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yond anything.' The retired philosopher did not make sufficient allowance for Cobbett: the latter
absence from the object.
acted on the momentary feeling or impulse, and never calculated the consequence to himself or others. We admit he was eager to escape when a difficulty arose, and did not scruple as to the means; but we are considering him only as a public writer. No individual in Britain was better known than Cobbett, down to the minutest circumstance in his character, habits, and opinions. He wrote freely of himself, as he did of other men; and in all his writings there was much natural freshness, liveliness, and vigour. He had the power of making every one who read him feel and understand completely what he himself felt and described. The idiomatic strength, copiousness, and purity of his style have been universally acknowledged ; and when engaged in describing rural subjects, or depicting local manners, he is very happy. On questions of politics or criticism he fails, because he seems resolved to attack all great names and established opinions. He remarks on one occasion that anybody could, at the time he wrote, be made a baronet, since Walter Scott and Dudley Coutts Trotter (what a classification :) had been so elevated. ‘It has become,” he says, ‘of late years the fashion to extol the virtues of potatoes, as it has been to admire the writings of Milton and Shakspeare;’ and he concludes a ludicrous criticism on Paradise Lost by wondering how it could have been tolerated by a people amongst whom astronomy, navigation, and chemistry are understood. Yet Cobbett had a taste for what may be termed the poetry of nature. He is loud in his praises of the singing-birds of England (which he missed so much in America), and he loved to write on green lanes and meadows. The following description of his boyish scenes and recollections is like the simple and touching passages in Richardson's Pamela:
After living within a few hundreds of yards of Westminster Hall, and the Abbey Church, and the Bridge, and looking from my own windows into St James's Park, all other buildings and spots appear mean and insignificant. I went to-day to see the house I formerly occupied. How small ! It is always thus: the words large and small are carried about with us in our minds, and we forget real dimensions. The idea, such as it was received, remains during our When I returned to Eng
| land in 1800, after an absence from the country parts
of it of sixteen years, the trees, the hedges, even the parks and woods, seemed so small ! It made me laugh to hear little gutters, that I could jump over, called rivers! The Thames was but a “creek o' But when, in about a month after my arrival in London, I went to Farnham, the place of my birth, what was my surprise ! Everything was become so pitifully small! I had to cross, in my postchaise, the long and dreary heath of Bagshot. Then, at the end of it, to mount a hill called Hungry Hill; and from that hill I knew that I should look down into the beautiful and fertile vale of Farnham. My heart fluttered with impatience, mixed with a sort of fear,
to see all the scenes of my childhood; for I had learned before the death of my father and mother. There is a hill not far from the town called Crooksbury Hill, which rises up out of a flat in the form of a cone, and is planted with Scotch fir-trees. Here I used to take the eggs and young ones of crows and magpies. This hill was a famous object in the neighbourhood. It served as the superlative degree of height. “As high as Crooksbury Hill, meant, with us, the utmost degree of height. Therefore the first object that my eyes sought was this hill. I could not believe my eyes! . Literally, speaking, I for a moment thought the famous hill removed, and a little heap put in its stead; for I had seen in New Brunswick a single rock, or hill of solid rock, ten times as big, and four or five times as high The post-boy, going down hill, and not a bad road, whisked me in a few minutes to the Bush Inn, from the garden of which I could see the prodigious sand-hill where I had begun my gardening works. What a nothing! But now came rushing into my mind all at once my pretty little garden, my little blue smock-frock, my little nailed shoes, my pretty pigeons that I used to feed out of my hands, the last kind words and tears of my gentle and tender-hearted and affectionate mother | I hastened back into the room. If I had looked a moment longer I should have dropped. When I came to reflect, what a change! I looked down at my dress. What a change! What scenes I had gone through I How altered my state! I had dined the day before at a secretary of state's in company with Mr Pitt, and had been waited upon by men in gaudy liveries' I had had nobody to assist me in the world. No teachers of any sort. Nobody to shelter me from the consequence of bad, and no one to counsel me to good behaviour. I felt proud. The distinctions of rank, birth, and wealth, all became nothing in my eyes; and from that moment (less than a month after my arrival in England) I resolved never to bend before them.
There is good sense and right feeling in the following paragraph on field sports:—
Taking it for granted, then, that sportsmen are as good as other folks on the score of humanity, the sports of the field, like everything else done in the fields, tend to produce or preserve health. I prefer them to all other pastime, because they produce early rising; because they have no tendency to lead young men into vicious habits. It is where men congregate that the vices haunt. A hunter or a shooter may also be a gambler and a drinker; but he is less likely to be fond of the two latter if he be fond of the former. Boys will take to something in the way of pastime; and it is better that they take to that which is innocent, healthy, and manly, than that which is vicious, unhealthy, and effeminate. Besides, the scenes of rural sport are necessarily at a distance from cities and towns. This is another great consideration; for though great talents are wanted to be employed in the hives of men, they are very rarely acquired in these hives; the surrounding objects are too numerous, too near the eye, too frequently under it, and too artificial.
The miscellaneous writings of MR Southey are numerous, and all are marked by an easy flowing style, by extensive reading, a strain of thought and reflection simple and antiquated, occasional dialogues full of quaint speculation and curious erudition, and a vein of poetical feeling that runs through the whole, whether critical, historical, or political. In 1807 Mr Southey published a series of observations on our national manners and prospects, entitled Letters from England, by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella, three volumes. The foreign disguise was too thinly and lightly worn to insure concealment, but it imparted freedom and piquancy to the author's observations. On the subject of the church, on political economy, and on manufactures, Mr Southey seems to have thought then in much the same spirit displayed in his late works. His fancy, however, was more sportive, and his Spanish character, as well as the nature of the work, led to frequent and copious description, in which he excelled. In 1829 Mr Southey published Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, two volumes, in which the author, or ‘Montesinos,” holds conversations with the ghost of Sir Thomas More . The decay of national piety, the evil effects of extended commerce, and the alleged progress of national insecurity and disorganization, are the chief topics in these colloquies, which, though occasionally relieved by passages of beautiful composition, are diffuse and tedious, and greatly overstrained in sentiment. The other prose works of Mr Southey (exclusive of a vast number of essays in the Quarterly Review, and omitting his historical and biographical works already noticed) consist of his early Letters from Spain; A Short Residence in Portugal; Omniana, a collection of critical remarks and curious quotations; and The Doctor, five volumes, a work partly fictitious, but abounding in admirable description and quaint fanciful delineation of character.
THOMAS DE QUINCEY.
The Confessions of an English Opium Eater, a small volume published in 1822 (originally contained in the London Magazine), is a singular and striking work, detailing the personal experience of an individual who had, like Coleridge, become a slave to the use of opium. To such an extent had the author carried this habit, that he was accustomed to take three hundred and twenty grains a-day. He finally emancipated himself, but not without a severe struggle and the deepest suffering. The ‘Confessions’ are written by Thomas DE QUINCEY, a gentleman of extensive acquirements, literary and scholastic, son of an English merchant, and educated at Eton and Oxford. IIe has contributed largely to the periodical literature of the day, and is author of the admirable memoirs of Shakspeare and Pope in the Encyclopædia Britannica. The following extracts would do credit to the highest names in our original imaginative literature:—
[Dreams of the Opium Later.]
I have been every night of late transported into Asiatic scenes. I know not whether others share in my feelings on this point, but I have often thought that if I were compelled to forego England, and to live in China, and among Chinese manners and modes of life and scenery, I should go mad. The causes of my horror lie deep, and some of them must be common to others. Southern Asia in general is the seat of awful images and associations. As the cradle of the human race, it would have a dim and reverential feeling connected with it. But there are other reasons. No man can pretend that the wild, barbarous, and capricious superstitions of Africa, or of savage tribes elsewhere, affect in the way that he is affected by the ancient, monumental, cruel, and elaborate religions of Indostan, &c. The mere antiquity of Asiatic things, of their institutions, history, modes of faith, &c. is so impressive, that to me the vast age of the race and name overpowers the sense of youth in the
individual. A young Chinese seems to me an antediluvian man renewed. Even Englishmen, though not bred in any knowledge of such institutions, cannot but shudder at the mystic sublimity of castes that have flowed apart, and refused to mix, through such immemorial tracts of time; nor can any man fail to be awed by the names of the Ganges or the Euphrates. It contributes much to these feelings, that Southern
Asia is, and has been for thousands of years, the part
of the earth most swarming with human life; the great officina gentium. Man is a weed in those regions. The vast empires, also, into which the enormous population of Asia has always been cast, give a further sublimity to the feelings associated with all Oriental names or images. has in common with the rest of Southern Asia, I am terrified by the modes of life, by the manners, and the barrier of utter abhorrence and want of sympathy placed between us by feelings deeper than I can analyse. I could sooner live with lunatics or brute animals. All this, and much more than I can say, or have time to say, the reader must enter into before he can comprehend the unimaginable horror which these dreams of Oriental imagery and mythological tortures impressed upon me. Under the connecting feeling of tropical heat and vertical sunlights I brought together all creatures, birds, beasts, reptiles, all trees and plants, usages and appearances, that are to be found in all tropical regions, and assembled them together in China or Indostan. From kindred feelings I soon brought Egypt and all her gods under the same law. I was stared at, hooted at, grinned at, chattered at, by monkeys, by paroquets, by cockatoos. I ran into pagodas; and was fixed for centuries at the summit, or in secret rooms; I was the idol; I was the priest; I was worshipped I fled from the wrath of Brahma through all the forests of Asia; Vishnu hated me; Seeva laid wait for me. I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris; I had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and the crocodile trembled at. I was buried for a thousand years, in stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids. * * As a final specimen, I cite one of a different character, from 1820. The dream commenced with a music which now I often hear in dreams—a music of preparation and of awakening suspense; a music like the opening of the Coronation Anthem, and which, like that, gave the
In China, over and above what it
; I was sacrificed.
feeling of a vast march—of infinite cavalcades filing
off—and the tread of innumerable armies. The
morning was come of a mighty day—a day of crisis
and of final hope for human nature, then suffering some mysterious eclipse, and labouring in some dread extremity. Somewhere, I knew not where—somehow, I knew not how—by some beings, I knew not whom—
a battle, a strife, an agony was conducting—was
evolving like a great drama or piece of music; with
which my sympathy was the more insupportable from
my confusion as to its place, its cause, its nature, and its possible issue. necessity, we make ourselves central to every move
I, as is usual in dreams (where, of
ment), had the power, and yet had not the power to
decide it. I had the power, if I could raise myself, to will it; and yet again had not the power, for the weight of twenty Atlantes was upon me, or the oppression of inexpiable guilt. “Deeper than ever plummet sounded,” I lay inactive. Then, like a chorus, the passion deepened. Some greater interest was at stake; some mightier cause than ever yet the sword had pleaded or trumpet had proclaimed. Then came sudden alarms, hurrying to and fro; trepidations of innumerable fugitives, I knew not whether from the good cause or the bad; darkness and lights; tempest and human faces; and at last, with the sense that all was lost, female forms, and the features that were
bold and vigorous tone of thinking, and acute criti
cism on poetry, the drama, and fine arts, found many admirers, especially among young minds. He was a man of decided genius, but prone to paradox, and swayed by prejudice. He was well read in the old English authors, and had in general a just and delicate perception of their beauties. His style was strongly tinged by the peculiarities of his taste and reading; it was often sparkling, pungent, and picturesque in expression. Hazlitt was a native of Shropshire, the son of a Unitarian minister. He began life as a painter, but failed in attaining excellence in the profession, though he retained through life the most vivid and intense appreciation of its charms. His principal support was derived from the literary and political journals, to which he contributed essays, reviews, and criticisms. He wrote a metaphysical treatise on the Principles of Human Action; Characters of Shakspeare's Plays : A View of the English Stage; two volumes of Table Talk;
| The Spirit of the Age (containing criticisms on emi
ment public characters); Lectures on the English
Poets, delivered at the Surrey Institution; Lectures
and versatility of genius.
on the Literature of the Elizabethan Age ; and various sketches of the galleries of art in England. He was author also of Notes of a Journey through France and Italy, originally contributed to one of the daily jourmals; an Essay on the Fine Arts for the Encyclopaedia Britannica; and some articles on the English novelists and other standard authors, first published in the Edinburgh Review. His most elaborate work was a Life of Napoleon, in four volumes, which evinces all the peculiarities of his mind and opinions, but is very ably and powerfully written. Shortly before his death (which took place in London on the 18th of September 1830) he had committed to the press the Conversations of James Northcote, Esq. containing remarks on arts and artists. The toils, uncertainties, and disappointments of a literary life, and the contests of bitter political warfare, soured and warped the mind of Hazlitt, and distorted his opinions of men and things; but those who trace the passionate flights of his imagination, his aspirations after ideal excellence and beauty, the brilliancy of his language while dwelling on some old poem, or picture, or dream of early days, and the undisguised freedom with which he pours out his whole soul to the reader, will readily assign to him both strength He had felt more than he had reflected or studied; and though proud of his acquirements as a metaphysician, he certainly could paint emotions better than he could unfold principles. The only son of Mr Hazlitt has, with pious diligence and with talent, collected and edited his father's works in a series of handsome portable volumes.
[The Character of Falstaff.]
Falstaff's wit is an emanation of a fine constitution; an exuberation of good-humour and good-nature; an overflowing of his love of laughter and good-fellow
ship; a giving vent to his heart's ease and over-contentment with himself and others. He would not be in character if he were not so fat as he is ; for there is the greatest keeping in the boundless luxury of his imagination, and the pampered self-indulgence of his physical appetites. He manures and nourishes his mind with jests, as he does his body with sack and sugar. He carves out his jokes as he would a capon or a haunch of venison, where there is cut and come again; and pours out upon them the oil of gladness. His tongue drops fatness, and in the chambers of his brain ‘it snows of meat and drink.” He keeps up perpetual holiday and open house, and we live with him in a round of invitations to a rump and dozen. Yet we are not to suppose that he was a mere sensualist. All this is as much in imagination as in reality. His sensuality does not engross and stupify his other faculties, but ‘ascends me into the brain, clears away all the dull crude vapours that environ it, and makes it full of nimble, fiery, and delectable shapes.” His imagination keeps up the ball after his senses have done with it. He seems to have even a greater enjoyment of the freedom from restraint, of good cheer, of his ease, of his vanity, in the ideal exaggerated description which he gives of them, than in fact. He never fails to enrich his discourse with allusions to eating and drinking; but we never see him at table. He carries his own larder about with him, and he is himself “a tun of man.’ His pulling out the bottle in the field of battle is a joke to show his contempt for glory accompanied with danger, his systematic adherence to his Epicurean philosophy in the most trying circumstances. Again, such is his deliberate exaggeration of his own vices, that it does not seem quite certain whether the account of his hostess's bill, found in his pocket, with such an out-of-the-way charge for capons and sack, with only one halfpennyworth of bread, was not put there by himself as a trick to humour the jest upon his favourite propensities, and as a conscious caricature of himself. He is represented as a liar, a braggart, a coward, a glutton &c. and yet we are not offended, but delighted with him; for he is all these as much to amuse others as to gratify himself. He openly assumes all these characters to show the humorous part of them. The unrestrained indulgence of his own ease, appetites, and convenience, has neither malice nor hypocrisy in it. In a word, he is an actor in himself almost as much as upon the stage, and we no more object to the character of Falstaff in a moral point of view, than we should think of bringing an excellent comedian, who should represent him to the life, before one of the police offices.
[The Character of Hamlet.]
It is the one of Shakspeare's plays that we think of the oftenest, because it abounds most in striking reflections on human life, and because the distresses of Hamlet are transferred, by the turn of his mind, to the general account of humanity. Whatever happens to him, we apply to ourselves, because he applies it to himself as a means of general reasoning. He is a great moraliser; and what makes him worth attending to is, that he moralises on his own feelings and experience. He is not a commonplace pedant. If Lear is distinguished by the greatest depth of passion, Hamlet is the most remarkable for the ingenuity, originality, and unstudied development of character. Shakspeare had more magnanimity than any other poet, and he has shown more of it in this play than in any other. There is no attempt to force an interest: everything is left for time and circumstances to unfold. The attention is excited without effort; the incidents succeed each other as matters of course; the characters think, and speak, and act just as they might do if left entirely to themselves. There is no set purpose, no rules; amiable, though not faultless.
straining at a point. The observations are suggested by the passing scene—the gusts of passion come and go like sounds of music borne on the wind. The whole play is an exact transcript of what might be supposed to have taken place at the court of Denmark at the remote period of time fixed upon, before the modern refinements in morals and manners were heard of. It would have been interesting enough to have been admitted as a bystander in such a scene, at such a time, to have heard and witnessed something of what was going on. But here we are more than spectators. We have not only ‘the outward pageants and the signs of grief,” but “we have that within which passes show.” We read the thoughts of the heart, we catch the passions living as they rise. Other dramatic writers give us very fine versions and paraphrases of nature; but Shakspeare, together with his own comments, gives us the original text, that we may judge for ourselves. This is a very great advantage. The character of Hamlet stands quite by itself. It is not a character marked by strength of will or even of passion, but by refinement of thought and sentiment. Hamlet is as little of the hero as a man can well be; but he is a young and princely novice, full of high enthusiasm and quick sensibility—the sport of circumstances, questioning with fortune, and refining on his own feelings, and forced from the natural bias of his disposition by the strangeness of his situation. He seems incapable of deliberate action, and is only hurried into extremities on the spur of the occasion, when he has no time to reflect—as in the scene where he kills Polonius; and, again, where he alters the letters which Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are taking with them to England, purporting his death. At other times, when he is most bound to act, he remains puzzled, undecided, and sceptical; dallies with his purposes till the occasion is lost, and finds out some pretence to relapse into indolence and thoughtfulness again. For this reason he refuses to kill the king when he is at his prayers; and, by a refinement in malice, which is in truth only an excuse for his own want of resolution, defers his revenge to a more fatal
opportunity. * * *
The moral perfection of this character has been called in question, we think, by those who did not understand it. It is more interesting than according to The ethical delineations of ‘that noble and liberal casuist' (as Shakspeare has been well called) do not exhibit the drab-coloured quakerism of morality. His plays are not copied either from The Whole Duty of Man, or from The Academy of Compliments! We confess we are a little shocked at the want of refinement in those who are shocked at the want of refinement in Hamlet. The neglect of punctilious exactness in his behaviour either partakes of the ‘license of the time,’ or else belongs to the very excess of intellectual refinement in the character, which makes the common rules of life, as well as his own purposes, sit loose upon him. He may be said to be amenable only to the tribunal of his own thoughts, and is too much taken up with the airy world of contemplation, to lay as much stress as he ought on the practical consequences of things. His habitual principles of action are unhinged and out of joint with the time. His conduct to Ophelia is quite natural in his circumstances. It is that of assumed severity only. It is the effect of disappointed hope, of bitter regrets, of affection suspended, not obliterated, by the distractions of the scene around him Amidst the natural and preternatural horrors of his situation, he might be excused in delicacy from carrying on a regular courtship. When ‘ his father's spirit was in arms,’ it was not a time for the son to make love in. He could neither marry Ophelia, nor wound her mind by explaining the
The German studies and metaphysics of Coleridge
seem to have inspired one powerful writer of the day, THoMAs CARLYLE, author of various works and translations—a Life of Schiller; Sartor Resartus, 1836; The French Revolution, a History, in three volumes, 1837; Chartism, 1839; Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, collected and republished from reviews and magazines, in five vols., 1839; a series of lectures on Hero Worship, 1841; and The Past and Present, 1843. Familiar with German literature, and admiring its authors, Mr Carlyle has had great influence in rendering the works of Goëthe, Richter, &c. known in this country. He has added to our stock of original ideas, and helped to foster a more liberal and penetrative style of criticism amongst us. His philosophical theory has been condemned for its resemblance to the Pantheistic system, or idol-worship, Goethe being the special object of his veneration. It is too fanciful and unreal to be of general practical utility, or to serve as a refuge from the actual cares and storms of life. It is an intellectual theory, and to intellectual men may be valuable—for the opinions and writings of Carlyle tend to enlarge our sympathies and feelings—to stir the heart with benevolence and affection—to unite man to man—and to build upon this love of our fellow-beings a system of mental energy and purity far removed from the operations of sense, and pregnant with high hopes and aspirations. He is an original and subtle thinker, and combines with his powers of analysis and reasoning a vivid and brilliant imagination. His work on the French Revolution is a series of paintings—grand, terrific, and ghastly. The peculiar style and diction of Mr Carlyle have with some retarded, and with others advanced his popularity. It is more German than English, full of conceits and personifications, of high and low things, familiar and recondite, mixed up together without any regard to order or natural connexion. He has no chaste simplicity, no “linked sweetness,' or polished uniformity; all is angular, objective, and unidiomatic; at times, however, highly graphic, and swelling out into periods of fine imagery and eloquence. Even common thoughts, dressed up in Mr Carlyle's peculiar costume of words, possess an air of originality. The style is, on the whole, a vicious and affected one (though it may now have become natural to its possessor), but is made striking by the force and genius of which it is the representative.
mankind thunder and flame, in long-drawn, F. succeeding grandeur, through the unknown deep. Thus, like a God-created, fire-breathing spirit-host, we emerge from the inane; haste stormfully across the astonished earth, then plunge again into the inane. Earth's mountains are levelled and her seas filled up in our passage. Can the earth, which is but dead and a vision, resist spirits which have reality and are alive On the hardest adamant some footprint of us is stamped in ; the last rear of the host will read traces of the earliest van. But whence? Oh heaven! whither? Sense knows not; faith knows not; only that it is through mystery to mystery, from God and to God.
[Attack upon the Bastille.] [From the work on the French Revolution.]
All morning, since nine, there has been a cry everywhere, ‘To the Bastille!” Repeated “deputations of citizens’ have been here, passionate for arms; whom De Launay has got dismissed by soft speeches through port-holes. Towards noon Elector Thuriot de la Rosière gains admittance; finds De Launay indisposed for surrender; nay, disposed for blowing op the place rather. Thuriot mounts with him to the battlements: heaps of o old iron, and missiles lie piled: cannon all duly levelled; in every embrasure a cannon—only drawn back a little! | But outwards, behold, O Thuriot, how the multitude flows on, welling through every street; tocsinfuriously aling, all drums beating the générale: the suburb ainte-Antoine rolling hitherward wholly as one man! | Such vision (spectral, yet real) thou, O Thuriot! as from thy Mount of Vision, beholdest in this moment: rophetic of other phantasmagories, and loud-gibbering spectral realities which thou yet beholdest not, | but shalt. “Que woulez-vous?” said De Launay, turning pale at the sight, with an air of reproach, almost of menace. ‘Monsieur,” said Thuriot, rising | into the moral sublime, “what mean you Consider if I could not precipitate both of us from this height’ —say only a hundred feet, exclusive of the walled ditch! Whereupon De Launay fell silent. Wo to thee, De Launay, in such an hour, if thou
canst not, taking some one firm decision, rule cir
cumstances ! Soft speeches will not serve; hard grape-shot is questionable; but hovering between the two is un-questionable. Ever wilder swells the tide of men; their infinite hum waxing ever louder into | imprecations, perhaps into crackle of stray musketry, which latter, on walls nine feet thick, cannot do execution. The outer drawbridge has been lowered for Thuriot; new deputation of citizens (it is the third and noisiest of all) penetrates that way into the outer court: soft speeches producing no clearance of these, De Launay gives fire; pulls up his drawbridge. A slight sputter; which has kindled the too combustible chaos; made it a roaring fire-chaos! | Bursts forth insurrection, at sight of its own blood (for there were deaths by that sputter of fire), into | endless rolling explosion of musketry, distraction,
what we could do.
| execration; and overhead, from the fortress, let one great gun, with its grape-shot, go booming, to show The Bastille is besieged!
On, then, all Frenchmen that have hearts in their bodies I Roar with all your throats of cartilage and metal, ye sons of liberty; stir spasmodically whatsoever of utmost faculty is in you, soul, body, or spirit; for it is the hour! Smite, thou Louis Tournay, cartwright of the Marais, old soldier of the Regiment Dauphiné; smite at that outer drawbridge chain, though the fiery hail whistles round thee! Never, over nave or felloe did thy axe strike such a stroke. Down with it, man; down with it to Orcus: let the whole accursed edifice sink thither, and
say, on the roof of the guard-room, some “on bayonets stuck into joints of the wall,” Louis Tournay smites, brave Aubin Bonnemere (also an old soldier) seconding him: the chain yields, breaks; the huge drawbridge slams down, thundering (avec fracas). Glorious; and yet, alas! it is still but the outworks. The eight grim towers with their Invalides' musketry, their paving-stones and cannon-mouths still soar aloft intact; ditch yawning impassable, stone-faced; the inner drawbridge with its back towards us: the Bastille is still to take!
Mr Carlyle is a native of the village of Ecclefechan, in Dumfriesshire, the child of parents whose personal character seems to have been considerably more exalted than their circumstances. He was reared for the Scottish church, but stopped short at the threshold, and, after some years spent in the laborious business of teaching, devoted himself to a literary life.
REV. SIDNEY SMITH-LORD JEFFREYMR. T. B. MACAULAY.
These three eminent men have lately, by the collection and republication of their contributions to the Edinburgh Review, taken their place avowedly among the miscellaneous writers of the present century. MR SMITH had, about thirty years previous, issued a highly amusing and powerful political tract, entitled Letters on the Subject of the Catholics, to my Brother Abraham, who lives in the Country, by Peter Plymley. These letters, after going through twentyone editions, are now included in the author's works. He has also included a tract on the Ballot (first published in 1839), some speeches on the Catholic Claims and Reform Bill, Letters on certain proposed Reforms in the Church of England, and a few Sermons. Sidney Smith is one of the wittiest and ablest men of his age. His powers have always been exercised on practical subjects, to correct what he deemed errors or abuses, to enforce religious toleration, expose cant and hypocrisy, and to inculcate timely reformation. No politician was ever more fearless or effective. He has the wit and energy of Swift, without his coarseness or cynicism, and a peculiar breadth of humour and drollery of illustration, that are potent auxiliaries to his clear and logical argument. Thus, in ridiculing the idea prevalent among many timid though excellent persons at the time of the publication of Plymley's Letters, that a conspiracy had been formed against the Protestant religion, headed by the pope, Mr Smith places the subject in a light highly ludicrous and amusing:— “The pope has not landed—nor are there any curates sent out after him—nor has he been hid at St Albans by the Dowager Lady Spencer—nor dined privately at Holland House—nor been seen near Dropmore. If these fears exist (which I do not believe), they exist only in the mind of the chancellor of the exchequer [the late Mr Spencer Perceval]; they emanate from his zeal for the Protestant interest; and though they reflect the highest honour upon the delicate irritability of his faith, must certainly be considered as more ambiguous proofs of the sanity and vigour of his understanding. By this time, however, the best-informed clergy in the neighbourhood of the metropolis are convinced that the rumour is without foundation: and though the pope is probably hovering about our coast in a fishingsmack, it is most likely he will fall a prey to the vigilance of the cruisers: and it is certain he has not yet polluted the Protestantism of our soil. Exactly in the same manner the story of the wooden gods seized at Charing Cross, by an order from the
tyranny be swallowed up for ever! Mounted, some
Foreign Office, turns out to be without the * 69