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hat numbers in the proportion of peraps more than a thousand, to one, hom those under the cloak of piety nd the cloak of honour, like the andent Pharisees and Sadducees, cordial7 unite to load with every epithet at denotes vileness and infamy. 'his third and defamed party bear all he slanders vomited upon them, with uch composure, and never shew any ymptoms of anger or violence, till unger and nakedness drive them ad; and the Bible shews, both by recept and example, that even "wise en may be made mad." I would herefore warn you against the leaven the modern Pharisees and Sad ucees; for unless in your future laours as an annalist, you discriminate ese from the worthy and upright ortion of the community, your exrtions will be not only lost, but you ay contribute to increase fearfully he evils which unhinge all the sacred onds that keep society together. here are two parties in the present ay, who call themselves Whig and ory; and if the world were so childhly simple as to believe them, there no other class except cut-throats and honsters! That there are wise and ood men who are classed with the oposing parties called Whigs and Toes, no man of understanding will eny; but that there is one of a thouand of these Whigs and Tories in cotland, who will fearlessly do what right, in all cases, or in general, is hat no man of sense and experience ill believe. The mainspring is maifest to the most rustic but shrewd bservation. A sagacious man from nong a sober and honest population, nters, or, as too often happens, is ompelled to enter a court of law, nd there he sees and hears two emient pleaders on opposite sides of a use, speak, and gesticulate, and conadict, and attack each other, with as uch earnestness and regulated biterness as if they were the real pares, and till their faces are as red with passion as the necks of Turkey ocks, and till the hail of perspiration uns down their cheeks in copious treamlets. The honest countryman dmires the sincerity of these eloquent entlemen; but as an unsound, intead of a sound horse has sometimes een imposed upon him, he suspends is faith a little, for farther observaon; he follows and watches them;
he sees them meet in smiling and cordial kindness, laughing at their mock battle; he observes them depart and dine with one another, and is told that they are most intimate and sworn friends. He is now convinced that the fees-the precious and darling cash, was the sole moving cause of all the theatrical sincerity and pugnacious contention, and that, without the bawbees, they would have been as stationary and mute as lobsters. This unsuspecting countryman has learned what he never forgets as a general rule for estimating verbal sincerity, and his rule is confirmed by the sentence of the Court, who believe neither the one lawyer nor the other, but send them off to seek other and better reasons, or decide the question in a way offensive to both. The conclusion of the rustic is made in coarse but sturdy phrase, which I dare not put down, lest the hysterical Whigs, as well as the silken Tories, should be offended.
Common sense is the same among all ranks, but it is prodigiously sharpened, and acute, among those who are put to their wits end, by finding insolence and power combined against reason and conscience. The countryman returns home, and what he saw and heard circulates quietly among his neighbours, who have the same hopes and fears, and who suspect, from the fine patriotic talk, and polite duplicity of the gay and powerful around them, that their superiors are the same every where, and that the safety of their religion, property, and lives, consists in that sullen silence, and fierce vigilance which the American settler, in the wilderness, must maintain against the Indians and wild beasts.
When the great body of a people come to be prepared in this way, and with far greater rapidity and effect than by what is vulgarly called the licentiousness of the press, the nominal Whigs, and nominal Tories, sink into utter and universal contempt, and this contempt, with one class, settles down into a rooted and permanent hatred; and, with another, into merriment or broad laughter. The world sees, that, like lawyer craft, the struggle between these nominal parties, is for the public purse only, for the "filthy lucre." Each of them is calling on the people to support them. The people, if they have food, fuel, lodging, and clothing, stand by with a provoking apathy, or
with a ludicrous stare and grin. In Scotland, these two nominal parties seem totally ignorant of the state of public opinion. The native population of Scotland, with some trifling exceptions, consists wholly of the Whigs of the Covenant, differing as widely from the nominal and prominent Whigs of our day, as the apostle Peter differed from that smooth, cunning, and thievish priest, Doctor Judas Iscariot. The intelligent and upright Tories, at the Revolution, in 1688, had the good sense to agree with the Whigs of the Covenant, that is, the truly religious Whigs, who most amply proved their faith by their conduct. The Whigs of the Covenant would have driven our infidel and treacherous Whigs from their society, with scorn. In drawing up farther Parish Annals, keep this constantly in view. In hostility to the poor-to the rights of the church-to real religious instruction—and to faithful ministers,
the nominal Whigs and nominal Tories are completely of one mind. I intend ed to have given you some short specimens, to show how the Whigs of the purse, and the man-midwives to Parson Malthus, exhibit their political faith in parish affairs. But my letter is perhaps far too long-and therefore I have the honour to subscribe myself
A WHIG OF THE COVENANT.
P. S. In the meantime, I recom mend to your attentive perusal, the answer of the Kirk-session of Neilsto to the Heritors' Publication, agains them, printed at Paisley, 1820, in which you will see how the grand pri ciple that alone governs the bastar Whigs and the bastard Tories, shew itself in country parishes, for the edi fication of his Majesty's subjects, t the astonishment of all wise men, an for the amusement of the infidels.
* We should be happy to receive some of the personal observations of THIS WHIC
HISTORICAL VIEW OF THE RISE, PROGRESS, DECLINE, AND FALL OF
THE EDINBURGH REVIEW.
“It hath once and again been observed by me, in my Notice of the Works of Na ture, that there be something like unto a power of chance to be seen therein, in diver instances. For I have often witnessed a tree to spring up on a thin and barren s and to rear mighty boughs and overarching, so as well to be deserving of Dan Virg ipse nemus. Why so no man knoweth unto a certainty. So likewise fareth it wit the same tree in its decay. For it becometh sapless and doddered, one knoweth not we wherefore; and when the sturdy axe is laid unto the root, lo! the heart thereof mouldered; and it seemeth to have been, even in that its proud flourishing, an u sound and diseased tree. All of which is a wonder, passing a perfect understandin thereof."-Sir Stephen Stunihurst's Prose Works, folio, 343. THE EDINBURGH REVIEW will undoubtedly occupy a distinguished place in the History of Scottish Literature. For the greater part of twenty years no journal was ever more generally read in this country. Some of the French periodical publications may, on account of the diffusion of that language, have distributed more numerous impressions; but it may be confidently averred, that no continental work has excited the same degree of interest. The rise and progress of the Edinburgh Review, while the facts are fresh in the public memory, is therefore an object that merits the gravest consideration; for a series of books, embracing every variety of topic, so much, and so generally read, inust, it may be supposed, have pro
duced profound and durable impres sions, equally on taste, philosophy, an opinion. And now, when the work ha confessedly declined from its origina vigour, and fallen into a state of dot age and decay, that oftener awaken sentiments of contempt than compas sion towards the contributors, the track of its career ought to be surveyed The public, with respect to its whol course, now stand, as it were, on th vantage ground of posterity, and ca follow its windings and tergiversa tions, with almost as free a judgmen as one traces, on the map of history the current of some hostile and ambitious tribe or nation.
It is a common opinion, that the Edinburgh Review originated a number of bold and briefless barristers
in the northern metropolis, (a) young men, emulous of distinction, some of whom had received the gilding and plating of a short residence at oneof the English Universities; and that, eager to obtain distinction more rapidly than it could be obtained by the steady la
bours, and patient erudition of their profession, they associated together for the express and coalesced purpose, in all their minds, of exhibiting themselves to the most conspicuous advan tage, by exposing the vulnerable parts in the writings and powers of those
(A) The general view taken in the text, considering the comprehensive chaacter of the work in question, has imposed on me the necessity of throwing in few notes. It was, indeed, not to be expected that the Edinburgh Review, which now amounts to somewhere about six and thirty volumes, could be reiewed either article by article, volume by volume, or critic by critic, in the brief pace allowed to our several correspondents; but the force of many of the obervations in the text would perhaps not receive due attention, were they pernitted to pass to the public without illustration. For example, in alluding > the motives which induced the original contributors to associate together, ought in candour to mention, that they have themselves, in a separate ublication, stated the fact differently, but how far more truly they are the best adges. The publication referred to is their "Two-pence half-penny observaons on Thelwall's two and sixpence letter to the Editor of the Edinburgh leview." If there was any wit in the price, it is a pity they did not make it a enny-farthing.
"It (the Review) is a secondary object with them, and was undertaken more for the urpose of amusement, and of collecting the scattered literature (literary men, we preime) of the place, than from any other motive," (p. 15.)
The Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, gives the following account of is matter:
"A few young men who had just concluded their studies at the University of Edin urgh, and were united together by a similarity of talents and pursuits, conceived a proct, (designed, we believe, to be temporary,) to rescue this province of literature (cricism) from the state of degradation into which it had gradually sunk, and to give the orld what for many years it had not seen, a fair, but at the same time a bold and imartial review of such works as appeared to merit public attention. The scheme of ublication, although deeply laid, contained some staggering preliminaries. The associed critics, while they asserted the most uncontrolled freedom from the influence of eir publisher, stipulated, it is well known, a subsidy at more than treble the rate alwed to the best, as well as supplest mercenaries which London could afford.” In a pamphlet," Reviewers Reviewed," by John Charles O'Reid, in 1811, find something more on the subject, in unison with my statement.
"This Review is said to have originated with two or three young men, fellow memers of a debating society at Edinburgh. At the publication of the first number, it is elieved that the age of neither of them exceeded seven-and-twenty; and their names ere as yet little known. The honour of being its projector, is generally given to the ev. Sidney Smith. Mr Francis Jeffrey, its present editor, and Henry Brougham, sq. were the first who agreed to unite with his their voluntary labours, and to try the periment for a year. Their success surpassed their expectations. The work took with e public, and it soon became a most profitable adventure. They obtained the active ncurrence of Professors Playfair and Leslie; and though all their applications, I well now, were by no means successful, several names of great respectability were added to eir muster-roll; among others those of Mr Malthus and Mr Horner. The celebrated r Walcot (Peter Pindar) is said to have furnished an article relating to the fine arts; d Mr Bloomfield, and Mr Walpole of Cambridge, and Mr R. P. Knight, have been listed to supply the deficiency of classical writers on the north side of the Tweed, and assist in abusing their countrymen. The last of these gentlemen is the Reviewer of e Oxford Strabo. Such is their poverty in this respect, that some most curious anec tes might be here introduced, to prove the shifts to which they have been reduced. A otch nobleman actually begged for Mr Jeffrey an article on Dr Clark's Greek mar es, which was written for the Quarterly Review, and rejected by Mr Gifford, the edi r, even after it was printed, as unworthy of that publication.”—P. 37. 4 P
authors who had either acquired, or were likely to acquire, any available, political, or popular influence.
This notion of the characters of the original Reviewers is ingenious, and certainly not without plausibility. Criticism, in one respect, is the easiest department of literature, and nothing is more cordial to contemporaries than detraction. To form such an estimate of the merits of a new book, as the judgment of posterity will afterwards sanction, doubtless requires discernment and acumen of a singular and high order; something almost akin to the prophetic sense; for it not only ascertains what is absolutely good, as well as new-not only what is genuine, and what will be found germinative upon future opinions, but anticipates the probable progress of the public mind, and foresees in what respects the work will continue to delight and to affect it. A critic, qualified to take this noble station in criticism, is as rare as the sage who enlarges the circumference of science, and the poet who multiplies the sources of moral delight, and the materials of refined art. But, to pronounce a judgment agreeable to contemporaneous invidia, to point out those blemishes which every eye sees, and those defects which every reader feels, is no difficult task. The works of man are ever to man mean and inferior, for he unconsciously compares them with those of nature; and it is the characteristic of base and sordid intellects, to fasten on the parts where the material and the means em
fluctuating notions of the day, and can only move to temporary derision, or possibly induce the unreflecting por tion of the public to look with wonder and inquiry at things which their own unbiassed taste would have prompted them to despise. For, while it is assert ed that criticism is the easiest of all the departments of literature, it is with reference to this distinction, and the observation is made entirely with respect to the art practised as a trade in this country. But to return to the circumstances in which the Edinburgh Review originated.
While it may perhaps be conceded that there is some foundation in fact for the opinions commonly entertained of the characters and motives of the young men who first established the work, it would be equally unphiloso phical and ridiculous to ascribe the sensation which the work occasioned to their powers alone. In the first place, before any effect can be produ ced, there must have been a previous susceptibility in the subject to receive the impression; and, in the second, the impressing cause must possess within itself the power of generating the effect ascribed to it. It cannot, therefore, be said that the Edinburgh Review caused that susceptibility which had prepared the public to receive with so much appetite the impress of the talent it contained; and, in the sequel, if it shall appear that other and more efficient energies were at work in causing those effects to arise, which the Edinburgh Reviewers, with so much self-complacency, father among themselves, surely it would be a violation of all legitimate induction to ascribe to it results which it was incapable of producing.
ployed by the author, to produce his intended effects, most obviously betray the artificial character of his production. The man of true taste overlooks the marks of manipulation, he disregards the blains of the chisel, In order properly to appreciate the and the traces of the pencil, and concircumstances in which the Edinburgh templates, with the delicious glow of Review arose, it is necessary to revert admiration, those achievements of in- to the situation both of publicaffairs and genuity by which the artist has succeed- of literature a considerable time prier. ed in imitating the grand general pheno- For it is not one of the least remarkmena of his subject, as they would have able characteristics of that state of cirexisted in nature. In judging, there- cumstances, that the genius of the age fore, of the merit of such a body of as it predominated in politics, perva criticism as that of the Edinburgh Re- ded the republic of letters, and actuview, it is requisite to bear in mind, ated its movements with similar revo the distinction between that faculty in lutionary impulses. Before the ever criticism, which enables a reviewer to memorable 1789, the empire of literaanticipate the opinion of posterity, and `ture had become a regular oligarchythat power of verbal or of labial ex
as proud, as mystical, and as pompous
pression, which coincides with the as that of Venice-a prescribed lineage
of mind, the successive gradations of academical proficiency, equivalent to the qualities requisite in candidates for admission to the honours of the chivalric orders, were deemed indispensible to the privileges of authorship.-The diploma of the degree was as essential to the one as the genealogical tree to the other. But, in the combustion of all ancient dogmas which immediately succeeded the era of anarchy in France, academical honours and hereditary dignities were consigned to the same fate, and a race of literary democrats, as vulgar, as presumptuous, and as ignorant as their political brethren, assumed a dictatorial and factious domination in the republic of learning. Their crude and hypothetical conceptions were promulgated as irrefragable principles, and a wild and insane prurience in theories and systems propagated a moral licentiousness that menaced the very existence of all rational and practical opinion in art, and science, and taste. Against these rash and innovating demagogues, a Whig of that revolution, by which the liberties of England were secured, in other words, a Tory of that revolution which threat ened them and those of all Europe with abolition-Mr Burke was the first who effectually raised his voice. With the irrepressible enthusiasm of the hermit Peter rousing Christendom to the dangers of the rising deluge of Saracenic devastation; he demonstrated the necessity of raising ramparts and barriers to protect philosophy from the ravagers who were making such dreadful inroads on the most sacred and venerable recesses of the vineyard; but only indirectly, and chiefly with reference to the effects which the ravage produced on political institutions. As a statesman, it did not fall within the scope of his immediate object to take up the subject in detail; but, standing aloft in the high tower of his immortal genius, he saw the bands of the barbarians, as they "skirred the country," spreading ruin and waste, and admonished the world of the desolation that must ensue if they were not repelled and extirpated. The attention, however, of the Tories of that time was wholly engaged with the de signs of the military aggressors, and the learned among them fell into the
same error that the cabinets of Europe committed with respect to the political democrats. They undervalued the strength and number of the demagogues, laughed at their raving declamations, and giving the generality of mankind credit for more intelligence than they possess, they would not believe that such a race of manifest maniacs could ever obtain any influence with the public. The mistake and the feeling of security were as fallacious in the one case as in the other. The anarchy of France took the form of prodigious military bodies, which with the power of new elements overwhelmed the insufficient force by which resistance was attempted; and the frenzy of the demagogues, in the shape of novels, and poetry, history, and treatises, sent forth with astonishing rapidity, set at defiance all the wonted missiles of epigrammatic ridicule and classical comparison.
The Jacobins of literature addressed themselves to the coarser passions, and, inflaming and awakening them, produced an impression immeasurably deeper than the calm and quiet delight which works of true genius can alone inspire. Crimes and sins became the topics of fiction, in which the sinner and the criminal were represented as the victims in their vices of the consecrated usages of society. The heroes and heroines of the democratical romance encountered as dreadful adversaries, as their predecessors in the legends of chivalry. Law and religion took the form of giants, and honour and dignity were magicians of diabolical power. The elegance, the courtesies, the patience, the pining, and the delightful platonism with which the delicate spirit of purer feelings and more refined manners had invested love, were torn away, and the beautiful innocent infant god was represented to the ribaldry of debauched fancies, as a rampant, an adulterous, even an cestuous beast."
History and Disquisition had become equally false and depraved The most fraudulent exhibitions of the motives and intents of departed worthies were flagrantly given, for the express purpose of corrupting that veneration which in all ages, till those evil days, it had been one of the chief objects of education to inspire, of vir