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GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE.

Norwich, Oxf., Portsm..Pre ton, Sherb., Shrewsb, Sout ampton,Truro, Worcester 2. Aylesbury, Bangor, Barnst Berwick, Blackb., Bridgew Carmar., Colch., Chesterf Devizes, Dorch., Doncaster Falmouth, Glouc., Halifax Henley, Hereford, Lancas ter, Leaming Lewes, Lind Lichf. Macclesf. Newark Newc, on-Tyne, Northamp. Reading, Rochest., Salish Staff., Stockport, Taunton Swansea, Wakef., Warwick Whiteh., Winches.. Windsor Wolverhampton, 1 each. Ireland 61-Scotland 37 Jersey 4-Guernsey 3

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1831.

Review of New Publications.
Gilly's Waldensian Researches................518
D'Israeli's Life of Charles the First.......516
Palgrave's History of England................518
Life of Lord Chancellor North.......
...............521
Todd's Life of Bp. Cranmer..................522
Frost's Literary Biography of Hull..........523
Dissection of the Saxon Chronicle...........524
Williams's Life of Sir Thomas Lawrence.... ib.
England's Political Suicide........
Jones on Wealth and Taxation...............527
Bowles's Life of Bishop Keu........
Archæologia, vol. XXIII.............
Paris's Life of Sir Humphrey Davy......
Mrs. Bowdler's Pen Tamar.......
Nichols's Literary Illustrations, Vol. VI....537
FINE ARTS.-Royal Academy, &c. ..........540
LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.--New Works, &c.543
ANTIQUARIAN RESEARCHES.
SELECT POETRY......

.......531
...538
...536

*************.. 545 .....547

MINOR CORRESPONDENCE.

Mr. J. F. RUSSELL says "I owe you my best acknowledgments for referring me to the interesting account of some of my ancestors in the 94th volume of your miscellany. There is one omission, however, in those biographical notices, which I should thank you to supply, by inserting the following brief narrative of the Rev. John Meadows, brother of Sir Philip Meadows, K.B. Ambassador, &c. extracted from Palmer's Nonconformist Memorial, vol. iii. p. 284-5. 'OWSDEN rectory, Suffolk. John Meadows, M.A. of both Universities, and Fellow of Christ's Coll. Cambridge. He was a person holy in all manner of conversation; constantly careful to please God, and preserve the peace of his conscience, always jealous of his own heart, and on every occasion willing to try it. He served God while in his public ministry with great labour and comfortable success. A diligent visitor and instructor of his flock, and a practical and moving preacher. He ever maintained a catholic charity for all Protestants, and greatly bewailed the divisions of the church, and the intemperate heats of all persuasions. He held occasional communion with the Church of England, but could not desert the duty of his office. Such was the integrity of his life, such was his humility, gospel sincerity, and quiet deportment; such his moderation as to the circumstantials of religion, and so well did he fill up all the relations in life, that his enemies could only object Nonconformity as his crime. He was really a pattern of true religion; he preached freely, he lived exemplarily, he died comfortably in the 75th year of his age, and was buried honourably.'My esteemed uncle, John Fuller, esq. of Dunmow, the hereditary proprietor of the manor of Witnesham, possesses a valuable and interesting portrait in oil of the above clergyman, in which he is represented as a youth of 16, in his academical dress, with his hair flowing gracefully upon his shoulders."

L. remarks" TEMPLARIUS, on the Administration of Oaths, having alluded to the engagement of the servant of Abraham upon being sent into a distant country to fetch a wife for his master's son, is referred to an explanation of great delicacy and learning, respecting the mode of adjuration by putting his hand under the thigh of the patriarch: not because "the posterity of the patriarchs are described as coming out of the thigh, and this ceremony therefore having some relation to the belief of the promise, to bless all the nations of the earth by means of one that was to descend from Abraham," as in Burder's Oriental Customs, cited by your correspondent, p. 598, note, vol. c. pt. ii., but actually thus swearing by the sign of circumcision, typical of that promise. Harmer and Barrington both failed

to explain this custom; which is, however, elegantly and clearly exemplified by Dr. Adam Clarke, and confirmed by the Targum."

ARCHIPRESBYTER RURALIS, (who has been for some time engaged in collecting materials in illustration of the office of rural Dean or Archipresbyter,) enquires whether a seal of that ancient office exists in any of the public or private repositories of the kingdom That the functionary in question had his sigillum auctenticum, on which was engraven the name of his office, there is no doubt. Indeed, by the 28th constitution of Cardinal Ocho, it is expressly enjoined that rural Deans and other officials should resign their seals of office immediately on the expiration of the period of their tenancy.

Mr. MADDEN, of the British Museum, would feel obliged for any information respecting the Original Will of Queen Mary I. which, at the beginning of the last century, was in the hands of Mr. Hale of Alderley, Gloucestershire, (a son of Sir Matthew Hale,) and appears since to have been mislaid, or lost.

The Rev. J. GRAHAM says "A friend of mine, James Prior, esq. of the Royal Navy, the author of the Life of Burke, has undertaken the Biography of Oliver Goldsmith, and requests information on the subject. He has been already tolerably successful in Ireland, and is not without hope of recovering some dormant documents in England which may be of use to him."

A BIBLIOGRAPHER inquires who the "Richard Cavendish' was, who is mentioned in a letter from William Capon to Cardinal Wolsey (inserted in Ellis's Original Letters, 1st series, vol. 1), as having presented a "bukk" to "" your Grace's college' at Ipswich. He appears to have been of Suffolk, and is called "your Grace's

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servant.

M. U. will feel obliged for any notices' of Benjamin Parker, who, from 1744 to his death in 1747, read Theological and Philosophical Lectures in London, having previously published several treatises in these sciences. He is slightly mentioned by Hutton, Hist. of Derby, and by Lysons, Mag. Brit. Derbyshire.

M. U. is informed that there is no other engraved portrait extant of Rev. Stebbing Shaw, the historian of Staffordshire, than a private plate drawn and etched by Thomas Donaldson; an inferior artist, who was under obligations to Mr. Shaw. It bears scarcely any resemblance to the original.

M. T. is informed that the MSS. from which Mr. Shaw compiled his History of Staffordshire were privately bought by the late Mr. Hamper, whose collections are now preparing for sale by Mr. Evans.

The communication of H. H. has never been received.

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THE

GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE.

JUNE, 1831.

ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS.

ITALY AND THE ITALIANS.

ITALY, the land of the Church, the country where Christianity first acquired a national character, the soil where on a grand scale a new and purer religion than the world ever saw, became first indigenous, and taught the doctrines of her sacred institutions to the surrounding nations of Europe;-Italy, although in more than one period of modern history, several of her States have, even in the midst of intestine feuds and open hostilities, risen distinguished in art and in letters, ranks at present low in the intellectual sciences, and all her efforts for political emancipation have hitherto proved unavailing. The various causes which have tended to produce her present state of degeneracy, when compared with her former greatness, may be interesting to the philosophical and speculative inquirer.

In tracing the history of nations, and the varying complexion of human character, animosity is often arrested by the diverse circumstances under which mankind at various periods of the world are presented to our notice. It is remarked by Boileau, while speaking of the characters of the various ages of life,

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of the student. The ancient Romans must always in their history form a theme of intense curiosity to the reader who explores the peculiar and distinctive features of human character, as displayed on the great arena of nations, together with the causes which push some States on to high eminence, while others slumber in perpetual mediocrity. The storied narrative of their transactions and exploits, blazes forth with a prominence and lustre in the history of mankind which distinguishes the records of no other nation or people.The soul expands whilst expatiating over the lengthened series of their republican history,-over their fame, ripening through centuries, and throwing the transactions of all other nations into the shade. For the littleness of comparative obscurity circles over the chivalric deeds of other nations, inasmuch as no other State with which history brings us acquainted, ever maintained so long its political ascendancy over the nations of the earth.

The scholar who lucubrates amidst the scenes and narratives of days long gone by, sees in fancied retrospect the ample space which the empires of Semiramis, Sesostris, and Cyrus, occupied on the map of Asia,-although he may not probably credit the prodigious "circumstance" of warlike operation related of the former by Diodorus Siculus, who was in these matters guided chiefly by the authority of Ctesias the Cnidian. But the influence and preponderating ascendancy, if not the actual territorial possession of the Romans has been long acknowledged to be without parallel in the entire history of mankind. The terror of their arms reached much further than their actual conquests; and envoys from all the civilized nations of the globe crowded either to do

Italy and the Italians.

484

homage, or negotiate an amicable alliance with a people whose military renown was only equalled by the matured wisdom of their policy. While they introduced throughout the nations they subjugated the arts of civilization and the literature of Greece, their magnanimity and patriotic devotion to the interests of their country, protracted through centuries, and animating to deeds of heroism on a grand national scale, has no parallel in the annals of mankind.

In periods of her modern history, alas! how has Italy distinguished herself? and how in a national point of view does she rank at the present moment among the nations of Europe and the world? Alas! a nation of singers and fiddlers can never hope, by any human ingenuity, to rival the dignity and grandeur which attached to her name, when Rome in her republican strength stood the proud arbiter of the universe.

What political and moral effects, it may be asked, have Christianity in modern times had upon the people of Italy? A spectator, in view of the puerile superstitions of ancient Rome, might have predicted amongst the moderns another state of things,-a moral expansion of character at least equivalent to that of any former period. But, alas! nothing (if we view the whole period of their modern history) can stand more utterly in the teeth of any such prediction, than the narrative of those moral and religious virtues which have adorned the character and temperament of the modern Italians.

Constantine the Great doubtless supposed, when he removed the seat of empire to a spot which seemed to command the riches (or the facilities of acquiring them) of Europe and Asia, and Christianized the Roman world, that the ancient vigour and soundness of moral temperament was about to be restored.

The history of Italy, for the last ten or twelve centuries, if viewed in relation to Christianity, may almost indeed in its general character be thought a summary of all that is antiChristian. All ecclesiastical historians concur in depicting in the most glowing characters, the frightful state of obliquity and declension which prevailed in the Church throughout Christendom for many ages after the disso

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lution of the Roman power. After the hives of barbarians, who with such perseverance struggled for the ascendancy throughout the Western provinces, had become the occupants of the soil, the grossest superstitions were presently foisted upon the purer precepts of the Christian faith, and the human mind soon became veiled in ignorance and gloom. The religious orders and institutions which grew with the growth of every successive century, and spread themselves particularly over the nations of Italy, were doubtless, in the abuses to which they led, generative of that blindness and superstition which to this day prevails to a greater extent there than in any other country in Europe, with the exception perhaps of Spain and Portugal. "In this barbarous age,' says Mosheim, speaking of the 7th century, “religion lay expiring under a motley and enormous heap of superstitious inventions, and had neither the courage nor the force to raise her head, or to display her native charms to a darkened and deluded world." He expresses himself in similar terms concerning the 8th century; for though, as he says, Charlemagne seemed disposed to stem this torrent of superstition, and opposed the worship of images, yet profound and grovelling ignorance, both as it regarded religious light and the cultivation of mind, again spread itself after his death through the nations of the West.

Italy was the soil from whence most of these perversions of reason and common sense, as well as of religion, may be said to have first emanated, the head quarters of superstition and spiritual tyranny, from which the alleged successors of St. Peter and their innumerable coadjutors, wove their ingenious web of entanglement for enslaving the minds and consciences of all ranks of people.

In point of commercial greatness and richness, the famous maritime Republics of Italy in the middle ages may be said to have rivalled the ancient states of Tyre and Carthage,luxury which followed in its train, was carried to a high excess, and even the independence of its denizens was often asserted and maintained. But over the states of the Church, and their dependancies, there generally reigned a frightful moral gloom, which

Works of Eustace and Lady Morgan on Italy.

1831.]

was mainly attributable, it may be thought, to the benighting influences of the doctrines propagated from the Vatican; and the anti-Christian examples (with some bright exceptions, it is true) which were held forth by the supreme pontiffs.

"The history of the Roman pontiffs that lived in the 9th century," says Dr. Mosheim, "is a history of so many monsters, and not of men, and exhibits a horrible series of the most flagitious, tremendous, and complicated crimes; as all writers, even those of the Romish communion, unanimously acknowledge." The debasing tenets taught by her priests may be thought to have been instrumental, in more than a slight degree, in producing that supine and pusillanimous character, which at length distinguishes Italy, in our own day, so far as regards valour, discipline, and constancy.

Amongst the most prominent of the modern speculators on the subject of Italy, ranks Eustace, author of the "Classical Tour." An enthusiastic admirer of the policy and magnanimity of the ancient Romans, surveying with astonishment, as all must, the stupendous remains of their ancient grandeur, he yet perhaps is disposed to place the character and features of Modern Italy higher in the scale of moral and mental excellence, than the accounts which may be drawn from most other quarters, will warrant. But it is impossible to trace the pages of Eustace-eminent among other travellers, without feeling a spark of that flame which seems to kindle in his own breast, at the recital of the architectural splendours of the "ancient city." The heart swells with a generous and gratulatory emotion while contemplating the elevation of thought, the purity and grandeur of design, which inspired a race of beings to the achievement of works whose consummate skill and astounding magnificence have few or no parallels in the degenerate days of modern times.— But Eustace, doubtless, proceeds in the teeth of every other recorded authority, when, in his last chapter, he endeavours to establish a position, as it should seem, peculiar to himself, that the modern Italians, taken in every sense in which a people can be considered, dispute the palm of rivalship with their ancestors. In his conclusive "Dissertation," he labours

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most strenuously, by a variety of illustrations, and the use of argument which sometimes however is any thing but conclusive, to prove to the reader that this thesis is built upon a close and accurate observation of Italy, as she is. Mr. Eustace's rhetoric is powerful, occasionally, but it may be thought he altogether fails when he speaks of the " public spirit," triotism," and magnanimity" of the modern Italian states,-as (Venice perhaps excepted) the history of those states will assuredly testify that they have in modern times fallen far below several other European states, in each of these particulars. In this "Dissertation" he declares that, were a leader of great abilities to place himself at the head of Italy, "he would find all the materials of greatness ready for his use." The historical records of the modern Italian states, and their wars with foreign powers, certainly disprove this assertion. The truth is, the sons of Italy are, in point of character, of a different contexture from what they were about the times here mentioned. With every allowance for the splendid talents, and the thinking both on subjects of art and literature which has distinguished modern Italy, they have indubitably evolved a very different standard of bravery and of patriotism from that which prevailed in the old Republic during the period of the rising grandeur of Rome, as Tacitus calls it-for that, of course, is the period to which all point who speak of Roman superiority. The architectural grandeur of Rome appears to have attained its high eminence and maturity after the enslavement of its inhabitants. Its skill in the arts rose as its liberties sunk, their inventive faculty and the expansion of their ingenuity in the varied works of imagination and genius, trod upon the heels of their freedom.

On the subject of Italy, our intelligent countrywoman, Lady Morgan, has also written a work. Whatever rank her Ladyship may hold in her country's literature, it may be said of her book, so far as it relates to the historical state of Italy, that it aims at that species of fine writing which consists of sweeping metaphors and bold generalizing positions. In common with some other writers, she takes for granted that the modern Italian Republics of Milan, Florence, Pisa,

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