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For the preceding intelligence, and the subsequent character of Dr. Davenant's productions, the present editor of the Biographia is indebted to his ingenious friend, fir John Sinclair, bart. who has amply shewn, by his own valuable performances, that no one is better capable of judying upon the fubje&t. “Davenant, says fir John, is certainly a most valuable political author; and considering that the modern system of politicks; founded on a spirit of commerce, on public credit, on paper circulation, and on skill in finance, was then in a manner in its infancy, he undoubtedly was a writer whose progress was more advanced than could have been expected at that time. It appears from his works, that he had access to official information, from which he derived many advantages. He seems, however, to have depended too much upon political arithmetic, on the strength of figures, which ought only to be resorted to, when the fact itself cannot be ascertained, being only a succedaneum when better evidence cannot be procured. He was unfortunately, also, a party-writer, and saw every thing in the manner the best calculated to promote the views and purposes of his political friends at the time, Every thing they did was right, whilst every action of their enemies was ill-intended and ruinous. He possessed a very considerable command of language, and is sometimes too prolix ; but on the whole there are certainly very few that can rival him as a political author."
As we have now given a pretty copious account of this vo. lame, in many different departments, we trust our readers will form a favourable opinion of it. As a collection it is copious, accurate, and valuable : as a biographical system, little probably can be added to it; and, as an account of works fome. times little known, or often with difficulty procured, it is useful and interesting. When we have said so much, the editor will allow us to suggest, that he has often colle&ted only, when we wish he had subjoined a comprehensive view, and given his own opinions. He has sometimes done this fo ably, that we finished every article with regret where it did not occur : fomething seemed wanting to complete the whole. We hope that his fucceffors, with equal ability, industry, attention, and erudition, may enjoy more leisure, and conclude with those general opinions, which will combine the scattered rays, and contribute to illuminate and discriminate what is either obscure or confufed.-But, in the moment of writing, we have received the pleasing intelligence that Dr. Kippis has been prevailed on to continue in his office, and to proceed in the work. Those who with for accurate research, clear discriminating judgment, and extensive information, will join with us in the wish, that his life and health may be prolonged so as to enable him to complete what he has hítherto conducted with so much propriety and ability. VOL, LXIX. April, 1790.
The Kalifh Rezolution; containing Observations en Man and
Manners. By Durus, King of Kalikang; who was born in the Reign of the Emperor Suguftus, travelled over most of the
Globe, and fill exifts. 8vo. 65. Boards. Robinsons. WE
E koow not when we have been in a greater difficulty
to form an opinion, and to give an account of a work, for on no fyftem can we explain the author's object and defign. Durus was born, it is said in the title, in the reign of Auguftus, and fill exifts. When we compare this paffage with the unaccountable things related by Durus, our fufpicions arise: but let us employ the words of the inimitable Sterne. • My oncle Toby had but two things for it; either to suppose his brother to be the wandering Jew, or that his misfor. tunes had disordered his brains,' (chap. iii. vol. v.) Now the first cannot be true, for Durus is a Briton, the son of a Druid; and the second it is a little uncharitable; but, if the author will hang us on the horns of a dilemma, he muft not be surprised at our taking the easiest pofition. Let us, however, attend to the series of adventures.
Our author tells us, as we have already observed, that be was a Briton, stolen from his native country by a Roman kidpapper, and he finds, aboard the Roman galley, the philofopher Seneca, and some Britifh damsels. One of them is Liza, a native of Cornwall, whom he afterwards marries, and the proves as long-Jived as himself, whether from Druidical parentage, or other caufes, we are not told. The ship touched at Cadiz, and we beg, once for all, that the readers of this volume will not be faftidious with respect to anachronisms, and the early use of modern names. From Ca. diz, in the way to Rome, they were shipwrecked and cast on the Fortunate Islands, where Liza and Durus are married, and where they FORTUNATELY meet with Liza's fifter, mare ried to Asdrubal, a Carthaginian merchant. On a casual vit to a neighbouring island our hero is blown out to sea, and taken up by a Roman galley, which carries him to Rome. This a lucky event, for it gives him an opportunity of abridging the Roman history from the time of Sejanus to the death of Vitellius. This abridgment fills 244 pages, and the earlier history of Rome is afterwards added in 22 pages: in the whole this happy expedient fills about two thirds of the work.
In Rome he remained forty years, and on his return was fhipwrecked on a defart ifland, where, however, he found a wife, who died in forty years, and he lived nearly 1528 years alone on the island, when he was taken up and carried by a
Spanish cruiser to Buenos Ayres. He marries an Indian woman, and, with his wife, is carried from the Andes, in a whirlwind, to an island not described, called Makesang. This we should have supposed was designed to mean England, for we have an obscure allegorical account of the American dispute. While Durus was in Makelang, he bears of a woman of extreme old age being carried to the capital of a kingdom on the neighbouring continent, who still retains so much beauty as to captivate the king. To Kalikang therefore, the capital of Sufa, he proceeds; and, after various events, a revolution happens, in consequence of which the crown is offered to him. If we could find any great similarity, we should suppose this part of the story alludes to the revolution in France. He lives happily with both his wives; and, by his falutary laws, makes the Kalikangians happy. But, in Kalikang also, we find many traces of English conftitution, history, and customs; so that, if the author had any political object in view, his mind must have greatly confused it. Even the religious fystem of the Dalai Lama is combined with the cura toms of Kalikang.
We ought to apologise for giving an outline of a work so absurd, but it was necessary to explain a very unaccountable cizle. The language is deformed occasionally by Scotticisms, is often incorrect, and inelegant. . It would have been cruel to wake her till she got out her nap,' (p. 295,) pretending to be of the Priestley kidney,' (p. 299,) unable to bear the pricking pain of the rod of taxes, began to turn rusty,' (p. 316,) to pinch and scart her about the vital parts' (p. 318.) • I was in the finest trim for a nap,' (p. 349.) — These perhaps are instances enough. We hall extract a specimen from the graver part, from Durus’ account of his improvements in the laws and religion of Kalikang. One part of his religious reformation was the destruction of pluralities and hierarchy.
• It was much wondered by some how the world could stand after the downfal of these grave pillars of the ancient church! Bui, how agreeably were they surprised, to find that these men had only clogged the wheels of government?'
Let us add another from his moral system.
• In a good life is comprehended, honesty, sobriety, tempere ance, chastity, meekness, and purity of heart. If these noble virtues abide in us, they will bring health to our bodies and peace to our minds in this world, and endless felicity in that which is to come.
• Let me lead you a little farther into the delightful field, and show you some of its greatest beauties on the one lide, with certain blemishes and deformities on the other.
E e 2
• Cast your eyes on truth and honesty; consider them well; they will gain you credit and confidence, and shed a bright lustre on all your actions. But their contraries, falsehood and fraud, will expose you to contempt, blast your character, and then your intereft links.
• Do no injustice; for poverty is better than riches ill-got; but wealth derived from fair trade is commendable.
• Do no injury to thy neighbour, in his goods, his person, his reputation, his wife, his daughters, or to any thing that is his.
• Crush the first beginnings of avarice, or they will gradually grow up to your ruin, even in your temporal affairs.
• Take care to curb vice of every kind in the bud; for vices beget one another, and in the end draw more victims into their pale than war itself
. What havock is made by excessive drinking, gluttony, and debauchery! but lay into the other scale, sobriety and temperance, and you will see the bloom of health and long life.'
Such is Durus! What then must be our conclusion ? That as he can add little to our entertainment or to our instruction, he must be condemned to oblivion; soon to be as if he had never been.
The Art of Dying Wool, Silk, and Cotton. Translated from the
French of M. Hellot, M. Malquer, and M. le Pileur d'Apligny, 8vo. 6s. Boardo. Baldwin. "HESE tracts have been published many years, and are now
first translated for the benefit of the English dyers, who were once greatly excelled by the French, though our artists, at present, come very near to those on the continent. If they are excelled in the blacks, it is because of the dearness of galls, which prevents their being used in a proper proportion; and we fufpc& it is partly owing to their not exposing the logwood colour sufficiently to the air before the cloth is immersed. In our review of this work we feel, however, many difficulties. As it now first appears in English, we ought to examine it at fome length; but the chemical theory of dying is greatly improved fince the publication of these essays, and the doctrine of colours has been more fully explained by Mr. Delaval. If we were, therefore, to engage in the theoretical disquisitions and contefts, our article must be uninterestingly minute, and too extensive: if, in the practical part, we should find it difficult to abridge with advantage. We muit therefore confine ourselves to a very general account.
The first treatise, on the art of dying wool and woollen goods, is written by M. Hellot, a French chemift of no inconfiderable
Teputation. Yet we find a little reserve in his descriptions, fometimes from delicacy, sometimes from a more interested motive, which we could have wished him to have avoided. In general, however, the processes are described with great clearness and precifion. We have particularly attended to what he says on the subject of blue vats, and have gone through the process with the book in our hands ; so that we can safely pronounce it to be an useful acquisition to the artist, and the management of the blue vat is the most intricate part of the dyer's business. His observations on dying scarlet feem, on the contrary, too minute, and perplexed with refinements, which we have not found particularly useful in the few experiments we have had occasion to try.
In the introduction to the art of dying, M. Hellot mentions the primitive colours of the dyers, who are not Newtonians in their system. The primitive colours of these artists are the blue, red, yellow, fawn or nut colour, and black. From the mixture of these and their different shades all the variety is produced. The theory of dying is yet uncertain. The foundation, or rather the substance on which the tinging particles are deposited, is usually and neceffarily wbite ; and we think the minute particles of the dye must be transparent. The permanency of the dye depends on the intimate union of unchangeable colours with the animal matter; and, on these principles, we may shorty explain all the essential peculiarities of the art. The colour imparted is not necessarily that of the dye, but that which the dye will assume by the contact of the air : thus a logwood black is at first reddish, and the blue vat is green, with a greenish sediment. The metallic colours, we suspect, are not capable of being used as dyes, on account of the want of transparency of the smaller particles, or, in other words, froin their being too gross and not divided with sufficient minuteness. We have tried repeatedly the beautiful blue precipitated from iron by the Prussian alkali; but could never pro. duce any other dye from it but what imparted a dirty light olive green. That the permanency of the colour must depend on the unchangeable nature of the particles, or at least from the light impreffion which the air and light can produce, is fulliciently evident; but that it depends also is part on some degree of solution of the animal matter, may be not equally ciear. We are of this opinion from observing, that all the most useful media for imparting colour are alkali acid, or some active neutrals ; and, from the obvious necessity that there is for the tinging fluid to penetrate the furface, if the dye is expected to be permaent. After all, it is found necessary to fix the colour, which is geveraily effected by some altringent, that constricts the fur