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presents a richer variety of character and adventure. Count Fathom and Sir Launcelot Greaves were subsequent and inferior novels by the same writer; but at the close of life, his genius shone forth in all its original splendour in The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker, which contains the same striking delineation of character, and the same broad humour, for which his two first productions are distinguished. Smollett was a much less skilful artist than Fielding, and in none of his works has he attempted the construction of an intricate plot like that of Tom Jones; he was also inferior in delicacy, and more rarely relieves his writings by pictures of the more elevated qualities of human nature. But he far surpasses Fielding in his humour, which is indeed more rich and copious than that of any other English author. Like Fielding, Smollett is liable to censure for the impurity of many of his scenes and much of his language, and for the baseness and wickedness of some of those characters for which he chiefly demands the affections of the reader; but, greatly as these peculiarities may tend to unfit his volumes for indiscriminate perusal, his works present a faithful picture of the manners of the time, which were deficient alike of taste and of morality. Smollett was also a poet, and, in the course of a labori

a ous literary career, wrote many miscellaneous works and compilations, none of which, however, (with the exception of a portion of his History of England,) now obtain much notice.

The novels of these three eminent persons, though followed by numberless imitations, experienced little worthy or memorable rivalry during the period at prezent engaging our attention. The age, however, was rich in fictions of different kinds. In 1759, Dr. Johnson produced his fine Eastern tale of Rasselas, which is designed to prove that no worldly pleasures are capable of yielding true gratification, and that men must look for this to a future state of existence. In the same year, LAWRENCE STERNE (1713-1768), an English clergyman of eccentric manners, burst upon the world with a comic fiction of startling novelty. This was The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, of which eight volumes in all were published during the course of six

STERNE.

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years. Sterne possessed wit, sensibility, considerable powers of language, and some acquaintance with old forgotten authors, whose thoughts he made no scruple to appropriate, when they answered his purpose. With these advantages, he composed a work referring to contemporary manners, which, amidst much frivolity and absolute nonsense, with a license of expression peculiarly unbecoming in a clergyman, contains some delineations of character, and strokes of pathos, and flights of fancy, which have never been surpassed, and but rarely approached. In the characters of Uncle Toby and Corporal Trim, he has, in the words of Sir Walter Scott, * exalted and honoured humanity, and impressed upon his readers such a lively picture of kindness and benevolence, blended with courage, gallantry, and simplicity, that their hearts must be warmed whenever it is recalled to memory. In the last year of his life, Sterne published his Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, which is constructed with less eccentricity, and contains chapters of equal tenderness.

The Vicar of Wakefield, written in 1761 by OLIVER GOLDSMITH, then an obscure literary adventurer, residing in a mean part of London, is perhaps the very happiest, as it is certainly one of the least exceptionable, of the novels of the last century. It narrates, in the first person, the history of an amiable and simple-minded clergyman, during a series of domestic misfortunes, that severely try, but never subdue, his moral courage, and over which he is finally triumphant. With some defects in point of probability, it is a singularly beautiful and interesting picture of the middle class of English rural society; combining great knowledge of human nature and of the world, with the mildness of one who is too sensible of his own weakness to treat those of his neighbours with undue severity. The Fool of Quality, published in 1766 by Mr. Henry Brooke, is a work of much greater extent, but may be ranked beside the Vicar of Wakefield, as affording many pleasing sketches of contemporary manners. It appears to have been chiefly designed for the young, for whose education it presents many excellent hints. The Adventures of 'a Guinea, by Charles Johnstone, published about this time, was anoth

er successful delineation of existing society, but deeply tinged with satire. The four writers last mentioned were natives of Ireland.

The series of the novelists of the period is closed by HENRY MACKENZIE (1745–1831), a native of Scotland, who, in 1771, published anonymously his celebrated Man of Feeling, which was followed in the course of a few years by The Man of the World, and Julia de Roubigné. Mackenzie is distinguished by refined sensibility and by exquisite taste. His Man of Feeling is designed to show, in a few fragmentary chapters, exhibiting little coherence, a hero constantly obedient to every emotion of his moral sense, and apparently almost too sensitive and tender-hearted for contact with the world. His second novel aimed at exhibiting a person who, rushing headlong into guilt and ruin, spreads misery all around him, by the pursuit of selfish and sensual pleasures. Mackenzie, with more delicacy, possesses much of Sterne's peculiar pathos; he has great fancy, and incomparable taste; his characters, however, have the fault of being only representatives of certain ideas, instead of genuine pictures of individuals existing, or who might have existed. His works, it may be said, are moral treatises in narrative.

This period witnessed the commencement of that kind of fiction which at present bears the title of the Romance. The earliest example of it was the Castle of Otranto, by the Honourable HORACE WALPOLE, published in 1764. Walpole (1717-1797), a younger son of the celebrated prime minister, having devoted himself to the study of Gothic architecture, by degrees his imagination became filled with appropriate ideas of the chivalry of the middle ages. A dream at length presented to him the groundwork of what he thought could be wrought up into a romantic fiction, and the result was this elegant tale of superstition, the scene of which is laid in the south of Italy in the eleventh century. The Castle of Otranto immediately acquired great popularity, and was successfully imitated by Mrs. CLARA REEVE, in a story entitled The Old English Baron, which appeared in 1777. It was not, however, till the ensuing period of literary history, that the Romance was carried o its utmost perfection.

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HISTORIANS.

The era now under notice may be not improperly termed the Augustan age of historical composition in Britain.

In the early part of the century, history was written laboriously, but without elegance. The best compilation of the history of England was that of Echard, already mentioned; or, as an alternative, the reader might choose the three folios published in 1706, under the title of The Complete History of England, in which the space preceding the reign of Charles I., was given in the language of various authors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, while the subsequent reigns were the composition of White Kennett, bishop of Peterborough, celebrated for his controversial writings on the Whig side of church politics. In 1725, a voluminous history of England, written in the French language, was printed at the Hague, being the composition of Monsieur Rapin, a refugee French Protestant. Of this work, two translations appeared in England, where it obtained the credit of possessing much solid information, in a manner upon the whole impartial, though rather more favourable to the Whigs than to the Tories. There were other compilations, but so deficient in all the important requisites of history, as to be unworthy of notice.

In surveying the historical productions of the period, we are first attracted by the voluminous productions of THOMAS CARTE (1686–1754), originally a clergyman of the Established Church, but who, being prevented by his Jacobite predilections from taking the oaths to George I., assumed the lay habit in 1714, and devoted himself to literary pursuits. Carte was a laborious inquirer, but by no means an accomplished writer, and too strongly swayed by political prejudices to be a fair and just historian. His first work was The Life of James Duke of Ormond, published in 1735-6, in three large volumes, and embracing much of the general history of the latter part of the preceding century. He then commenced researches for a history of England, in which he was encouraged by the chiefs of the Tory party and others,

year 1716.

among whom were the common council of London, who voted him an annuity during the time he should be occupied in the undertaking. The first volume appeared in 1747, and would have been well received, if its credit had not been shaken by an absurd story thrust in at the end, respecting a man who was said to have been cured of the king's evil by the touch of the Pretender in the

The fourth volume, published after the death of the author, brought the history down to the year 1654 ; it is still esteemed as a great collection of facts, though the style is inelegant and the reflections unphilosophical. The Roman History of NATHANIEL HOOKE, published in four large volumes, between 1733 and 1771, is a work in some respects similar, but written more clearly, and with more critical acuteness in the choice of materials.

The public possessed only these ungainly compilations, when DAVID HUME (1711-1776), by birth the younger son of a Scottish country gentleman, and who had distinguished himself by some metaphysical writings, took advantage of his situation as librarian to the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh, to commence a history of England, in which a judicious selection of events should be treated in a philosophical manner. The first volumes, embracing the reigns of the Stuart sovereigns, appeared in 1754–6 ; and the work was completed before 1761, by the addition of the earlier periods. It was the first example of the highest kind of historical composition which appeared in English literature, and it has ever since been the standard work upon the subject, notwithstanding the superior erudition, accuracy, and even elegance, of subsequent writers. Its acknowledged defects are carelessness both as to facts and style, and deliberate partiality towards the cavalier party in the contests of the seventeenth century; to which may be added one of greater importance, for which, however, the author is not blamable, its want of the inestimable advantages which are now derivable from state documents and other genuine materials of history. The merits of this writer are, however, so great,—so singular is the charm which his vigorous mind has imparted to the narrative,-and so enlarged and philosophical are

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