traveller than Chateaubriand. Whether his classical or historical illustrations be from memory or no, he certainly applies them with considerable effect, and displays a great and copious variety of information, and there is a kindness in his views, with a certain religious cast, which gives a tint of Christian benevolence to all he says. We forget that he is of a different persuasion from ourselves, and only recognise the amiable author of the "Genie du Christianisme." He is overtaken by a storm, and an image of the Virgin is set up in the cabin, with a taper burning before it. The captain and all the sailors begin to pray. "Sailors on shore," said he, "may be free-thinkers as well as any others, but human wisdom is disconcerted in the hour of danger. Man becomes religious, and the torch of philosophy cheers him in the midst of the storm much less than a lamp lighted up before the Madonna." We are no believers in the jurisdiction which Catholics ascribe to the Virgin over storms at sea, yet we fully accord in the justice and beauty of the observation.

In passing through the Morea he gives some striking traits both of Turks and Greeks, forming a justification of that revolution which afterwards took place, though not then thought of. Some robbers had infested a district through which he passed, and the Pasha pursued them to a place where they had taken refuge, and surrounded the village. All within the Pasha's enclosure were despatched like wild-beasts. "The robbers, it is true, were exterminated, but with them perished three hundred Greek peasants, who were accounted as nothing in the affair." This barbarous and brutal indolence of Turkish policy, which never condescended, but thought it too much trouble to separate the innocent from the guilty, was surely a strong, if not a sufficient motive, to overthrow it. Another is a striking trait of the mixed notions of right and wrong entertained by modern Christian Greeks. At a village called St. Paul's, a girl who was mistress of a small fortune was sent by her friends to Constantinople, to improve herself in the capital, and returned, at the age of eighteen, accomplished in the Turkish, French, and Italian languages. She was visited by all strangers passing through with whom she could converse, and her freedom and affability excited some suspicion among her neighbours that she had transgressed the strict rules of female virtue; so they thought it a duty to rid the village of a person who had brought scandal on it. They first raised the sum fixed by Turkish law for the murder of a Christian woman; they then broke into her house by night, and having murdered her, a man, who was waiting till the deed was executed, hastened to the Pasha with the price of blood. The Pasha thought it a simple matter, and all right as to the murder, but that the youth, beauty, and accomplishments of the victim demanded a larger indemnity, and he sent Janissaries to exact it. The conduct of the Turk was consistent; but what shall we say of a community of Christian people, who thought it a duty to murder an amiable and accomplished girl because she laboured under the suspicion of an offence against the rules of decorum?

His sketches of places and persons are exceedingly graphic. His delay at Constantinople was very short. He arrived on the very day the rebels of Romelia had advanced to the gates of the city, and so was present at the commencement of one of those tremendous revolutions which fills periodically that devoted town with carnage and blood. He left it, however, before the carnage commenced, and saw the city only in a state of repose. His brief but striking details of the people gliding along in slippers, the mute crowds passing in silence, as if solicitous to escape the observation of a master, the absence of coaches, carts, bells, or noisy trades, and the multitude of bazaars, coffee-houses, and cypress-shaded cemeteries, gave him an idea as if a taciturn Turk "was born only to buy and sell, drink coffee, smoke tobacco, and die." As the volume before us does not finish the account of the Holy Land, we shall reserve our notice of that country till our next Number.

Memoirs of the Life of the Right Hon. Sir James Mackintosh. Edited by his Son, Robert James Mackintosh, Esq.

What a noble mind lies here! His epitaph written by himself! telling of projects unfulfilled-of hopes not only deferred, but destroyed-of ambition crushed by indolence of noble pride cankered by vanity-of time sadly mispent. Mackintosh-the beloved, the respected of all who knew him-went down to the grave, in the fulness of years, having all his life enjoyed the highest possible advantages, both of station and leisure, and yet leaving little behind him that can be expected to survive, after the events which called his talents forth are forgotten. It has never been our lot to note the ill-effects of procrastination so plainly, as in the volumes now before us; and what renders it, if possible, more distressing, is the fact that the knowledge of his weakness embittered his existence, without creating the energy which would have vanquished the evil. While deceiving the world with his "intentions," he was never able to deceive himself -while flattered by the incense of a dinner or a drawing-room, he still felt that "frequent compunction," to use his own sad but expressive words, "disturbs my gratification, and the same indolence, or the same business which prevents my working for others, hinders me from improving myself." What he could have done is now only a matter of speculation; the most delightful portion of what he did is certainly contained in the volumes before us. His journal (as far as it goes) is graceful, pleasing, and original; but it is singularly emblematic of Sir James's mind-the moment it becomes deeply interesting, it stops.

Anecdote and criticism from his old friends, Doctor Holland, Lord Jeffery, Basil Montague, the Rev. Sidney Smith, and many others whose names command attention, enrich the second volume. Basil Montague's letter is the most elegant and interesting of the whole: he visited with Sir James the scenes and dwellings where Cowper passed his life, and describes the harmony and happiness of the times when they continually went circuit together, "talking philosophy" and religion, and exchanging thoughts which deserve immortality. Lord Jeffery declares that Mackintosh's range of "study and speculation was nearly as large as that of Bacon." But the testimony of the Rev. Sidney Smith, bearing, as it does, more upon his virtues than even upon his talents, is the most valuable of the whole. He says

"When I turn from living spectacles of stupidity, ignorance, and malice, and wish to think better of the world, I remember my great and benevolent friend Mackintosh."


"He could not hate-he did not know how to set about it. . . . Very fond of talking, he heard patiently; and, not averse to intellectual display, did not forget that others might have the same inclination as himself."

We have known Sir James Mackintosh to bestow praise where we certainly thought it undeserved; and Mr. Smith (the "Cid," as his departed friend used frequently to call him) touches upon this failing with good feeling and good sense :

"His good-nature and candour betrayed him into a morbid habit of eulogizing everybody, a habit," he justly adds, "which destroyed the value of commendations that might have been to the young (if more sparingly distributed) a reward of virtue and a motive to exertion."

Mackintosh was not the only great man of this passing age who had this failing; Sir Walter Scott indulged in it quite as much, and from the same amiable but misjudging cause. We cannot forbear quoting the concluding sentence of Mr. Smith's letter, it so perfectly expresses our own ideas of the subject of this interesting biography :

"If he had been arrogant and grasping—if he had been faithless and false-if he had been always eager to strangle infant genius in its cradle, always ready to betray and blacken those with whom he sat at meat, he would have passed many men who, in the course of his long life, have passed him; but without selling his soul for pottage. If he had only had a little more prudence for the promotion of his interests, and more of angry passions for the punishment of those detractors who envied his fame, and presumed upon his sweetness, if he had been more aware of his powers, and of that space which nature intended him to occupy,-he would have acted a great part in life, and remained a character in history. As it is, he has left, in many of the best men of England, and of the Continent, the deepest admiration of his talents, his wisdom, his knowledge, and his benevolence."

We have hitherto spoken only of Mackintosh himself; on the literature and arrangement of the book we can bestow unqualified praise. Collecting the scattered opinions of such a man is like gathering pearls from amid the rubbish of the world. His son has fulfilled his editorial task in a manner that does equal credit to his head and heart. What he has himself written, he has written well; and it must create a delightful feeling in his mind that, the more generally the book is read, the more justly will his father be appreciated. Every line of Sir James Mackintosh's writings proves how delicate and how pure was his sense of the noble and the good: it would be no easy task to overrate the moral beauty of his intellectual character. We felt this at every page we turned, and it made us more deeply and bitterly regret the procrastination and the indolence that forced such qualities to sink almost unregistered into the tomb.

The second volume is embellished with a beautiful engraving by Finden of H. Behnes Burlowe's bust of Sir James in his later years, which possesses double interest from its excellence as a likeness and its perfection as a work of art. Mr. Burlowe is, we believe, at present in Italy. He is, we feel assured, destined to occupy a high station, on his return.

Woman as She is, and as She should be. 2 vols.

Perhaps we do not sufficiently delight in the pastime of breaking flies upon a wheel. Many a bad book escapes us without notice, because we cannot bring ourselves to insult our readers by bestowing a certain species of immortality upon what otherwise would pass

Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung,"

to its grave. The author of these volumes commences by asserting, with the stupid gravity which pervades his lucubrations-that

"The predominating influence of the female part of the human species over the interests of the species at large, is a phenomenon not less striking in itself than important as to its result!" Most wonderful phenomenon! that one-half of the human race, consisting of mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters, should exercise a predominating influence" over the species at large is a phenomenon-a moral comet we suppose-tending to set the world on fire!-The author goes on declaring his modest intention of un


robing an idol-asserts that " woman has in our day attained a false elevation;" that "she is not morally accountable for the imperfections that have assailed her,"-that she is not "given to man for a counsellor." After "unrobing an idol," this precious moralist declares woman not an accountable creature, nor capable of being the "counsellor" or friend of man; consequently, she is only a fit object for sensual gratification or household drudgery; this is only too ridiculous-positively too absurd for criticism-to make such assertions at a time when female talent and female industry are so conspicuous, has at least one charm to recommend it-the charm of novelty!


Our ingenious author waxes warm as his pages multiply. He is enraged with the " ceremony of wedlock;" complains that "women are no longer cyphers beyond the sphere of domestic life." He becomes sublime, quotes Byron, and, further on, assures us that in " Africa and America women are little more than upper domestics;" that civilization is to be blamed for this! He weeps our pseudo-civilization as a beacon of a nation's" corruption and decline! "Did not," he says gravely, "wives turn away the heart of Solomon, God's chosen servant?" Verily we do believe that Master Solomon was just as guilty of" turning the hearts of the wives!" "After ruminating mischief against the Israelites, with what refined invention Balaam at length makes choice of woman' -we might have given Balaam's ass credit for this argument against the fair sex, for what does it prove, after all ?—simply that Balaam appreciated their cleverness.

But the gentleman is not content with citing examples and quoting opinions: he proceeds to scurrility, he calls them "the rot of power;" and declares that "no woman breathing ever knew how to govern herself!"

We have lived many years in the world, and many years in society, and the perfect falsehood of this last passage strikes us so forcibly that we must pause to comment upon it. Almost the first lesson taught a female infant is the art of governing herself: if she has brothers, she is taught to yield to their whims; and, in all well-regulated families, she sees the respect paid which is due to its master. A woman's life is a perpetual lesson in self-restraint, and it is owing to this circumstance that women bear misfortunes with so much firmness. We cannot condescend to bestow any further notice upon a book written with so much acrimony,-penned from first to last with the evident purpose of degrading women, and making use of the whole opinions of Deists and Atheists, and quoting half-sentences from Christian authors whose names and opinions we respect. We owe it to ourselves to state, that we are not wild tilters in the field of gallantry, we perceive many faults, and a still greater number of imperfections in the present system of female education; but we observe that the education of our young men requires as much amendment, though in a different way. We would make women more rational,--we would bestow additional culture upon their reason, and an additional curb upon their imagination, we would put the author of this two-volumed libel to the torture, by fitting the female "species" to be still more the companion and friend of man. The education of our young children is in their hands, and unless our wives possess cultivated minds, our offspring must become degenerate. We cannot educate a woman, enlarge her mind, cultivate her understanding, give her fine tastes, and then expect her to sink back at our command into the slave, while she possesses the qualities of the friend. The more highly a woman is educated, the more truly will she see what her duties are, what her station is; it is only fools who are obstinate and men in choosing wives will do well to remember this.

As to the two volumes which Mr. Cochrane has had the hardihood to publish, (we hope not on his own account,) we recommend them very sincerely to the grocer and cheesemonger, as the paper is white and strong, and the "metal so unattractive, that the apprentices will not be seduced into loitering by perusing the " stray leaves."


« 上一頁繼續 »