Memorial Edition of the Collected Works of W. J. Fox.
V ols. I. and H. (C. Fox: Trubner.)—It has been determined, it seems, to publish an edition of Mr. Fox's works in twelve volumes, as a memorial of his public services. Now we venture to enter a protest against this decision. Whether we consider the changes of opinion through which the late member for Oldham passed, or the eminently rhetorical character of so much of his writing, we are quite sure that his reputation would be better served by a judicious selection, than by an indiscriminate publication of all that he produced. He was an energetic preacher and politician, who did not weigh his words, but rather was carted away by them, and there are many of them that the world would willingly let die. It would have been quite possible to include within a moderate compass all his real contributions to thought, and at the same time give a due representa- tion of the man and the development of his ideas. Perhaps in that case the publishers might have supplied a type and paper that would have been more satisfactory in a memorial edition. We think that what we have said is quite borne out by the two volumes that now make their appearance. The first consists of lectures and sermons delivered prior to1824, on such subjects as the " Sacrifice of Christ," the " Corruptions of Christianity, and its Genuine Character," &c. ; the second, of a series of essays originally published in 1831 on the mission, character, and doc- trines of Christ. He attacks Calvinism, State churches and creeds, and propounds the Unitarianism which he at that time professed, which combined a disbelief in the divinity of Christ with a belief in the miracu- lous portions of the Scripture narrative. We think that few persons will care to know what Mr. Fox thought on these subjects at this very early period of his life, especially as he modified his views afterwards to a serious extent ; and we feel tolerably certain that those who do so will soon tire of wading through the mass of verbiage and rhetorical flou- rishes, in which the really valuable matter forms but a small deposit.