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““I engage with a heart determined to serve you and Mr. Lacy (to whom, as I have not the pleasure of being known, I hope you will be pleased to make my compliments) to the utmost stretch of my power with the most eager sincerity. * * # # # #
““Depend upon this, Sir, I have experience, and I do not come to you without looking forward upon all probable events. Nor am I like a child, fond of a change because the prospect is new. I have long considered the chance of coming to Drury Lane: I have carefully considered the succession of actors here, whether friends or foes, in regard to their opinion of my abilities: and though I have met with constant encouragement, still have I paused upon the danger. Had you ever seen me play, all this would have been at an end, for though your good nature ever leads you to the kind side of the question, I am certain you discover the least degree of merit at once, and rich beyond all count in the possession of it yourself, are always ready to acknowledge your poorest relatives. Thus convinced of your supremacy (forgive me if I dwell too much on my favourite subject) I come to you with no will of my own, but always to be guided by yours. I am sure you will do me justice: and I am prepared to strain every nerve for your service, and to keep an eternal eye to your interest. I have obtained no end in getting a decent salary from you, if I deceive your expectations: but if, as I am bold enough to hope, my Falstaff should fill some houses, and what is much more, obtain your approbation, think not it is possible I should presume one atom from thence, and think myself underpaid, as I dare say many a weak man has done. No, Sir, my chief, my first, my ardent desire is to rise in your opinion, and to that goal my course will ever be directed. You mention my assistance in pantomimes: I am glad you think I can assist in that or in any thing else you command me. I shall have no kind of avocation from my business, and my whole time will be yours.”
So much for the importunity of players. Should we turn to the persecution which Garrick endured from the authors, of both sexes, in his day, we should find a precious specimen of it in high-flown remonstrances of a tragic poetess of Reading, who describes herself as living not far from the market-place, immersed, she says, in business and in debt, sometimes madly hoping to gain a competency; sometimes justly fearing dungeons and distress.
We believe we have now placed before the reader whatever is contained in this volume which can have the slightest claim to his interest. We regret, on every account, that it was not in our power to offer a more favourable opinion of its merits, and we sincerely hope that the second volume will compensate, in some measure, for the deficiencies of its predecessor. In justice to the memory of Garrick, we cannot avoid declaring, that the perusal of his letters has tended very considerably to raise him in our esteem, as we are confident it will in that of the public at large. The malignity of enemies, and the too easy credulity of his friends, have contributed to place many parts of the character of Garrick in a very doubtful point of view. But his letters, for the most part, are calculated to dissipate every suspicion that was raised against the soundness of his heart, and the strength of his good sense. Few that read his varied communications, whether to those who were his superiors in rank, or his inferiors, but will admit that as he showed no unbecoming subserviency to the one, so did he exhibit no arrogance to the others. An accusation of illiberality may easily be made against him whose charity is administered in secret, whose kindness is displayed without ostentation. This, we believe, was the case with Garrick. The good editor of this correspondence will surely excuse us if we take a very decided exception to the style and manner of his commentaries. From what we have observed of him, it appears to us that old age has quite obliterated any faculty he may have once enjoyed, of distinguishing between very offensive coarseness and polished wit—between confused and unintelligible sentences, and profound remarks. If this gentleman would confine himself to the far more useful, though humbler, task of illustration and exposition, he would certainly act more in accordance with his own capacity, and shew a great deal more tenderness for the memory of Garrick.
ART. II.-The Morning Watch : or Quarterly Journal on Prophecy, and Theological Review. No. XI. London: Nisbet. 1831.
We are now quite clear that the Rev. Edward Irving is bound to take out a license for his “Morning Watch;’ inasmuch as nobody, we presume, can deny that an asylum where rampant prophets, and polyglot maid servants, are protected, and where, after all his insane pranks, such a patient as missionary Woolff (of whom more anon) is received with open arms, no one, we repeat, can deny that such a receptacle as this comes strictly within the jurisdiction of the Commissioners of Lunacy. In the mean time we shall consider ourselves at liberty to comment on the administration of the keeper of this fantastic establishment, and that too with our usual freedom, notwithstanding all the coarse and unchristian rebukes with which the reverend defendant has thought proper to meet our strictures. He says that for those who rail and write against him and his coadjutors, as if they were a set of madmen, and who look upon a man that expects an answer to his prayer, as one well nigh beside himself—for such he has nothing to say: he joins no issue with them—they are profane and reckless men, who have nothing to lose, and as little to gain in the controversy, and with whom that subject is a matter of speculation, witticism, and raillery, which, to him, is a matter of life and death. Being but indifferently versed in theological lore, we confess our inability to compete with the reverend gentleman in the language of abuse: and this rivalship we are the less disposed to enter upon, since Mr. Irving has also claimed our attention in the unobjectionable capacity of a reasoning advocate. Our honour is always touched by an appeal from such a quarter, and we feel ourselves no longer at liberty to reject an overture, which is founded even on the pretence of an argument. Some of our readers will perhaps remember, that in examining the statements of the miracle-mongers of Port Glasgow, we parti- . cularly dwelt on the pretended gift of tongues, wherewith Mary Campbell was said to be wonderfully endowed. We observed that the strange languages in which she spoke, were comprehended by no human being that ever heard them: and we are informed that some characters, purporting to belong to them, being traced on paper, the learned professor Lee, the universal modern linguist, declared them to belong to a tongue of which he never before suspected the existence. . We then took the liberty of contending, that if the Almighty intended to distinguish the Scotch church by some signal testimony of his favour, he would not have selected for that purpose such a means as no one could possibly appreciate. The ower of conferring the knowledge of languages, by miraculous interposition, was the same, whatever was the nature of the tongue; and we concluded, that if a striking effect were intended to be made on the world by means of a sudden endowment of this sort, it would be of a character respecting which no mistake could arise. Mary Campbell, and her coadjutors, addressed the assemblages at Port Glasgow in a gibberish, which defied the comprehension of all her hearers. Why did not she, an uneducated woman, address the company in Latin, French, or Italian, or any tongue in which her proficiency could be ascertained ? If she did so, there was no disputing her title to an immediate inspiration: but that the Creator should determine in the first place to satisfy the nation, by some extraordinary token of his favour, that the Scotch church was the only true one, and yet that the said token should be of a nature that was particularly calculated to provoke doubt and incredulity, is a policy which, in our humble but very deliberate judgment, it would be blasphemous to impute to Providence. We have said this already, and we now repeat it. . We find that Mr. Irving has felt the force of the objection, and he has endeavoured, in a long and laboured article in the journal before us, to remove it. How far he has succeeded in doing so, the reader is left to decide for himself. For our own parts we must say, that we never met with a piece of sophistry, which gives us a more unfavourable impression of the intellect as well as morality of the mind that gave it birth, than that to which we now refer. The article is purposely complicated: it embraces several propositions; they are very pithy, sometimes very bold and confident, but they are all beside the purpose. The writer endeavours to show that the mode of communicating the gift of tongues in the case of the Apostles, resembled, in some respects, the manner in which the same privilege was conferred on Mary Campbell; that is to say, first, the gift
was not granted for the purpose of preaching to the heathen : secondly, the tongues were not necessarily understood by the speakers of them, word for word: thirdly, the tongues were not understood by the hearers of them word for word. Now, if all this be true with respect to the Apostles, of course the same objection applies to the miracle in their instance, as forcibly as it does in that of Mary Campbell, because the Almighty would have worked a miracle in vain, by having enabled the Apostles to speak a language which no hearer of theirs could understand. Mr. Irving, we are shocked to say, maintains that this is the fact: he argues as if the Apostles poured forth on Pentecost-day an unintelligible dialect, a language that could not be recognised by any audience, which could have access to their preaching. This he does for the sake of giving colour to the most contemptibly contrived fraud that ever disgraced the annals of priestcraft. Mr. Irving knows right well that the gift of tongues to the Apostles, laid, as it was intended to do, the great foundation of that success amongst the Jews which crowned the labours of the apostles. What is the evidence of the Acts of the Apostles on this matter? Why, they record that when the Apostles began to speak in divers tongues, there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven, who came together to hear the Apostles, and who were confounded in mind because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were amazed, says the Sacred Record, and wondered, saying, Behold, are not all these Galileans, and how is it that we have heard every man in his own tongue wherein he was born ? Nay, the Acts of the Apostles actually specify the countries of the then known world, from which persons had been assembled at Jerusalem, and there was not a stranger, therefore, in that city, who was not struck with astonishment at the miracle which he witnessed. What then is more evident, than that this extraordinary act, by which the Almighty conferred the gift of languages on the Apostles, was destined to be a sign to all nations; the whole effect of the miracle depended upon its being easily understood and duly appreciated ; it was not a single language which was communicated to the Apostles, but every language which every stranger in Jerusalem understood was opened to them. Can we then deny for an instant that, in this case at least, the Almighty, in performing a miracle, adopted that course, which would leave the witnesses of it without a shadow of doubt as to the reality of the wonderful act. It was an occasion on which every auditor was furnished with a criterion for himself to guide him in judging of the strange things which he had heard. And yet, by the grossest perversion of language and fact, is this miracle of unquestionable authenticity compared, in all its bearings and in its policy, to an audacious attempt, on the part of a set of pauper lunatics, to impose on the simplicity of their betters, by reciting a jabber, unknown, incomprehensible, unheard of before, but which they blasphemously assert is directly derived from the Almighty. **
We have been anxious to take this short method of showing to the public, how little reliance they are justified in placing on the statements respecting miracles, which may be promulgated in the * Morning Watch:’ and having urged so much by way of warning, we proceed, with the less reluctance, to some cases of “Recent Healings,” which we find trumpeted forth with all due solemnity by the same veracious authority. The first case is that of Mrs. Maxwell, whose wonderful cure is stated to be attested by two clergymen of the church of England. This lucky lady, it seems, had a bad knee for three-and-twenty years, and the case was regarded as hopeless by the faculty. The limb was first attacked by rheumatism, and under leeching and blistering it grew weak and thin, so as to cause paralysis of the limb. We must here pause to *bserve, that the notion of palsy being produced from such a cause as is here contemplated, is altogether ridiculous: nothing of the sort could happen. About eight years ago the other knee became bad also, and the disease yielded so little to very active treatment, that Mrs. Maxwell was obliged to have recourse to crutches. But in her first essay in the use of them, she managed so badly as to fall down a whole flight of stairs, which of course aggravated all her symptoms, and she kept her bed for some weeks. Her state varied during a considerable subsequent period, but for the three weeks previously to her miraculous cure she was confined to her bed. It seems that she consoled the solitude of her chamber by an occasional attention to theological literature; and upon reading in one of those pious periodicals which abound in such multiplicity in this metropolis, the providential healing of Miss Fancourt, our patient resolved on an experiment to get cured on the same convenient terms, if she could. She accordingly sent up petition after petition, to Heaven, and, fortunately for her, it was not long before her prayer was heard. We leave her to describe the sequel herself.
‘‘The extraordinary motion put into my limbs while praying, leaves no doubt upon my mind, that, had I then risen from my bed, the cure would have been performed; but I reasoned upon it; and although I stopped praying, and tried to compose myself several times, and the motion always returned when I resumed my prayer, I dared not get up, lest I should fall; and so my prayers ended with a feeling of disappointment. I did not like to speak of this, though it made a great impression upon my mind; and on the 6th of February, while praying fervently for spiritual blessings, I was again led to pray for the cure of my limbs, when the words, ‘Did I not tell thee, that if thou wouldst believe thou shouldst see the glory of God?’ were most powerfully applied; my faith increased, and I pleaded the promise, desiring only to know the Lord's will, not doubting his power. After some time, being exhausted, I was sitting, under the most soothing influence of the Spirit, contemplating the text. Keep yourself in the love of God, and in the patient waiting for Christ,’ when a desire suddenly came into my mind, that, if it were the Lord's will to restore me, He would put the same involuntary motion into my limb that I had before experienced, as a signal for me to rise and walk; upon which I resumed my
* (1831.) No. 11. O