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bread by toiling in a wilderness. This is no exaggerated picture; 1 saw the reality, and felt it too." (P. 417.)
From an author who can write in this truly philosophical manner, it cannot but be instructive to learn in what way persons and things in our own country presented themselves to his perspicacious glance. We on this side of the Atlantic have thought and conversed so long on our Burkes, and Pitts, and Foxes, and on our national character and constitution, that our opinions may be supposed to partake of somewhat of mannerism, if not of party spirit. But how do these topics strike an intelligent foreigner, perfectly familiar with our language and customs, but far removed from our local prejudices, and professing political principles widely different from our own? The following is his brief estimate of the character of Mr. Fox.
Many, I am well aware, are partial to Mr. Fox as a statesman. His abilities might have been very great, but he can hardly be called a candid, principled, and virtuous citizen. If, when he became minister, he pursued the same policy that Mr. Pitt had done, it is evident that his opposition to him proceeded from factious and interested motives, under the influence of which, he acted the part of a wild and disorganizing Jacobin. He is said to have been a pleasing companion, and what is called a good natured man, which is generally, by the by, an unprincipled one. Refined virtue is indignant and somewhat austere. Estimating him, however, from his historical fragment of the reign of James II., one would suppose him to have been a humane, just, and generous man." (P. 355.)
Of Mr. Burke, or rather of his memorable book, which is the best comment on his opinions and character, the author makes a few passing, but not superficial, reflections, which we transcribe, not only on account of their intrinsic value, but for the curious circumstances under which they were elicited, and the still more curious circumstance of their coming from the pen of an American and strenuous republican.
"I happened to be at Reading, where Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution, with Paine's Rights of Man, both of which had just come out, were the general topic of conversation. I had seen neither; and when they were given me to read, I was apprised of the delight I should receive from the perusal of Paine's pamphlet. As to Burke, I was told it was heavy and tedious, but that it was necessary to condemn myself to a wading through it first, for the sake of better understanding and relishing Paine's, which was in answer to it. I read them; but, to my great misfortune, and contrary to all expectation, I became so firm an adherent to Burke, that his opponent made not the smallest impression. I have already made confessions which cautious men may start at. But this is worse than all. The stolen Ribbon of Rousseau was nothing to it; nor, although events have proved me right, is that of any consequence. Many other things have
turned out right too; but that does not lessen the odium of their early advocates. It is the essence of sound civism to think with one's fellowcitizens; on no account to anticipate them; and I ought to have thought wrong, because it was the fashion. Republican morality, like republican other things, being made by general suffrage, will not always take the trouble to ferret truth from her well; and as it is manufactured pro re nata, on the spur of the occasion, it is liable, of course, to gentle fluctuations-but infinitely safer, by the bye, in practice, than that of the old school. I here speak from woeful experience. (P. 375, 376.)
It will be anticipated that a man who thinks thus sensibly and fairly could not see much to admire in the conduct of the French revolution, which it was so much the fashion to panegyrize in his own country at the period when this volume was written. Mr. Jefferson, with his admirers, and his administration, are the theme of many an indignant page in the volume before us. The author's philippics on these topics break out beyond that sober pitch of gentleness in which his sentiments are accustomed to be uttered, and frequently bear an apparent stamp of personal hostility and irritation. Still his anger is evidently honest. He holds in just displeasure the Gallican or AntiAnglican spirit, which had infected so many of his countrymen, and which was no less opposed to sound policy, than to the charity which should spring out of our natural affinities and common parentage. But let us hear his own apology.
"I am aware of the offence which may be given by these observations: but I will not now begin to cajole, when I have foregone beyond redemption what might once have been gained by it. Having spoken truth so long, I will persevere to the end; nor, though fully admitting that, by a virtuous use of the government we possess, we may become the most happy people upon earth, am I at all disposed to conceal, that, by the nefarious policy in fashion, we are in a fair way of rendering ourselves the most miserable. One of its fundamental maxims, and, to all appearance, its most favourite one, is, that Britain must be destroyed; a power which is evidently the world's last hope against the desolating scene of universal slavery:-a country, too, which, in the language of a native American, who tells us he had entertained the common prejudices against her, presents the most beautiful and perfect model of public and private prosperity, the most magnificent, and, at the same time, most solid fabric of social happiness and national grandeur.' And yet all this is to be demolished, because, some thirty years ago, we were engaged with her in a contest, which, so far as independence is implicated, appears now to have been a truly unprofitable one.' But God forbid that the long-lived malice of Mr. Jefferson should be gratified! And the deprecation is equally extended to his successor, should he unhappily harbour the same pitiable ranIf these gentlemen, during the war, have had their nerves too rudely shocked by the invader, to be able to recover their propriety,
or to adhere to the assurance given in the declaration of independence,TM of considering the English as friends in peace, and only enemies in war,' they ought to reflect, that it is not strictly patriotic, to risk the ruin of their country, to obtain revenge. Or if they are only unluckily committed, through a prodigality of stipulation, for the sake of dear Louisiana-God send them a good deliverance, or, at least, their country an happy riddance, both of the vendor and vendees.
"That England has long been, and still is, fighting the battle of the civilized world, I hold to be an incontrovertible truth. The obser vation I know to be trite, but I am not a servile follower in the use of it. So long ago as the year 1797, I was the author of the following sentiment in Mr. Fenno's Gazette: 'As to Great Britain, with all her errors and vices, and little, perhaps, as America may owe her, considering the situation in which she has been fortuitously placed by the dreadful convulsions of Europe, so far from wishing her downfall, I consider her preservation as of real importance to mankind; and have long looked upon her as the barrier betwixt the world and anarchy.'The sentiment was then in me an original conception; I had never heard it before, if ever it had been uttered. It has unceasingly been among my strongest convictions, with the modification, that she is: now our protection from despotism." (P. 425-427.)
We shall present to our readers only one passage more, which is rendered striking by its spirit, and caustic irony. It eloquently ridicules the cant of democracy, in every age and country, so that the reader has only to exchange Genet for Hunt or Cobbett, and Mr. Jefferson's "mouth of labour" for our own radical gibberish of "operatives" and "the useful classes," to render it as pungent in England as in America.
"The enlightened self-interest which prompted Mr. Jefferson to cast an eye upon the presidency, has most edifyingly identified with the interest of the mouth of labour,' if not the whole, at least a very essential part, of the public. This mouth of labour, by the bye, is one of the fine figures of speech, by means of which this gentleman has been enabled to triumph over the popularity even of Washington; although it is sacrilegiously thought by some, to savour a little of that jargon, which the same Mr. Burke somewhat harshly denominates the patois of fraud, the cant and gibberish of hypocrisy.' But we, on this side of the water, ought to have more indulgence for a trade growing out of our institutions. As the people give power, and power promotes thrift, the people may certainly be complimented a little: and hence, intolerance towards demagogues may fairly be ranked among the anti-republican tendencies. No censure, therefore, is aimed at one who is the quintessence of good republicanism, and too pure to take a stain though fondling with imperialism. For my own part, I am elated with the opportunity of recording my veneration for a patriot
* Our author's sentiments would have lost none of their force, and would have gained in their Christianity, if they had been less interlarded with these irreverent interjections.
who has so rapidly advanced the morals of this new world, and whose scrupulous observance of truth pre-eminently entitles him to the motto of vitam impendere vero.
"The French revolution then, from the attachment now shown by the Jeffersonians to the absolute despotism that has been produced by it, it is fair to conclude, was less beloved by them for any philanthropic disposition it manifested, than from its being an engine wherewith to assail their adversaries in power; and it was so much the better adapted to this purpose as it was in conflict with Britain, that accursed island, which, in the opinion of all sound Jacobins, ought, long since, to have been sunk in the sea. To declare a neutrality, therefore, with respect to the belligerents, as was done by the administration, what was it but a base dereliction of the cause of republicanism-a most enormous act of ingratitude to those liberty-loving men who had be nevolently taken off the head of Louis XVI, our late generous ally and 'protector of the rights of man?' and who, by so doing, had made themselves the undoubted heirs of the immense debt of gratitude we had contracted with the murdered monarch? On the score of this gratitude transferred, can it ever be forgotten, what a racket was made with the citizen Genet? The most enthusiastic homage was too cold to welcome his arrival; and his being the first minister of the infant republic, fruit of her throes and first born of her loves,' was dwelt upon as a most endearing circumstance. What hugging and tugging! What addressing and caressing! What mountebanking and chaunting! with liberty-caps and the other wretched trumpery of sans culotte foolery! 'Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination!' In short, it was evident that the government was, if possible, to be forced from its neutrality: and that nothing less than a common cause with France, a war of extermination with England, and the other monarchies of Europe, would satisfy the men who are now so outrageously pacific as to divest themselves of the means of annoyance and defence, and to place their glory in imitating the shrinking policy of a reptile." (P. 380-382.)
We now lay aside this piece of auto-biography, with our best thanks to the unknown author for the amusement and information he has afforded us. He has spoken some truths, which, though not likely to be very popular among his countrymen, are not on that account the less useful. His candid spirit towards this country deserves our acknowledgments. Happily, circumstances have so greatly changed since his volume was first published that we would hope some of his remarks will soon become obsolete. The despot of Europe is no more; England and France are no longer embattled in arms, and even their policy is, or ought to be, scarcely at variance. The same pacific relation exists between us and our transmarine descendants in the new world. May nothing shake this mutual amity! Let the United States be content with their own peace and prosperity; let them wisely concentrate their union, and extend their commerce, and
promote their rising agriculture and manufactures, without mixing in the affray of European contests, or increasing their already too-widely stretched territories by an ill-advised ambition. If they are ambitious, let their ambition take a nobler range; let them exhibit to Europe a pattern of virtuous dignity and unperturbed peace; let them aspire above the artifices of foreign or intestine faction; let them expend their energies in promoting the morals, and education, and piety of every hamlet in the Union; and, not content even with this, let them stretch northward and westward a friendly hand, not to destroy, or melt away, the pacific aborigines of their territories, but to extend among them the arts of civilized life, and the blessings of that holy religion which their own ancestors carried with them from these happy shores!
ART. IV. Sardanapalus, a Tragedy. The Two Foscari, a Tragedy. Cain, a Mystery. By Lord Byron. 8vo. Murray. London, 1821.
Or these three performances the two first stand widely separated from the last, which will call for a special consideration. Sardanapalus and the Two Foscari, distant as they are from each other in their subjects, have one bond of affinity,—they meet at the same point of deteriority,—they are equally feeble and puerile. To say this gives us no pleasure, but, on the contrary, disappointment. No works by the same hand contain so many decorous sentiments, and so little to shock the wise and virtuous. They exhibit, to be sure, some clumsy efforts to be good, and some blundering about holiness and duty; but first attempts are entitled to great allowance, and considering the importance of any indications of improvement in the character of Lord Byron's poetry, we are willing sometimes to accept what he tenders for virtue, though short of the standard of legal currency.
Whimsical as it may be to receive lectures on social morality from the mouth of the effeminate King of Assyria, we are content to take upon any terms what is good in this way from Lord Byron, protesting only against the probable union of such manners as history attributes to Sardanapalus, with such dispositions as are in this tragedy assigned to him by the poet. It is the regular tendency of a long course of vicious excess and effeminate self-indulgence, to harden the heart; and we take upon ourselves to say, that nothing is less common than for that commiserating philanthropy, which the poet has made the distinguish