Images de page
[ocr errors]

“ Be chased for ever through the wood,

. For ever roam the affrighted wild ;
And let thy fate instruct the proud,

• God's meanest creature is his child.'-
of 'Twas hush'd: one flash of sombre glare

With yellow tinged the forests brown;
Up rose the Wildgrave's bristling hair,

And horror chill'd each nerve and bone.
“ Cold pour'd the sweat in freezing rill;

A rising wind began to sing ;
And louder, louder, louder still,

Brought storm and tempest on its wing.
" Earth heard the call-her entrails rendi

From yawning rifts, with many a yell,
Mix'd with sulphureous flames, ascend

The misbegotten dogs of hell,
" What ghastly huntsman next arose,
Well may I guess, but dare not tell :

His eye like midnight lightning glows,

His steed the swarthy hue of hell.
6 The Wildgrave flies o'er bush and thorn,

With many a shriek of helpless woe;
Behind him hound, and horse, and horn,

And hark away, and holla, ho!
“ With wild despair's reverted eye, ,

Close, close behind, be marks the throng;
With bloody fangs, and eager cry,

In frantic fear he scours along.
66 Still, still shall last the dreadful chase,

Till time itself shall have an end ;
By day, they scour earth's cavern'd space,

As midnight's witching hour, ascend.
6. This is the horn, and hound, and horse,

That oft the lated peasant hears :
Appallid, he signs the frequent cross,

When the wild din invades his ears,
F6 The wakeful priest oft drops a tear

For human pride, for human woe,
When, at his midnight mass, he hears

The infernal cry of holla, ho !"


Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform, and on Reform in general: in which the

Nature of the British Conftitution, the Government, its component Parts, and Establishments, c. are freely but briefy confidered. By an Ex.

Member of the present Parliament, ' 8vo. Pp. 48. is. Jordan, 1801. BOTH the title of this book (which is quaint), and the dedication of it

, to the Duke of Norfolk, (which is unappropriate,) led us to expect





something of a different nature from what we have found in it. The author writes quaintly, both in manner and style; as his chapter on Likes and Diflikes, which we shall extract, will sufficiently shew; but, with all his oddities, he has a great many old English notions and opinions, in the propriety of which we most cordially acquiesce. Indeed, excepting his economical propositions, to which we object, because we cannot think that a period of excessive dearness is precisely the fit period for the curtailment of falaries, though it may be a very fit period for the increase of them, we find very little in his tract which we disapprove. His sentiments, respecting aristocratical dignity, commercial advancement, parliamentary qualifications, and imprisonment for debt, are entitled to the serious consideration of every man, who has the good of his country seriously at heart; they do credit as well to the understanding as to the feelings of the author; and we heartily wish that the numbers of those who thought and felt as he thinks and feels, were very considerably augmented,

6 LIKES AND DISLIKES." « First, then, I like monarchy above all forms of government; I like the English the best of all monarchical forms ; and I like the English Monarch better than any I have ever read or heard of --God bless him! But I dillike that the expences of Government should have no reference to the public burden ; I dislike profusion in national establishments, when there is a general necessity for economy in private expenditure; and I equally diflike shabby reform. I dislike destroying small places, and distressing poor families: but I thould like, when all are suffering, that large finecures, large salaries, where there is but little to do, and overgrown emoluments, should ceale, or at least be regulated,

" I like, above all things, the aristocratic part of the British Constitution; I like it as an incentive and as a reward to virtuous actions; I like it as a political and as a moral institution, but I dislike its rapid increase; I dislike that the least infringement should be made on this feudal, dignified, and valuable establishment; I dislike to see its avenues opening to borough in fluence and to commerce; and I dislike to see the old families living so little with their tenantry:

I like the representative system, as the constitution wills it to be; I like that the body of the people should send to the National Council, freely and uncorruptedly, such of their neighbours (having strong local connecțions and a great national stake) as may appear to them most worthy the trust; but I diflike to see the House of Commons filled with merchants and tradesmen. I dislike to fee corporations returning on usurped privilege ; and I dislike to see persons sitting in Parliament for places they have never been near, and by purchafes made without ever leaving their comptinghouse;.

“ I like (generally speaking) the fairness, the justice, and the equality, of the laws; I like, beyond expression, the inflexible honour and integrity of the judges, their wisdom, their attention, their humanity; but I dislike that the expences of law should be such, that no person of small fortune can seek justice, without his ruin being as certain as his fuccess.

< I like to see property protected, but I dislike to see the unfortunate oppressed. I like credit, as a national concern, very well, but I like liberty þetter ; I like that property should be answerable for property, but I dillike that, for a credit voluntarily given, the debtor should be confined for life

« In all these points I should like a Reform ; but I should like that Re

n form to originate with the Executive Power, and to be effected by the wisdom of the Legislative. should dislike to see it ever effected in


other way, and I should like the existing Government to be always so strong, as to destroy every idea of opposing it by force.

" I should like to throw out any hint that wisdom and power may turn to use; and I conclude this chapter of Likes and Dislikes with observing, that I like butter very much, but in this time of scarcity (or at least dearness) of corn, I dislike to see many thousand acres of land in my neighbourhood, which would produce fix quarters of wheat per acre, furnishing little or nothing towards the necessaries of life. • For particular reasons I like to assume the signature of

66 SEVEN.'


[ocr errors]

Euripidis Hecuba, &c. Wilkie. London. 1799.

& Letters from a Father to bis Son, on various Topics, relative to Literature and

the Conduet of Life, written in the Years 1798 and 1799. By J. Aikin, M. D. 8vo. 2 Vols. Johnson. London. OBSERVED, in


last letter, that it entered of course into the original plan of the Monthly, Critical, and Analytical Reviews, that the works of Church-of-England men should be cried down below their meșits, while the publications of Dissenters were as much exalted above their merits. The truth of this assertion, as it applies to the Critical Review, may be abundantly proved, by comparing their two critiques in their last Number*, upon the Euripidis Hecuba of Professor Porson, and Dr. Aikin's Letters from a Father to bis Son. In the former, pedantic measurer of syllables, (who cavils for the ninth part of a bair,) under the convenient cloak of apparent admiration, attacks a learned Professor in a manner, which, to use his own words, is sarcastical, indeed illibcral, to an extent which çannot fail to excite astonishment. I will not add, when asociated with such extraordinary endowments of learning and fagacity; for a mind which, like this writer's, can dwell with hypercritical severity upon minutiæ, is incapa: ble of the more majestic efforts of profound erudition. When yiewed by the fide of the Profeffor, what is he but a mouse which capers round the foot of a lion ; or at best but a satellite of inferior splendor, which waits upon a planet of the first magnitude ? His criticisms remind us of the attempt of Warburton to improve Shakespear, and of Bentley to illustrate Milton, of whom we might say in the words of the antient critic, who is bimself, the great sublime, be draws, ToTTeugin QTUXECUTX. To add another bue unto the rainbow, all these critics might have known, has been long since determined, to be an endeavour at ridiculous excess : and yet such are the presumption and yanity of criticism, that it plays the pedagogue with authors of every size; and whenever it has excogitated an alteration, which is in its own eye fubtile and recondite, it does not fail to thrust its idle quackery down the public throat as an indubitable specific. One of the motives for such conduct in the present instance was, "that Mr. Porson, however learned, is of the Church of England, and a professor in one of her universities. * For November, 1800,


[ocr errors]

Dr. Aikin, on the contrary, has qualifications of a very different kind. He is a Prefbyterian; and if I may venture to judge by his diale&t, (for I have heard him converse,) he is also a Scotchman. God forbid, that for these reasons only, I should entertain the lighteft prejudice against him. I have indeed an high opinion of his ingenuity; and I respect him as a man of information, to whom the rising generation is much indebted. But when he is so roundly applauded by the Critical Reviewers for the purity of his composition, I cannot help suspecting that he is rather countenanced for the puritanity of his sentiment. The Doctor would have us teach our children, that it is not necessary that all people should agree, and go to the same place, and worship God the same way. Do you not see (says he) that people differ in a hundred other things? Do they all dress alike, and eat and drink alike, and keep the same hours, and use the same diversions ? They bave a right to worIbip God as they pleafi. It is tbeir own business, and concerns none but tbemJelves. God has directed tbe mind and spirit with wbich be is to be worshipped, bilt not the particular form and manner. That is left for every one to choose, according as fuits bis temper and opinions. All sects like their own way bet, and why should they leave it for the choice of another ? Religion is one of the things in wbich MANKIND WERE MADE TO DIFFER*. This is the very ellence of nonconformity, and of republicanism, and insubordination in religion. It is the very foul of that vice which St. Paul condemns, when he says there hould be 110 Schism in the body. It is directly opposite to the practice of those good primitive times, when the multitude of them that believed were of one beart, and of ONE soul, and asseMBLED TOGETHERF. To implant fuch notions in the hearts of children, is to prepare the way for discord without end. In such a state of society it would be impossible for true religion to exist; and the whole Christian world would be like a swarm of those falpe, of the Mediterranean and Red Sea, which Dr. Shaw thus ingeniously describes in his Naturalist's Miscellany : "Natat hæc fpecies nullo certo tramite, agmine quaquaverfilm confufo, sine ullo duce aut confilio ; quam ob caufam conjicio Dominum Forskal, qui forfan primus eam descripsit, DEMOCRATICAM nominasse." Your readers who wish for a translation of the passage, Mr. Editor, will find it in vol. vii, opposite to plate 236.

Such is the religion which Dr. Aikin would have us inftil into our children. His juvenile politics are equally curious. He would have young people taught to weep at a victory it and while they humanely bewail the costs of a war, he willies them to consider battle as a trade, and never to think that the profession of arms, whick binds a man to be the fervile instrument of cruelty and injuftice, can be an bonourable callings. Át another placell, Papa teaches Cbarley, that an army of thirty thousand men is a band of thirty thousand murderers, and that a conaveror, bow brilliant foever his talents may be, (alas for Howe, Duncan, St. Vincent, and Nelson !) is a pest of the human race, upon whom admiration ought no longer to be lavished. On another occasion, the fage instructor apprizes his pupils of the inutility of gentlemen. All this, Mr. Editor, is verfictibility of sentiment, at which, I confess, I am not arrived; but the sublime heights of which have been happily attained by Dr. Aikin, and the highly gifted illuminati of the Painian, GodEvininian, and Wolfionecraftian 1chools.

* Evenings at Home, Vol. IV, p. 121.

| Evenings at Home, Vol. IV, p. 51. Vol. I. p. 152.

Ibid. Vol. V, p. 99.

+ See Acts, iv. 31, 32. Ibid, Vol. V. 58, 63.

|| Ibid,


In the volutne which the Doctor now issues into the world, he informs us, that a title, a badge, a dress, and various other LITTLE THINGS, are apt to. well into impartance in our imaginations. He also tells us, that he regards it as a matter of fact, that in all cases where POWERS and PriviREGES, have been granted for public ends, there exists in one set of men, a fystematic plan of extending their limits to the utmost, of .converting them into jources of private emolument, and, in confequence, of excluding as many as pofJible from the participation, by ARBITRARY TESTS and qualifications ; while iie ANOTHER SET there exists an UNIFORM OPPOSITION io these USURPATIONS and, ABUSES, founded on the principles of universal equity, and the general interests of the community. The foriner is the party of CORRUPTION, the latter of reformation,--the former that of WRONGS, the latter of rights; the former that of LIBERTY, the latter of flavery. * ( am much mistaken, Mr. Editor, if the Doctor does not mean to depict, in this pair of portraits, the Church of England in alliance with the State on the one hand, and the Diffenters on the other. The Critical Reviewer, without question, viewed the paslage in the fame light, and hence originated his eagerness to transcribe it into his Review, as well as to preface the whole letter by that gross falfhood, that it evinced the decisive spirit of INTEGRITY, regulated by the LIBERALITY OF CANDOUR. Integrity, liberality, and candour, are all put to the bluth when an author writes in this sweeping manner: and I cannot belp retorting upon Dr. Aikin in his own words, upon this occasion, however galling their feverity. When you find a man not deficient in knowledge and inquiry. who by studied fophiếry endeavours to perplex; who throws aut malignant infinuations against the views and principles of his opponents ; who, moreover, has a manifest interest in the fide he has taken--" Hic niger ef?,?* -Heris bad at heart. I will not, however, so far insult the Doctor with þis own words, as to add what he has added (in the spirit of integrity, and liberality of candour) that a person of the above description is a noxious animal, to be founned or CRUSHEN, as circumstances may dictate. I am of the Church of England, which speaks more Christian things; and if a poor intruding beetle, or giddy butterfly, comes into my study and interrupts me, it is not my custom to demolish it, but to raise the safh and put it out of the window. Dr. Aikin seems to have no very correct idea of the temper of the Church of England; nor does he, with any fairness, state the real nature of her lituation with respect to the Diflenters. As he has not done the latter, I Shall venture to do it for him, that your readers, at least, Mr. Editor, may not be in danger of imputing to the Legislature the imposition of ARBITRARY TESTS, and QUALLFICATIONS. The Doctor loves a fable, and so do I: and as he is an ingenious fabricator of fables himself I will borrow a

story of him. The dramatis perfonæ I lhall beg leave first, to arrange after ► my own mind. The honeft dog, Keeper, shall be the Church of England,

and the Fox and Wolf thall represent Diflenters of every description. Now for my Tale.

The Dog and his Relations. "Keeper was a farmer's mastiff, honest, brave, and vigilant. One day as he was ranging at some distance from home, he espied a Wolf and Fox * Here is a strange blunder in antithesis, made by Dr. A. or his critic.

certainly did not mean to say, that the party of corruption and wrongs is the party of liberty; nor, vice versa, that the party of reformation and rights, is the party of flavery. Nevertheless it may be true in part.



« PrécédentContinuer »