Sidor som bilder

Those joints that well advanc'd the rattling trade,
Unrerving damps, and stiffening frosts invade:
His pale lips quiver at th’approaching blast,
And Hazard, Hell, and Harpax, was his last!

The History of the Flagellants, or the Advantages of Discipline ;

Being a Paraphrase and Commentary on the Historia Flagellantium of the Abbé Boileau, Doctor of the Sorbonne, Canon of the Holy Chapel, &c. By Somebody who is not Doctor of the .. Sorbonne. 4to. Il. is. Hingeston.

The Abbé Boileau, the Author of the Historia Flagellantium, was elder brother to the celebrated Poet of that name. He filled, several years, the place of Dean of the Metropolitan Church of Sens, and was thence promoted to the office of one of the Canons of the Holy Chapel, in Paris, which is looked upon as a great dignity among the French Clergy.

66 While he was in that Office, about the year 1700, he wrote, among other Books, that which is the subject of this Work*. This Book, in which the Public expected, from the title of it,, to find an History of the particular Sect of Hereticks called Flagellants, only contained an aggregation of facts and quotations on tke subject of feltdisciplines and flagellations in general among Christians (which, if the Book had been well done, would have been no less interesting), and a mixture of alternate commendation, and blame, of that practice,

" The Theologians of that time, however, took offeuce at the Book. They judged that the Author had been guilty in it, of several heretical allertions, for instance in faying, as he does in two or three places, that Jesus Christ had suffered flagellation againit his will; and they particularly blamed the censures which, amidit his commendations of it, he had passed upon a practice which so many Saints had adopted, so many Pontiffs and Bishops had advised, and so many Ecclefiaitical Writers had commended.

* In the second place, they objected to several facts which the Au. thor had inserted in his Book, as well as to the singular frecdom of ex. prefsion he had sometimes indulged; and they said that such facts, and such manner of expression, ought not to be met with in a Book writ. ten by a good Christian, and much less by a Dean of the Metropolitan Church of Sens, a Canon of the Holy Chapel, and in Niort by a Man invested with a great dignity in the Church; in which latter relpeet they were perhaps right t.

* The title of the Book is Hiftoria Flagellantium, de recto & perverso flagrorum usus apud Christianos. 12mo. Parisiis, apud J. Aniston, Typographiæ Regiæ Præfectum, MDCC.

+ Our Author, who was rather singular in the choice of his subjects, had written another Treatise De talibus impudicis prohibendis, and another on the dress of Clergymen, wherein he attempted to prove that they might as well wcar it short as long Vol. V. Pp

* Among

“ Among the Critics of our Author's Book, were the Jesuits of Trevoux; the then conductors of a periodical Review, called the Journal de Trevoux, The Poet Boileau, taking the part of his Brother, answered their criticisins by the following epigram,

Non, le livre des Flagellans
N'a jamais condamné, lisez le bien mes Peres,

Ces rigidités salutaires
Que pour ravir le Ciel, faintement violens,
Exercent sur leurs corps tant de Cbrétiens auflères,
Il blâme seulement cet abus odieux

D'étaler & d'offrir aux yeux
Ce que lcur doit toujours cacher la bienséance,
Et combat vivement la faulje piété,
Qui, sous couleur d'éteindre en nous la volupté,
Par l'austérité même & par la pénitence

Sait allumer le feu de la lubricité." Such is the account given, of the Abbé Boileau's perfor mance, in the preface to the present history: the writer of which, having lighted on a copy, judged that its singularity and the nature of the facts it contains rendered it worthy to be laid before the public. --For our own part, we must confess ourselves to be of a very different opinion; for, though its fingularity may recommend it to the curious among the learned, the nature of the facts it contains is such as, we think, should have deterred, rather than encouraged, the writer in dressing it, as he says, “ in vulgar language,” for the use of the unlearned. Indeed, unless the writer intended this work for an ironical satire on history in general, or the pretended philosophical Historians of modern times in particular, we can see no good use, nor discover any laudable design, in its publication.The prcfacer, it is true, hath enumerated its utility and advantages; but we can hardly conceive him to be serious, when he intinuates that there is nothing contained in it inconsistency with decency and religion. On the other hand, we cannot help regarding both the text and commentary, here prelented us, as an affront both to religion and decency. The commentator, it must be owned, liath a recent precedent, in the fåyourable reception of Tristrain Shandy, how far even obscenity may be made acceptable to the public, when artfully introduced beneath the nialk of amusement. And that this history is ainufirg we cannot deny, although we cannot but condemn fuch kind of amuseinent; nost of the pleasant stories contained in it appearing to us more calculated, allumer le feu de la lubricité, than to answer any other purpole whatever; unless it be that of putting money into the translator's pocket *.-On the

* Books of this stamp being too eagerly sought after, and the Abbé Boileau's work, “ a twelves book, printed on a very large type, bring here Swelled in:0 a majestic quarto" price one guinca. Rev. i


whole, we are sorry to see so much learning and ingenuity to egregiously misapplied on such a subject. At the fame time we hope it is not true, that such a waste of both hath been cominitted, as we are informed, by the Genevan Advocate, de Loline *.


A Letter to Courtney Melmoth, Esq; With fome Remarks on two

Books, called Liberal Opinions, and the Púpil of Pleasure. 8vo. 60 . Wilkie,

We should not take up this little performance again (not that we proportion our attention to literary productions according to the ratio of their bulk) had not the abrupt leave, we were obliged to take of it last month, led many of our readers into the supposition that we entirely approved of the Letter-writer's centure on Mr. Melnioth's books above mentioned. In justice to this ingenious, young author, as well as in regard to the interesting nature of the subject, we therefore beg leave to be a little more explicit.

The Letter-writer states her objections, at the beginning of her epistle thus.

“ I have been desired by foine friends, to read the books abovementioned, and to give my opinion of them, whether or no they may safely be put into the hands of youth. .: This question I conceive to be of some importance to the public, which is concerned in the publication of such books as are written pro. telledly for the benefit of the rising generation.

“Such, Sir, is your declared intention, and it is presumed that such 18 your real design, but if this be true, you must have been under a great mistake, as to the means that are most likely to produce this efjeit:-and as you appear to be of liberal opinions, I cannot doubt that pou will readily lend an ear to the admonition of a friend to human kind, who is more folicitous to promote the cause of virtue, than to expose the failings and mistakes of any of her friends.

" Fermit me, Sir, to alk you a serious question : do you really think that the cause of virtue is promoted, by representations of vice?-you have a warm and luxuriani imagination, a towing and easy ftyle, and your forte is in the difplav oticcies of voluptuouíncis, you dwell upon minute circumstances that heighten the defcriptions, and give the utinult 1cope to the reader's imagination. You scenes do not excite any hatred of vice; that is referred for the afor-reflexions upon it, which I fear will not eradicate the former impressions.

* Author of a treatise on the Constitution of England. Rev. f 'By mistake, in our last, put One Shilling,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ The Pupil of Pleasure is the preceptor of voluptuousness: think you that any lober marron would fufter her daughters or nieces to read ihe 24th letter of the first volume out? indeed two thirds of the book are rather calculated to inšpire vice than to correct it."

The writer proceeds, " Is it neceflary that our sex should know all the mysteries of ini, quity, in order to defend us from the snares of yours? “I trust not ignorance of vice is at least one of the prefervatives against it-there is something in true modesty, uncorrupted by false refinements, that lays a stronger restraint upon the most abandoned libertine, than the utmost efforts of that prudence which is acquired at the expence of female delicacy."

We are of the writer's opinion, that the cause of virtue is not promoted by representations of vice; as well as that it is by no means necessary the female sex should know all the mysteries of iniquity, in order to defend them from the snares of the inen. On the contrary we are of opinion that female delicacy (we had almost said female virtue) depends almost entirely on that innocence, which is founded on ignorance. As the tree of knowledge was fatal to the first woman, it has been generally fo to her defcendants. At the same time we cannot condeinn the particular passages pointed out by Euphrasia, nor indeed Mr. Melmoth's manner of description in general. However bold and animated his outlines or even glowing the colours, with which he fornetiines heightens the picture, they do not appear to us to be calculated to excite loofe or criminal defires. The 24th letter, pointed out by Euphrasia, as particularly exceptionable, appears, on the other hand, calculated to expose the most refined and dangerous power of seduction, poffeffed by unfeeling men; that of affecting what they do not feel, The scene there described is calculated to warn, to alarm, to terrify the innocent female, and inform her of the practice of diffimulation to a degree, wlrich The would otherwise think impoffible : And this is done surely, without exciting any other feeling in the reader than that of horror and detestation againt the accomplished dissembler. Euphrafia extols, among other writers, the inimitable Richardson, who is complimented by some for having “ taught the passions to play at the cominand of virtue ;" we cannot help thinking, however, there are foine scenes and passages in Richardson's works, much more calculated to excite loose innages and wanton desires than we meet with in the books which are the subject of Euphrasia's letter.-Nor are we singular in our opinion of the propriety, with which Mr. Melmoth has laudably endeavoured to expote the pernicious systein of Lord Chesterfield in his Pupil of Pleasure : as a proof of which we transcribe an extract or two of a letter


from a very ingenious and able critic ;* who has himself been censured for making too free with the letters of that noble Lord. " I am peculiarly pleased,” says he, “ and affected with Mr. Melmoth's command of language, his redundant imagination, his various and animated descriptions, and his happy application of them, in order to expose Lord Chesterfield's principles; but, above all, with the contempt and honeft indignation, he expresses for his maxims and licentious morals. The pupil of pleasure, says he, « is Lord Chesterfield's Theory of education and manners émbodied and exhibited in full proportion. The colours are his, and disposed according to his prescript: the motion, the attitude, the passions and manners are copied from him, and bear the strongest resemblance of their original ; while the insincerity, the hypocrily and treachery of Sedley, the infamy of his life and the milery of his death, render him an obje&t of contempt, deteftation and horror." _ After making this declaration in favour of Mr. Melmoth, we must in justice to the author of the performance before us, confess that it contains some very just and interesting reflections on the present situation and circumstances of women in respect to their connections and commerce with men.

" The female sex are equally injured by the pride and disrespect of the pedant, and the impertinent familiarity of the licentious. Female virtue, like regal prerogative, is hurt by being too frequently and familiarly discutied; both are best served in a respectful silence :--but this has been boldly broken by both friends and enemies, and it is now become necessary to make a thorough enquiry into the merits of the cause.

“ In this situation, it is worthy the enquiry of a philosopher, why at a time when our sex has had so much honour done to it by the chamn. pions of your fex, and exemplary virtues and accomplishments of individuals of ours, there should be so many liberties taken by the herd of your lex, with the generality of ours? Richardson Fordyce Thomas-Russel-Gregory— have, by respecting us, become themselves refpcctable. The names of Carter L ennox- Montague

Griffith- Chapone have in our days appeared as examples of female virtue, adorned with the higheit accomplishments.--are not luch patrons and patronetles sufficient to oblige the men in general to treat us with respect, or at least with decorum P a las no! it ap. pears too plainly they are not. I can only conjecture the causes of this evil, and leave it to abier pens to pursue the enquiry, and to draw from it interences that may be beneficial to pofterity:

" There is a ítranve alteration in the inaoners of both sexes in this country within the last twenty years, which will aftord fufficient mat. er for inveitigation; there are allo fome particular confidera'ions that

The Reverend Mr. Thomas Hunter, author of Oliervations on Lord Chesterfield's Letters.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »