20 FEBRUARY 1836, Page 19


THE nature of this production is not very new, but there is something of novelty in its form. It is in reality a collection of individual opinions and remarks, such as the more verbose and ambitious have been wont to spin into essays; whilst those who fancied that the soul of ROCHEFOUCAULT had passed into them were content with publishing their maxims. The writer before us has endeavoured to combine both these modes, by borrowing

the form of a dictionary ; so that, when he is capable of dealing

largely with the subject which he selects for his lucubrations, mt yields an essay, or, in the cant language of the day, an article; when the word suggests to him but few phrases, its explanation gives rise to an apophthegm ; and many of his key-words halt mid- way between the two. " Face," for instance, is dismissed in half a line; " Cunning " occupies half a page; " Innovation " gives rise to three pages. The author of the Tin Trumpet is sometimes acute, sometimes ingenious, frequently pointed, and he often luckily introduces quotation or a witticism: but smartness is his distinguishing. quality. As his points, however, are often verbal, he is apt, like all word-catchers, to push his refinements too far. But the grand

fault of the book is its lack of truth and matter. Now and then one meets with a judicious or sensible passage; but as the author depends more upon fancy than knowledge, he too frequently en- dows things with the qualities he thinks they have, instead of those which they really have.

The reader may wonder how such a book as we have described acquired the title in which it rejoices: and its name, sooth to say, is merely arbitrary,—adopted, apparently, for the sake of an in- troduction, that professes to give an account of the origin of the

collection. In this framework there is nothing new: we have the trite story of an old humourist retiring to the country, getting up

a weekly meeting, recording the best of the remarks, dying, and leaving his collection to the editor, (who, not content with the present volumes, threatens more) ; and the Tin Trumpet was the instrument with which he kept order, the old fellow having an antipathy to the president's hammer.