Edinburgh Review,  1 (1802–03), 163–72.

Art. XXIV. [Review of Travels Through Sweden, Finland, and Lapland by Joseph Acerbi]

[Henry P Brougham] *



Publications reviewed:

Acerbi 1802


Exploration, Climatology, Statistics, Scientific Practitioners, Religion, Magic, Mesmerism, Supernaturalism, Patronage, Government, Natural History, Illustration

People mentioned:

King Gustav III

    Observes that, while the Joseph Acerbi did not intend to give a statistical account of Sweden, 'we cannot imagine a more dry statistical account tha[n] that of Gothenburg' (164). Criticizes his personal remarks regarding academicians at Stockholm, Upsala, and elsewhere. Considers that some of the claims made by Acerbi have been invented; for example 'a man of talents [....] has published a demonstration of the existence of the devil in the human body [...] that the ceremony of exorcism was performed at the baptism of the present Prince Royal—that a gentleman of great abilities, accomplishments, and virtue [...] firmly believes, that by the influence of mesmerism, he can transport himself into heaven, hold converse with his deceased relatives, and distinctly perceive their souls clothed in white jackets'. Also criticizes a 'silly anecdote' which relates to the president of the Royal Society (Joseph Banks), and is 'an exaggerated edition of a falsehood contained in the dull writings of a contemptible satirist' (166). Criticizes as inconsistent and erroneous Acerbi's 'invectives against the government and academies of Sweden' (167). Later criticizes Acerbi's ingratitude in telling anecdotes at the expense of those who have aided him, as in the case of his remarks on Carl P Thunberg and other academicians to whom 'he afterwards informs us [...] his work is indebted for most of the natural history which it contains' (170). Observes that the 'figures of the insects [...] are excellent' (172).

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