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ihe audacity to undertake, and which, for a time, it was really thought that he had performed.
The illusion was soon dispelled. Benlley's answer forever settled the question, and established his claim to the fust place amongst classical scholars. Nor do those do him justice who represent the controver&y as a battle between wit and learning. For, though there is a lamentable deficiency of learning on the side of Boyle, there is no want of wit on the side of Bentley. Other qualities too, as valuable as either wit or learning, appear conspicuously in Bentley's book ;—a rare sagacity, an unrivalled power of combination, a perfect mastery of all the weapons of logic. He was greatly indebted to the furious outcry which the misrepresentations,sarcasms, and intrigues of his opponents had raised against him;—an outcry in which fashionable and political circles joined, and which was re-echoed by. thousands Who did not know whether Phalaris ruled in Sicily or in Siam. His spirit, daring even to rashness—self-confident, even to negligence—and proud, even to insolent ferocity, —was awed for the first and for the last time — awed, not into meanness or cowardice, but into wariness and sobriety. For once he ran no risks; he left no crevice unguarded; he wantoned in no paradoxes; above all, he returned no railing for the railing of his enemies. In almost every thing that he has written we can discover proofs of genius and learning. But it is only here that his genius tnd .earning appear to have been consfantly under the guidance of good sense, and good temper. Here we find none of that besotted reliance on his own powers and on his own luck, which he showed when he undertook to edite Milton; none of that perverted ingenuity which deforms so many of his notes on Horace; none of that disdainful carelessness by which he laid himself open to the keen and dexterous thrusts of Middleton; none of that extravagant vaunting and savage scurrility by which he afterwards dishonoured his studies and his profession, and degraded himself'almost to the level of De Panes.
Temple did not live to witness the utter and irreparable defeat of his champions.- He died, indeed, at a fortunate moment, just after the appearance of Boyle's book, and while all England was laughing at the way in which the Christchurch men had handled the pedant. In Boyle's book, Temple was praised in the highest terms, and compared to Memmius—not a very happy comparison; for the only particular information which we have about Memmius is, that in agitated times he thought it his duty to attend exclusively to politics; and that his friends could not venture, except when Ihe republic was quiet and prosperous, to intrude on him with their philosophical and poetical productions. It is on this account, that Lucretius puts up the exquisitely beautiful prayer for peace with which his poem opens:
'• Xam nequc nos agere hoc patriae tempore Infqilo ToBtuniui eque animo, nee Menimfl clara propago Tallbue In rebui communl dee>ie lalutl."
This description is surely by no means a; plicable to a suuesman who had, through tl whole course of his life, carefully avoided exposing himself in seasons of trouble; v. ho haa repeatedly refused, in the most critical con junctures, to be Secretary of State; and who now, in the midst of revolutions, plots, foreign and domestic wars, was quietly writing non sense about the visits i.>f Lycurgus to the Drab, mins, and the tunes which Arion played to tht Dolphin.
We must not oraii to mention that, while the controversy about Phalaris was raging, Swift, in oVder to sho* his zeal and attachment, wrote the " Battle of the Books;"—the earliest piece in which hi.3 peculiar talents are discernible. We may observe, that the bitter dislike of Bentley, bequeathed by Temple to Swift, seems to have been communicated by Swiit to Pope, to A'rbuthnot,and to others who continued to tease the great critic, long after he had shaken hands very cordially both with Boyle and Atterbury.
Sir William Temple died at Moor Park in January, 1699. He appeared to have suffered no intellectual decay. His heart was buried, under a sun-dial which still stands in his favourite garden. His body was laid in Westminster Abbey by the side of his wife; and a place hard by was set apart for Lady Giffard, who long survived him. 8wift was his literary executor, and superintended the publication of his Letters and Memoirs, not without some acrimonious contests with the family.
Of Temple's character little more remain* to be said. Burnet afi-i";; h.'ni vi Holding irreligious opinions, and corrupting everybody who came near him. But the vague assertion of so rash and partial a writer as Burnet, about a man with whom, as far as we know, he never exchanged a word, is of very little weight. It is, indeed, by no means improbable that Temple may have been a free-thinker. The Osbornes thought him so when he was a very young man. And it is certain that a large proportion of the gentlemen of rank and fashion who made their entrance into society while the Puritan party was at the height of power, and while the memory of the reign of that party was still recent, conceived a strong disgust for all religion. The imputation was common between Temple and all the most distinguished courtiers of the age. Rochester and Buckingham were open scoffers, and Mulgrave very little better. Shaftesbury, thoujrh more guarded, was supposed to agree with them in opinion. All the three noblemen who were Temple's colleagues during the short time of his continuance in the cabinet, were of very indifferent repute as to orthodoxy. Halifax, indeed, was generally considered as an atheist; but he solemnly denied the charge; and, indeed, the truth seems to be, that he was more religiously disposed than most of the statesmen of that age; though two impulses which were unusually strong in him,—a passion for ludicrous images, and a passion for subtle speculations,—sometimes prompted him to talk on serious subjects in a manner which gave great and just offence. It is not cvon unlikely thai Temple, who seldom went below the surface of any question, may have been infected with the prevailing skepticism. All that we can say on the subject is, that there is no trace of impiety in his works; and that the ease with which he carried his election for a university, where the majority of the voters were clergymen, though it proves nothing as to his opinions, must, we think, be considered as proving that he was not, as Burnet seems lo insinuate, in the habit of talking atheism to all who came near him.
Temple, however, will scarcely carry with him any great accession of authority to the •ide either of religion or of infidelity. He was no profound thinker. He was merely a man of lively parts and quick observation, —a man of the world amongst men of letters,—a man of letters amongst men of the world. Mere scholars were dazzled by the • ambassador and cabinet councillor; mere politicians by the essayist and historian. But ■either as a writer nor as a statesman can we allot to him any very high place. As a man,
he seems to us to have been excessively self ish, but very sober, wary, and far-sighted in his selfishness;—to have known better ihan most people know what he really wanted in life; and to have pursued what he wanted with much more than ordinary steadiness and sa' gacity;—never suffering himself to be drawn aside either by bad or by good feelings. It was his constitution lo dread failure mcue than he desired success,—to prefer security, ;om fort, repose, leisure, to the turmoil and anxiety which are inseparable from greatness ;—and this natural languor of mind, when contrasted with the malignant energy of the keen and restless spirits among whom his lot was cast, sometimes appears lo resemble the moderation of virtue. But we must own, that he seems to us to sink into littleness and meanness when we compare him—we do not say with any high ideal standard of morality,—but with many of those frail men who, aiming at noble ends, but often drawn from the right path by strong passions and strong temptations, have left to pro terity a doubtful and checkered fame.
CHURCH AND STATE.
[edinburgh Review Fob ArRiL, 1839.]
. Tiit! author of this volume is a you'll* man of unblemished character and of distinguished parliamentary talents, the rising hope of those stern and unbending Tories, who follow, reluctantly and mutinously, a leader, whose experience and eloquence are indispensable to them, but whose cautious temper and moderate opinions they abhor. It would not be at all strange if Mr. Gladstone were one of the most unpopular men in England. But we believe that we do him no more than justice when we say, that his abilities and his demeanour have obtained for him the respect and good-will of • all parties. His first appearance in the character of an author is therefore an interesting event; and it is natural that the gentle wishes of the pul lie should go with him to his trial.
We are much pleased, without any reference to the soundness or unsoundness of Mr. Gladstone's theories, to see a grave and elaborate treatise on an important part of the philosophy of government proceed from the pen of a young man who is rising to eminence in tire House of Commons. There is little ganger thjit people engaged in the conllicls of active life will be too much addicted to general speculation. The opposite vice is that which most easily besets them The times and tides of business and debate tarry for no man. A politician must of'en talk and act before he has though! and read. He maybe very ill-informed respecting a quest' "it; all his notions about it may be vague ana inaccurate; but speak he must; and if he is a man of talents, of tact, and of intrepidity, ne soon finds that, even under such circumstances, it is possible to speak successfully. He finds that there is a great difference between the effect of written words, which are perused and reperused in the stillness of the closet, and the effect of spoken words, which, set oft" by the graces of utterance and gesture, vibrate for a single moment on the ear. He finds that he may blunder without much chance of being detected, that he may reason so'phistically, and escape unrefuted. He finds that, even on knotty, questions of trade and legislation, he can, without reading ten pages, or thinking ten minutes, draw forth loud plaudits, and sit down with the credit of having made an excellent speech. Lysias, says Plutarch, wrote a defence for a man who was to be tried before one of the Athenian tribunals. Long before the defendant had learned the speech by heart, he became so much dissatisfied with it, that he went in great distress to the author. "I was delighted with four speech the first time I read it; but I liked
• The State i* ite relatione Kith the Church, lly W. E. Qladstuku, Esq., Student of Chrielcliurch, and M. P. for Newark Svo. Second Edition. London. 1830.
it less the second time, and slit! less the third time; and now it seems to me to be no defence at all." "My good friend." said Lysias, "you quite forget that the judges are to hear it only once." The case is the same in the English Parliament. It would be as idle in an orator to waste deep mediation and long research on his speeches, as it would be in the manager of a theatre to adorn all the crowd of courtier* and ladies who cross over the stage in a procession with real pearls and diamonds. It if not by accuracy or profundity that men become the masters of great assemblies. And why be at the charge of providing logic of the best quality, when a very inferior article will te equally acceptable 1 Why go as deep into a question as Burke, only in order to be, like Burke, coughed dawn, or ,cfl speaking to green benches and red boxes! This has long appeared to us to be the most serious of the evils which are to be set off against the many blessings of popular government. It is a fine ami true saying of Bacon, that reading makes a full man, talking a ready man, and writing an exact man. The tendency of institutions like those of England is to encourage readiness in public men, at the expense both of fulness and of exactness. The keenest and most vigorous minds of every generation, minds often admi- * rably fitted for the investigation of truth, are habitually employed in producing arguments, such as no man of sense would ever put intt a treatise intended for publication,—arguments which are just good enough to be used once, when aided by fluent delivery and pointed language. The habit of discussing questions in this way necessarily reacts on the intelligence of our ablest men, particularly of those who are introduced into Parliament at a very early age, before their minds have expanded to full maturity. The talent for debate is developed in such men to a degree which, to the multitude, seems as marvellous as the performances of an Italian improvitalorc. But they are fortunate, indeed, if they retain.unimpaired the faculties which are required for close reasoning or for enlarged speculation. Indeed, we should sooner expect a great original work on political science—such a work, for example, as the " Wealth of Nations"—from an apothecary in a country town, or from a minister in the Hebrides, than from a statesman who, ever since he was one-and-twenty, had been a distinguished debater in the House of Commons. We therefore hail with pleasure, though assuredly not with unmixed pleasure, the appearance of this work. That a young politician should, in the intervals afforded by his parliamentary avocations, have constructed and propounded, with much study and mental toil, an original theory on a great problem in politics.
Is a circumstance which, abstracted from all consideration of the soundness or unsoundness of his opinions, must be considered as highly creditable to him. We certainly cannot wish that Mr. Gladstone's doctrines may become fashionable among public men. Bat we heartily wish that his laudable desire to penetrate beneath the surface of questions, and to arrive, by long and intent meditation, at the knowledge of great general laws, were much more fashionable than we at all expect it to become.
Mr. Gladstone seems to us to be, in many respects, exceedingly well qualified for philosophical investigation. His mind is of large grasp; nor is he deficient in dialectical skill. But he does not give his intellect fair play. * There is no want of light, but a great want of what Bacon would have called dry light. Whatever Mr. Gladstone sees is refracted and distorted by a false medium of passions and prejudices. His style bears a remarkable analogy to his mode of thinking, and indeed exercises great influence on his. mode of thinking. His rhetoric, though'often good of its kind, darkens and perplexes the logic which it should illustrate. Half his acutencss and diligence, with a barren imagination and a scanty vocabulary, wruld have saved him from almost all his mistakes. He has one gift most dangerous to a speculator,—a vast command of a kind of language, grave and majestic, but of vague and uncertain import,—of a kind of language which affects us much in the same way in which the lofty diction of the chorus of Clouds affected the simple-hearted Athenian.
w yt] row tJitJ£yiiaT«s, us icpov, Kai atftvav, xat rcnartjiScs.
When propositions have been established, and nothing remains but to amplify and decorate them, this dim magnificence may be in place. But if it is admitted into a demonstra•ion, it is very much worse than absolute nonsense ;—just as that transparent haze through which the sailor sees capes and mountains of false sizes and in false bearings, is more dangerous than utter darkness. Now, Mr. Gladstone is fond of employing the phraseology of which we speak in those parts of his work which require the utmost perspicuity and precision of which human language is capable, and in this way he deludes first himself, and then his readers. The foundations of his theory, which ought to be buttresses of adamant, are made out of the flimsy materials which are fit only for perorations. This fault is one which no subsequent care or industry can correct. The more strictly Mr. Gladstone reasons on his premises, the more absurd are the conclusions which he brings out; and when at last his good sense and good nature recoil from the horrible practical inferences to which his theory leads, he is reduced sometimes *o lake refuge in arguments inconsistent with his fundamental doctrines; and sometimes to escape from the legitimate consequences of his false principles under cover of equally false history.
It would be unjust not to say that this book, though not a good book, shows more talent than many good books. It contains some eloquent and ingenious passages. It bears the
signs of much patient thought It is written throughout with excellent taste and excel loin temper; nor is it, so far as we have observed, disfigured by one expression unworthy of a gentleman, a scholar, or a Christian. But the doctrines which are put forth in it appear to us, after full and calm consideration, to b« false; to be in the highest degree pernicious; to be such as, if followed out in practice 10 their legitimate consequences, would inevitably produce the dissolution of society; and fur this opinion we shall proceed to give our reasons with that freedom which the importance of the subject requires, and which Mr. Gladstone both by precept and by example invites us to use, but, we hope, without rudeness, and, we are sure, without malevolence.
Before we enter on an examination of this theory, we wish to guard ourselves against one misconception. It is possible that some persons who have read Mr. Gladstone's book carelessly, and others who have merely heard in conversation or seen in a newspaper that the member for Newark has written in defence of the Church of England against the supporters of the Voluntary System, may imagine that we are writing in defence of the Voluntary Sj stem, and that we desire the abolition of tlie Established Church. This is not the case. It would be as unjust to nccuse us of attacking the Church because we attack Mr. Gladstone's doctrines, as it would be to accuse Locke of wishing for anarchy because he refuted Filmer's^ patriarchal theory of government; or to accuse Blackstone of recommending the confiscation of ecclesiastical property because* he denied that the right of the rector to tithe was derived from the Levitical law. It is to be observed that Mr. Gladstone rests his case on entirely new grounds, and does not differ more widely from us than from some of those who have hitherto been considered as the most illustrious champions of the Church. He is t.ot content with the "Ecclesiastical Polity," and rejoices that the latter part of that celebrated work "does not carry with it the weight of Hooker's plenary authority." He is not content with Bishop Warburton's "Alliance of Church and State." "The propositions of that work generally," he says, "are to be received with qualification;" and he agrees with Bolingbroke in thinking that Warburton's whole theory rests upon a fiction, He is Still less satisfied with Paley's "Defence of the Church," which he pronounces to be "tainted by ths original vice of false ethical principles," and "full of the seeds of evil." He conceives that Dr. Chalmers has taken a partial view of the subject, and " put forth much questionable matter." In truth, on almost every point on which we are opposed to Mr. Gladstone, we have on our side the authority of some divine, eminent as a defender of existing establishments.
Mr. Gladstone's whole theory rests on this great fundamental proposition—that the Propagation of Religious Truth is one of the principal ends of government, as government. Ir Mr. Gladstone has not proved this proposition, his system vanishes at once.
We are desirous, before we enter on the 1U9 cussion of this important qui slum, to point out clearly a distinction which, though very obvious, seems to be overlooked by many excellent people. In their opinion, to say that the ends of government are temporal and not spiritual, is tantamount to saying that the temporal welfare of man is of more importance than his spiritual welfare. But this is an entire mistake. The question is not whether spiritual interests be or be not superior in importance to temporal interests, but whether the machinery which happens at any moment to be employed for the purpose of protecting certain temporal interests of a society, be necessarily such a machinery as is fitted to promote the spiritual interests of that society. It is certain that without a division of duties the world could not go on. It is of very much more importance that men should have food than that tliey should have pianofortes. Yet it by no means follows that every pianoforte-maker ought to add the business of a baker to his own; for if he did so, we should have both mttcli worse music and much worse bread. It is of much more importance that the knowledge of religious truth should be widely diffused than that the art of sculpture should flourish among us. Yet it by no means follows that the Royal Academy ought to unite with its present functions those of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, to distribute theological tracts, to send forth missionaries, to turn out Nollekens for being a Catholic, Bacon for being a Methodist, and Flaxman for being a Swedenborgian. For the effect of such folly would be that we should have the worst possible Academy of Arts, and the worst possible Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. The community, it is plain, would be thrown into universal confusion, if it were supposed to be the duty of every association which is formed for one good object to promote every other good object.
As to some of the ends of civil goverument, all people are agreed;. That it is designed to protect our persons and our property,—that it is designed to compel us to satisfy our wants, not by rapine, but by industry,—that it is designed to compel us to decide our differences, not .by the strong hand, but by arbitration,— that it is designed to direct our whole force, as that of one man, against any other society which may offer us injury,—these are propositions which will hardly be disputed.
Now these are matters in which man, without any reference to any higher being or to any future state, is very deeply interested. Every man, be he idolater, Mohammedan, Jew, Papist, Socinian, Deist, or Atheist, naturally loves life, shrinks from pain, desires those comforts which can be cajoyed only in communities where property is secure. To be murdered, to be tortured, to be robbed, to be sold into slavery, to be exposed to the outrages of gangs of foreign banditti calling themselves patriots—these are evidently evils from which men of every religion and men of no religion wish to b" protected; and therefore it will hardly be disputed that men of every religion and of no religion have thus far a common interest in being well governed.
But the hopes and fears of man are not
limited to this short life and to this visible world. He finds himself surrounded by the signs of a power and wisdom higher than his own; and, in all ages and nations, men of all orders of intellect, from Bacon and Newton down to the rudest tribes of cannibals, have believed in. tire existence of some superioT mind. Thus far the voice of mankind,is almost unanimous. But whether there be one God or many—what may be his natural and what his moral attributes—in what relation his creatures stand to him—whether he have ever disclosed himself to u« by any other revelation than that which is vriften in all the parts of the glorious and well-ordered world which he has made—whether his revelation ■ be contained in any permanent record—how that record should be interpreted, and whether it have pleased him to appoint any unerring interpreter on earth—these are questions respec:ing which there exists the widest diversity of opinion, and respecting which the great majority of our ra,ce has, ever since the dawn of regular history, been deplorably in error.
Now here are two great objects:—One is the protection of the persons and estates of citizens from injury; the other is the propagation of religious truth.* No two objects more entirely distinct can well be imagined. The former belongs wholly to the visible and tangible world in which we live; the latter belongs to that higher world which is beyond the reach of our senses. The former belongs to this life; the latter to that which is to come. Men who are perfectly agreed as to the importance of the former object, and as to the way of attaining it, differ as widely as possible respecting the latter object. We must therefore pause before we admit that the persons, be they whe they may, who are intrusted with power for the promotion of the former object, ought always to use that power for the promotion of the latter object.
Mr. Gladstone conceives that the duties of governments are paternal;—a doctrine which we will not believe till he can show us some government which loves its subjects as a father loves a child, and which is as superior in intelligence to its subjects as a father is superior to a child. He tells us, in lofty, though somewhat indistinct language, that "Government occupies in moral the place of Ts T» in physical science." If government be indeed To It*j in moral science, we do not understand why rulers should not assume all the functions which Plato assigned to them. Why should they not take awny the child from the mother, select the nurse, regulate the school, overlook the play-ground, fix the hours of labour and of recreation, prescribe what ballads shall be sung, what tunes shall be played", what books shall be read, what physic shall be swallowed! —why should not they choose our wives, limit our expenses, and stint us to a certain number of dishes, of glasses of wine, and of cups of teal Plato, whose hardihood in speculation was perhaps more wonderful than any otner peculiarity of his extraordinary mind, and vho • shrank from nothing to which his principles led, went this whole length. Mr. Gladi.t.nie is not so intrepid. He contents himself w.th la/