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been. He was astonished and vexed when rian said he was quite serious : but if Robin
one explained the mystery-open- son Crusoe would not help him, or he was ed as it were ihe dark passage where Mr. above studying Defoe, then he recommended Cullen had been acting. He said he saw Gulliver's Travels.?—(pp. 303, 304.) how it was, and hoped that a gentleman who could well speak in his own person would at Lord Brougham, in placing Robertson length begin to act the character which prop- at least on the same level with Hume for erly belonged to him.*
skill in narration, and claiming for him (as That great additional weight accrued to him as ruler of the Church, from the lustre of we think, with more justice) far superior his literary fame, cannot be doubted; and care in the consultation of books and in that the circumstance of his connexion with previous meditation, does not acquit him of the University always securing him a seat in one great besetting sin in historians. The the Assembly, while others went out in rota- following honest passage is, moreover, one tion, tended greatly to consolidate his influ- of the finest specimens of Lord Brougham's ence, is equally clear. But these accidents, as method of writing that we could select they are with respect to the General Asseinbly, would have availed hiin little, had not his from this volume :intrinsic qualities as a great practieal states
"There seems considerable reason to lament man secured his power. He may be said to that an intimate acquaintance with the great have directed the ecclesiastical affairs of Scotland for more than a quarter of a century in all ages, should have made the historian
scenes and celebrated characters of history, with unexampled success, and without any too familiar with the crimes on a great scale compromise of his own opinions, or modifica- of importance, and therefore of wickedness, tion of his views of church policy; and he quitted the scene of his brilliant career while perpetrated by persons in exalted stations, so in the full vigor of his faculties, and the un- them the feelings of severe reprobation to
that he suppresses in recounting or in citing tarnished lustre of his fame.'—(pp. 264–267.) which a more pure morality, a more strict
justice, would certainly have given vent. It is On the historian's style have these painful to see him fall into the vulgar and perremarks:
nicious delusion which secures for the worstene
mies of their species the praise and the increase No one ever doubted of its great excellence, of worldly greatness. It is equally painful to but it has sometimes been objected to as less see the worst crimes even of a more ordinary idiomatic and more labored than is consistent description, passed over in silence when they with the perfection of composition. The want sully the illustrious culprit. Let us only, of purely idiomatic expressions is the almost by way of example, and for explanation, surunavoidable consequence of provincial educa
vey the highly-wrought and indeed admirably tion and habils. Many forms of speech which composed character of Queen Elizabeth. It are English, are almost entirely unknown in opens with enrolling Henry V. and Edward the remote parts of the kingdom; many which III. among “the monarchs who merit the are perfectly pure and classical, a person living people's gratitude ;” nay, it singles them in Scotland would fear to use as doubting their out from among the list on which William correctness. That Robertson, however, had III., Edward I., and Alfred himself stand encarefully studied the best writers, with a view rolled, and holds them up as the most grateto acquire genuine Angļicism, cannot be fully admired of all for the “ blessings and doubted. He was intimately acquainted with splendor of their reigns." Yet the wars of Swift's writings; indeed he regarded him as Henry V. are the only, and of Edward III. eminently skilled in the narrative art. He had almost the only deeds by which we can know the same familiarity with Defoe, and had them; or if any benefit accrued to our constiformed the same high estimate of his histori tution by these princes, it was in consequence cal powers. I know, that when a Professor of the pecuniary difficulties into which those in another University consulted him on the wars plunged them, but plunged their kingdoms best discipline for acquiring a good narrative too, so that our liberties made some gain from style, previous to drawing up John Bell of An- the dreadful expense of treasure and of blood termony's “ Travels across Russia to Tartary by which those conquerors exhausted their doand the Chinese Wall,” the remarkable ad- minions. Then Elizabeth is described as “still vice he gave him was to read Robinson Cru- adored in England;" and though her“ dissimsoe carefully; and when the Professor was as- ulation withont necessity, and her severity betonished, and supposed it was a jest, the histo- yond example," are recorded as making her
* "A somewhat similar scene occurred in the treatment of Mary an exception to the rest of House of Commons on the publication of Mr. her reign, it is noi stated that her whole life Tickell's culebrated jeu d'esprit, “Anticipation." was one tissue of the same gross falsehood It only appeared on the morning of the day when whenever she deemed it for her interest, or the session opened, and some of the speakers felt it suited her caprices, to practise artifices who had not read it verified it, to the no small as pitiful as they were clumsy. amusement of those who had.'
charge than dissimulation and severity as re
But a graver
gards the history of Mary is entirely suppress- other orator of our age and country-with ed, and yet the foul crime is described in the the one exception of the Bishop of Exeter. same work. It is undeniable that Elizabeth But Lord Brougham is equally successful, did not cause her to be executed until she had repeatedly endeavored to make Sir Amyas
when it so pleases him, in a much more
We do Paulett and Sir Drue Drury, who had the cus- temperate and subdued manner. tody of her person, take her off' by assassina- not know where--even in Clarendon or tion. When those two gallant cavaliers re- Scott--we could find any thing either jected the infamous proposition with indigna- fuller of nice discrimination, or more quiettion and with scorn, she attacked them as ly elegant in language, than the sketch “ dainty” and “precise fellows,” “men prom- which must close our extracts. ising much and performing nothing;' nay, she was with difficulty dissuaded from displa
• Without any
thing of harshness or cing them, and employing one Wingfield in their stead, " who had both courage and in
sanaticism, Dr. Robertson was rationally clination to strike the blow." Then finding pious and purely moral. His conduct boin she could not commit murder, she signed the as a Christian minister, as a member of warrant for Mary's execution; and immediate- society, as a relation, and as a friend, was ly perpetrated a crime only less foul than mur- wholly withoui a stain. His affections were der, treacherously denying
her handwriting, warm; they were ever under control, and and destroying by heavy fine and long in therefore equal and steady. His feelings prisonment the Secretary of State whom she might pass for being less strong and lively had herself employed to issue the fatal war
than they were, partly because he had an inrant. History, fertile in its records of royal superable aversion to extremes in all things, crimes, offers to our execration few such char- partly because, for fear of any semblance of acters as that of this great, successful, and pretension, to which he was yet more averse, popular princess. An assassin in her heart, nay, really was, in order to avoid the possibility of
he preferred appearing less moved than hé in her councils and her orders; an oppressor feeling less than he externally showed. But of the most unrelenting cruelty in her whole he was of opinions respecting conduct which conduct: a hypocritical dissenbler, to who led to keeping the feelings under curh, and falsehood was habitual, honest frankness strange-such is the light in which she ought towards the philosophy and discipline of the
never giving way to them; he leant in this to he ever held up, as long as humanity and Stoics: and he also held, which was not apt truth shall bear any value in the eyes of men. That she rendered great service to her sub-1 to beyet the same mistake as 10 the warmth of
his heart, that exhibitions of sorrow, any more jects; that she possessed extraordinary firmness of character as a sovereign, with despica- that such emotions should as far as possible
than of boisterous mirth, were unfitto be made; ble weakness as an individual ; that she gov- be reduced to moderation even in private ; erned her dominions with admirable prudence, but that in society they were altogether misand guided her course through as great difficullies in the affairs of the state, and still more
He considered, and
placed and mistimed. in those of the church, as beset the path of rightly considered, that if a person laboring
any any who ever ruled, is equally incontroverti
affictive feelings be well enough at ble; but there is no such thing as "right of ease to go into company, he gives a sort of set-off” in the judgments which impartial his- pledge that he is so far recovered of his
wound, or at least can so far conceal his pains, tory has to pronounce—no doctrine of compensation in the code of public morals; and held, and rightly held, that men fequent soci
as to behave like the rest of the circle. He he who undertakes to record the actions of princes, and to paint their characters, is not their unwieldy joys, but to instruct, or improve;
ely not to pour forth their sorrows, or indulgc at liberty to cast a veil over undeniable im
or amuse each other hy rational and cheerful persections, or suffer himself like the giddy vulgar to be so dazzled by vulgar glory that conversation. For himself, when he left his
study, leaving behind him with the dust of his his eyes are blind to crime.'-pp. 282–285.
books, the anxious look, the wrinkled brow, the This is a masterly specimen. Every others to greet his arrival with the like free.
disturbed or absent thoughis, he also expected one perceives that here is the style of a dom from cares of all sorts; and especially he man largely practised in public speaking, disliked to have his hours of relaxation sadand that in transferring it to the biogra- dened with tales of misery, interesting to no pher's desk he would have done well to one, unless, which is never the object of such ihrow aside some license in the redundant narratives, there be a purpose of obtaining use of certain oratorical artifices. But spo
relief. ken or written it is a masculine, nervous, varied. Vast information, copious anecdote,
His conversation was cheerful, and it was glowing style; and one formed and fashioned, we cannot but think, after more pa- or description wholly free from pedantry or
perfect appositeness of illustration-narration tient study of the great masters, ancient stiffness
, but as felicitous and as striking as and modern, than is to be traced in any might be expected from such a master
great liveliness, and often wit and often hu- biographies with which the world is already mor, with a full disposition 10 enjoy the merri- familiar. Lord Brougham knew Sir Ilumment of the hour, but the most scrupulous ab- phrey from the dawn of his celebrity, and sence of every thing like coarseness of any scription : these formed the staples of his talk. saw far more of him, as a member of the One thing he never tolerated any more than most brilliant society in London, than Dr. he did the least breach of decorum-it was Paris, or even his brother, Dr. Davy, apamong the few matters which seemed to try /pears to have done. In our opinion his his temper-he could not bear evil speaking Lordship speaks too slightingly of Sir or want of charity. No one was likely ever Humphrey's verses—we think the stanzas to wrangle with another before him; but he on the doctrine of Spinoza are alone suffialways put down at once any attempt to assail the absent.
cient to prove that he possessed a true poHis manner was not gracelul in little mat- etical genius : so thought Scott, Southey, ters, though his demeanor was dignified on the Coleridge ;-and we regret the more to find whole. In public it was unimpassioned till Lord Brougham of a different judgment on some great hurst came from him; then it par- this head, because the present volume, took of the fire of the moment, and soon re among many other attractions, includes lapsed into dignified composure. In private it had some litile awkwardness, not very per: by Lord Brougham himself-translations
some excellent specimens of versification ceptible except to a near and minute observer. His language was correct and purely Eng. from Voltaire. These were proper recrealish, avoiding both learned words and foreign tions for the marine villa in Provence phraseology and Scottish expressions, but his (whence he dates his preface): some other speech was strongly tinged with the Scoitish matters might as well have been reserved accent. His voice I well remember, nor was for the well-stored library of Broughain it easy to forget it; nothing could be more Hall—'Bosomed high in tufted trees.' pleasing. It was full and it was calm, but it had a tone of heartiness and sincerity which I hardly ever knew in any other. He was in person above the middle size-his features were strongly marked-his forehead was high and open--the expression of his mou!h was that of repose, and of sweetness at the same
NATURAL HISTORY OF CREATION. time.
The only particulars of his manners and person which I recollect, are his
From the Edinburgh Review. cocked hat, which he always wore even in the country; his stately gait, particularly in a
Vestiges of the Natural History of Creawalk which he loved to frequent !o the woods
tion. 8vo. London: 1845. at Brougham, where I was never but once This is a remarkable book, and has had while he visited tiere, and in which he slowly a sudden run of public favor. A fourth recited sometimes Latin verses, sometimes edition has just appeared; but our last peGreek; a very slight guttural accent in his
rusal having been bestowed upon the thir), speech, which gave it a particular fulness; and his retaining some old-fashioned modes of we shall reser to it in all our extracts, exaddress, as using the word “ madam” at full cept where the first may demand some length; and when he drank wine with any passing notice. The book treats of Coswoman, adding “My humble service to you. mogonies in the largest sense in which When in the country he liked to be left en- that high-sounding word was ever used by tirely 10 himself in the morning, either to read
man; and the author, aster soaring with us or to walk, or to drive about.'-p. 316.
among the clouds, and giving us a bold
outline of the “ Nebular hypothesis,' comes We cannot now encounter any of Lord down to the lower world, and tells us of the Brougham's 'Men of Science.' His 'Cav. wonders of the earth, and of the marvelendish' is more likely to please the French lous organic forms, in successive generaInstitute than the Royal Society of Lon- tions, which geologists have brought up don : we believe we must examine it seri- froni the regions of darkness, and put beously in a separate article. The Simpson fore us in the light of day. He then unis, we think, the best of this class. The folds his theory of Animal Development, in life of Black has, like those of Hume and which we learn that the humblest organic Robertson, plentiful marks of access to structures began first, and were produced original sources of intelligence: and that by Electricity, or some like power
of comof Davy, though short, will be found a very mon nature—That to begin living strucvaluable supplement, as respects personal tures any other way, 'would be an inconcharacter and manners, to the two elaborate Iceivably paltry exercise of creative power.'
That nature having thus made a start, all without having any just conception of the difficulties are over; for by progressive methods by which men, after the toil of breeding, the first monads will work their many generations, have ascended, step by way, without any external help, through all step, to the higher elevations of physical the ascending scale of things, up to Mon- knowledge—without any even glimmering keys; and that Monkeys will, in like man- conception of what men mean when they ner, become at length the parents of Men. tell us of Inductive Science and its sober He then appeals, in confirmation of his truths. views, to the successive organic forms But if this be so, how, it may be asked, found in the old strata of the earth, and to are we to account for the popularity of the the fætal forms of men and beasts; and so work, and the sudden sale of edition after builds up a scale of nature which is to be edition ? Men who are fed on nothing better an index of a universal creative law. than the trash of literature, and who have
The work issystematic and well got up for never waded beyond the surface of the its purpose, so far as regards its outer form; things they pretend to know, must needs and in the latter part of this article we delight in the trashy skimoiings of philosomean to track the vestiges in their own phy; and we venture to affirm that no man natural order. But in the concluding who has any name in science, properly so chapters of the work, many subjects (such called, whether derived from profound as the circular system of natural history, study, or original labor in the field, has phrenology, animal instincts in comparison spoken well of the book, or regarded it with human reason, the origin of language, with any feelings but those of depp averand the diffusion of the various families of sion. We say this advisedly, after exthe human race) pass under review. All changing thoughts with some of the best of them we cannot notice, but some we are informed men in Britain. The public, who compelled to glance at; and we do so in are not able to judge from their own knowthe first instance, that our more general ledge, must therefore be plainly told, that views may be less interrupted, and hoping the philosophy of the author is borrowed in this introductory matter to make our from a false and shallow School; and that readers comprehend the peculiar qualities the consequences he dares to draw from it, of our author's mind, and his mode of deal- so far as they are new in the scientific liteing with great physical questions.
rature of our country, are nothing better It follows of necessity, that in the pro- than mischievous, and sometimes antisocial, gress of such a work, subjects must be nonsense. brought under review which bear upon al
The book tells us of things new to many most every question belonging to natural of us—and all of us delight in novelties. science; and we find that every thing is It lifts up the curtain of the dissecting-room, touched upon, while nothing is firmly and publishes its secrets in rounded sengrasped. We have not the strong master- tences of seeming reverence, and in the hand of an independeni laborer, either in conventional language of good society. the field or closet, shown for a single in- Things useful, and good, and excellent in stant. All in the book is shallow : and all one place, may be foul and mischievous in is at second-hand. The surface may be another. The world cannot bear to be beautiful; but it is the glitter of gold-leaf turned upside down; and we are ready to without the solidity of the precious metal. wage an internecine war with any vioThe style is agreeable-sometimes charm- lation of our modest principles and soing; and noble sentiments are scattered cial manners. Hercules, when he took here and there; but these harmonies are the distaff in hand, made only a sorry never lasting. Sober truth and solemn thread; and we presume that Omphale nonsense, strangely blended, and offered to found her hero's club but a clumsy spindle. us in a new material jargon, break discord- It is our maxim, that things must keep their antly on our ears, and hurt our better feel- proper places if they are to work together ings.
for any good. If our glorious maidens and The author is intensely hypothetical, and matrons may not soil iheir fingers with the builds his castles in the air, misconceiving dirty knife of the anatomist, neither may the principles of science, or misunderstand they poison the springs of joyous thought ing the facts with which it has to deal; or, and modest feeling, by listening to the sewhat is worse still, distorting them to serve ductions of this author; who comes before his purpose. He does all this, apparently, them with a bright, polished, and many-co
lored surface, and the serpent coils of a continued labor by which every new posifalse philosophy, and asks them again to tion has been won; and, above all, he has stretch out their hands and pluck forbidden learned the immeasurable depth of his own fruit—to talk familiarly with him of things ignorance, when he applies his faculties to which cannot be so much as named without any higher order of material causation beraising a blush upon a modest cheek ;- yond the known truths he derives from who tells them—that their Bible is a fable others, or from his own observations and when it teaches them that they were made experiments. No man living, who has in the image of God—that they are the chil- not partaken of this kind of labor, or, to say dren of apes and the breeders of monsters the very least, who has not thoroughly —that he has annulled all distinction be- mastered the knowledge put before his tween physical and moral, (p. 315)—and senses by the labors of other men, has
any that all the phenomena of the universe, right to toss out his fantastical crudities dead and living, are to be put before the before the public, and give himself the airs mind in a new jargon, and as the progres- of a legislator over the material world. sion and development of a rank, unbending, If we know not the author personally, we and degrading materialism.
may well rejoice in our ignorance; for our But who is the author ? We thought, criticisms have not the semblance of perwhen we began 'The Vestiges,' that we sonal hostility. It is an imperious sense of could trace therein the markings of a wo- duty, and an unflinching love of truth, man's foot. We now confess our error; which dictate the language of this article; and for having entertained it, we crave and in writing it we are moved by ill-will pardon of the sex. We were led to this to no one. We may, however, dissect the delusion by certain charms of writing—by author's mind from the character of his the popularity of the work-by its ready book; and we believe him to be an accombounding over the fences of the tree of plished, and, in a certain sense, a well-inknowledge, and its utter neglect of the nar- formed but superficial person. He exhibrow and thorny entrance by which we may its a not uncommon union of skepticism lawfully approach it; above all, by the sin- and credulity. The combination is not by cerity of faith and love with which the au- any means unnatural; for it often requires thor devotes himself to any system he has good and long training to cure a man of taken to his bosum. We thought that no man subtle doubts, and the first advances of could write so much about natural science knowledge often lead men of ardent minds without having dipped below the surface, into rash and incongruous conclusions. at least in some department of it. In Again, the author is a man of imagination, thinking this, we now believe we were mis- and delights in resemblances--sometimes taken.
real, and sometimes (strange to tell) only But let us not be misunderstood. With- to be found in the similarity of sounds, by in all the becoming bounds of homage, we which, from the natural imperfection of would do honor to the softer sex little language, things entirely different are conshort of adoration. In taste, and sentiment, founded under common terms. He hardly and instinctive knowledge of what is right seems to know that in the veriest child and good-in discrimination of human the perception of resemblances far outcharacter, and what is most befitting in all strips the realities of knowledge. It is the the moral duties of common life—in every part of science to anatomize external things, thing which forms, not merely the grace and to follow out their differences ; and and ornament, but is the cementing princi- then, and not till then, to arrange them in ple and bond of all that is most exalted and their proper places and speculate on their delightful in society, we would place our mutual bearings. highest trust in woman. But we know, by He is so enamored of resemblances, that long experience, that the ascent up the hill he will cheat his senses by mere similitudes of science is rugged and thorny, and ill-fit- of sound. Every one has heard of the ted for the drapery of a petticoat; and ways quickness of thought-of 'glancing from must be passed over, which are toilsome to heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,' the body, and sometimes loathsome to the --and who has not heard of the velocity of senses. And every one who has ventured the galvanic Auid? Therefore, the speed on these ways, has learned a lesson of hu- of thought may be reduced to numbers, and mility from his own repeated failures. a man may think at the rate of 192,000 has learned to appreciate the enormous and miles a second ! We know well that the