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his sufferings : “ Je ne suis ni Jupiter ni Socrate, et j'ai trouvé dans ma maison Xantippe et Junon.” “Un jour," so runs
“ another of his complaints, "je m'avisai de médire de l'amour, il m'envoya l'hymen pour se venger. Depuis je n'ai vecu que
de At last a separation ensued, and an illiterate, but very fascinating, young lady consoled the weary husband for his late persecutions. Such a domestic régime throws a somewhat suspicious light upon Rivarol's high moral tone and the theological speculations which advanced him almost to the chair of De Maistre. His views of religion, however, as a political engine and a mainstay of the fabric of society, are sensible and well expressed; the reckless scepticism of his contemporaries affected him with sincere alarm : “C'est un terrible luxe," he said, " que l'incrédulité.” “Il ne croit pas en Dieu,” he wrote
. of one of his contemporaries, whose convictions were stronger than his piety, “mais il craint en Dieu.” It is, however, with less profound topics that Rivarol’s wit played most at ease, and exhibited in the most striking manner its astonishing range and pliability. With a few specimens of this we conclude a notice already, we fear, prolonged beyond the conventional limits.
His brother, whom he styled “ ma montre de répétition," served as the butt for a succession of stinging pleasantries: “ Il serait l'homme d'esprit d'une autre famille, c'est le sot de nôtre.” He appears to have been of a melancholy temperament: “Jérémie," observed his merciless relative, “aurait été un buffon à côté de lui.” Once he came to announce that he had been reading a newly-composed tragedy to M. de B—: “Hélas !" was the consoling reply, “je vous avais dit, que c'était un de nos amis." Of the Duke of Orleans' rubicund features he observed, “que la débauche l'avait dispensé de rougir.” Mirabeau was equally little to his taste: “ C'était l'homme du monde qui ressemblait le plus à sa réputation; il était affreux.” « Ce Mirabeau est capable de tout pour l'argent, même d'une bonne action." Buffon's son, who did little credit to his illustrious parentage, was described as “the worst chapter of natural history his father ever wrote.”
“C'est un terrible avantage que de n'avoir rien fait, mais il ne faut pas en abuser.
On lui demandait son sentiment sur Madame de Genlis. Je n'aime,' répondit-il, que les sexes prononcés.'
Les journalistes qui écrivent pesamment sur les poésies légères de Voltaire sont comme les commis de nos douanes qui impriment leurs plombs sur les gazes légères d'Italie.
Lorsqu'il apprit que l'archevêque de Toulouse s'était empoisonné, il dit, c'est qu'il aura avalé une de ses maximes.'”
ART. IV.-LIFE OF BISHOP WARBURTON. The Life of William Warburton, D.D., Lord Bishop of Gloucester
from 1760 to 1779; with Remarks on his Works. By Rev. John
Selby Watson, M.A., M.R.S.L. Longman, 1863. About fifteen years after Warburton's death, that which his friends wished to be known of his life was given to the world by his confidential disciple and admirer, Hurd, Bishop of Worcester. The same editor and literary executor left ready for press a volume of Warburton's correspondence with himself, which appeared immediately after Hurd's death in 1808. Warburton, who always expressed himself without fear or favour, softening or disguise, about friend or foe, has in these letters left a piece of self-portraiture. The correspondence is the corrective of the Life, and reveals Warburton and the Warburtonians in a thousand characteristic traits which Hurd's decorum had varnished over.
To these two primary sources, coupled with Warburton's own works, which fill thirteen volumes Zvo, Mr. Selby Watson has added a diligent search through the ephemeral literature of the period, -periodicals, pamphlets, sermons, and charges. He does not seem to have enjoyed the use of any new materials hitherto unprinted. Warburton's own letters are understood to have been almost all destroyed by his widow. One cannot help asking, Where are those which were not destroyed? Where are the letters of Warburton's correspondents? Where are the papers from which Mr. Kilvert printed a “ Selection” in 1841 ? and where are the collections which Mr. James Crossley has been many years making ? No subsidia from these sources are to be found in the present biography. But as this volume is already 650 pages thick, most readers will think they have too much, rather than too little. And, for a complete estimate of Warburton and his doings, we have enough. There may be many letters yet recoverable. But it is impossible that any thing can be now brought to light which could modify perceptibly the well-defined image of the man which may be traced from the materials already in our hands. All that is required for this task, beyond some skill in delineating character, is to place the man in his right relation to the social life and ideas of the time. The biographer must know his way about among religious parties in the latter half of George II.'s reign,-perhaps the least-known portion of the history of the English Church. Warburton belonged to none of these, and came
athwart all of them at one period or another of his bellicose career. It is on such invisible attractions and repulsions that the main interest of a career of antagonism such as Warburton's lies. His life was a succession of battles,-battles of the pen. All Warburton's books, like those of St. Augustine, are written against some adversary. But instead of handling the great public themes of Divinity, natural and revealed, Warburton is always defending some peculiar notion of his own, to which no one attached any importance, himself as little as any. The zest lay in the fighting, of which, while he was young, he never could get enough. The most famous of Warburton's battles, and the most serious; indeed the Waterloo of his critical empire,—was that with Lowth. In this celebrated encounter, in which the whole reading public, from the king downwards, participated with the liveliest interest, the points of sacred antiquity debated are mostly of no moment. Or where they are of moment, as, e.g. the date of the Book of Job, the disputants lack the requisite knowledge for throwing even the feeblest
ray of light upon them. But though we can learn nothing respecting the Pentateuch and Job, we may glean much to instruct us in the inner history of the Church of England during a period in which that history is very little known to the present generation. What is wanted here, is not so much fresh materials, as the hand to reduce to order and system those which are already extant. The life of Warburton, which was passed
. wholly on the highways, and open to public inspection, is peculiarly calculated as a mirror of the clerical life of the eighteenth century, or at least of the literary section of it, and contrasts in this respect with the noiseless and inexpressive existence of men like Secker and Porteous.
Though Warburton inherited an ancient name, he was born (1698) to humble, or rather no fortunes. Bred to the law, his passion for literature—though Hurd pretends an early seriousness of temper-led him into the Church at the age of twentyfive. At the age of thirty he obtained from a private patron, Sir Robert Sutton, a living of some value. At this parsonage, Brant-Broughton, near Newark, he fixed himself with his mother and sisters, and spent the eighteen best years of his life in unintermitted study. ` An athletic frame and a vigorous constitution, seconded by abstemious babits, enabled him to support, at least without immediate injury, this severe tax on the brain. Nature, however, exacted the penalty-a penalty which may be deferred, but is never remitted—at the end of life. Though he lived to old age, his memory became impaired, and some time before death he sunk into a general torpor of the faculties. One of his sisters, Mrs. Frances Warburton, told Hurd that, even at
this early period, they became apprehensive for his health, and “ would sometimes invite themselves to take coffee in his library after dinner, and contrive to make their stay with him as long as possible; but that, when they retired, they always found that he returned again to his books, and continued at them till the demands of sleep obliged him to retire” (Life, p. 34). His absorption in his books is illustrated by a story told of his going to dine at Lord Tyrconnel's, at Bilton Hall, where a fire was raging at a house which Warburton had to pass on the road from Brant-Broughton. When he arrived at Bilton he had nothing to tell; though he had ridden close by the house, he had not noticed the fire. The company began to hope the report was not true. But it was soon confirmed by the arrival of another guest, who said he had noticed Mr. Warburton ride by without turning his head, apparently absorbed in some subject of meditation.
With these habits seconding the native energy of his mind, his knowledge of books became immense. Johnson told the king that "he had not read so much as Warburton,”-a modest admission, yet strictly true, even understood of bare quantity. But Johnson was not thinking of volumes by number. He knew that Warburton's reading ranged over whole classes of books into which he himself had barely dipped. Johnson's own stock of learning had been acquired, he once told Boswell, by eighteen, and that he had added little to it at any subsequent period. And Warburton said of himself that “ he was a great reader of history, but a greater still of romances; for that nothing came amiss to a man who consulted his appetite more than his digestion.” An indication, perhaps, that Bentley's sarcasm had come to his ears. The great critic, on being shown the first volume of the Divine Legation, about three years before his death, had remarked, “This man has a monstrous appetite, but very bad digestion.” “A change in the object of his pursuit," says Whitaker, “was his only relaxation. He could pass and repass from fathers and philosophers to Don Quixote in the original, with perfect ease and pleasure.” Of his method of reading, nothing is reported by any one who knew him during his period of acquisition. Cradock, in a conversation with Mrs. Warburton, observed that Hurd had expressed his wonder how the Bishop had acquired all the anecdotes in which he so much abounded. “I could readily have informed him," replied Mrs. Warburton. “When we passed our winters in London, he would often, after his long and severe studies, send out for a whole basketful of books from the circulating-libraries, and at times I have gone into his study
and found him laughing, though alone.” And he writes to Doddridge that “his melancholy habit impelled him to seek refuge from the uneasiness of thought in wild and desultory reading." He was well acquainted with the history of the Civil War, and told Hurd that there was scarcely a memoir or a pamphlet published between 1640 and 1660 which he had not read." These are all the testimonies we can find on the subject. Be. yond this we are left to the evidence his writings themselves afford of the compass and depth of his acquaintance with books.
However great Warburton's receptive capacity, his instinct to communicate thought was quite as vigorous. All this reading could not go on without a corresponding effort to write. The first direction was given to his pen, as to most men's before they have found their own vein, by the taste of those with whom he lived. Warburton had found his way, in his occasional visits to London, into a coffee-house set of fourth-rate literati,Concanen, Dennis, James Moore, Hesiod Cooke, and Broome. The best man of the set was Theobald, When Theobald brought out his Shakespeare in 1733, he said that he owed Warburton “no small part of his best criticisms," -an acknowledgment which went rather beyond than within the mark. After another emendatory attempt, of which Velleius Paterculus was the unfortunate object, Warburton forsook a track into which he had only been drawn by imitation for one proper to his own bent. He certainly did not relinquish verbal criticism because he thought he had failed in it, notwithstanding a friendly hint from Bishop Hare, intended to suggest that conclusion to him. To the last he believed in himself as a restorer of Shakespeare.
Even Johnson's edition in 1765 could not open his eyes. He was very far from adopting the good-natured suggestion of the Preface that “he (Warburton cannot now be very solicitous what is thought of notes which he ought never to have considered as a part of his serious employments, and which, I suppose, he no longer numbers among his happy effusions.” But, though perfectly satisfied of his own “happy sagacity to restore an author's text” (Letters to Hurd, p. 367), his mind was formed with a more ambitious grasp, and impelled him to marshal ideas.
In 1736 he struck into the vein which made him famous. The Alliance of Church and State, brought out in that year, is widely different by its title and argument from the Divine Legation, which followed it in 1738. But the mould in which the thought of both works is cast is one and the same, viz. the politician's view of religion.
The immediate effect of these publications in rivetting upon themselves the attention of all the reading public is only to be accounted for by their union of two qualities : they occu