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cipal objects of attack, to await the event of speculations now in progress, and not to be deluded by the display of certificates and the authority of names. Let the ruin of thousands in Great Britain, brought about by means exactly corresponding to those « now used, be a solemn warning to such as feel a desire to seize the cards. Let them not lose sight of the shattered hulks of the English Joint Stock companies, which are still floating on the ocean of speculation, soon to disappear for ever; and thence learn the madness of attempting a navigation so dark and doubtful, without chart or compass. Let them inquire what have been the investments and what the dividends of the various mining companies now in being, and whether, in any single instance, one dollar has reached the stockholders. Let them inquire too, what security they have of the stability of the new governments, or of the faith of their rulers; and if they can satisfy themselves, after inquiry on all these points, that the projects are reasonable, we will readily wave all objection to their encouragement. Although we have already trespassed too long on the patience of the reader, we must be allowed to mention a single fact, as illustrative of the character of mining operations, and of the estimation in which they are now held even in England. In the year 1823, the shares of the Real del Monte mines (the most celebrated in New Spain) sold in London, at an advance of two thousand per cent. or £1100, for £70 paid. From this elevation, the prices gradually declined; the greatest exertions being required, on the part of the directors, to keep the stock above par, in which they succeeded until the middle of the present year. In the month of July, Mr: Ward, the British chargé d'affaires, arrived in London, having, prior to his departure from Mexico, visited all the mining establishments, and, as it was understood, having obtained accurate information as to their condition and prospects. As soon as sufficient time had elapsed to admit of the general circulation of this gentleman's real opinions, and of the nature of the communications said to have been made to the ministry, shares of Real del Monte stock rapidly fell, and are now selling at a discount of £30 per share. And this too, in the face of the brilliant statements daily transmitted by the agents, and as regularly published by the directors. This statement needs no comment.

To such as are desirous personally to try their fortunes in Spanish America, but particularly in Mexico, we can only recommend the perusal of such accounts as have been lately published of its actual condition, and the attentive comparison of the promised benefits with the certain miseries that are to fall to their lot—the fatigues and dangers to which they must be exposed; the difficulties they must encounter; the deprivations they must suffer; and last, not least, the wretched habits they naturally will acquire. We would be far from discouraging a moderate, perhaps what some might call a daring, spirit of adventure; but we would, if possible, divert enterprise into purer channels than those just mentioned, and inspire a distrust of schemes that will result in ruin, mortification, and perhaps disgrace.

Art. III.-Euvres complètes de Jacques-Henry-Bernardin de

St. Pierre, mises en ordre, et précédés de la vie de l'auteur. par L. Aimé-Martin. S vols. Svo. Paris. Complete Works of Jacques-Henry-Bernardin de St. Pierre, arranged by L. Aimé-Martin, and preceded by a Life of the Author, from the same hand. S vols. 8vo. Paris.

Of the two evils--an intelligent enemy or a foolish admirer-the latter is the more dangerous to those who throw themselves, by their writings, upon the public attention. Experience led Gibbon never to read his manuscripts to any friend; and writers of his merit follow, or ought to follow, we think, his example. For those who have already acquired some reputation, no danger is so great, next to the one just mentioned, as to be portrayed and exhibited by a senseless biographer. Many a literary correspondence, of the last century, contains repeated proofs of the dread which men of inimitable wit and fine talent, felt at the idea that spurious compositions might appear after their death, under their honest names. Yet, what such men ought to fear, more than the knavish tricks of book-mongers and jobbers, is to have their lives written, not by the race of Dennises only, but by moon-calves, who, with the best will to show them to advantage, exhibit them, nevertheless, in a mean or revolting shape.

It is not one of the minor merits of the author of Waverley, that, in his biographical sketches of literary characters, he has so eminently distinguished himself, not only by an elegant, clear, and conspicuous exposition of facts, and generally a sound, critical review of the respective works, but by his solicitude to show human nature in as pleasing a view as truth permitted. Without concealing principal circumstances, or throwing an impenetrable veil over moral deformities, or approving what deserves censure, he seems to hold the mirror to the reader, and to himself too, and tacitly to intimate, that no one is without defect, while he shadows forth venial faults, and actions which arise from the infirmity of our earthly condition. And such will ever be the proceeding of a man of the world, of an observer of mankind, and of a character above the common herd of mortals. He certainly is not blindly partial to Swift, when he relates his connexion with the unfortunate victims of his irresolution, heartlessness, or coquetry. Thus again, Sir Walter Scott is evidently no blind admirer of Horace Walpole's aristocratic prejudices, nor of his conduct towards Chatterton; but neither Swift nor Walpole inspire, in the portraits he has painted of them, disgust or prejudice against the votaries of the Muses. The toleration of a man acquainted with the world, and good nature, are decidedly the distinctive merits of the lives which Sir Walter has written of those who, like himself, breathed under the fearful condition, not only to live to their inward satisfaction, and the approbation of their contemporaries, but for the applause of posterity. Dryden, who, it is true, was obliged to hope for indulgence as much as any other celebrated character, but who could outweigh his equivocal actions, by so many glorious titles, who so much suffered, and was so much calumniated and satirized,--praised Plutarch more “for a certain air of goodness, which appears through all his writings," than for copiousness of learning, integrity, and perspicuity.

In judging the character of an author, a writer commonly brings in the whole stock of his own peculiar prejudices, feelings, and views, about literary life and literary labours, lit up, more or less, with the light of his personal experience; and the picture is coloured in the gorgeous style of the gaudiest painter of Paphian scenes, if the biographer has been successful in his own career-or with the dark tints of one who has all his life pencilled martyrs, if he has experienced crosses and hardships, either from the Muses themselves, or from the mean race of envious critics : or, if he communes long with the character he attempts to describe, and writes con amore, he adopts some of his worthy's fancies, and mixes them up with his own. Good qualities may become, in such a performance, at best, foibles; and foibles, virtues. A foolish biographer makes his hero doubly foolish: the merits of the latter are lost in the vices of the former, and his failings strike painfully, because the historian had not sense or goodness enough to explain them. In a word, too much depends on the taste and feelings and principles of the writer.

We have been prompted to these few general remarks, by the life prefixed to the work mentioned at the head of this article. Had we never read Mr. Aimé-Martin's sketch, and had we been tempted to trace the character of the author of Paul and Virginia, the Indian Cottage, and the Studies and Harmonies of Nature, from these works, and the impressions which their first perusal had left upon our mind, we should certainly have been far from imagining that we should learn from a private and more confidential source, that he was, till the age of forty, and later, a crazy schemer--a perpetual projector of undertakings that were beyond all possibility of success--a shifting errant--a gallant, and a coxVOL. II.--NO. 1.


comb--at once a republican in theory and in his day-dreams, and a usurper of insignia of nobility. Bernardin de St. Pierre was, however, wise enough not to publish such things of himself. If some of his notions in natural history and philosophy have been, long ago, exploded, his lessons of morality will never run such a danger: his reveries and reflections will ever be pleasing and soothing; and even his rapture and enthusiasm will obtain indulgence from those who think and judge more coolly of human nature. No one, out of the circle of his intimate friends, needed to know, and few would have known, how great a difference there was between the preceptor and his precepts. Mr. Aimé-Martin, who had an itch "to engrave his name near to one which never will die,and who wished to say, with Horace, non omnis moriar, (we quote his words,) unwittingly brings Mr. St. Pierre out in a mean figure, and in the least agreeable light, and condemns him to be a complete contrast with his doctrines, and with the heroes he has delineated. Mr. Martin, we presume, has a moral impediment for becom

a ing a good biographer: he has an irresistible desire to speak of himself, and his opinions, and his feelings. Moreover, his style, in the greater half of his composition, is evidently the imitation of some model, which we should not like in any form, but which may have redeeming merits. Montesquieu's epigrammatic, pointed, and witty style;-Labruyères continual attempts at effect;-Chateaubriand's pompous, bombastic “ manner,” are alike

repugnant and fatiguing, and would be nauseous and insupportable, were not much gold mixed up with the dross. But some recent French publications are wholly disgusting, because little real worth compensates for the slavish or exaggerated imitation of a questionable pattern. Thus, also, our author stalks, by turns, upon stilts, and then again crawls, like a lazy loiterer. He had, as we hope to prove by our abstract, materials for a curious, though not very praiseworthy, life-abundant facts of some historical importance: many literary anecdotes were at his disposal : he was authorized, or took upon himself, the responsibility attached to the disclosure of the eccentric course of a mind not meanly gifted by nature, and who lives in public estimation for some literary productions, belonging to the period of his life, when suffering had contributed to stay somewhat the rushing tide of his blood. He could have made an interesting work with much less labour than he has perhaps bestowed upon the one which we review. But Mr. Martin was irresistibly tempted to write a novel—to show off an extraordinary being and extraordinary scenes ; and therefore, storms, robbers, conspiracies, prisons, alchymists, maniacs, duellos, and all the “theatrical property” of romances must be pilfered-nothing must be omitted to make the hero interesting, though he be at the same time contemptible.



Descriptions of fine, romantic scenery, and national manners, are commonly interwoven with the chief subject of a novel; and Mr. Martin cannot let his hero go one step, without some apostrophes upon the beauty or wretchedness of the country, where he travels with him, though at the distance of many hundred miles, and of thirty or forty years; or some commonplace remark, but clothed in the most redundant language, upon the respective governments and nations: and as St. Pierre had been over nearly the whole globe, we have a general map of that kind from Mr. Martin's prodigal pen-a patchwork, of pieces borrowed from old and recent travels. Nothing is left to the reader's own imagination. When young Henry is met in the wood by his nurse, the conversation which ensued between the little runaway and his white-capped goody, is told at great length, as if stenographers had accompanied them. In general, there is no lack of dialogues, underplots, episodes, or a parte soliloquies.There is a continual ranting of sentiment about virtue and freedom: but it is uncertain whether the author be most pleased with the extravagances of his hero, or with his own declamations. Mr. Martin adds fine speeches and glowing sentences to the recital of some of the most revolting follies of his worthy friend : but it is as if he had tarred him, that he might feather him afterwards with gorgeous plumes. All the little incidents St. Pierre met with, in his eccentric rambles, are brought out like great events. The idle talk of a young, brainless officer, is transformed into the speech of a Brutus or a Jaffier: a hasty phrase (perhaps the growth of the fertile fancy of the hero or his biographer) becomes the overflowing of the hearts of such men as Munich and Orloff. The lust of an unprincipled woman is depicted as a real passion. The romantic hobgoblin farce of a kept wench, is detailed with all possible minuteness through several pages. Propositions of marriage, thrown out perhaps as a jest, and with which some desolate old bachelor may solace himself, are puffed up into. earnest offers of daughters and sisters for wives; and all this in a work, dedicated by the hero's second wife and widow, to His Majesty Louis XVIII! When courtiers and diplomatists listen to young Bernardin upon some crazy plan, he is immediately the confidant of a great political combination. He cannot accompany a general in an inspection tour, without giving rise to Mr. Martin's regret, that his wise . plans of fortification were not adopted, and without inducing him to lavish, like Clieveland, the repute of an engineer upon a maker of mouse-traps, The French younker cannot reach a Court, but generals and ministers speculate upon the effect which his good looks might have upon the soft hearts of princesses. This may do for Vivian Grey and mad German novels; but how could Mr. Aimé-Martin entitle his rhapsody “the Life of Bernardin de St. Pierre?" Fielding

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