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The Sorrows of Werter, though an interesting perforinance, we are convinced has been of no service to the younger class of read
This sort of episode to that work, as it does not possess the beauties of the original, neither does it contain all its baneful qualitties; it is however dangerous in a certain degree, and female readers will do well to guard against the pleating melancholy softness it is calculated to inspire.
Eleanora, the Heroine of the novel, feels that she entertains too tender sentiments for Werter, who appears to be in love with her fifter Julia. The death of this latter leaves it undecided whether they really felt a mutual passion, or were inspired by no other fentiment than a tender friendship. Werter, henceforward, pays the fame attentions to Eleanora that he had done to Julia, and our heroine is every day in expectation of his making an open and direct avowal of his fame, but this he always avoids. Soon after her 'filter's death, Eleanora flies from this formidable enchanter to company and diffipation. But after having tried this expedient for same time in vain, after having remained deaf to the adorations of all the pretty fellows, and refused a most advantageous match, she returns to folitude and Werter, not however without having contracted a tender friendship for a Mr. Ponthin, who adores her. But remember that the sentiments the entertains are those of mere friendship. We do not approve of these equivocal connexions, and advise our fair readers to beware of that kind of melting friendship.
The conduct of Werter continues invariably the same ; with all the attentions of the most ardent lover, he still preserves his mysterious filence, though he must have perceived that the lady every moment expected the long-wished for declaration. Having thus teized Eleanora for a length of time, he unexpectedly abandans her, and in about a year afterwards the hears that he has killed himself.
Such is the skeleton of the novel, which brings down the sublime Werter to the level of a male coquet. In point of compofition these volumes are above the generality of such publications, and the author has contrived, without the aid of much story, to give interest to his performance. The story of auld Robin Gray comes in by way of episode, under the names of Claude and Ifabella, and we are presented with another, much longer, containing the history of the Montmorenci family, which, though pleafing, occupies too much room in this publication.
For the ENGLISH REVIEW.
[Far JULY, 1785.]
CHARACTER OF THE PRESENT MINISTRY. THATEVER frailtics or follies may aţtend the present minif
try, it is certain that they cannot be charged with indolence. Night as well as day, summer as well as winter, is consumed in deliberation, or rather in the fabrication of acts of parliament relating to the most important objects : The public revenue ; the trade and government of what remains of our foreign dependencies; and a final settlement of all disputes with Ireland. Taxes are imposed, a fund is provided for extinguishing the national debt, complicated bills for maintaining a connection with the East Indies and with our late dependants acrols St George's Channel are formed, innovations of various kinds are meditated : not even the venerable institutions of justice escape the infectious fpirit, not of improvement, so much as of alteration.
Activity is beyond all doubt the very characterestic of our ministers. There are men whose supreme happiness consists in bustle and intrigue; others who are never so happy, as in making new arrangements; and thousands who glory in the pomp of office, and the display of power. There was not a more bustling man in reality, and not one who had fo much the appearance of being so, as Lord Sydney when in the House of Commons, at that time known by the familiar appellation of Tommy Townshend. Lord Carmarthen is celebrated for his laborious patience in answering letters, copying dispatches, and the whole drudgery of a commis. The Duke of Richmond and Lord Howe are the greatest plodders in the universe, Mr. Jenkinson, for he is now to be ranked among ministerial men, is a prodigy of pragmaticalness. Mr. Dundas, active by nature and professional habits, as well as from the necessity of his circumstances, is like the troubled sea which cannot refl: And Mr. Pitt in activity, as in eininence of the above, exceeds the whole. The only exception to this general character of the ministry is the chancellor, who would be very well pleased with a little rest, but who is driven to constant labour by the perpetual motion of his colleagues in office.
There is a circunstance attending the present set of ministers and ministerial men, that is, men in subordinate offices of government, which, although it can scarcely be mentioned without moving laugh ter, is yet somewhat characteristical of their dispositions, and not wholly without political consequence. As Lord North and Mr. Fox, with great part of their principal adherents, were men of jolly, social, and contented appearance; fo the present administration are
remarkable for being long, lean, or raw-boned. Such is the pretrier, sach is Lord Thurlow, Lord Howe, Lord Carmarthen, Charles Jenkinson, and the Solicitor General. The Attorrey General, though very short, is remarkable for his impatience and restlessness, as well as a parfimony in his bodily frame and constitution. Lord Sydney and Mr. Dundas, though not lean, are raw-boned, and capable of grcat anitial exertion. The former of these, when a member of the House of Commons, used to stamp with his feet, and clinch and shakë his fists in such a manner as if he panted for a boxing mateh, or for some other subject of manual labour and exercife.
But activity is not in all cases a subject of praise. The most mifchievous, the most ruinous things in nature, are among the most active. In morals, no passion fo active and daring too as resentment and deadly revenge. In religion, the devil is a being of unparralJelled activity, conitantly going about seeking whom he may devour. In physics, nothing can exceed the active subtlety of poison, and the quick communication of pestilential and epidemical dittempers. Before we applaud or approve the activity of ministers, we ought therefore to estimate its tendency. Perhaps, in many instances, the public would indulge thein in a little repote, and may find reason to wim of them, as is wifhed of Cailius in the play of Julius Cæsar, that they were fatter.'
The present administration was formed by a temporary impulse of the nation, and flattered, for some time, with the national confi. dence. Time has already proved that the love of power is a stronger pallion than gratitude, and that neither virtues nor talents are hereditary Of Mr. Pitt, so lately the national idol, men are now generally disposed to affirm that his conduct is inconfiftent, and his fyfteins incoherent and incongruous. He poffeffes a regard, and makes come inconsiderable advances towards pub.ic economy, while, at the expence of a sum that would build a navy equal to that of England, he huinours the mischievous whims of the Duke of Richmond. He burthens the nation with intolerable taxes, by way of establishing laws for the prevention of smuggling, while he is bufied in the fabrication of commercial regulations, which must infallibly open a wider door chan was ever yet opened for contraband and illicit trade. He proposes resolutions to the Irish parliament, and confents to their fundamental alteration, their total subversion in the British fenate. When it is the object of the nation to frame such a code of laws as fhall possess vigour and promptitude fufficient to restrain and compote the principles of discord and revolt in India, Mr. Pitt, with his co-adjutors, contrives a bill for this purpose, enfeebled by fo many checks and counterchecks, and such variety of assent and cooperation as appear to have been dictated by the departed spirits of Some patriotic Gentoos visiting his nightly flumbers. When a pre
ceding bill for the same purpose, vigorous and prompt, whatever evil consequences it may be supposed to involve to the constitution, is pending in Parliament, Mr. Pitt opposes it, chiefly on the ground that it is not consonant with the inclinations, , but contrary to the avowed sentiments and remonstrances of the people. What, said Mr. Pict, when a number of petitions were presented against Mr. For's India Bill, will you persist in this bill against the voice of the peopie?' On subjects of legislation for distant dependencies, differing from ourselves, and the different Tribes of which those depen. dencies are composed from one another in refpect of customs, laws, and religion, solicited and tempted by the addreis of the most refined nation of the world, hostile not by nature, but by political interest to this country, on this nice and delicate topic, which requires the united aid of experience and philosophy, our young minifter is willing to be determined by the voice of the people. But in mat ters of manufacture and commerce where they are competent, and perhaps the best judges, he lends a deaf ear to petitions figned by nearly a million of people ! Controuled, however, by the patriot iim, by the good senle of parliament, he is obliged to consult the in: terests of England as well as those of Ireland. The Irish proposic tions are altered : they wear a different complexion : they bear marks of an English more than of an Irish extra&tion. Mr. Pitt, in what, as we are so much involved with 'Ireland, we shall call the bumility of pride, adopts and owns the corrections of his adversaries ; and never appears to worthy of praile as when he relinquifhes his own opinions, and, retaining all the pride and parade of office, af, fixes the stamp and seal of power to the conceptions of others. The recollection of a few particulars will serve to evince the truth of what is now asserted.
If Mr. Pitt's original resolutions respecting Ireland, had palied, we should have lost, without all potsibility of redemption the monopoly of the East India trade.
We must have hazarded all the revenue arising from spirituous liquors.
We must have opened a more extensive door to smuggling than was ever yet known to exist in this country.
It would have been in the posver of Ireland to have drawn a revenue from our consumption,
Mr. Pitt when he made offers to the Irish Parliament did not know whether England would grant them. And now that England has declared what she is ready to grant, he does noc know whether Ireland will accept. The British Parliament is to be adjourned, not prorogued to Otober. In the mean time the eyes of this nation, and not only of this nation; but of all enlightened politicians in every part of the world will be turned to Ireland. That nation is now independent. It has a legislature of its own. Its sovereignty is acknowledged by England in the present negociations. By the fourth article, as the resolutions are now amended, multiplied and arranged, an intention is discovered again to flip the yoke of government on a people lulled and soothed by commercial conceision. For by this article it is provided " That all laws which have been made or shall be made in Great Britain, for securing exclusive privileges to the ships and mariners of Great Britain and Ireland, and the British colonies and plantations, and for regulating and restraining the trade of the British colonies and plantations, such laws impofing the fame restraints, and conferring the same benefits, on the subjects of both kingdoms, should be in force in Ireland, by laws to be passed by the parliainent of that kingdom, for the same time and in the fame manner as in Great Britain.” It is easy to foresee that if Great Britain is to take the lead in the enaction of the trade and navigation laws that are to bind the whole empire, in which it may not be unnecessary, in the present times, specifically to include Iréland, she will virtually draw into this vortex all that is important, and resume in fact, the government of Ireland. The Irish patriots need not to be informed of this consequence. They have accordingly declared their intention to combat the resolutions when they shall be remitted to the Irish parliament.
The fortune of Mr. Pitt in giving offence to so great a number of both English and Irish may be thought extremely hard, and unmerited, fince, hence it may be said, he cannot poflibly,in conducting the bargain, have given the merit of it to both parties. But let it be recollected that the English nation have reason to be jealous of their trade, and the Irish of their liberty. There was not any necessity for Mr. Pitt's coming forward with any plan for permanent concord between Great Britain and Ireland. The sword of negotiation awakens hostilities as well as that of war: and instead of conciliation, multiplies, the points of antipathy and discord. Political connivance and forbearance, would have been more political than a theory for obviating all interferences. Forbearance might have prolonged the subordination of Ireland to England. Formal recognitions of Irish rights and pretensions, invites, as experience has proved, fresh hostilities and new demands. A mutual participation of all markets makes the nations rivals instead of friends. The varying face of the world, the fluctuating state of human affairs juftífies that policy which aims not to form, but to improve conjunctures ; and instead of providing for future, to regulate present contingencies. The measure of precluding all future diiputes with Ireland by verbal or written treaties, discovers an ignorance or inattention to the history of nations, which are never restrained by agreements however formal, when they militate against their interest, and favours of the young student at the university or inns of court, who delights in the exercise of the pen, and seeks laurels from a war of words,
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