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engageoit tout homme pensanı à soumettre tout homme raconteur à un interrogatoire sévère sur les moyens d'information, &c."
We have, however, been taught, that teftimonium hominum parit cer-tiludinem metaphyficam, or a complete degree of certainty; metaphysical certainty being itself defined in the same logical systems, adhæfio men. tis alicui judicio propter motivum à veritate, ne quidem divinitùs, fepara. bile. Human teltimony, if accompanied with the requifite conditions, is calculated to produce this metaphysical certainty even circa fatta fupernaturalia, it not being more difficult to establish the reality of these, than of other events.
But it must not be understood that M, V, refuses to believe every thing.
« Enire ces excès," says he (of admitting or rejceling every thing) " il est ure terme moyen ; c'est d'asseoir son jugement lorsque l'on a pésé et examiné les raisons qui le déterminent, de le tenir en suspens tant qu'il n'y a pas de motif suffisant à le poser, et de mesurer son degré de croyance et de certitude sur les degrés de preuves et d'évidence dont chaque fait est accompagné."
The author, having this examined the certainty of history, in the next place creats of its utility. This he finds to be of three kinds; the first moral, relative to individuals; the second political, relative to governments and societies ; and the third applicable to the sciences and the arts.
The study of history does not appear to M. V. to be suited to chil. dren; it supposes an experience already acquired, and a maturity of judgment incompatible with their age; it ought therefore, in his opi. n'on, to be banished from the primary fchools.
On considering the moral and individual utility of history, this author contends, thar well-written romances, or novels, have the advantage of it. A romance presents lessons more analogous to the condition of the greater part of mankind; they may retrace in it their own hearts, their own passions, their own vices, and their own virtues,
In regard to the political utilicy of history, M. V. observes, that "il eft remarquable que dans l'histoire ce ne sont pas tant les faits majeurs et marquans qui font instructifs, que les faits acccfloires, et que les cir. constances qui les ont préparés ou produits; car ce n'est qu'en connoissant ces circonftances preparatoires, que l'on peut parvenir à évirer ou à obtenir de semblables résultats : ainsi, dans une bataille, ce n'est pas fon iffue qui est instructive ; ce sont les divers mouvemens qui en ont décidé le sort, et qui, quoique moins faillans, font pourtant les causes, tandis que l'événement n'est que l'effet. Telle est l'importance de ces notions de détail, que, sans elies, le terme de comparaison se trouve vicieux, n'a plus d'analogie avec l'objet auquel on veu en faire l'applicavion ; et cette faute, fi grave dans les consequences, est pourtant habi. tuelle et presque générale en histoire : on accepte des faits sans discul fion; on les combine fans rapports certains; on dresse des hypothèses qui manquent de fondemens ; ou en fait des applications qui manquent de juttelle; et delà, des erreurs d'administration et des gouvernemens, faussement imitatives, qui entraînent quelquefois les plus grands malheurs. C'est donc un art, et un art profond que d'étudier l'histoire fous ce grand point de vue, &c."
Fon· Fontenelle called hiftory une fable convenue.
In reading different histories, we learn three things : 1. the charace ter and talents of the historian; 2. the prevailing spirit of the epoch in which he lived; 3. the events which he relates. Of these three things, the firit is that of which we gain the moit perfect knowledge,
In effect, the events ftrike us according to the manner in which they are presented, and initruct us chiefly by the reflections with which they are accompanied. Read the History of England, as writien by Hume. Mrs. Macaulay, and le père d'Orleans; the fund of the events is the same, but they are notwithstanding very different historics.
The Abbe Mably has given precepts on the manner of writing hifa tory. According to him, one would almost be induced to believe, that the historian is the mailer of his matter, like the poet; he must form for himself a system, a plan, a law of unity, of interest; he recommends it to the writers to put fine discourles into the mouths of the leading personages; he permits, and even advises, them not to follow the order of events ; according to the precept of Horace, .
Pleraque differat et prafens in tempus omittat, He almost allows a little fiction :
Atque ita mentitur, fic veris fulsa remiscet,
Imo ne medium, medio ne discrepet imum. Confidereri in this light, we may fay, that the reading of good his. tories is not less useful than that of romances; the reason is plain, because inost histories are romances; the fund, or ground, may be true, but what a rich embroidery! And it is the embroidery which interests the most, and to which the greatest attention has been paid. It is often said, chat physic is better than the physicians ; but here the contrary is the case, the historians are better than the history. .
The President Henault had conceived, that history might be written in a dramatic form, and he has set the example. Indeed, many of our tragedies are excellent specimens of this kind,
In the parts of this work which treat of the effect of the Jewish, Greek, and Roman historical and other books, introduced into educa. tion, we find many original, as well as just obfervations, which we shall therefore commend; but a much greater number to which we must Itrongly object.
Esp. d. Journ.
Art. 42. Connoissances des Temps pour l'an XI. (1803). In 8vo.
Paris. We have here, for this year, three calendars; the Julian, the Gregorian, and the Republican; and a chart of the Eclipse of the 17th of August, 1803, for all the countries of the earth. This chart is not to be found in the Ephemerides of Bologne, for 1799–1810; ic has been supplied by Mr. Duvaucel.
The additions, which form 270 pages, contain a catalogue of 887 southern stars, by Mr. Vidal; one of 15oo new stars, by Michael Lefrançais Lalande, bringing the total number of stars reduced to 10,500; observations, or 'memoirs, by Laplace, Delambre, Vidal, Flaugergues,
Duvauce!, Quenot, Sorlin, Mougin, ferom, and Michael Lefrançais Idlande, Burckhards, Thulis, Duc-la-Chapelle, and Bernier.
To these are added, the history of Astronomy for the vear 7 (1799); notices of new aftronomical books; an extenfire extract from ewo pieces, to which the prize of the Institute was adjudged, by Mr. Burg, and Mr. Bouvard, with the programma of the prize proposed by the Board of Longitude, &c.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
In reply to Mr. Lewis, we desire he will enquire of his publisher, what are the reasons which he assigns, for refusing to the trade the cuftoinary credit for the Tules of Wonder.
The letter of l'eriias has been received. "We thall undoubtedly bestow a careful conlideration on the production mentioned in his letter.
We do not happen to know the book to which Himo al. ludes; but ve recommend to him Dr. Wati's Scripture Hire torý, in question and answer, which is probably at least as good.
Mr. Fitzgerald, whose compofitions have been often heard with applause at the Literary Fund, is preparing a volume of Poems for the public.
A new edition of Buileau, with various notes, will soon be published by Dulau.
A comprehenfive system of medical and operative surgery is preparing for the press by Mr. Bluir, assisted by other refpe&t. able surgeons.
A work by Mr. Fisbrooke, called British Monachism, or Monastic Manners and Customs, is gone to press.
Mr. B feaw?n's volume of Poems will very soon go to prefse
In our last, p. 652, 1, 4, for " or the Araits," read " or the maris beyond the Strait."
: BRITISH CRITIC,
For FEBRUARY, 1801.
*Primam religioni suæ judex patientiam debet, quæ magna pars Juftitiæ eft.” PLIN. JUN.
The first duty of a critic is patience, which is itself a principal past of Justice.
Art. I.. Voyage in Search of La Péroufe, performed by Order
of the Constituent Assembly, during the Yeurs 1791, 1792, 1793, and 1794 ; and drawn up by M. Labillardiere, Cor. respondent of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, Member of the Society of Natural History, and one of the Naturalists áltached to the Expedition. Translated from the French. ll fuftrated with Forty-fix Plates. 410. 21. 2s. Stockdale,
1800. ART. II. An dccount of a Voyage in Search of La Péroufe, una'
dertaken by Order of the Constituent Allembly of France, and performed in the Years 1791, 1792, and 1793, in the Recherche and Esperance Ships of War, under the Command of Rear-Admiral Bruni D'Entrećasteaux. Translated from the French of M. Labillardiere, Correspondent of the ci-devant Academy of Sciences, &c. &c. Ir Two Volumes. Illustrated by Engravings,' and a Chart, exhibiting the Tracks of the
Ships. 8vo. 11. 11ş. Outst Debrett. 1800.
1 an interest and regret among his countrymen, even in the present condition of degeneratod France, cangos be deemed
BRIT, CRIT, VOL. XVII, FEB, 1801.
extraordinary. The present publication, therefore, records the particulars of a Voyage, underiaken for the express purpose, and with the authority of the ruling powers of France, to ascertain whether any remnant of the companions of Péroule might ftill remain among the islands they might be supposed to have visited; or whether any particular information could, by any means, be obtained of their fate and fortune. Our readers will not fail to remember, that the last authentic accounts of Pérouse were received by his countrymen from the coasts of New Holland, and through the medium of England. It is a matier also of considerable pride and honour to English. men, that the information contained in these volumes is folely to be ascribed to the candour and liberality of this country. In the midst of a war, prosecuted with much inveteracy, the papers, through the means of which these volumes were made public, were, irom the generous interposition of Sir Joseph Banks, remitted to the hands of the French government.
The track pursued by those who had the conduct of the expedition, the particulars of which are here related, may be easily supposed. Their object mult necessarily and immediately be io explore, in all directions, the shores of New Holland. They accordingly proceeded from France to the Brazils and the Cape. Here they appear to have been deluded by some misinforination, which gives occasion to the compiler of this work to vent a spleen against Englilhmen, alike prepofierous and un
just. Ai the Cape, Admiral D’Entrecasteaux was informed by · two French Caprains, that, being at Batavia, Commodore
Hunter had informed themi, he had seen, at the Admiralty Ilands, fome native's dreif:d in the uniform of the French navy. But we have never heard this affertion confirmed ; and it is rendered impribable by what the writer of this work, Labiliardiere, subsequently remarks. Captain Bligh, who went to the Society Ilonds. 16 procure the bread-fruit tree, had seen Commodore Hunter after he was supposed to have seen the naures of the Admiralty Ilands in the French uniforus. But ' it appeared, "thai Captain Bligh did not learn from Hunter anything relating to the depolirions of the two French Captails ” Bui, furely, Governor Hunier would have communicared such information to Captain Blighi, had it been in his power.'. .
Froni the Cape, and with this impreffion strong upon , their minds, the l'avigators proceeded so the Island of St. Poul, and froin thence to Van Diemen's Land. At Cape Van
Diemen, they discovered a strait, 10 which they properly gave i the naine of their leaker; and which, in a fituation where in petuous winds, almolt constantly prevail, promises to be of