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LITERARY CRITICISM.

match ; his character and prospects were good; and every thing augured a prosperous career. But unfortunately,

on the occasion of an accidental quarrel with his employer, The Life of Alexander Alexander. Written by Himself, that gentleman taunted him with his birth. The painand edited by John Howell, author of “ Journal of a ful feelings of his early years rushed back upon him-he Soldier,” “ Life of John Nicol,” &c. 2 vols. post 8vo.

felt as if some degradation were inherent in his nature, Pp. 339 and 327. Edinburgh. William Blackwood.

which nothing could wash out or conceal ; and, in a state 1830.

of excited feeling, he resolved to leave the island. In vain

did his mistress look miserable, and his kind master reIt is scarcely going too far to term our ingenious lent,- he was roused even to frenzy, and back to Scotland townsman John Howell, the De Foe of Edinburgh ; for, he came.

though he is scarcely equal in grasp and originality of His reception from his father may easily be conceived. as 'mind to that prince of popular writers, he is far his su- | He had wished to conceal from the world the existence

perior in true delicacy and moral purity, and has been of this child of shame; and, when he believed the object 15 the means of giving us more insight into the character of attained, back came the damning remembrancer of his

our populace than any writer of the day. His “ Jour- | frailty. In this frame of mind, the father accused his nal of a Soldier of the Seventy-first," affords an excellent son of a fickle and unsteady disposition. A scene of glimpse into the materiel of which our armies are com- painful altercation ensued, and Alexander, in a fit of desposed ; “ John Nicol” carries us, in like manner, among peration, enlisted in the Royal Artillery. our seamen ; and the present volumes, the most full of While in the army, the greater part of his time was deep and varied interest with which he has yet presented consumed in India. The picture he gives of the King's us, carry the reader in company with a luckless and high troops in that country, though from a spectator of a very spirited ranger over more than half the globe. Nor must different cast, harmonizes strictly with that given in the the merits of the publisher pass unnoticed. We do not “ Memoirs of Serjeant B.," and has, therefore, been too

know which better deserves the thanks of the reading long before the public to justify us in presenting our + public-Mr Blackwood, for the discernment and liberal. readers with extracts from this portion of the work. The

ity with which he discovered the value of Alexander's chief interest in this part of the narrative consists in the manuscripts, and prosecuted their reduction to a publish insight it affords into that feature of Alexander's characable form—or Mr Howell, for the tact and intelligence ter to which we have already alluded—an indolent acwith which he has discharged the duty of editor.

quiescence in his fate, leading him frequently to delay, The story of Alexander is fascinating, on account of on the most frivolous pretexts, a slight exertion, which the rapid diversity of scene and fortune through which might have been the means of materially forwarding his - the hero is hurled ; and, at the same time, it reads an views in life. He returned from India with a shattered

impressive lesson, by the warning his fate holds out to constitution, and, after serving some time on garrison31. such as indulge an over-susceptible temperament. The duty, was allowed to retire on a pension. pat narrative is not the less instructive that the hero, although Coming back once more to Scotland, he found his fa

any thing but a practically wise man, is gifted with nother still inexorable, and conceived the idea of again tryordinary share of feeling and sagacity; nor are his re-ing his fortune in the West Indies. After innumerable marks one whit less interesting and home-coming, that petty and teasing disappointments he sets sail, and with his cast of thought has been sickened o'er by continual much ado manages to get first one, and then another, disappointment, and that he is, to a very slight degree, a small employment in Demerara. It is fated, however, misanthrope. .

that nothing shall prosper with bim. This portion of Alexander is the natural son of some person in easy Alexander's history we recommend to the particular atcircumstances in the west of Scotland. For the sake of tention of the public. Although told in the language of concealment, he was boarded in childhood in the house of a disappointed man, it is unquestionably the most just a small farmer. Here and at school he was regarded, on and impartial account of the state of society in our West account of the unfortunate circumstances attending his | India colonies we have met with ; and will be found in. birth, as a sort of paria, -as one step in creation beneath structive as well by those soulless drivellers who laud those with whom he was to associate,-as one with whom slavery in the abstract, as by the wiseacres who, in their hot none had a fellow feeling, and who might be abused with zeal for reform, pretend to legislate for millions separated impunity. The boy, with his spirit thus seared and from them by half the circumference of the globe, and yet broken, was placed by his father at Greenock, to obtain more widely separated by difference of habits and education. some notion of mercantile business, and was thence sent, Disappointed in Demerara, as everywhere else, Alexanwhen old enough, to the West Indies. His destination der joined the South American patriots. We have carewas one of the smaller islands formerly belonging to the fully studied the history of that continent previous to the French, where he was received and treated with a degree Revolution, and being convinced that all the works which of kindness and respect to which, in his own land, he have been written upon it since are, with one or two exhad been unaccustomed. His heart began to beat more ceptions, barefaced lies, or spoiled by the affectation of freely. He met with a young woman upon whom he their authors, who wish to tell every thing, though placed his affections; her parents were not averse to the they saw but little, we are glad to meet at last with one man whose narrative, however caustic, carries the stamp you for the sake of your country; you have it to thank fo of truth on its forehead. Alexander's unpretending state

and not me, - Vol. ii. p. 26-8, ment of what he saw is most graphic, and to one ac The portrait of Paez forms a fine pendant to this full. quainted with the previous state of the Spanish colonies, | length of the Liberator : its authenticity will be at once apparent. The broken

I “ Paez is a stout, active-looking little man, with a ple tradesmen of England with their morgue aristocratique- sing and very expressive countenance; he is a good musi. the routed vet blithe followers of Napoleon—the down. I cian and dancer, fearless and brave to excess, but rash to i right New Englanders--the honest, yet withal soft and fault, rushing into battle pell-mell, with no idea but that of heavy Germans--the fervid Creoles-all act exactly as overturning all opposed to him by mere animal force. Te we were prepared to expect. That erewhile peaceful his feelings were very acute, and he grieved much after a and happy country is undergoing a violent and fantastic

great slaughter even of his enemies, and became subject to

severe epileptic fits. He had fought many successful batchange--a sort of frenzy; but the crisis of its fever, and

tles, but he could not calculate the effect of evolutions like the prelude of returning health, has seized it. To give our

Bolivar. He was no politician, only a plain fighting mat, readers any adequate idea of Alexander's sketches on this where talent lay in rushing on to battle. He was quite subject, would be to extract almost the whole of his second void of learning, being able neither to read nor write. With volume. We pick out, however, one or two extracts al much care he could just manage to scrawl P-a-e-z on the most at random. The following is his account of Bo official papers that were presented to him ; but his heart livar :

and soul were in the cause he espoused.” — Vol. ii. pp. 78,9 « He is a native of Caraccas, where he had extensive As the session of our General Assembly is but lately property, at this time in the hands of the Spaniards. Ilisover, it may not be inappropriate to add to these sketcha height is about five feet eight, and he is well-proportioned. the following curious picture : Though a full white, his face was bronzed or weather

“I stopped at a fine white house, which I was informed beaten, but very intelligent, full, and round, with a natural smile, that rendered it pleasing, without hurting that air

| belonged to Commissionado. Here I passed as strange a of superiority which lurked in a dark and intelligent eye,

night as I ever did. At my first knocking, the door was the angry glance of which was benumbing. His eye enli

opened by a small plump-looking person, with a very broaul vened a studious cast of countenance, whether natural or

leather belt. I boldly asked for a lodging, not as a favour, acqnired I cannot say. He waltzed beautifully. He was

but a right. He gave a jump, and, flourishing his hands, of sober and abstemious habits, and spoke gracefully, and

bade me enter. As he turned, I saw that the crown of his well to the point; his proclamations were numerous, and

head was shaved. I felt a little abashed at my freedom; well adapted to their purpose. He spoke little in company,

but he jumped and danced before me. I thought he was and had a great dislike to tipplers, babblers, idlers, game

mad; indeed I knew not what to think. I found here sters, and duellists. He allowed the English to tight duels,

also a Frenchman, a colonel, an agreeable man, free of prebut any American who fought was shot for the offence.

judice. He took a great deal of exercise, often walking and riding.

“As soon as I was seated, the padre brought forth a He was very fond of the English, often talked about Eng. large bottle of rum, and poured out glass after glass, drink. land, and placed much confidence in the British, holding

ing himself, and urging us in an antic manner, shaking out liberal encouragement to all adventurers, but giving at

the bottle before us; he danced, sang, and shouted like a the same time a general order that no foreigner was to be

bacchant. kept against his will, and that every one was to have his

“At length supper was ordered in. Such a supper I had passport to return to his country whenever he chose. Out

seldom seen. There was chocolate, sausages, rice, soup, conof policy and regard to Britain, le pardoned many villains,

serves, &c. enough for ten men. But now the most ludi

crous scene began. He helped us with his bare hands, heatgiving them passports and rations until they embarked, and even money to carry them off; yet others who left the coun

ing the victuals on our plates. He was soon covered with try bad to fight their way in the best manner they could.

grease from the chiu to the belt, as he ate lustily. Ever and I was a witness to an instance of his clemency ;-a Lieu

anon he seized the poor Frenchman round the neck, and tenant-colonel Wilson, who had been up the country with

kissed him. He was soon as much bedaubed as himself. Paez, then commander-in-chief, was a spy to the Spa

I admired the patience of the Frenchman ; and carefully niards, and in communication with General Murillo; he

kept the table between us, lest the foolish priest should next to an intrigue to overthrow Bolivar and the’ra | attack me in the same manner, which I could not have enpublic, by sowing dissension between the rulers. His plan

dured. was to disgrace Bolivar ; and, by working on the foibles of

“The supper was removed, and the rum again went the English, he soon got them to declare for Paez. When round until we were all tipsy, and then we tumbled into all was ripe, he had the assurance to go to Paez and propose

bed all three. I awoke about four o'clock, and fortunate to him to be supreme ruler, and supersede Bolivar; which

it was I did so, for the Frenchman was just on the point of Paez, to defeat his object, agreed to, and a proclamation

expiring; my right heel was on his neck, and thus he was was issued to the British and the army to acknowledge

pushed to the wall, as he lay at the foot of the bed. I rePaez as the supreme chief and captain-general of the ar

moved my foot, and with difficulty recovered the French mies of the Republic. This they had been prepared for;

officer, who had almost ceased to breathe. The priest also Colonel Wilson had only to come down to Angustura, and

awoke; they began again to the bottle, but I would take take up with him all the British to the Apure, under the

no more on account of my journey, and not being accuspretence of' strengthening the army; all this was to be kept

tomed to drink to excess. They both again tumbierd into secret from Bolivar Wilson came down, and the report

bed, while I ordered breakfast, which was cheerfully fur. was soon spread abroad, that all the foreigners in Angus

| nished. I mounted and rode off as soon as day broke. This tura were to go up with him to join the army of the Apure.

was the first scene of intemperance I had seen, and I am But Paez, as soon as Wilson left him, sent down a boat |

sorry to say it was by a padre. The people in general with information of the design to Bolivar

drink pretty freely, but not to intoxication."-Vol. ii. “ Wilson was still going backward and forward to Boli- | pp. 298-300. var, on the most friendly terms, and dining with him. The

The Adventures of Alexander, who is at present, we first time he entered after the arrival of the message from Paez, Bolivar, being reclined in his bammock, received him

regret to learn, in the Royal Infirmary of this city, are without any apparent change of manner, and desired him

| rapidly related after his leaving South America, and are to come and sit down by him, when they entered into con

brought down to nearly the date of the publication of his versation, as if Bolivar knew nothing of his nefarious de volume. The whole book is full of feeling ; - Alexander signs. After a short time spent in this manner, Bolivar, was a child of impulse-proofs of which are spread over without any apparent emotion, drew the packet from his the whole work, and scarcely admit of being broken pocket which contained the irrefragable proofs of his base- | down into small bits, and exhibited like geological speciness, and told him to look at it, and inform him if he knew mens. He thus speaks of his emotions when, on board any thing of its contents. Wilson was immediately put into close confinement, when we all looked for his being shot ;

| a Columbian privateer, he passed within sight of her but in a little time he was sent off to Old Guiana a prisoner | dwelling, whom he had loved in youth-the memory of at large, until shipped off to the West Indies, and I believe his disappointed passion having haunted every hour of he had money to carry him off. Bolivar said _' I forgive his luckless life :

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