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neatness and order with the slovenly habits of their neighbours, we see the good arising from mere association, which advances these poor people a century, probably much more, on the social scale, beyond the solitary beings who build their huts in the wilderness. For my reflections on the principles which may be supposed to actuate the rulers of this highly prosperous community, having no personal knowledge of the parties who govern, nor intimacy with any of the governed, I have no data, except the simple and, possibly, superficial observations of a traveller. Should I in this character have underrated or mistaken them, I shall, when their neighbour, gladly repair my error.
'In the institution of these societies, the Shakers and the Harmonites,—religion, or, if you will, fanaticism, seems to be an agent so powerful, and in fact is so powerful in its operation on the conduct of their members, that we are apt to attribute all the wonders that arise within the influence of this principle to its agency alone: for what may not be effected, by a sentiment which can bear down and abrogate entirely, in the instance of the Shakers, and nearly so in that of the Harmonites, the first great and fundamental law of human, or rather of all, nature? I allude to the tenet which is avowed in the former, and more obscurely inculcated in the latter, that the gospel of Christ is offered to them under the injunction of abstinence from sexual intercourse.
'I have had repeated opportunities of personal observation, on the effects of the united efforts of the Harmonites. The result of a similar union of powers among the Shakers, has been described to me by a faithful witness; and I am quite convinced that the association of numbers, in the application of a good capital, is sufficient to account for all that has been done: and that the unnatural restraint, which forms so prominent and revolting a feature of these institutions, is prospective, rather than immediate in its object.'It has, however, as I before remarked, the mischievous teadency > to render their example, so excellent in other respects, altogether unavailing. Strangers visit their establishments, and retire from them full of admiration:—but, a slavish acquiescence under a disgusting superstition, is so remarkable an ingredient in their character, that it checks all desire of imitation.' p. 135— 140.
Art. V. View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages.
rT,HE object of this work is to trace the progress of Europe
Christendom into a political system of unequal, but independent states, which has subsisted with little variation to our own times. There are few periods of history more deserving investigation, or more pregnant with useful information to the present age. To the revolutions of the Middle Ages the nations of Europe owe their existing laws and institutions, their peculiar manners and character, their particular faults and merits. We still suffer from the prejudices and errors, we still profit by the spirit and wisdom of our ancestors.
It would be difficult to appreciate exactly the merits, and invidious to point out the defects, of the numerous precursors of Mr Hallam in this branch of historical investigation. It is sufficient to remark, that the plan of his work is more extensive than that of our countryman Dr Robertson, its arrangement more strictly historical, its views more comprehensive, and its information more copious and critical. Mr Hallam appears to have bestowed much time and reflection on his subject. He has availed himself, without scruple, of the labours of those who had preceded him in the same career; but he has not servilely adopted their opinions, nor carelessly copied their errors. On every disputable point he has exercised his judgment freely, and examined the conclusions of his predecessors with diligence and impartiality. But, though he has not disdained the aid of modern abridgments, he has not trusted implicitly to the extracts of compilers and system makers. On the contrary, he appears to have had recourse habitually to the original authors, who describe the transactions and exhibit the sentiments of their own age. This, it must be owned, is often an ungrateful labour. Many pages must sometimes be perused of these worthies, before a single fact or observation occurs that repays the toil. But to an historian of the present day, who wishes to be imbued with the real spirit and feeling of ages that are past, the study of their writings is indispensable. To a familiar acquaintance with the early chronicles and original histories of the Barbarians, Mr Hallam has added a diligent examination of their laws; and wherever records throw their steady and certain light on the progress of events, he has consulted them with care. But it is not the labour and industry employed by Mr Hallam in the composition of his work, nor even the valuable and interesting information it contains, that constitute its chief or peculiar merit. It is written throughout with a spirit of freedom and liberality, that do credit to the author. A firm but temperate love of liberty, an enlightened but cautious philosophy, form its distinguished excellence. We never find the author attempting to palliate injustice, or excuse oppression; and whenever he treats of popular rights, or pronounces on the contentions of subjects with their sovereigns, we meet with a freedom and intrepidity of discussion that remind us of better times. But though a decided enemy to the encroachments of arbitrary power, Mr Hallam is no infatuated admirer of antient turbulence, nor blind apologist of popular excesses. If, indeed, there is any quality of his work that merits our unqualified approbation, it is the spirit of fairness and impartiality that pervades the whole. We have sometimes found him careless, and have sometimes thought him in the wrong; but we have not met with an uncandid misrepresentation, an ungenerous sentiment, or a narrow-minded prejudice in his book.
To give a full analysis of Mr Hallam's labours, in the short compass of a review, would be a task impossible to execute. To those who wish to follow the progress of Europe from rudeness to refinement,—from turbulence and violence to order and tranquillity,—from poverty and ignorance to wealth and knowledge, we recommend his book as one of the most valuable additions made in our time to the stock of our historical information. We must content ourselves with a short notice of the principal subjects which he treats, giving extracts to show the spirit in which he writes, and occasionally interspersing observations of our own on particular points where we think him mistaken, or happen to differ from him in opinion.
The first chapter of Mr Hallam's book is employed in giving an abridgement of the history of France, from its conquest by Clovis to the invasion of Naples by Charles VIII. This is a rapid but masterly sketch of the revolutions of that great kingdom. The principal events are selected with judgment, and related with spirit. It was no part of the author's plan to follow, with minute and tedious exactness, the succession of princes, or to expatiate on undecisive wars and fruitless victories. His object was, to mark those important events which led to permanent changes in the internal state and political institutions of France. He passes slightly over the degradation and deposal of the first dynasty; dwells with complacence on the splendid character of Charlemagne; describes the anarchy that led to the usurpation of the Capets; and traces with precision the successive encroachments by which the princes of that ambitious family gradually extended their dominions and increased their power, till the feudal constitution, of which they were at first only the superior lords, disappeared from sight, and left an absolute and arbitrary monarchy in its place. In his review of the Capetian race, Mr Hallam bestows that eulogy on St Lewis which his solitary virtue so justly merits.
The wars with England, arising from the claim of Edward III. to the French crown, occupy a considerable part of this abridgment, and are related with great fairness and candour. The magnificent character of Edward and his son, the splendor of their victories, and the chivalrous spirit of their court, are themes that still warm the imagination, and excite no unnatural exultation in every English bosom. 'If we could forget,' says Mr Hallam, ' what never should be forgotten, the wretchedness and devastation that fell upon a great kingdom, too dear a price for the display of any heroism, we might 'count these English wars in France among the brightest periods in history.'—' A good lesson,' he continues, 'may be drawn by conquerors, from the change of fortune that befd Edward III. A long warfare, and unexampled success, had 'procured for him some of the richest provinces of France. Within a short time, he was entirely stripped of them, less through any particular misconduct, than in consequence of the intrinsic difficulty of preserving such acquisitions. The French were already knit together as one people; and even those, whose feudal duties sometimes led them into the field against their sovereign, could not endure the feeling of dismemberment from the monarchy.' In the provinces ceded to Edward, by the peace of Breligny, the inhabitants submitted, with sullen reluctance, to the English yoke. 'Such un
* willing subjects might, perhaps, have been won by a prudent 'government; but the temper of the Prince of Wales, which * was rather stern and'arbitrary, did not conciliate their hearts
* to his cause.' The war was soon after renewed; and, ' in a 'few campaigns, the English were deprived of almost all their 'conquests, and even, in a great degree, of their original pos- * sessions in Guienne.'
Charles V. of France, having expelled the English, ' be'came a sagacious statesman, an encourager of literature, a 'beneficent lawgiver. But all the fruits of his wisdom were
* lost in the succeeding reign. In a government essentially po
* pillar, the youth or imbecility of the sovereign creates no ma'terial derangement. In a monarchy, where all the springs of
* the system depend upon one central force, these accidents,
* which are sure, in the course of a lew generations, to recur, * can scarcely fail to dislocate the whole machine.' The States General interfered, with success at first, to restrain the prodigality of the court; but the partisans of royalty ultimately prevailed. The city of Paris, which had shown a spirit of democratic freedom, offensive to its rulers, ' was treated as the spoil
* of conquest; its immunities abridged; its most active leaders * put to death; a fine of uncommon severity imposed; and the 'taxes, which had been repealed by the States General, were 'renewed by arbitrary prerogative. It is difficult,' continue s Mr Hallam, ' to name a limit beyond which taxes will not be 'borne without impatience, when they appear to be called for
* by necessity, and faithfully applied. But the sting of taxa'tion is wastefulness. What high-spirited man could see,
* without indignation, the earnings of his labour, yielded un
* grudgingly to the public defence, become the spoils of para*
* sites and peculators? It is this that mortifies the liberalhand 'of public spirit; and those statesmen, who deem the security
* of government to depend, not on laws and armies, but on the 'moral sympathies and prejudices of the people, will vigilantly 'guard against even the suspicion of prodigality.' Such were not the statesmen, unhappily for France, who then presided over her destinies. The outrageous dissoluteness of the Court, its enormous extravagance, and shameless contempt of public opinion, aggravated the discontent, and embittered the distresses of the people. Assassination openly perpetrated, and publickly vindicated, destroyed all confidence between the hostile factions. Henry V. of England, profiting by these dissensions, contrived, by war and negotiation, to be declared the successor to the French monarchy. His premature death, fortunately for both countries, frustrated his plans. England in her turn became distracted by domestic dissensions, and patriotism and superstition combined to expel her armies once more from France.
We have no hesitation in condemning, with Mr Hallam, the pretension of Edward III. to the Crown of France. The claim of Philip had been recognised by the States and people of France, and confirmed by his peaceable possession of the throne for several years. He had been guilty of no errors of government, or encroachments on his subjects' rights, that could justly absolve them from their allegiance. Whether he was the nearest heir to the preceding monarch or not, seems to us, •in these circumstances, a matter of mighty indifference. He had the best of all titles, the willing acquiescence of his subjects, and their firm determination to support him against all competitors. But, if the claim of Edward is to be considered as a mere question of hereditary right, we are not sure that Mr Hallam has either stated the argument in his favour correctly, or decided with justice against its validity. Edward and his antagonist agreed in admitting, that females were excluded from the French throne. What Edward contended was, that this exclusion did not extend to their male posterity; and, of these, that he was the nearest male relation to the last King, and