« PreviousContinue »
With Marshal Carowzer,
But what does all this mean?--If M. Dufief had not, himself, told us, that he is a very great philosopher, and follows Nature's Method, we should, infallibly, have concluded, from the contents of this chapter, that he was some itinerant, vagabond quack-doctor; for every mountebank fills his books and his pamphlets with a list of the patients, which, he says, he has cured ;—see Brodum's literary and medical productions, -Solomon's Guide to Health,—and, above all, the advertisement, which greets our eyes in almost every daily paper. It begins in these words ;
“ Half a million of persons, in Europe, and America, have been cured of the most inveterate itch by the genuine patent Scotch Ointment. The genuine patent Scotch ointment is the only medicine in the world that cures the most inveterate itch in four hours, &c. &c.”
For the rest, see the daily news-papers ; we cannot quote any more from this very interesting advertisement, because our pages have been, already, too much filled with citations from the no less important productions of N. G. Dufief.
Here, in New-York, we all remember the pretensions, and the success of that miserable Charlatan, M. Martell, another French philosophist, who undertook, by discarding all granmar, in like manner as does M. Dufief, to teach the Latin language completely, even to little misses, in the space of a few months.
Towards the close of this terrible chapter, we are told, that Mrs. Elizabeth Merry the wife of the ci-devant British Minister, desired N. G. Dufief to instruct her in his new method, “ not for the purpose of acquiring the French language, to which, by her great knowledge of it, she does honour.”
Here then, is a new discovery ;-it seems, that Mrs. Merry understood the French language perfectly before, but she learned M. Dufief's method, in order, we suppose, to ascertain, whether or not she learned a more speedily by this new
and expeditious method,” than she did “ by the trite jargon of grammar,” that language, with which she was already, completely acquainted.
M. Dufief says, with singular modesty, that his method of instruction is 16
so simple in its process, and, at the same time, of so easy a discovery, that future ages will wonder, that one diametrically opposite to it was unaccouutably suffered to degrade the human understanding, and give a wrong bias to the minds of youth for so many centuries”!!!
Neither are we yet released ; for N. G. Dufief presents us with another chapter, which is entitled,
“ Extracts from Respectable Reviews." By an unlucky over-sight M. Dufief, in the two first sentences of this chapter, discloses to us the measure of his own intellectual strength, for he says,
“ Nothing can be more ridiculous in an author, than to become the publisher of his own praise, or of that, with which critics have honoured his productions. It is a weakness, which can, by no means, render him respectable, nor add to the lustre of his writings, since it is known to every one to be, in general, the offspring of vanity, the foible of enervated or feeble minds."
After this frank confession of his own mental incapacity, N. G. Dufief“ regrets that his present limits permit him to print only the concluding paragraphs of the respective reviews,”—which have heaped their praises upon Nature Displayed.
A damp, chill dew of horror stood upon our brows, when we saw a prospect of having to wade through the whole of all the Reviews, which have commended M. Dufief;-but we were, indeed, highly gratified to discover that only the conclusions of each Reviewer, who has discovered such marvellous sagacity, and such profound wisdom in the pages of our French philosopher, are inserted.
With these conclusions we shall favour our readers :
“This work is a system of instruction, which the writer has adopted from its conformity to the precepts of simple nature, and from his long and multiplied experience of its
He styles it the method of Nature, in teaching languages, and he anticipates the most splendid success in his VOL. II.
efforts to explain and introduce this method in the seminaries, not only of America, but of every part of the world, where the French language is attended to. This method possesses the singular excellence of being adapted to all languages.
So far as we are able to estimate the merits of works of this nature, we do not hesitate to bestow the feeble sanction of our praise, and the slender aid of our wishes for its success.
Literary Magazine. “ Finally, we conclude, that those who peruse
" Nature Displayed with attention, will agree with us, that it has much originality and much merit, while it promises such utility to society (as the principles are applicable to all languages) that the laws of the old world will probably be lost in those of the new, in teaching this important branch of literature.”
Port Folio. “ The chief merit of this method consists in its being a close imitation of the process of nature in conveying the knowledge of language to children. A higher encomium need not, in our opinion, be sought by the ambition of the author. We hope this performance will be in the hands of all, who wish to spare themselves the drudgery, the circuitousness, and the waste of time, which attend the acquisition of languages in the modes commonly practised."
Medical Repository. We, therefore, conclude these remarks by wishing him success in his laudable undertaking, proportioned to the ingenuity and ability, with which these volumes are executed, We are happy to learn, that several instructors in different parts of the United States are teaching the French language on Mr. Dufief's principles.” Panoplist, or Christian Armory.
“ We consider this work, not only, as a valuable acquisition to the student of the French language, but as a performance, which reflects credit on the literature of our country.
Monthly Anthology and Boston Review. In common justice we are bound to presume, that the gentlemen, who wrote these respective reviews, did not wilfully praise a book, which they knew to be bad ;-for that would be to charge them with the guilt of a baseness and a fraud utterly unworthy of all those, who have the least pretensions to the characters of gentlemen and scholars ;-in common charity, therefore, we are irresistably compelled to conclude, that all those reviewers, who have covered “ Nature Dis
played" with their encomiums, were utterly ignorant of the subject, concerning which N. G. Dufief has taken upon himself to print and to publish a book.
Neither is this the only instance, in which the literary journalists have been egregiously mistaken ;-it is well known, that the authors of the Leipsic Acts of the Learned, that Dr. Wilkins, and the writer of the celebrated John Selden's life, in the Biographia Britannica, not only discovered the Table Talk of Selden to be a poor business, but, that it actually was not the production of Selden.
But the most amusing blunder of this sort happened about the middle of the last century in Britain. Dr. Campbell, the author of a great work, called—“ A political Survey of Great Britain,”—was, one day, dining in company with some literary friends, when it was asserted, that M. Bayle, the author of the well-known dictionary, which bears his name, was the only man, who could write many pages together, in such a manner, that the generality of his readers could not tell whether he was in jest or in earnest. Upon this, Campbell declared, that he would write a book, which should completely puzzle the public, as to its meaning and import. Secrecy was injoined upon the persons present, and Dr. Campbell soon after published that celebrated little book, entitled“ Hermippus Redivivus," which seems to be written for the sole purpose of proving, that the lives of old men might be prolonged to a very great period by inhaling the breath of young virgins.
No sooner was the book published, than the British Reviewers were astonished at the learning, and wisdom, and depth of thought, and ingenuity displayed by its author in demonstrating that which he never really intended to demonstrate.--Nay more, Dr. M.Kenzie, a physician, then in London, and on the wrong side of sixty, actually, took lodgings at Kensington, close to a young ladies' boarding-school, in order to benefit by the atmosphere, which was impregnated by the salubrious respiration of the juvenile damsels.
There is, however, this very material difference between the Hermippus Redivivus of Dr. Campbell and the Nature Displayed of N. G. Dufief; namely, that the Hermippus Re
divivus is replete with learning, ingenuity, and humour, while M. Dufief's Nature Displayed is full of stupidity, ignorance and impudence ;-abounds with more bold assertions followed by the weakest arguments, of any book among the productions of obtrusive dulness.
But to be serious ;-for the contemplation of incorrigible ignorance is sometimes apt to produce a serious effect ;--it is of much importance, that those, who conduct literary journals, should listen to, and profit by the following remarks of one of the most spirited satyrists, and most accomplished critics of the present age.
“ It is to be wished, that Reviewers, sensible of the influence their opinions necessarily have on the public taste, could divest themselves of their partialities, when they sit down to the execution of --what, I hope, they consider, -as their solemn duty. We should not, then, find them as in the instance before us, recommending a work to favour, deserving universăl reprobation and contempt. This is, perhaps, requiring too much ; as it supposes them not possessed of the feelings of other men. And yet, on considering the importauce of the office they have assumed, and the good or evil they have the means of dispensing, I have, on more than one occasion, lamented, that they were
No more but even mortals, and commanded
(To be continued.)
AN INQUIRY INTO OUR FOREIGN RELATIONS, &c.
(Continued from Vol. 2. No. 5. page 303.)
by our administration towards France and Spain, which he scruples not to call“ the consummation of national disgrace.” We are again called to listen to the trumpet of alarm,'as to the power and the designs of France, and are favoured with another portrait of Napoleon, terrible enough ;--we are, however, informed, that he is neither Alexander, nor Julius