« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
pidly gaining ground. The moderation, however, displayed in the new councils does not appear to have reconciled the parties which now predominated in Sweden; nor is it surprising, when we examine them, that the late king should have considered that no ordinary means were likely to be effectual in obtaining that object.
• In the year 1792 there were two parties in Sweden actively at work. The one was composed of General Baron Armfelt and his partizans, whose object it was to throw Sweden into the arms of Russia; the other consisted of men more formidable by their talent than numbers, who conceived that Sweden was too poor a country to maintain a monarchical government and a large standing army. They were for adopting a government similar to that adopted in the United States, and to endeavour to do without a king or hereditary nobles. A gentleman named Thorild wrote a work entitled “ The Liberty of Reason developed to the Regent of the Swedish Nation.” The author addressed it to the regent, and called upon him to remove the shackles imposed by kings and regents on human freedom, and dwelt with enthusiasm on the happiness Sweden might enjoy under a virtuous and frugal republican system. This happened on the 21st December; in the evening the pamphlet was suppressed, and the author taken into custody.'
This proceeding, as might be expected, excited a considerable ferment in the town, and we find the regent, in spite of the gentleness and moderation of his councils, threatened with the fate of his brother. The next day the cause was heard. • Thorild conducted his own defence, and this with so much spirit and eloquence,' says Mr. Brown, that the spectators caught the enthusiasm inspired by his bold sentiments; and certain passages of his speech' (which, we conclude, were those indicating resistance to all legitimate authority) were loudly applauded. It ended in his release, and his being escorted home by a large concourse of citizens, shouting liberty for ever, Thorild for ever.'
Of the military and naval details of this reign, as given by Mr. Brown, we cannot say much, for in truth there is nothing to be said. From a work entitled Scandinavian Letters, published in 1796, which we have long known and which we believe to be authentic, he has extracted upwards of twenty pages containing the details of the naval campaign of 1790; these are peculiarly interesting, as the chief sufferers on the Russian side were Englishmen in the service of the empress; and more daring intrepidity, and unavailing gallantry have never been displayed than by the Captains Marshall and Dennison on this occasion.
We have already remarked on the licence in which Mr. Brown indulges in speaking of public characters. Excepting that 'ingenious, tasteful, and scientific nobleman the Chevalier Edlercrantz,' who, as a soi-disant poet, philosopher, playwright, and inspector, would hardly venture to offend a brother savant, and the VOL. XIX. No. XXXVIII.
corpulent, convivial, equestrian knight Sir Levett Hanson, quondam chamberlain to the Duke of Modena, and grand cross and distributor of the Order of St. Joachim, than whom no one could conduct himself in a more gentlemanly manner, we do not recollect another of whom this fastidious person speaks in terms of tolerable respect. Even the integrity of Mr. Pitt's political principles, and the wisdom of Sir William Scott's decisions, are called in question by him in no very measured terms; and we are not therefore surprised at the indecent manner in which he has vented his spleen at the appointment of Mr. Thornton as English minister at Stockholm, or at the scurrilous language in which he assails De Coninck, a very respectable banker at Copenhagen.
As neither of these gentlemen had, as far as we know, written on the Northern Courts,' and cannot therefore have interfered with Mr. Brown's literary labours, their names are marked with obloquy purely to gratify some malevolent feeling. Those who have preceded him as authors are comparatively fair game for criticism. Let us see how he has executed “ the act of duty which was imposed upon him by gratitude,' as he tells us in his preface.
· Next to Whitelock's Journal,' says Mr. Brown, the best work extant is the Rev. Mr. Coxe's. As, however, he was before described though not a servile man still as a flatterer of kings,' and as sundry errors are remarked in his book, we naturally trembled for those of whom no such favourable mention was likely to be made.
Of these the first victim is Mr. Joseph Acerbi. His work is. made up of plagiarisms, of original falsehoods, and sheer nonsense.' This, it must be confessed, is rather a tranchant style of criticism, and though it may be true, for aught we know, it is amusing to hear a plagiarist so roughly handled by the author of the · Northern Courts.'
Next come Sir John Carr and his Northern Summer.' Sir John, it seems, is less malignant than Mr. Acerbi; but, alas ! his errors are seated in his-head! and we can comprehend therefore, without any reference to the system of Gall or Spurzheim, that they must have had a very prejudicial effect upon his powers of composition.
Sir Robert Ker Porter is dismissed in a very few words. An unlucky inclination to report favourably of the unfortunate Gustavus has spoilt all, and he is convicted of a want of liberality towards Swedish artists, and a servility of mind highly disreputable.'
With Dr. Thomson, the next culprit, there seems to be more conformity of opinion than with the rest of those who have gone before Mr. Brown as writers on Sweden. In the outset, a partiality on the part of the doctor in exalting the picturesque beauty of his favourite city (Edinburgh) at the expense of Stoekholm,' very
nearly involves him in disgrace—but he finally escapes with sundry corrections and friendly admonitions.
Not so Mr. J. T. James, the last on the list, for whom is reserved the whole measure of Mr. Brown's indignation, and who is accused, under various forms, 'of hauteur and illiberality; of a want of candour and self-cultivation in his remarks upon the people and artists of Sweden, and a predisposition to see every thing that he found there in an unfavourable light.'
As this involves a charge against our countrymen in general, with whom (as Mr. Brown assures us) the practice of writing and speaking to the prejudice of those foreign countries they have visited, and thereby rendering the English name unpopular abroad, is too prevalent, we are anxious, by shewing how totally unfounded are the attacks made upon the entertaining and well-informed traveller whom he has selected for the prime object of his criticism, to repel the accusation. Mr. James, it appears, is taxed with a want of liberality, for venturing to describe the higher' orders of Sweden as cold and ceremonious; the artists as still capable of improvement; and the style of architecture and decoration which prevails in the capital, as for the most part in bad taste. Now though we believe that all who have read the book will be ready to acknowledge the tone of good humour and unaffected candour which prevail throughout, we shall let Mr. James speak for himself in answer to the first part of the accusation,
“But a Swede is never in extremes : even these traits are not deeply marked, and if we review the more favourable side of his character, we shall find in him an undaunted spirit of perseverance, and an honest love of freedom, to which the feelings of every one does homage; and I may truly affirm that no traveller passes from these shores but he quits them with regret, and ever afterwards takes the strongest interest in whatever tidings he may hear which concern the welfare of the nation. In the higher classes the mind is necessarily tempered by the grace and fashion of society, and there are many whom private sentiments of respect would lead me at all times to acknowledge with warm expressions of gratitude, and to recall with peculiar pleasure, many a happy hour I have spent at Stockholm:'--p. 141.
Mr. Brown tells us with some degree of self-satisfaction that he associated in Sweden - with persons of as great rank and consequence as Mr. James. Of this common-place vulgarity there are abundant symptoms in his volumes. • Lord Erskine and the author of the “ Northern Courts” had a serious conversation on this subject.'—vol. ii. p. 300. And another conversation (which we doubt not was equally serious) is stated to have taken place between Mr. Brown and the Chevalier Edlercrantz. But because Mr. James has the good taste to make no parade of these matters, nor to give, according to Mr. Brown's fashion, the titles at full length of all his CC 2
knightly acquaintance of the
Sword, Polar Star, and Seraphim-Sir Herman of Lastholm, K.P.S., Sir Charles Frederick von Breda, K.V., Sir Charles Axel Lindroth, K.P.S. &c.—it does not therefore follow that he is inclined to treat the nobility of Sweden with insolence and contempt;' nor can any proof be brought of such a feeling on his part.
In spite of Mr. Brown's long dissertation on the merits and performances of Sergell, we are not inclined to entertain any very exalted opinion of his taste in the fine arts, or of his acquaiutance with their professors. That Sweden should not be able to boast of painters equal to the highest walks of the art, and that Sergell should not rival Phidias, is by no means surprizing. Whatever may have been the progress of the other arts and sciences in the civilized world, in painting and statuary a falling off has unquestionably taken place; and this, we conceive, is the only implication' which Mr. James intended when, speaking of the professors of the arts in Sweden, he wound up the sentence on Sergell with the morceau' so offensive to Mr. Brown. Of the general merits of the artists of Sweden, Mr. James always thought with respect and spoke with liberality.
• Falcrantz as a painter of landscapes,' he says, 'stands the first in reputation, and, indeed, may fairly be ranked among the best artists of the present day.'-p. 122.
Again. There is no country in Europe which, in proportion to her numbers, has contributed so largely to the advancement of science as Sweden, and none in which it is still more steadily and successfully pursued.'-p. 125.
From the display made by Mr. Brown of his knowledge of the Swedish language, and his perpetual blunders in every other, we suspect that his studies, like his travels, have not been very excursive. Under such an alias as that by which she is described, we have had some difficulty in recognizing a well known statue twice mentioned by Mr. Brown under different titles—Venus du belle fesses,' and Venus de belles fesses. We would venture also to hint to him, that · Tu Marcellus erit can never be · Thou shalt be Marcellus.' The strictures upon Mr. James and Dr. Thomson, the one for mispelling the town "Abo,' and the other for designating the stream which flows into the sea at Gottenburgh as the River Gotha,' appear to be pedantic and absurd. Obo is spelled as it is pronounced, and although the Gotha in its course goes by two other names, we shall continue to follow Mr. Coxe and Mr. James in giving it that title until it shall be proved that the Thames should be styled the Isis or the Tame. The stream which is called Clara before it merges in the Wenern Lake, on quitting it takes the name of the province through which it flows, and becomes the Gotha. -But we must have done with Mr. Brown.
Art. VIII.-Observations relating to some of the Antiquities of
Egypt, from the Papers of the late Mr. Davison. Published
in Walpole's Memoirs. 1817. . IE F some of our consuls have merited the reproach of having made
their public station subservient to their private interests, and of wholly neglecting those researches into objects of literature or science which their situation might have brought fairly within their reach, the names of Bruce, Davison and Salt may safely be mentioned as honourable exceptions from it. Mr. Bruce has nobly rescued his own name from any inattention to objects of scientific research;-so has Mr. Salt, as we shall presently see:--and to Mr. Walpole the literary world is now indebted for bringing forward a small part of the discoveries and observations of Mr. Davison in Egypt, which had been hitherto known only to a few of his friends.
In the year 1763, Mr. Davison, then consul at Algiers, accompanied Wortley Montague to Egypt. He resided (Mr. Walpole informs us) eighteen months at Cairo; made frequent visits to the pyramids of Gizeh, Saccara and Dashour, and several excursions in the vicinity of Alexandria with the Duke de Chaulnes, with whom he afterwards embarked for Europe. While performing quarantine in the Lazaretto at Leghorn, the duke contrived, by means of a false key, to get possession, and to take copies, of Mr. Davison's papers and drawings. On coming to London, a few years afterwards, he advertised a publication of his own researches, with drawings by Mr. Davison, whom he had the impudence to designate as his
secretary. Whether he knew that Mr. Davison was still alive does not appear; but on the very day (Sept. 9th, 1783) which he had appointed for an engraver to wait on him, he received a written remonstrance, on the part of that gentleman, which obliged him to relinquish his design. He had then the effrontery to propose a joint publication, which Mr. Davison indignantly declined. Mr. Walpole adds, that there are two plates in Sonnini's travels, from drawings of Mr. Davison, which could only have been communicated by the Duke de Chaulpes.
The papers now first published, from the journals of Mr. Davison, consist of his measurements of the pyramid of Cheops, by taking that of each individual step or altar from the base to the summit, and subsequently with the theodolite--an account of his descent into the “Well,' (as it is usually called,) which is mentioned by Pliny as being eighty-six cubits in depth--of his discovery of a room over the chamber containing the sarcophagus, which had escaped Maillet, though he had been forty tinies within the
pyramid, which Niebuhr could not find, though told of it by Mr. Meynard, who accompanied Mr. Davison; and which had not сс 3