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at mess in Hampshire, or on the Treasury. bench and at Brookes's during the storms which overthrew Lord North and Lord Shelburne had been passed in the Bodleian Library, he might have avoided some inaccuracies; he might have enriched his notes with a greater number of references; but he never would have produced so lively a picture of the court, the camp, and the senate-house. In this respect Mr. Fox and Sir James Mackintosh had great advantages over almost every English historian who has written since the time of Burnet. Lord Lyttleton had indeed the same advantages; but he was incapable of using them. Pedantry was so deeply fixed in his nature, that the hustings, the treasury, the exchequer, the House of Commons, the House of Lords, left him the same dreaming schoolboy that they found him.

Ir is with unfeigned diffidence that we venture to give our opinion of the last work of Sir James Mackintosh. We have in vain tried to perform what ought to be to a critic an easy and habitual act. We have in vain tried to separate the book from the writer, and to judge of it as if it bore some unknown name. But it is to no purpose. All the lines of that venerable countenance are before us. All the little peculiar cadences of that voice, from which scholars and statesmen loved to receive the lessons of a serene and benevolent wisdom, are in our ears. We will attempt to preserve strict impartiality. But we are not ashamed to own, that we approach this relic of a virtuous and most accomplished man with feelings of respect and gratitude which may possibly perver our judgment.

It is hardly possible to avoid instituting a comparison between this work and another When we compare the two interesting works celebrated Fragment. Our readers will easily of which we have been speaking, we have litguess that we allude to Mr. Fox's History of tle difficulty in awarding the superiority to that James il. The two books are written on the of Sir James Mackintosh. Indeed, the supesame subject. Both were posthumously pub-riority of Mr. Fox to Sir James as an orator is iishe?. Neither had received the last correc- hardly more clear than the superiority of Sir tions The authors belonged to the same poli- James to Mr. Fox as an historian. Mr. Fox tical party, and held the same opinions con- with a pen in his hand, and Sir James on his cerning the merits and defects of the English legs in the House of Commons, were, we think, constitution, and concerning most of the pro-each out of his proper element. They were minent characters and events in English his- men, it is true, of far too much judgment and tory. They had thought much on the princi- ability to fail scandalously in any undertaking ples of government; but they were not mere to which they brought the whole power of their speculators. They had ransacked the archives minds. The History of James II. will always of rival kingdoms, and pored on folios which keep its place in our libraries as a valuable had mouidered for ages in deserted libraries; book; and Sir James Mackintosh succeeded in but they were not mere antiquaries. They winning and maintaining a high place among had one eminent qualification for writing his- the parliamentary speakers of his time. Yet tory :—they had spoken history, acted history, we could never read a page of Mr. Fox's writlived history. The turns of political fortune,ing, we could never listen for a quarter of an the ebb and flow of popular feeling, the hidden hour to the speaking of Sir James, without mechanism by which parties are moved, all feeling that there was a constant effort, a tug these things were the subjects of their con- up hill. Nature, or habit which had become stant thought and of their most familiar con- nature, asserted its rights. Mr. Fox wrote deversation. Gibbon has remarked, that his bates. Sir James Mackintosh spoke essays. history is much the better for his having been an officer in the militia and a member of the House of Commons. The remark is most just. We have not the smallest doubt that his campaign, though he never saw an enemy, and his parliamentary attendance, though he never made a speech, were of far more use to him than years of retirement and study would have been. If the time that he spent on parade and

As far as mere diction was concerned, indeed, Mr. Fox did his best to avoid those faults which the habit of public speaking is likely to generate. He was so nervously apprehensive of sliding into some colloquial incorrectness, of debasing his style by a mixture of parliamentary slang, that he ran into the opposite error, and purified his vocabulary with a scru pulosity unknown to any purist. "Ciceronem Allobroga dixit." He would not allow Addison, Bolingbroke, or Middleton, to be a sufficien authority for an expression. He declared that he would use no word which was not to be found

* History of the Revolution in England, in 1688. Comprising a view of the Reign of James the Second, from his Accession, to the Enterprise of the Prince of Orange; by the late Right Honourable Sir JAMES MACKINTOSH ; and completed to the Settlement of the Crown, by the in Dryden. In any other person we should Editor. To which is prefixed a Notice of the Life, Writ-have called this solicitude mere 10ppery; and, ings, and Speeches of Sir James Mackintosh. 4to. Lon-in spite of all our admiration for Mr. Fox, we

don. 1834.

VOL. III.--37

2 B

parts of the History of James II. fine speci mens of that which we conceive to have been the great characteristic of Demosthenes among the Greeks, and of Fox among the orators of England,-reason penetrated, and if we may venture on the expression, made red-hot by

cannot but think that his extreme attention to the petty niceties of language was hardly worthy of so manly and so capacious an understanding. There were purists of this kind at Rome; and their fastidiousness was censured by Horace with that perfect good sense and good taste which characterize all his writ-passion. But this is not the kind of excellence ings. There were purists of this kind at the proper to history; and it is hardly too much time of the revival of letters: and the two to say, that whatever is strikingly good in Mr. greatest scholars of that time raised their Fox's Fragment is out of place. voices, the one from within, the other from With Sir James Mackintosh the case was without the Alps, against a scrupulosity so un-reversed. His proper place was his library, a reasonable. "Carent," said Politian, "quæ circle of men of letters, or a chair of moral scribunt isti viribus et vita, carent actu, carent and political philosophy. He distinguished affectu, carent indole. Nisi liber ille himself highly in Parliament. But neverthepræsto sit ex quo quid excerpant, colligere less Parliament was not exactly the sphere tria verba non possunt. . . . . . . Horum sem- for him. The effect of his most successful per igitur oratio tremula, vacillans, infirma. | speeches was small, when compared with the

Quæso ne ista superstitione te alliges. quantity of ability and learning which was Ut bene currere non potest qui pe- expended on them. We could easily name dum ponere studet in alienis tantum vestigiis, men who, not possessing a tenth part of his ita nec bene scribere qui tanquam de præ-intellectual powers, hardly ever address the scripto non audet egredi."-" Posthac," ex- House of Commons without producing a claims Erasmus, "non licebit episcopos appel- greater impression than was produced by his lare patres reverendos, nec in calce literarum most splendid and elaborate orations. His luscribere annum a Christo nato, quod id nus-minous and philosophical disquisition on the quam faciat Cicero. Quid autem ineptius Reform Bill was spoken to empty benches. quam, toto seculo novato, religione, imperiis, Those, indeed, who had the wit to keep their magistratibus, locorum vocabulis, ædificiis, seats, picked up hints which, skilfully used, cultu, moribus, non aliter audere loqui quam made the fortune of more than one speech. locutus est Cicero? Si revivisceret, ipse Ci-But "it was caviare to the general." And even cero, rideret hoc Ciceronianorum genus." those who listened to Sir James with pleasure and admiration, could not but acknowledge that he rather lectured than debated. An artist who should waste on a panorama, on a scene, or on a transparency, the exquisite finishing which we admire in some of the small Dutch

While Mr. Fox winnowed and sifted his phraseology with a care, which seems hardly consistent with the simplicity and elevation of his mind, and of which the effect really was to debase and enfeeble his style, he was little on his guard against those more serious improprie-interiors, would not squander his powers more ties of manner into which a great orator, who than this eminent man too often did. His auundertakes to write history, is in danger of dience resembled the boy in the "Heart of Midfalling. There is about the whole book a ve- Lothian," who pushes away the lady's guineas hement, contentious, replying manner. Almost with contempt, and insists on having the white every argument is put in the form of an inter- money. They preferred the silver with which rogation, an ejaculation, or a sarcasm. The they were familiar, and which they were conwriter seems to be addressing himself to some stantly passing about from hand to hand, to imaginary audience; to be tearing in pieces a the gold which they had never before seen, and defence of the Stuarts which has just been with the value of which they were unacquainted. pronounced by an imaginary Tory. Take, for It is much to be regretted, we think, that Sir example, his answer to Hume's remarks on James Mackintosh did not wholly devote his the execution of Sydney; and substitute "the later years to philosophy and literature. His honourable gentleman," or "the noble lord," for talents were not those which enable a speaker the name of Hume. The whole passage sounds to produce with rapidity a series of striking like a powerful reply, thundering at three in but transitory impressions, to excite the minds the morning from the Opposition Bench. of five hundred gentlemen at midnight, without While we read it, we can almost fancy that we saying any thing that any one of them will be see and hear the great English debater, such able to remember in the morning. His arguas he has been described to us by the few who ments were of a very different texture from can still remember the Westminster Scrutiny, those which are produced in Parliament at a and the Oczakow Negotiations, in the full moment's notice, which puzzle a plain man paroxysm of inspiration, foaming, screaming, who, if he had them before him in writing, choked by the rushing multitude of his words. would soon detect their fallacy, and which the It is true that the passage to which we have great debater who employed them forgets withreferred, and several other passages which we in half an hour, and never thinks of again. could point out, are admirable, when considered Whatever was valuable in the compositions merely as exhibitions of mental power. We of Sir James Mackintosh, was the ripe fruit at once recognise that consummate master of of study and of meditation. It was the same the whole art of intellectual gladiatorship, with his conversation. In his most familiar whose Speeches, imperfectly as they have been talk there was no wildness, no inconsistency, transmitted to us, should be studied day and no amusing nonsense, no exaggeration for the Dight by every man who wishes to learn the sake of momentary effect. His mind was a snience of legical defence. We find in several vast magazine, admirably arranged; every

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thing was there, and every thing was in its place. His judgments on men, on sects, on books, had been often and carefully tested and weighed, and had then been committed, each to its proper receptacle, in the most capacious and accurately constructed memory that any human being ever possessed. It would have been strange indeed, if you had asked for any thing that was not to be found in that immense storehouse. The article which you required was not only there. It was ready. It was in its own proper compartment. In a moment it was brought down, unpacked, and displayed. If those who enjoyed the privilege-for privilege indeed it was--of listening to Sir James Mackintosh, had been disposed to find some fault in his conversation, they might perhaps have observed that he yielded too little to the impulse of the moment. He seemed to be recollecting, not creating. He never appeared to catch a sudden glimpse of a subject in a new light. You never saw his opinions in the making, still rude, still inconsistent, and re-rusals. quiring to be fashioned by thought and discus- We are not sure that the book is not in some sion. They came forth, like the pillars of that degree open to the charge which the idle cititemple in which no sound of axes or hammers zen in the Spectator brought against his pudwas heard, finished, rounded, and exactly suit-ding. "Mem. too many plums, and no suet." ed to their places. What Mr. Charles Lamb There is perhaps too much disquisition and has said with much humour and some truth, too little narrative; and, indeed, this is the of the conversation of Scotchmen in general, fault into which, judging from the habits of was certainly true of this eminent Scotchman. Sir James's mind, we should have thought him He did not find, but bring. You could not cry most likely to fall. What we assuredly did halves to any thing that turned up while you not anticipate was, that the narrative would be were in his company. better executed than the disquisitions. We The intellectual and moral qualities which expected to find, and we have found, many just are most important in an historian, he possessed | delineations of character, and many digres in a very high degree. He was singularly sions full of interest, such as the account mild, calm, and impartial, in his judgments of of the order of Jesuits, and of the state of men and of parties. Almost all the distin- prison discipline in England a hundred and guished writers who have treated of English fifty years ago. We expected to find, and we history are advocates. Mr. Hallam and Sir have found, many reflections breathing the James Mackintosh are alone entitled to be spirit of a calm and benignant philosophy. called judges. But the extreme austerity of But we did not, we own, expect to find that Mr. Hallam takes away something from the Sir James could tell a story as well as Voltaire pleasure of reading his learned, eloquent, and or Hume. Yet such is the fact; and if any judicious writings. He is a judge, but a hang-person doubts it, we would advise him to read ing judge, the Page or Buller of the high court the account of the events which followed the of literary justice. His black cap is in con-issuing of King James's famous declaration,-stant requisition. In the long calendar of the meeting of the clergy, the violent scene at these whom he has tried, there is hardly one the Privy Council, the cominitment, trial, and who has not, in spite of evidence to charac-acquittal of the bishops. The most superficial ter and recommendations to mercy, been sen- reader must be charmed, we think, by the livetenced and left for execution. Sir James, liness of the narrative. But no person who is perhaps, erred a little on the other side. He not acquainted with that vast mass of intractaliked a maiden assize, and came away with ble materials, of which the valuable and inte white gloves, after sitting in judgment on resting part has been extracted and condensed, batches of the most notorious offenders. He can fully appreciate the skill of the writer. had a quick eye for the redeeming parts of a Here, and indeed throughout the book, we find character, and a large toleration for the infir- many harsh and careless expressions, which mities of men exposed to strong temptations. the author would probably have removed if he But this lenity did not arise from ignorance or had lived to complete his work. But, in spite neglect of moral distinctions. Though he al- of these blemishes, we must say that we should lowed, perhaps, too much weight to every ex- find it difficult to point out, in any modern nistenuating circumstance that could be urged in torian, any passage of equal length, and at the favour of the transgressor, he never disputed same time of equal merit. We find in it the the authority of the law, or showed his inge- diligence, the accuracy, and the judgment of nuity by refining away its enactments. On Hallam, united to the vivacity and the colour. every occasion he showed himself firm wnere ing of Southev. A history of England, written principles were in question, but full of charity througnout in tnis manner, would be the mos towards individuals. fascinating book in the language. It would be

We have no hesitation in pronouncing this Fragment decidedly the best history now extant of the reign of James the Second. It contains much new and curious information, of which excellent use has been made. The ac curacy of the narrative is deserving of high admiration. We have noticed only one mistake of the smallest importance, and that, we believe, is to be laid to the charge of the editor, who has far more serious blunders to answer for. The pension of 60,000 livres, which Lord Sunderland received from France, is said to have been equivalent to 2,500l. sterling. Sir James had perhaps for a moment forgotten,his editor had certainly never heard,—that a great depreciation of the French coin took place after 1688. When Sunderland was in power, the livre was worth about eighteen pence, and his pension consequently amounted to about 4,5007. This is really the only inaccuracy of the slightest moment that we have been able to discover in several attentive pe

nore in request at the circulating libraries than

the last novel.

Sir James was not, we think, gifted with poetical imagination. But the lower kind of imagination which is necessary to the historian, he had in large measure. It is not the business of the historian to create new worlds and to people them with new races of beings. He is to Homer and Shakspeare, to Dante and Milton, what Nollekens was to Canova, or Lawrence to Michel Angelo. The object of the historian's imagination is not within him; it is furnished from without. It is not a vision of beauty and grandeur discernible only by the eye of his own mind; but a real model which he did not make, and which he cannot alter. Yet his is not a mere mechanical imitation. The triumph of his skill is to select such parts as may produce the effect of the whole, to bring out strongly all the characteristic features, and to throw the light and shade in such a manner as may heighten the effect. This skill, as far as we can judge from the unfinished work now before us, Sir James Mackintosh possessed in an eminent degree.

The style of this Fragment is weighty, manly, and unaffected. There are, as we have said, some expressions which seem to us harsh, and some which we think inaccurate. These would probably have been corrected, if Sir James had lived to superintend the publication. We ought to add that the printer has by no means done his duty. One misprint in particular is so serious as to require notice. Sir James Mackintosh has paid a high and just tribute to the genius, the integrity, and the courage of a good and great man, a distinguished ornament of English literature, a fearless champion of English liberty, Thomas Burnet, Master of the Charter-House, and author of that most eloquent and imaginative work, the Telluris Theoria Sacra. Wherever the name of this celebrated man occurs, it is printed "Bennet," both in the text and in the index. This cannot be mere negligence: it is plain that Thomas Burnet and his writings were never heard of by the gentleman who has been employed to edite this volume; and who, not content with deforming Sir James Mackintosh's text by such blunders, has prefixed to it a calumnious Memoir, has appended to it a most unworthy Continuation, and has thus succeeded in expanding the volume into one of the thickest, and debasing it into one of the worst that we ever saw. Never did we see so admirable an illustration of the old Greek proverb, which tells us that half is sometimes more than the whole. Never did we see a case in which the increase of the bulk was so evidently a diminution of the value.

Why such an artist was selected to deface so fine a Torso, we cannot pretend to conjecture. We read that, when the Consul Mummins, after the taking of Corinth, was preparing to send to Rome some works of the greatest Grecian sculptors, he told the packers that if they broke his Venus or his Apollo, he would force them to restore the limbs which should be wanting. A head by a hewer of milestones, joined to a bosom by Praxiteles. would not surprise or

shock us more than this Supplement. The Memoir contains much that is worth reading; for it contains many extracts from the compositions of Sir James Mackintosh. But when we pass from what the biographer has done with his scissors, to what he has done with his pen, we find nothing worthy of appro bation. Instead of confining himself to the only work which he is competent to performthat of relating facts in plain words--he fa vours us with his opinions about Lord Bacon, and about the French literature of the age of Louis XIV.; and with opinions, more absurd still, about the poetry of Homer, whom it is evident, from his criticisms, that he cannot read in the original. He affects, and for aught we know, feels something like contempt for the celebrated man whose life he has under taken to write, and whom he was incompetent to serve in the capacity even of a corrector of the press. Our readers may form a notion of the spirit in which the whole narrative is composed, from expressions which occur at the beginning. This biographer tells us that Mackintosh, on occasion of taking his medical degree at Edinburgh, "not only put off the writing of his Thesis to the last moment, but was an hour behind his time on the day of examination, and kept the Academic Senate waiting for him in full conclave." This irregularity, which no sensible professor would have thought deserving of more than a slight reprimand, is described by the biographer, after a lapse of nearly half a century, as an incredible instance "not so much of indolence as of gross negli gence and bad taste." But this is not all. Our biographer has contrived to procure a copy of the Thesis, and has sate down with hi As in præsenti and his Propria quæ maribus at his side, to pick out blunders in a composition written by a youth of twenty-one, on the occasion alluded to. He finds one mistake-such a mistake as the greatest scholar might commit when in haste, and as the veriest schoolboy would detect when at leisure. He glories over this precious discovery with all the exultation of a pedagogue. "Deceived by the passive termination of the deponent verb defungor, Mackintosh misuses it in a passive sense." He is not equally fortunate in his other discovery. "Laude conspurcare," whatever he may think, is not an improper phrase. Mackintosh meant to say that there are men whose praise is a disgrace. No person, we are sure, who has read this Memoir, will doubt that there are men whose abuse is an honour.

But we must proceed to more important matters. This writer evidently wishes to impress his readers with a belief that Sir James Mackintosh, from interested motives, abandoned the doctrines of the "Vindicia Gallicæ.” Had his statements appeared in their natural place, we should leave them to their natural fate. We would not stoop to defend Sir James Mackintosh from the attacks of fourthrate magazines and pothouse newspapers. But here his own fame is turned against him. A book, of which not one copy would ever have been bought but for his name in the title-page, is made the vehicle of the siander. Under


such circumstances we cannot help exclaim- à aucune forme de gouvernement. Il pense ing, in the words of one of the most amiable of Homer's heroes,

“ Νυν τις ενηειης Πατροκληος δειλοίο

que la meilleure constitution pour un peuple
est celle à laquelle il est accoutumé.
Le vice fondamental des théories sur les con-
stitutions politiques, c'est de commencer par
attaquer celles qui existent, et d'exciter tout au
moins des inquiétudes et des jalousies de pou-
voir. Une telle disposition n'est poi favor-
able au perfectionnement des lois. La seule
époque où l'on puisse entreprendre avec suc
cès de grandes réformes de législation, est
celle où les passions publiques sont calmes, et
où le gouvernement jouit de la stabilité la plus
grande. L'objet de M. Bentham, en cherchant
dans le vice des lois la cause de la plupart des
maux, a été constamment d'éloigner le plus
grand de tous, le bouleversement de l'autorité,
les révolutions de propriété et de pouvoir.”

Μνησάσθω, πασιν γαρ επιστωτο μειλιχος είναι Ζωυς έων, νυν δ' αυ θάνατος και μοιρα κιχάνει.” We have no difficulty in admitting that, during the ten or twelve years which followed the appearance of the "Vindicia Gallica," the opinions of Sir James Mackintosh underwent some change. But did this change pass on him alone? Was it not common? Was it not almost universal? Was there one honest friend of liberty in Europe or in America whose ardour had not been damped, whose faith in the high destinies of mankind had not been shaken? Was there one observer to whom the French Revolution, or revolutions in general, appeared To so conservative a frame of mind had the exactly in the same light on the day when the excesses of the French Revolution brought the Bastille fell and on the day when the Girond-most uncompromising reformers of that time. ists were dragged to the scaffold-the day when And why is one person to be singled out from the Directory shipped off their principal oppo- among millions and arraigned before posterity nent for Guiana, or the day when the Legisla- as a traitor to his opinions, only because events tive Body was driven from its hall at the point produced on him the effect which they proof the bayonet? We do not speak of enthu-duced on a whole generation? This biographer siastic and light-minded people--of wits like may, for aught we know, have revelations from Sheridan, or poets like Alfieri, but of the most Heaven like Mr. Percival, or pure anticipated virtuous and intelligent practical statesmen, cognitions like the disciples of Kant. But such and of the deepest, the calmest, the most im- poor creatures as Mackintosh, Dumont, and partial political speculators of that time. What Bentham had nothing but observation and reawas the language and conduct of Lord Spen- son to guide them, and they obeyed the guidance ser, of Lord Fitzwilliam, of Mr. Grattan? What of observation and reason. How is it in phy. is the tone of Dumont's Memoirs, written just sics? A traveller falls in with a fruit which at the close of the eighteenth century? What he had never before seen. He tastes it, and Tory could have spoken with greater disgust finds it sweet and refreshing. He praises it, and contempt of the French Revolution and its and resolves to introduce it into his own counauthors Nay, this writer, a republican, and try. But in a few minutes he is taken violently the most upright and zealous of republicans, sick; he is convulsed; he is at the point of has gone so far as to say that Mr. Burke's death; no medicine gives him relief. He of work on the Revolution had saved Europe. course pronounces this delicious food a poison, The name of M. Dumont naturally suggests blames his own folly in tasting it, and cautions that of Mr. Bentham. He, we presume, was not his friends against it. After a long and violent ratting for a place; and what language did he struggle he recovers, and finds himself much hold at that time? Look at his little treatise exhausted by his sufferings, but free from some entitled "Sophismes Anarchiques." In that trea- chronic complaints which had been the torment tise he says, that the atrocities of the Revolu- of his life. He then changes his opinion again, tion were the natural consequences of the ab- and pronounces this fruit a very powerful resurd principles on which it was commenced;-medy, which ought to be employed only in exthat while the chiefs of the constituent assem-treme cases, and with great caution, but which bly gloried in the thought that they were pull-ought not to be absolutely excluded from the ing down an aristocracy, they never saw that Pharmacopoeia." And would it not be the their doctrines tended to produce an evil a height of absurdity to call such a man fickle hundred times more formidable-anarchy;- and inconsistent because he had repeatedly that the theory laid down in the "Declaration altered his judgment? If he had not altered of the Rights of Man" had, in a great measure, his judgment, would he have been a rational produced the crimes of the Reign of Terror;-- being? It was exactly the same with the that none but an eye-witness could imagine French Revolution. That event was a new the horrors of a state of society in which com- phenomenon in politics. Nothing that nad ments on that Declaration were put forth by gone before enabled any person to judge with men with no food in their bellies, with rags on certainty of the course which affairs might their backs, and with arms in their hands. He take. At first the effect was the reform of great praises the English Parliament for the dislike abuses, and honest men rejoiced. Then came which it has always shown to abstract reason- commotion, proscription, confiscation, the bank ings, and to the affirming of general principles. ruptcy, the assignats, the maximum, civil war In M. Dumont's preface to the "Treatise on the foreign war, revolutionary tribunals, guillotin Principles of Legislation"--a preface written ades, noyades, fusillades. Yet a little while, under the eye of Mr. Bentham and published and a military despotism rose out of the con with his sanction--are the following still more fusion, and threatened the independence of remarkable expressions:-“ M. Bentham est every state in Europe. And yet again a litt.e bien loin d'attacher une préférence exclusive while, and the old dynasty returned, followed


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