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they are at all in his way. He lives by forging and uttering counterfeits. He says not what he believes to be true, but any thing that by any trick or sleight he can make others believe ; and the more petty, artificial, and far-fetched the contrivance, the more low, contemptible, and desperate the shift, the more is he admired and cried up in his prefession. A perfe«t lawyer is one whose understanding always keeps pace with the inability of words to keep pace with ideas; who by natural conformation of mind cannot get beyond the letter to the spirit of any thing; who by a happy infirmity of soul, is sure never to lose the form in grasping at the substance. Such a one is sure to arrive at the head of his profession.”
Such a one, therefore, beyond all doubt, was the late Sir Samuel Romilly; and such a one is the present Lord Eldon. A finer specimen of the reductio ad absurdum was never before presen ed to the logician.
We are really at a loss, whether to feel merry or serious with his political principles. We owe them a double portion of our laughter, not only because they are wilder than the wildest in the chapter of radicality, but because they are ten times more inconsistent. Lord Erskine and the Marquis of Wellesley are to the full as hateful in the sight of Mr. Hazlitt, as Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Canning. This is well enough, because it is perfectly agreeable to the latest and most improved version of the radical creed; but how he comes to fall out with the system itself, being withal the staunchest disciple imaginable, is really too deep for our divination. Positively, we are " in good sooth, " and in sad and sober earnest,” when we assure our readers, that by far the most laboured exposition of radical madness, which has yet fallen in our way, is the production of this very Mr. Hazlitt. We shall not call it the best, for it is extremely ill written ; but there is some likelihood of its being the truest, as it proceeds from one who has not only witnessed, but actually experienced the malady in all its stages, from the simple wandering, up to the incurable mania. A madman, to be sure, is not the most authentic recorder of the nature and progress of his disease ; but, in the present instance, we think there is conclusive evidence for believing, that the account was written during a lucid interval. We ground our opinion on the fact, that the passage we are about to exhibit, stands perfectly isolated from all the rest, and is in truth contradicted by every sentence, which precedes and follows. Either, then, the pretext and subtext were written in a season of lucidity, and this memorable passage in a darker hour; or the reverse of the proposition must hold. Now as we deem the fact of his general lunacy, to be altogether unquestionable, the latter supposition is certainly the more feasible of the two. Here then is the notable confession.
“ fle (the Reformer,) does not very well know what he would be at. 2dly, If he did, he does not care much about it. 3diy, He is governed habitually by a spirit of contradiction, and is always wise beyond what is practicable. He is a bad tool to work with ; a part of a machine that never fits its place. He cannot be trained to discipline, for he follows his own idle humours, or drilled into an obedience to orders, for the first principle of his mind is the supremacy of conscience and the independent right of private judgment. A man to be a reformer must be more influenced by imagination and reason, than by received opinions or sensible impressions. With him ideas bear sway over things; the possible is of more value than the real ; that which is not, is better than that which is. He is by the supposition a speculative (and somewhat fantastical) character, but there is no end of possible spe ulations, of imaginary questions and nice distinctions, or if there were, he would not willingly come to it; he would still prefer living in the world of his own ideas, be for raising some new objection, and starting some new chimera, and never be satisfied with any plan that he found he could realize. Bring him to a fixed point, and his occupation would be gone. A reformer never is but always to be blest, in the accomplishment of his airy hopes and shifting schemes of progressive perfectibility. Let him have the plaything of his fancy, and he will spoil it like the child that makes a hole in its drum. Set some brilliant illusion before his streaming eyes, and he will lay violent hands upon it like little wanton boys that play with air bubbles. Give him one thing and he asks for another ; like the dog in the fable, he loses the substance for the shadow. Offer him a great good, and he will not stretch his hands to take it, unless it were the greatest possi' le good.' ' A patriot of this stamp is really indifferent about every thing but what he cannot have ; instead of making his option between two things, a good or an evil within his reach, our exquisite Sir, sets up a third thing as the object of his choice, with some impossible condition annexed to it. To dream, to talk, to write, to be troublesome and meddlesome about, to serve him for a topic of captious discontent or vague declamation, and which if he saw any hopes of cordial agreement or practical co-operation to carry it into effect, he would instantly contrive to mar and split it into a thousand fractions, doubts and scruples, and to make it an impossibility for any thing ever to be done for the good of mankind, which is merely the plaything of his theoretical imbecility and active im. pertinence.”
As to the rant about tyranny, and tyrannical leaders, which is another component in this strangely assorted mass, we have but a word to say. The man who complains that his liberties are bartered, sold, &c. and that the press is restricted, and yet in the same breath pronounces of the government, that its chief magistrate is a man-milliner, and of his chief ministers, that the one is a demipuppet, and the other a jackpudding, and all this without punishment, or even the fear of punishment, plainly, ex concessis of the argument, refutes himself. Would the use of such language be tolerated in any other country under the sun, even in the boasted America, that land of liberty and slaves, of democracy and stripes ? No indeed. What do we infer from this, but that this country is freer than any other, and that the country, which is the freest on earth, is a fortiori free? The reader may rest assured that we are sensibly alive to the ridicule which all must experience in dealing with such a person as Mr. Hazlitt. Of him and his absurdity we scarcely know how to get rid ; but we believe the best way is to give his arguments fair play ; and we are very sure that we have drawn none but the most palpable inferences, so plain, in fact, that we fear our readers will think our pains ill bestowed.
We may observe, by the way, that all his delineations of individual character, however ingenious, are drawn without any regard to the objects they pretend to describe. Any of the tirades against Mr. Southey, may be applied, with equal propriety, to Coleridge or Wordsworth, or, if the reader chooses, to the Duke of Wellington. The following are designed for full lengths ; the reader will doubtless be surprised, not with the resemblance to each other, but the accuracy of the separate likenesses.
“ He (Coleridge to wit) judges of men as he does of things. He would persuade you that Sir Isaac Newton was a money scrivener, Voltaire dull, Bonaparte a poor creature, and the late Mr. Howard a misanthrope ; while he pays a willing homage to the Illustrious Obscure, of whom he always carries a list in his pocket. His creed is formed, not from a distrust and disavowal of the exploded errors of other systems, but from a determined rejection of their acknowledged excellencies. It is a transposition of reason and common sense. He adopts all the vulnerable points of belief as the triumphs of his fastidious philosophy, and holds a general retainer for the defence of all contradictions in terms and impossibilities in practice He is at cross purposes with himself as well as others, and discards his own caprices if ever he suspects there is the least ground for them. Doubt succeeds to doubt, cloud rolls over cloud, one paradox is driven out by another still greater, in endless succession. He is equally averse to the prejudices of the vulgar, the paradoxes of the learned, or the habitual convictions of his own mind. He moves in an unaccountable diagonal between truth and falsehood, sense and nonsense, sophistry and common-place, and only assents to any opinion, when he knows that all the reascns are against it. A matter of fact is abhorrent to his nature; the very air of truth repels him. He is only saved from the extremes of absurdity, by combining them in his own person. Two things are indispensable to him; to set out from no premises, and to arrive at no conclusion. The consciousness of a single certainty would be an insupportable weight upon his mind. He slides out of a logical deduction by the help of metaphysics ; and if the labyrinths of metaphysics did not afford him ' ample scope, and verge enough,' he would resort to necromancy and the Cabbala. He only tolerates the science of astronomy, for the sake of its connection with the dreams of judicial astrology, and escapes from the Principia of Newton to the jargon of Lily and Ashmole. All his notions are fleeting and unfixed, like what is feigned of the first forms of things, flying about in search of bodies to attach themselves to; but his ideas seek to avoid all contact with solid substance. Innumerable evanescent thoughts darıce before him, and dazzle his sight, like insects in the evening sun. Truth is to him a ceaseless round of contradictions; he lives in the belief of a perpetual lie, and in affecting to think what he pretends to say. His mind is in a constant state of flux and reflux. He is like the sea-horse in the ocean ; he is the Man in the Moon, the wandering Jew. The reason of all this is, that Mr. Coleridge has great powers of thought and fancy, without will or sense. He is without a strong feeling of the existence of any thing out of himself; and he has neither purposes nor passions of his own to make him wish it to be. All that he does or thinks is involuntary ; even his perversity and self-will are so. They are nothing but a necessity of yielding to the slightest motives. Everlasting inconsequentiality marks all that he attempts.
6 He (Wordsworth) sees nothing but himself and the universe. He hates all greatness, and all pretensions to it, but his own. His egotism is, in this respect, a madness ; for he scorns even the admiration of himself, thinking it presumption in any one to suppose that he has taste or sense enough to understand him. He hates all science and all art. He hates chemistry; he hates conchology; he hates Sir Isaac Newton ; he hates logic; he hates metaphysics, which he says are unintelligible, and yet he would be thought to understand them; he hates prose ; he hates all poetry but his own; he hates Shakespeare, or what he calls • those interlocutions between Lucius and Caius,' because he would have all the talk to himself; and considers the movements of ssion in Lear, Othello, or Macbeth, as impertinent, compared with the moods of his own mind; he thinks every thing good is contained in the • Lyrical Ballads ;' or if it is not contained there, it is good for nothing ; he hates music, dancing, and painting; he hates Rubens; he hates Rembrandt; he hates Raphael ; he hates Titian ; he hates Vandyke ; he hates the antique ; he hates the Apollo Belvidere ; he hates the Venus de Medicis; he hates all that others love and admire but himself. He is glad that Bonaparte is sent to St. Helena, and that the Louvre is dispersed, for the same reason,-to get rid of the idea of any thing greater, or thought greater than himself. The Bourbons, and their processions of the Holy Ghost, give no disturbance to his vanity, and he therefore gives them none."
“ Every sentiment or feeling that he (Southey) has, is nothing but the effervescence of incorrigible overweening self-opinion. He not only thinks whatever opinion he may hold for the time is infallible, but that no other is even to be tolerated, and that none but knaves and fools can differ with him. • The friendship of the good and wise is his.' If any one is so unfortunate as to hold the same opinions that he himself formerly did, this but aggravates the offence, by irritating the jealousy of his self-love, and he vents upon them a double portion of his spleen. Such is the constitutional slenderness of his understanding, its • glassy essence,' that the slightest collision of sentiment gives an irrecoverable shock to him. He regards a Catholic or a Presbyterian, a Deist or an Athe ist, with equal repugnance, and makes no difference between the Pope, the Turk, and the Devil. He thinks a rival poet a bad man, and would suspect the principles, moral, political, and religious, of any one who did not spell the word laureate with an e at the end of it. If Mr. Southey were a bigot, it would be well; but he has only the intolerance of bigotry. His violence is not the effect of attachment to any principles, prejudices, or paradoxes of his own, but of antipathy to those of others. It is an impatience of contradiction, an unwillingness to share his opinions with others, a captious monopoly of wisdom, candour, and common sense. He is not an enthusiast in religon, but he is an enemy to philosophers; he does not respect old establishments, but he hates new ones (such as the Bible Societies and Sunday Schools, we suspect.) He has no objection to regicides, but he is inexorable against usurpers. He will tell you that the
re-risen cause of evil' in France yielded to the • Red Cross and Britain's arm of might;' and shortly after, he denounces the Red Cross as the scarlet whore of Babylon, and warns Britain against her eternal malice and poisoned cup; he calls on the Princess Charlotte in the name of the souls of ten thousand little children, who are without knowledge in this age of light—Save or we perish ;' and yet, sooner than they should be saved by Joseph Fox, or Joseph Lancaster, he would see them damned ; he would
go himself into Egypt, and pull down “the barbarous kings” of the east; and yet, his having gone there on this very errand, is not among the least of Bonaparte's crimes ; he would " abate the malice" of the Pope and the Inquisition; and yet he cannot contain the feelings of his satisfaction, at the fall of the only person who had both the will and the power to do this. Mr. Southey began with a decent hatred of kings and priests, but it yielded to his greater hatred of the man who trampled them in the dust. He does not feel much affection to those who are born to thronès; but that any one should gain a crown, as he has gained the laureate-wreath, by superior merit alone, was the unpardonable sin against Mr. Southey's levelling muse !"
We close this volume with feelings of unrelieved disgust. It is to us, as we hope it is to all others, matter of sincere regret, that Mr. Hazlitt should be guilty of prostituting his powers to such ignoble ends; and it is grieving to think, that there is but little hope of amendment, at least where party spirit and politi, cal prejudice are likely to have any range.
Art. V. Travels in Italy, Greece, and the Ionian Islands, in
a Series of Letters, descriptive of Manners, Scenery, and the Fine Arts. By W. H. WiLLIAMS, Esq. with Engravings from Original Drawings. In two Volumes. Pp. 836. 8vo. Edinburgh, Constable & Co. 1820.
Mr. Williams' reputation as an artist could not fail to secure him
a flattering reception as an au’hor. For the interest which, in this his native city, his enterprising expedition excited, we Should have held that he made a fair return, had he brought with him a well-stocked portfolio alone; and we should certainly not have felt entitled to call him to account for the state of his common-place book. He has, however, come home doubly provided ; for while it is consistent with our knowledge that he has accomplished, as the memoranda of future pictures, a valuable collection of sketches of many of the most exquisite scenes in the finest countries in the world, he has. as a writer, told the tale of glory and sadness, to which those regions bear witness, with a spirit and feeling in every way worthy of the high theme. Travellers, after taking leave, experience the pretty uniform fortune of being forgotten till they reappear; but our author and his accomplished friend-of whom we may not say more than that he gave up a seat in Parliament for this expedition—were kept in view during all their wayfarings, as well as welcomed on their return, as the bearers of rich gifts to their countrymen.
It appears that, saving some contributions, chiefly statistical and mineralogical, from his friend, the duty of writing as well as drawing has devolved upon Mr. Williams. The most valuable parts of his work, and necessarily the best executed, are his account of the fine arts, ancient and modern, in the countries visited; and his description of the scenes and the scenery, the splendours and the ruins, of those “ lands of extremes.” In this his own department we are disposed to try him as an author; scarcely deeming it fair, to measure what he has said, and agreeably said, on morals, politics, antiquities, and living manners, by the same standard which we apply to the works of preceding travellers, whose sole objects these were, and who, in failing in them, had failed in every thing.
There are landscape painters—so called for distinction's sake merely—upon whom all that our author saw and felt would have beeří utterly thrown away. Those are they who do portraits of given natural scenes, and are amply rewarded if the likeness be recognised. Turners, Calcotts, Thomsons, the poets of visible