Obrazy na stronie

purity and sweetness which nothing can contaminate. Sedition, wise enough in her generation, has not misunderstood this; and hence that virulence, which, beginning in a quarter we do not wish to name, and descending into quarters we do not condescend to name, has ended in' an absolute Jacquerie of the pen, waging war against all that is noble and illustrious in the land. While men, with whose names we forbear, as much as possible, to pollute our pages, were making their thousands by two-pences and shillings, extracted from penury, disaffection and indolence, or from a love of scandal, more mischievous perhaps than all the other three, it was sufficient for the bounty of the crown to have descended upon living merit, or its ancestors, to awaken all the noisy virulence of a crew, who are only quiet while searching for a new subject of clamour, and whose least offensive position is but inability of wickedness. If the particular species of clamour, to which we allude, has in some degree subsided, we doubt whether the cessation of hostilities is so much to be ascribed to a full sense of its absurdity and wickedness, as to a growing consciousness that the lewd libidinous stare, directed against the jewels of the crown, would in time be transferred to wealth of a more substantial kind, and that the fund-holder and land-owner would come in for a share of that clamour which had hitherto been coutined to the pensionist and the reversionist.

But to return to our own more proper theme. If Athens exbibited no Red Book or Pension List, it was because republican parsimony and niggardliness are proverbial; but she possessed that which came nearest to it, an esemption from the numerous duties imposed upon wealth and rank, an exemption, which if it did not imply the acquisition of riches by gift, implied their acquisition by protection. Some demagogue of the day, however, was found, not merely with the folly to question the propriety of such an exemption, but with the wickedness to demand it back from the few meritorious families on which it had been conferred, either in their own persons or by reversion; and Athens to her other follies had nearly added that of forgetting, that among all nations of the world it has ever been the custom rather to benefit some that are unworthy, in gratitude for benefits previously received, than, on account of the undeserving, to take back what has been given to those deserving of * favour. From this disgrace, however, she was saved by the earliest efforts of that matchless orator, whose loftiness of mind, and, we had almost said, whose undeviating rectitude of opinion command still more admiration ihan his eloquence, and who, by the union of all three, has thrown such a blaze over the names of Athens and democracy, that from the passionate readers of Demosthenes no fair or unprejudiced view of

Oratio contra Leptinem, p. 469.

either must ever be expected. Such a shred and tatter did this senseless proposal become in his rending hands, so withered and so blasted was it left by the lightnings of his eloquence, that whatever might have been the wishes of popular cupidity, (and that they were pretty strong, is evinced by the solemn laws and formalities, which the framer of the bill overruled to carry his purpose, they sunk beneath a young man's honest fervour: and of this project little more attached to the name of Athens than the infamy of its suggestion: Reckless as she was of reputation, inconsistent as the winds in character, and steeped to the very lips in political guilt and depravity, for once she yielded to her better genius, and in the hour of national distress she could lay the unction to her soul, that only in the * periods of indignant oratory her dead had been arrayed against her living, and the voice of the tomb borrowed to arraign her of broken faith and perjured promise; of honour sacrificed to necessity; of present exertion paralysed by past ingratitude; of taking from the son what had been conceded to the father, and robbing the grave, to confer a short and guilty relief upon the living !

Something has now perhaps been said to show, that if the ancient republics of Greece are to be held up as models of admiration, that purpose must be effected by a stronger hand than Mr. Dalzel's;' and that they will be so held up there can be little doubt, when we see the side attempts made to recommend republicanism, even as it exists beyond the Atlantic, in all the glories of bundling, gouging, negro-driving, dram-drinking ; such poems as the Colunibiad, such speeches as Mr. Adams makes at convivial nieetings, and young ladies, who, when asked to dance, reply, 'I guess I have no occasion.'+ If a spirit of bold inquiry and laborious research be the distinguishing characteristic of the present age; full enough of that inquiry and research has been directed against the credit of our own I institutions, and the satisfaction which it is for our interest to take in those institutions. We are not, therefore, losing our time in being beforehand with inquirers of this class in one branch of investigation; and in the endeavour to show, that if the popular governments of antiquity deserve attention, (and we know not where attention can be more properly directed,) they deserve it as warpings, and not as examples. Such an endeavour may not lead us through the primrose path' of literature, but strong appetites look for fruit as well as flowers, and it is of the first importance, that the knowledge more particularly allotted to the youth of the better classes should not be polluted at its source. Whatever of respect may be lost for Greece, while we contemplate her political relations, her literature still remains as it has been, the model of all that is perfect in composition, a source of the purest delight, an object of boundless admiration. Even from that system of things, which we have seen the cause of so much mischief, resulted no small portion of that glory, which, like a perpetual halo, has encircled the name of Greece, and which must ever class her among the most wonderful of nations; those training-schools and exercises which moulded the human shape into its most perfect form ; those beautiful groupings and processions; those dramatic productions of either kind, which it has tasked the utmost strength of modern times to equal; and those triumphs of art, commemorating the triumphs of intellect, which have hitherto left initation at a boundless distance.


* Orat. c. Leptinem, 483.

+ It is painful to see a man of real talent indulging in such absurd speculations, giving countenance to foolish innovators, quibus quieta movere magna merces videtur, and condescending to lend the petulance of his wit to the grovelling maligners of their country's institutions. Jonathan Kentucky will forgive us for quoting, on this occasion, an author, whose little finger, as he will be most ready to own, had more sense in it than his and our body together. The love of things ancient, says the venerable Hooker, doth argue stayedness; but levity and want of experience maketh apt unto innovations. That which wisdom did first begin, and hath been with good men long continued, challengeth allowance of them that succeed, although it plead for itself nothing. Again - Sharp and subtle discoveries of wit procure many times very great applause ; but being laid in the balance with that which the habit of sound experience plainly delivereth, they are over-weighed.' Ecclesiastical Polity, book 5.

To persons of this class we recommend the following quotation from the speech which has just been alluded to: 'I have been told with great earnestness, that our oppo

Of much that has been objected to her in the foregoing remarks, the materials might have been collected from a source more inviting than that which we have chiefly used; from one, who leaves us wiser and yet not sadder men, who gives us the advantage of knowledge without its asperities. Founded, as most of the leading characters in the Aristophanic comedy are, on the various attributes of the people-king' of Athens, it would more particularly have fallen in with the scope of the present observations, to exhibit his

nents will meet us with the following argument, as a proof that exemption from the statecharges ought not to be allowed even to the most illustrious merit ; that neither the Lacedæmonians, whose policy is marked with so much wisdom, nor the Thebans, ever confer a similar mark of respect : and vet, it will be added, no deficiency of great men was ever remarked in either of these states. Men of Athens, arguments of this kind have in them, I allow, something specious and well adapted to persuade you to abolish the exemption ; they want but one recommendation, and that is_common equity. For I have yet to learn, that in laws, in manners, and in the mode of administering the government, any two states can be more dissimilar than our own and those which have just been mentioned. Nay, this very argument, if it ever should be advanced, is a strong proof in point of what I say; for our adversaries by advancing it, will be precisely doing that which at Lacedæmon it would be illegal in them to do; for there no liberty is allowed to praise the institutions of Athens or of any other country ; so far from it, speech, as well as action, is limited ; and as their own institutions are by obligation the rule of their life, so the praises of those institutions are by obligation the rule of their commendations. Demosth. contr. Lept. p. 488.

financial financial Demus in his alternate fits of elevation and depression, in his fancied wealth and real poverty, in his mixed character of dupe and bully: but to a large class of persons the truths which are spoken with a laughing face become doubtful, and to a larger class the name of Aristophanes is probably becoming what that of the Nile was to Anastasius. A similar suspicion obliges us to avoid the temptation of a long note by Mr. Dalzel's cditor, which might hurry us into another disquisition on the subject of Socrates, We are impatient to make some atonement for the manner in which we were last compelled to speak of that most illustrious of names, and we also long to relieve the young advocate from that state of uncertainty in which sonje recent criticisms appear to have left him respecting the relative merits of the philosopher and the poet; but the fear of the Nile is upon us, and Aristophanes must, for the present, remain suspended in Mr. Dalzel's imagination, like King Trisancu in the Eastern mythology, when the gods of Swerga said · Fall !' and the pious men said · Rise!'


In our last Number, L. P. 350, 1. 26. for 'be done to, read be done than to. Pp. 359, 360. for 'Rieg,' read · Riez.' P. 360, l. 23. for the time thut Augustine wrote,' read' the time of Augustine, wrote:'



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