Imágenes de páginas

scornfully thrown behind them, in a manner a great artist might produce a portrait of this which may well excite their envy. He has remarkable woman, at least as striking as that constructed out of their gleanings works in the novel of Kenilworth, without employing

which, even considered as histories, are searce- a single trait not authenticated by ample tes. I ly less valuable than theirs. But a truly great timony. In the mean time, we should see

historian would reclaim those materials which arts cultivated, wealth accumulated, the convethe novelist has appropriated. The history niences of life improved. We should see the of the government and the history of the peo- keeps, where nobles, insecure themselves, ple would be exhibited in that mode in which spread insecurity around them, gradually alone they can be exhibited justly, in insepa- giving place to the halls of peaceful opulence, rable conjunction and intermixture. We should to the oriels of Longleat, and the stately pinnot then have to look for the wars and votes nacles of Burleigh. We should see towns exof the Puritans in Clarendon, and for their tended, deserts cultivated, the hamlets of fishphraseology in Old Mortality; for one half of ermen turned into wealthy havens, the meal King James in Hume, and for the other half of the peasant improved, and his hut more in the Fortunes of Nigel.

commodiously furnished. We should see The early part of our imaginary history those opinions and feelings which produced would be rich with colouring from romance, the great struggle against the house of Stuart, ballad, and chronicle. We should find our- slowly growing up in the bosom of private selves in the company of knights such as families, before they manifested themselves in those of Froissart, and of pilgrims such as Parliamentary debates. Then would come those who rode with Chaucer from the Tabard. the Civil War. Those skirmishes, on which Society would be shown from the highest to Clarendon dwells so minutely, would be told, the lowest-from the royal cloth of state to the as Thucydides would have told them, with den of the outlaw; from the throne of the le- perspicuous conciseness. They are merely gate to the chimney-corner where the begging connecting links. But the great character. friar regaled himself. Palmers, minstrels, istics of the age, the loyal enthusiasm of the crusaders - the stately monastery, with the brave English gentry, the fierce licentiousness good cheer in its refectory, and the high-mass of the swearing, dicing, drunken reprobates, in its chapel-the manor-house, with its hunt- whose excesses disgraced the royal cause ing and hawking-the tournament, with the the austerity of the Presbyterian Sabbaths in heralds and ladies, the trumpets and the cloth the city, the extravagance of the Independent of gold-would give truth and life to the re- preachers in the camp, the precise garb, the presentation. We should perceive, in a thou- severe countenance, the peity scruples, the sand slight touches, the importance of the pri- affected accent, the absurd names and phrases vileged burgher, and the fierce and haughty which marked the Puritans—the valour, the spirit which swelled under the collar of the policy, the public spirit, which lurked beneath degraded villain. The revival of letters would these ungraceful disguises, the dreams of the not merely be described in a few magnificent raving Fifth Monarchyman, the dreams, scarce periods. We should discern, in innumerable | ly less wild, of the philosophic republican-all particulars, the fermentation of mind, the eager these would enter into the representation, and appetite for knowledge, which distinguished render it at once more exact and more strikthe sixteenth from the fifteenth century. In ing. the Reformation we should see, not merely a

The instruction derived from history thus schism which changed the ecclesiastical con- written wouid be of a vivid and practical chastitution of England, and the mutual relations racter. It would be received by the imaginaof the European powers, but a moral war tion as well as by the reason. It would be not which raged in every family, which set the merely traced on the mind, but branded into father against the son, and the son against the it. Many truths, too, would be learned, which father, the mother against the daughter, and can be learned in no other manner. As the the daughter against the mother. Henry history of states is generally written, the greatwould be painted with the skill of Tacitus. est and most momentous revolutions seem to We should have the change of his character come upon them like supernatural inflictions, from his profuse and joyous youth to his without warning or cause. But the fact is, that Savage and imperious old age. We should such revolutions are almost always the conse perceive the gradual progress of selfish and quences of moral changes, which have gratyrannical passions, in a mind not naturally dually passed on the mass of the community, insensible or ungenerous; and to the last we and which ordinarily proceed far, before their should detect some remains of that open and progress is indicated by any public measure. noble temper which endeared him to a people An intimate knowledge of the domestic history whom he oppressed, struggling with the hard- of nations is therefore absolutely necessary to ness of despotism and the irritability of dis- the prognosis of political events. A narrative,

We should see Elizabeth in all her defective in this respect, is as useless as a me. weakness, and in all her strength, surrounded dical treatise which should pass by all the by the handsome favourites whom she never symptoms attendant on the early stage of a trusted, and the wise old statesmen, whom she disease, and mention only what occurs when never dismissed, uniting in herself the most the patient is beyond the reach of remedies. contradictory qualities of both her parents- An historian, such as we have been attempte the coquetry, the caprice, the petty malice of ing to describe, would indeed be an intellectual Anne-the haughty and resolute spirit of prodigy. In his mind, powers, scarcely come Henry. We hare no hesitation in saying, that patible with each other, must be tempered into



an exquis'le 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 strong. such a happy and delicate combination of est sensibility to merit, and which, while it ex qualities. Yet the contemplation of imaginary alts our conceptions of the art, does not ren ler models is not an unpleasant or useless employ- i us 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 separat never been known to form a perfect amalgama- ling 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 producedan 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 cf 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, lo 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 forrical 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 debusiness of a distinct class of writers.

cay. of the two kinds of composition into which Mr. Hallam is, on the whole, far better qualıhistory 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 knowledgject 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 ? 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 philoso gives 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 Mc- ticular cases. In this respect they often re. Lession of Henry VII. to the Death of George II.

mind us of the Discourses of Macbiavedi


VENRY HALLAN. In 2 vols. 1827.


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 or 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 som books 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 ficully. The manner of the book is, on the cock to Esculapius with his dying breath. So wholé, 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 often 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 con. or 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. Iis 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; ciality, 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 inimpartial 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 fervid 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 forgire 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 sociates. In every furious partisan he sees 10 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. Papil 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 anonized 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 lors, 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 cashrine 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 I rictions 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, tentative of the system which has been chris- But we should certainly prize it far less. aned 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 Hampelen 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. many 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 things who are enlightened enough to compre- phistry, the guidance of Mr Hallam is pecu

liarly valuable. It is impossible not to admire that if any Catholic shall convert a Prolestam the evenhanded justice with which he deals to the Romish church, they shall both suffe: 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 or 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 sich; 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 Eliza. this fallacy. The title of the Queen, they say, beth's accession, rise in arms to seat a Pre. was 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 dis. rebellion; 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 as. when tendered to them, on pain of forfeiture, semblies; that the refusal to throw frankin. and 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 the would have been mercy itself compared with conspiracy of Amboise to the battle of Mon. this 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 Elizabeth 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 persecu. committed, 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 novi If, indeed, all men reasoned in the samo under our consideration can apply, j rovide: ,I manner on the same dara, anů zlways did what they thought it their duty to do, this mode of who would have admitted in theory the depos. sispensing 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 fruiis, 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 mur. and 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 the who was reconciled to the Catholic church Papists and Puritans 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 Elizabeth. 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 we 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 led 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 believe doctrines which he pronounced to be in some degree be traced even at the present lieretical. 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, atdeath 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 adsavages, 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 cou. should 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, unite old inanor-houses of the northern counties, ed some of the highest qualities of apostles

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