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descried. He assigns occasionally the causes of measures and movements, combinations and dissolutions, failures or successes, on which the public speculated in ignorance, but rarely pronounced a more suspicious or condemnatory judgement than the truth of the case, could it have been known, would have fully appeared to warrant. But what is called the public itself, experiences no more indulgence than its leaders and deluders, from this impartial censor, who pronounces the people to have been about as corrupt as their governors. He was as much a despiser of their merits as he was a friend to their welfare.
With respect to his honesty, in the serise of veracity as a recorder of facts and sketches of characters, and in the sense of integrity as a participator in the practical business and schemes of political party, we acknowledge he has very much of our confidence. There is a simple, firm, unequivocal directness in all bis recitals, that proves he had never a moment's hesitation as to how he should relate his facts or express his comments, that he had no duplicity of ideas to require a language of compromise. And for the proof of bis practical integrity, it may suffice that he was never himself a holder of place,
a or a receiver of emolument under any ministry, and that he would withdraw himself in a great measure from the friendship of such a man as Pitt, from disapprobation of his political conduct. In short the Memoir, with the little that is otherwise known of the man, gives the impression of a high-toned, consistent, inflexible, political virtue, of so decided and almost passionate a devotion to principle that he could throw persons and parties away when they appeared to desert it.
We had intended to make considerable extracts; but shall content ourselves with a very few passages from a publication which may so easily be obtained.
• During the course of this year, 1744, the leaders of the opposition, who had differed among themselves so widely the year before, were once more re-united upon one principle, which was, to get into place; in consequence of this agreement a junto was formed of nine, the Duke of Bedford, Earl of Chesterfield, Lord Gower, Mr. Pitt, Lyttleton, Lord Cobham, Mr. Waller, Dodington, and Sir John Hynde Cotton : however, this justice is due to the four last, that in all their conferences with the other five they strenuously insisted on making some terms with Mr. Pelham for the public before they went into employment.'
He mentions some of the objects that were discussed with this view; but then adds,
Such, however, was the prostitution of Bedford, Chesterfield, Gower, Pitt, and Lyttleton, a party founded on the base desire of pecuniary emoluments, partly on the more extensive views of procuring the whole ministerial power to themselves, that they perempo torily insisted on coming into employment without any stipulations whatever. Lord Cobham was at one time so provoked at this infamous conduct, that he had thoughts of withdrawing himself from their councils ; and to Sir Francis Dashwood, from whom I had my information, made use of the following expressions: “ these fellows! They mean nothing but themselves! Will they stand by us?
we will have no further concern with them." But his resolution did not hold.' pp. 30, 33.
I judge not of princes by the rules of morality, before whose tribunal they would all be condemned in their turns, and undergo the severest punishment, if executioners were not wanting to the laws of nature and of justice, and the folly and servility of mankind were not the safeguard of kings.'
" I am now in the 46th year of my age; the ardour of youth is abated; the mind grown stronger by experience, familiar with ill fortune both to myself and my country, guarded against the delusion of popularity, and above the pride resulting from the occasional countenance and unsought confidence of men in high station, of which I propose to make no further use than to delineate with accu. racy and truth the causes of this nation's fall, which my ill-boding judgment foresees to be inevitable.'
Art. VIII. The Portfolio ; containing Essays, Lette s, and Narra
tives. In two Volumes, foolscap Svo. pp. 280 and 310. Price 14s.
London, Murray. 1814. THE Essay is the pride of the English as a plant of indi
genous growth. Unfortunately, however, it is of so easy cultivation, that there is great danger of its overrunning the garden of literature. The Essay is in prose what miscellaneous poems are in verse. To unfold a system in a mighty folio, or
, to manage the conflicts of gods and heroes in an epic, is an enterprise of time and trouble. But who has not wit enough, or reading enough, to write an address to Sleep, or an Anacreontic to Myra? or who has not words enough to dress up two old thoughts into an essay of three pages and then, who ever wrote any thing which, either on the maturest consideration, or from the opinion of his most impartial friends, he did not find it necessary to lay before the public ? Did not Addison and Johnson publish their essays ? and many of our best poets, miscellanies of verse ? And so, if our writer be a verseman, out come • Parnassian Wild Shrubs,' or 'Moonshine,' or ' Moonlight,' or “ The Modern Antique ;'- if a
, proseman, the world is favoured with a ' Saunterer,' or a
Ponderer,' or a' Ruminator,' or,- last and least of all, a' Portfolio.'
The Portfolio certainly contains, as far as we have seen, nothing outrageous and extravagant: every thing is sober dulness and weariness. We opened, pretty much at random, at the following original and ingenious strain of truism.
* I am ready to grant, that romance, unguided, may be produetive of many evils, and lead into many errors : but is it just and reasonable to argue from the abuse of any quality, that it is in itself and in all its tendencies destructive ? - Is it rational to condemn from the extremes of any thing, when we know that all extremes border upon their opposites? Is it right to say, love is an inadmissible passion, though evidently implanted in us by God, because it sometimes leads astray? or, that religion ought not to be countenanced, because it has occasionally taken root in a weak mind, or a disordered imagination, and dethroned reason?
• Or, turning into other channels, shall we say, food cannot be used with safety, because it has produced surfeiting; nor wine, from the intoxication that has followed; nor laudanum, because it has destroyed life? This would, indeed, argue no small share of folly.'
pp. 63, 64.
How perfectly true!
sawney and yarney' than the tales which make up a large portion of the two volumes. They are the merest common-places of idleness that ever dribbled from the pen of a reader of only the most miserable novels. The first is of this kind. A vessel is wrecked on the Cornish coast. A gentleman' clinging to the bowsprit' is carried by a huge wave into a cavity of the rocks, where he is found by a girl named Mary, and conveyed in a languid state to the cottage of her uncle Anthony. Anthony determines to murder the gentleman; but Mary penetrates his intention, and advises the stranger to feign himself worse, that her uncle may be induced to forego his design, in the hopes that it will be rendered unnecessary by a natural death. The next morning the gentleman walks away. Mary marries; and her husband is on the very point of suffering for a crime of which he is not guilty, when, by means of this said gentleman, his innocence is made manifest. And this actually occupies thirty pages.
But the Author will sometimes be satirical--a sad witty rogue. In order to ridicule literary ladies, he goes to see one.
One day there was a large party to dine.' The lady had forgotten to provide dinner. Another time, a party is to go out to spend a day in a beautiful wood. The lady forgets to provide dinner. Again, there is to be a water excursion, and, had it not been for the cook, the lady would have forgotten to provide dinner. Really there is something beautifully varied in these incidents, and a surprising display of inventive genius.
One wonders, on laying down such a book, what could ever have induced a man to write it.
Art. IX. Quarrels of Authors; or some Memoirs for our Literary
History; including Specimens of Controversy. By the Author of 46 Calamities of Authors,” Crown 8vo. 3 vols. pp. 940. Price
11. 4s. Murray. 1814. . WE fear that Mr. D’Israeli will have given fair occasion for
one more Quarrel of Authors, by adopting so disrespectful a term for the designation of his subject. Could the cause be negligence? Or had he received some discourtesy from some part of the brotherhood, and in a moment of disgust and irritation, selected such a term as a little bit of spite? Or is it that in thus applying degrading words to his tribe, he is slily asserting for himself a dignity above them,-as who should say, My individual respectability is so prominent and secure that I can afford to make light of my fraternity!
Whatever may have determined the choice, we think he has been guilty of a very gross violation of complaisance, to say the least, to the illuminators of the world, in talking of their quarrels. It is obvious that he ought to have said ' Vars of Authors.' That would have been a dignified term, and would have placed this pngnacious tribe on the same ground as the emperors, the heroes, the conquerors, who have constantly held, by virtue of their addiction to war, the uppermost rank in glory; almost all prose having agreed with almost all poetry in proclaiming them as the illustrious, the godlike, the inmortal. And why should not the exploits in the warfare of wit and learning draw kindred honours on their performers? Is it plainly because their martial blazon does so much less mischief? because it costs mankind so much less ? because it affords much less of that most delectable of luxuries, taxation ? Assuredly it is not because the literary warriors are less fierce for action, less proud and ostentatious of their triumphs, less pertinaciously retentive of the malicious will. And even in point of tactics, the military memoirs in these volumes, display some instances of skill and stratagem worthy of being compared with any thing of the same kind to be found in the history of the other class of fighting gentry. We would recommend it to the Author, as a very proper sequel, to draw a number of parallels, in the manner of Plutarch, between the distinguished personages in tlie two departments of war, comparing, for example, Warburton, ' fighting still and still destroying,' to Alexander the Great, and shewing that Pope would appear never the worse for being placed by the side of even Hannibal.
While, however, we would strenuously abet the heroes in the Warfare of ink in a claim to have their hostile vocation dignified with all denominations and epithets of glory, which have been
applied to the champions and exploits in the kindred and rival profession of fire and sword, it must be acknowledged that, as in contemplating the glories of this latter profession, so also in contemplating those of the former, though in a less degree, the moralist and philanthropist will often be made ashamed of human nature. The love of fighting, the causes for fighting, and the manner of fighting, in both the departments, will often fill him with grief and indignation to think how much of the energy and talent of the human race, has been expended at the instigation of their worst passions.
Our Author, while exciting alternate ridicule and melancholy at the expense of the literary tribe, very demurely pretends he means them no harm.
• The Quarrels of Authors may be considered as a Continuation of the Calamities of Authors; and both, as some Memoirs for our Literary History. Should these volumes disappoint the hopes of those who would consider the Quarrels of Authors as objects for their mirth or contempt, this must not be regretted. Whenever passages of this description occur, they are not designed to wound the Literary Character, but to chasten it; by exposing the secret arts of calumny, the malignity of witty ridicule, and the evil prepossessions of unjust hatreds.
Some idea may be afforded of the extent of our Author's plan, by our transcribing the contents.
• Vol. I. Warburton and his Quarrels ; including an Illustration of his Literary Character_Pope and his Miscellaneous Quarrels-Narrative of the extraordinary Transactions respecting the Publication of Pope's Letters Pope and Cibber; containing a Vindication of the Comic Writer-Pope and Addison-Bolingbroke's and Mallet's Posthumous Quarrel with Pope-Appendix ; Lintot's Book of Accounts Addendum ; Pope and Settle.
• Vol. II. The Royal Society-Sir John Hill, with the Royal Society, Fielding, Smart, &c.--Boyle and Bentley-Parker and Mar. vell—D'Avenant and a Club of Wits—The Paper Wars of the Civil Wars - Appendix ; Political Criticism on Literary Compositions.
• Vol. III. Hobbes and his Quarrels ; including an Illustration of his Character-Hobbes's Quarrels with Dr. Wallis, the Mathematician -Jonson and Decker-Camden and Brooke-Martin Mars-PrelateAppendix; Literary Quarrels from Personal Motives.'
There is, perhaps, no certain rule for determining the value, regarded as for the present times, of histories of the antiquated warfare and politics of literature. The whimsical passion recently awakened, or rather created, for recalling into notice all sorts of nearly forgotten old books, would seem to insure attention to the subjects of the present work. The taste very considerably prevailing among literary men for minute historical