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its work. The excise duties cannot we shall be glad to learn the particube suffered to continue, for they too, lars so soon as convenient. Perhaps according to the modern idea, are the transition may be explained beoppressive and unjust; and the period, fore the committee, to which, as usual, thus foreshadowed by Mr Cobden at Whig helplessness and imbecility has the late Manchester banquet, will ra- referred the whole question of Irish pidly arrive: “ It is not merely pro- distress. The confidence of the Whigs tective duties that are getting out of in the patience of the people of this favour in this country ; but, however country must be boundless, else they strong or weak it may be at present would hardly have ventured again to still there is firmly and rapidly grow- resort to so stale an expedient. It ing an opinion decidely opposed, not is easy to devolve the whole duties of merely to duties for protection, but to government upon committees, but we duties for revenue at all. I venture to are very much inistaken if such trifling say you will not live to see another will be longer endured. As to the statesman in England propose any distress in Ireland, it is fully admitted. customs-duty on a raw material or Whenever the bulk of a nation is so article of first necessity like corn. demoralised as to prefer living on I question whether any statesman who alms to honest labour, distress is the has any regard for his future fame inevitable consequence; and the only will ever propose another excise or way to cure the habit is carefully to customs-duty at all.” The whole re- withhold the alms. Ministers think venue will then fall to be collected otherwise, and they have carried a directly: and how long the national present grant of fifty thousand pounds creditor will be able to maintain his from the imperial exchequer, which claim against direct taxation is a pro- may serve for a week or so, when blem which we decline to solve. The doubtless another application will be land of Great Britain, like that of tabled. This is neither more nor less Ireland, will be worthless to its owner, than downright robbery of the British and left to satisfy the claims of pau- people under the name of charity. perism; and America, wiser than the Ireland must in future be left to deold country, will become to the middle pend entirely upon her own resources ; classes the harbour of refuge and of situated as we are, it would be madpeace.

ness to support her further; and we We do not believe that these things hope that every constituency throughwill happen, because we have faith in out the United Kingdom will keep a the sound sterling sense of English- watchful eye on the conduct pursued men, and in the destinies of this noble by their representatives in the event country. We are satisfied that the of any attempt at further spoliation. time is rapidly approaching when a From all the evidence before us, it thorough reconstruction of our whole appears that our former liberality has commercial and financial policy will been thrown away. Not only was no be imperatively demanded from the gratitude shown for the enormous adgovernment-a task which the pre- vances of last year, but the money was sent occupants of office are notoriously recklessly squandered and misapplied, incapable of undertaking, but which no doubt in the full and contident must be carried through by some effi- expectation of continued remittances. cient cabinet. Such a measure can- And here we beg to suggest to honournot be introduced piecemeal after the able members from the other side of the destructive fashion, but must be based Channel, whether it might not be well to upon clear and comprehensive princi- consider what effect free trade has ples, doing justice to all classes of the had in ameliorating the condition of community, and showing undue favour Ireland. If on inquiry at Liverpool to none.

they should chance to find that pork Our observations have already ex- is now imported direct from America, tended to such a length, that we have not only salted, but fresh and prelittle room to speak of that everlasting served in ice, and that in such quantopic, Ireland.“ Ireland," says Lord tities and at so low a rate as seriously John Russell, " is undergoing a great to affect the sale of the Irish protransition.” This is indeed news, and duce, perhaps patriotism may operate in their minds that conviction stances, and the state of the revenue which reasoning would not effect. will inform those who feel themselves If also they should chance to learn oppressed by excise duties, of the that butter and dairy produce can chances of reduction in that quarter. no longer command à remunerative Meanwhile we cannot refrain from price, owing to the increased imports expressing our gratitude to both Lord both from America and the Continent, Stanley and Mr D’Israeli for their they will have made one further step masterly expositions of the weak and towards the science of political eco- vacillating policy pursued by the Whig nomy, and may form some useful cal government abroad, and of the false culations as to the prospect of future colour which was attempted to be rentals. Should they, however, still be thrown upon the state and prospect of of opinion that the interests of the Irish industry at home. Deeply as we lapeople are inseparably bound up with mented the premature decease of Lord the continuance of free trade—that George Bentinck at the very time neither prices nor useful labour are when the value of his public service, matters of any consequence-they keen understanding, and high and must also bear in mind that they can exalted principle, was daily becoming no longer be allowed to intromit with more and more appreciated by the the public purse of Britain. The country, we are rejoiced to know that Whigs may indeed, and probably will, his example has not been in vain ; make one other vigorous effort to that his noble and philanthropic spirit secure their votes; but no party in still lives in the councils of those who this nation is now disposed to sanction have the welfare of the British people such iniquitous proceedings, and all of at heart, and who are resolute not us will so far respond to the call for to yield to the pressure of a base economy, as sternly to refuse alms to

democracy, actuated by the meanest an indolent and ungrateful object. of personal motives, unscrupulous as to

In conclusion, we shall merely re- the means wbich it employs, impervimark that we look forward with much

ous to reason, and utterly reckless of interest to the financial exposition of consequences, provided it may attain the year, in the hope that it may be its end. Against that democracy more intelligible and satisfactory than which has elsewhere not only shatthe last. We shall then understand tered constitutions but prostrated sothe nature and the amount of the re- ciety, a determined stand will be ductions which have been announced made; and our heartfelt prayer is, that under such extraordinary circum- the cause of truth may prevail.

Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.

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The historical and critical essay is the elegant and amusing class of essays a species of literary composition which rendered so popular by Addison and his has arisen, and been brought to perfec- followers passed away. The incessant tion, in the lifetime of a single genera- recurrence of moralising, the frequent tion. Preceding writers, indeed, had use of allegory, the constant strainexcelled in detached pieces of a lighter ing after conceits, which appear even and briefer kind; and in the whole in the pages of the Spectator and the annals of thought there is nothing Rambler, are scarcely redeemed by more charming than some of those the taste of Addison, the fancy of which graced the age of Queen Anne, Steele, or the vigour of Johnson. In and the reigns of the first Georges. But inferior hands they became insupportthough these delightful essays remain, able. Men whose minds and will ever remain, models of the stimulated by the Rights of Manpurest and most elegant composition, who were entranced by the eloand are always distinguished by just quence of Pitt – who followed the and moral reflections, yet their influ- career of Wellington—who were stunence has sensibly declined; and they ned by the thunderbolts of Nelsonare turned to, now, rather from the could not recur to the Delias, the felicity of the expression by which Chloes, or the Phillises of a slumberthey are graced, than either the in- ing and pacific age. The proclamation formation which they contain, the of war to the palace, and peace to the originality by which they are distin- cottage, sent the stories of the coguished, or the depth of the views quette, the prude, and the woman of which they unfold. It is still true sense to the right-about. What was that "he who would attain an English now required was something which style, familiar but not coarse, and could minister to the cravings of an elegant without being ostentatious, excited and enthusiastic age; which must give his days and his nights to should support or combat the new ideas the study of Addison." It is not generally prevalent; which should less true, that he who would appre- bring the experience of the past to ciate the force of which the English bear on the visions of the present, and language is capable, and acquire the tell men, from the recorded events of condensed vigour of expression which history, what they had to hope, and enters so largely into the highest kind what to fear, from the passion for of composition, will ever study the innovation which had seized possesprose of Johnson; as much as the poet, sion of so large a portion of the for similar excellencies, will recur to active part of mankind. the Vanity of Human Wishes, or the The Edinburgh Review was the epistles and satires of Pope. first journal which gave a decided

But, with the advent of the French indication of this change in the temRevolution, the rise of fiercer passions, per of the public mind. From the and the collision of dearer interests, very outset it exhibited that vigour


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of thought, fearlessness of discussion, a paper on a subject in a review, as and raciness of expression, which carefully as they did a regular work bespoke the prevalence of indepen- of a known and respectable author : dent feeling, novel yearnings, and ori- they looked to it not only for amuseginal ideas, among the people. There ment, but for information. It had this was something refreshing and exhila- immense advantage—it was shorter rating in the change. Its success was than a book, and often contained its immediate and immense. The long- essence. It was distilled thought; it slumbering dominion of the monthly was abbreviated knowledge. To say and other reviews, which then had that many of these elaborate and possession of the sceptre of criticism, attractive treatises were founded in was at once destroyed. Mediocrity error - that they were directed to fell into the shade when the light of objects of the moment, not of durable genius appeared; criticism assumed a interest, and that their authors too bolder and more decided character. often Men rejoiced to see the pretensions of authors levelled, their vanity mortified,

“ To party gave up what was meant for

mankind"their errors exposed, their pride pulled down, by the stern hand of the merci- is no impeachment either of the ability less reviewer. The practical applica- with which they were executed, or tion of the maxim, “ Judex damnatur denial of the beneficial ends to which cum nocens absolvitur," gave universal they ultimately became subservient. satisfaction. Every one felt his own What though great part of the talents consequence increased, his personal with which they were written is now feelings soothed, his vanity flattered, seen to have been misdirected-of the when the self-constituted teachers of views they contained to have been erromankind were pulled down from their neous. It was that talent which raised lofty pinnacle.

the counter spirit that righted the But it was not merely in literary public mind; it was those views which criticism that the Edinburgh Review ultimately led to their own correction. opened a new era in our periodical In an age of intelligence and mental literature. To its early supporters we activity, no dread need be entertained owe the introduction of the CRITICAL of the ultimate sway of error. ExAND HISTORICAL Essay, which was perience, the great assertor of truth, an entirely new species of composi- is ever at hand to scatter its assailants. tion, and to the frequent use of which It is in an age of mental torpor and the rapid success of that journal is inactivity that the chains of falsehood, mainly to be ascribed. The essay whether in religion or politics, are always had the name of a book pre- abidingly thrown over the human fixed to it: it professed to be a review. mind. But it was generally a review only in But, from this very cause, the po

The author was frequently litical essays of the Edinburgh Review never once mentioned in its whole have been left behind by the march of extent. His work was made use of the world ; they have been stranded merely as a peg on which to hang a on the shoals of time ; they have long disquisition on the subject of almost all been disproved by the wbich it treated. This disquisition event. Open one of the political was not, like the essays of Addison essays in the Blue-and-yellow, which or Johnson, the work of a few hours' were read and admired by all the writing, and drawn chiefly from the world thirty or forty years ago, and fancy or imagination of the author: what do you find ? Loud declamations it was the elaborate production of a against the continuance of the war, mind imbued with the subject, and the and emphatic assertions of the inability fruit of weeks or months of careful of England to contend at land with composition. It was sometimes founded the conqueror of continental Europe; on years of previous and laborious continual reproaches of incapacity study. Thence its great and obvious against the ministry, who were prevalue. It not only enlarged the circle paring the liberation of Spain and the of our ideas; it added to the stock of battle of Waterloo ; ceaseless asserour knowledge. Men came to study tions that the misery of Ireland was


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