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International Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science, Vol. 1, No. 3, Oct. 1, 1850 online

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1798, immediately after the election of Flaxman into the same honorary
rank. The same year, on Romney's withdrawal from London, he removed to
the house which that artist had built for himself in Cavendish Square;
and in this he continued as Romney's successor to reside until age and
growing infirmities compelled him to withdraw to Brighton, and abandon
his pencil. In 1800, he was elected a full Royal Academician: - and of his
thirty-nine brethren by whom he was chosen he was the last survivor.

Mr. Shee continued to produce for years with amazing readiness of hand
and fertility in posture. People of all ranks in life went to Cavendish
Square, and for a time Shee was in greater request than either Beechey
or Hoppner, though not so much so as Lawrence, or even as Owen or
Phillips somewhat later. Lord Spencer was the first nobleman who sat to
him; and his example was followed by the Duke of Clarence, the Duke of
Leinster, the Marquis of Exeter, and others. The ladies flocked less
readily around him; for Lawrence had then, as he continued to have, the
entire artist monopoly of the beauty of Great Britain.

Much to the surprise of his friends, and to the infinite wonder of some
of his brethren in the Academy, Mr. Shee made his appearance as a poet by
the publication, in 1805, of his "Rhymes on Art, or the Remonstrance of a
Painter; in two parts, with Notes and a Preface, including Strictures on
the State of the Arts, Criticism, Patronage, and Public Taste": and the
wonder had not ceased with Nollekins and Northcote, when, in 1809, he
published a second poem, in six cantos, entitled "Elements of Art." It is
to these poems that Byron alludes in his "English Bards and Scotch
Reviewers":

"And here let Shee and Genius find a place,
Whose pen and pencil yield an equal grace;
To guide whose hand the sister-arts combine,
And trace the poet's or painter's line;
Whose magic touch can bid the canvas glow,
Or pour the easy rhyme's harmonious flow;
While honors, doubly merited, attend
The poet's rival, but the painter's friend."

The _Quarterly_ was complimentary, but less kind to the painter than the
noble lord.

Mr. Shee appears to have always evinced taste for the theater; and when
his gravity of years and his position as a popular portrait-painter
forbade his any longer entertaining a wish to appear there, he began to
woo the dramatic Muse, and commenced a tragedy called "Alasco," of which
the scene was laid in Poland. The play was accepted at Covent Garden, but
excluded, it was said, from the stage by Colman, who was then licenser.
This is not strictly true. Colman objected to about eighty-five lines,
which Shee refused to alter. Colman was equally obstinate; and Shee in
1824 printed his play, and appealed to the public against the licenser in
a lengthy and angry preface. "Alasco," notwithstanding, is still on the
list of the unacted drama.

On the death of Lawrence in 1830, Shee was elected President of the Royal
Academy, and immediately knighted. His election was by a large majority,
though Wilkie was a candidate; the members being governed in their votes
rather, it is said, by the necessities of their annual dinner than by
their sense of the merits of Shee as a painter. He excelled in short,
well-timed and well-delivered speeches. He was seldom at a loss; and so
highly was his eloquence appreciated within the walls of the Academy,
that it had been common with more than one Royal Academician to remark
whenever a great speaker was mentioned - "Did you ever hear the
President - you should hear the President," - as if Canning and Stanley had
been united in Sir Martin Archer Shee.

He has but little claim to be remembered as a poet. His verse wants
vigor, and his examples are deficient in novelty of illustration. The
notes to both his poems are, however, valuable, and his poetry is perhaps
more frequently read for its prose illustrations than for the beauty of
its versification or the value of the truths which it seeks to inculcate.
As a portrait-painter he was eclipsed by several or his
contemporaries, - by Lawrence and by Hoppner, - by Phillips, Jackson, and
Raeburn. He had a fine eye for color; while his leading want was,
proportion, more especially in his heads. Compare his head of Chantrey
with the portraits of Chantrey by Jackson and Raeburn, and the defect is
at once obvious; or compare his head of Mr. Hallam with the head of Mr.
Hallam by Phillips, or with the living head - since happily Mr. Hallam is
still among us. How, then, it will be asked, is Sir Martin to be
remembered: by his poems or by his portraits? - by his speeches or by his
annual addresses to the students? The question is not difficult of
solution. His pictures in the Vernon Gallery will not preserve his name,
nor will his portraits viewed as works of Art. His name will scend in the
History of Painting as a clever artist with greater accomplishments than
have commonly fallen to the class to which he belongs, - and as the
painter who has preserved to us the faces and figures of Sir Thomas
Munro, Sir Thomas Picton, Sir Eyre Coote, Sir James Scarlett, and Sir
Henry Halford. There was merit, we may add, in his portrait of the poet
Moore. Principally, however, he will be remembered as one of the
Presidents of the Royal Academy.


* * * * *


GERARD TROOST, M.D.

Dr. GERARD TROOST, for a long period one of the most eminent naturalists
of the United States, died on the 14th of August at Nashville, where he
had been for twenty years Professor of Chemistry and Natural History in
the University of Tennessee. A native of Holland, and educated in one of
her universities, he devoted himself to the natural sciences. For the
sake of improvement he visited Paris, and for several years was a pupil
of the celebrated Hauy. He removed to the United States about forty years
ago, and in due time became an American citizen. In 1824 and 1825 he was
with Robert Owen at New Harmony, and he appears always to have been
distinguished for eccentricities of opinion and conduct, but to have
commanded in every situation respect and affection. His entire life was
consecrated to geology and the kindred sciences, with what ability and
success, his published writings and his well-earned reputation at home
and abroad may eloquently testify. Among the subjects upon which he wrote
are, amber of Cape Sable, Maryland; the minerals of Missouri; five
reports on the geology of Tennessee; meteoric iron from Tennessee and
Alabama; a shower of red matter in Tennessee; meteorites, &c., &c.


* * * * *


PERCEVAL W. BANKS.

This gentleman - better known as _Morgan Rattler_ of "Fraser's
Magazine" - died in London on the 13th of August. Mr. Banks, though only
in his forty-fifth year, was the last of the race of writers, who, with
Dr. Maginn, Mr. Churchill, and others, gave a sting and pungency (of a
vicious and unwholesome kind however), to the early numbers of that
journal. He seldom did justice to his own talents, for he wrote too often
in haste, always at the last moment, and too rarely with good taste. He
was by profession a barrister. The world at large, who admired the
sportive fancy, classical eloquence, and kind yet firm criticism of poor
_Morgan Rattler_, in his later years, will regret the early decease of
one so gifted.


* * * * *


ROBERT HUNT.

Mr. ROBERT HUNT, the eldest brother of Mr. Leigh Hunt, often mentioned in
the "Autobiography," is dead. He was lately nominated by the Queen to the
brotherhood of the Charter house, but has not lived very long to enjoy
the royal bounty. He was seventy-six years old when he died.


* * * * *


JOHN COMLY.

JOHN COMLY, an eminent minister of the Society of Friends, died on the
17th of August at Byberry in Pennsylvania, in the seventy-seventh year of
his age. "Comly's Spelling-Book," and "Comly's Grammar," have to
thousands now living made his name "familiar as household words."

* * * * *


BISHOP BASCOMB.

THE REV. DR. BASCOMB, long eminent for various abilities, and most of all
for a brilliant and effective elocution, died at Louisville, Ky., on the
9th of August. He was editor of the Southern Methodist Quarterly Review,
and one of the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church.


* * * * *


COUNT PIRE.

GENERAL COUNT PIRE, one of the most distinguished officers of the French
Empire, died recently. He fought as a private soldier of the National
Guard of Paris, on the barricades, against the insurgents of June, 1848.

* * * * *



GLEANINGS FROM THE JOURNALS.


The _Athenæum_ is incredulous upon the subject of the falling of Table
Rock, at Niagara, and in reprinting the account of the event, thought it
necessary to offer a few remarks upon the credibility of American
intelligence: - "Our readers," says the _Athenæum_, "know that we have
great fears of the American penny-a-liner, and are carefully on our guard
against his feats. Our own specimens of the class are commonplace artists
compared with their American brethren. The season is at hand when we are
looking out for the performances at the former, - but we expect little
from beyond the old routine. In their sluggish imaginations, the annual
pike is doubtless already growing up to his great dimensions, which, on
failure of the accustomed springs of intelligence, we are soon to find
floating in the newspaper shallows, - and the preposterous cucumber is
probably having an inch added to its stature, which will shortly shoot
rankly up where the parliamentary harvest has been cut down. The most
daring thing that we can expect from these geniuses is, a trick or two
perhaps with the Nelson Column. But the American penny-a-liner, our
readers know, does the thing on the vast scale of his country. He takes
down Niagara at his pleasure, - and puts it up again in its place, or
anywhere else that he will. He transports the great Falls about the soil
of his country at halt a crown an adventure, - and for five shillings
would probably set them playing in the moon."

* * * *

A "MASONIC SWORD" FOR THE EMPEROR OF HAYTI. - A magnificent sword,
intended to be presented to the Emperor Soulouque on his installation to
the mysteries of the "Grand Masonic Order of Hayti," has been made at
Birmingham, thirty-two inches in length. The blade is richly ornamented
along its whole length with devices in blue and gold, bearing the
inscription in French on the one side, "To the illustrious F. Faustin
Soulouque, Emperor of Hayti," and on the other, "Homage of the Grand
Order of Hayti." The hilt is surmounted by an imperial crown, and adorned
with various masonic emblems. On the shield are richly chased the arms of
Hayti, with the motto, "God! my Country, and my Sword," "Liberty and
Independence." We perceive, also, from the French papers, that a
celebrated goldsmith at Paris, has forwarded to Hayti a crown, a scepter,
a wand of justice, and a sword of state, manufactured expressly for his
sable Majesty, at a cost of £20,000 sterling. The latter has moreover,
commanded, for his coronation, a sky-blue velvet mantle, embroidered with
bees and richly bound with gold lace, and a Court dress of scarlet
velvet, lined with white satin, and trimmed with the most expensive point
lace, "with most valuable ornaments to match."

* * * * *

TIME WORKS WONDERS. - A correspondent Of the _Melbourne Daily News_
remarks that in June, 1847, he met Prince Louis Napoleon and his cousin
Jerome Napoleon at Lady Blessington's. "The president was then living in
a very modest house in King-street, St. James's-square, and his very
unaffected demeanor led me to form an intimate acquaintance with him. He
appeared to me a person more fond of the ordinary amusements of the
metropolis, frequenting the theaters, casinos, and other similar places,
than an ambitious adventurer. On the following May as I was entering the
chambers of my solicitor, in Lincoln's Inn Fields, an old gentleman with
an umbrella under his arm passed me as I opened the swing doors, and
politely removed his hat as I made way for him. It was Louis Philippe. It
is scarce three weeks ago I was ordering a waistcoat of my tailor, when
two gentlemen entered the shop, and one of them in broken English gave an
order for a paletot; I looked up, It was Ledru Rollin and Etienne Arago;
when they had gone, the worthy tradesman, knowing I had lived much in
Paris, asked me if I knew his customer (M. Arago,) and if he could safely
_give him credit!_"

* * * *

AMERICAN MUMMIES. - A letter from Ratisbon states, that the Museum of the
Zoological and Mineralogical Society of that town has made a curious
acquisition, - that of two mummies found in the sands of the desert of
Atacama in Upper Peru, by Dr. Ried, a Bavarian physician resident at
Valparaiso. These mummies, male and female, both of American race, are
natural mummies, - that is to say, dried without embalming or any other
species of preparation. The man is in a stooping posture, his head
sustained on his hands, and his elbows renting on his knees. The face has
an expression of pain which seems to indicate a, violent death. The woman
is stretched at length, with arms crossed on her breast. Both heads are
covered with long hair, dark and silky, and divided into an infinity of
small plaits. When Dr. Reid discovered these mummies both had their teeth
complete; but during their transport to Europe many of these have fallen
out, and were found at the bottom of the cases containing these curious
relics of American antiquity.

* * * *

THE COMMON SLANDERS AGAINST DANIEL WEBSTER are noted in the English
Journals in connection with his acceptance of the Secretaryship of State.
"These scandals," observes the _Spectator,_ "cannot, however, hide from
us the fact, that of all public men in America, _perhaps_ with one
exception, Mr. Webster is he who has evinced the greatest knowledge of
public affairs, the greatest acumen in administration, and the greatest
common sense in emergency. High intelligence is probably the best of all
substitutes for high honor - if, indeed, it does not necessarily include
that nobler quality."

* * * * *

COFFINS OF BAKED CLAY OF THE CHALDEANS. - Mr. Kennet Loftus, the first
European who has visited the ancient ruins of Warka in Mesopotamia, and
who is attached to the surveying staff of Colonel Williams, appointed to
settle the question of the boundary line between Turkey and Persia,
writes thus: - "Warka is no doubt the Erech of Scripture, the second city
of Nimrod, and it is the Orchoe of the Chaldees. The mounds within the
walls afford subjects of high interest to the historian and antiquarian;
they are filled, nay, I may say, they are literally composed of coffins,
piled upon each other to the height of forty-five feet. It has,
evidently, been the great burial-place of generations of Chaldeans, as
Meshad Ali and Kerbella at the present day are of the Persians. The
coffins are very strange affairs; they are in general form like a
slipper-bath, but more depressed and symmetrical, with a large oval
aperture to admit the body, which is closed with a lid of earthenware.
The coffins themselves are also of baked clay, covered with green glaze,
and embossed with figures of warriors, with strange and enormous
coiffures, dressed in a short tunic and long under garments, a sword by
the side, the arms resting on the hips, the legs apart. Great quantities
of pottery and also clay figures, some most delicately modeled, are found
around them; and ornaments of gold, silver, iron, copper, glass, &c.,
within." - _Art-Journal_.

* * * * *

ANCIENT PRICE OF LABOR. - In the year 1352, 25th Edward III., wages paid
to haymakers were 1d. a day. A mower of meadows, 3d. a day, or 5d an
acre. Reapers of corn in the first week of August, 2d.; in the second,
3d. a day, and so on till the end of August, without meat, drink, or
other allowance, finding their own tools. For threshing a quarter of
wheat or rye, 21/2d.; a quarter of barley, beans, peas, and oats 11/2d. A
master carpenter, 3d. a day, other carpenters, 2d. A master mason, 4d. a
day, other masons, 3d., and their servants, 11/2d. Tilers, 3d., and their
"knaves," 11/2d. Thatchers, 3d a day, and their knaves, 11/2. Plasterers,
and other workers of mud walls, and their knaves, in like manner, without
meat or drink; and this from Easter to Michaelmas; and from that time
less, according to the direction of the justices.

* * * * *

THE "QUARTERLY REVIEW" suggests that "If an additional postage of one
penny per letter were to be charged to every person who prefers making
the postman, or rather the public, wait until his servant shall think
proper to open the door to receive a handful of prepaid letters, which
could rapidly be dropped, exactly as they were posted, through a
receiving slit into a tortuous receptacle, from which it would be
impossible for any but the right person to extract them, the delivery
of the correspondence of the country would be perfect."

* * * * *
SOME LIBERALS in France have been carrying on a kind of duel by libel,
the libel being enforced apparently by its strict truth. Some of M.
Thiers's political antagonists, seeking to annoy him, volunteered to
circulate in the form of a card the following advertisement for a lady
who appears to be related to M. Thiers, and also to carry on an honest
avocation: -

"MADAME L. RIPERT,
Sister of M. A. THIERS,
_Ex-President of the Council of Ministers, &c. &c._
keeps an excellent _table méridionale_ at 3fr. a-head, wine included.
Breakfast at all hours, at 3fr. 25c.
44, Rue Basse-du-Rempart, Paris."

The retaliation was a counter-card: -

"Mdlle. - - , _brèvetée de la police_, et M. - - , liberated convict, the
sister and cousin-germain of M. - - a thorough-bred Montagnard, continue
to carry on their business, Rue de la Lune. _On va en ville._"

These attacks are very mean, and paltry, but it is clear that their
castigation is beyond the effective handling of the law. Yet society
exercises no effective jurisdiction in the matter; it shields offenders
against decency and generosity so long as the offense is committed in
subserviency to party.

* * * * *

LANGUAGES OF AFRICA. - At a religious meeting in London, the Rev. John
Clark, formerly missionary in Jamaica, and afterward in Fernando Po, in
Africa, said that at Fernandina there were persons belonging to fifty
Different tribes, who understood English so well as to be of help to a
translator of the Bible into their respective languages. He thought the
Word of God would have to be translated into two hundred languages before
all the tribes of Africa will be able to read it in their own tongue. The
Mohammedans, who are spread through the length of the continent, have
many who can read the Koran in the Arabic characters. If, therefore, the
Word of God were translated into their tongues and printed in that
character, many, not only of the Hovas and the Arabs of the desert, but
also of the Foolahs, Mandingoes, and Housah, who professed Mahommedanism,
would be able to read concerning Jesus Christ.

* * * * *


LETTERS FROM MR. RICHARDSON, the African explorer, have been received in
London, dated at Mourzouk, June 22d. Mr. R. and his companions were
detained six weeks waiting for the promised escort of the Touarick chiefs
for Soudan by the way of Ghat. They expect to meet the many caravans
coming down from the interior to Ghat. The actual arrival of the chiefs
was greatly to the astonishment of the Moors and Turks of Mourzouk, who
could never believe that the hardy bandits of the Sahara would obey the
summons of a Christian, and escort English travelers through the
unexplored regions of Central Africa. The Turks had on previous occasions
repeatedly invited the Touaricks to visit the town of Mourzouk, but they
never would do so.


* * * * *


THE PEACE CONGRESS of Frankfort closed its session on the 22d of August.
However commendable its apparent object, it cannot be concealed that this
and the preceding congress of the same kind have been little more than
processes for the elevation of insignificant people into a transient
notoriety. This year the usual philanthropic resolutions were passed.
Victor Hugo, of France, excused himself from attendance on the score of
ill-health; but the country was represented by Emile de Girardin. The
congress is to meet next year simultaneously with the great World's
Exposition at London. The most piquant incidents of the session were the
speech of George Copway, a veritable American Indian Chief, and the
presence, in one of the visitors' tribunes, of the famous General Haynau,
whose victories and cruelties last year, in prosecuting the Hungarian
war, were the theme in the congress of much fine eloquence and
indignation.


* * * * *


A PROJECT is on foot for opening a spacious Zoological and Botanical
Garden in the north part of the island of New York, immediately on the
Hudson. A plan of an association for the purpose has been drawn up by Mr.
Audubon, a son of the eminent ornithologist - the same who lately made an
overland journey to California. His courage and perseverance in that
expedition have given the public a sufficient pledge of the energy and
constancy of his character, and his scientific knowledge, educated as he
has been from his early childhood to be a naturalist, qualifies him as
few are qualified, for the superintendence of such an establishment. The
spot chosen for the garden is the property of the Audubon family,
adjoining the Trinity Cemetery, and contains about twenty acres, which
is about a third larger than the London Zoological Gardens.


* * * * *


The _London Standard_ having asserted that "Mr. D'Israeli is not nor ever
was a Jew," a correspondent of the _Morning Chronicle_ testifies that the
Member from Buckinghamshire was at one time a Jew; at least that "he
became a Jew _outwardly_, according to the customary and prescriptive
rites of that ancient persuasion; for a most respectable gentleman
(connected with literature) now deceased, has been heard to boast a
hundred times that he was present at the entertainment given in honor of
the ceremony."


* * * * *


Dr. GROSS, who has lately been appointed to the professorship of surgery
in the medical department of the New York University, is a gentleman of
very eminent abilities, who has long been conspicuous as a teacher and
practitioner at Louisville. He is a native of Berks county in
Pennsylvania, is descended from one of the old Dutch families there, and
was twelve or fourteen years of age before he knew a word of English. In
his _specialite_ he is of the first rank in America.


* * * * *


ANOTHER FESTIVAL IN GERMANY. - Near the close of August, musical and
Dramatic ceremonies in inauguration of the statue of Herder took place at
Weimar. On the 24th was represented at the theater the "Prometheus
Unbound," with overture and choruses by M. Liszt. On the 25th, after the
inauguration of the statue, Handel's "Messiah" was performed in the
Cathedral, where Herder used to preach, and where he lies buried. On the
28th, was given at the theater the first representation of "Lohengrin,"
anew opera, by Herr Wagner, with a prologue written for the occasion by
Herr Dingelstedt.


* * * * *


THE WORDSWORTH MONUMENT. - In a former number of this journal we noticed
the organization of a very influential committee, for raising
subscriptions, in order that suitable monuments might be erected to the
memory of the late poet, both in Westminster Abbey and in the locality
which was his chosen residence, and so often his chosen theme. We
perceive, with more regret than surprise, that the amounts advertised are
mean in the extreme. We fear that ten times the sums would have been more
readily collected, to do honor to a dancer or a singer.


* * * * *


REVOLUTIONARY STAMPS. - The Secretary of the New Jersey Historical
Society, W. A. Whitehead, Esq., has received through the Hon. W. B.



Online LibraryVariousInternational Miscellany of Literature, Art and Science, Vol. 1, No. 3, Oct. 1, 1850 → online text (page 33 of 34)