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paramount importance of those duties which neither party calls in question, viz. faith and a boly life.
No Irenicum is so effectual as the near prospect of a common danger; and we trust that the period is not far distant, when both parties will lay aside their disputes concerning the abstruse and speculative points of the Quinquarticular controversy, for the purpose of uniting their efforts to crush the pestilent heresy of Antinomianism, and to oppose the presumptuous and heartJess system of the God-denying apostasy. We are convinced that Dr. Copleston's book will do much towards accomplishing this desirable compromise, if it be read as generally and as attentively as it deserves. It breathes throughout a spirit of piety and moderation, suitable to the high and difficult nature of the subject which it discusses; and every thing material to the main question is stated with the greatest force and precision, and with the most lucid arrangement of words. In short, we consider it to be a model of discussion upon points concerning the philosophy of religion. An ignorant and blundering libeller, who has probably been foiled in his hopes of obtaining eminence in that University, of which Dr. Copleston is so distinguished an ornament, has mentioned these Discourses on Predestination in terms of contempt, which plainly show that he is as ignorant of the importance of the subject, as he is of the manner in which Dr. Copleston has treated it. For our own parts, we cannot conceive a wortbier employment for one who holds an ostensible situation in those venerable seminaries of the church, than the endeavouring to recall the attention of disputants in theology from the logomachies of the schools, and from speculations upon matters which are not legitimate objects of human reason, to the great practical purposes of religion.
Let us, in conclusion, give one word of advice, and it shall be the advice of Melancthon, to those persons of either party, who persist in declaiming upon these most difficult and unimproving questions, as if the essence of Christianity were involved in them, instead of imitating the moderation and practical good sense of that church to which both belong : Gaudeo relinqui altercationem, quæ inter vos fuit, de justitia ante lapsum humanæ naturæ. Mi Mathesî, de præsentibus nostris ærumnis, de præsenti beneficio disputemus.-Hos locos agitandos et illustrandos esse duco. Et in his versari Paulum vides. Omittamus disputationes; quæ plus habent subtilitatis quam utilitatis, ac in nostris Ecclesiis concordiam faveamus. Id autem fieri non potest, nisi nos ipsi interdum quosdam iracundorum hominum aculeos dissimulemus. Hanc philosophiam profecto necessariam esse doctori in Ecclesia judico.
ART. V.-Table Talk, or Original Essays. By William Hazlitt.
London. 1821. WE
E will not take upon us positively to say, that Apollo ever
enters our study; but we feel no scruple in affirming, that if he should occasionally condescend to grace it with his presence, he might not, perhaps, be ill-entertained; since it is odds but he finds us occupied (as Perseus found the Hyperboreans of old) in his favourite amusement, the sacrifice of asses-Hone, Hunt, Hazlitt, and other xwlana.-Were they not more vicious than stupid, we should almost feel inclined to pity the unconscious levity of the beasts' at their fate. Not so Apollo: he, light-hearted deity, laughs outright.
‘Entering their halls,
Mr. Hazlitt, our present concern, having already undergone the wholesome discipline of our castigation, without any apparent benefit, a repetition of it would be useless, as far as regards himself: for the sake of the younger class of readers, however, it may not be entirely fruitless to take some brief notice of these crude, though laboured lucubrations. Laboured, we call them; because, in spite of the author's formal renunciation of the toil of revision, every thought is spun out with a pertinacity truly wonderful, except where some paradox is abruptly started in the face of the reader, which is intended to astound him by its unusual condensation.
Mr. Hazlitt's character as a writer may, we think, be not inaptly designated by a term borrowed from the vocabulary of our transatlantic brethren, which, though cacophonous, is sufficiently expressive. We would venture to recommend its importation and adoption into the language of this island, for the particular delineaation of such persons as we have enumerated above: they must be too partial to the produce of a Republican soil, to be displeased with the application. The word to which we allude, SLANG-WHANGER, is interpreted in the American dictionary to be
One who makes use of political or other gabble, vulgarly called slang, that serves to amuse the rabble. Those who peruse the
• Table Talk' will determine how far the definition answers to the case in point; they will observe also the truth of a remark often made, that the disciples of the Radical School lose no opportunity of insinuating their poison into all sorts of subjects; a drama, a novel, a poem, an essay, or a school-book, is in their hands an equally convenient vehicle. A direct attack upon the constitution of the country puts the reader effectually on his guard: it is the oblique stroke, like that of the tusk of the boar, which most dangerously assails the upwary. Thus, in Mr. Hazlitt's Essay on Genius and Common Sense,' we are surprized by a spiteful tirade against the speeches of an Attorney and Solicitor General, ornamented by a sort of silhouette, representing the gaunt figure of Mr. Pitt! It is not wonderful that the image of this illustrious statesman should haunt the distempered imagination of such persons, since they can neither forget nor forgive that prompt energy to which, under Heaven, we mainly owe our preservation from the designs of Jacobins, Spenceans, Radicals, or by whatever other name these pestilent vermin may be distinguished. The passage alluded to is nevertheless curious. Our author has certainly the merit of sometimes making spirited sketches from the life. He gives here a lively picture of the sensitive feelings of one of those consciences which ' fear each bush an officer. The subject of the drawing appears to be a friend of the artist; one of those fortunate wights, (those acquitted felons, as they were termed by Mr. Windham,) who in the year 1794, by the admirable tenderness of the English law, escaped the sword of justice. He is presented to us as retiring, after his deliverance, into the enchanting vale of Langollen; but even there, although the intoxicating gas of a projected epic poem plays round every cell and convolution of bis brain,-he is unable to steep his senses in forgetfulness, and lull the terrors of his mind, disturbed as it is by daily and nightly visions of halters, gibbets, and government spies. Like the great first Radical, he carries his hell about him, even in the purlieus of Paradise. The tender sympathy of the author for this martyr of liberty' may be easily imagined ;but we are pressed for room, and must refer to the book for the syllables of dolour yelled out on the occasion.
The volume before us consists of sixteen Essays,' on various subjects. We are spared the trouble of copying their titles, since they merely afford occasion for desultory declamation, and for observations which have little or no connection with the respective theses.
In the Essay just noticed,* Mr. Wordsworth is characterised
as the greatest and most original poet of the present day ;-compared with whose lines Lord Byron's are but exaggerated common-place, and Walter Scott's old wives' fables. In the character of Cobbett, a sketch, by the bye, which proves Mr. Hazlitt to be no ill portrait-painter where the subject suits him, be asserts, in confirmation of the taste and judgment of this profound and consistent critic, that in one sense Shakspeare was not a poet'! He does not favour us with any key to this enigma, and we are unable to solve it.
In that “On People with one Idea,' he quotes with approbation a saying of “Tom Moore,' that some one puts his hand in his breeches pocket like a crocodile.' "This (says Mr. Hazlitt) is hieroglyphical;' but neither does he here condescend to expound the mysterious symbol, except by observing that Mr. Owen puts his foot in the question of social improvement, much in the same manner.'
The tricks of the Indian jugglers strike the Essayist's imagination with a full conception of the unbounded powers of the human capacity; and, though he has elsewhere evinced a proud satisfaction at his own share of talent, he is here driven, from the contemplation of their genius, to admit bis comparative worthlessness. This naturally leads him to reflections on those sublime arts, which are so successfully cultivated at Sadler's Wells; and he draws a grave parallel between the fame of Richer the rope-dancer and that of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Having already noticed the author's partiality to the gra phic art, we are prepared for the decision which he offers. Upon the whole, (he says,) I have more respect for Reynolds than I have for Richer; for, happen how it will, there have been more people in the world who could dauce on a rope like the one, than who could paint like Sir Joshua. The latter was but a bungler in his profession to the other, it is true; but then he had a harder taskmaster to obey. Dazzled by the glory which plays round the Indian and English professors who have acquired such astonishing command over the muscles of the human frame, he is blind to inferior merit, and becomes extremely fastidious in reviewing the display of human intellect. In the records of France he is only able to discover three great men, Molière, Rabelais, and Montaigne ; but he cautiously qualifies the distinction conferred on the first of this triad, (who, let it be remembered, is the author of the Misanthrope and of Tartuffe,) as being but a great farce-writer.'
In the ' Essay on Vulgarity and Affectation,' we are assured that Gentility is only a more select and artificial kind of vulgarity.' We must refer those, who feel any curiosity to see the full elucidation of this text, to the work itself, as in this case the author vouchsafes to assist the slow understanding of his readers by a prolix commen
tary. In the course of it we learn, that the Coronation, the ceremony which delights the greatest monarch, and the meanest of his subjects,-this height of gentility, and consummation of external distinction and splendour,—is a vulgar ceremony.'
Having been taught what is vulgar, we are further instructed what is not so; by which we may form a tolerable notion of the author's minor morals. Nothing (says he) is vulgar, that is natural, spontaneous, unavoidable. Grossness is not vulgarity; awkwardness is not vulgarity; but all these become vulgar when they are affected and shown off on the authority of others.'
In pursuing this subject, our Slang-whanger deals his blows indiscriminately among all ranks of people, and thinks proper, in the bitterness of his gall, or for the more exquisite amusement of his admirers, thus to libel the whole British nation: If the lower ranks are actuated by envy and uncharitableness towards the upper, the latter have scarcely any feelings but of pride, contempt, and aversion, to the lower. If the poor would pull down the rich to get at their good things, the rich would tread down the
poor as in a vine-press, and squeeze the last shilling out of their pockets, and the last drop of blood out of their veins. Now we confidently appeal to all who have taken a general view of the state of society in this great country, whether the truth be not the very reverse of this malevolent and incendiary statement? The rich in Great Britain have been ever found to have hearts and hands' open as day to melting charity;' and the lower orders, the continual objects of their bounty, have always, except when enlightened by the care of some active demagogue of the Hazlitt school, received their liberality, and their indefatigable efforts to ameliorate their condition, with a laudable degree of gratitude.
But the most perfect sample, perhaps, of the great Slangwhanger's manner and mode of thinking will be found in the • Essay on Paradox and Common-Place”; in which he severely condemns the tergiversation of some of his former-associates in the great and laudable work of sapping and mining. •Twice has the iron entered my soul. Twice have the dastard, vaunting, venal crew, gone over it; once as they went forth, conquering and to conquer, with reason by their side, glittering like a faulchion, trampling on prejudices, and marching fearlessly on in the work of regeneration; once again when they returned with retrograde steps, like Cacus's oxen, dragged backwards by the heels* to the den of legitimacy, rout on rout, confusion worse confounded, with places and pensions, and the Quarterly Review dangling from their pockets,
* We have in another place intreated Mr. Hazlitt' to stick to his pipe and pot, and leave Greek and Latin to us.' The oxen of Cacus were not dragged backward by the heels.