« PreviousContinue »
Junius with their founder, their decus et tuta- | Tories, with that sounding, simulated assault men. They would do every thing to hinder upon the Earl of Chatham. it. This correspondence contains two letters There seems to be but two competitors purporting to be from Junius to Chatham! now left upon this stage, Sir Philip Francis But they are eminently suspicious, if not and the Earl of Chatham; and posterity will forgeries; just such things as Chatham him. have to make its decision between the young self, or his descendants, planning an eternal clerk in the War Office, and the Titan of concealment, would provide. They weigh English statesmanship and politics. Those less than a feather, such as they are, against who object against Lord Chatham for Juthe massive proofs that lie in the other scale. nius's appearance of early hostility toward To explain the fact that Francis, who, he that nobleman, must be incapable of underasserts, loved and respected Chatham, abuses standing how a mind fertile in resources the Earl under the signatures “ Poplicola,” could carry on such a deception. They allow Anti-Sejanus,” &c., in the first series of the Junius wonderful powers
many sorts; but Letters, Mr. Wade courageously abolishes as they do not allow him the power of manag. many as tell against him; he calls them ing his mystery. Whereas, Chatham, like spurious, with the decision of Alexander Ulysses, had a subtle, close-contriving intelcutting the Gordian difficulty. All Mr. lect; and the ability of Junius is as plainly Wade's arguments have only the effect of seen in the strategy which has left the world bringing Chatham more suggestively for- so long in the dark, as in the literary merit ward. Unable to ignore the palpable like- of the Letters themselves. All minor ob ness between Junius and Chatham, he still jections must go for nothing in this quesargues for Sir Philip, saying that the Earl tion; such as that he did not know George had given him (Sir Philip) the first impres-Grenville, &c. It is too great a fault with sion of greatness by his noble eloquence and those looking for Junius to accept implicitly the lofty independence of his character. He what that shrewd masquer says. That is a stoutly contends that this undeniable simi- stupid mode of coping with any one so cunlarity was filtered through young Francis ning of fence. A man once ran, with his into Junius ; he does not believe in a direct neighbors, to drag the river for his drowned transmission. He admits that Francis shows wife; they searched down along the stream, himself inferior to Junius in every thing but but he who knew the dear departed better, the Letters. He says, “ With the fire of a went to look for her the other way, against Chatham in his bosom to electrify the sen- it, and found her, they say, in a strong eddy. ate, and with the acumen, knowledge of In the same manner, if we would come at human nature, and mastery of language of Junius, we must go against the drift of many a Hume, a Robertson, and a Gibbon, to of his sayings and sentiments. adorn and invigorate history, Sir Philip We think there appears on the face of Francis was destined to leave, as his avowed this controversy an evident reluctance of productions, only a pile of well-nigh forgot- English writers to recognize Junius in Lord ten speeches, protests, pamphlets, manuscript Chatham. Woodfall, who certainly suspected notes on book-margins, and fugitive verses." the truth, if he did not know it, seems willBut he gets over this obstacle; he swallows ing to lead us away from the Earl. Robert the chokepear thus : " I reply that Francis Heron in 1801 set the curious to run after was unquestionably a person of precocious Dunning. Taylor and Wade, though the gifts.” He flowered too soon; he faded pre- stern apparition of Chatham stands in their maturely, harassed and worn out by the path, turn aside to young Francis. In the stern duties of his lucrative place in India ! Chatham correspondence any recognition of Jam satis est. We shall not follow Mr. the Earl is discountenanced, which perhaps Wade any longer.
is only natural to expect from his grandWe hold up our hands and bless critical sons. The general idea of Lord Chatham, Wade ; but we cannot put the slightest faith a name synonymous with every thing great in his conclusions. He has left Francis as and venerable, would naturally be opposed he was, a young man of twenty-seven, when to the belief that he was Junius ; and it is Poplicola's powerful letter, breathing of the difficult to argue away those convictions matured and masterly Junius in every sen- that come without any argument at all
. tence, opened the five years' war against the Dr. Waterhouse, our countryman, was the
first who put forward Lord Chatham in a him. These, in our opinion, are not equivoproper manner. Mr. Swinden, in England, cal. They point to Lord Chatham, the only rather offered a mild suggestion than stated man who could write Junius's Letters - the what he believed to be a truth, and others only man who had the motives to write also had their suspicions. But a Yankee them. The solid weight of proof is all on was the first to speak out loud and bold,” his side ; the quillets and quiddities of special like a staunch beagle who finds himself upon pleading, some of them imposing enough, a strong scent.
belong to Francis and the rest. It now reThe writer of Junius went to the grave, mains to be seen whether the real Nominis hoping and believing he should never be Umbra can be thought able to appropriate discovered ; and his family, for the strongest the boast of Isis, in the temple at Sais, that reasons, have obliterated, and will do all in no mortal had lifted her veil." But the semitheir power to obliterate, every trace which recognized truth seems to be, that the porcould bring that charge home to him. trait of Junius, done by an American artist, There are certainly no letters, nor any other is to be seen, full in the middle of a great token left to indicate him, save the printed historic painting, now hanging upon the epistles remain a mystery for ever, i walls of the British House of Lords. w. D.
if the evidences of these wishor discovers |
Tom CARLYLE, in some Anglico-Teutonic
Book, says the gift for which most often he longs
Called (Gallicè) un talent pour le silence.
Fair form in flowers, the thoughts are out of tune,
Are silent in this merry month of June.
The birds refute you: every feathered chorister
Is singing to the world a gay Evangel,
Since God sent down his joyous Summer Angel:
Whose Wisdomship will neither dance por sing,
The bridge which joins the Summer to the Spring.
Ye Canters of the cant of Kant and Fichte, all
Grim Teufeldröcksh, go listen to that stream:
The voice of Seraphs singing in a dream?
And read in them the lesson of the Spring :
may prate of silence, but the men Of Poet hearts prefer to laugh and sing.
Sing then, my friends, to welcome home the June comer,
The month of glowing days and starry nights;
Will parch the current of its fresh delights;
of German systems and prosaic rules ; Yes, talk and laugh and quaff, and shun the quackery Which only suits the Winter-hours of fools.
The study of even inexplicable problems their applications to life and conduct to le is by no means altogether useless, if they exert sure, but essentially the same. the effect of sharpening the critical faculties, Two or three of the ablest works of this The reasoning employed is generally incon- class, with an accurate and succinct historiclusive; the evidence is apt to be unsatisfac- cal survey of the doctrines and characters of tory or insufficient; yet the powers of the the leading philosophers, will be of more mind are braced by the exercise of inge- real service to the honest student than a nuity, of patient thought, of careful anal small library read and collated after the old ysis. Mental activity, the habit of cautious fashions. Most of these works, as Bacon investigation, self-knowledge, and candor, advises, may be merely “tasted,” (read in ought to result from these pursuits. part or hastily,) others by deputy, (in re
It is well to ascertain the fruits of human views, commentaries, critical dictionaries,) inquiry, to know the unknowable, to speak and a very few thoroughly studied—the after the German fashion, or as Locke has master minds, as infrequent here as in every happily stated this position: “When we department. know our own strength, we shall the better Of the great mass of ethical and metaknow what to undertake with hopes of suc- physical writers, the style is extremely pocr, cess; and when we shall have well surveyed mean, bald, and tedious. They seek to be so the powers of our own minds, and made distinct, and are so copious, as to become some estimate what we may expect from tiresome, and that too in the discussion of them, we shall not be inclined either to sit conceded truths. They reverse the self-censtill and not set our thoughts on work at all
, sure of Horace on his concise obscurity, and in despair of knowing any thing, or on the overwhelm a few commonplace ideas in a other side question and disclaim all knowl- copia verborum. But this waste of the syledge, because some things are not to be logism is as great an error as a maiter of understood. It is of great use to the sailor | taste as the most verbose declamation. to know the length of his line, though he Diffuse logic is even worse than diffuse rhetcannot with it fathom all the depths of the oric, as well as inimical to the very spirit of ocean."
reasoning. Rhetorie admits copiousness; On some of the most important of these logic is close; beauty is strength here, as topics, (considered as speculative dogmas,) the well the essence of wisdom as of wit. proper state of mind appears to be that of philosophic doubt. Indifference promotes After the piles of controversial tracts, serclearness; a clear thinker can distinctly ex- mons, and philosophical treatises on the press his doubts ; liberal views beget a tole- subjects of liberty, freedom of the will, moral rant temper in others, and imply the pos- necessity, &c., the sum of the matter, it apsession of it in the theorist.
pears, may be thus briefly stated. Moral
necessity appears to be a fair logical inferBeattie, himself a writer on these subjects ence from the premises, but freedom is safest and a Professor of Moral Philosophy, ex- to assume as a ground of practice; as a pressly admits, “ All the practical, and most question, it is still open to the metaphysiof the speculative parts of moral science cians. have been frequently and fully explained by Philosophical necessity, practical freethe ablest authors.' any thirty or forty dom—to reconcile History and Providence, volumes of ethical discussion, you will find freedom of the will and the foreknowledge here a new term, there a nove illustration; of Omniscience, (wholly a mystery,)- is for the most part, a constant recurrence logically impossible. to admitted principles and facts, varied in Systems are invariably one-sided and ex
clusive, exhibiting in general but a partial | Mackintosh, have been pretty closely scrutiview of any question, and upon which an nized by former critics: both poets, Beattie immoderate emphasis is laid. Truth lies and Gray. In Forbes's Life of Beattie we between the extremes of opposite theories. read this criticism: “ Plato was one of the Thus, men are both self-lovers and benevo- first who introduced the fashion of giving us lent, selfishness and disinterestedness be- fine words instead of good sense; in this, as ing both of them original instincts. It is in his other faults, he has been successfully untrue to predicate of either of these prin- imitated by Lord Shoftesbury." Gray ciples, that they alone govern society. The writes with equal severity: “You say you dignity of human nature is to be cherished, cannot conceive how Lord Shaftesbury came while we must confess that imperfection is to be a philosopher in vogue. I will tell germain to the constitution of man. We you: first, he was a Lord; secondly, he was should endeavor to preserve what is good in as vain as any of his readers; thirdly, men human nature, endeavoring at the same are very prone to believe what they do not time to elevate and purify it.
understand; fourthly, they will not believe Extreme characters are unfair illustrations any thing at all, provided they are under of any doctrine, as much so as any extrava- no obligation to believe it; fifthly, they love gant doctrine is of sound philosophy itself. to take a new road, even when that road A mere politician is no proper specimen of leads nowhere ; sixthly, he was reckoned a human nature, any more than a mere talk- fine writer, and seemed always to mean ing philanthropist.
more than he said. Would
more reasons ? An interval of above forti In a letter of Archbishop Herring, (the years has pretty well destroyed the charm. only Archbishop we can at present remem- A dead Lord ranks with commoners ; vanity ber, who was at the same time a pleasant is no longer interested in the matter, for a and elegant prose writer,) to his friend Mrs. new road has become an old one." Duncombe, occurs the following admirable If after such men we may presume to sentiment, and the justest criticism on the add our opinion, it is perfectly in harmony rational school of morality, i. l., that which with theirs. The works of Lord Shaftsbury based the foundations of morality on rea- appear to us a refectory of ethical topics, in son, and at the head of which stood Dr. which too many points and questions are Samuel Clarke: “The reasonableness of vir-comprehended under single heads, by no tue is its true foundation, and the Creator means sufficiently distinct and separate, full has formed our minds to such a quick per- of commonplace, dressed up affectedly in ception of it, that it is in almost every stale metaphors and the cast-off imagery of occurrence of human life self-evident; but the Platonists. He is absurdly verbose and then I am for tiking in every possible help magniloquent. His egotism is awkward, to strengthen and support virtue, beauty, his circumlocutions clumsy, his pleasantry moral sense, affection, and even interest; and pompous. His style is in general heavy it seems to me as if the Creator had adapted and languid, the style of a nobleman turned various arguments to secure the practice of metaphysician. He is truly a philosophical it to the various tempers of men, and the petit maître, infected with the vilest pedandifferent solicitations which they meet with. try and the French taste in criticism current And virtue thus secured and guarded may in his day. perhaps not unfitly be compared to those buildings of a Gothic taste, which, though Gray's character of Aristotle appears to us they have a good foundation, are furnished, even more just and better written than his nevertheless, (against all accidents,) with portrait of Shaftesbury. As we have given many outward supports or buttresses, but Beattie's opinion of Plato, we may subjoin so contrived and adjusted by the architect, the following: "For my part, I read Aristhat they do not detract from, but even add totle, his poetics, politics, and morals
, though to the beauty and grandeur of the building." I do not well know which is which. In the
first place, he is the hardest author, by far, I The philosophical claims and literary char- ever meddled with. Then he has a dry conciseacter of Lord Shaftesbury, so impartially ness that makes one imagine one is perusing stated in the analytical review of Sir James I a table of contents rather than a book ; it VOL. VIII. NO. 1, NEW SERIES.
tastes for all the world like chopped hay, or famous theories and systems, the authors of rather like chopped logic; for he has a vio- which avoid, as far as possible, any mention lent affection to that art, being in some sense of Hobbes, unless to abuse him, so obnoxious his own invention; so that he often loses is his name, and so much has his reputation himself in little trifling distinctions and ver- suffered at the hands not of critics only, but bal niceties; and what is worse, leaves you of theological and political partisans. This to extricate him as well as you can. Thirdly, tract was a favorite with Addison, and is he has suffered vastly from the transcribers, highly praised by Dugald Stewart and Mackas all authors of great brevity necessarily intosh ; contains the very marrow of Hobbes' must. Fourthly, and lastly, he has abun- philosophy, as Hazlitt has clearly shown in dance of fine uncommon things, which make his admirable Essay on the Writings of him well worth the pains he gives one." Hobbes. The life of Hobbes has been writ
We know Aristotle wholly from transla- ten by the antiquarian Aubrey. The English tion, to be sure, and hence cannot judge of Aristotle was, at one time, secretary to Lord him as of an English author; but we believe Bacon, and the philosophical idol of Cowley, all of Gray's critique, save the last clause, who has penned a noble ode to his memory. which must overrate him. He is crabbed Locke owes an immense debt to him; but and unreadable to a wonderful degree, ana- so feeble is Fame, the latter philosopher is lytical to excess, harsh to austerity and bald- regarded as at the head of English metaness. As a mere writer, though he may be, physics, while the earlier, his master, and an at times, profoundly suggestive, yet the mat- original thinker, as well as a masterly writer, ter of his works may be far better studied in is classed with atheists, paradoxical sophists, modern authors, who are greater masters of and sensualist worldlings. Errors, and grievform. As a moralist and metaphysician, ous ones, are to be found in Hobbes, and of much of him may be in Hobbes and Locke, which we shall attempt no defense; still there yet they are far more able in developing the is much truth, penetration into human motives thought. In rhetoric and ästhetical criticism and characters, force of style, independence a score of writers, Greek, Roman, English, and manliness in his Treatise of Human Naand German, may be mentioned vastly supe- ture—a body of philosophy in itself. At prerior. In the philosophy of politics, France, sent we intend merely noting some remarkEngland, and the United States have pro- able coincidences of thought and expression duced disciples that have transcended their between the elder writer and the others, master's skill; and in natural history, France, generally his successors, though in some inGermany, England, and America, during the stances almost contemporaries. last fifty years have accumulated a mass of “The consequences of our actions,” says scientific information, probably far beyond Hobbes, "are our counsellors by alternate all the resources of antiquity in the same succession in the mind." department.
In a noble, serious poem by Beaumont or Speaking of the medium of translation, Fletcher, the brother dramatists, we read: we offer the dictum of high authority on this subject-Dugald Stewart: "A very
“Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,
The constant shadows that walk by us still." imperfect one, undoubtedly, where a judgment is to be passed on compositions ad- "In dreams,” Hobbes finely suggests, "our dressed to the powers of imagination and thoughts appear like the stars between the taste; yet fully sufficient to enable us to Aying clouds.” Locke, in Book II. Chap. X. form an estimate of works which treat of of his Essay, has hit upon a similar illustrascience and philosophy. On such subjects tion. Speaking of the facility with which it may be safely concluded, that whatever is in most minds ideas fade in the memory, he unfit to stand the test of a literal version, is concludes: “ In all these cases, ideas in the not worth the trouble of being studied in the mind quickly fade, and often vanish quite original."
out of the understanding, leaving no more
footsteps or remaining characters of themIn a single tract of Hobbes, of some ninety selves than shadows do flying over fields of duodecimo pages, occur some of the most corn." suggestive passages in modern philosophical Hobbes has anticipated Gall and Spurztreatises. We find here the original of many heim, where he writes, Chap. XI. of the