Page images
PDF
EPUB

critical labours. We are disposed to coincide with a great part of his opinions, and to believe that sugаr may be used for cattle with eminent success ; but we cannot avoid remarking that the number of proselytės, iu a cause like this, is put likely to be augmeried by the vehemence of the writer. A concise and ireli digesi.d set of rules, supported by examples, would be the mode best adapted to our farmers, and would guide them gradually ro that state of improve ment of which our agriculture stands greatly in need in regard to fattening cattle, as well as in many other respects.

CORRESPONDENCE. We cannot, without violating a rule which we make invariable, insert in this place the note of J. N of the City Road: but, if we take notice of the work to which it refers, we may perhaps see the propriety of stating the simple fact of which he assures us.

Inquisitor is informed that we have not neglected the valuable history of the amiable Fenelon, to the commencement of our account of which he refers : since he will find, in the Appendices to our s&th and 59th volumes, which it is evident he has not seen, the concluding articles which complete this (as he expresses himself) pleasing and instructive abstract.' We must indeed ever regard the life of this eminent prelate as an entertaining and improving study; and to those who cannot procure the book in question, which we believe is scarce in this coun. try, we can venture to point out the analysis of it which we have given as not unworthy of their perusal.

*** The repeated and long “xisting complaints made by the readers of the M. R , especially those who reside in the country, of the inattention of their booksellers in not forwarding to them eachippendix, when it appears, induce us once more to state that these supplementary numbers are published constantly on the ist of February with the number for January, on the 1st of June with the number for May, and on the ist of October with the number for September, in each year. It is essential to the completeness of their setis, that our friends should regularly obtain these Appendices : but, inde percently of this consideration, if they are not procured, the reader is deprived of much in. teresting and instructive maiter, which is here drawn from a variety of continental publications ; and which, especially in these times, it is very difficult and expensive for us to provide. We partake, therefore, in the disappointment expressed by a number of Correspondents, when we find that our labour has been non-effective with regard to them; and we request that they will furnish us with a specification of the channel, in town and in country, through which they are usually supplied with the M. R., that we may discover where the fault origilates in these instances.

In the last Appendix, P.473, 1. 9. for illusion,' r. allusion. P. 525,

1.
30.

for 'was,' r. wire. In de Rev. for September, P. 41. 1. 26. dele the comma after fault.'– P. 65. 1. 10. from bott. insert a conna after naticris.'P.05.1. 17. insert a con...a afier *zso'--P.104.1. 17, from boti. for

a lese.

THE

MONTHLY REVIEW, ,

For NOVEMBER, 1809.

[ocr errors]

Art. I. Characters of the late Charles James Fox, selected and in

part written, by Philopatris Varvicensis. 2 Vols. 8vo.

Boards. Mawman, 1809. GE ENERAL report and internal evidence equally concur in

assigning to the pen of the Reverend Dr. Parr'the volumes before us; and the public will therefore be prepared to hear that they form a valuable memorial of the illustrious man to whose fame they are consecrated, while they reflect high honour on the learning and the eloquence, the principles and the feelings, of the distinguished scholar by whom they are compiled. The work appears to be designed as a letter to Mr. Coke of Norfolk ; who will probably always consider it as his noblest praise to have deserved the title here conferred on him, of the personal and political friend of the late Charles James Fox.' By some admirers of ourdeparted statesman, we learr, it was thought that a collection of the best written characters which had been drawn of him soon after his death would not be unacceptable to the public ; and accordingly the newspapers of the day, which, in announcing his dissolution, preserved some record of the events of his life, together with a sketch of the features of his mind, have been laid under contribution for nearly twenty articles on this interesting subject. We confess that we have been more entertained by them than we could have expected; and we regard them as honourable to the talents, and, with little exception, to the candour and the feelings of the several writers. Though the rapid demands of a diurnal press exclude the possibility of finished composition, and give a certain toleration to verbiage, we here seldom encounter affectation, while inaccuracy is still more rare ; and though a variety of political opinions appears among these characters, (which are selected with perfect impartiality,) we remark an extraordinary abstinence from every thing offensive and illiberal,- if we exclude the unfortunate specimen of provincial ignorance and vulgarity, which occurs at the fortieth page.

Q

The

VOL: LX.

The extracts from newspapers are followed by similar essays more carefully composed, and inserted in Reviews, Magazines, and even in separate pamphlets, poems, and sermons. They possess various degrees of merit : but the most useful among them, both as a summary of facts and a view of Mr. Fox's character, is drawn from the Universal Magazine for March and April 1805, the year preceding his death. The discourse of Mr. Belsham is full of animation and discernment; and that of Dr. Symmons will hardly be perused without exciting strong sympathy with the warm and elevated sensibility of the preacher. A masterly éloge is ascribed to Sir James Mackintosh; who appears, however, to the Editor to have adopted from Mr. Burke too low a tone of praise, when he designates Mr. Fox as having “ become, by slow degrees, the most brilliant and accomplished debater the world ever saw.” It is here shewn, very much at large, that he deserved a more exalted title ; and while that which he actually receives is proved to be both invidious and inappropriate, we think that the epithets of indefinite and unmeaning might have been affixed to it with equal justice. We may compare him as an orator with the great men of antiquity, whose orations have descended to us : but of their brilliancy, their skill, their promptitude, their accomplishments, as debaters, we have no materials that enable us to form an opinion,

After these selected characters, the first volume is closed by a very elaborate picture drawn by the editor himself; which unites, to the ample homage of enthusiastic admiration, great diligence in weighing, and much judgment in duly appreciating, the qualities of the friend whom it deplores. Not only « his attainments as a scholar, his powers as a public speaker, and his merits as a statesman,' are displayed in broad daylight, but his temper and conversation, his private pursuits, and his social habits, assume their share in the attractive and finelycoloured portrait. Let us, however, frankly acknowlege that we experience some disappointment with respect to details, which the intimacy of Dr. Parr with his hero might surely have furnished : too much is said in general terms, and too Little reference is made to actual occurrences; or, to pursue our former metaphor, we are dazzled with the glare of rich colouring, instead of being delighted with the more difficult excellence of faithful drawing. Anecdotes of Mr. Fox's conversation, like those that have been reported of Dr. Johnson, full of pointed and ambitious phrases, he had too correct and too gentlemanly a taste frequently to supply : but some more distinct idea might easily have been conveyed of his prevailing style in society; and his letters would have been most eagerly perused

by

by thousands of his countrymen, who, though his name, hisz political conduct, and his parliamentary-speeches, are « fam miliar in their mouths as household words," have still much to learn respecting the ordinary intercourse of his life with those who were honoured by his friendship.

The exordium of this panegyric will qualify our readers to form a fair opinion of its style, as well as a compendious notion of its entire contents :

• I have long been anxious to convey to you my condolence on the death of our inestimable friend Mr. Fox. But I bave been hitherto restrained by the dread of appearing to you obtrusive, in the fresh hour of your affliction; and by a consciousness of my own in ability to administer much to your comfort. Such is the wise con. stitution of our nature, that in certain situations, and for a certain time, it is better for us to follow the instinctive impulses of our feelings, than to wait for the slow and calm direction of our reason. Grief under such circumstances is impatient of the slightest interruption to that series of ideas which is most congenial to itself; and we then reject the very same topics of consolation which we afterwards eluerish and approve, when they occur to us spontaneously, or when flowing from those around us, they fall in with other trains of thinking which time has silently introduced into our bosoms.

Well knowing the poignant anguish occasioned by the loss of those whom we have been accustomed to regard with affection, I cannot but take a most lively share in your distress, heightened, as I an aware it must be, by the continual privation of the delight you formerly experienced, in the conversation of a chearful, sagacious, and most faithful friend. Pardon me, however, for expressing my hope that you are beginning to find some consolation, as I do, in reflecting upon the numerous and matchless excellencies of one whom England ought to consider as its best guardian, and the world as its most noble ornament. If the sublimity of his genius, the depth and variety of his knowledge, the solidity of his judgment, the gentlenesti of his private and the moderation of his public conduct, offer them. selves to your mind, the sense you entertain of all his amiable and allhis venerable qualities, accompanied perhaps by transient and invo. luntary illusions of his momentary presence among us, inay, suspend or mitigate your sorrow.

The pleasure I have myself had, though sometimes alloyed by melancholy, in looking back upon the many hours which I have passed o Mr. Fox's company, naturally leads me to consider your lot as Iriglely fortunate, in having for so many years diligently cultivated, and uninterruptedly enjoyed the confidence of so valuable a man, and in the many endearing recollections which your long and unreserved habits of intimacy with him cannot fail to supply. If you

ħad been called upon to select a friend from the whole human race, where could you have found one endowed as he was with the guileless play. fulness of a child, and the most correct and comprehensive knowledge of the world; or distinguished, as he was, by an elegant taste in the dead and living languages, by a thorough acquaintance with the most

az

important

important events of past and present times, by a profound skill in the history, and by, a well-founded and well-directed reverence for the constitution of his country, and by the keenest penetration into all the nearer aud all the remoter consequences of public measures? Where could you have found a statesman so qualified by the impare tiality of his spirit, and the extent of his views, to fix upon right measures for the accomplishment of right ends : to separate appear. ances from realities in the political horizon: to reason down local and temporary prejudices into subjection to the eternal laws of justice, and to infuse confidence into the minds of enlightened foreigners, with whom he was officially to discuss the intricate and jarring claims of powerful and jealous nations ? Where could you have found an orator gifted with properties of eloquence so many and so great, always exciting attention by his ardour and rewarding it by his good sensealways adapting his matter to the subject, and his diction to the matter-never misrepresenting where he undertook only to confute, nor insulting because he had vanquished-instructive without a wish to deceive, and persuasive without an attempt to domineer-manfully disdaining to seize the incidental and subordinate advantages of controversy, and inflexibly intent upon developing the substantial and specifie merits of the cause in which he was engaged-eager for victory only as the prize of truth, holding up the most abstruse and uncommon prin ciples in the most glowing colours, and dignifying the most common by new combinations - at one moment incorporating wit with argument, and at the next ascending from historical details to philosophical generalization-irresistible from effort, captivating without it, and by turns concise and copious, easy and energetic, familiar and sublime.

In the course of this treatise, Dr. Parr animadverts, we think with just severity, on the harsh and unfeeling conduct of Mr. Burke towards one whom he described as "a man born to be loved." His treacherous accusations of the honour of such a man, clandestinely conveyed to the friends of both in the first instance, and afterward avowed in the face of the public, will ever be remembered to his shame. On the subject of the violent attack directed by him against the Duke of Bedford, in which the grand principles, to the defence of which he had been eager to sacrifice Mr. Fox's friendship, were in their turn sacrificed to the bitterness of personal animosity, Dr. Parr hesitates (Vol. I. p. 234.) to concur entirely with the sentiments expressed in the Monthly Review*, while he applauds the composition of the critique in terms the most flattering. His praise we estimate highly : but he will permit us still to maintain the opinion there avowed in language which appears to us, defensible in its fullest extent. At this distance of time, however, and on a subject that has

See the Monthly Review for March 1795, p. 314. (misquoted by Dr. Parr, in Vol. i. p. 564. as the Number for May.)

passed

« PreviousContinue »