more un

thing, beyond the actual condition of hu- and in some fragments which remain of manity, which, for aught we can know the parliamentary and judicial eloquence, from reason, may have been created for there is a grave dignity and force, as yet, wise purposes in this imperfect state ; and perhaps, scarcely ever attained by English genius, like Pascal's, ranging through cre- prose. For terseness, fine irony, and ation, might, no doubt, find a close analo- biting sarcasm, the singular pamphlet, gy, at least in the intervening links, if " Killing no Murder,' was unrivalled till not through the whole infinite series of the days of Junius. But our general created things. All beyond our actual literature must look back to the age of world, we repeat, must rest on revelation. Elizabeth and James, or forward beyond

While France was thus proceeding un- the Restoration, for any of the great prodisturbed in her peculiar course of intel-ductions of the human intellect. Never, lectual development, the civil wars made perhaps, was a great cause a violent breach and interruption in the worthily pleaded than in the 'Arraignliterary progress of England. Not that ment and Defence of the People of Engthere was any complete cessation of in- land for the Execution of Charles the tellectual activity ; as the collision arose First.' Milton could not write for a long out of the conflict of great religious and time without flashes of his nobility of political principles, the warfare was waged thought and language ; but, in general, by the pen as well as by the sword; the his victory over his antagonist Salmasius press poured forth its desultory myriads is obtained solely by his more perfect as the land its armed legions. Bear wit- command of Latin Billingsgate. The ness the huge tomes of Puritan divinity controversy is more like that of two and the countless quartos of pamphlets; schoolmasters quarrelling about points of but, as is always the case, the publications grammar and expression, and lashing each were too hasty, too temporary, too much other into the coarsest personalities, than coloured by the violent passions of the the advocates of two great conflicting time, to have any lasting influence, as principles debating a solemn question literary productions, on the history of the before astonished Europe. human mind. Poetry, indeed, shrunk into - But when the fury of the storm was silence amid the polemic strife, the noise over, men's minds, more temperately and agitation of actual war. Here and agitated, had leisure, and had still a strong there romantic loyalty, or even stern re- impulse towards intellectual study and publicanism struck out a few short notes, productiveness ; as they gradually cooled which rose above the tumult, and showed down to more sober reasoning, without that poetry was not yet extinct in the altogether quenching the vivifying fire heart of man; we allude to the two or within, they grappled with all the great three exquisite songs of Lovelace, and to questions which had been set afloat during some of Milton's sonnets. But, in gene- the period of turbulence.

In poverty, ral, verse aspired no higher than the po- and neglect, and blindness, the fierce litical song, the roaring bacchanal of the gladiator who had struggled with stern cavalier or the quaint hymn of the con- energy against Prelacy and Monarchy, venticler. The stage was proscribed ; the isolated from the world around in his Shaksperian drama had uttered her last religious no less than in his political senstrains in the feebler though still lively, timents, came forth the Poet of Parathe comparatively unimpassioned though dise Lost.' The stage revived, but, unnot unimaginative plays, of Shirley. The happily, foreign influences had streamed sweet promise of George Withers' early in at the Restoration ; our drama began verse was soured into the acrid harsh- to imitate the versification of the French ness of puritanical satire. With the few and the wild extravagance of the Spanexceptions above alluded to, there was a ish, without the dignity and elegance of comparatively dreary period of sublime, the former, or the inexhaustible invention occasionally, but harsh, polemical, and of the latter, --if not without a native political prose, which intervened between vigour of language and much sparkling the unrivalled melody of Milton's youth-wit, with a deeply-rooted immorality of ful

poems, the ‘Allegro' and 'Pensero-tone and profligacy of language entirely so,' the 'Comus' and the . Lycidas,' and our own. The period of Charles the the solemn, mature, meditative grandeur Second is that to which we may look with of the 'Paradise Lost. In some, indeed, the greatest shame upon our more popu. of the State Papers, those on the royal lar literature—the literature, that is, of side which were written by Clarendon, our court and capital; and in no respect 80 much as in the comparative waste of, haps, all their faults and some of their him, whom we may yet call, “Glorious beauties arose from these circumstances John. What might Dryden have been of their composition. in better days? There are few lines to English prose, in the hands of Dryden, us more melancholy than those in which threw off that still somewhat scholastic he deplores his fatal subservience to a and unfamiliar tone which it had retainlubrique and adulterous age.' Dryden ed even in the great writers of the for. was, perhaps, the first, and the greatest, mer period. Hooker might still apof the writers for bread - the actors on pear to address divines. Bacon philoso. the stage of literature, who, in old John- phers, at least thinking and accomplished son's phrase,' as they live to please, must minds ; in Dryden, the literary language please to live. We mean not those who, first approached the plain, the idiomatic, by partial compliance with the spirit of the vernacular. The pedantry of quota. their age, command it ; who, by seeming tion, the endless illustration, the quaint obedience, direct it to better things; but metaphor seemed to fall off as cumberthose who throw themselves headlong some or superfluous. It had all the faults, into the current, and yield to its impulse on the other hand, of haste. . It was, wherever it may bear them. To please doubtless, too frequently coarse, careless, the age of Dryden, unhappily, it was ne- not merely unpolished, but unfinished ; cessary to be pompous and inflated in as it drew nearer to the conversation of tragedy, coarse and filthy in comedy ; educated and intelligent men, it was and, with a reluctant and mournful heart, too apt to degenerate into the cant and Dryden stooped to the service by which fashionable terms and phrases which pre. he lived. Yet though we deplore the vail at every period. The poetry of waste of high talents and of powers Dryden partook in these merits and de. which, if they had girt themselves up to fects. As it usually treated on subjects some great task, might have obtained a in themselves less essentially poetical, so permanent rank in literature ; perhaps it could not speak in anything like a po. those poets whose poverty, if not their etical vocabulary. Approaching nearer will

, consents to sacrifice lasting fame for to common life, it used something far ephemeral influence and popularity, are more like common language ; it was dis. not without use in their generation. If tinguished by its vigour, its pregnancy, they vulgarise they likewise popularise its solidity, rather than by its imaginaliterature ; they are constrained to speak tive or suggestive richness and grace ; it in a more intelligible and colloquial tone was language which, stripped of its (except in short periods where the fash-rhyme and cadence, of its poetic form, ion enforces some peculiar affectation), might have been employed at the bar or in order to address the many ; they give in the senate. a certain elevation to, even in some cases But happily the Court circle, even they scatter something like poetry over, London itself, was not England. There the events of the day, they bring down were great minds far removed from the literature from its heights, they draw it contagion of the metropolis, who, either forth from its meditative hermitage to in academic retirement, or in other placconverse with man, and thus, by a kind es more favourable to study, as well as to of self-sacrifice without dignity, by an independent dignity of intellect, main. unintentional assertion of their own su- tained the native character of English periority to the mass, they diffuse literary literature, and employed themselves in tastes, and extend the empire of mind the solution of those problems on which over classes which have been long ex- the age required satisfaction. During cluded from its operation. Except the the political and religious agitations of Fables,' all Dryden's works may be con- the civil wars, the mind of man had sidered as written on occasional and tem- broke loose from all its ancient moorporary subjects. Alexander's Feast' ings; every question of social or spiritwas composed for music on St. Cecilia's ual interest was in a floating and unset. day ; ‘Absalom and Achitophel' is, as tled state-every established opinion had every one knows, a political satire. The been rudely shaken, or torn up by the prefaces to his plays, and the · Essay on roots-men were wildly rushing from Dramatic Poetry were dashed off to one extreme to another—the most op. serve immediate purposes ;* and, per- posite doctrines met and embraced ; * Cousin Swift' pnts it coarsely

servility in political theory reconciled it. Merely writ at first, for filling,

self to more than freedom in religious To raise the volume's price a shilling.'

creed; while enthusiastic religion threw

off, or attempted to supersede, all civil more fervid or metaphoric diction. Some, control. Profound and commanding indeed, were of still severer temperaminds were imperiously required to re- ment. Neither the political nor the restore anything like peace to the intellect, ligious theories of Hobbes are likely to as the Restoration had, to a certain ex. find too much favour with Mr. Hallam ; tent, to the State of England : and they but he does ample justice to the singular were not found wanting. The impulse acuteness and metaphysical originality, of the great movement was still working, to the yet unrivalled pregnancy, perspicu. and with its most powerful influence, on ity, and precision of language, in the phi. minds which were either repelled by, or losopher of Malmesbury. Chillingworth kept aloof from, the degrading intrigues was likewise among the more austere and and debauchery of the court. Claren. sternly logical writers. This great man, don, in exile, composed that immortal with Jeremy Taylor, in his liberty of pro. history, which, if written under great dis- phesying, and the admirable John Hales advantages, from memory alone, and at a of Eton, first established in this country distance from those documents, which that which had already been developed can alone insure minute accuracy in the by the Arminians of Holland--the true historian, had still a faithfulness more im. principles of protestant toleration. pressive and more valuable. If the me- We must not venture at any length mory of Clarendon had let fall some pet- upon Taylor. This extraordinary man ty circumstances, dates and names, it was endowed to excess with all the gifts had preserved the impressions, the actual of a great writer, but, instead of balancing being and presence of his times, as it ap. and correcting each other, each seems to peared to, and left its indelible stamp up- seize upon him in turn, and hurry him on, his mind.

No one is better qualified away in unresisted mastery. His conto appreciate, and no one can praise, summate reasoning powers are perpetualmoreover, with greater freedom and just- ly betraying him into refinements and ice, than Mr. Hallam, the consummate subtleties; he is not merely a casuist in skill with which Clarendon draws the his professed book on Casuistry, his characters of men ; but there has always Ductor Dubitantium, but in many other appeared to us, besides this, to a peculiar parts of his works. In the Ductor he is degree, this faithfulness of impression- often cool, analytical, and runs as near this power of realising the scenes and the wind on moral points, as a Jesuit. events of the period, with their workings Pascal, with but little unfairness, might on the minds of men, which is among have found rich scope, even in this last of the highest and rarest functions of a the vast tomes of casuistry, for his satire. great historian. We read not merely The inexhaustible learning of Taylor is the barren facts, and learn the names, uncritical beyond his time ; passages and become acquainted with the charac- from every quarter are heaped up with ters, of the principal actors, but the indiscriminate profusion-loose, frag. whole tragic drama, with the emotions mentary, of all ages,

shade of it excited, its fears, its hopes, its pas- authority. His poetic imagination is not sions, its vieissitudes, passes before us, merely redundant of the richest and most in all the energy and movement of life. various imagery, but works out every

But History, however nobly written, image and illustration to the most remote still less History written by the acknow- and fanciful analogies. His very com. ledged hand of a partisan, could not de- mand of language seems to involve him cide, even had it been published at that in intricate and endless sentences, in or time, any of those solemn questions, of der that he may show 'his wonderful which the impatient mind of man de- power of evolving himself with apparent manded a settlement. The very depths ease, and of giving a kind of rhythm and of metaphysical, ethical, and theological harmony, a cadence sometimes sweet to speculation were to be sounded, not by lusciousness, to this long drawn succesmen obstinately wedded to one theory ; sion of words and images.* Even the but by patient and impartial reasoners, still, in some cases, sufficiently impas

* We are rather surprised, in Mr. Hallam's com: sioned to follow out their inquiries with parison of Taylor and Bishop Hall

, to read this unexhausted perseverance, and to presentence. These two great divines resemble each sent its results in a vivid and earnest other, on the whole, so much, that we might, for a

short time, not discover which we were reading.'tone, but with the passion subordinate Vol. iii. p. 127. They are like cach other, to our to the reason, or lingering only in the judgment, only in the fervour of their devotion.

of every

virtues, which breathe throughout all his For this, indeed, and the firm, we trust, works, are of this exuberant character. inseparable re-union of religion and the His piety soars, at times, into mysticism ; highest morality, which had been forced his practical earnestness becomes ascetic: asunder in the reckless contests of fanatieven his charity—though, for our own cism in all its various forms, we are more parts, we find the excess of that virtue so indebted to this great divine than to any rare, that perhaps we had rather err with other single writer. · Barrow gave its Taylor, than be right with some sterner character of strong sense, solidity, and dogmatists--has been thoughtin its strong completeness to English theology. To recoil from the harshness of Calvinism, some of us he will appear, no doubt, into approximate to the other extreme. sufferably prolix, and unnecessarily mul. But, on the whole, Taylor was of ines- tifarious in his divisions. The welltimable service to the religion of England; known speech of Charles II., that he was he softened the asperity and mitigated not a fair manhe left nothing to be said by the sternness which it had assumed any one who came after him, was no doubt during the long and angry strife ; he true; and perhaps we, being accustomed showed that a more expansive and less to a more rapid and effective style, may rigidly dogmatic tone was consistent feel some of the impatience of the merry with the most angelic piety.

monarch ; yet we think the station to be To the other great divine of this period adjudged both to his intellectual powers the greatest, we had almost ventured to and the influence which those powers say, of English divines, Mr. Hallam does have exercised on English literature and not appear to us to have assigned quite English thinking, must set him far apart his proper position. He has seized the from most of the writers either of his own main characteristics of Barrow's mind or of any other period. and manner, with his usual discrimina- In our examination of Mr. Hallam's tion ; but we should be inclined, both as to work, we are conscious that we have the actual merit of his writings and his dwelt almost exclusively on what may be influence on his age, to claim a more called the high places of literature, while separate and elevated rank for this solid much of the merit of such a summary thinker and unrivalled master of the must depend on the judgment with which English language. The sermons of Bar- the inferior writers are admitted into the row, with his Treatise on the Pope's company of the gods and demigods,'and Supremacy, include the whole domain the skill with which the more feeble and of theology and of morals. There is undistinguished lineaments of their litescarcely a question which is not exhaust- rary character are caught and painted. ed, and, by his inimitable copiousness of We might, no doubt, if captiously dislanguage, placed in every point of view, posed, have found much debatable matand examined with the most conscien- ter on these minor subjects; we might tious accuracy. Barrow is high above have complained of the exclusion of some, indifference or Pyrrhonism, but his com- and protested against the freedom of the manding reason can venture to give every literary republic being granted to others. fair advantage to the arguments of his The bibliographers, again, who are apt to adversaries. He is not, indeed, so much judge of the merits of a writer from the a polemic writer as an honest, thongh de- rarity of his book, will complain, that vout, investigator of truth. With Barrow volumes over which the hammer of Mr. we are not haunted with the apprehen- Evans has been suspended for many sion that we are following out a partial minutes of breathless anxiety, have reor imperfect theory; it is all before us in ceived no more notice from Mr. Hallam its boundless range and its infinite varie- than from their own age, which allowed ty ; and it is not till we have received them to sink into undisturbed obscurity; the amplest satisfaction that our assent but bibliography, we apprehend, was not is demanded to the inevitable conclusion. the object of our author. The searchers

of the recondite treasures of the Bodleian The fancy of Hall is barren in comparison to that

and British Museum will look in vain, of Taylor. There is almost a perpetual quaintness ; perhaps, to this work for its guidance in and in almost all his works he continues to affect unearthing or undusting writers, not a brevity of period, with which Milton taunted him without merit or influence in their day, in their controversy about Episcopacy : To be who were either unknown, or have been girded by one who makes sentences by the statute, as if all above three inches long were confiscate. forgotten or disregarded by Mr. Hallam. This is very different from Taylor's redundant flow. But neither was this case, we conceive, contemplated in his design. We must it be the Poles overpowered by the Rusremember that this is the first great gen- sians, or merely a school-boy fighting eral map or chart of the intellectual with a man, for, without the slightest world attempted in this country. To all inquiry into the justice of the quarrel, lovers of literature it will be acceptable; the English public are always prone to to the young, we conceive, invaluable declare themselves in favour of the little We almost wish that we could renew our one ;' and this assistance is so confidently own youth, in order to profit by its in- relied upon, that it is well known the structions; it would have prevented us basest publishers, when they find they from reading a vast number of very bad can attract nothing but contempt, as a books, and induced us, perhaps, to read last resource wilfully incur a government some good ones. The more extensive prosecution. the surface of literature, the more we are Yet, while this has been the case among inclined not to rest in the narrow circle us at home, the aborigines of America in of our native libraries, but to consider both hemispheres have been constantly Europe as one literary republic; the fading before our eyes; and this annihi. greater therefore becomes the necessity lation of the real proprietors of the New of introductions to literary history. We World has excited no more sympathy have dwelt much on the adaptation of than has been felt for the snow of their intellectual studies to the necessities of country, which every year has rapidly each age; nothing was perhaps more melted under the bright sun of heaven! imperatively demanded by our own than Sovereigns from time immemorial of the that which we now possess in the work vast territory bestowed upon them by the of Mr. Hallam—a systematic, compre- Almighty, they have gradually been hensive, and trustworthy Retrospective superseded by the usurpers of their soil, Review.

until thousands of miles have been so completely dispeopled, that there does not remain a solitary survivor to guard the revered tombs of his ancestors, or to stand among them, the mourner and re

presentative of an extinguished race! ART. III.- 1. Catlin's Indian Gallery, con- By an act of barbarism unexampled in

taining Portraits, Landscapes, Costumes, history, their title of Americans' has &c., and Representations of the Manners even been usurped by the progeny of and Customs of the North American Europe, and, as if to perpetuate the ignoIndians. Egyptian Hall. London. rance which existed at the period of their 1840.

discovery, we continue, in the illiterate 2. A Report to the Secretary of War of the jargon of that day, to call them 'Indians,'

United States on Indian Affairs, com- although the designation is as preposterprising a Narrative of a Tour perform- ous as if we were to persist in nicked in the summer of 1820, under a Com- naming them. Persians' or 'Chinese.' mission from the President of the United If the annihilation of our red brethren States, for the purpose of ascertaining had been completed, it might be defor the use of the Government the actual clared to be now as useless, as it certainly state of the Indian tribes in our Country. would be unpopular, to enter into any By the Rev. "Jedediah Morse, D.V. painful speculation on the subject; but a

8vo. pp. 496. Newhaven. 1822. portion of their race still exists. By the 3. Life of Thayendanegea. By William bayonet, by the diseases we bring among

L. Stone. 8vo. pp. 1142. 2 vols. them, by the introduction of spirituous New York. 1838.

liquors, by our vices, and last, though not

least, by our proffered friendship, the THERE exists no trait more characteristic work of destruction is still progressing ; of that innate generosity which has always and if, in addition to all this, it be true, distinguished the British nation, than the as in documentary evidence it has consupport which an individual, in propor- fidently been asserted, that every day tion as he is weak, friendless, and indeed throughout the year the sun sets upon notwithstanding his faults, has invariably 1000 negroes, who in anguish of mind, received from it whenever he has been and under sea-sickness, sail as slaves from seen, under any circumstances, ruined the coast of Africa-nunquam redituriand overwhelmed in a collision with su- surely the civilized world is bound to perior strength. It little matters whether pause ere it be too late, in an equally

« ForrigeFortsett »