Imágenes de páginas

an exquisite harmony. We shall sooner see ment of the mind. It cannot indeed produce another Shakspeare or another Homer. The perfection, but it produces improvement, and highest excellence, to which any single faculty nourishes that generous and liberal fastidious. can be brought, would be less surprising than ness, which is not inconsistent with the strongsuch a happy and delicate combination of est sensibility to merit, and which, while it exqualities. Yet the contemplation of imaginary alts our conceptions of the art, does not render models is not an unpleasant or useless employ- lus unjust to the artist.


[EDINBURGH Review, 1828.]

History, at least in its state of imaginary companion to the traveller or the general than perfection, is a compound of poetry and philo- the painting could be, though it were the grandsophy. It impresses general truths on the est that ever Rosa peopled with outlaws, or the mind by a vivid representation of particular sweetest over which Claude ever poured the characters and incidents. But, in fact, the two mellow effulgence of a setting sun. hostile elements of which it consists have It is remarkable that the practice of separatnever been known to form a perfect amalgama-sing the two ingredients of which history is tion; and at length, in our own time, they have composed has become prevalent on the Contibeen completely and professedly separated. nent as well as in this country. Italy has alGood histories, in the proper sense of the word, ready produced an historical novel, of high merit we have not. But we have good historical ro- and of still higher promise. In France, the mances and good historical essays. The ima- practice has been carried to a length somegination and the reason, if we may use a legal what whimsical. M. Sismondi publishes a metaphor, have made partition of a province grave and stately history, very valuable, and a of literature of which they were formerly little tedious. He then sends forth as a comseised per my et pour tout ; and now they hold panion to it a novel, in which he atteinpts to their respective portions in severalty, instead give a lively representation of characters and of holding the whole in common.

manners. This course, as it seems to us, has To make the past present, to bring the dis- all the disadvantages of a division of labour, tant near, to place us in the society of a great and none of its advantages. We understand man, or on the eminence which overlooks the the expediency of keeping the functions of field of a mighty battle, to invest with the reali- cook and coachman distinct--the dinner will ty of human flesh and blood beings whom we be better dressed, and the horses better maare too much inclined to consider as personi- naged. But where the two situations are united, fied qualities in an allegory, to call up our ances- as in the Maitre Jaques of Molière, we do not tors before us with all their peculiarities of see that the matter is much mended by the solanguage, manners, and garb, to show us over lemn form with which the pluralist passes from their houses, to seat us at their tables, to rum- one of his employments to the other. mage their old-fashioned wardrobes, to explain We manage these things better in England. the uses of their ponderous furniture-ihese Sir Walter Scott gives us a novel; Mr. Hallam parts of the duty which properly belongs to the a critical and argamentative history. Both are

historian have been appropriated by the histo-occupied with the same matter. But the fori rical novelist. On the other hand, to extract mer looks at it with the eye of a sculptor. His

the philosophy of history-to direct our judg. intention is to give an express and lively ment of events and men-to trace the connec- image of its external form. The latter is an tion of causes and effects, and to draw from the anatomist. His task is to dissect the subject to occurrences of former times general lessons of its inmost recesses, and to lay bare before us all moral and political wisdom, has become the the springs of motion and all the causes of de. business of a distinct class of writers.

Of the two kinds of composition into which Mr. Hallam is, on the whole, far better qualı. history has been thus divided, the one may be fied than any other writer of our time for the compared to a map, the other to a painted land- office which he has undertaken. He has great scape. The picture, though it places the ob- industry and great acuteness. His knowledge ject before us, does not enable us to ascertain is extensive, various, and profound. His mind with accuracy the form and dimensions of its is equally distinguished by the amplitude o component parts, the distances, and the angles.its grasp and by the delicacy of its iact. His The map is not a work of imitative art. It speculations have none of that vagueness presents no scene to the imagination ; but it which is the common fault of political philosogives us exact information as to the bearings phy. On the contrary, they are strikingly of the various points, and is a more useful practical. They teach us not only the general

rule, but the mode of applying it to solve par# The Constitutional History of England, from the Ac- ticular cases. In this respect they often re. Cession of Henry VII. to the Death of George II. HENRY HALLAM. In 2 vols. 1827.

mind us of the Discourses of Machiavelli



The style is sometimes harsh, and sometimes, hend the meaning latent under the emblems of obscure. We have also here and there remark- their faith, can resist the contagion of the ed a little of that unpleasant trick which Giv- popular superstition. Often, when they flatter bon brought into fashion—the trick, we mean, themselves that they are merely feigning a of narrating by implication and allusion. Mr. compliance with the prejudices of the vulgar, Hallam, however, has an excuse which Gib- they are themselves under the influence of bon had not. His work is designed for readers those very prejudices. It probably was not who are already acquainted with the ordinary altogether on grounds of expediency, that Sobooks on English history, and who can there- crates taught his followers to honour the gods fore unriddle these little enigmas without dif- whom the state honoured, and bequeathed a ficulty. The manner of the book is, on the cock to Esculapius with his dying breath. So whole, not unworthy of the matter. The lan- there is often a portion of willing credulity and guage, even where most faulty, is weighty and enthusiasm in the veneration which the most massive, and indicates strong sense in every discerning men pay to their political idols. line. It ofien rises to an eloquence, not florid From the very nature of man it must be so. or impassioned, but high, grave, and sober; The faculty by which we inseparably associate such as would become a state paper, or a judg- ideas which have often been presented to us ment delivered by a great magistrate, a Somers, in conjunction, is not under the absolute conor a D'Aguesseau.

trol of the will. It may be quickened into In this respect the character of Mr. Hallam's morbid activity, It may be reasoned into mind corresponds strikingly with that of his sluggishness. But in a certain degree it will style. His work is eminently judicial. Its always exist. The almost absolute mastery whole spirit is that of the bench, not of the which Mr. Hallam has obtained over feelings bar. He sums up with a calm, steady impar- of this class, is perfectly astonishing to us; tiality, turning neither to the right nor to the and will, we believe, be not only astonishing, left, glossing over nothing, exaggerating no- but offensive to many of his readers. It must thing, while the advocates on both sides are al particularly disgust those people who, in their ternately biting their lips to hear their conflict speculations on politics, are not reasoners, but ing mis-statements and sophisms exposed. On fanciers; whose opinions, even when sincere, a general survey, we do not scruple to pro- are not produced, according to the ordinary nounce the Constitutional History the most law of intellectual births, by induction and iriimpartial book that we ever read. We think ference, but are equivocally generated by the it the more incumbent on us to bear this testi- heat of fer id tempers out of the overflowings mony strongly at first setting out, because, in of tumid imaginations. A man of this class is the course of our remarks, we shall think it always in extremes. He cannot be a friend to right to dwell principally on those parts of it liberty without calling for a community of from which we dissent.

goods, or a friend to order without taking under There is one peculiarity about Mr. Hallam, his protection the foulest excesses of tyranny. which, while it adds to the value of his writings, His admiration oscillates between the most will, we fear, take away something from their worthless of rebels and the most worthless of popularity. He is less of a worshipper than oppressors; between Marten, the scandal of any historian whom we can call to mind. the High Court of Justice, and Laud, the scan. Every political sect has its esoteric and its dal of the Star-Chamber. He can forgive any exoteric school; its abstract doctrines for the thing but temperance and impartiality. He initiated, its visible symbols, its imposing has a certain sympathy with the violence of forms, its mythological fables for the vulgar. his opponents, as well as with that of his asIt assists the devotion of those who are unable sociales. In every furious partisan he sees to raise themselves to the contemplation of either his present self or his former self, the pure truths, by all the devices of Pagan or pensioner that is or the Jacobin that has been. Papal superstition. It has its altars and its But he is unable to comprehend a writer who, deified heroes, its relics and pilgrimages, its steadily attached to principles, is indifferent canonized martyrs and confessors, its festivals about names and badges; who judges of chaand its legendary miracles. Our pious ances- racters with equable severity, not altogether tors, we are told, deserted the High Altar of untinctured with cynicism, but free from the Canterbury, to lay all their oblations on the slightest touch of passion, party spirit, or ca. shrine of St. Thomas. In the same manner the price. great and comfortable doctrines of the Tory We should probably like Mr. Hallam's book creed, those particularly which relate to re- more, if instead of pointing out, with strict strictions on worship and on trade, are adored fidelity, the bright points and the dark spots by squires and rectors, in Pitt Clubs, under the of both parties, he had exerted himself to name of a minister, who was as bad a repre- whitewash the one and to blacken the other. septative of the system which has been chris- But we should certainly prize it far less. te ned after him, as Becket of the spirit of the Eulogy and invective may be had for the Gospel. And, on the other hand, the cause for asking. But for cold rigid justice—the one which Hampden bled on the field, and Sidney weight and the one measure-we know not on the scaffold, is enthusiastically toasted by where else we can look. inany an honest radical, who would be puzzled No portion of our annals has been more per 10 explain the difference between Ship-money plexed and misrepresented by writers of dif and the Habeas Corpus act. It may be added, ferent parties, than the history of the Reforma that, as in religion, so in politics, few, even of tion. In this labyrinth of falsehood and so thos: who are enlightened enough to compre- phistry, the guidance of Mr. Hallam is peca


liarly valuable. It is impossible not to admire that if any Catholic shall convert a Protestant the evenhanded justice with which he deals to the Romish church, they shall both suffer out castigation to right and left on the rival | death, as for high treason. persecutors.

We believe that we might safely content It is vehemently maintained by some writers ourselves with stating the fact, and leaving it of the present day, that the government of to the judgment of every plain Englishman. Elizabeth persecuted neither Papists nor Puri- Recent controversies have, however, given so tans as such; and occasionally that the severe much importance to this subject, that we will measures which it adopted were dictated, not offer a few remarks on it. by religious intolerance, but by political ne- In the first place, the arguments which are cessity. Even the excellent account of those urged in favour of Elizabeth, apply with much times, which Mr. Hallam has given, has not greater force to the case of her sister Mary. altogether imposed silence on the authors of The Catholics did not, at the time of Elizathis fallacy. The title of the Queen, they say, beth's accession, rise in arms to seat a Prewas annulled by the Pope; her throne was tender on her throne. But before Mary had given to another; her subjects were incited to given, or could give provocation, the most disrebellion; her life was menaced; every Ca- tinguished Protestants attempted to set aside tholic was bound in conscience to be a traitor; her rights in favour of the Lady Jane. That it was therefore against traitors, not against attempt, and the subsequent insurrection of Catholics, that the penal laws were enacted. Wyatt, furnished at least as good a plea for

That our readers may be the better able to the burning of Protestants as the conspiracies appreciate the merits of this defence, we will against Elizabeth furnish for the hanging and state, as concisely as possible, the substance embowelling of Papists. of some of these laws.

The fact is, that both pleas are worthless As soon as Elizabeth ascended the throne, alike. If such arguments are to pass current, and before the least hostility to her govern- it will be easy to prove that there was never ment had been shown by the Catholic popula- such a thing as religious persecution since tion, an act passed, prohibiting the celebration the creation. For there never was a religious of the rites of the Romish church, on pain of persecution, in which some odious crime was forfeiture for the first offence, a year's impri- not justly or unjustly said to be obviously desonment for the second, and perpetual impri- ducible from the doctrines of the persecuted sonment for the third.

party. We might say that the Cæsars did not A law was next made, in 1562, enacting, that persecute the Christians; that they only puall who had ever graduated at the Universities, nished men who were charged, rightly or or received holy orders, all lawyers, and all ma- wrongly, with burning Rome, and with com gistrates, should take the oath of supremacy mitting the foulest abominations in their aswhen tendered to them, on pain of forfeiture, semblies; that the refusal to throw frankinand imprisonment during the royal pleasure.cence on the altar of Jupiter was not the After the lapse of three months, it might again be crime, but only evidence of the crime. We tendered to them; and, if it were again refused, might say that the massacre of St. Bartholemew the recusant was guilty of high treason. A was intended to extirpate, not a religious sect, prospective law, however severe, framed to but a political party. For, beyond all doubt, exclude Catholics from the liberal professions, the proceedings of the Huguenots, from thá would have been mercy itself compared with conspiracy of Amboise to the battle of Monthis odious act. It is a retrospective statute; coutour, had given much more trouble to the it is a retrospective penal statute; it is a retro- French monarchy than the Catholics have spective penal statute against a large class. ever given to England since the Reformation; We will not positively affirm that a law of this and that too with much less excuse. description must always, and under all circum- The true distinction is perfectly obvious. stances, be unjustifiable. But the presumption To punish a man because he has committed a against it is most violent; nor do we remem-crime, or is believed, though unjustly, to have ber any crisis, either in our own history, or in committed a crime, is not persecution. To the history of any other country, which would punish a man because we infer from the nahave rendered such a provision necessary. ture of some doctrine which he holds, or from But in the present, what circumstances called the conduct of other persons who hold the same for extraordinary rigour? There might be doctrines with him, that he will commit a crime, disaffection among the Catholics. The prohi- is persecution; and is, in every case, foolish bition of their worship would naturally pro- and wicked. duce it. But it is from their situation, not from When izabeth put Ballard and Babington their conduct; from the wrongs which they to death, she was not persecuting. Nor should had suffered, not from those which they had we have accused her government of persecucommitted, that the existence of discontent tion for passing any law, however severe, among them must be inferred. There were against overt acts of sedition. But to argue libels, no doubt, and prophecies, and rumours, that because a man is a Catholic he must and suspicions; strange grounds for a law in- think it right to murder an heretical sovereign, flicting capital penalties, ex post facto, on a and that because he thinks it right he will at large order of men.

tempt to do it, and then to found on this con. Eight years later, the bull of Pius deposing clusion a law for punishing him as if he had Elizabeth produced a third law. This law, to done it, is plain persecution. which alone, as we conceive, the defence now If, indeed, all men reasoned in the same under our consideration can apply, provides, I manner on the same da a, azu always did whal they thought it their duty to do, this mode of who would have admitted in theory the depos. dispensing punishment might be extremely ing power of the Pope, but who would not have judicious. But as people who agree about been ambitious to be stretched on the rack, premises often disagree about conclusions, and even though it were to be used, according to as no man in the world acts up to his own the benevolent proviso of Lord Burleigh, “as standard of right, there are two enormous gaps charitably as such a thing can be;" or to be in the logic by which alone penalties for opi- hanged, drawn, and quartered, even though, by nions can be defended. The doctrine of repro- that rare indulgence which the queen, of her bation, in the judgment of many very able especial grace, certain knowledge, and mere men, follows by syllogistic necessity from the motion, sometimes extended to very mitigated doctrine of election. Others conceive that the cases, he were allowed a fair time to choke Antinomian and Manichean heresies directly before the hangman began to grabble in his follow from the doctrine of reprobation; and entrails. it is very generally thought thai licentiousness But the laws passed against the Puritans and cruelty of the worst description are likely had not even the wretched excuse which we to be the fruits, as they often have been the have been considering. In their case the cruel. fruits, of Antinomian and Manichean opinions. ty was equal, the danger infinitely less. In fact This chain of reasoning, we think, is as per the danger was created solely by the cruelty. fect in all its parts as that which makes out But it is superfluous to press the argument. By a Papist to be necessarily a traitor. Yet it no artifice of ingenuity can the stigma of persewould be rather a strong measure to hang the cution, the worst blemish of the English church, Calvinists, on the ground that if they were be effaced or patched over. Her doctrines we spared they would infallibly commit all the well know do not tend to intolerance. She atrocities of Matthias and Knipperdoling. For, admits the possibility of salvation out of her reason the matter as we may, experience shows own pale. But this circumstance, in itself hous that a man may believe in election without nourable to her, aggravates the sin and the believing in reprobation, that he may believe shame of those who persecuted in her name. in reprobation without being an Antinomian, Dominic and De Monfort did not at least murand that he may be an Antinomian without der and torture for differences of opinion which being a bad citizen. Man, in short, is so in- they considered as trifling. It was to stop an consistent a creature, that it is impossible to infection which, as they believed, hurried to reason from his belief to his conduct, or from perdition every soul which it seized that they one part of his belief to another.

employed their fire and steel. The measures We do not believe that every Englishman of the English government with respect to the who was reconciled to the Catholic church Papists and Pu ans sprang from a widely would, as a necessary, consequence, have different principle. If those who deny that the thought himself justified in deposing or assas- supporters of the Established Church were sinating Elizabeih. It is not sufficient to say guilty of religious persecution mean only that that the convert must have acknowledged the they were not influenced by religious motives, authority of the Pope, and that the Pope had wc perfectly agree with them. Neither the issued a bull against the queen. We know penal code of Elizabeth, nor the more hateful through what strange loopholes the human system by which Charles the Second attempt. mind contrives to escape, when it wishes to ed to force Episcopacy on the Scotch, had an avoid a disagreeable inference from an admit-origin so noble. Their cause is to be sought ted proposition. We know how long the Jan- in some circumstances which attended the Resenists contrived to believe the Pope infallible formation in England--circumstances of which in matters of doctrine, and at the same time to the effects long continued to be felt, and may helieve doctrines which he pronounced to be in some degree be traced even at the present leretical. Let it pass, however, that every day. Catholic in the kingdom thought that Eliza- In Germany, in France, in Switzerland, and beth might be lawfully murdered. Still the in Scotland, the contest against the Papal old maxim, that what is the business of every power was essentially a religious contest. In body is the business of nobody, is particularly all these countries, indeed, the cause of the likely to hold good in a case in which a cruel Reformation, like every other great cause, aideath is the almost inevitable consequence of tracted to itself many supporters influenced by making any attempt.

no conscientious principle, many who quitted Of the ten thousand clergymen of the Church the Established Church only because they of England, there is scarcely one who would thought her in danger, many who were weary not say that a man who should leave his coun- of her restraints, and many who were greedy try and friends to preach the gospel among for her spoils. But it was not by these adsarages, and who should, after labouring inde- herents that the separation was there conductfatigably without any hope of reward, termi- ed. They were welcome auxiliaries; their supnate his life by martyrdom, would deserve the port was too often purchased by unworthy warmest admiration. Yet we doubt whether compliances; but, however exalted in rank or len of the ten thousand ever thought of going power, they were not the leaders in the enteron such an expedition. Why should we sup-prise. Men of a widely different description, pose that conscientious motives, feeble as they men who redeemed great infirmities and errors are constantly found to be in a good cause, by sincerity, disinterestedness, energy, and coushould be omnipotent for evil? Doubtless rage; men who, with many of the vices of rethere was many a jolly Popish priest in the volutionary chiefs and of polemic divines, unitold nanoh-houses of the northern counties, ed some of the highest qualities of apostles, were the real directors. They might be vio- the sense of Mr. Hallam, and to comment on lent in innovation, and scurrilous in contro- it thus: If we consider Cranmer merely as a versy. They might sometimes act with inex- statesman, he will not appear a much worse cusable severity towards opponents, and some man than Wolsey, Gardiner, Cromwell, or So. times connive disreputably at the vices of merset. But when an attempt is made to set powerful allies. But fear was not in them, him up as a saint, it is scarcely possible for nor hypocrisy, nor avarice, nor any petty self- any man of sense, who knows the history of ishness. Their one great object was the de. the times well, to preserve his gravity. If the molition of the idols, and the purification of the memory of the archbishop had been left to sanctuary. If they were too indulgent to the find its own place, he would soon have been failings of eminent men, from whose patronage lost among the crowd which is mingled they expected advantage to the church, they

“A quel cattivo coro never flinched before persecuting tyrants and Degli' angeli, che non furon ribelli, hostile armies. If they set the lives of others

Ne sur fedeli a Dio, ma per se furo." at nought in comparison of their doctrines, And the only notice which it would have been they were equally ready to throw away their necessary to take of his name, would have own. Such were the authors of the great been schism on the continent and in the northern part of this island. The Elector of Saxony

"Non ragioniam di lui; ma guarda, e passa." and the Landgrave of Hesse, the Prince of But when his admirers challenge for him a Condé and the King of Navarre, Moray and place in the noble army of martyrs, his claims Morton, might espouse the Protestant opinions, require fuller discussion. or might pretend to espouse them; but it was The shameful origin of his history, common from Luther, from Calvin, from Knox, that the enough in the scandalous chronicles of courts, Reformation took its character.

seems strangely out of place in a hagiology. England has no such names to show; not Cranmer rose into favour by serving Henry in that she wanted men of sincere piety, of deep a disgraceful affair of his first divorce. He learning, of steady and adventurous courage. promoted the marriage of Anne Boleyn with But these were thrown into the back-ground. ihe king. On a frivolous pretence he proElsewhere men of this character were the prin- nounced it null and void. On a pretence, if cipals. Here they acted a secondary part. possible, still more frivolous, he dissolved the Elsewhere worldliness was the tool of zeal. ties which bound the shameless tyrant to Here zeal was the tool of worldliness. A king, Anne of Cleves. He attached himseif to whose character may be best described by say- Cromwell, while the fortunes of Cromwell ing that he was despotism itself personified, flourished. He voted for cutting off his head unprincipled ministers, a rapacious aristocra- without a trial, when the tide of royal favour cy, a servile parliament—such were the instru- turned. He conformed backwards and forments by which England was delivered from wards as the king changed his mind. While the yoke of Rome. The work which had been Henry lived, he assisted in condemning to the begun by Henry, the murderer of his wives, flames those who denied the doctrine of tranwas continued by Somerset, the murderer of substantiation. When Henry died, he found his brother, and completed by Elizabeth, the out that the doctrine was false. He was, howmurderer of her guest. Sprung from brutal ever, not at a loss for people to burn. The passion, nurtured by selfish policy, the Refor- authority of his station, and of his gray hairs, mation in England displayed little of what had was employed to overcome the disgust with in other countries distinguished it-unflinch- which an intelligent and virtuous child reing and unsparing devotion, boldness of speech, garded persecution. and singleness of eye. These were indeed to Intolerance is always bad. But the san. be found; but it was in the lower ranks of the guinary intolerance of a man who thus waparty which opposed the authority of Rome, in vered in his creed, excites a loathing to which such men as Hooper, Latimer, Rogers, and it is difficult to give vent without calling foul Taylor. Of those who had any important names. Equally false to political and to re. share in bringing the alteration about, the ex- ligious obligations, he was first the tool of cellent Ridley was perhaps the only person Somerset, and then the tool of Northumber. who did not consider it as a mere political job. land. When the former wished to put his Even Ridley did not play a very prominent own brother to death, without even the form part. Among the statesmen and prelates who of a trial, he found a ready instrument in principally give the tone to the religious Cranmer. In spite of the canon law, which changes there is one, and one only, whose forbade a churchman to take any part in matconduct partiality itself can attribute to any ters of blood, the archbishop signed the war. other than interested motives. It is not strange, rant for the atrocious sentence. When So therefore, that his character should have been merset had been in his turn destroyed, his dethe subject of fierce controversy. We need not stroyer received the support of Cranmer in his say that we speak of Cranmer.

attempt to change the course of the succes Mr. Hallam has been severely censured for sion. saying, with his usual placid severity, that “if The apology made for him by his admirers we weigh the character of this prelate in an only renders his conduct more contemptible. equal balance, he will appear far indeed re. He complied, it is said, against his better judge moved from the turpitude imputed to him by 'ment, because he could not resist the entrea. his enemies; yet not entitled to any extraordi- ties of Edward! A holy prelate of sixty, one nary veneration.” We will venture to expand would think, might be beller employed by the

« AnteriorContinuar »