« PoprzedniaDalej »
hood ; or, which comes to the same cal scenery, and he is a prodigything, a wilful misrepresentation of a man-monster among writers: take the words uttered, whatever they these actually embodied and endless were. We are prudently kept in the materials from him, and he is a comdark, as to the place at which, the mon man, with as little original time when, and the person by whom power of mind as he has (unfortuthese or some such words were said nately) independence or boldness of to be uttered : had we been furnish- spirit !" I would not disturb, by ed with the smallest clue, to get at any commentary of mine, the effect direct evidence, the falschood should which this unrivalled specimen of have been made as manifest as it is rank nonsense is calculated to proridiculously malicious. As it is, how- duce upon the risible muscles of ever, nobody who reads what follows your readers. Who but an idiot or can doubt for a moment on the point. a cockney could have written such “ Eren Sir Walter Scott, I under- gibberish? Is not the genius of stand, talks of the Scotch Novels in Homer “the genius of national traell companies; and, by waving the dition ?” and if you take from him title of the author, is at liberty to re- costume, dialect, manners, characpeat the subject ad infinitum.” Rous- ters, popular superstitions, supernaseau tells us, in his Confessions, that, tural events, and local scenery,” how besides his propensity to thieving, he much, pray, will you leave? Perwas the most inveterate and incu- form the same operation on Chaucer rable liar in existence: but I cannot and Shakespeare, and then tell us induce myself to believe that even he the result. Whó but a mind of the could have brought himself to face first order can work up these mateout any thing so bad as this, espe- rials into one great and imperishable cially where detection was so easy, so fabric, and embody the spirit at once unavoidably certain. I would con- of history and tradition, in the chaceive myself writing a libel, not only racters and events of his fable? If upon Sir Walter Scott, but upon all this be not“ invention”—what is it? those who have the honour of enjoy- Try my Lord of Byron by the rule ing his friendship, were I to enter a laid down by his brother Liberalformal disclaimer against this gra- strip his best and most admired tuitous, monstrous, and malicious poems of their oriental costume, falsehood. I call upon the writer of manners, superstitions, grotesque the article to make good his asser- characters, and local scenery-and tion, or submit to the infamy of hav. having performed this process of abing invented it. I know well he can- straction on the Giaour, the Bride of not do so, and I therefore use the Abydos, the Corsair, Lara, and the less circumlocution in describing him early parts of Childe Harold, be kind in the only language which applies enough to tell us how much there is to him. It is needless to say how left. His lordship would not care to notoriously true is the very reverse
abide the result of the experiment. of the statement here put forth. You will not expect me to dissect
It would be too bad in me to with- a tythe of the nonsense contained in hold the following, when speaking of this miserable tisade: if you do, you this subject : “ The genius of their will be disappointed. For example, greatest living writer, is the genius of we are told that a Scotchman is not pational tradition. He has damnable “ an unit, but an aggregate; not a iteration in him ; but hardly one link, but a chain;" that is, one grain of sheer invention. His mind Scotchman not one Scotchman, is turned instinctively backward on but more : and, in the very next the past—he cannot project it for- sentence, it is added, “ he belongs ward to the future. HE HAS NOT to a regiment;" although two lines THE FACULTY OF IMAGINING ANY before we had been assured that he THING, either in individual or gene- himself constituted the whole regiral truth, different from what has ment-in short, was omnes in uno. been handed down to him for such. What can a man make of this ? Give him costume, dialect, manners, But a Scotchman, it is said, is a popular superstitions, grotesque cha- coward,” and a coward of the racters, supernatural events, and lo- worst description : “he crouches to power, and would be more disposed of the author, that I may not be sugto fall upon and crush, than come pected of mis-representing his meanforward to the support of a sinking ing. “ The delicate sensibility (not individual." Now, were this true, to say soreness) of the Scotch, in matit would be very bad: its falsehood, ters of moral reputation, may be acdirect manifest falsehood, does not counted for from their domiciliary render it the less fit to appear in system of church-government, of “ The Liberal.” Had any thing Kirk-Assemblies, and Ruling Elders; approaching to truth been said of our and in the unprincipled assurance countrymen, we should have won- with which assertions of this sort are dered how the devil it got there. It thrown out, and the panic-terror would have been out of place, and which they strike into the timid or out of keeping. As to the matter of hypocritical, one may see the recowardice, however, it would not sa- maining effects of Penance Sheets vour much of prudence, were Mr and Cutty Stools! Poor Burns! he Hunt, or whoever is the author of raised up the ghost of Dr Hornbook, this paper, to act upon the opinion but did not lay the spirit of cant and he has here propounded: he might lying in the cunning North!”. It is perhaps find he had reckoned with- always an unpleasant thing when one out his host. But “a Scotchman receives a compliment not to be able would rather fall upon, and crush, to return it. I should be writing a than come forward to the support of malicious and unpardonable libel, a sinking individual,” like Mr Hunt, were I to accuse the Liberuls of any for example. It is extremely proba
“ delicate sensibility (not to say soreble he would. He hates infidels, ja- ness) in matters of moral reputacobins, and manufacturers of Pari- tion:" I am aware they have none, sinas, and Stories of Rimini, with all and I would not for the world put his heart, with all his soul, and with them to the blush.
But I may all his strength; to such gentry, he be allowed to inform them, that might indeed be provoked to admi- the “ domiciliary system” of which nister a kick in the breech en passant. they talk, has long since (the more He thinks society would be well rid pity say I) gone to the tomb of all of such fellows, who are either pan. the Capulets. Our clergy seem to dering to the passions of the multi- have imbibed a large portion of the tude, or occupied in providing furni- light of the age, and with it a truly ture for the bagnio. But I would Episcopalian contempt for “ domicinot have it be believed, that, there- liary” visits, and catechizing the fore, he is either destitute of feeling young. In fact, we are in a fair way or generosity. He is not such a fog- to acquire the full and inestimable gy-headed, beef-eating, gullible ani- benefits of the noble prerogative of mal as Master Bull: he looks before non-residence itself: so far have we he leaps : but I shall be glad to find advanced in the career of improvean Englishman of them all, who, ment. The tie by which a clergywhen he has fairly reconnoitred his man of old was bound to his flock way, will leap beyond him.
has been disrupted where it could Next, as to his being the slave of not be conveniently dissolved; and, authority, the blockhead who made except for an hour or two on Sunday, the assertion is as ignorant of the he sees and knows as little about character he attempts to describe, as them (especially in large towns) as of the inhabitants of Saturn's Ring. about the Junta at Pisa, or the inhaA Scotchman's greatest fault, perhaps, bitants of the Odenwald. What could is the little deference he pays to au- Mr Hunt wish for more? Can he thority, and the habitual propensity deny that we are in a fair way to get he displays to think and act for him- rid of every shred and remnant of self. This originates in two causes; “Penance Sheets and Cutty Stools ?” the natural acuteness of the people, He will indeed be sorry to learn, that and the universal diffusion of know- these are many splendid and honourledge.
able exceptions: I would not willingBut the greatest flaw in the Scot- ly give him pain; but I must pay tish character yet remains to be no- some regard to truth. Yes, there ticed, and I sliall do it in the words are noble exceptions; and a re-acticn is daily taking place in the feelings sulting pity. Hallowed be the mould and wishes of a people, who are not to that covers his final resting-place ! be driven out of all reverence and It is owing to the restraints which veneration for the best and most effi- the “ domiciliary system” imposes, eient part of our ecclesiastical discip- that, according to this Liberal, “ of line, by the sneer of witlings, the all blackguards, a Scotch blackguard taunts of libertines, the profanity of is the worst.” And for this a curious Pisans, or the blasphemies of tho- reason is assigned : “ The character rough-bred and openly-avowed in- sits ill upon him for wunt of use, and fidels. This, verily, is a grievous is sure to be most outrageously caribacksliding; but under all the af- catured.” For my own part, I have flictions and troubles incident to the not the least objection to admit, that “ domiciliary system,” it is odds that England is capable of furnishing we shall not send to Pisa for conso- more finished blackguards than Scotlation. As to "poor Burns !” (how land; I should be sorry to contest hateful is the pity of those rapscal- the claim which is here set up in her lions !) no man can admire his genius behalf: " by worst,” therefore, is onmore fervently or intensely than I ly meant less accomplished in the cha. do; but I cannot, at the same tiine, racter. But, unhappily, towards the shut my eyes to the melancholy truth, close, the secret of the whole philipthat his writings have greatly tended pic comes out. Mr Hunt conceives to lower the tone of moral feeling himself to have been rather roughly among his countrymen, and that handled by a parcel of rogues, with there is occasionally about them a more fun in their noddles than malice savour of profanity and blackguard. in their hcarts, and greatly his overism, which cannot be too deeply exe. match in humour, wit, and sarcasm: crated or deplored. I abhor cant as And now, like a magnanimous Cockmuch as any man, but I shall not ney, he takes his revenge by libelling hesitate to proclaim what I am satis- a whole people, of whose national fied is truth, merely because I may and individual character every line stand in the minority. The ridicule he writes proves his entire ignorance, which Barns so frequently directed while they just know enough of him against
sacred things not only attaches to despise heartily both his talents an ineffaceable stain to his memory, and his principles. In this spirit, but has been productive of incredible and warming as he gets on, he inesil, and begotten among our people dites the following dreadfully puna spirit of levity and irreverence, un- gent anathema: " Their impudence known before his time. The uni- is extreme, their malice cold blooded, versal diffusion of his works, and the covert, crawling, deliberate, without natural delight with which they are the frailty or excuse of passion. They read, will show that I have not ex. club their vices and their venality to aggerated their influence. But let gether, and, by the help of both tome not be cruel or unjust to the gether, are invincible!!!" memory of an unfortunate son of ge- I have been greatly amused, and, aius, in whose bosom the sacred fire you may believe, occasionally a little burned with such resplendent bright- shocked, (which means a great deal, Dess. He erred from exuberance considering, that, according to Mr of feeling, and not from settled de. Hunt, “ there is a natural hardness pravity of heart. He was no infidel, and want of nervous sensibility about nor was he unfriendly to the religion the Scotch”) with the article entitled of his “beloved native land.” He “ Les Charmettes, and Rousseau," handled edged tools without being and the attempt made to white-wash aware of his danger : but he lived to the character of that eloquent but repent of his error. And he would profligate man, I regret that I canhave been the first to proclaim his not enter into : somewhat at large. contempt for, and to refuse to frater. The best apology for Rousseau is, nize with the slip-slop, maudlin dri- that he was stark staring mad all veliers, who have the impudence to his life. None of his actions indievoke his inmortal name with an ex. cates a man compos sui. His chapression of their disgusting and in. racter is a bundle of contradictions.
He was not only capable of, but really did, I should know what to committed some of the most atro- think of herself. A young woman cious, as well as despicable crimes. recommending a tale of seduction, His propensity to thieving was a full of voluptuous and inflammatory disease of which he was never, as he description, to young men! Imp-1 himself confesses, entirely cured. He wish I could say-Impossible ! But was addicted to habitual misrepre- I have not the means at hand of assentation. He abjured his religion certaining the fact, so I must leave at Turin, that he might eat dishonest it as I found it. bread. The affair of the ribbon, The worst feature, however, in very trifling in itself, became a crime Rousseau's character is, that he sinof the blackest dye, when he laid the ned with his eyes open. He saw cleartheft at the door of a poor, friend- ly the heinous nature of the crime he less, female fellow-servant, who had was about to commit-and he comalways treated him with kindness. mitted it. Of this we have an inThe nature of his liaison with Ma
stance in the matter of his abjuring dame de Warens is well known-he his religion. “ Though young, was a kept man-mistress. The au
I was sufficiently convinthor of this paper-his panegyrist ced, that whatever religion might be has forgotten that, in conjunction the true one, I was about to sell with another man, Carrio—as great a mine; and even should I chance to scoundrel as himself-he bought a chuse the best, I lied to the Holy girl of her mother—a greater black- Ghost, and merited the disdain of guard than either-in order to bring every good man!" Yet, with this her up as their common mistress : sufficient conviction on his mind, he and be has frankly admitted that, sold his religion! The Confessions (to use the words of Mr Burke,) “he furnish many similar examples. left the spawn of his disgustful a- The coincidence, in this respect, mours to languish in a Foundling between Rousseau and Gibbon, is Hospital.” Did his character im- remarkable. Both abjured the reliprove as he advanced in years, and gion in which they had been eclucaacquired fame by his writings? Quite ted, and became Catholics,—with the reverse. He became intolerable, this advantage in favour of the latter, first to his friends, and latterly to that he was converted, not bribed to himself. In what respects has he the change: and both ended by beconferred any benefit on mankind ? coming professed infidels. This fact In none that I am aware of. He is highly instructive, and would furwas eloquent--powerfully eloquent; nish matter for a volume. and that was all. But on what sub- The author before me pleads hard jects were hisconfessedly great powers for Rousseau's exculpation,-in reemployed ? In maintaining the most spect of his inhuman treatment of his pernicious paradoxes, and pandering children,-because he repented of his to the most dangerous passions. The barbarity. But to what did his repent. faggots were piled up to his hand, ance amount ? Did it induce him to and he applied the fire. Of his Nou- alter his conduct, and atone for it, by velle Heloise there has hitherto been taking home to his bosom, and his scarce two opinions: it is a master- heart, the unhappy beings on whom piece of eloquence and profligacy. he had inflicted the curse of existence? But the author before me thinks dit. No: it was a mere vision of his ferently—let him enjoy his opinion. troubled imagination: a spectre he Mine will not be affected, although had conjured up and tricked out in he brings forward a female authority fantastic horrors, to frighten his on his side. I wish he had quoted own mind: it has accordingly left the exact words of Miss Seward. I
no trace of its existence, except in can hardly bring rzyself to believe the pages of his Confessions. But that, “sensible maiden” as she was, 'I aust have done-Vale! she would recommend such a book
JONATHAN OLDMIXON. to the perusal of young men: if she
BY SIR BOBERT
TRAVELS IN GEORGIA, PERSIA, AR
low-roofed dwellings which form the MENIA, ANCIENT BABYLONIA, &c. present village. Of the once consiDURING THE YEARS 1817, 1818, derable town of Kassamabad, which 1819, AND 1820.
Chardin, in the year 1686, found KER PORTER.
fully inhabited, the only vestige now
is a long black line of ruins, with the (Continued.)
dome of a lonely mosque. At Dhay In his progress towards Ispahan, Nain and Sin-Sin, Sir Robert found Sir Robert traversed the salt desert ruins similar to those at Lankerof Kaveer. Numerous and wide rood ; and from their being divided sheets of salt, to the depth of half an into domestic apartments, and the inch, spread over the plain, as smooth walls of those at Dhay Nain being in and level as a mirror, reflecting the some places covered with portraits in sun-beams with a mirror's brightness, fresco, he was led to conclude that and sometimes producing the most they had originally been dwellingextraordinary optical delusions. In houses. The town of Kashan prethis cheerless tract, the eye is sel- sented an agreeable contrast to the dom refreshed with the sight of wa- dilapidation of most of the cities ter ; and if a stream occasionally ap- which lay in our traveller's present pears, it is only to inflict the curse tract. It was in all its former proof Tantalus on the thirst-tortured sperity; its manufactures of silk traveller, who finds it as salt as the brocades and shawls, and of copper soil through which it flows.
utensils, being as flourishing and in The sacred city of Khom, renowned as great request as ever. for the shrine of the fair saint Fati
Of the miserable system of governma, and many other holy and digni- ment in Persia, and of the still more fied personages, presents the anoma- deplorable manner in which it is adlous and disagreeable appearance of ministered, Sir Robert gives a disrepair and ruin, bustle and desola- tressing account, when speaking of tion. Sir Robert was now following the kanaughts, or aqueducts, which the tract which Sir John Malcolm fertilize, by irrigation, the valley of had pursued ; and wherever he went,
Guz. he received the most gratifying proofs of the respect and affection
“ Indeed, there is no source whence with which the remembrance of that the crown draws its revenue so producexcellent officer was still cherished tively, as from that of these waters ; for in Persia. In many of the villages, the advantage of which artificial channels, the inhabitants date their marriages,
a certain sum is paid yearly to governor the birth of their children, from
Great as that may be, it is short
of what it might be, were the dispersion the era of his visit among them; and of these aqueducts better understood ; the peasants, in the warmth of their and were the dues properly collected, the gratitude for his beneficence, used to
result would be double profit to the say, that “ if the rocks and trees
crown. But, in this country (as it is should suddenly receive the power sometimes even with ourselves) there are of speech, their first word would be a train of intermediate agents between the Malcolm."
government and the tax, who either eat Of the numerous ruins which our up three-fourths of the expected sum, traveller had yet seen, those of Lan- before it reaches the treasury, or so grind ker-rood were the most striking and each other at every remove from the first singular. They consisted of large delegated hand, that when the last and buildings, totally separated from each
full exaction is made from the industrious other. In each building were several peasant, or trader, or warder of a caracentral arches, supporting a pointed vansary, (it being demanded in sufficient dome; while from the body of the edi- quantity to stick a reasonable profit to the fice projected smaller divisions, again its way to those of the sovereign, the
coffers of each successive extortioner, in divided into cells, the whole being finished with the greatest care and
poor labouring wretch, at the bottom of
the ladder, is made to dig the gold out of neatness. Nearly a hundred of these
his very veins; to pour it out with his insulated structures, mingling with sweat and his blood; and giving his last old walls and towers fallen into the handful of grain this year, with all his most picturesque ruin, surrounded the means of subsistence, to these hard task.