Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the audacity to undertake, and which, for a This description is surely by no means af. time, it was really thought that he had per- plicable to a statesman who had, through the formed.

whole course of his life, carefully avoided exThe illusion was soon dispelled. Bentley's posing himself in seasons of trouble; who had answer forever settled the question, and es. repeatedly refused, in the most critical con tablished his claim to the first place amongst junctures, to be Secretary of State; and who classical scholars. Nor do those do him jus- now, in the midst of revolutions, plots, foreign tice who represent the controversy as a battle and domestic wars, was quietly writing non between wii and learning. For, though there sense about the visits of Lycurgus to the Brah is a lamentable deficiency of learning on the mins, and the tunes which Arion played to the side of Boyle, there is no want of wit on the Dolphin. side of Bentley. Other qualities too, as valua- We must not omil in mention that, while the ble as either wit or learning, appear conspi- controversy about Phalaris was raging, Swift, euously in Bentley's book ;-a rare sagacity, in order to shows his zeal and attachment, an unrivalled power of combination, a perfect wrote the “Baille vf the Books ;"—the earliest mastery of all the weapons of logic. He was piece in which his peculiar talents are discern. greatly' indebted to the furious outcry which ible. We may observe, that the bitter dislike ihe misrepresentations, sarcasms, and intrigues of Bentley, bequeathed by Temple to Swift, of his opponents had raised against him ;-an seems to have been communicated by Swin to outcry in which fashionable and political cir- Pope, to Arbuthnot, and to others who continued cles joined, and which was re-echoed by thou- to tease the great critic, long after he had sands who did not know whether Phalaris shaken hands very cordially both with Boyle ruled in Sicily or in Siam. His spirit, daring and Atterbury. even to rashness-self-confident, even to neg. Sir William Temple died at Moor Park in ligence-and proud, even to insolent ferocity, January, 1699. He appeared to have suffered -was awed for the first and for the last time no intellectual decay. His heart was buried

– awed, not into meanness or cowardice, under a sun-dial which still stands in his fa. but into wariness and sobriety. For once he vourite garden. His body was laid in Westran no risks; he left no crevice unguarded; minster Abbey by the side of his wife; and a he wantoned in no paradoxes ; above all, he place hard by was set apart for Lady Giffard, returned no railing for the railing of his ene- who long survived him. Swift was his literary mies. In almost every thing that he has writ- executor, and superintended the publication of ten we can discover proofs of genius and his Letters and Memoirs, not without some learning. But it is only here that his genius acrimonious contests with the family. and .earning appear to have been constantly Of Temple's character little more remains under the guidance of good sense and good to be said. Burnet arricas hidt ví nolding irtemper. Here we find none of that besotted religious opinions, and corrupting everybody reliance on his own powers and on his own who came near him. But the vague assertion luck, which he showed when he undertook to of so rash and partial a writer as Barnet, about edite Milton; none of that perverted ingenuity a man with whom, as far as we know, he which deforms so many of his notes on Ho- never exchanged a word, is of very little race; none of that disdainful carelessness by weight. It is, indeed, by no means improbable which he laid himself open to the keen and that Temple may have been a free-thinker. dexterous thrusts of Middleton ; none of that The Osbornes thought him so when he was a extravagant vaunting and savage scurrility by very young man. And it is certain that a which he afterwards dishonoured his studies large proportion of the gentlemen of rank and and his profession, and degraded himself al- fashion who made their entrance into society most to the level of De Paucs.

while the Puritan party was at the height of Temple did not live to witness the utter and power, and while the memory of the reign of irreparable defeat of his champions. He died, that party was still recent, conceived a strong indeed, at a fortunate moment, just after the disgust for all religion. The imputation was appearance of Boyle's book, and while all common between Temple and all the most disEngland was laughing at the way in which the tinguished courtiers of the age. Rochester Christchurch men had handled the pedant. In and Buckingham were open scoffers, and Mul. Boyle's book, Temple was praised in the high-grave very little better. Shaftesbury, though est terms, and compared to Memmius-not a more guarded, was supposed to agree with very happy comparison ; for the only particu- them in opinion. All the three noblemen who lar information which we have about Mem- were Temple's colleagues during the short mius is, that in agitated times he thought it time of his continuance in the cabinet, were his duty to attend exclusively to politics; and of very indifferent repute as to orthodoxy. that his friends could not venture, except when Halifax, indeed, was generally considered as the republic was quiet and prosperous, to in- an atheist; but he solemnly denied the charge; Irude on him with their philosophical and and, indeed, the truth seems to be, that he was poetical productions. It is on this account, more religiously disposed than most of the ihat Lucretius puts up the exquisitely beauti- statesmen of that age; though two impulses sul prayer for peace with which his poem which were unusually strong in him,-a pas. orens:

sion for ludicrous images, and a passion for

subtle speculations,--sometimes prompted him “Xam neque nos agere hoc patris tempore iniquo Possumus æque animo, nec Memmii clara propago

to talk on serious subjects in a manner which 'Talibus in rebus conimuni deesse saluti."

gave great and just offence. It is not even

[ocr errors]

unlikely that Temple, who seldom went below he seems to us to have been excessively self the surface of any question, may have been ish, but very sober, wary, and far-sighied in infected with the prevailing skepticism. All his selfishness;-to have known better than that we can say on the subject is, that there is most people know what he really wanted in no trace of impiety in his works; and that the life; and to have pursued what he wanted with ease with which he carried his election for a much more than ordinary steadiness and sauniversiły, where the majority of the voters gacity ;-never suffering himself to be drawn were clergymen, though it proves nothing as aside either by bad or by good feelings. It to his opinions, must, we think, be considered was his constitution to dread failure more than as proving that he was not, as Burnet seems he desired success,--to prefer security, com 10 insinuate, in the habit of talking atheism to fort, repose, leisure, to the turmoil and anxiety all who came near him.

which are inseparable from. greatness ;--and Temple, however, will scarcely carry with this natural languor of mind, when contrasted him any great accession of authority to the with the malignant energy of the keen and side either of religion or of infidelity. He restless spirits among whoin his lot was cast, was no profound thinker. He was merely a sometimes appears to resemble the moderation man of lively parts and quick observation, of virtue. But we must own, that he seems -a man of the world amongst men of let- to us to sink into littleness and meanness when ters,-a man of letters amongst men of the we compare him--we do not say with any high world. Mere scholars were dazzled by the ideal standard of morality,—but with many or ambassador and cabinet councillor; mere po- those frail men who, aiming at noble ends, but liticians by the essayist and historian. But often drawn from the right path by strong pasneither as a writer nor as a statesman can we sions and strong temptations, have left to pros allot to him any very high place. As a man, terity a doubtful and checkered same.

VOL. III.-48

CHURCH AND STATE.*

[EDINBURGH REVIEW FOR APRIL, 1839.]

The author of this volume is a young man it less the second time, and still less the third of unblemished character and of distinguished time; and now it seems to me to be no defence parliamentary talents, the rising hope of those at all.” “My good friend,” said Lysias, “ you stern and unbending Tories, who follow, re- quite forget that the judges are to hear it only luctantiy and mutinously, a leader, whose ex. once.” The case is the same in the English perience and eloquence are indispensable to Parliament. It would be as idle in an orator them, but whose cautious temper and moderate to waste deep meditation and long research on opinions they abhor. It would not be at all his speeches, as it would be in the manager of strange if Mr. Gladstone were one of the most a theatre to adorn all the crowd of courtiers anpopular men in England. But we believe and ladies who cross over the stage in a prothat we do him no more than justice when we cession with real pearls and diamonds. It is say, that his abilities and his demeanour have not by accuracy or profundity that men become obtained for him the respect and good-will of the masters of great assemblies. And why be all parties. His first appearance in the cha- at the charge of providing logic of the best racter of an author is therefore an interesting quality, when a very inferior article will be event; and it is natural that the gentle wishes equally acceptable? Why go as deep into a of the public should go with him to his trial. question as Burke, only in order to be, like

We are much pleased, without any reference Burke, coughed down, or ieft speaking to green to the soundness or unsoundness of Mr. Glad- benches and red boxes? This has long ap. stone's theories, to see a grave and elaborate peared to us to be the most serious of the evils treatise on an important part of the philosophy which are to be set off against the many blessof government proceed from the pen of a ings of popular government. It is a line and young man who is rising to eminence in the true saying of Bacon, that reading makes a House of Commons. There is little danger full man, talking a ready man, and writing an that people engaged in the conflicts of active exact man. The tendency of institutions like life will be too much addicted to general spe. those of England is to encourage readiness in culation. The opposite vice is that which public men, at the expense boih of fulness and most easily besets thein. The times and tides of exactness. The keenest and most vigorous of business and debate tarry for no man. A minds of every generation, minds often admipolitician must often talk and act before he has rably fitted for the investigation of truth, are thought and read. He may be very ill-informed habitually employed in producing arguments, respecting a quesuch; all his notions about it such as no man of sense would ever put into a may be vague and inaccurate ; but speak he treatise intended for publication,--arguments must; and if he is a man of talents, of tact, which are just good enough to be used once, and of intrepidity, ne soon finds that, even when aided by fluent delivery and pointed lanunder such circumstances, it is possible to guage. The habit of discussing questions in speak successfully. He finds that there is a this way necessarily reacts on the intelligence great difference between the effect of written of our ablest men, particularly of those who words, which are perused and reperused in the are introduced into Parliament at a very early stillness of the closet, and the effect of spoken age, before their minds have expanded to full words, which, set off by the graces of utterance maturity. The talent for debate is developed and gesture, vibrate for a single moment on the in such men to a degree which, to the multi

He finds that he may blunder without tude, seems as marvellous as the performmuch chance of being detected, that he may ances of an Italian improvisatore. But they are reason sophistically, and escape unrefuted. fortunate, indeed, if they retain unimpaired the He finds that, even on kootty questions of faculties which are required for close reasontrade and legislation, he can, without reading ing or for enlarged speculation. Indeed, we ten pages, or thinking ten minutes, draw forth should sooner expect a great original work on loud plaudits, and sit down with the credit of political science--such a work, for example, having made an excellent speech. Lysias, as the “Wealth of Nations"--from an apothe. says Plutarch, wrote a defence for a man who cary in a country town, or from a minister in was to be tried before one of the Athenian tri- the Hebrides, than from a statesman who, ever bunals. Long before the defendant had learn- since he was one-and-twenty, had been a dised the speech by heart, he became so much tinguished debater in the House of Commons. dissatisfied with it, that he went in great dis- We therefore hail with pleasure, though astress to the author. "I was delighted with suredly not with unmixed pleasure, the appearyour speech the first time I read it; but I liked ance of this work. That a young politician

should, in the intervals afforded by his parlia.

mentary avocations, have constructed and pro• The State in its relations with the Church. By W. E pounded, with much study and mental toil, an GLADSTONE, Esq., Student of Christchurch, and M. P. for Newark 8vo. Secor Edition. London. 1839. . original theory on a great problem in politics,

ear.

is a circumstance which, abstracted from all signs of much patient thought. It is written consideration of the soundness or unsoundness throughout with excellent taste and excellent of his opinions, must be considered as highly temper; nor is it, so far as we have observed, creditable to him. We certainly cannot wish disfigured by one expression unworthy of a that Ms. Gladstone's doctrines may become gentleman, a scholar, or a Christian. But the fashionable among public men. But we hearti- doctrines which are put forth in it appear to ly wish that his laudable desire to penetrate us, after full and calm consideration, to be beneath the surface of questions, and io arrive, false; to be in the highest degree pernicious; by long and intent meditation, at the knowledge to be such as, if followed out in practice to of great general laws, were much more fashion their legitimate consequences, would inevitaable than we at all expect it to become. bly produce the dissolution of society; and for

Mr. Gladstone seems to us to be, in many this opinion we shall proceed to give our rearespects, exceedingly well qualified for philo- sons with that freedom which the importance sophical investigation. His mind is of large of the subject requires, and which Mr. Gladgrasp; nor is he deficient in dialectical skill. stone both by precept and by example invites us But he does not give his intellect fair play. to use, but, we hope, without rudeness, and, we There is no want of light, but a great want are sure, without malevolence. of what Bacon would have called dry light. Before we enter on an examination of this Whatever Mr. Gladstone sees is refracied and theory, we wish to guard ourselves against distorted by a false medium of passions and one misconception. It is possible that some prejudices. His style bears a remarkable ana- persons who have read Mr. Gladstone's book logy to his mode of thinking, and indeed exer- carelessly, and others who have merely heard cises great influence on his mode of thinking. in conversation or seen in a newspaper that His rhetoric, though often good of its kind, the member for Newark has written in defence darkens and perplexes the logic which it should of the Church of England against the supportillustrate. Half his acuteness and diligence, ers of the Voluntary System, may imagine that with a barren imagination and a scanty voca- we are writing in defence of the Voluntary Sys. bulary, would have saved him from almost all tem, and that we desire the abolition of the his mistakes. He has one gift most dangerous Established Church. This is not the case. It to a speculator,--a vast command of a kind would be as unjust to accuse us of attacking of language, grave and majestic, but of vague the Church because we attack Mr. Gladstone's and uncertain import,--of a kind of language doctrines, as it would be to accuse Locke of which affects us much in the same way in wishing for anarchy because he refuted File which the lofty diction of the chorus of Clouds mer's patriarchal theory of government; or to affected the simple-hearted Athenian.

accuse Blackstone of recommending the con. ωγη του φθεγματος, ως ιερον, και σεμνον, και τερατωδες. denied that the right of the rector to tithe was

fiscation of ecclesiastical property because he When propositions have been established, derived from the Levitical law. It is to be and nothing remains but to amplisy and deco- observed that Mr. Gladstone rests his case on rate them, this dim magnificence may be in entirely new grounds, and does not differ more place. But if it is admitted into a demonstra- widely from us than from some of those who Lion, it is very much worse than absolute non- have hitherto been considered as the most sense ;--just as that transparent haze through illustrious champions of the Church. He is which the sailor sees capes and mountains of rot content with the “Ecclesiastical Polity," false sizes and in false bearings, is more dan- and rejoices that the latter part of that celegerous than utter darkness. Now, Mr. Glad brated work “ does not carry with it the weight stone is fond of employing the phraseology of of Hooker's plenary authority.” He is not which we speak in those parts of his work content with Bishop Warburton's “Alliance of which require the utmost perspicuity and pre- Church and State.” “The propositions of that cision of which human language is capable, work generally,” he says, “are to be received and in this way he deludes firsi himself, and with qualification;" and he agrees with Boling. then his readers. The foundations of his broke in thinking that Warburton's whole the. theory, which ought to be buttresses of ada- ory rests upon a fiction. He is still less satismani, are made out of the flimsy materials fied with Paley's “Desence of the Church," which are fit only for perorations. This fault which he pronounces to be "tainted by the is one which no subsequent care or industry original vice of false ethical principles," and can correct. The more strictly Mr. Gladstone “full of the seeds of evil.” He conceives that reasons on his premises, the more absurd are Dr. Chalmers has taken a partial view of the the conclusions which he brings out; and subject, and “put forth much questionable matwhen at last his good sense and good nature ter.” In truth, on almost every point on which recoil from the horrible practical inferences to we are opposed to Mr. Gladstone, we have on which his theory leads, he is reduced some our side the authority of some divine, eminent times to take refuge in arguments inconsistent as a defender of existing establishments. with his fundamental doctrines; and some- Mr. Gladstone's whole theory rests on this times to escape from the legitimate conse great fundamental proposition—that the Proquences of his false principles under cover pagation of Religious Truth is one of the prin. of equally false history.

cipal ends of government, as government. If It would be unjust not to say that this book, Mr. Gladstone has not proved this proposition, though not a good book, shows more talent his system vanishes at once. than many good books. It contains some elo- We are desirous, before we enter on the dis quent and ingenious passages. It bears the cussion of this important qui stion, to point out

[ocr errors]

clearly a distinction which, though very obvi-, limited to this short life and to this visible ous, seems to be overlooked by many excel- world. He finds himself surrounded by the lent people. In their opinion, to say that the signs of a power and wisdom higher than his ends of government are temporal and not spi- own; and, in all ages and nations, men of all ritual, is tantamount to saying that the tempo- orders of intelleci, from Bacon and Newton ral welfare of man is of more importance than down to the rudest tribes of cannibals, have his spiritual welfare. But this is an entire believed in the existence of some superior mistake. The question is not whether spiritual mind. Thus far the voice of mankind is alinterests be or be not superior in importance most unanimous. But whether there be one to teinporal interests, but whether the machi- God or many-what may be his natural and nery which happens at any moment to be em- what his moral attributes-in what relation ployed for the purpose of protecting certain his creatures stand to him—whether he have iemporal interests of a society, be necessarily ever disclosed himself to us by any other revesuch a machinery as is fitted to promote the lation than that which is written in all the spiritual interests of that society. It is certain parts of the glorious and well-ordered world that without a division of duties the world which he has made-whether his revelation could not go on. It is of very much more im- be contained in any permanent record-how portance that men should have food than that that record should be interpreted, and whether they should have pianofortes. Yet it by no it have pleased him to appoint any unerring means follows that every pianoforte-maker interpreter on earth-these are questions reought to add the business of a baker to his spec.ing which there exists the widest diver. own; for if he did so, we should have both much sity of opinion, and respecting which the great worse music and much worse bread. It is of majority of our race has, ever since the dawn much more importance that the knowledge of regular history, been deplorably in error. of religious truth should be widely diffused Now here are two great objects :-One is the than that the art of sculpture should flourish protection of the persons and estates of citiamong us. Yet it by no means follows that zens from injury; the other is the propagation the Royal Academy ought to unite with its pre- of religious truth. Nð two objects more ensent functions those of the Society for promot- tirely distinct can well be imagined. The ing Christian Knowledge, to distribute theolo- former belongs wholly to the visible and tangigical tracts, to send forth missionaries, to turn ble world in which we live; the latter belongs out Nollekens for being a Catholic, Bacon for to that higher world which is beyond the reach being a Methodist, and Flaxman for being a of our senses. The former belongs to this Swedenborgian. For the effect of such folly life; the latter to that which is to come. Men would be that we should have the worst possi- who are perfectly agreed as to the importance ble Academy of Arts, and the worst possible of the former object, and as to the way of atBociety for the Promotion of Christian Know- taining it, differ as widely as possible respecte ledge. The community, it is plain, would be ing the latter object. We must therefore pause thrown into universal confusion, if it were before we admit that the persons, be they who supposed to be the duty of every association they may, who are intrusted with power for which is formed for one good object to pro- the promotion of the former object, ought al. mote every other good object.

ways to use that power for the promotion of As to some of the ends of civil goverument, the latter object. all people are agreed. That it is designed to Mr. Gladstone conceives that the duties of protect our persons and our property,—that it governments are paternal;-a doctrine which is designed to compel us to satisfy our wants, we will not believe till he can show us some not by rapine, but by industry,—that it is de government which loves its subjects as a fasigned to compel us to decide our differences, ther loves a child, and which is as superior in not by the strong hand, but by arbitration, intelligence to its subjects as a father is supe. that it is designed to direct our whole force, as rior to a child. He tells us, in lofty, though that of one man, against any other society somewhat indistinct language, that “Governwhich may offer us injury,—these are propo- ment occupies in moral the place of to try in sitions which will hardly be disputed.

physical science.” If government be indeed Now these are matters in which man, with- Tork in moral science, we do not understand out any reference to any higher being or to why rulers should not assume all the functions any future state, is very deeply interested. which Plato assigned to them. Why should Every man, be he idolater, Mohammedan, Jew, they not take away the child from the mother, Papist, Socinian, Deist, or Atheist, naturally select the nurse, regulate the school, overlook loves life, shrinks from fain, desires those the play-ground, fix the hours of labour and of comforts which can be cajoyed only in com- recreation, prescribe what ballads shall be inunities where property is secure. To be sung, what tunes shall be played, what books murdered, to be tortured, to be robbed, to be shall be read, what physic shall be swallowed! sold into slavery, to be exposed to the outrages —why should not they choose our wives, limit of gangs of foreign bandiiti calling themselves our expenses, and stint us to a certain number patriots-these are evidently evils from which of dishes, of glasses of wine, and of cups of men of every religion and men of no religion tea ? Plato, whose hardihood in speculation wish to be protected ; and therefore it will was perhaps more wonderful than any olner hardly be disputed that men of every religion peculiarity of his extraordinary mind, and who and of no religion have thus far a common shrank from nothing to which his principles interest in being well governed.

led, went this whole length. Mr. Gladswae is But the hopes and sears of man are not l not so intrepid. He contents himself w.th layo

« AnteriorContinuar »