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neither the declamations of rhetoricians or moralists, nor the anathemas of legislators, could put a stop to the contagion. All these remedies were impotent, opposed to the prevailing taste for the marvellous- a taste over which reason, philosophy, and science, cannot gain a perfect triumph. Romances of chivalry were still written and read. Princes, lords, and prelates, accepted the dedications of them; and Saint Theresa, very much attached in her youth to this kind of literature, invented a chivalrous romance, before writing The Interior of the Château' and her other mysterious works. Charles V. devoured in secret the Don Belianis of Greece;' one of the most monstrous productions of this literature run mad, even while he was issuing against it decrees of proscription; and when his sister the Queen of Hungary, wished to give a grand entertainment on her return to Germany, she could find nothing better to offer in the celebrated fêtes of Bins, 1549, than the realization of the adventures of a book of chivalry, in which all the lords of the court, and the austere Phillip II. himself, took a part. This taste had even penetrated the cloisters; they read there, and even wrote, romances. A Franciscan monk who was called Fray Gabriel de Mata, caused to be printed, not in the thirteenth century, but in the year 1589, a chivalric poem of which the hero was Saint Francis, the patron of his order, and the poem was entitled Ell Caballero Asisio,' the Knight of the Assizes. For a frontispiece it had a portrait of the saint on horseback and armed at all points, after the manner of those figures which decorate the Amadis de Gaul and the Eplandian. His horse was gaily caparisoned and adorned with magnificent plumes. He wore in the head-piece of his casque a cross, with nails and a crown of thorns. On his shield, the representation of the five wounds appeared, and on the standard of his lance, one of Faith holding the cross and the chalice, with this legend, In this there can be no failure.' This singular book was dedicated to the constable of Castile. Such
for these having once conceived a passion, when favourable opportunities occur, they give a loose run to extravagance, much more than but for such reading they would ever have done. Very often it will happen that the mother will leave her daughter shut up in the house, believing that she may leave her with safety in such a retreat, when the latter will so well employ her time in these studies, that the mother may find it would have been much wiser to have taken her child out with her. Not only does this lead to the prejudice and disparagement of individuals, but to the great detriment of conscience; for the more the parties become attached to such foolery, the more will they become indifferent to the holy, true, and Christian doctrine. To remedy the above-mentioned evil, we supplicate your majesty to order, under severe penalties, that no books of this description, or approaching to it, shall be read or printed; and further, that those which have already been published may be collected and burnt. Doing this, your majesty will render a great service to God, in taking from young persons the reading of books of vanity, and compelling them to read religious works, which will edify their souls and reform their lives; and your majesty will further confer on these kingdoms a great benefit and favour.' "
was the state of things, when Cervantes, shut up in his little village of La Mancha, conceived the idea of overthowing, from top to bottom, the whole fabric of chivalric literature. It was then in the zenith of its popularity, of its success, of its triumph, when he resolved, poor, humble, unknown, without a protector, having no power at his command but his wit and his pen, to attack the hydra which had set common sense and law at defiance. But he opposed to it arms much more efficacious in the cause of reason, than arguments, sermons, and legislative prohibitions,— ridicule. His success was complete."
ART. VIII.-The School for Statesmen, or, the Public Man's Manual; being a Complete Guide to the Constitution since the Reform Bill. By an OLD M. P. London: Smith, Elder, and Co. 1837.
THE aim and plan of this work are good, but the execution and fulfilment are not equal to the conception. Let the author be heard in explanation of his own intentions. He says, "The new features that have arisen in the condition of the country and constitution since the Reform Bill, seemed to render some such undertaking as the present not without utility. Various directions suggest themselves for shaping a course of public action, as regards conduct towards electors, and duties as a representative and statesman, under the present altered condition of circumstances. These are offered the reader in the shape of Letters,' with a view to adding, perhaps, to his interest from its more dramatic character. Every precept, moral or political, which an aspirant entering on the arena of public life can require, is endeavoured to be embraced." Accordingly a compendious analysis of the constitution, and of the spirit, practice, and defects of the laws of England is attempted to be given, without any bias derived from party views or feelings; the whole purporting to be developed in a correspondence between a political Mentor and a Tyro-the former affecting to utter the sentiments of long study and experience, the latter speaking from the fulness of his heart, and with all the sanguine confidence of youth, whose notions of reform are bold and straightforward.
Now, it must be quite clear, even to a superficial thinker, that the present time offers abundant scope for such a work as is suggested by our "Old M. P. ;" for, as he himself says, "the various and complicated interests of the country, both natural and artificial, together with our religious, political, and social institutions, regarded as they are more or less likely to be affected by the progress of change,' open a wide field, no less for reflection, than curiosity and anxiety;" and we may add, for an extraordinary extent of knowledge, penetration, and sagacity, on the part of him who would set himself up as a general instructor and pioneer in that field. But in this "School for Statesmen", we cannot for a moment suppose
that any aspirant entering on the arena of public life," can obtain many of the necessary precepts, "moral or political," which he requires. Not that the author maintains immoderate doctrines, or seems unacquainted with the principles and working of our institutions, but that he himself seems to halt between opposite opinions, I to be at a loss whether to profess himself the "Mentor," or the "Tyro," in politics. We should, indeed, suppose him to be a moderate Tory, or a Conservative Whig; but how he would act in any supposed emergency, for the life of us, we cannot and dare not guess. It may be all very good to tell the "Aspirant," that reform has of late years progressed rapidly, and that it is time to take leisure to consolidate and perfect that which has been in the lump obtained. But suppose that the country should think differently, and that a certain celebrated Bill should be regarded merely as a step to much greater gains, we have not found in the "School for Statesmen" anything deserving the name of a "Public Man's Manual.” There is neither that foundation, grasp, nor illustration, exhibited in its pages to entitle the work to this high and difficult display.
One other general criticism we have to offer, and this regards the judgment not only in the selection and handling of individual topics, but the prominence given to relative ideas and subjects-the author, to our apprehension, sometimes attributing an exaggerated character to comparative trifles, to the neglect of much more obvious and important points; or forcedly, for the sake of effect, working an idea threadbare and till it becomes impotent, which otherwise might have looked well enough in its own proper sphere and at its own proper elevation. It appears to us, that these defects and mistakes, characterise the three first " Letters" in the volume, for instancethe burden of which, for the sake of illustrating our meaning, we quote. The "Old M. P." thus opens the ball
So you are going to canvass the borough of G? Well! I wish you success-but mind you must be candid with the electors. It will not do now to promise one set of measures, and when you are safely seated, vote for a contrary set. You will be un-seated the next time you meet your old constituents, and you will deserve it, as much for your folly as your dishonesty. For, let me tell you, there are fashions in politics, as in the gay world: and intrigue, however well it might do for a politician who was always sure of his return to parliament under the old closeborough system. will not do now. Intrigue must no longer be the fashion, now the people have the upper hand. Your political life must exist in their confidence, or you are defunct at once, and the sooner the better. When I say the people,' I do not refer to mere popular advocates of liberty, I mean the electors; and what their bias is, at the present era, I shall have an opportunity of expressing hereafter. Meantime, it is sufficient for me, wishing you well, to insist upon your observance of the one great principle that should be the guide of every one who enters on the political field under this new régime. No minister can exist by any
other means. No candidate can ever face, with a chance of success, his constituents again, if he has forfeited it. It will be an ample recompense to the minister for the loss of his close-borough aids in gaining majorities. It will do yet more-it will give him majorities on a prouder tenure, and on a better principle. If this should startle you on the first consideration, it will not do so after the remarks I shall have, at a future period, to make. At present considering that you are determined to act like a prudent and honest man, in rejecting all Machiavelianism and intrigue, as out of date, and taking as your text, Candour' and the securing 'public confidence,'-I will, with a view to your attainment of the last result so desirable (nay, the very vital essence of your political strength) -I will, I say, just give you one hint, which is, that you mistake not the objects and purposes of the Reform Bill.'"
The "Letter" concludes with the writer's general understanding of the objects of the Reform Bill, viz., that it was meant to restore, not to revolutionize, and which we have no mind to discuss, our present purpose being to let the author's discovery, that candour, honesty, and consistency are the best passports to "public confidence," be appreciated, as well as to let the occasion of the "Tyro's” rhetorical flourish, which immediately follows, be seen.
"Never was anything more blank, more disheartening than your letter! It has damped all the charm of politics for me! You reduce the whole matter to a plain settling accounts;'-a plain ' matter-of fact' exposition between the representative and the constituent. All the romance-all the diplomacy-in a word, all the zest-which intrigue and acting gave to politics is at an end! All the display of ingenuity in explaining away apparent inconsistency is lost! All the glowing apostrophes to Liberty dumb-foundered! That very theme which I had imagined the spirit of the reform bill inspired, is rendered a dead-letter! What am I to say to the electors? How animate them? How rouse them? Where glow in virtuous indignation? Where rise as the vindicator of their rights?— as the avenger of their wrongs?-the redresser of their grievances ?— the restorer of their claims encroached on, or overwhelmed?-Alas! alas all the sources of feeling, of emotion, of passion, are dried up! Eloquence may retire into some sequestered nook, fling aside her immor. tal scroll traced with the name of Pericles, Demosthenes, Hortensius and Tully, Pitt, Fox, and Canning-and con over the pages of a primer, or thumb a horn-book in mixed sorrow and derision !-in mournfulness and self-contempt! While the pride of nobler enthusiasm is lost in the land, and the dignity of man, which once formed the topic of public expression, falters on the lips, and dies into an echo!
"P.S. On second thoughts, as your advice was well-meant, permit me to make my acknowledgements for it, however dispiriting and discouraging the general tone of your recommendations might be felt."
The "Old M. P.," and the man of the world, as he calls himself, conceives and utters this reply
"I was not a little amused at your answer to the sober sadness of my
'experience!' It is difficult to face the chaste but somewhat demure aspect of Truth, after gazing on the dazzling illusions of Fancy. I do not wonder, with your mind heated with the harangues of antiquity,with the glowing sentiments breathed through those pages which your recent academical pursuits have busied you over,-that you should wish to display a little of the ardour with which they have imbued you, and that you feel any exposition of matter-of-fact,' as damping the fire, and obscuring (come, confess it!) the scintillations of your own brilliancy! I do not find fault with you. A wish to display is a very excusable vanity in a young man, and the checks he meets with in this particular are the bitterest shocks that human pride knows. But to be sensible of these shocks, and to rise superior to them, is the victory he must achieve if he wishes to aspire to greatness. You are indignant and piqued, because your self-love is mortified. Be above this-and as I tell you above it you must be, if you wish to be 'great.' Perhaps I shall mortify you yet more by telling you, you are unjust. But I do not wish to irritate you. I would rather console you. Or, if such compassion tend to offend your pride, let me rather say, I will show you reasons for considering that there is still ample field for the display of all those sentiments which dignify and elevate human nature; and which you would have an honourable anxiety and pride in avowing. In fact, you shall have no reason to feel your worthy self-love' mortified, nor the spark or spirit of nobler enthusiasm deadened or degraded. What! Is there no such topic as vice to lash? As mischievous innovation to expose? As fraudulent and self-interested professions to detect? No theme on which to arouse the slumbering energies of the good but unwary, or the too confiding and credulous? Are there no portrayals to be drawn of the deformity of inconsiderate measures of change: or of the beauties of our own institutions? Are there no proud names of virtue, candour, and disinterestedness to exhibit in contrast with the disseminators of mischief, the preachers of guile, the traitors to the public weal, and to their country? I fear there are too, too many of the bad examples to lash and expose!would there were not! You will perceive that without sound principles of moral action-of philosophy-politics are but a paltry material. If you do not understand this, you have studied to little purpose, and have not communed aright with the great minds that have lately engaged your attention. Leave to dull pert sophists-to quibblers in argument, and not lofty debaters-their bald sentences merely detailing facts, or abusing an adversary. Do you take a bolder flight, on a loftier intellectual elevation-and let your practical plans be ever guided by the ray of an enlightened truth or else you do but grope in a fog-benighted and bewildered -lost alike to utility or distinction."
We have extracted the cream of the three first "Letters," not to call attention to the common-place ideas which they contain, nor to the vapid and pointless declamation which the writer of them indulge, but to ask, upon the supposition that "there are fashions in politics;" where and how has the author shown that he has pounced upon any such changes as could ever have caused the