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lavished in dissipation and fashionable amusement. In the pursuit of this object, it appears to us that Mrs. More is much too severe upon the ordinary amusements of mankind, many of which she does not object to in this or that degree, but altogether. Calebs and Lucilla, her optimus and optima, never dance, and never go to the play. They not only stay away from the comedies of Congreve and Farquhar, for which they may easily enough be forgiven; but they never go to see Mrs. Siddons in the Gamester, or in Jane Shore. The finest exhibition of talent and the most beautiful moral lessons are interdicted at the theatre. There is something in the word playhouse which seems so closely connected, in the minds of these people, with sin and Satan,—that it stands in their vocabulary for every species of abomination. And yet why? Where is every feeling more roused in favour of virtue than at a good play? Where is goodness so feelingly, so enthusiastically learnt ? What so solemn as to see the excellent passions of the human heart called forth by a great actor, animated by a great poet? To hear Siddons repeat what Shakspeare wrote! To behold the child and his mother—the noble and the poor artizan, the monarch and his subjects—all ages and all ranks convulsed with one common passion—wrung with one common anguish, and, with loud sobs and cries, doing involuntary homage to the God that made their hearts ! What wretched infatuation to interdict such amusements as these! What a blessing that mankind can be allured from sensual gratifica. tion, and find relaxation and pleasure in such pursuits ! But the excellent Mr. Stanley is uniformly paltry and narrow-always trembling at the idea of being entertained, and thinking no Christian safe who is not dull. As to the spectacles of impropriety which are sometimes witnessed in parts of the theatre, such reasons apply, in a much stronger degree, to not driving along the Strand, or any of the great public streets of London after dark; and, if the virtue of well-educated young persons is made of such very frail materials, the best resource is a nunnery at once. It is a very bad rule, however, never to quit the house for fear of catching cold.
Mrs. More practically extends the same doctrine to cards and assemblies. No cards—because cards are employed in gaming ; no assemblies—because many dissipated persons pass their lives in assemblies. Carry this but a little further, and we must say, no wine-because of drunkenness; no meatbecause of gluttony ; no use, that there may be no abuse! The fact is, that Mr. Stanley wants, not only to be religious, but to be at the head of the religious. These little abstinences are the cockades by which the party are known—the rallying points for the evangelical faction. So natural is the love of power, that it sometimes becomes the influencing motive with the sincere advocates of that blessed religion whose very characteristic excellence is the humility which it inculcates.
We observe that Mrs. More, in one part of her work, falls into the common error about dress. She first blames ladies for exposing their persons in the present style of dress, and then says, if they knew their own interest- if they were aware how much more alluring they were to men when their charms are less displayed, they would make the desired alteration from motives merely selfish.
“Oh! if women in general knew what was their real interest, if they could guess with what a charm even the appearance of modesty invests its possessor, they would dress decorously from mere self-love, if not from principle. The designing would assume modesty as an artifice; the coquet would adopt it as an allurement; the pure as her appropriate attraction; and the voluptuous as the most infallible art of seduction."-(I. 189.)
If there is any truth in this passage, nudity becomes a virtue ; and no decent woman, for the future, can be seen in garments,
We have a few more of Mrs. More's opinions to notice. It is not fair to attack the religion of the times because, in large and indiscriminate parties, religion does not become the subject of conversation. Conversation must and ought to grow out of materials on which men can agree, not upon subjects which try the passions. But this good lady wants to see men chatting together upon the Pelagian heresy-to hear, in the afternoon, the theological rumours of the day-and to glean polemical tittle-tattle at a tea-table rout. All the disciples of this school uniformly fall into the same mistake. They are perpetually calling upon their votaries for religious thoughts and religious conversation in everything ; inviting them to ride, walk, row, wrestle, and dine out religiously ;- forgetting that the being to whom this impossible purity is recommended, is a being compelled to scramble for his existence and support for ten hours out of the sixteen he is awake ;-forgetting that he must dig, beg, read, think, move, pay, receive, praise, scold, command, and obey ;-forgetting, also, that if men conversed as often upon religious subjects as they do upon the ordinary occurrences of the world, they would converse upon them with the same familiarity and want of respect ;-that religion would then produce feelings not more solemn or exalted than any other topics which constitute at present the common furniture of human understandings.
We are glad to find in this work some strong compliments to the efficacy of works—some distinct admissions that it is necessary to be honest and just, before we can be considered as religious. Such sort of concessions are very gratifying to us; but how will they be received by the children of the Tabernacle? It is quite clear, indeed, throughout the whole of the work, that an apologetical explanation of certain religious opinions is intended ; and there is a considerable abatement of that tone of insolence with which the improved Christians are apt to treat the bungling specimens of piety to be met with in the more ancient churches.
So much for the extravagances of this lady. With equal sincerity, and with greater pleasure, we bear testimony to her talents, her good sense, and her real piety. There occur, every now and then, in her productions, very original, and very profound observations. Her advice is very often characterised by the most amiable good sense, and conveyed in the most brilliant and inviting style. If, instead of belonging to a trumpery faction, she had only watched over those great points of religion in which the hearts of every sect of Christians are interested, she would have been one of the most useful and valuable writers of her day. As it is, every man would wish his wife and his children to read Cælebs ; -watching himself its effects ;-separating the piety from the puerility ;--and showing that it is very possible to be a good Christian, without degrading the human understanding to the trash and folly of Methodism.
CHARACTERS OF MR. FOX. (E. REVIEW, July, 1809.) Characters of the late Charles James Fox. By PHILOPATRIS VARVICENSIS. 2 vols. 8vo. This singular work consists of a collection of all the panegyrics passed upon Mr. Fox, after his decease, in periodical publications, speeches, sermons, or elsewhere, -in a panegyric upon Mr. Fox by Philopatris himself,—and in a volume of notes by the said Philopatris upon the said panegyric.
Of the panegyrics, that by Sir James Mackintosh appears to us to be by far the best. It is remarkable for good sense, acting upon a perfect knowledge of his subject, for simplicity, and for feeling. Amid the languid or turgid Forts of mediocrity, it is delightful to notice the skill, attention, and resources of a superior man,-of a man, too, who seems to feel what he writes,-who does not aim at conveying his meaning in rhetorical and ornamented phrases, but who uses plain words to express strong sensations. We cannot help wishing, indeed, that Sir James Mackintosh had been more diffuse upon the political character of Mr. Fox, the great feature of whose life was the long and unwearied opposition which he made to the low cunning, the profligate extravagance, the sycophant mediocrity, and the stupid obstinacy of the English Court.
To estimate the merit, and the difficulty, of this opposition, we must remember the enormous influence which the Crown, through the medium of its patronage, exercises in the remotest corners of the kingdom,—the number of subjects whom it pays,—the much greater number whom it keeps in a state of expectation,-and the ferocious turpitude of those mercenaries whose present profits and future hopes are threatened by honest, and exposed by eloquent men. It is the easiest of all things, too, in this country, to make Englishmen believe that those who oppose the Government wish to ruin the country. The English are a very busy people ; and, with all the faults of their governors, they are still a very happy people. They have, as they ought to have, a perfect confidence in the administration of justice. The rights which the different classes of mankind exercise the one over the other are arranged upon equitable principles. Life, liberty, and property are protected from the violence and caprice of power. The visible and immediate stake, therefore, for which English politicians play, is not large enough to attract the notice of the people, and to call them off from their daily occupations, to investigate thoroughly the characters and motives of men engaged in the business of legislation. The people can only understand, and attend to, the last results of a long series of measures. They are impatient of the details which lead to these results; and it is the easiest of all things to make them believe that those who insist upon such details are actuated only by factitious motives. We are all now groaning under the weight of taxes : but how often was Mr. Fox followed by the curses of his country for protesting against the two wars which have loaded us with these taxes ?—the one of which wars has made America independent, and the other rendered France omnipotent. The case is the same with all the branches of public liberty. If the broad and palpable question were, whether every book which issues from the press should be subjected to the licence of a general censor, it would be impossible to blacken the character of any man, who, so called upon, defended the liberty of publishing opinions. But when the Attorney-General for the time being ingratiates himself with the Court, by nibbling at this valuable privilege of the people, it is very easy to treat hostility to his measures as a minute and frivolous opposition to the Government, and to persuade the mass of mankind that it is so. In fact, when a nation has become free, it is extremely difficult to persuade them that their freedom is only to be preserved by perpetual and minute jealousy. They do not observe that there is a constant, perhaps an unconscious, effort on the part of their governors to diminish, and so ultimately to destroy, that freedom. They stupidly imagine that what is, will always be ; and, contented with the good they have already gained, are easily persuaded to suspect and vilify those friends—the object of whose life it is to preserve that good, and to increase it.
It was the lot of Mr. Fox to fight this battle for the greater part of his life ; in the course of which time he never was seduced, by the love of power, wealth, or popularity, to sacrifice the happiness of the many to the interests of the few. He rightly thought, that kings and all public officers were instituted only for the good of those over whom they preside ; and he acted as if this
conviction was always present to his mind ; disdaining and withstanding that idolatrous tendency of mankind, by which they so often not only suffer, but invite, ruin from that power which they themselves have wisely created for their own happiness. He loved, too, the happiness of his countrymen more than their favour; and while others were exhausting the resources by flattering the ignorant prejudices and foolish passions of the country, Mr. Fox was content to be odious to the people, so long as he could be useful also. It will be long before we witness again such pertinacious opposition to the alarming power of the Crown, and to the follies of our public measures, the necessary consequence of that power. That such opposition should ever be united again with such extraordinary talents, it is, perhaps, in vain to hope.
One little exception to the eulogium of Sir James Mackintosh upon Mr. Fox, we cannot help making. We are no admirers of Mr. Fox's poetry. His Vers de Société appears to us flat and insipid. To write verses was the only thing which Mr. Fox ever attempted to do, without doing it well. In that single instance he seems to have mistaken his talent.
Immediately after the collection of panegyrics which these volumes con. tain, follows the eulogium of Mr. Fox by Philopatris himself; and then a volume of notes upon a variety of topics which this eulogium has suggested. Of the laudatory talents of this Warwickshire patriot, we shall present our readers with a specimen.
“Mr. Fox, though not an adept in the use of political wiles, was very unlikely to be the dupe of them.-He was conversant in the ways of men, as well as in the contents of books.He was acquainted with the peculiar language of states, their peculiar forms, and the grounds and effects of their peculiar usages.-From his earliest youth, he had investigated the science of politics in the greater and the smaller scale; he had studied it in the records of history, both popular and rare-in the conferences of ambassadors-in the archives of royal cabinets
in the minuter details of memoirs-and in collected or straggling anecdotes of the wrangles. intrigues, and cabals, which, springing up in the secret recesses of courts, shed their baneful influence on the determinations of sovereigns, the fortune of favourites, and the tranquillity of kingdoms. But that statesmen of all ages, like priests of all religions, are in all respects alike, is a doctrine the propagation of which he left, as an inglorious privilege, to the misanthrope, to the recluse, to the factious incendiary, and to the unlettered multitude. For himself, he thought it no very extraordinary stretch of penetration or charity to admit that human nature is everywhere nearly as capable of emulation in good as in evil. He boasted of no very exalted heroism, in opposing the calmness and firmness of conscious integrity to the shuffling and slippery movements, the feints in retreat and feints in advance, the dread of being overreached, or detected in attempts to overreach, and all the other humiliating and mortifying anxieties of the most accomplished proficients in the art of diplomacy. He reproached himself for no guilt, when he endeavoured to obtain that respect and confidence which the human heart unavoidably feels in its intercourse with persons who neither wound our pride. nor take aim at our happiness, in a war of hollow and ambiguous words. He was sensible of no weakness in believing that politicians, who, after all, 'know only as they are known,'may, like other human beings, be at first the involuntary creatures of circumstances, and seem incorrigible from the want of opportunities or incitements to correct themselves ; that, bereft of the pleas usually urged in vindication of deceit, by men who are fearful of being deceived, they, in their official dealings with him, would not wantonly lavish the stores they had laid up for huxtering in a traffic which, ceasing to be profitable, would begin to be infamous; and that, possibly, here and there, if encouraged by example, they might learn to prefer the shorter process, and surer results, of plain dealing, to the delays, the vexations, and the uncertain or transient success, both of old-fashioned and new•fangled chicanery." (I. 209-211.)
It is impossible to read this singular book without being everywhere struck with the lofty and honourable feelings, the enlightened benevolence, and sterling honesty with which it abounds. Its author is everywhere the circumspect friend of those moral and religious principles upon which the happiness of society rests. Though he is never timid, nor prejudiced, nor bigoted, his piety, not prudish and full of antiquated and affected tricks, presents itself with an earnest aspect, and in a manly form ; obedient to reason, prone to investigation, and dedicated to honest purposes. The writer, a clergyman, speaks of himself as a very independent man, who has always expressed his opinions without any fear of consequences, or any hope of bettering his condition. We sincerely believe he speaks the truth; and revere him for the life which he has led. Political independence-discouraged enough in these times among all classes of men-is sure, in the timid profession of the church, to doom a man to eternal poverty and obscurity.
There are occasionally, in Philopatris, a great vigor of style and felicity of expression. His display of classical learning is quite unrivalled-his reading various and good ; and we may observe, at intervals, a talent for wit, of which he might have availed himself to excellent purpose, had it been compatible with the dignified style in which he generally conveys his sentiments. With all these excellent qualities of head and heart, we have seldom met with a writer more full of faults than Philopatris. There is an event recorded in the Bible, which men who write books should keep constantly in their remembrance. It is there set forth, that many centuries ago the earth was covered with a great flood, by which the whole of the human race, with the exception of one family, were destroyed. It appears, also, that from thence, a great alteration was made in the longevity of mankind, who, from a range of seven or eight hundred years, which they enjoyed before the flood, were confined to their present period of seventy or eighty years. This epoch in the history of man gave birth to the twofold division of the antediluvian and the postdiluvian style of writing, the latter of which naturally contracted itself into those inferior limits which were better accommodated to the abridged duration of human life and literary labour. Now, to forget this event-to write without the fear of the deluge before his eyes, and to handle a subject as if mankind could lounge over a pamphlet for ten years, as before their submersion-is to be guilty of the most grievous error into which a writer can possibly fall. The author of this book should call in the aid of some brilliant pencil, and cause the distressing scenes of the deluge to be portrayed in the most lively colours for his use. He should gaze at Noah, and be brief. The ark should constantly remind him of the little time there is left for reading; and he should learn, as they did in the ark, to crowd a great deal of matter into a very little compass.
Philopatris must not only condense what he says in a narrower compass, but he must say it in a more natural manner. Some persons can neither stir hand nor foot without making it clear that they are thinking of themselves, and laying little traps for approbation. In the course of two long volumes, the Patriot of Warwick is perpetually studying modes and postures—the subject is the second consideration, and the mode of expression the first. Indeed, whole pages together seem to be mere exercises upon the English language, to evince the copiousness of our synonymes, and to show the various methods in which the parts of speech can be marshalled and arrayed. This, which would be tiresome in the ephemeral productions of a newspaper, is intolerable in two closely printed volumes.
Again, strange as it may appear to this author to say so, he must not fall into the frequent mistake of rural politicians, by supposing that the understandings of all Europe are occupied with him and his opinions. His ludicrous self.importance is perpetually destroying the effect of virtuous feeling and just observation, leaving his readers with a disposition to laugh, where they might otherwise learn and admire.
“I have been asked, why, after pointing out by name the persons who seemed to me most qualified for reforming our Penal Code. I declined mentio with propriety be employed in preparing for the use of the churches a grave and impressive discourse on the authority of human laws; and as other men may ask the same question