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articles of our dress and furniture,—on the accomplished, by an instrument which has mirrors, engravings, books, fire-arms, watches, hitherto effected so little? It is in vain for barometers, thunder-rods and opera-glasses, Mr. Stewart to say, that the science is yet but that present themselves in our ordinary dwell- in its infancy, and that it will bear its fruit in ings, to feel how vast a progress has been due season. The truth is, that it has, of nemade in exploring and subduing the physical cessity, been more constantly and diligently elements of nature, and how stupendous an cultivated than any other. It has always increase the power of man has received, by been the first object with men of talent and the experimental investigation of her laws. good affections, io influence and to form the Now is any thing in this astonishing survey minds of others, and to train their own to the more remarkable, than the feeling with which highest pitch of vigour and perfection: and it is always accompanied, that what we have accordingly, it is admitted by Mr. Stewart, hitherto done in any of these departments is that the most important principles of this phibut a small part of what we are yet destined losophy have been long ago " forced upon to accomplish; and that the inquiries which general observation” by the feelings and exhave led us so far, will infallibly carry us still perience of past ages. Independently, howfarther. When we ask, however, for the tro- ever, of this, the years that have passed since phies of the philosophy of mind, or inquire for Hobbes, and Locke, and Malebranche, and the vestiges of her progress in the more plastic Leibnitz drew the attention of Europe to this and susceptible elements of human genius study, and the very extraordinary genius and and character, we are answered only by in- talents of those who have since addicted themgenuous silence, or vague anticipations--and selves to it, are far more than enough to have find nothing but a blank in the record of her brought it, if not to perfection, at least to such actual achievements. The knowledge and a degree of excellence, as no longer to leave the power of man over inanimate nature has it a matter of dispute, whether it was really been increased tenfold in the course of the destined to add to our knowledge and our last two centuries. The knowledge and the power, or to produce any sensible effects upon power of man over the mind of man remains the happiness and condition of mankind. almost exactly where it was at the first de- That society has made great advances in comvelopment of his faculties. The natural phi- fort and intelligence, during that period, is losophy of antiquity is mere childishness and indisputable; but we do not find that Mr. dotage, and their physical inquirers are mere Stewart himself imputes any great part of this pigmies and drivellers, compared with their improvement to our increased knowledge of successors in the present age; but their logi- our mental constitution; and indeed it is quite cians, and metaphysicians, and moralists, and, obvious, that it is an effect resulting from the what is of infinitely more consequence, the increase of political freedom—the influences practical maxims and the actual effects result of reformed Christianity - the invention of ing from their philosophy of mind, are very printing—and that improvement and multiplinearly on a level with the philosophy of the cation of the mechanical arts, that have renpresent day. The end and aim of all that dered the body of the people far more busy, philosophy is to make education rational and wealthy, inventive and independent, than they effective, and to train men to such sagacity ever were in any former period of society. and force of judgment, as to induce them to To us, therefore, it certainly does appear, cast off the bondage of prejudices, and to fol. that the lofty estimate which Mr. Stewart has low happiness and virtue with assured and again made of the practical importance of his steady steps. We do not know, however, favourite studies, is one of those splendid viwhat modern work contains juster, or more sions by which men of genius have been so profound views on the subject of education, often misled, in the enthusiastic pursuit of ihan may be collected from the writings of science and of virtue. That these studies are Xenophon and Quintilian, Polybius, Plutarch, of a very dignified and interesting nature, we and Cicero: and, as to that sagacity and just- admit most cheerfully ;-that they exercise ness of thinking, which, after all, is the fruit and delight the understanding, by reasonings by which this tree of knowledge must be ulti- and inquiries, at once subtle, cautious, and mately known, we are not aware of many profound, and either gratify or exalt a keen modern performances that exemplify it in a and aspiring curiosity, must be acknowledged stronger degree, than many parts of the his- by all who have been initiated into their eletories of Tacitus and Thucydides, or the Satires ments. Those who have had the good fortune and Epistles of Horace. In the conduct of to be so initiated by the writings of Mr. Stewbusiness and affairs, we shall find Pericles, art, will be delighted to add, that they are and Cæsar, and Cicero, but little inferior to the blended with so many lessons of gentle and of philosophical politicians of the present day; ennobling virtue--so many striking precepts and, for lofty and solid principles of practi- and bright examples of liberality, high-mindedcal ethics, we might safely match Epictetus ness, and pure taste-as to be calculated, in an and Antoninus (without mentioning Aristotle, eminent degree, to make men love goodness Plato, Plutarch, Xenophon, or Polybius,) with and aspire to elegance, and to improve at once most of our modern speculators.
the understanding, the imagination, and the Where, then, it may be asked, are the per- heart. But this must be the limit of our praise. formances of this philosophy, which makes such large promises ? or, what are the grounds The sequel of this article is not now reupon which we should expect to see so much printed, for the reasons already stated.
PROSE WORKS OF FICTION.
As I perceive I have, in some of the following papers, made a sort of apology for seek ing to direct the attention of my readers to things so insignificant as Novels, it may be worth while to inform the present generation that, in my youth, writings of this sort were rated very low with us—scarcely allowed indeed to pass as part of a nation's permanent literature —and generally deemed altogether unworthy of any grave critical notice. Nor, in truthin spite of Cervantes and Le Sage—and Marivaux, Rousseau, and Voltaire abroad-and even our own Richardson and Fielding at home-would it have been easy to controvert that opinion, in our England, at the time : For certainly a greater mass of trash and rubbish never disgraced the press of any country, than the ordinary Novels that filled and supported our circulating libraries, down nearly to the time of Miss Edgeworth's first appearance. There had been, the Vicar of Wakefield, to be sure, before; and Miss Burney's Evelina and Cecilia —and Mackenzie's Man of Feeling, and some bolder and more varied fictions of the Misses Lee. But the staple of our Novel market was, beyond imagination, despicable : and had consequently sunk and degraded the whole department of literature, of which it had usurped the name.
All this, however, has since been signally, and happily, changed; and that rabble rout of abominations driven from our confines for ever. The Novels of Sir Walter Scott are, beyond all question, the most remarkable productions of the present age; and have made a sensation, and produced an effect, all over Europe, to which nothing parallel can be mentioned since the days of Rousseau and Voltaire ; while, in our own country, they have attained a place, inferior only to that which must be filled for ever by the unapproachable glory of Shakespeare. With the help, no doubt, of their political revolutions, they have produced, in France, Victor Hugo, Balsac, Paul de Cocq, &c., the promessi sposi in Italy—and Cooper, at least, in America.-In England, also, they have had imitators enough; in the persons of Mr. James, Mr. Lover, and others. But the works most akin to them in excellence hare rather, I think, been related as collaterals than as descendants. Miss Edgeworth, indeed, stands more in the line of their ancestry; and I take Miss Austen and Sir E. L. Bulwer to be as intrinsically original ;-as well as the great German writers, Goethe, Tiek, Jean Paul, Richter, &c. Among them, however, the honour of this branch of literature has at any rate been splendidly redeemed;—and now bids fair to maintain its place, at the head of all that is graceful and instructive in the productions of modern genius.
(Inly, 1809.) Tales of Fashionable Life. By Miss EDGEWORTH, Author of " Practical Education," "Belinda,"
," "Castle Rackrent," &c. 12mo. 3 vols. London: 1809. If it were possible for reviewers to Envy any other writer, male or female, of her genethe authors who are brought before them for ration. Other arts and sciences have their judgment, we rather think we should be use, no doubt; and, Heaven knows, they have tempted to envy Miss Edgeworth ; — not,' their reward and their fame. But the great however, so much for her matchless powers art is the art of living; and the chief science of probable invention-her never-failing good the science of being happy. Where there is sense and cheerfulness--nor her fine discrimi. an absolute deficiency of good sense, these nation of characters - - as for the delightful cannot indeed be taught; and, with an extraconsciousness of having done more good than ordinary share of it, they may be acquired
without an instructor: but the most common There are two great sources of unhappiness case is, to be capable of learning, and yet to to those whom fortune and nature seem to require teaching; and a far greater part of have placed above the reach of ordinary the misery which exists in society arises from miseries. The one is ennui-that stagnation ignorance, than either from vice or from inca- of life and feeling which results from the abpacity:
sence of all motives to exertion; and by Miss Edgeworth is the great modern mis- which the justice of providence has so fully tress in this school of true philosophy; and compensated the partiality of fortune, that it has eclipsed, we think, the fame of all her may be fairly doubted whether, upon the predecessors. By her many excellent tracts whole, the race of beggars is not happier on education, she has conferred a benefit on ihan the race of lords; and whether those the whole mass of the population; and dis- vulgar wants that are sometimes so importucharged, with exemplary patience as well as nate, are not, in this world, the chief ministers extraordinary judgment, a task which super- of enjoyment. This is a plague that insects ficial spirits may perhaps mistake for an hum- all indolent persons who can live on in the ble and easy one. By her Popular Tales, she rank in which they were bom, without the has rendered an invaluable service to the necessity of working: but, in a free country, middling and lower orders of the people; and it rarely occurs in any great degree of viruby her Novels, and by the volumes before us, lence, except among those who are already has made a great and meritorious effort 10 at the summit of human felicity. Below this, promote the happiness and respectability of there is room for ambition, and envy, and the higher classes. On a former occasion we emulation, and all the severish movements of believe we hinted to her, that these would aspiring vanity and unresting selfishness, probably be the least successful of all her which act as prophylacties against this more labours ; and that it was doubisul whether dark and deadly distemper. It is the canker she could be justified for bestowing so much which corrodes the full-blown flower of huof her time on the case of a few persons, who man felicity-lhe pestilence which smiles at scarcely deserved 10 be cured, and were the bright hour of noon. scarcely capable of being corrected. The The other curse of the happy, has a range foolish and unhappy part of the fashionable more wide and indiscriminate. It, 100, torworkel, for the most part, "is not fit to bear tures only the comparatively rich and foritself convinced.” It is 100 vain, 100 busy, tunate; but is most active among the least and too (lissipated to listen to, or remember distinguished; and abates in malignity as we any thing that is said to it. Every thing seri- ascend 10 the Josiy regions of pure ennui. ous it repels, by " its dear wit anil gay rheto- This is the desire of being fashionable ;-the ric;" and against every thing poignant, it restless and insatiable passion to pass for seeks shelter in the impenetrable armour of creatures a little more distinguished than we its conjunct audacity.
really are—with the mortification of frequent
failure, and the humiliating consciousness of “ Laugh’d at, it laughs again ;-and, stricken hard, being perpetually exposed to it. Among those
Turns to the stroke its adamantine scales.
who are secure of " meat, clothes, and fire,”
and are thus above the chief physical evils A book, on the other hand, and especially a of existence, we do believe that this is a more witty and popular book, is still a thing of con- prolific source of unhappiness, than guilt, dissequence, to such of the middling classes of ease, or wounded affection; and that more society as are in the habit of reading. They positive misery is created, and more true endispute about it, and think of it; and as they joyment excluded, by the eternal fretting occasionally make themselves ridiculous by and straining of this pitiful ambition, than by copying the manners it displays, so they are all the ravages of passion, the desolations of apt to be impressed with the great lessons it war, or the accidents of mortality. This may may be calculated to teach; and, on the whole, appear a strong statement; but we make it receive it into considerable authority among deliberately, and are deeply convinced of its the regulators of their lives and opinions.- truth. The wretchedness which it produces But a fashionable person has scarcely any may not be so intense; but it is of much leisure to read; and none to think of what he longer duration, and spreads over a far wider has been reading. It would be a derogation circle. It is quite dreadful, indeed, to think from his dignity to speak of a book in any what a sweep this pest has taken among the terms but those of frivolous derision; and a comforts of our prosperous population. To strange desertion of his own superiority, to be thought fashionable—that is, to be thought allow himself to receive, from its perusal, any more opulent and tasteful, and on a footing impressions which could at all affect his con- of intimacy with a greater number of distinduct or opinions.
guished persons than they really are, is the But though, for these reasons, we continue great and laborious pursuit of four families to think that Miss Edgeworth's fashionable out of five, the members of which are expatients will do less credit to her prescriptions empted from the necessity of daily industry. than the more numerous classes to whom In this pursuit, their time, spirits, and talents they might have been directed, we admit are wasted; their tempers, soured; their affecthat her plan of treatment is in the highest tions palsied; and their natural manners and degree judicious, and her conception of the dispositions altogether sophisticated and lost. disorder most luminous and precise.
These are the giant curses of fashionable
life; and Miss Edgeworth has accordingly, which life can be made tolerable to those who dedicated her two best tales to the delinea- have nothing to wish for. Born on the very tion of their symptoms. The history of “ Lord pinnacle of human fortune," he had nothing Glenthorn" is a fine picture of ennui—that of to do but to sit still and enjoy the barrenness "Almeria’ an instructive representation of of the prospect.” He tries travelling; gaming, the miseries of aspirations after fashion. We gluttony, hunting, pugilism, and coach-driv: do not know whether it was a part of the fair ing; but is so pressed down with the load of writer's design to represent these maladies as life, as to be repeatedly on the eve of suicide. absolutely incurable, without a change of He passes over to Ireland, where he receives condition; but the fact is, that in spite of the a temporary relief, from the rebellion-and best dispositions and capacities, and the most from falling in love with a lady of high char. powerful inducements io action, the hero of acter and accomplishments; but the effect of ennui makes no advances towards amend these stimulants is speedily expended, and ment, till he is deprived of his title and estate! he is in danger of falling into a confirmed and the victim of fashion is left, at the end of lethargy, when it is fortunately discovered the tale, pursuing her weary career, with fa- that he has been changed at nurse! and that, ding hopes and wasted spirits, but with in- instead of being a peer of boundless fortune, creased anxiety and perseverance. The moral he is the son of a cottager who lives on potause of these narratives, therefore, must consist toes. With great magnanimity; he instantly in warning us against the first approaches of gives up the fortune to the rightful owner, evils which can never afterwards be resisted. who has been bred a blacksmith, and takes
These are the great twin scourges of the to the study of the law. At the commenceprosperous: But there are other maladies, of ment of this arduous career, he fortunately no slight malignity, to which they are pecu- falls in love, for the second time, with the liarly liable. One of these, arising mainly lady entitled, after the death of the blackfrom want of more worthy occupation, is that smith, to succeed to his former estate. Poverperpetual use of stratagem and contrivance- ty and love now supply him with irresistible that little, artful diplomacy of private life, by motives for exertion. He rises in his profeswhich the simplest and most natural transac- sion; marries the lady of his heart; and in tions are rendered complicated and difficult, due time returns, an altered man, to the posand the common business of existence made session of his former affluence. to depend on the success of plots and counter- Such is the naked outline of a story, more plots. By the incessant practice of this petty rich in character, incident, and reflection, than policy, a habit of duplicity and anxiety is in- any English narrative which we can now call fallibly generated, which is equally fatal to to remembrance :-as rapid and various as integrity and enjoyment. We gradually come the best tales of Voltaire, and as full of practo look on others with the distrust which we tical good sense and moral pathetic as any of are conscious of deserving; and are insensibly the other tales of Miss Edgeworth. The Irish formed to sentiments of the most unamiable characters are inimitable ;—not the coarse ca. selfishness and suspicion. It is needless to ricatures of modern playwrights—but drawn say, that all these elaborate artifices are worse with a spirit, a delicacy, and a precision, to than useless to the person who employs them; which we do not know if there be any paral. and that the ingenious plotter is almost always lel among national delineations. As these are baffled and exposed by the downright honesty tales of fashionable life, we shall present our of some undesigning competitor. Miss Edge- readers, in the first place, with some traits of worth, in her tale of Manæuvring,” has given an Irish lady of rank. Lady Geraldine-the a very complete and most entertaining repre- enchantress whose powerful magic almost sentation of the by-paths and indirect crook'd raised the hero of ennui from his leaden slumways,” by which these artful and inefficient bers is represented with such exquisite livelipeople generally make their way to disap- ness and completeness of effect, that the pointment. In tħe tale, entitled “Madame de reader can scarcely help imagining that he Fleury,' she has given some useful examples has formerly been acquainted with the origiof the ways in which the rich may most ef- nal. Every one, at least we conceive, must fectually do good to the poor-an operation have known somebody, the recollection of which, we really believe, fails more frequently whom must convince him that the following from want of skill than of inclination: And, in description is as true nature as it is creditable ** The Dun," she has drawn a touching and to art :most impressive picture of the wretchedness
“As Lady Geraldine entered, I gave one involun: which the poor so frequently suffer, from the tary glance of curiosity. I saw a tall, finely-shaped unfeeling thoughtlessness which withholds woman, with the commanding air of a person of from them the scanty earnings of their labour. rank : she moved well; not with feminine rimidiis,
Of these tales, " Ennui” is the best and the vet with ease, promptitude, and decision. She had most entertaining-though the leading char- of feature. The only thing that struck me as really
fine eyes, and a fine complexion, yet no regularity acter is somewhat caricatured, and the dé- extraordinary, was her indifference when I was in. nouement is brought about by a discovery troduced to her. Every body had seemed extremely which shocks by its needless improbability. desirous that I should see her ladyship, and that Lord Glenthorn is bred up, by a false and in- her ladyship should see me; and I was rather surdulgent guardian, as the heir to an immense prised by her unconcerned air. This piqued me. English and Irish estate; and, long before he began to converse with others. Her voice was
and fixed my allention. She turned from me, and is of age; exhausts almost all the resources by l agreeable, though rather loud: she did not speak
vih ihe Irish accent; but, when I listened ma. Geraldine exclaimed, “That cousin Craiglethorpe liviously, I detected certain Hibernian inflexions- of mine is scarcely an agreeable man: The auk. nothing of the vulgar Irish idiom, but something wardness of mauvaise-hont might be pitied and par. that was more interrogative, more exclamatory, and doned, even in a nobleman,' continued her ladyship. perhaps more rhetorical, than the common language if it really proceeded from humilivy; but here, or English ladies, accompanied with infinitely more when I know it is connected with secret and inordianimation of countenance and demonstrative ges- nate arrogance, 'tis past all endurance. As the iure. This appeared to me peculiar and unusual, but Frenchman said of the Englishman, for whom even not affected." "She was uncommonly eloquent; and his politeness could not find another complimeni, yet, without action, her words were not sufficiently “Il faut avouer que ce Monsieur a un grand talent rapid to express her ideas. Her manner appeared pour le silence;'—he holds his tongue ill people foreign, yet it was not quite French. If I had actually believe that he has somothing to say--a been obliged to decide, I should, however, have mistake they could never fall into if he would but pronounced it raiher more French than English. speak. - It is noi timidity; it is all pride. I would To derermine which it was, or whether I had ever pardon his dulness, and even his ignorance ; for one, seen anything similar, I stood considering her lady, as you say, might be the fault of his nature, and the sirip with more attention than I had ever bestowed other of his education : but his self-sufficiency is his on any other woman. The words striking-fasci: own fault; and that I will not, and cannot pardon. naling-bewilching, occurred to me as I looked at Somebody says, that nature may make a lool, but her and heard her speak. I resolved to turn my a coxcomb is always of his own making. Now, eyes away, and shut my ears; for I was positively my cousin-(as he is my cousin, I may say what I determined not to like her; I dreaded so much the please of him,)-my cousin Craigleihorpe is a idea of a second Hymen. I retreated to the farihest solemn coxcomb, who thinks, because his vanity is window, and looked out very soberly upon a dirty not talkative and sociable, that it's not vanity. fish-pond.
What a mistake!'"-. 146–148. "If she had treated me with tolerable civility at first, I never should have thought about her. High
These other traits of her character are given, born and high-bred, she seemed to consider more on different occasions, by Lord Glenthorn :what she should think of others, ihan what others thought of her. Frank, candid, and affable, vel and intent solely upon her own amusement; but I
"Ai first I had thought her merely superficial, opinionated, insolent, and an egotist : her candour and affability appeared the effect of a naturally good what could have been expected in one who lived so
soon found that she had a taste for literature beyond temper; her insolence and egotism only that of a spoiled child. She seemed to ialk of hersell purely dissipated a life ; a depth of reflection that seemed 10 oblige others, as the most interesting possible inconsistent with the rapidity with which she topic of conversation; for such it had always been thought; and, above all, a degree of generous in. to her fond mother, who idolized her ladyship as an
dignation against meanness and vice, which seemed only daughter, and the representative of an ancient incompatible with the selfish character of a fine house. Confident of her talents, conscious of her lady; and which appeared quite incomprehensible to charms, and secure of her station. Lady Geraldine the imitating tribe of her fashionable companions.”
i. 174. gave free scope to her high spiriis, her fancy, and her turn for ridicule. She looked, spoke, and acted,
" Lady Geraldine was superior to manæuvring like a person privileged to think, say, and do, whai little arts, and petty stratagems, to attract attention. she pleased. Her raillery, like the raillery of princes, llemen she seemed to expect attention as her right,
She would not stoop, even to conquer. From genwas without fear of retort. She was not ill-natured. yet careless 10 whom she gave offence, provided
as the right of her sex; not to beg, or accept of it she produced amusement; and in this she seldom as a favour: if it were not paid, she
deemed the gen.
Far from being failed; for, in her conversation, there was much of tleman degraded, not herself. the raciness of Irish wit, and the oddity of Irish mortified by any preference shown to other ladies, humour. The singularity that struck me most
her countenance betrayed only a sarcastic sort of about her ladyship was her indifference to flaitery. pity for the bad taste of the men, or an absolute in. She certainly preferred frolic. Miss Bland was her difference and look of haughty absence. I saw that humble companion; Miss Tracey her butt. It was she beheld with disdain thie paltry competitions of one of Lady Geraldine's delighis, to humour Miss !he young ladies her companions: as her compan. Tracey's rage for imitating the fashions of fine ions, indeed, she hardly seemed to consider them; people. Now you shall see Miss Tracey appear
she tolerated their foibles, forgave their envy, and at ihe ball to-morrow, in every thing that I have never exerted any superiority, except to show her sworn to her is fashionable. Nor have I cheated contempt of vice and meanness.”-i. 198, 199. her in a single article : but the tout ensemble I leave This may suffice as a specimen of the high 10 her better judgment; and you shall see her, I life of the piece; which is more original and trust, a perfect monster, formed of every creature's characteristic than that of Belinda—and altobest: Lady Kilrush's feathers, Mrs. Moore's wig, Mrs. O'Connor's gown, Mrs. Leighton's sleeves, gether as lively and natural. For the low life, and all the necklaces of all the Miss Ormsbys. we do not know if we could extract a more She has no taste, no judgment; none at all, poor felicitous specimen than the following dething; but she can imilate as well as those Chinese scription of the equipage in which Lord Glenpainiers, who, in their drawings, give you the flower thorn's English and French servant were comof one plant stuck on the stalk of another, and garnished with the leaves of a third.'”-i. 130-139.
pelled to follow their master in Ireland. This favourite character is afterwards ex
· From the inn yard came a hackney chaise, in hibited in a great variety of dramatic contrasts. a most deplorably crazy state; the body mounted For example:
up to a prodigious height, on unbending springs,
nodding forwards, one door swinging open, three “ Lord Craiglethorpe was, as Miss Tracey had blinds up, because they could not be let down, described him, very stiff, cold, and high. His man- the perch tied in two places, ihe iron of the wheels ners were in the extreme of English reserve; and half off, hall loose, wooden pegs for linch-pins, and luis ill-bred show of contempt for the Irish was suf- ropes for harness. The horses were worthy of the ficient provocation and justification of Lady Geral. harness; wretched little dog-tired creatures, that dine's ridicule. He was much in awe of his fair looked as if they had been driven to the last gasp, and witty cousin: and she could easily put him ont and as if they had never been rubbed down in their of countenance, for he was, in his way, extremely lives; their bones starting through their skin ; one bashful. Once, when he was out of the room, Lady | lame, the other blind; one with a raw back, the