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LITERATURE I LXXXVII. J Murray. BIOGRAPHY. Lives of the Italian Poets, by Stebbing 3 Vols. Bull. TRAVELS .... Neigh's Buenos Ayres, 'Chili; &c 1 Vol. : I E. Wilson. POETRY Cornish's National Songs 1 Vol. Smith&Elder Straceav ... Castle's Manual of Surgery, 3rd Edit 1 Vol. Cox. EDUCATION. HazIewood School Magazine' Vol. VIII. Belcher, Bir- THE SPECTATORS LIBRARY.
THE present number of the Quarterly has assumed, with the times, a decidedly political aspect ; never since the epoch of Twopenny Trash has it made so consistent, so determined, nor perhaps so vigorous a stand in behalf of the principles which it has more or less ably and as steadily advocated since its establishment. This number is throughout, in .the literary articles as well as the poli- tical, a manifesto against what are called Liberal principles, and in favour of what they term the Conservative principles—in other words, the praise of things as they were, and the hope of restorino- the " good old times," and maintaining at least all such remains of them as still exist. • The conductors of the Quarterly have been moved to this hos- tile display of force, partly by the appointment of a Whig Admi- nistration,- and partly by the evident spread of a rebellious spirit among the labourers and mechanics of the Disunited Kingdom. The return to former principles of government is a. natural mea- sure with those who, taking a certain view of times past in this country, consider that they were prosperous and happy ; and who attribute the evils now existing, to the spread of liberal doctrines, the theories of political economists, and the counsels of newspapers. This is the ground taken up by the Quarterly in the three prin- cipal articles of this number—there are in all hut seven. First, we have a kind of general confutation of the Economists under the head of various works by MALTHUS, M'CoLLocx, and READ, on which some observations will be found in another department of our journal ; next, there is a resettling of the principles of morality as founded in the will of God, in the review of a valuable treatise by the late Mr. DYMOND, a Quaker ; and, to conclude, we have a chapter III. in a notice of the People's Penny Papers, entitled "The Moral and Political State of the British Empire."
By way of practical comment on the general propositions of these papers, is an article taking a military view of the late Revo- lution in France ; showing that the .standing army need not have been beaten unless they had pleased, or if they had had an abler commander than the Duke of RAGUSA ; and, generally, that popii- lar commotions are not so dangerous as they have been deemed since the defeat of the Royal troops at Paris. The other three papers consist of a notice of Mr. SOUTHEY'S publication of the Poems of JOHN JONES, an old servant, with a literary sketch of the humble muse of England ; of an elaborate paper on the origin of the Homeric poems ; and a long tissue of ex- tracts from the lately published Life of Lord BYRON, by MooRE. This paper is severe on Byaorr, his poems, or his biographer, only where it cannot by possibility injure the publisher of them. It is extremely difficult to find any thing written on BYRON except in the true spirit of cant, by which we mean hypocrisy. This number of the Quarterly is not deficient in talent, nor yet in industry ; we may give it credit also for acting, or rather being written up to its notions of right: but if it be abundant in power, it is not the less rank in prejudice. . The eyes of the writers are not shut to the signs of the times, but they misinterpret them so grossly, that it is scarcely possible, without good nature such as ours, to give the authors credit for. honesty. They cannot deny the great progress the people have made in activity of in- tellect, -or refuse to believe in the wide diffusion of information of one kind or another; they perceive and confess the great acces- sion of strength public opinion has received, and they even point out the measures which have passed in deference to it. For this they blame a succession of 'Ministries—they blame the Govern- ment for their weak concessions ; for they maintain that govern- ments have this same public opinion in their power; and they have the folly to imagine that Administrations, duly formed, during the last five-and-twenty years, might have moulded it to their will ; they even think that now the torrent may be stemmed, and that it is competent to the authority of an Administration to control the progress of opinion, or to resist it. They would have all established uses or abuses persisted in,—the Church and tithes more deeply entrenched, the citadel of monarchical authority regularly_ garri- soned, the aristocracy as one of its outworks strongly supported, the people drilled by the clergy into a proper sense of their duty, and the law and the army held up in terro rem over all evil-doers- that is to say, those who dare to think, speak, write,.or actin con- travention of the new settlement of the ancient order of things. In short, they would show-the existing authorities in battle array against the people ; they would appeal to force, forgetting that force is on the other side. This they call standing up for the "con- servative principles" in opposition to the movement faction. The spirit and the wisdom of their measures may be drawn from this— that they deeply regret the repeal of the act which punished libel with banishment.
If the language of the article in which these opinions are chiefly maintained—viz. the 7th, on the State of the Country—did not be- speak the writer a churchman, he might be mistaken for a soldier of fortune, who, in despair of a foreign, looked for promotion in a civil war. Who does not see that this is the course chalked out for the POLIGNACS of France ? It is here recommended to the PEELS of England, in the hope and under the expectation that the resumption of power by that party is not far distant. The writer of the paper in question reckons, for the effect he proposes to produce, upon the fears of his readers. He has got to- gether a formidable array of extracts from the People's Penny Papers : these papers advocate every species of political atrocity— they boldly recommend measures inconsistent not only with the wellbeing, but the very existence of society. The advocates of these opinions are of course confounded with the. political oppo- nents of the Quarterly Review, and the blame of their existence is divided between the concessions of late Administrations and the re- volutionary tenets of the Liberals. It never occurs to the writer that these indications of disease in the body politic may be attributable to the unfitness of existing institutions to the wants of the people, and that the progress of such evils has been quite independent of the prophets who foretold the mischief, or the philosophers who proposed remedies for it. No one can look around without seeing that the country is labouring under diseased action of some kind or other ; and he must be a very prejudiced and a very blind man who thinks that it can be reduced by libel-laws, by special commis- sions, by holding fast by tithes, by sticking to the civil list, main- taining taxation, governing by the borough system in the House, and by the army system out of doors. Reforms of a wide and searching nature are necessary : when evils are remedied, complaints will cease, and penny papers perish. The people have been made a tool of, injured and abused, robbed and oppressed : their ignorance has concealed the cause of their suf- ferings : when hardly dealt with, they have considered their misery as a kind of fate, and cried "hard times :" if they grumbled, there were plenty of people to tell them to submit themselves to the higher powers, and to look for a reward hereafter. The contrivances for tethering the people are manifold ; and being also very ingenious, and the subject tethered being somewhat obtuse and very simple, they have, till lately, succeeded. The Poor-Laws was the first remedy applied, when it was seen thatt he beast had been tethered to the same bit of bare grass till he was starved, and his body breaking out in a leprosy ; and a pretty remedy it proved. It has preserved exist- ence, while it has aggravated the disease. Now, however, the climax is reached ; the last feather has been put on the horse's back, and it must break, or he must shuffle off his pack—and he has learned that he can shuffle off his pack. Tighten, then, his load; rearrange the burden—for he is born to carry one ; place it easily on his back, and secure it by bandages which do not gall, which do not eat into the flesh, waste his strength, and irritate his temper.
Jos m JONES'S own account of the circumstances under which his " Attempts" have been produced, cannot fail to impress every
mind with the moral lesson thus briefly pointed to by the editor. After a simple chronicle of his earlier life, he concludes as follows.— ACCOUNT OF JOHN JONES, AN OLD SERVANT AND POET.
" I entered into the family which I am now serving, in January 1804; and have continued in it, first with the father, and then with the son, only during an interval of eighteen months, up to the present hour ; and during which period most of my trifles have been composed, and some of my former attempts brought (perhaps) a little nearer perfection : but I have seldom sat down to study any thing; for in many instances when I have done so, a ring at the bell, or a knock at the door, or something or other, would disturb me ; and not wishing to be seen, I frequently used to either crumple my paper up in my pocket, or take the trouble to lock it up; and before I could arrange it again, I was often, Sir, again dis- turbed. From this, Sir, I got into the habit of trusting entirely to my memory, and most of my little pieces have been completed and borne in mind for weeks before I have committed them to paper. From this am led to believe, that there are but few situations in life in which at- tempts of the kind may not be made under less discouraging circum- stances. Having a wife and three children to support, Sir, I have had some little difficulties to contend with ; but, thank God, I have encoun- tered them pretty well. I have received many little helps from the family; for which I hope, Sir, I may be allowed to say that I have shown my gra- titude, by a faithful discharge of my duty ; but, within the last year, my children have all gone to service. Having been rather busy this last week, Sir, I have taken up but little time in the preparation of this, and I am fearful you will think it comes before you in a discreditable shape ; but I hope you will be able to collect from it all that may be required for your benevolent purpose : but should you wish to be empowered to speak with greater confidence of my character, by having the testimony of others in support of my own, I believe, Sir, I should not find much difficulty in ob- taining it ; for it affords me some little gratification, Sir, to think that in the few families I have served, I have lived respected, for in none do I re- member of ever being accused of an immoral action, nor, with all my propensity to rhyme, have I been charged with a neglect of duty. I there- fore hope, Sir, that if some of the fruits of my humble muse be destined to see the light, and should not be thought worthy of commendation, no person of a beneficent disposition will regret any little encouragement given to an old servant under such circumstances.' "
"The tranquil, affectionate, and contented spirit that shines out in the 'Attempts' is in keeping with the tone of this letter ; and if Burns was right when he told Dugald Stewart that no man could understand the pleasure he felt in seeing the smoke curling up from a cottage chimney, who had not been born and bred, like himself, in such abodes, and there- fore knew how much worth and happiness they contain,—and if the works of that great poet have, in spite of many licentious passages been found, on the whole, productive of a wholesome effect in society, through their aim and power to awaken sympathy and respect between classes whom fortune has placed asunder,—surely this old man's verses ought to meet with no cold reception among those who appreciate the value of kindly relations between masters and dependents. In them they will trace the natural influence of that old system of manners which was once general throughout England ; under which the young domestic was looked after, by his master and mistress, with a sort of parental solicitude .—admonished kindly for petty faults, commended for good conduct,
advised, and encouraged—and which held out to him who should spend a series of years honestly and dutifully in one household, the sure hope of being considered and treated in old age as a humble friend. Persons who breathe habitually the air of a crowded city, where the habits of life are such that the man often knows little more of his master than that master does of his next-door neighbour, will gather instruction as well as pleasure from the glimpses which John Jones's history and lucu- brations afford of the interior machinery of life in a yet unsophisticated region of the country. His little complimentary stanzas on the birth- days, and such other festivals of the family—his inscriptions to their neighbour, Mrs. Laurence of Studley Park, and the like, are equally honourable to himself and his benevolent superiors ; and the simple purity of his verses of love or gallantry, inspired by village beauties of his own station, may kindle a blush on the cheeks of most of those whose effusions are now warbled over fashionable pianofortes.
"The stanzas which first claimed and won the favourable consideration of the Poet Laureate were these, 'To a Robin Red-Breast
" Sweet social bird, with breast of red, How prone's my heart to favour thee !
Thy look oblique, thy prying head, Thy gentle affability ; Thy cheerful song in winter's cold, And, when no other lay is heard, Thy visits paid to young and old, Where fear appals each other bird; Thy friendly heart, thy nature mild, Thy meekness and docility, Creep to the love of man and child, And win thine own felicity.
The gleanings of the sumptuous board, Convey'd by some indulgent fair, Are in a nook of safety stored, And not dispensed till thou art there.
In stately hall and rustic dome, The gaily robed and homely poor Will watch the hour when thou shalt come., And bid thee welcome to the door.
The herdsman on the upland hill, The ploughman in the hamlet near, Are prone thy little paunch to fill, And pleased thy little psalm to hear.
The woodman, seated on a log, His meal divides atween the three ; And now himself, and now his dog, And now he casts a crumb to thee.
For thee a feast the schoolboy strews At noontide, when the form 's forsook; A worm to thee the delver throws, And angler when he baits his hook.
At tents where tawney gipsies dwell, In woods where hunters chase the hind, And at the hermit's lonely cell, Dost thou some crumbs of comfort find.
Nor are thy little wants forgot In beggar's hut or Crispin's stall ; The miser only feeds thee not, Who suffers ne'er a crumb to fall.
The youth who strays, with dark design, To make each well-stored nest a prey, If dusky hues denote them thine, Will draw his pilfering hand away.
The finch a spangled robe may wear, The nightingale delightful sing, The lark ascend most high in air, • • The swallow fly most swift on wing.
The peacock's plumes in pride may swell, The parrot prate eternally, But yet no bird man loves so well, • As thou with thy simplicity.'
"Among many affectionate tributes to the kind family in whose service,
he has spent so many years, not the worst are some lines occasioned by the death of Miss Sadlier Bruere, written a few months afterwards (Dec: 1826) at Tours. "'Thou wert miss'd in the group when the eye look'd around, And miss'd by the ear was thy voice in the sound ; Thy chamber was darksome, thy bell was unrung-, Thy footstep unheard, and thy lyre unstrung : A stillness prevail' ti at the mournful repast; In tears was the eye on thy vacant seat cast; Each scene wearing gloom, add each brow bearing care, Too plainly denoted that death had been there. • • • To earth we consign'd thee, and made an advance, The thought to beguile, to the vineyards of France.
But 'twould not be cheated ; of all that was rare, Fond nature kept whispering a wish thou could'st share : No air softly swelling, no chord struck with glee, But awoke in the bosom remembrance of thee.
Even now as the cold winds adown the leaves bring, We sigh that our flow'ret was blighted in spring.'"
Quarterly Review, No. 87.
CHARACTER OF MR. CANNING.
"Lord Londonderry saw the weakness to which the Government of this country was reduced ; and there is some reason for thinking that the anxiety with which he regarded the rapid progress of public opinion,— the derangement thereby of what had been our well-balanced constitu- tion,—the possibility that the democracy might, by its growing strength, once more destroy for a time that constitution, and the general misery which would be the certain consequence of such an overthrow,—there is some reason for thinking that this anxiety contributed, more than the ordinary cares and fatigues of his office and station (exhausting as those were), to bring on that mental malady under the influence of which he committed suicide. Few persons apprehended, at the time of his death, in how great a degree that event would affect the affairs of this nation. That Mr. Canning, instead of proceeding to take upon himself the go- vernment of India, would remain in England, was immediately sup- posed ; and his personal friends, instead of rejoicing at this on his ac- count, regretted it, because they feared that his enfeebled health and ir- ritable temperament could not long endure the harassing warfare of the House of Commons, and the incessant excitements of political life ; one year of such wear and tear they thought would prove fatal to him • and the event proved how justly their apprehensions were founded ; though It happened that, immediately after he accepted office, the fever of the public mind intermitted, and a season of fallacious prosperity ensued.
' Fair smiled the morn, and soft the zephyr blew ;'
but we must leave the poet's metaphor, and instead of his gilded vessel, with
Youth at the prow, and pleasure at the helm,'
speak of the state Omnibus, with Lord Liverpool for coachman, Mr. Canning for guard, and Mr. Robinson for book-keeper. It rolled on smoothly ; and few persons perceived that it was moving by its own weight down an inclined plane, and towards a precipice. We had not for a long time had so popular an Administration, and never one which was'so ably supported by its members in the House of Commons ; where, indeed, no orator had ever before appeared so accomplished in all the gifts and arts of oratory, so armed at all points, as Mr. Canning. There have been some who equalled him in acquirements—many who have possessed sounder judgment and sounder principles ; but never was there in any legislative assembly a person whose talents were more peculiarly and perfectly adapted to the effect which he intended to produce. With all the advantages of voice and person, with all the graces of delivery, with all the charms which affability and good-nature impart to genius, he had wit at will, as well as eloquence at command. Being frank and sincere in all his political opinions, he had all that strength in his oratory which arises from sincerity, although in his political conduct the love of intrigue was one of his besetting sins. By an unhappy per- version of mind, it seemed as if he would always rather have obtained his end by a crooked path than by a straight one : but his speeches had nothing of this tortuosity ; there was nothing, covert in them, nothing insidious, no double-dealing, no disguise. His argument went al- ways directly to the point, and with so well-judged an aim that he was never (like Burke) above his mark,—rarely, if ever, below it,.pr beside it. When, in the exultant consciousness of personal supe- riority, as well as the strength of his cause, he trampled upon his opponents, there was nothingt coarse, nothing virulent, nothing contu- melieus, nothing ungenerous in his triumph. Whether he addressed the Liverpool electors or the House of Commons, it was with the same ease, the same adaptation to his auditory, the same unrivalled dexterity, the same command of his subject and his hearers, and the same success. His only faults, as a speaker, were committed when, under the inebriating influence of popular applause, he was led away by the heat and passion of the moment. A warm friend, a placable adversary, a scholar, a man of letters, kind in his nature, affable in his manners, easy of access, play- ful in conversation, delightful in society,—rarely have the brilliant pro- mises of boyhood been so richly fulfilled as in Mr. Canning."—Quarterly Revie', No. 87.