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however, does depend upon the knowledge and enthusiasm of those who undertake to accompany the pencil with the pen. Literary composition of this sort seems to call for fancy and experience in some respect peculiar; or at least there has grown up with the prevailing liking for illustrated books, a species of style that accords well with the purpose and attractiveness of the pictorial department, -sketching and catching the picturesque features; not crowded with flowers or imagery, adducing apt notices, historic or biographic, pertinent anecdote or tradition, and whatever may serve both as a fastening and a beam of light to the romance of the theme. We think that Mr. Wright, whose assistance has been largely lent to the enterprising publisher of the works we have at present more immediately in view, is particularly expert in his department, being well-read, brilliant, and animated; so that it is hardly with less interest that we turn to his story, to gather lights and information, than we scan the beautiful and finished engravings that he may happen to take for his companions and coadjutors. Still, the plates must ever constitute the principal feature in pictorial books; and therefore the modern use and prevalence of such decorative illustrations deserve a marked notice and a hearty gratulation.
Whether the art of engraving be considered with relation to its utility and the pleasure it affords, or the difficulties with which it. contends, we cannot but be convinced that on every account it deserves a distinguished rank amongst the fine arts. It is nearly four centuries since it was discovered, and a steady improvement may be observed in it from that time to the present day, particularly if we regard the range it takes, the means and modes of its execution, and the multiplicity of the works it produces. The nineteenth century is pre-eminently rich in these respects; for from every civilized land volumes are annually poured forth, illustrated and embellished in a manner which makes antiquity appear rude. Men of genius are devoting themselves to the practice of engraving, deeming it an enviable as well as a most ingenious art; for by its means the works of the great masters are no longer the exclusive property of a few individuals, or confined to certain celebrated spots. The cabinets of the curious may now be adorned with the portraits of the greatest men of all nations and of all ages; and by the same means the young of every degree may in this age be inspired by groups and dramatic expression, representing grand achievements, or calculated to awaken the purest and deepest sentiment. In short engravings are now given to the world, literally published for the benefit of society, and are sent abroad into every land to delight the taste and to inspire the genius of all nations.
It is unnecessary to go with any particularity into the different ways in which engraving is done. These are increasing every year, and through agencies that our forefathers never dreamt of. For
example, there is the late discovery of voltaic engraving, the chief merits and objects of which are to raise upon an unengraved plate of copper a design in relief; to copy with perfect accuracy engraved plates, medals, ornaments, &c.; and to obtain any number of such copies. But Mr. Palmer, of Newgate-street, has taken out a patent on account of what promises to be a further improvement, and one that may probably effect quite a revolution in the process of obtaining electrotype duplicates of copperplates; so that it is now no longer necessary that the original plates should be engraved. The design may be painted on the plate with a peculiar composition prepared for the purpose. The paint used leaves a surface in relief, which, when placed in a solution of sulphate of copper, produces an electrotype plate with corresponding impressions, which may be worked as a plate engraved in the usual manner.
But in pursuance of our present object we need not go beyond the ordinary methods of engraving upon metal, whether copper or steel. With regard to plates, copper till lately was held to have some peculiar advantages. Experiments and novelties, however, became necessary to prevent the forging of bank-notes, while great expense was incurred when any superior engraving was introduced for rendering imitation difficult; and this suggested the idea of employing a harder substance than copper to engrave upon. Steelplate was tried, and found capable of affording from twenty to thirty times the number of impressions that could be obtained from a plate of copper, while it was not much more difficult to engrave upon. This discovery was first made known in England in 1818, by the inquiry respecting the prevention of forgery, instituted by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, when a specimen of engraving on soft steel was presented to the Society by the late Mr. Charles Warren. It appeared, however, that notes with ornamental borders, printed from steel plates, were then in use in America. We may mention that, besides engraving on copper, a mechanical process has been introduced for increasing the number of impressions, by transferring the engraving from steel to steel in a spring press; so that an inconceivable number of prints may be obtained, when this is the chief object, rather than the reproduction of fine works of art.
But however numerous or wonderful may be the improvements which in our day have been witnessed in the art of engraving and multiplying prints, it would be preposterous to say that it is in other than a state of progress. The power, elasticity, and delicacy of the art seem to be yearly increased; so that while this is the case, it would be wrong to speak of it as we would of painting, sculpture, or any other art which appears to have reached the fulness of perfection.
How wonderful is the success by which the management of lines on hard substances can convey even the idea of colour! The writer
of an article in the Encyclopædia Britannica, from which we have borrowed such ideas and terms as suited our purpose, speaks to the following effect:-When we reflect that the engraver, besides the beauties of poetical composition and the artful ordinance of design, has to express, merely by the means of light and shade, all the various tints of colour; that he has to give a relief to each figure, and a truth to each object; that he has to represent a sky serene and bright, and then one loaded with dark cloud; that he has to give out the character of man strongly marked in his countenance, and then the nicest ornament of his dress; in a word, that he has to represent all, even the most minute and complicated objects in existence, we cannot but admire the vast resources, compass, and pliability of the art.
It has been remarked that engraving is the translation of painting; but this answer has been returned:-painting needs no translation, being an universal language itself, and that therefore the analogy is not complete. Again, as respects the power of multiplication, engraving, it is said, bears the same relation to painting that printing does to the manuscript. Here also the similitude fails in some important points; for the printer has nothing to do with copying the forms of the manuscript, being guided by words and sounds.
The relation between the two arts has been figuratively expressed, by calling the engraver the herald of the painter. But without troubling ourselves with analogies to a nicety, let it be held sufficient to speak in this manner:-In one solitary spot of the wide world stands the inspired work, the master-piece of art, but the hand that traced its magical lines has long been cold in death, and the spirit that designed it returned ages ago to God who gave it. This miracle of art, preserved perhaps in the inner sanctuary of some royal gallery, enshrined within its costly temple, and valued beyond price, more precious from the consideration that its beauty and glory are solitary, unrivalled, and never to be replaced if lost,can be gazed on but by a few favoured mortals. It is a holy oracle of art, and many who would consult it must go a long and weary pilgrimage before they can reach the shrine. But the voice of inspiration has gone forth, and there are prophets to catch the sounds and herald them abroad over the wide world. To this high office the engraver is devoted, he is the herald of the painter. He speaks in language less gorgeous, less imposing, than the great original; and he only speaks more intelligibly, inasmuch as his language requires a smaller reach of intellect and taste to comprehend it. But it is his province to address the whole world; and in every land is seen his name, proudly honoured in being inscribed by the side of his great master's beneath, his works.
Whoever wishes to learn what the art of engraving performs as the handmaid of instruction and delight, when picturing the gor
geous temple of nature with all its ten thousand relics of ancient times, need only look into Mr. Fisher's illustrated publications.
Much might be spoken relative to engraving, its origin and progress, when viewed in connection with the social agencies which preside over the fine arts. It might likewise be shown that the progress of books is also the progress of engraving which embellishes them. But we conclude with the mere observation, that the merchant, the farmer, and the soldier have become students like the priest; nay, that still more recently there has been an irruption of the day-labourer into the still and retired chambers, and that hence we owe the genius, the skill, the progressive beauty, and the widening influence of the art.
ART. XI.- A Journal of the Disasters in Affghanistan, 1841-2. By Lady Sale. Murray.
Ir requireth few words to introduce this volume to the "universal public:" the name, the name,-that sufficeth! the heroine, we had almost said, the hero,-that is enough! who asketh for more than this, is the book by the very Lady Sale herself? Let the highsouled woman be heard in reply:—
I have not only daily noted down events as they occurred, but often have done so hourly. I have also given the reports of the day, the only information we possessed; also such news as was telegraphed from the Bala Hissar, or sent in by the King or by Capt. Conolly to the Envoy; and many other reports brought by Affghan gentlemen of Capt. Sturt's acquaintance, and by others of lower degree, who having had dealings with him in the engineer department and public works, and having received kindness from him, gave him such intelligence and warning as was in their power: all of which he communicated (to his superior officers) at different times; but the warnings were not attended to; and as when he gave his advice it was seldom adhered to, he became disgusted, and contented himself with zealously performing his duties and making himself generally useful, acting the part of an artillery officer as well as that of an engineer. Had poor Sturt's life been spared, it was his intention to have worked up my Rough Notes, and to have added much valuable information: he was too much over-worked to afford leisure to give me assistance at the time. His plans, drawings, &c., with his public and private papers, were lost, except a note or two that were, just a few days before we left Cabul, put with my journal. I believe several people kept an account of these proceedings, but all except myself lost all they had written; and had recourse to memory afterwards. I lost everything except the clothes I wore; and, therefore, it may appear strange that I should have saved these papers. The mystery is, however, easily solved. After everything was packed, on the night before we left Cabul, I sat up to add a few lines to the events of the day,
and the next morning I put them in a small bag and tied them round my waist.
Lady Sale, without a touch of affected modesty, also confesses that "a much better narrative of past events might have been written, even by myself; but I have preferred keeping my journal as originally written, when events were fresh, and men's minds were biassed by the reports of the day, and even hour." She has, we doubt not, judged rightly in so doing; for even as regards the spirit of the notes, they have, as they stand all the tension of thoughts expressed on the spur of the moment, and when the feelings were incapable of an utterance that was unreal or unfaithful to the speaker's thoughts; whereas retouchings would, in a literary sense, have smoothed down and shadowed away the living points; and any degree of fine writing. would have wrought perversions. More particularly in the case of a woman's recordings and sentiments, and still more especially when that woman is the personage whose celebrated letter drew praise from the great captain of the age-the best judge too of military literature, would revisings and dressings have been injurious both to her own vigorous style, and to the vast interests she has so much at heart. We therefore proceed to make as much room for extracts from the Journal as we possibly can; merely observing in general terms, that Lady Sale necessarily goes over much the same ground which Lieutenant Eyre's Journal comprised; and that not only their facts but their views agree strikingly. Having mentioned this coincidence, it remains only to dip here and there into the pages before us, and take what may almost at random come at hand; assured that nothing can be snatched from the absorbing depths of disaster that will not redound to the honour of the undaunted writer, and prove serviceable to her country.
Lady Sale admits that it is easy to argue on the wisdom or folly of conduct after the event. But, conscious of her own sagacity and determination, and indignantly sensible of the incapacity and imbecility of those who were in command, she, without circumlocution, goes to work, as a vigilant and severe looker-on. Regarding the chiefs, she thus expresseth herself with a prefatory generality :
The Envoy has deeply paid for his attempt to out-diplomatize the Affghans. Gen. Elphinstone, conscious that his powers of mind had become enfeebled with those of his body, finding there was no hope of Gen. Nott's arrival to assume the command, called in another officer to his aid, who had but one object in view (to get back, at all hazards, to Hindostan). He averred that a retreat to the Bala Hissar was impossible, as we should have to fight our way (for one mile and a half)! If we could not accomplish that, how were we to get through a week's march to Jellalabad ? Once in the Bala Hissar, which would have been easily defended by one thousand men, we should have had plenty of troops for foraging purposes; and the