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selected as an example a heretic and an alien. Last year, we remember, it was represented by a pious writer in the John Bull newspaper, and by some other equally fervid Christians, as a monstrous indecency that the measure for the relief of the Jews should be brought forward in Passion-week. One of these humorists ironically recommended that it should be read a second time on Good-Friday. We should have had no objection; nor do we believe that the day could be commemorated in a more worthy manner. We know of no day fitter for terminating long hostilities and repairing cruel wrongs than the day on which the religion of mercy was founded. We know of no day fitter for blotting out from the statute-book the last traces of intolerance than the day on which the spirit of intolerance produced the foulest of all judicial murders-the day on which the list of the victims of intolerance, that noble list wherein Socrates and More are enrolled, was glorified by a yet greater and holier name.
SADLER'S REFUTATION REFUTED. (JANUARY, 1831.)
A Refutation of an Article in the Edinburgh Review (No. CII.), entitled "Sadler's Law of Population, and Disproof of Human Superfecundity;" containing also Additional Proofs of the Principle enunciated in that Treatise, founded on the Censuses of different Countries recently published. By MICHAEL THOMAS SADLER, M.P. 8vo. London: 1830.
"Before anything came out against my Essay, I was told I must prepare myself for a storm coming against it, it being resolved by some men that it was necessary that book of mine should, as it is phrased, be run down."-JOHN LOCKE.
WE have, in violation of our usual practice, transcribed Mr. Sadler's title-page from top to bottom, motto and all. The parallel implied between the Essay on the Human Understanding and the Essay on Superfecundity is exquisitely laughable. We can match it, however, with mottoes as ludicrous. We remember to have heard of a dramatic piece, entitled "News from Camperdown," written soon after Lord Duncan's victory, by a man once as much in his own good graces as Mr. Sadler is, and now as much forgotten as Mr. Sadler will soon be-Robert Heron. His piece was brought upon the stage, and damned, "as it is phrased," in the second. act; but the author, thinking that it had been unfairly and unjustly "run down," published it, in order to put his critics to shame, with this motto from Swift: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this mark-that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." We remember another anecdote, which may perhaps be acceptable to so zealous a churchman as Mr. Sadler. A certain Antinomian preacher, the oracle of a barn, in a county of which we do not think it proper to mention the name, finding that divinity was not by itself a sufficiently lucrative profession, resolved to combine with it that of dog-stealing. He was, by ill-fort
une, detected in several offences of this description, and was in consequence brought before two justices, who, in virtue of the powers given them by an act of Parliament, sentenced him to a whipping for each theft. The degrading punishment inflicted on the pastor naturally thinned the flock; and the poor man was in danger of wanting bread. He accordingly put forth a handbill, solemnly protesting his innocence, describing his sufferings, and appealing to the Christian charity of the public; and to his pathetic address he prefixed this most appropriate text: "Thrice was I beaten with rods.St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians." He did not perceive that, though St. Paul had been scourged, no number of whippings, however severe, will of themselves entitle a man to be considered as an apostle. Mr. Sadler seems to us to have fallen into a somewhat similar error. He should remember that, though Locke may have been laughed at, so has Sir Claudius Hunter; and that it takes something more than the laughter of all the world to make a Locke.
The body of this pamphlet by no means justifies the parallel so modestly insinuated on the title- page. Yet we must own that, though Mr. Sadler has not risen to the level of Locke, he has done what was almost as difficult, if not as honorable he has fallen below his own. He is at best a bad writer. His arrangement is an elaborate confusion. style has been constructed, with great care, in such a manner as to produce the least possible effect by means of the greatest possible number of words. Aspiring to the exalted character of a Christian philosopher, he can never preserve through a single paragraph either the calmness of a philosopher or the meekness of a Christian. His ill-nature would make a very little wit formidable. But, happily, his efforts to wound resemble those of a juggler's snake. The bags of poison are full, but the fang is wanting. In this foolish pamphlet all the unpleasant peculiarities of his style and temper are brought out in the strongest manner. He is from the beginning to the end in a paroxysm of rage, and would certainly do us some mischief if he knew how. We will give a single instance for the present; others will present themselves as
we proceed. We laughed at some doggerel verses which he cited, and which we, never having seen them before, suspected to be his own. We are now sure that, if the principle on which Solomon decided a famous case of filiation were correct, there can be no doubt as to the justice of our suspicion. Mr. Sadler, who, whatever elements of the poetical character he may lack, possesses the poetical irritability in an abundance which might have sufficed for Homer himself, resolved to retaliate on the person who, as he supposed, had reviewed him. He has accordingly ransacked some collection of college verses, in the hope of finding, among the performances of his supposed antagonist, something as bad as his own. And we must in fairness admit that he has succeeded pretty well. We must admit that the gentleman in question sometimes put into his exercises, at seventeen, almost as great nonsense as Mr. Sadler is in the habit of putting into his books at sixty.
Mr. Sadler complains that we have devoted whole pages to mere abuse of him. We deny the charge. We have, indeed, characterized, in terms of just reprehension, that spirit which shows itself in every part of his prolix work. Those terms of reprehension we are by no means inclined to retract; and we conceive that we might have used much stronger expressions, without the least offence either to truth or to decorum. There is a limit prescribed to us by our sense of what is due to ourselves. But we think that no indulgence is due to Mr. Sadler. A writer who distinctly announces that he has not conformed to the candor of the age-who makes it his boast that he expresses himself throughout with the greatest plainness and freedom-and whose constant practice proves that by plainness and freedom he means coarseness and rancor— has no right to expect that others shall remember courtesies which he has forgotten, or shall respect one who has ceased to respect himself.
Mr. Sadler declares that he has never vilified Mr. Malthus personally, and has confined himself to attacking the doctrines which that gentleman maintains. We should wish to leave that point to the decision of all who have read Mr. Sadler's book, or any twenty pages of it. To quote particular instances
of a temper which penetrates and inspires the whole work is to weaken our charge. Yet, that we may not be suspected of flinching, we will give two specimens-the first two which occur to our recollection. "Whose minister is it that speaks thus?" says Mr. Sadler, after misrepresenting in a most extraordinary manner, though, we are willing to believe, unintentionally, one of the positions of Mr. Malthus. "Whose minister is it that speaks thus? That of the lover and avenger of little children?" Again, Mr. Malthus recommends, erroneously perhaps, but assuredly from humane motives, that alms, when given, should be given very sparingly. Mr. Sadler quotes the recommendation, and adds the following courteous comment: "The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." We cannot think that a writer who indulges in these indecent and unjust attacks on professional and personal character has any right to complain of our sarcasms on his metaphors and rhymes.
We will now proceed to examine the reply which Mr. Sadler has thought fit to make to our arguments. He begins by attacking our remarks on the origin of evil. They are, says he, too profound for common apprehension; and he hopes that they are too profound for our own. That they seem profound to him we can well believe. Profundity, in its secondary as in its primary sense, is a relative term. When Grildrig was nearly drowned in the Brobdingnagian cream-jug he doubtless thought it very deep. But to common apprehension our reasoning would, we are persuaded, appear perfectly simple.
The theory of Mr. Malthus, says Mr. Sadler, cannot be true, because it asserts the existence of a great and terrible evil, and is therefore inconsistent with the goodness of God. We answer thus: We know that there are in the world great and terrible evils. In spite of these evils, we believe in the goodness of God. Why may we not then continue to believe in his goodness, though another evil should be added to the list?
How does Mr. Sadler answer this? Merely by telling us that we are too wicked to be reasoned with. He completely shrinks from the question; a question, be it remembered, not