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celebrated for virtues, and the other by a name which had continued infamous for vices, during perhaps half the time that the several personages had been mouldering into this little heap of dust. If, indeed, your earth should at last happen to get into a cabbage-bed, and be partly organized into a vegetable, while mine staid behind, I own that would be something like an advantage; but I have quite as good a chance of becoming a cabbage, gentlemen, as yourselves."
Our readers may perhaps doubt whether the passage we have extracted, as the conclusion of Mr. E.'s book, carries sufficient evidence of his disbelief of a future state, to warrant our occupying so large a space on our page with remarks that imply our assurance of that disbelief. And we also should have been checked by such a doubt, if this assurance had not been confirmed by the general character of the book. As far as we are able to recollect the voluminous and extremely desultory series of paragraphs of which it consists, there is not one sentence that intimates an acknowledgement of a future life; and there are unequivocal marks of a total rejection of that revelation which has opened the prospect. The writer even rarely makes a serious reference to a Divine Being; and it is in the language of contempt that he expresses, here and there, a transient allusion to religion, which he usually designates by the term superstition, especially when it is to Christianity that he alludes. This malignity is not always bold and explicit; for, as he says, (Vol. II. p. 405) " the authorized superstition of nations is only to be circumvented by distant approaches, and desultory attacks;" meaning, undoubtedly, that the assailants must take care of their own impunity. It is hardly worth while to remind such a writer, of what has been repeated to his class a thousand times, that it was not in this sorry mode that the men, whose names he hates, assaulted the authorized superstitions of the pagan nations. If it had, the worship of Jupiter, Bacchus, and Venus, might, for them, have flourished long enough in all its glory. They sounded the trumpet, and advanced firmly in the face of their enemy, at the peril of incomparably greater evils, than Mr. Elisor and his friends would, in these times, have to fear from any human power, in the most formal attack on what they account superstition. The hostility of those heroic innovators did not thus shew itself for a moment, wriggling and hissing, and then slink back into a ditch. Our author and his class will reply, with the accustomed sneer, that they have no very eager desire for sufferings, though the Christians might: and assuredly, considering the nature of their dissent, they are perfectly wise in not risking their safety for their opinions. But then they ought to have the decency to be totally silent about magnanimity, generous devotion to truth, the vindication of the claims ot reason, and sueh nonsense (worse than nonsense in the mouths of these sneaking cowards) ; and yet this is a kind of dialect, for which they affect a particular fondness. Few of them, however, speak out more intelligibly than our author; and when he does not choose to be precise, he resorts to the expedient, so common in his school, of intimating that the "dogmas of religion" are not only undeserving of the belief, but below the attention, of any one pretending to reason or philosophy. "It is not for me," this writer says, " to investigate such matters."
We have dwelt so particularly on this part of the character of the book, because we deem the preclusion and contempt of the sublime expectations founded on religion, to be absolutely fatal'in a work professing to be a comprehensive scheme of intellectual and moral institution. For the final object of that institution, and consequently many of its principles and rules, must, in a scheme which disowns those expectations, be fixed according to a standard infinitely too mean for the interests of man, if there be the smallest chance that he may be immortal. If, on the contrary, it is certain there is a full end of him at death, then a discipline so strenuous as that here proposed, is perfectly ridiculous, by the contrast between the greatuess of its labours, and the poorness and vanity of its object. According to this scheme, a man must force himself Jo an exertion as severe and unintermitted as ever a slave expired under,—and for what? Why, to make, during a few years, a little figure and noise in the world, dividing the attention of the public with a Vcstris, a Betty, or a Catalani, and enjoying incomparably the smaller share; or to obtain, just in order to lose, a partnership in office and power, with persons who, he might know, will endure none of nis Catonic notions; or to make one more hapless trial to verify that weakest, wildest dream of philosophical fanaticism, that the compla^ cency of virtue, without looking beyond itself, creates a hap
[>iness independent of all external circumstances; or to earn a ittle posthumous fame, which will be the same thing to him as the winds that will whistle over his tomb. The writer who can gravely propose a scheme so humble in its ends, and so onerous in its means, has neither, on the one hand, the sobriety of views requisite for adjusting a plan pf discipline for beings who are to exist only a few years, and whose true policy is to incur as little uneasiness, and seize as much pleasure, as they pan ; nor, on the other hand, the enlargement of views indispensable in framing a system of education for beings who are to live for ever. He may give very good instructions relative to some of the specific parts and details j he may be a judicious guide in respect of a language or a science, and may even offer useful suggestions relating to morals; but believing, as we do, that the subject of his disci-' pline is immortal, we cannot deem him better qualified to frame a system for the education and subsequent life of the Independent Man, whom he has taken under his management, than a bargeman on the river is competent to command a ship which is to circumnavigate the globe, or than a vestry legislator is qualified to investigate the interests of an empire, or a parish officer to govern it.
It is time to give some account of the several parts, and the literary qualities, of the work. Any thing like a full analysis is out of the question; for it is impossible to imagine a book written, for the greater part, under a more complete exemption from all laws of regular connexion and consecutive train. Each paragraph seems to know that it is in a book beginning with the great word Independent, and takes its place with "an unceremonious disregard of what has preceded or is to follow. The work is a huge mass of separate particles, brought into vicinity and contact, but not into combination. They are in the same situation as the atoms of the author's favourite Lucretius, at that particular period, when, after having danced about in the great vacuum in a state of infinite dispersion and freedom from all eternity, they at last, some million or two of ages before the complete formation of the world, found themselves, to the astonishment of each, all congregated thick together, waiting, as it came out afterwards, to be organized into a system. The work contains but little of what bears any semblance to reasoning, and scarcely any thing that can be 'called disquisition. This is compensated, however, by an extraordinary measure of dogmatism, which is emitted in ai\ oracular tone, and in shorter sentences than we can. recollect to have been in use with any other of the pagan oracles. The author has a right to sneer, as he sometimes does, at " the believers;" for he, on every subject he touches, is far beyond mere belief; he always k/iozis.
The first part relates to the treatment of boys from extreme infancy to their eighteenth year, and contains many sensible observations on nursing, and the early physical and intellectual discipline of children. The following passages deserve the attention of parents, and give us the opportunity of saying, that, notwithstanding the vicious quality of the book in reference to religion, there arc a great number of sensible observations scattered through its whole length.
'A child's education should begin as soon as he knows the difference between reproof and praise; that is, as soon as his ears can distinguish between mild and harsh accents, and his eyes understand A smile from a frown. The first discipline, in this middle state, between mere existence and reason, is to make him understand that no one is to be subservient to bis caprices. When a child does not receive what he wants (and all children have a strong desire to handle whatever they seey, he may probably express his disappointment by crying: if the parent or nurse persevere in her denial, the child soon acquiesces in her will. But the practice is generally the reverse: his tears secure the possession of whatever was before refused him; he, in a short time, finds the secret of his power, and every refusal occasions his resentment. The mother dreads that crying ■will injure his "health ; the father acquiesces; the servants, as they regard their mistress's countenance, gratify the child's humours; and thus the whole house is subjected to the infant tyrant. When a friend, and none hazards more than an adviser on such an occasion, represents to the imbecile mother the injury that she does her child, he is superciliously or peevishly answered, as obtrusive; or treated as cruel; or abhorred as if he would impair the tenderness and gratitude existing between parent and child.
* Some parents are conscious of the present injury which such conduct occasions; but they conceive that hereafter they can easily rectify its bad effects. They foolishly imagine that the child, as he grows older, will reform himself. It is true, he may not weep when his wishes are counteracted; but waywardness and vain desires being confirmed in him, his childish petulance will give place to more boisterous and insulting perversity and presumption.' pp. 12—14.
* Unfortunately, a child, instead of being educated to act and think discreetly, is often studiously debauched; he is taught to contend and quarrel with other children; to strike even his father and mother; to lisp obscenity, vile names, and oaths ; to perform indecent acts, to show that he is a brave boy. These promote rudeness, slander, and brutality in the man. If he fall, he is ordered to beat the ground: hence pro.eeds blind vengeance: if he be pert, he is exhibited as a miracle of wit: has he a talent for imitation, he is taught mimicry, and his exploits and sayings are repeated before him with great applause: this adulation necessarily causes selfsufficiency and petulance. The same conduct influences his instructors in every respect: his palate is sophisticated, as are his ideas of dress and manners. Some parents will even ascribe the vices of their child to virtues: fearfulness is called delicacy of feeling ; resentment, a high sense of honour; insolence to servants, a proof that he will be superior to mean compliances; a mischievous temper promises ingenuity and wit; and want of order is aa indubitable presage of genius, whose characteristic is irregularity.' p. 16.
'Let the child also be taught to endure the inclemencies of the weather, and the little accidents usual to enterprising boys. Strong nerves and an unbending mind depend much on this early discipline. He who has never suffered, suffers with difficulty; he who has been always guarded from accidents, is most timorous 5 and the greatest valetudinarian is that man who breathes most seldom the pure air. Contrast the feelings of different classes in society, and estimate these observations: The flesh of the labourer's son is cut or bruised, and it heals unheeded; while that of his master's heir, when scratched, creates in the child dismay, and anxiety to the family ; he becomes feverish, an apothecary is sent for, and the case being thought desperate, a physician is associated with him. The son of the husbandman is drenched with rain, uninjured; while the saihe hew; languishes if the day be overcast, or the evening's dew touch him, un-, muffled.' pp. 18-49.
The next-section, which is short, is on the treatment of youth1, from their eighteenth year to manhood. At the beginning of it we find the author acknowledging, that all the boys brought up according to his plan to the eighteenth year, will not at that period appear destined to attain eminence in political life, or in literature. By some legerdemain, the unfortunates are made to vanish in an instant, and when we would inquire what is become of them, we have just a hint, in a few lines, that they are properly disposed of, in professions fit for their inferior faculties. The next instant we find the author in possession of the individual, who,-of all the numerous company, is the only proper one to be conducted through the great process of discipline which remains; but we have not the slightest information how bis competence has been ascertained. In this short division Mr. E. condemns our universities, and quotes witli approbation the opinion of Montaigne, that boj's of sixteen should be transmitted to foreign countries. And as a city is more favourable to the attainment of knowledge, and the excitement of spirit and enterprise, than a country residence, the youth ought to be sent directly to Paris, where he should be " lodged with some respectable person, who may superintend his education, and have some authority over his conduct and bis pleasures." He is then to reside some time in Italy, and at length return through Germany to England. A number of pertinent directions are given respecting the study of the fine arts. The consideration of sculpture and painting naturally led the author to notice the conduct of the French, in transferring so many noble specimens of those arts from Italy to Paris; and the censure of this conduct issues in a very curious mixture of anathema and canonization.
* They love not the arts, who wrest their productions from their natiye land; they are consecrated to the genius of the place, and should be their own sanctuary. Execrated therefore be the memory of these marauders! Praised be the name of Frederic, who, having conquered Dresden, refused to accept the famous Nativity by Correggio, though coveted by him, and presented to him by the electress!
This is followed by a grave moral reflection, sustained by an illustration of unexampled solemnity. "The crimes of nations, as of individuals, never go unpunished, and they are often repaid by reprisals of the same kind. The horses of Lysippus were forced from Greece to adorn the church of St. Sophia at Constantinople; they were thence conveyed to enrich the shrine of St. Mark at Venice; and they now adorn the imperial palace of theThuilleries!"
(To be concluded in our next number.J