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WILLIAM BLACKWOOD, EDINBURGH;

AND

T. CADELL, STRAND, LONDON.
1823.

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BLACKWOOD'S

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No. LXXVIII.

JULY, 1823.

LONDON ODDITIES AND OUTLINES.

"Quicquid agunt homines."

No. I.

Vol. XIV.

Lokdon has now gone through her intellectual year; for, after the first of July, no man writes, reads, or thinks. The booksellers stray through dusty and deserted shops; authorship vi-eary and wasted, coils itself in its secret haunts, till winter shall revive it to plumpness and activity again. Actors play Clari, Adelgitha, and such other symptoms of theatrical exhaustion; legislators hurry to the country to canvass the wives of the men of corporations, and shoot partridges; parliament expires in the languid impeachment of an Irish judge, and the bur'league puzzling of an Orange examination; Canning speaks no more; the Chancellor of the Exchequer brings oat his budget; and Brougham talks —the effect is irresistible; and St Stephens is emptied of all who have ears to hear. Bond-Street has symptoms of agricultural produce aspiring between its stones; Lord Petersham abjures bis black silk shirt, and wears a white neckcloth—sign that the season is over when men of fashion were to be made envious. Barristers quarrel with each other in empty courts; and all Cheapside is transmitting its tepid elegance to steam-packets under weigh for the mouth of the Thames.

When a rise of ten degrees in the thermometer can work such changes, who shall wonder that the first topic of English conversation is the " weather?"

If, in some of the future revolutions of climate, England should possess a settled sky, and men should be accustomed to expect a summer, posterity will be at a loss to conceive the

Vol. Xiy.

cause of some of our public phenomena. Why Sir Robert Wilson is as much forgotten as if he had never raved;, why no man alive asks whether Ik'is, at this sultry hour, hiding his gibry and his honours in a cabaret at Corn una, or cooling his ambition in a Portuguese jail;—why common halls are vocal no more with radical nonsense and graramarless language ;— why Hunt and Lord Ellenborough have equally disappeared from the streets, and Holland House incubates young reviewers no more;—why the Duke of Devonshire suddenly saves his lamplight, and throws Piccadilly into a darkness emblematic of his own oratory;—why Michael Angelo Taylor vapours no longer against chancellors, chimney-sweepers, and id genus omne, bag-bearing and black-vestured, &c. Of all these wonders, the true solution is sudden sunshine.

Montesquieu, was in the right, after all. Men are made by the climate. Their minds are, like their bodies, earth and water; and laws and government have no more actual influence on them, than on the copiousness of cabbage-leaves, or the toughness of turnips.

Why is the German a worshipper of eternal dissertations on Hebrew roots, and a propagator of the muddiest philosophy on the dingiest paper? Why is he, par excellence, a dreaming politician and a mystic theologue? Simply because he sees nature through a fog, and deepens that fog with the eternal fume of his own tabacco. Why is the Spaniard the most consummate of idlers, the most devoted of lovers,

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