« AnteriorContinuar »
In the same strain and with equal respect for a worthy or decent man in success, I might contrast your iron- the rank of a mechanic or travelling pointed staff with my gig whip—and merchant, and another thing to exalt your thick-soled and clouted shoon him above other men, equally worthy with my Sunday Wellingtons or tra- and decent, but of higher station and velling tops.
accomplishments, and to make him the I think I have now made out a suffi. oracle of a philosophical poem. cient case against you and Mr Words. In short, the more I consider the exworth, and demonstrated that, in all pression in which this apology for you points of view, my character and his. is conveyed, the less I understand it. tory are eminently suited for the hero We are all of us, in one sense, of naof a great philosophical poem, and ture's making, and, in another sense, we that yours are as eminently the re- are all of us the product, not of nature,
But before closing my letter but of education and society. Mr let me shortly advert to those points Wordsworth does not mean to set up which Mr Wordsworth, conscious of as a model a man of natural genius with an impending attack, has put forward no education and no calling or socialemin his defence.
ployment; for he gives even you some Mr Wordsworth says that lie has education, and he gives you a profession ever been ready “to pay homage to the not more natural than that of a general aristocracy of nature," in which cate officer or a retired judge. If some gory he seems to include your case. education, then, may enter into the I am not sure that I understand the composition of nature's aristocracy, phrase that here occurs in the poet's why not a good education ? If some prose. If by the aristocracy of na- profession may be allowed, why not the ture is meant the pre-eminence of mere best and most extensive? Sure I am natural genius, the idea is not pecu- that, if the aristocracy of nature may liarly applicable to your situation, and be illustrated in you, it may
be equally by comprehending too much will be found in me, being, as I am, of at least found to contain nothing at all. In equal natural endowments, and of that view, a philosophical poem might analogous though superior pursuits. be written to celebrate the natural ge- If nature allows her "
peerage", to nius of a coallieaver, or hackney- tramp about the country as pedlars, she coachman, for I presume that such ge- need not to object to recognise them nius, if it exists, may be found alike in when driving their gig as bagmen. all situations of life. But I would ask Upon the whole, I suspect we should whether, in the creation of her aristo- return to our old notions on this subcracy, Nature does not give carte ject, and admit that the seeming preblanche to Education ? It seems pretty judices of society are here, as elseplain, at least, that Education must where, founded in truth. As ge affix the seal before the patent can be neral rule, it will be found that nobleissued. If by the aristocracy of nature men, gentlemen, and bagmen are in is meant the nobility which results from the most favourable position for meneducated genius, or genius sufficiently tal improvement, and that the idea of educated to make itself seen, the prin- making heroes and sages out of pedciple contended for may be true, but lars or potters is visionary and abit is certainly not new. Every body surd. But indeed Mr Wordsworth pays homage to genius where it ap- shows us, in Peter Bell, the true ef. pears, and where it does not appear, fects of a wandering pedestrian life. homage cannot be expected.
Peter, from birth and habits, might If, again, it is not intended to refer to have been called up to nature's House genius, but to good sense or respecta- of Lords as well as yourself. But the bility, here, too, the sentiment is suf- truth there was too clear to be tamficiently trite, but it is not very rele- pered with ; and thus one of your vant. Every body may not pay associates by act of Parliamento (see “ homage," in a literal sense, to an supra, Edward VI.), is written down honest or sagacious man in a shabby a blackguard, while you, who are not coat, but every body that knows what essentially different, are promoted to he is will have a certain regard for him be a gentleman and an aristocrat. proportioned to his good qualities. But Mr Wordsworth refers to an But it is one thing to have a liking or anthority in prose in support of his poetry. He appeals to Heron's Jour- nary haberdasher's shop ? " As in ney in Scotland.
Now I have been their peregrinations they have opoften enough at the assizes as party portunity of contemplating the manor bystander to know that this evi. ners of various men, and various cities, dence would be treated as coming they become eminently skilled in the from a somewhat suspicious quarter. knowledge of the world.” What are Heron, if I mistake not, was a native the various cities you were acquainted of Scotland, and it would be rash to with Two or three at the most ; trust too far to the testimony of a Perth and Dumfries, Edinburgh and Scotchman, particularly of the last Carlisle. But what parts of those century, where the honour of his cities did you visit : Not certainly country, or the station of his country. the most elegant or improving ; who men, was involved. But let us exa. ever saw you on Prince's Street in the mine what the witness says, and see metropolis of your own country? No whether it bears internal evidence of one ; you put up at the Highlander's sober truth and strict impartiality. Salutation in the Grassmarket, nor Passing over the reference to ancient ever visited a more fashionable dishistory as mere hearsay, and the trict than the Candlemaker Row, or sneer against missionaries as not to Bristo Port: while your houffs in the the purpose, we come to his descrip- other places were of a similar respection of what he professes to know as tability, “ As they wander, each actual facts.
alone, through thinly inhabited dis“ It is further to be observed,” Mr tricts, they form habits of reflection Heron says,
“ for the credit of this and sublime contemplation.". This most useful class of men, that they seems the main passage in the evicommonly contribute, by their personal dence ; but I think I have already manners, no less than by the sale of obviated it. I can allow of no sublime their wares, to the refinement of the contemplation in a traveller who bears people among whom they travel." a burden on his back, that won't let This is somewhat new. In this view, him hold up his head, or look bethe manners of a packman should yond his shoe-tie. “ With all these have become proverbial, yet I never qualifications, no wonder that they heard them so characterised. A va- should often be, in remote parts of the grant Chesterfield is quite an original country, the BEST MIRORS OF FASHION idea. “ Their dealings form them to and censors of manners; and should great quickness of wit, and acuteness contribute much to polish the rough. of judgment!” That you may be acute ness, and soften the rusticity of our enough in your dealings I don't deny, peasantry!" O Murdoch, this of you ; but it is a pity that your poet's plan you the best mirror of fashion ! 'with did not permit him to give us speci- those corduroy knees, drab.coloured mens of the wit here lauded. May spats, as you call them, and ribbed blue we soon expect a collection of your stockings between ; not to speak of mots ? If you don't favour us, how that waistcoat with the flaps I This ever, we can fall back on the merry is too much ; it out-Herons Heron ; and humorous achievements of John " Gentlemen of the jury," as my Cheap the Chapman, a pamphlet well friend Buckram used to say, “ after known in your own country, affording, this can you believe a word that this for the price of one halfpenny, a good witness has told you ?" deal of wit, but not certainly remark- From the rest of this MrHeron's state. able for that refinement which Mr Heron ment it appears that the travelling merhad praised in the preceding sentence. chant turns out, after all, to be no wait“ Having constant occasion to recom- er, but a Knight Templar. “When, mend themselves and their goods, they after twenty years absence in that hoacquire habits of the most obliging nourable line of employment, he reattention, and the most insinuating ad- turned with his acquisitions to his nadress." In recommending your goods, tive country, he was regarded as a Puff, the auctioneer, was probably gentleman to all intents and purposes !" nothing to you, but as to your insi. So then the Pedlar does not rest sanuating address, what did it consist tisfied with belonging to the aristocra. in beyond what belongs to the most cy of nature, but takes his place as an ordinary shopman in the most ordi- Esquire in the ranks of artificial society, and probably dines once a month most populous, but also the most thinly with Custos Rotulorum himself, if he inhabited districts of the island. Withdoes not ultimately sit for the county. in an hour's drive from my own door in This shifting of your ground won't Sheffield, I find myself on my midland do, Murdoch. It is very plain, on your circuit in the wildest solitudes of the poet's own showing, that you are no Derbyshire hills, and there, inspired gentleman, even in your retirement; by the genius of the place and an occaand if in this and other points the tes- sional auxiliary to enthusiasm of a more timony in your favour is shaken, it potent kind, I can indulge my sublime must altogether fall.
contemplations to a degree of intensity But if there is any truth in the pas- that would be incompatible with the sage quoted from Heron, assuredly, it prosecution of a pitiful pedestrian jourapplies not to you but to me, Mu
With all these qualifications, intato nomine de me Fabula narratur. deed, no wonder that I should be often There would be nothing absurd in ap- the “ best mirror of fashion" that a plying to me all the encomiums that country bumpkin can dress himself are so misplaced as they stand. The by. But you—that is a very different personal manners and refinement affair. quickness of wit, and acuteness of Nothing more, then, need be said. judgment--the habits of obliging at- The Excursion is undoubtedly a fine tention and insinuating address, all be- poem, and Mr Wordsworth is the long more appropriately to Tomkins greatest poet of his day ; but he was the Bagman than to any other being quite wrong when he chose you for Then unquestionably my peregrina- a hero, instead of giving the preference tions give me that opportunity of con- to, templating the manners of various men
Yours always in the
of and various cities, and of acquiring an
business), eminent knowledge of the world, the
Isaac TOMKINS. possession of which can be but scantily predicated of you. As to solitary On hand at present an unusually wanderings and the formation of ha- excellent assortment of grates, stoves, bits of reflection and sublime contem- and fire irons. The smallest order plation, who can boast of these advan. executed with the same punctuality as tages so justly or so largely as myself? the largest. Alone in my gig I traverse, not only the
ON CATHOLICISM, PROTESTANTISM, AND PHILOSOPHY IN FRANCE.
BY M. GUIZOT.
We have, in several papers of late their speculations. Politicians who years, given our readers many inte- are philosophers rather than Chris. resting details respecting the state of tians, are, of all men, the most inapt to religion in France. We have therein understand even the political operaexpressed our opinion that the subject tions of religion. The little work of in that country is becoming gradually M. Guizot, now under our consideraascendant, and experience has com- tion, makes this most manifest. It is, pletely justified this opinion. The nevertheless, a singularly important very fact that M. Guizot has felt him- production. It may be almost regardself called upon to publish a grave ed as an historic document, and future essay, having the above title, proves historians may refer to it as to a most this. That distinguished person is, authentic source of information reby his position, and the character of specting the moral and religious situahis mind, eminently a practical man, tion of the French people at the preand he would not devote an hour of sent period. We shall consequently, his time to any matter which he did although it has been already widely not deem had immediate practical circulated in the French journals, lay bearings. Religious questions then it, with as little mutilation as possible, have, it appears, come to have an ac- before our readers. From its literary knowledged importance in France, merit alone it deserves a careful transwhich will, we feel persuaded, become lation. It is, indeed, a masterpiece of more and more prominent every day. the artful style of composition. Never When one of the most illustrious before, perhaps, except in the writings authors, and one of the soundest states of Bossuet, was there an instance of men in Europe, gives to the world, more skill than this essay exhibits, in therefore, under this conviction, his giving to superficiality, by the shadow deliberate thoughts on such serious of a deep mind reflected on it, the aptopics, the sentiments he enunciates pearance of profundity. We shall thereupon cannot fail to attract general reserve our comments for the conclud. attention, and to exert a considerable ing part of this article, and proceed influence on the public mind. There now to the translation, is something very striking, too, in an “ It is," M. Guizot begins, “ of active politician, in one who has been Catholicism and of Protestantism, not a leading Cabinet Minister in a great of religion, nor even of Christianity in nation, and who is likely to be so general, that I design to speak. I reagain, considering discussions of a gret that it is not possible to designate theological nature to fall within the philosophy by any definite denominadomain of politics. But the reason of tion. But, to be at once and clearly this is, that the political condition of understood, I hasten to say, that, on the French kingdom is palpably affect- the present occasion, I mean by philoed, not merely remotely so, as it were, sophy, every opinion, under any name by under-currents of health, or of dis- or any form, which admits not of any ease, but materially, on its surface as system of faith as obligatory on the well as in its heart, both by the general human intelligence, and which leaves indifference and laxity, and by the very man, on the subject of religion, as on partial earnestness of religious belief all others, free to believe or not to bewhich prevail throughout that land. It lieve, depending solely on himself for is then necessity-a dire political neces- his interior convictions. It is of France sity which there urges men, engrossed and of France alone that I write. The in state affairs, to pay an anxious atten. state of Catholicism, of Protestantism, tion to the external effects of the two and of philosophy, is not the same in adverse Christian creeds, and of philo- France, after our moral and social resophy, in the positions which they re- volutions, in a country which has unspectively hold in France. Deeper dergone such revolutions, as it is elsethan this they enquire not, and there where. I will advance nothing which is, therefore, nothing satisfactory in does not result from positive facts, and which cannot have a practical applica- of the seventeenth century, and the tion. The moment has arrived to philosophy of the eighteenth. At confront facts themselves, real facts, times it has seemed to be extirpated and to discard general terms which by Catholicism, and at others to be elude the questions they seem to decide. absorbed by philosophy ; but it has I am convinced that Catholicism, Pro- succumbed neither to persecution nor testantism, and philosophy, may, in to disdain ; it subsists, and hardly has the bosom of our new society, in the it been endowed with liberty, when it France of the Charte, subsist together recovers at the same time its ancient in peace among themselves, and with fervour. As to philosophy, it has exher,-in a peace not only material but perienced many checks in the midst of moral, not merely forced but volun- its triumphs; its vanities and mistakes tary, without renouncing or compro- may be easily exposed; it has much mising their distinct and separate to repair, but nothing to fear ; it reviews,—in truth and in honour. This mains master of the field. The prin. I will prove.
ciples which it has proclaimed have " I maintain as my first argu- become rights; these rights have bement absolutely, that this must be, it come facts; the new social state which must be necessarily. The following it has produced will be no less favouris the state of things :- The Catholi. able to it than the old one it has vancism, the Protestantism, and the phi- quished. Evidently these three pow. losophy of the new French society can ers are full of life, and have long prosneither destroy each other, nor undergo pects before them. They have been such modifications as may seem good roughly assailed, but in vain; they have either to the one or to the other of received no mortal blow, neither are them. They are ancient facts, power. they more subject to change than to ful, full of life, indestructible, at least death. Doubtless they may adopt cerfor an incalculable length of time. tain modifications in accordance with They have stood their ground in the their new situation ; they will listen midst of the severest trials-trials of pe- to reason ; they will recognise necesriods of tranquillity and order—and of sity ; but without denying their prinseasons of violence and chaotic confu. ciples, without abdicating their nature. sion. Our New France, the France of Such concessions they cannot make ; the Charte, has been in process of for all that is characteristic and vital in mation and developement for centuries. them will endure. Without transforAll things have warred with her, and mation, then, and such as God and all has concurred to her triumph; the time has made them, they must exist, church, the nobility, royalty, the side by side, under the same social court; the grandeur of Louis XIV., canopy. tbe indolence of Louis XV., the Wars o if they live not together in peace, of the Empire, and the Peace of the in sincere peace, what will happen ? Restoration. She has risen above her We shall see recommence the wars own faults as above the ascendency of which our fathers have witnessed; the her enemies. Catholicism was born war between Catholicism and Proat the same time as modern Europe, testantism ; the war between Chrisin the same cradle. It has been iden- tian creeds and philosophy ; between tified with all the operations of Euro- the Church and the New State ; we pean civilisation.
It has survived all shall see a revival of every sort of faits transformations. In our days it naticism, lay and ecclesiastic, philosohas encountered the most terrible shock phic and religious. But this is not which ever struck a creed or a church. probable. One meets here and there, It has been lifted up even by the hand in books and in journals, sometimes of its destroyers. It is regaining even in graver publications, certain strength visibly day by day. Let us attempts towards such a retrogression, enter domestic circles; let us visit the certain Catholic acerbities against provinces, and we shall see what power Protestant impiety, Protestant against it still possesses, despite the lukewarm- Papist idolatry, bigoted against reaness of many of its adherents, and even son and enlightenment, philosophical of many of its priests. The destinies against faith and the clergy. Yet all of Protestantism in France have been this constitutes mere verbal disputes,
It has been opposed by our often sincere, generally cold, and alkings and the people, by the literature ways impotent. No doubt the old
VOL. XLIV. NO, CCLXXVI,