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our countryman will have the effect of doing away with those prejudices in Egypt,and the neighbouring countries, of which Frenchmen have been the base authors and pro
Encouragement of the Fine Arts. -Mr. Britton, the celebrated architectural historian, has announced that, though having in his possession drawings, sketches, and collections, connected with Worcester Cathedral, he will be compelled, on account of the losses which he has sustained by his histories of other cathedrals, to forego the design of proceeding with that of Worcester, unless he is secured against pecuniary loss. Is it possible that there is a clergyman in the diocese who will not subscribe to this undertaking?
Soughing of the Wind. The people inhabiting the neighbourhood of the range of hills which extends from Macclesfield eastwards, are, at certain seasons of the year, but particularly in March, struck with sounds of a melancholy and expressive kind, which proceed from those hills. The mountain music seems to be created in this manner. The elevated range is intersected by a number of narrow ravines, which, in their natural construction, resemble so many pipes of an organ. The breeze, in its progress over the summits of the hills, passes the mouths of those ravines, which respond like the pipes of the instrument just mentioned.
IN THE PRESS.-Sheffield Manor and other Poems, by Mary Hutton, wife of a poor pen-knife cutter in Sheffield, edited by John Holland, Esq.-Crotchet Castle, by the author of Headlong Hall.-Topography of the British American Dominions, by Col. Bourchette.The Antimaterialist, by the Rev. R. Warner.-A New Edition of his
Treatise on the Ear, by Mr. Curtis. -Hassan, or the Seige of Constantinople, a poem, by N. Michell.— Sketches of Irish Character, second series, by Mrs. Hall.-Astronomical Tables and Formulæ, by John Bailey.-Life of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, by Moore.-A Panorama of Constantinople, and its environs, accompanied with a description of the principal buildings, &c. &c., in a neat case of portable dimensions. -A compendious History of the Council of Trent, with its Decrees and Canons, and Remarks thereon, by the Rev. B. W. Mathias, A.M. Chaplain of Bethesda.-The true Nature of Christ's Person and Atonement stated, in reply to the Unscriptural Views of the Rev. Edward Irving, by William Urwick. -Leigh's Guide for Travellers through Wales and Monmouthshire. The Welch Interpreter, containing a concise vocabulary, and useful phrases.-Tue Cameleon, a Scrap Book, by a Gentleman of the West of Scotland.-Memoirs of Rob Roy, and the state of Clanship in Scotland.-Mr. William Howett has in the Press, Traditions of the Ancient Times; The Pilgrimage of Pantika; Nichar, the Exile of Heaven; Thran the Demoniae ; The Avenger of Blood; and Tidal, King of Nations.-A Dictionary, Theoretical and Practical, of Commerce and Commercial Navigation. -The Spirit of Don Quixote, with Engravings.-A Course of Lessons in French Literature, on the Plan of his "German Lessons," by Mr. Rowbotham, of the Academy, Walworth.
Mr. de Trueba, a Spaniard, and author of several works in the English language, has a comedy in rehearsal at Covent Garden, to which he has as yet given no name, although the parts are all distributed.
ART. I.-The Political Life of the Right Honourable George Canning, from his acceptance of the Seals of the Foreign Department, in September, 1822, to the period of his death, in August, 1827. Together with a short Review of Foreign Affairs subsequently to that event. By Augustus Granville Stapleton, Esq. In three volumes. 8vo. London: Longman and Co. 1831.
UNDERSTANDING that the author of these volumes served Mr. Canning in the confidential capacity of his private secretary, during a great portion, if not indeed during the whole of the period which they embrace, we had for some time looked forward to their appearance with more than the ordinary feelings of literary curiosity. Mr. Stapleton, if to any person, would have been known, the various machinations which were put in motion, from time to time, in order to thwart Mr. Canning's political views, to mar the influence of his matchless talents, and to frustrate his ambition. To the private secretary, it might well be supposed that the statesman, would have occasionally unbosomed himself as to his personal as well as his political history, and that too not without a regard to his own vindication and fair fame in the eyes of posterity. That something beyond the limits of the state papers, which, during Mr. Canning's administration as Foreign Secretary and Premier, were communicated to Parliament, was expected to transpire in Mr. Stapleton's production, we have at least one reason to believe obscurely alluded to in the Preface, but which it is not difficult to divine. The author held, during the existence of the Wellington cabinet, and still holds, the appointment of one of the Commissioners of the Customs; and it is whispered that soon after his work was first advertized, (about two years ago) he received an intimation from a very high quarter, that if he persevered in his declared intention he would be deprived of his office. In compliance with this haughty mandate the prudent commissioner, though
VOL. I. (1831.) NO. III.
he had already printed two volumes, delayed his publication until the recent changes made it no longer a matter of peril;-and now that it lies before us, after a minute investigation of its contents, we must say that a work more harmless in its way to the noble duke's ministerial career has not seen the light either before or since he ruled the councils of this country.
The 'political life' does not contain a single important disclosure, now made public for the first time. Any person who possesses the slightest skill in abridging extended documents, who could use a scissars in cutting out the most effective passages, and by the aid of a good deal of paste and of very little writing connect them together as nearly as possible in a chronological order, and who, at the same time, was decently conversant with the leading topics of the day for the last ten years, might have produced a political life' of Mr. Canning in every respect equal to that which we have just received from his private secretary. The materials of which it is made up have all been long since published to the world. The state papers connected with the invasion of Spain by France in 1813;-with the recognition of the new states in South America; -with the Greek and Turkish question, and the affairs of Portugal and Brazil, are in the hands and their contents in the recollection of every body who takes any interest in political discussions at all. From these masterly compositions it would be exceedingly easy for any man of the most ordinary intellectual powers to have compiled three, or even four or five volumes, and,-we say it with great respect to Mr. Stapleton,-they would have been quite as valuable as those which he has ushered into the world with so much fear and trembling.
We are far from censuring that gentleman for not having pursued a different course. It is highly probable that the very confidential office which he filled in the Foreign Department, has prevented him from even approaching any subject which had not been already legitimately open to every other individual in the community. A delicate sense of honour must have sealed his lips on many points, which he may have the means of illustrating;-and we own that we were rather surprized when we first heard it stated that he was engaged upon a life of Mr. Canning. The very possession of state secrets, imposes such a reserve upon men of high feeling, that they would hardly venture even to coquet with subjects bordering upon the sacred precincts of office, without being actuated by the most justifiable motives. But now that we have read the 'political life," our surprise has altogether gone by. Mr. Stapleton has violated no official rule; he has disclosed nothing that was secret; he has told nothing that is new. It is impossible to find fault with his delicacy. On the contrary we admire and applaud it ;-but we must confess that it has robbed his work of nearly all its anticipated interest. There was one feature connected with Mr. Canning's political life, which we thought Mr. Stapleton might have dwelt upon,
without committing any offence against propriety; particularly as it is known that he shares the confidence of Lady Canning; we mean the official habits, and what may be called the personal part, of the statesman's political career during the period in question. A gentleman of intelligence, who was so long near him, might have given many details, and even anecdotes, which would have been extremely interesting to the public; and which, indeed, they would willingly exchange for all the solemn and varnished documents which compose the staple of these volumes. We should all, for instance, like to know how Mr. Canning looked and felt upon going to, or returning from Cabinets, in which questions of the greatest importance were discussed; how he felt upon retiring home from the debates of the house, after an evening of glorious exertion. We should be glad to hear what were his recreations from labour, what books he read, and what was the usual tone of his conversation. It is wonderful the charm which the mention of these little traits in the character of a distinguished individual, has for men in general. We are glad to see the veil of ceremony removed, to shake hands with the hero, as it were, and to talk with him and find in him a member of our own species; shining in amiable qualifications, and not too much elevated above our own imperfections. According to all accounts, this part of Mr. Canning's life abounds in fascination. Few individuals have ever approached him without afterwards retaining the greatest respect for his memory; and it is said that, although fiery, and sometimes fretful in his demeanour, no person has intimately known him, without feeling for him the strongest esteem and affection. In all particulars of this kind, in every thing of an anecdotical nature, Mr. Stapleton's work is woefully deficient.
Posterity will, however, consult these volumes with a lively interest; they will hear much and often of the name of Canning; and if they have not read the state papers which he framed, they will be gratified and instructed by the elaborate and accurate analysis of them which Mr. Stapleton has drawn up. The documents must be perused in their original shape by every person who may have the good taste to study, and the ability to profit by, the most perfect models of diplomatic composition which any age has produced. But beyond the work itself no reader need go, who wishes to obtain a correct insight into the system by which Mr. Canning's political conduct, as foreign minister, was guided, during a period that required the most consummate wisdom to devise, and skill to execute, measures perpetually springing out of our relations with all parts of the world.
When, after Lord Londonderry's death in 1822, Mr. Canning succeeded to the seals of the Foreign Department, he found this country bound by more than one degrading chain to the car of the Holy Alliance. That regal association had taken upon itself
the high police of Europe. It had already suppressed the revolutions of Naples and Piedmont, and was preparing to put down the constitution which had been established in Spain. Our cabinet, though in parliament it affected to separate itself from their principles and to discountenance their proceedings, offered no tangible obstacle to their wishes, but, on the contrary, secretly favoured them, on account of their determination to uphold the monarchical system against every inroad upon the part of the people. Their career had been attended with so much success, that the popular voice was no longer heard upon the continent. It was confined to whispers, and was reserved for conspiracies, which gradually organized themselves in different parts of Germany, France, and Italy, and were, as it soon appeared to Mr. Canning, preparing to convulse the world by new conflicts, infinitely more disastrous than any that had ever yet scourged mankind,-conflicts of opinion. It was the great key of his whole political system, the object of his mental labours, from the first moment that he found himself firmly seated in Downing Street, to apply the principle of the safety-valve to this burning volcano, and to prevent an explosion which, if it took place in all its accumulated force, must have overturned all thrones, and shattered the whole civilized fabric of order, society, and law. The accomplishment of such a purpose as this could be aimed at with little chance of success by any but a British minister. It was essentially connected with the best interests of mankind, and was worthy of the best powers which intellectual superiority could apply to the attainment of any earthly object.
We cannot and need not suppose that Mr. Canning, in endeavouring to hold an even course between the two extremes, in wishing to impair the iron strength of the alliance, and to enlarge the just power of the people, had the prosperity of the continent alone in his view. It would be unnatural to assume that he had not felt something of patriotic indignation when he reflected, that England, who had but a few years before, by a prodigal expenditure of blood and treasure, liberated Europe from the domination of one tyrant, was now standing by an indifferent spectator, while four other tyrants were hastening by such means as a blind policy could suggest, to undo all that had been done, and to reduce the nations within their sway to a condition much worse than they were in even under the yoke of Napoleon. It certainly was not the interest of England to allow the Holy Alliance to pursue without interruption the path which it had marked out for itself; on the contrary, Mr. Canning saw that the dissolution of that unhallowed association would be of the greatest advantage to this country, while it would also be conducive eventually to the peace, not to speak of the liberty of Europe.
It is well understood, and Mr. Stapleton confirms the general impression, that several of Lord Liverpool's colleagues, particularly the Duke of Wellington and Lord Eldon, were adverse to the entry