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6 Sian. Perhaps, Sir, you may find him too much fo.-You know he has given you fair warning of his intention to run away with Ormellina ; and I think your only chance for preventing him, is, to own her publicly as your daughter immediately.
In this species of composition, Mr. Cobb is not to be placed in the first rank, but he has many below him.
Art. XIII. Letters on Love, Marriage, and Adultery, addressed
to the Right Honourable the Earl of Exeter. 8vo.
Ridgeway. London, 1789. THE "HE Author addresses his performance to the noble Earl as
forming a part of the legislation of his country, and for other reasons which it is not necessary to repeat.
Writers, who have blended metaphysics with morals, may for the most part be divided into two clafles. Those who write for the world as it now is, and those who, considering a state of nature as the most desirable, are perpetually multiplying the disadvantages and embarrassments of a state of civil society. The latter having engaged on their side the gloomy eloquence of every disappointed scholar, and the manifold inconveniences attending a state of nature being unknown because unfelt, it has not been difficult to make us forget all the charms of polished fociety and refined taste, while every trifling embarrassment is exaggerated. But is it the means of increasing happiness to make us fancy our situation wretched; or are we likely to accommodate ourselves the better to what we are told is necessarily miserable ? Let the barbarous despiser of refinement seclude himself from a community he is unfit to affociate with, and mix with thofe whose whole enjoyment consists in Satisfying the immediate cravings of nature; or let him teach us how to improve fociety, instead of disgusting us with it.
The author of the Letters before us seems to entertain an idea that a state of refinement may be brought much nearer to a state of nature than we now fee it, and that in 'proportion as it is, lo will be the happiness of individuals. It must be confeffed that in most political institutions, as restraints have been multiplied, they have not uncommonly missed of their design; and that in science, in proportion as we render it complicated, we get further from the truth. How far this may be the case in modelling the interior arrangements of private life, it is not easy to determine ; but the great inconvenience of the trial, is, the flow progress of all innovations from the difficulty that attends their adoption, the uncertainty of their gaining any ground, and the too general obloquy in which the proposers feel themselves involved. This should not, however, deter philosophers from pointing out those errors which they conceive to be the
causes of unhappiness, or from using every means of improv. ing the state of mankind.
Tis evident our author writes with this view. In the first part of his work, containing the Letters on Love, he enters too elaborately, for the brevity he affects, into the origin of fociety, the causes of its early corruptions, and of their continuance in a state in which we should expect, with greater refinement, more rational and juster notions of things. Though we every where discover much learning, a considerable depth of thought, and a great desire to do good, we cannot help thinking much more is required to establiíh our author's opinions than what he has advanced. Without entering into his historical or poetical detail of the progress of female influence, we fhall, in general, observe that the great cause of all the miseries of life are, in our author's opinion, the absurd restraint laid by legislators and parents on the wishes of the younger branches of the community, whose whole education, he conceives, instead of teaching the prudential notions of modern economy, should be to instruct children how to form a just judgment in their connexions, and to act with propriety in the married ftate. To the restraints above-mentioned, our author imputes that gallantry which is so much complained of, and which we in vain endeavour to restrain. Love, he complains, being deprived of its natural channel, vents itself thus. But having once lost the proper track, it in vain endeavours to recover itself, and substitutes the momentary gratification of the senses to that permanent enjoyment which arises from the voluntary and rational union of the sexes. In this part our author takes some pains to rectify a misconception in language, which, without offering our opinion on the subject, we shall give in his own words :
Feeling is the instrument of experience ; reason is the guide of life. For the sensibility being exercised by error as well as hy truth, it may lead us to vices as well as to virtues ; and it cannot afford a rule to be depended on, like the voice of reason, fuggested by circumstances relating to the whole of life, or to the general interest of
Sentiment, however, is the principle of gallantry :-reason is the principle of love. I mean, that perfons distinguished by gallantry, are influenced merely by fentiment; they seek pleasure in any of its forms, and their object is immediate gratification : while those who are united by affection, seek the direction of reason, to guard, mulciply, and perpetuate their satisfaction. The distinction of brutes and men, is that of sentiment and reason. Brutes are all sentimental; they are governed by feeling, or the simple recollection of feeling. Their fyftem is that of gallantry, seeking the repetition of pleasure. able sentiment, without provision for the intervals of strong impressions.
That sentiment is not the rule of life in the commerce of men and women, we may presume from observing those who adopt it among the most wretched of mankind. A life consisting of small portions occupied by lively sensations, and great portions occupied by disgust, regret, weariness, and apprehenfion, is extremely miserable. Men and women of gallantry, have never pretended to be happy. The intervals of their pleasurable sensations ;-solitude, refle&tion, and reason; torture them even in apprehension : yet they necessarily occupy the greater portion of their lives. Their study, therefore, is to thorten the intervals of sentiment; and to vary and multiply the most poignant emotions.
The most consummate skill in this matter will not answer the purpose : for pleasures cloy by frequent:repetition; and strong emotions debilitate conftitutions most susceptible of them: they haften decrepitude and death; objects of perpetual terror to men of sentiment and pleasure.'
That there is much truth in our author's observations, no one can doubt; but in this as in most other cases, it is much more easy to show the inconveniences of a system than to form a new
If it be true that we can frequently trace the causes of unhappy marriages from early restraint, do we not often see such as have been left to their uncontrolled choice, and have formed early connexions, grow satiated or dissatisfied; and from causes we can only trace to the imperfection of human nature and human happiness. To this if we add the absolute neceflity of submitting in some degree to the customs of the society we live in, we truit it will be found that many of our author's opinions require a longer and more regular deduction of argument than he has used to support them. We are, however, ready to give him, and every one, who, like himself, writes with the noblest intention—that of promoting the happiness of the world, all the credit due to such laudable views; and we fcruple not to affirm, that it is impossible to peruse the work before us, without being disposed to doubt many long admitted prejudices.
In his Letter on Marriage, our author is very eloquent on the happiness to be expected from the voluntary and rational union of the sexes, and treats the life of Libertinism and Gallantry with the contempt it deserves. Much of this is however anticipated in the former letters. In the present we could wish he had been more explicit in one part of his subject ; for though we are ready to admit the impropriety, the indelicacy, and, if he pleases, the wickedness, of forming connexions without genuine attachment, yet when formed, it requires fomething more than declamatory hints to convince us that the present state of society would be mended by the too easy diffolution of them. If this is our author's opinion as a philosopher, he should not be ashamed of avowing it; and as a moral writer, should have been more explicit in his language, and more industrious in pointing out the means of removing the evil.
On the subject of Adultery the author enforces more than ever the impropriety of parents forcing the inclinations of their children, and traces from this cause all the evils arising from subsequent infidelity. Here we cannot help thinking the picture too highly charged. The practice is so far from universal, that it can hardly be called general for parents to use any restraints, particularly in forcing their children into improper connexions. We can, however, almost excuse the author's warmth, when it produces the following very ingenious, and, in many respects, novel remarks.
• But under the management of bad parents or avaricious relations, the crimes of incontinency and adultery become probable and neceffary consequences, not only when young persons are forced to unite themselves contrary to their inclinations, but when to avoid such violence, they are obliged to have recourse to secret correspondences or clandeftine marriages. Stolen matches are feldom happy; for very good reasons. The parties have not opportunities to become fufficiently acquainted with each other; their connexions are perhaps owing to the dread of being forced into fituations they deteft, and cemented by resistance or ill-usage. There is a charm to young and generous minds in being fellow lufferers, which forms an attachment or affection, very easily mistaken for love. All their correspondence and commerce are carried on in that kind of hurry or obscurity, which is ever unfavourable to judgment or choice. We accordingly fee men and women hazarding every thing for each other, on a slight fecret or stolen acquaintance; and when marriage gives them leisure to behold what they have done; to consider cr know each other ; they are astonished at their folly, and driven by despair into the excefíes of profligacy.
• Yet the imprudence itself wouid not be fo fatal, if an indifference or difregard to truth, a habit of insincerity, artifice, and intrigue, were not formed by the necessity of secret correspondence. A wo. man, who will be prevailed upon to deceive her parents, may be prevailed upon to deceive her husband; and a man who takes pains to teach her that art, is deftitute of the essential requisites to conjugal happiness : he never can have her confidence; he has undermined the foundation of her fidelity, and he has furnished the secret and the inclination to betray him. They who marry by intrigue, often fix the habits of infincerity or artifice so deeply in their minds, that intrigues become necessary ; they lose all talte for pleasures, which are the result of natural or honourable affections; and relish none but such as are purchased by some wretched artifice, or snatched from fome hazardous and alarming situation.
The art of conducting intrigues, or of hazarding and escaping the dangers attending them, is very similar to the art of war. Both are unnnatural in their principles or objects; both consist of stratagems or hazards, which create quick successions of lively sensations ; and both have charms to similar minds.
• Indeed it is remarkable, the same vitiated taste, and the fame mediocrity of genius, which lead to the profession of a soldier, gene
sally rally seek happiness in the little artifices or perils of intrigue. Women of lively imaginations, with sufficient talents to be vain of them, and unfurnished by education with the effential principles of good ness, are dazzled or enamoured of these artificial but brilliant characters; and easily adopt the spirit and artifice which render them proper counterparts to them.
. Here we see vice become an art; and we know there is a kind of gratification in practising any art of which we are in posfellion. Hence many of those deviations; those adventures apparently capricious, for which it is so difficult to account. It is not uncommon for a man or woman to hazard reputation, peace, or life, for a connexion, which is no sooner made, than it loses its charm, and the parties fly to new hazards in pursuit of new objects.'
While we feel ourselves disposed to admit the truth of these remarks, we cannot help regretting they should be blended, like most of the rest, with that kind of reasoning by illuftration, which ought never to be admitted in moral or metaphysical subjects. Our author having in his Letters on Love anticipated many things on this part of his subject, chiefly insists here, that the general causes of female failings, are the previous infidelity of a husband, or his declining those attentions by which he first gained the attachment of his wife, and which every woman has a right to, and expects. There is justice in this, and most of our author's other remarks ; and we could only with he would consider himself as writing to legislators, philosophers, &c. those who have the most influence on society: and that on these occa, fions, order, perspicuity, and arrangement, Mould not be sacrificed to brilliancy and declamation.
ART. XIV. FOREIGN LITERATURE,
LITERARY INTELLIGENCE. THE premium that the Royal Society of Copenhagen had
proposed last year in respect to the most easy and expeditious method of determining longitude by means of eclipses of the sun, and the occultation of stars behind the moon, was assigned to Signor Cagnoli, perpetual Secretary of the Academy of Agriculture, Commerce, and Arts, at Verona, member of the academy of Padua, and of the institute of Bologne. The questions proposed for the present year are the following:
1. Hypothesin Crawfordianam in calore corporum insensibili, et latente curatius examinare, expofitis argumentis tam pro ea, quam contra eam militantibus.
2. Data loci latitudine, et longitudine, declinationem acus magneticæ in utroque Lemisphaerio determinare, et cursas, quæ declinationes magneticas exhibent, ducere.
3. Utrum fyltema feudale, quod tamdiu in Europa universa viguit, tantumque in ftatu ejus publico constituendo momentur
E ENG. REV. VOL. XV. JAN. 1790,