Page images



mon thing for a king to confer a title A Sir Peter Lely, a Sir Christopher upon a painter of transcendent merit. Wren, a Sir Robert Strange, a Sir Charles the first, James, and Charies II. Joshua Reynolds, were at once orna did it. Foreign sovereigns have ennobled ments and pillars of their country, to and otherwise exalted eminent painters, ennoble such men is to ennoble the and we think it justice and policy to do nation which possesses them. To deli Who deserves such a recompense reate a sublime historical event by the more than the men who spend their pencil, with perspicuity and dignity, is lives, we might say shorten them, by a to display a power almost divine; it sedentary profession which embellishes may well be called the epic of the art, and enriches their country. In all pro- Is it then for want of some able writer to bability such an expectation has never speak of the utility of the art, that it is entered the thoughts of the subject of not more honoured? There has been less these remarks. If his modesty (as is published in our own country, on paintprobable) be equal to his merit, he would ers, than in almost any other country say any outward mark of royal favour in Europe. In Italy, in France, Ger would be above his deserving, and he many, and Holland, excellent lives would flee from it. But honours and of painters, and treatises on the art royal favours of that kind are too much of painting have been written. at the disposal of a minister, who endea- neighbours unquestionably have, hithervours to have them conferred on persons to held in greater esteem both propromoting his views rather than the fessors, and the works of their hands, nation's welfare. Courtiers would tell a than we have. This, however, is not king they might be better disposed of likely to be the case in future. The than on painters. Such men ought to subject of this Memoir may be said to be reminded of the reply of the emperor have contributed so largely and so hopCharles V. to certain courtiers, jealous ply to adorn the national temple of of the notice his majesty had taken of painting, that there can be no apprehenhis favourite painter, by conferring sion of its henceforward wanting vota knighthood on him, and making him Count Palatine, and all his descendants gentlemen. "I can never want courtiers (said he) for my court, but I may not always have a Titian with me." Many may be illiberal enough to think that pecuniary acknowledgments are the proper and the complete rewards of a painter, however gifted. Mr. West may think so himself; for the writer is as fully unacquainted with his thoughts hereon or of the measure of his professional recompense, royal or private, as he is of the affairs of the Grand begnior. It is from the artist's works alone that we are led to doubt whether the honours he has done his profession are not more than equal to any advantages he may have derived from it. By expertness alone he has been intitled to great gains. Protogenes painted many fine pieces, among the rest one of Jalysus, but he was seven years about it, and he lived in want till accident raised him above it. It has been matter of surprise to many that the painters of the last thirty years, by whom the art has been advanced to so much excelleace, should heve been so little noticed and honoured. Except in the case of Sir Joshua Reynolds, we look in vain for especial favour or distinction

ries. It is but a duty, therefore, to transmit with honour and gratitude to posterity, the name of a man who has done so much for his country. Poetry and painting have always been termed twin sisters. They are now united in a Shee. Let us hope, therefore, we shall not want for poets and historians to do justice to the value of the art at all times, and particularly at this time.

As painting speaks an universal language, Mr. West has properly considered it as a powerful instrument, and therefore that it ought to be employed for moral and useful purposes. Nothing indelicate, nothing even grotesque, has issued from his pencil. His works are a silent, but impressive system of morality, piely, and patriotism.

Painting, in France, has been at times degraded and reduced to a very low ebb: witness the commencement of the late revolution when nothing but ribaldry or obscenity was observed or sought after, and yet there was a time when only they who were of noble blood were permit ted to exercise this art, because it was to be presumed that all the ingredients of a good painter, are not ordinarily found in men of vulgar birth. That a good judg ment, a warm and vigorous fancy, with a sublimity and reach of thought are in

dispensible in a painter none can deny; and yet that these qualities may be possessed without the blood of hereditary nobility, we have not only the present instance before us as a proof, but many, very many others, which we could name if we were writing the lives of the eminent painters of Great Britain. Mr. West has turned the influence of his art to the promotion of virtue. He has done his part to improve the world, by placing before the eyes of mankind the noblest examples of their predecessors or cotemporaries. It is therefore as much for the goodness of the man as the excellence of the painter that he is so much esteemed abroad, and by persons who never saw him. It was for this that he was so flatteringly followed and distinguished by the scientific of the capital of France, in 1802, when with his youngest son, he went to Paris to view the national gallery of

the arts.

He was received among them in the most friendly and even affectionate manner: the central administration of the arts invited him to a dinner given in a great measure on his account. The following beautiful and classical verses were written by Lavallée one of their members, and read to Mr. West at this fraternal repast. We hope to be able to give our readers a suitable translation of them in a future number of our miscellany.

Vers lus au Diner donné par l'Administration du Musée central des Arts, le 7 Ven. démiaire an XI. à Monsieur West, Di. recteur de l'Académie royale de Londres.

ALORS que dans nos murs les marbres de Paros,

Lestrésors de l'Attique, et le Dieu de Délos,
En triomphe portés sur le char de la Gloire,
D'Athène et de Paris confondaient la mé-

Mes chants audacieux célébraient les héros:
Et Barde fortuné des belliqueux travaux,
Je vis à mes accens sourire la Patrie;
Et du soldat français révélant le génie,
Mons vers, en traits de feu sur le front des


[blocks in formation]


Du réveil des Beaux-Arts prédire les bien- Convoquez vos Bretons autour de vos TaSi la guerre jamais rallumait ses flambeaux,


[blocks in formation]

bleaux ;

[blocks in formation]

Montrez-leur les tyrans enfantés par la Retomber écrasés sur la vague écumante. O West! de ce Tableau si leurs cœurs sont émus,


Et Tacite nouveau, ressuscitant Tibère,
Traînez-les sur les pas de la sœur de

Et que leurs pleurs encor vengent Germa

[blocks in formation]

Offre ton Age d'or à leurs yeux éperdus;
Dis-leur: voilà les jours créés par la nature,
Les beaux jours de la paix et de l'agricul

Les jours de la vertu, des talens et dea

Eirangers aux remords, étrangers aux dou. leurs.

Puissent ainsi les Arts, en charmant notre

[blocks in formation]


To the Editor of the Universal Mag.

[ocr errors]

(his earliest productions) which, for their elegance and tender simplicity stand unrivalled. I have reason to think that his "Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary ?" was addressed by him to the same lady, when he had determined to go to the West Indies at one time, as appears in his "Life.”

IN perusing the last Number of your excellent Magazine, I remarked the anxicty of your correspondent, Mr. Clennel, to know who Burn's Highland Mary" was. I shall be happy if any information I can give him may lead to a more satisfactory I have not been able yet to find out answer to his question. Highland Mary was the daughter of a farmer in Ayrshire, who lived in the same neighbourhood with the bard. He had conceived an early attachment to Mary, but, being obliged to leave the place for some time, he found on his return, that she had died in his absence; which called forth from his muse those enchanting strains

Highland Mary's surname, as the poet was always very reserved upon these subjects. The whole piece is beautiful, but the two last verses deserve particular notice.

If you think the above hints worthy of publication, you have liberty to make any use you please of them, from your humble servant,


To the Editor of the Universal Mag. and extensive erudition; their opi

nion on subjects of controversial divinity is certainly entitled to more respect than to excite "risibility in the freshmen of Cambridge," who perhaps never read the Bible in their

SIR, YOUR correspondent, C. A. A. having very properly animadverted on a sermon recently preached before the University of Cambridge, by the Rev. Mr. Tyrrwhitt, the object of lives. When Peter Martyr held a which was to disprove and deny the public disputation at Oxford with doctrine of the Trinity; I confess my- the great men of that university, on self surprised, and indeed not a little the subject of the eucharist, they fregrieved, that his cause should be quently objected to him the authoespoused, and his conduct vindicated, rity of the fathers. Martyr did not by any man who professes to be a treat them with contempt, but proved member of the church of England. beyond contradiction from the works Mr. T. has certainly a right to his of those excellent men, the truth of private sentiments, but I conceive it the doctrine he was so anxious to to be a piece of uncommon effron- establish, and he was perhaps as tery, to stand up publicly before the wise and learned as any of CamUniversity, on purpose to decry and bridge can boast. Your corresponbring into contempt a leading article dent observes "all doctrines are to of the church: if the doctrine of the be believed solely on the authority of Trinity had no ground in Scripture, Scripture," but when the Bible and and the contrary could be clearly all antiquity agree, it is to me at proved, the matter would have been least a confirmation of the truth of widely different; but the true church them. I have not at present temein all ages has uniformly given her rity enough to set up my opinion assent to this doctrine, and I am against the uniform testimony of the happy to observe, that she has some church of Christ in all ages, especifriends still remaining, generous ally when it is agreeable to the Word enough to come forward in justifica- of God, I leave that to the freshtion of her injured honour. Had men of Cambridge." If these arguMr. T. employed his talents in bold- ments are inadmissible, I take the ly rebuking vice, and nobly exalting liberty of asking your ingenious his Lord and Master, instead of deny- correspondent, what other mode of ing an essential part of his Godhead, reasoning he would be kind enough 1 take the liberty of presuming he to adopt to settle any point of diswould have been much more profit- pute, if the opponent should happen ably employed, and his auditory to be a churchman. Sorry I am, a great deal more edified. Mr. T. that the church of England is bemay be a very amiable character, come so lax in her discipline, as to and as head of the house of the Tyr- suffer members to continue in her whitts is entitled to respect: that cir- communion who for "thirty years cumstance does him much more together" have uniformly rejected credit as a man, than being at the and denied, and that on mature head of the Unitarians does as a deliberation," every article proposed Christian. Your correspondent of to them as a test of their orthodoxy; St. John's does not seem inclined to and which before their admission enter into the merits of the contro- they had solemnly sworn to defend versy, and as I am likewise averse to and maintain; by denying these, they disputation, it is so far fortunate; give up every essential doctrine of but I cannot avoid noticing the little the christian religion, and make the deference he pays to the opinion of clerical function a mere nose of wax, the ancient fathers, who were for to be turned and twisted in any man the most part men of exalted piety ner they may think proper, to suit

[ocr errors]



the whim of the day, or the humour inquire, "whether any doctrine can be clear in its meaning or evidence, or be said to be sufficiently inculcated in the Scripture, which is never directly taught therein, nor cannot be expressed in words of Scripture, or any other words, without the appearance of contradiction." To answer this inquiry would lead us too far into a discussion of the doctrines of the Trinity, which your correspondent wishes to avoid: I however beg leave to differ from Mr. T. that this is a good argument for the rejection of the doctrine. In a revelation from heaven, such as the Bible is, and on so grand a subject as the doctrine in question, which necessarily includes God's eternal existence in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, is it any wonder that fallible man should not have sufficient conception of so great a mystery, much less be competent to clothe the same in words intelligible to our shallow capacities. I call upon Mr. T. or your ingenious correspondent, to prove to a demonstration the exact mode of their own existence, how the soul acts on the body, and vice versa, in what part of it the spirit resides, and of what materials (if I may be allowed the expression) it is composed; this union is nevertheless a matter of fact, and cannot be denied, though it may exceed our weak capacities perfectly to explain. I have nothing more to add on the subject, but that I hope and trust few, very few of the university of Cambridge, are contaminated with this ancient Unitarian heresy, which again appears to be making rapid strides among us; your correspondent says, Mr. T.'s sermon was listened to with profound attention and silence, which proceeded, I presume, not so much from the profound manner in which he treated the subject, as from the profound amazement many of the auditory were thrown into, on hear ing so venerable and grave a minister, reject and deny so essential an article of their faith, and that too

of their own fancies; this is stabbing their Saviour in the house of his friends, and acting the hypocrite with a vengeance: but I hope and trust the clergy of the church of England have not all so learned Christ. We are now to be sure living in an age of reason, and look back with sovereign contempt. on the savage era when the primitive fathers, or our noble reformers, flourished; men who firm ly held the doctrines your correspondent denies, and were neither afiaid nor ashamed of sealing them with their blood. "As the Ptolemaic system gave place to the Copernican," so I presume, agrecably with your correspondent's reasoning, must the religion of the Bible and the articles of our church give place to the lights of the present day; but the God of the Bible made every thing perfect, nothing can be added as an improvement of it; in this instance, at least, there is no room for the ingenuity of our modern theorists; and as to the articles, God forbid that the religious republicanism of the present day should ever be suffered to overturn and annihilate the excellent constitution of our church. "The doctrine of the Trinity and the earth's rest may both be true." This sentiment is rather too accommodating for me. The earth's rest is false, and not a Scripture doctrine, you may believe or disbelieve it as you please; the Scriptures were not written with an intention to make us philosophers, but christians. In the one case you differ only from the opinion of Copernicus, or Newton, who were like ly to err, and incur no risk by so doing; but by denying the doctrine of the Trinity, you endanger your eternal felicity, inasmuch as you reject the God of the Bible, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in one essential and eternal Jehovah; this system will stand good, when the Ptolemaic, Copernican, and Newtonian, are no more. Mr. Tyrwhitt requests us to

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »