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In short, criticism having done its best for many years, to induce the public not to believe it, we will see, in our small way, whether we cannot force the acknowledgment of at least one sample of trustworthiness; and this we hope to do, not only with sincerity, but with good-humour. Writers, who do not despair of entertaining, can afford to dispense with the excitements of abuse and całumny. Chatting comfortably and in good faith with our companion the reader, we shall not think it requisite for his amusement to get up occasionally and thrust out a neighbour's eye. Authors fated to die a natural death will not be troubled by us. Sims may retain, as long as he can, the left leg of his understanding. Hopkins may walk on, like the shade in Milton, with “what seems his head.” Above all, live in peace all ye who would fain do so. If we attack any body, it will be those who attack without manliness, and the fair sex are hereby informed, that in the COMPANION they have a knight-errant at their service, the motto on whose shield is “ Fair play to all, to the fair especially.”
Our Politics will be addressed to those, who caring little for them in detail, are desirous of becoming acquainted with anything that concerns mankind at large. Politics, in this sense, are a part of humane literature ; and they who can be taught to like them in common with wit and philosophy, insensibly.do an infinite deal of good by mingling them with the common talk of life, and helping to render the stream of public opinion irresistible. In these latter times, the press has become a mighty power, which has taken its stand openly in the face of old assumptions, and is contesting the government of the world. That it will succeed is not to be doubted, if for this reason only,--that it is the interest of intel, lectual power to leave no part of a dispute untouched, whereas authority and assumption dare not appeal to a thousand points of knowledge. It is on this account, that the one insensibly remains master of the question, while the other (unless it be wise and make an alliance with it) is left like a sullen idiot on its throne, to starve with desertion. In our own country, we have lately had the agreeable spectacle of a prince, in whom the early lessons of liberality, which he appeared to have forgotten in his passage to the throne, seem to have retained their power of issuing forth again with a two-fold splendour, as if, in the very best sense of the word, he would shew the indestructible youth of his nature. But we have learnt to be cautious in our hopes about kings; and if an anti-liberal ministry should return, we should be more grieved
than surprised. Kings, like other people in the present state of society, are the victims of inconsistent education; and a man may do good and graceful things when he has liberal people about him, without being able to retain the liberalities that have moved him, or being superior to the will of the moment, which ever way that royal quality may turn. If his Majesty preserve Mr Canning's policy to the last, and choose to remain crowned with the good wishes of mankind, there is no regret we shall not feel at ever having mistaken him. If it be otherwise, he is but a king, subject to the common error of kings; and we have at least learnt to know, for our parts, that it is not by attacking any one for mistake but, by helping to throw the light of truth on the mistake itself, that the world with its new amount of knowledge is to be benefited. Book societies, new schools, Libraries 'of Useful Knowledge, “ Twopenny trash” (as it has been called, and which is fast advancing beyond a great deal of Six-shilling traslı, purely because it can speak the truth) all these are every day adding to the sovereign, force of opinion, by increasing the consciousness of what it can do, and the calmness which is ever the accompaniment and the evidence of superiority. The winds have blown enough. Let the sun shine forth, warming and irresistible. 1: Meanwhile, to descend from these grand generalities, we find ourselves in a very new position that of being ministerialists, if not absolute courtiers.' How long this will last, we cannot say: but we can safely affirm, that the pleasure of finding ourselves among any 'crowd of human beings, (and a court is but one, and none of the very pleasantest,) can never seduce us into a preference of the few above the many. We would only add, to the old and good-intentioned opinion on that subject, that in not preferring the few to the many, we do not prefer even the many to the few: for we think, that what is good for all, is only and truly good when it is good for every one. It is justifiable that individuals should suffer in their progress to a general blessing; but society had better be dissolved at once, than remain stationary to the sorrow and discomfiture of any such bodies of human beings, as some, in their want of thought, would fain leave sacrificed to what they consider a necessity. There is no necessity, except that the common pulse of the world should continue, and that it should be fed with a healthy distribution of life and joy.
With respect to THEATRICALS, we have only room left to say, that we hope to have a criticism on some play or performer every week; and that, old stagers as we are, we have had a long interval of absence from the theatres, owing to being abroad and other circumstances; so that “ going to the play” again is a sort of new and juvenile thing with us, and we anticipate the pleasure of it accordingly. As there are many living performers whom we long to see again, so there are many we have not seen at all. We hereby give the ladies notice to put on their best airs and graces; the tragic actors to prepare their happiest miseries; the comic ones to out-do them in bringing the tears into one's eyes; and all, male and female, to study their most unstudied excellencies, and behave as if there was no such thing as a critic in life. “You dog!” says Sir Anthony Absolute; “ if you have not been lying and cheating your father, I'll never forgive you.” So we say to the performers:
"If you do not give way to your impulses and animal spirits, and act as if you cared no more for a critic than an old crust, we shall have no respect for you.”
The publication of this paper having been resolved upon very suddenly, and only a few days before the commencement of the new year, some perplexities arose with regard to the size of it in general, the consequent price of it, and the articles that were to appear in the first number. The advertisements in the daily papers varied accordingly; and among the articles which the change of the publishing day has rendered it advisable to omit, is one upon “Twelfth-Night.” It shall be kept (if we live so long) till next year. And so, with this new piece of prefatory matter, and hoping that all will go smoothly, now that we have begun, we remain, like a suburb letter, the reader's very sincere friend, price Three-pence.
• To CORRESPONDENTS. We have received the verses of P., and hope to find room for
them. · Erratum in the second page of the PROSPECTUS:-For “ which keep the ear young • for ever,” read “ keep the heart young for ever."
LONDON : ! Published by Hunt and CLARKE, York street, Covent garden ; and sold by all
Booksellers and Newsvenders in town and country.--Price 3d,
PRINTED BY C. II. REYNELL, BROAD STREET, GOLDEN SQUARE.
No. II.—WEDNESDAY, JAN. 16, 1828,
“Something alone yet not alone, to be wished, and only to be found, in a friend.”_SIR W.TEMPLE.
After longing these two months for some real winter weather," the public have had a good sharp specimen, a little too real. We mean to take our revenge by writing an article upon it after a good breakfast, with our feet at a good fire, and in a room quiet enough to let us hear the fire as well as feel it. Outside the casement (for , we are writing this in a cottage) the east-wind is heard, cutting -away like a knife; snow is on the ground; there is frost and sleet at once; and the melancholy crow of poor chanticleer at a distance seems complaining that nobody will cherish him. One imagines that his toes must be cold; and that he is drawing comparisons between the present feeling of his sides, and the warmth they enjoy next his plump wife on a perch.
But in the country there is always something to enjoy. There is the silence, if nothing else; you feel that the air is healthy; and you can see to write. Think of a street in London, at once narrow, foggy, and noisy; the snow thawing, not because the frost has not returned, but because the union of mud and smoke prevails against it; and then the unnatural cold sound of the clank of milk-pails (if you are up early enough); or if you are not, the chill, damp, strawy, ricketty hackney-coaches going by, with fellows inside of them with cold feet, and the coachman a mere bundle of rags, blue nose, and jolting. (He'll quarrel with every fare, and the passenger knows it, and will resist. So they will stand with their feet in the mud, haggling. The old gentleman saw an extra charge of a shilling in his face.) To complete the mişery, the pedestrians kick, as they go, those detestable flakes of united snow and mud;-at least they VOL. 1.
ought to do so, to complete our picture; and at night-time, people coming home hardly know whether or not they have chins. , · But is there no comfort then in a London street in such weather? Infinite, if people will but have it, and families are good-tempered. We trust we shall be read by hundreds of such this morning. Of some we are certain; and do hereby, agreeably to our ubiquitous privileges, take several breakfasts at once. How pleasant is this rug! How bright and generous the fire! How charming the fair makers of the tea! And how happy that they have not to make it themselves, the drinkers of it! Even the hackney-coachman means to get double as much as usual to day, either by cheating or being pathetic: and the old gentleman is resolved to make amends for the necessity of his morning drive, by another pint of wine at dinner, and crumpets with his tea. It is not by grumbling against the elements, that evil is to be done away; but by keeping one's-self in good heart with one's fellow-creatures, and remembering that they are all capable of partaking our pleasures. The contemplation of pain, acting upon a splenetic temperament, produces a stirring reformer here and there, who does good rather out of spite against wrong, than sympathy with pleasure, and becomes a sort of disagreeable angel. Far be it from us, in the présent state of society, to wish that no such existed! But they will pardon us for labouring in the vocation, to which a livelier nature calls us, and drawing a distinction between the dissatisfaction that ends in good, and the mere common-place grumbling that in a thousand instances to one ends in nothing but plaguing everybody as well as the grumbler. In almost all cases, those who are in a state of pain themselves, are in the fairest way for giving it; whereas, pleasure is in its nature social. The very abuses of it (terrible as they sometimes are) cannot do as much harm, as the violations of the common sense of good-humour; simply because it is its nature to go with, and not counter, to humanity. The only point to take care of, is, that as many innocent sources of pleasure are kept open as possible, and affection and imagination brought in to shew us what they are, and how surely all may partake of them. We are not likely to forget that a human being is of importance, when we can discern the merits of so small a thing as a leaf, or a honey-bee, or the beanty of a flake of snow, or of the fanciful scenery made by the glowing coals in a fire-place. · Professors of sciences may do this. Writers the most enthusiastic in a good cause, may sometimes lose sight of their duties, by reason of the very absorption in their enthusiasm. Imagination itself cannot always be abroad and at home at the