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opinion of him has been formed exclusively upon his political character and his writings, will have some difficulty in believing that the curate of Brentford was one of the best bred gentlemen of the age. In this respect he was a sort of phenomenon. He was born in a low station: at no period did he appear to have possessed any remarkable advantages for the study of good breeding; on the contrary, the greater part of his life was spent in constant intercourse with coarse, vulgar, and uneducated men. Yet his natural taste was so good, and he had profited so judiciously by whatever opportunities he enjoyed, that courts and high stations have seldom produced a better example of polite and elegant behaviour than was exhibited by the associate of Messrs. Hardy and Thelwall. Indeed his manner had almost every excellence that manner can display-grace, vivacity, frankness, dignity. Perhaps, indeed, in its outward forms and in that which is purely conventional, his courtesy wore the air of the vieille cour,' and was rather more elaborate than is consistent with the practice of this lounging unceremonious age: but it was never forced or constrained, and it sat not ungracefully upon an old man.

It has been remarked of some very eminent men, that either from bashfulness, or pride, or indifference, or want of a ready command of their faculties, their conversation frequently disappointed the expectations which their character had raised. Mr. Tooke was not of that class. He never appeared to greater advantage than in conversation. He was naturally of a social and convivial turn. His animal spirits were strong, the promptitude of his understanding was equal to its vigour, and he was by no means too proud to receive with satisfaction the small but immediate reward of approbation and good will which is always cheerfully paid to the display of agreeable qualities in society. A long, attentive, and acute observation of the world, had furnished him with a vast store of information and remark, which he was always ready to communicate, but never desirous to obtrude upon his hearers. The events of his political life had brought him into personal intercourse with many of the most considerable men of his time, and he was minutely acquainted with the history of them all. It is true, indeed, as we have already had occasion to observe, that few of the number had the good fortune to be the objects of his regard or approbation; and as candour was not a virtue he much affected, it was therefore necessary to receive his account of their actions and character with all imaginable caution and allowance. But if he was not a faithful portrait painter, he was at least an admirable caricaturist; which, for the purposes of mere entertainment, did quite as well: and it must be owned that his representations, though

harsh and unfavourable, always bore a striking and amusing resemblance to the originals. Viewed alone, they would have conveyed a very erroneous idea; but they were by no means without their use in correcting the impressions which had been made by more friendly, but equally unfaithful artists. He possessed an inexhaustable fund of anecdotes, which he introduced with great skill, and related with neatness, grace, rapidity and pleasantry. He had a quick sense of the ridiculous, and was a great master of the whole art of raillery, a dangerous talent, though the exercise of it in his hands was always tempered by politeness and good humour. No man, we believe, ever provoked him by hostile attack, without having reason to repent of his rashness. He was possessed of all the means that could make retort terrible;-ready poignant wit, perfect composure and selfcommand, boldness confirmed by the habit of victory in that species of combat, and a heartfelt bitterness, which when he was once emancipated, by the indiscretion of his adversary, from those restraints which good-breeding imposed, poured itself forth in a torrent of keen, unsparing, irresistible invective. But these severe chastisements were but rarely inflicted, never, we believe, except when provoked by some signal instance of folly or impertinence in his opponent.

His fault as a companion was that love of paradox which we have already mentioned, and a tendency to disputation which led him continually to argue for the mere sake of victory, and in evident contradiction to his own real opinion-a practice quite insufferable when adopted, as it often is, by persons of ordinary understanding, and who only flatter themselves that they possess the acuteness with which Mr. Tooke was really endowed, and to which we must own, that even his liveliness, native ingenuity, and felicity of illustration, could never wholly reconcile us.

He possessed a rich vein of humour, sometimes coarse, but always striking, comic, and original. His speeches afforded some good specimens of it to the public, and he indulged in it still more freely in private. Perhaps, indeed, it may be fairly objected to him, that his conversation was hardly ever quite serious; and that what with paradox, and what with irony, it was not easy to get at his true meaning. The truth seems to be, that he comforted himself for not having a larger share in the business of the world, by laughing at every body and every thing it contained. His sceptical disposition probably kept his mind unsettled upon many important facts as to which the generality of men entertain more fixed opinions, and he was therefore ready to espouse either side with equal zeal and equal insincerity, just as accident or caprice inclined him at the moment. There were other subjects on which he was accustomed to speak more posi

tively, but on which we are apt to suspect that his esoteric doctrines were very different from those which he taught to alder men, shoemakers, and other patriotic persons. On such occasions, he could not have been in earnest. He must have seen through the designs of those with whom he was acting-he must have loathed their vulgarity-he must have despised their folly. We are aware how severe a censure upon his honesty this opinion implies, but we really think that a fair estimate of the strength of his understanding can lead to no other conclusion.

He was endowed with every species of courage, active and passive, personal and political. Even his adversaries allowed him this merit. We recollect, that in the year 1794, at the time of the State Trials, when it was falsely reported, that upon being committed to the Tower his spirit had failed, and he had burst into tears, Wilkes expressed great surprise, and said, 'I knew he was a knave, but I never thought him a coward.' It is only to be regretted that he found no better opportunities for the display of so valuable a quality, than in election riots, and trials for sedition and treason.


In spite of labour and dissipation his life was protracted to a period which indicated an originally sound and vigorous frame. For the last twenty years, however, he was subject to several severe, distressing and incurable infirmities. These he bore with a patience and firmness which it was impossible not to admire: to the last he never suffered himself to be beat down by them, nor ever for one moment indulged in complaint, or gave way to despondency. In the intervals of pain, nay, even when actually suffering under it, he preserved a self-command, which enabled him to converse, not only with spirit and vigour, but with all his accustomed cheerfulness and pleasantry, never making any demand upon the sympathy of his friends, or mentioning his own situation at all, except when occasionally, and by a very pardonable exercise of his sophistry, he amused himself in exalting its comforts, and explaining away its disadvantagesdisplaying in this respect a manly spirit and a practical philosophy which, if they had been brought to bear upon his moral, as well as upon his physical condition, if they had been employed with as much effect in reconciling him to his political exclusion as to his bodily sufferings, might have produced, not the very imperfect character we have been attempting to delineate, in which the unfavourable traits bear so large a proportion to those of a nobler and more benign cast, but the venerable portrait of a truly wise and virtuous man.

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De l'Influence des Femmes sur la Litterature Française, comme Protectrices des Lettres et comme Auteurs; ou Précis de l'Histoire des Femmes Françaises les plus célèbres, Par Madame de Genlis. Paris, 1811. London, 1811.

[From the British Review, for December, 1811.]

To stumble at the threshold has been considered an unlucky omen; we are, therefore, sorry to find any thing to blame in the title-page of a book. If a title to a literary work be wholly without utility or purpose, it would be better in all cases to omit it. But if there be a purpose intended by it, and that purpose be to make known the general design or subject of the work, unless the work is truly without scope or plan, we may reasonably expect to learn what it is from the title. Of the two parts of the title of the work before us, the first is descriptive of a specific topic of illustration, while the second confesses that if the purpose of the author be really not that which the first announces, it is at least her sincere intention to write a great deal on the subject of celebrated French females, learned, and unlearned.

The "réflexions préliminaires" contain some observations not unworthy of being studied and remembered; but the argument on the comparative strength of male and female capacities for literature and science, which was never edifying, useful, or liberal, is now by repetition become vapid and wearisome in the greatest degree.

Madame de Genlis has chosen to embark in this controversy, and she has adopted the childish mode in which the same is usually conducted, that is, by running a parallel between the celebrated individuals of the different sexes through an indefinite compass of history. By a sorted comparison made in this manner, the male might easily be shewn to be the fairer and the female the robuster sex. Out of the millions which have come into the world, arrived at maturity, and departed, or that at present exist in it, the largest possible enumeration of particular instances can bear no proportion to the whole, so as to afford an average on which to ground a comparison of the sexes. No assignable number thus individually collected on either side, could afford a measure so large as not to be capable of being embraced within the scope of an exception to any general predication respecting the human condition, and therefore of course no possible extent of such an enumeration could be wide enough to establish a general rule. The thing is incapable of proof, and wants no illustration.

VOL. I. New Series.


We shall not suffer ourselves to be drawn into this barren disputation; but we cannot refrain from remarking by the way, that whatever perversity or error in the arrangements of life, accident may be supposed to have produced, whatever usurpations upon the equal rights of the fair sex are imputable to the subtlety or force of ours, time, one would imagine, that usually develops dormant claims, and necessity that for the most part vindicates the appointments of the Creator, would long ago have brought things to their proper level; for nature and truth are not to be prescribed against. But still this unjust ascendancy continues; still the exigencies of life and the distribution of duties put the yoke of mediocrity upon feminine ambition, in all the severer exercises of mind and body, and give free scope only to those virtues and attainments which sweeten domestic intercourse, instruct the rising generation, promote the charities of the heart, and adorn the Christian profession. Unluckily, too, the Scripture does in more places than one afford a colour of authority to this artificial arrangement; and seems to suggest a path of duty to females, which, though important beyond all price to the happiness and improvement of the world, does not conduct to intellectual grandeur, or flatter with the hope of literary immortality.

Under these circumstances it seems to us much more rational and useful to inquire what cultivation of the female mind best fits it for the discharge of the duties which the state of society allots to it, than what are its possibilities of attainment under a culture which has abstractedly in view its intellectual advancement alone.

We presume therefore to think, that the education of females should be conducted so as to qualify them to fill with honour their proper places in society, rather than to excite the ardours of eccentric ambition. We would not have it thought, however, that the British Reviewers are less favourable than their literary competitors to the advancement of the female mind. When we come to explain ourselves upon the subject, it will be seen that the cultivation considered by us as appropriate to our English ladies, though somewhat subtracting from the importance usually attached to some parts of their education, would put the capacities of females under a severer requisition than can be satisfied by the ordinary methods now taken to accomplish them.

If politics, metaphysics, mathematics, and the languages of Greece and Rome, are not among those objects of study which we consider as essential to female education, we are not therefore to be supposed to regard women as a secondary sort of beings, and worthy only of being taught those things which administer to the pleasure or service of man. But we presume to

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