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pre-requisites to future happiness; and if duty permitted them to be silent on this head, assuredly policy, in these times, would enjoin them to be so. But when, instead of this abstinence, the writers before us have expressly and optionally pointed at religion in order virtually to explode it by means of Mr. Fox's character, we are compelled to offend some readers perhaps once more, by asserting (notwithstanding our ardent love of liberty and admiration of Mr. Fox), that it is necessary for a man to be a Christian, even though he be an excellent statesman and consummate orator.
The letter of Philopatris completes the first volume. It combines sketches of Mr. Fox's character with a desultory discussion of the political principles on which he acted, and a great number of incidental topics, moral, philosophical, and literary. The writer's mind is teeming over with all manner of knowledge, and unfettered from all manner of method. Not however that he cannot, when he pleases, show himself a most perfect master of every art of arrangement, and every dexterity of logic. But he is too sprightly to carry on this arrangement and logic with a protracted regularity. The composition runs, jumps, and darts, along a mazy and endless series of luckinesses, smartnesses, quaintnesses, artifices, acutenesses, and brilliances. At every inch the irregular track is beset with subtilties, discriminations, and antitheses. Between vivid fancy and intellectual sharpness all the paragraphs are just like chevaux de frize ; throw them in any way you please, they still present a point. And for passing with perfect ease from one department of literature and knowledge to another, Philopatris is the very Mercury. Nay, we will acknowledge our suspicions that we have got an avatar of the Hindoo god Crishna, of whom it is recorded, that, at one particular season in ancient times, he would present himself, all at his ease, in whichsoever of a vast variety of apartments the amazed beholder might successively look into. Within the space of a dozen pages, our author shall be found in the ancient classics and the modern reviews, in politics and in particles, in antiquities and incidents of the day, in theology, morals, history, poetry, and contemporary biography, in the company of Solon and Thales, and that of Sir Samuel Romilly. And yet, from his mind being so full of analogies, which approach to a contact at so many points, his transitions do not appear awkward or abrupt. But the transition in which he shows the most amazing facility, is that from all things and languages into Greek. By some inconceivable law of juxta-position he seems on the very edge of this at all times and places.
In this slight description we refer fully as much to the volume of notes as to the Letter concerning Fox, in which Letter the strong interest of friendship has kept the writer more constant to his subject. In many points this Letter does eminent justice to the subject, as it abounds with acute discriminations.
The volume of notes is absolutely a Hercynian forest, on which, after the undue length of time already expended on the work, we must not enter. The mass is not the less multifarious from its being almost all comprised in two NOTES, each of them about two hundred
pages long. The one is on the subject of the penal laws, the other on Fox's historical work. In the former the author proposes to abrogate the whole penal code, and replace it by a more mild and philosophical system, in a great measure declining the aid of capital punishment. The several species of crime are ingeniously discussed, with a view to the proof that some other form of punishment would better correct or avenge. In the miscellaneous discourse put in the form of a note on the subject of Mr. Fox's work, there is a great deal of research into the ecclesiastical history of our country.-Philopatris is the ardent friend of the principles of civil liberty and of religious liberty-as far as concerns the Roman Catholics; but it seems there has of late years arisen a most pestilent set of fanatics, under the assumed name of evangelical Christians, the outcasts of reason, the disgrace of our country, and the danger of our established church. Well then, shall we persecute them, shall we coerce them? Oh no, says he, I am the enthusiastic friend of freedom ; we must only “ by well-considered and wellapplied regulations restrain them.” And this is all that has been learned from all the argument and eloquence of Fox! We have never so impressively felt the superiority of that great patriot's mind, and the irreparable loss the nation has suffered in his removal, as since we have seen how little of his principles and of his illumination have been left among his professed friends and disciples. This most learned work, after soaring and glittering a length of eight hundred pages ends in the completest bathos that ever learned performance merged in — it actually falls and splashes in praises of the " Barrister."
[December, 1808.] Christianity in India. An Essay on the Duty, Means, and Consequences,
of introducing the Christian Religion among the Native Inhabitants of the British Dominions in the East. By J. W. CUNNINGHAM, A.M., late Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. 8vo.
No state of society in which a man can be educated is sufficiently pure and enlightened, to prepare him for beholding, with a correct impression, the condition of the various tribes of mankind with respect to religion. He may first be carefully taught, and may afterwards deeply study, the nature and tendency of religion, as exhibited in the scriptures and the works of the Christian writers; and in such a course of instructions and study he must no doubt have formed to himself an elevated idea of the effect which would be produced on the human mind and character, and on the general state of society, by the complete and unmodified operation of Christianity ; but still his idea of this effect will be greatly below the right standard, if during this course he is in a situation for seeing much of the character of mankind. While the mind is attempting to model a finished character, and to give the full prominence in this ideal picture to the fair virtues of devotion, faith, humility, sanctity, and charity, and while it is attempting to imagine a world full of beings, of such an amiable and celestial kind, -it is impossible that the crippled, diminutive, and deformed shapes, which for the most part these virtues are doomed to wear in the Christian world, continually intruding on his sight, should not materially pervert the operation by which the mind is endeavouring to form to itself the idea of a complete Christian and of a Christian world, and infuse into that idea a certain measure of the surrounding and prevailing imperfection. The artist who produced the Medicean Venus would in vain, with the same genius,
have attempted such a phenomenon, in the course of a long residence among the Hottentots, even though furnished with a volume of the clearest and minutest instructions and descriptions relative to the principles and lines of beauty; his power of delineating in his imagination a perfect form would have been depraved by an invincible pre-occupation. It is true indeed, that, in our attempt to form a noble conception of what an individual or a numerous society under the perfect government of the Christian religion would be, we are assisted not only by a book of precepts and definitions, but also by many ancient and modern examples, of an excellence approaching in a respectable degree toward completely embodying the Christian principles. And this is most valuable assistance ; but still, these examples are not so often presented to view, nor so habitually present to thought, as to preclude much of the operation of that unfortunate influence, by which the crowd of men as they are lowers our conception of what man ought to be. And with this imperfect standard of the excellence of Christianity gradually fixed in his mind, a man cannot feel the utmost of that disgust and regret which should in justice be excited by their religion around him. Besides, if it were possible to acquire and preserve, amidst so much irreligion, a perfect standard in the judgment, yet the moral feelings, which ought to accompany the application of it, would be deficient in vividness, as habit tends to make us indifferent in beholding that of which we even perceive all the evil.
In order to imagine a man who should feel the perfectly correct and full impression from a view of the state of religion in the several parts of this ill-fated world, we must suppose him possessed of extreme sensibility, early and progressively affected by the grand truths and objects of religion, brought up, till the age of maturity in the society of two or three of the purest and most devout of human beings, in a state of entire seclusion from the world, well inclined to believe that mankind are now far better than, if what history he has read do not libel them, they formerly were, and chiefly