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balance all the good to the perform- sive, become in turns the victims of ance of which the satirist lays claim. his sport or his malice ;-the cravings of his appetite are never satisfied;and when he can discover no new prey, he is forced to make a meal on the mangled carcases he has already torn and disfigured.
Were satire directed only against vice, or against those imprudencies which frequently lead thereto, it would then become one of the most powerful auxiliaries of virtue; it would be the preserver of order and peace in society; and by punishing those crimes of which the law takes no cognizance, might be regarded as the supplement to legislative authority. But to this, its true and legitimate use, it is never applied; these high and important ends are altogether neglected; while it wastes its force upon trifling peculiarities and harmless foibles: nay, it is often made the tool of envy and malice, and directed by them against what is really good and praiseworthy. According to its present mode of application it may cure an awkwardness, but it will not repress a vice; and the benefits it may confer on others, in pointing out follies, and warning them against their commission, seem few and trifling, when they are offered as an equivalent for the pain inflicted on those individuals who are the objects of censure.
But I do not content myself with laying aside as unjust the claim which the satirist makes to our thanks and approbation. I become his accuser, and charge him with being the disturber, instead of the guardian, of the peace of society. He is not the fair and open enemy who challenges you to the encounter, and thereby gives you an opportunity of defending yourself; he does not frankly tell you, that by your words, or your actions, you have forfeited your title to some property of which the world believes you to be the legal possessor; but he visits you at noon-day with the countenance of a friend, he marks the vulnerable part, and returns under cover of night to rob you of what can ne'er enrich himself. When the Demon of satire is abroad, no one can feel himself secure from his attacks. Whatever may be in reality the motives or the tendency of an action, when seen through the false medium which he holds to the eyes of the spectators, and through which he finds but too many who are willing to look, it appears distorted and stained. The old and the young, the learned and the unlearned, the keenly enterprising, and the quietly inoffen
This is the age of freedom; per-
object of an unprovoked outrage; and his first emotions are rather those of anger, than of that cool contempt which philosophy and common sense alike dictate as the proper mode of treating his brutal insulters.
The boldness of these attacks increase in proportion as it is found they may be committed with impunity. At first there are only obscure hints given of the person intended, which none but the knowing ones can understand; next the initials of the name make their appearance; then they give the consonants of it, leaving the vowels only to be supplied by the ingenious reader; and at last comes the name at full length, so that he who runs may read. This is contrary to every rule of propriety and good breeding; it is a direct violation of the laws of society-a trampling upon all the decencies and charities of social life. There may be some who imagine that there is little more harm in mention ing directly the person alluded to, than in pointing him out by some circumstance which plainly indicates him; but this is a very erroneous idea: blameable as both those modes of proceeding are, the former is infinitely more mischievous in its consequences. The anecdote which now announces its hero as distinctly as his proper name would, may, in a few years, be entirely forgotten, or, at least, the knowledge of it is confined to the immediate neighbourhood of the parties concerned. I appeal to every one possessed of humanity, whether there be not, in the indecent freedom of which I complain, much to harrow up the feelings of many an amiable individual. Suppose a wife yet sinking under the recent loss of an affectionate husband, or a daughter newly bereft of a kind and tender father, would it not add unspeakable bitterness to their grief, should they chance to cast their eyes on a page where that name which they never pronounced without feelings of mingled love and respect, whose very mention now calls up the tears of regret, is made the subject of a bitter sarcasm, or of rude and mocking ribaldry? This is not a fanciful case; those who have been the objects of unprovoked censure may soon go hence and be no more seen; and then, perhaps, may the authors of such censure regret what they cannot recal.
Yet against those invaders of social rights, I never feel inclined to indulge in that torrent of invective, which some think justly their due. I neither upbraid them with malice, nor envy, nor all uncharitableness. It will generally be found, that the authors of such injudicious satire are still in the morning of life, in all the heyday of youthful health and spirits. Malice and envy are not the natural faults of youth; at that happy period men possess a gaieté du cœur which is inimical to the deep indulgence of the former, and a self-conceit which prevents the excitation of the latter. This thoughtless inattention to the feelings of others,-this wanton indulgence of mirth without regard to its consequences, proceeds solely from the same exuberance of youthful spirits, which, ten years ago, when they gamboled in the court-yard of the school, prompted them to amuse themselves with throwing stones and mud at the inoffensive passengers. I would hope, that their intention is now, as it then was, not to hurt the objects of their sport, but merely to shew how cleverly they can hit the mark; that they do not enjoy the pain they inflict, but simply the vanity of observing their own dexterity.
But although the motive may not be malicious, an action which is productive of unnecessary pain to others, must not be allowed to pass unreproved. I would appeal to their reason, whether this be a proper use to make of the faculties bestowed on them. I would ask them if it be consistent with the account they must one day render of their application of these faculties. No one can plead the possession of a talent for satire as an excuse for improper indulgence in it; such a talent is nothing more than the having a quick perception, and a lively imagination; and these are quali ties which might be applied to a better purpose. Above all, I would ask if it be agreeable to the intention of Him who placed us here for our mu tual support and comfort; who, knowing the many unavoidable evils of our earthly pilgrimage, has commanded us, as the best method of ameliorating those evils, to be kindly affectioned one to another.
This is an error which time is likely to cure. As we advance in life, we grow weary of courting opposition;
we are less solicitous to bring ourselves into notice by making enemies; and we become convinced that one friend is more valuable than a thousand admirers. Together with the gaiety of youth, we lose its petulance, and its self-sufficiency; and the coolness and apathy of age bring along with them a sobered valuation of our own abilities, a lessened desire for the praise of the multitude, and a full assent to the truth of the maxim, that "the merit of pleasing must be estimated by the
George Street, July 7.
PETER BELL V. PETER BELL,
[THE ingenious work entitled "The Fancy, a Selection from the Poetical Remains of the late Peter Corcoran of Gray's Inn, Student at Law, with a brief Memoir of his Life," has indeed been literally "gutted or cleaned out" before we could lay our hands on its contents, and we find little left to reward our search, except the jeu d'esprit of which we have given the title above. We have mislaid Mr Wordsworth's last volume, or we should have quoted, as a rejoinder, his exquisite sonnet, beginning
"A book was writ of late called Peter Bell,"
of which it is surely high praise to say that it is not at all inferior to Milton's fine original, which, till now, we had supposed quite inimitable "A book was writ of late called Tetrachordon."
But the Lyrics in these match so well,
Magazine compilers are often greatly put to it for filling up their last page, particularly when it is left in so scrubby a state as this has been, by our friend the Bystander. We suspect we must put our hand into our Poetical Repository, and draw out something or other; at the same time, informing our friends Jannes and Jambres, that our drawer is again overflowing, and that we are ready to receive another visit from them when ever they are so inclined.]
VERSES BY A YOUNG LADY.
LAST night I strove, but strove in vain,
Two Peters!-two Ballads!-two Bells!--
Are the tales for my heart,-when 1 And I unseen can gaze on thee.
London, September, 1815.
LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC INTELLIGENCE.
case they produced green, in place of red globules. The original fungi were killed by exposure to excessive cold; but their seeds retained vitality, and when immersed in snow, regenerated new fungi generally of a red colour.-Edin. Phil. Jour.
Society of Civil Engineers.-On the 2d January 1818, a number of persons practically connected with the profession of a civil engineer, met and agreed upon the plan of an institution, and have since that time been employed in forming laws and regulations for its government. Having accomplished this part of the object, it was resolved, at a meeting held on the 3d February 1820, to invite Thomas Telford, Esq. civil engineer, to become President of the Society. Mr Telford having accepted this office, the institution may be considered as established, and an opportunity is now afforded to qualified persons to become Ordinary, Corresponding, or Honorary Members. The leading objects of the institution are, 1st, To form a depository of useful facts, of descriptions of various works, of new inventions, of discoveries, &c. on subjects connected with the profession of a civil engineer. 2d, To collect a library of books, maps, drawings, &c. which are useful in the profession. The number of members is limited, and is divided into three classes: 1st, Ordinary Members are those who, by profession, are practical engineers, and whose places of residence admit of their general attendance at the meetings. 2d, Corresponding Members (by profession practical engineers) are those whose places of residence do not allow of their frequent attendance at the meetings. 3d, Honorary Members are persons who have written on topics connect ed with the profession of an engineer, and from whom no pecuniary contribution is expected. From the ability and zeal of many of the gentlemen who take the lead in this Society, we entertain very sanguine hopes that it will be an institution equally honourable and useful to our country. Edin. Phil., Jour.
Bristol Institution.-A new Literary and Philosophical Institution has been founded at Bristol. The foundation-stone of a magnificent building for this purpose was laid on the 29th February 1820.-Edin. Phil. Jour.
Felled Timber.-Mr T. Á. Knight has ascertained, by direct experiment, that there is a striking difference between the properties of spring and winter felled timber; the former absorbing much more moisture than the other. He is of opinion that oak timber would be much improved if the tree, after being barked in the spring, was permitted to stand till the following winter.-Edin. Phil. Jour.
Uredo Nivalis.-Mr F. Bauer has found that the red globules of this fungus vegetated and produced new fungi when they were placed in fresh snow. He ascertained that they vegetated in water alone, but in this
Violin and Violincello.-Mr James Watson, a blind musician from Dundee, has invented a method by which he can play upon these two instruments at once, with the greatest facility and correctness. He plays on the violin in the usual manner, and on the violincello by means of his feet. His right foot goes into a sort of shoe at the end of the bow, and in consequence of his right thigh being supported by a spring attached to the chair on which he sits, he has the full command of his foot, without suffering any fatigue. By means of his left foot he acts upon a set of levers, by which he shortens the strings with great facility. Mr Watson has frequently played thirteen and fourteen hours in one day, without any extraordinary fatigue.—Edin. Phil. Jour.
New Musical Instrument.-M. Schortman of Buttstead has invented a new musi cal keyed instrument, the tones of which are produced by short rods of burned wood, of various lengths and breadths, thrown into a state of vibration by a current of air. Its pianissimo resembles the Eolian harp, and is described as imitating the harmonica, clarionet, horn, hautboy, and violin.-Edin.. Phil. Jour.
Physical Strength of Men-M. Coulomb, in his fine Memoir on the Physical Strength of Men, after remarking that he had always found the grenadiers to perform a third more work than the other companies, observes, that the mean quantity of action varies with the nature of the food, and particularly with the climate. "I have executed," he says, "great works at Martinique by the troops, when the thermometer rarely stood below 680 Fahrenheit: and I have executed in France the same kind of work by troops; and I am assured, that under the 14th degree of latitude, where the men are almost always inundated with perspiration, they are not capable of half the quantity of daily work which they can furnish in our climate." The following experiments by Peron, with Regnier's dynamometer, shew that the individual strength depends also on the climate.
noise is three times greater in the night than in the day. Some writers have ascribed this to the cessation of the humming of insects, the singing of birds, and the action of the wind upon the leaves of trees; but this cannot be the cause of it at the Orinoco, where the humming of insects is much greater in the night than in the day, and where the breeze is never felt till after sunHumboldt therefore ascribes it to the presence of the sun, which acts on the propagation and intensity of sound, by opposing them with currents of air of different density, and partial undulations of the atmosphere, caused by the unequal heatIn ing of different parts of the ground. these cases, the waves of sound are divided into two waves, where the density of the medium suddenly changes, and a sort of acoustic mirage is produced, arising from the want of homogeneity of the air, in the same manner as the luminous mirage is produced from an analogous cause.---Ann. de Chim.
On the Increase of Sound during the Night. It has been remarked, even by the ancients, that the intensity of sound is greatly increased during the night. Humboldt was particularly struck with this fact when he heard the noise of the great cataracts of the Orinoco in the plain which surrounds the Mission of the Apures. This
Golden Image of the Idol Vishnu.-This valuable image was found at Nassick in May 1818, with jewels and other property belonging to the Peishwa. It is composed of the purest gold from Mount Ophir, and weighs 370 tolas. Since 1707, when it was made, it has been preserved with the highest veneration as one of the principal household deities in the family of Leewajee and his descendants. A numerous and expensive establishment of bramins, and other attendants, were maintained for it. It ac companied the late Peishwa in all his pilgrimages, in a state palanquin, escorted by some of his choicest troops. During the late Mahratta war, the deity was sent in this manner to Nassick, where it was discovered by the British authorities, and sent to Poonah. As it is intended to be sold, it is hoped that the East India Company will purchase it for their museum. now deposited in the Company's baggage warehouse.-Asiatic Journal.