expected advantage to the church, they never flinch- . ed before persecuting tyrants and hostile armies. If they set the lives of others at nought in comparison of their doctrines, they were equally ready to throw away their own. Such were the authors of the great schism on the continent and in the northern part of this island. The Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse, the Prince of Conde and the King of Navarre, Moray and Morton, might espouse the Protestant opinions, or might pretend to espouse them; but it was from Luther, from Calvin, from Knox, that the Reformation took its character.


Already we seem to ourselves to perceive the signs of unquiet times, the vague presentiment of something great and strange which pervades the community; the restless and turbid hopes of those who have everything to gain, the dimly-hinted forebodings of those who have everything to lose. Many indications might be mentioned, in them. selves indeed as insignificant as straws ; but even the direction of a straw, to borrow the illustration of Bacon, will show from what quarter the hurricane is setting in.

A great statesman might, by judicious and timely reformations, by reconciling the two great branches of the natural aristocracy, the capitalists and the landowners, by so widening the base of the government as to interest in its defence the whole of the middling class, that brave, honest, and sound-heart

ed class, which is as anxious for the maintenance of order, and the security of property, as it is hostile to corruption and oppression, succeed in averting a struggle to which no rational friend of liberty or of law can look forward without great 'apprehensions. There are those who will be contented with nothing but demolition; and there are those who shrink from all repair. There are innovators who long for a President and a National Convention; and there are bigots who, while cities larger and richer than the capitals of many great kingdoms are calling out for representatives to watch over their interests, select some hackneyed jobber in boroughs, some peer of the narrowest and smallest mind, as the fittest depositary of a forfeited franchise. Between these extremes there lies a more excellent way. Time is bringing around another crisis analogous to that which occurred in the seventeenth century. We stand in a situation similar to that in which our ancestors stood under the reign of James the First. It will soon again be necessary to reform, that we may preserve; to save the fundamental principles of the constitution, by alterations in the subordinate parts. It will then be possible, as it was possible two hundred years ago, to protect vested rights, to secure every useful institution-every institution endeared by antiquity and noble associations; and, at the same time, to introduce into the system improvements harmonising with the original plan. It remains to be seen whether two hundred years have made us wiser.

We know of no great revolution which might not have been prevented by compromise early and gra


ciously made. Firmness is a great virtue in public
affairs; but it has its proper sphere. Conspiracies
and insurrections in which small minorities are en-
gaged, the outbreakings of popular violence uncon-
nected with any extensive project or any durable
principle, are best repressed by vigor and decision.
To shrink from them is to make them formidable.
But no wise ruler will confound the pervading taint
with the slight local irritation. No wise ruler will
treat the deeply seated discontents of a great party,
as he treats the conduct of a mob which destroys
mills and power looms. The neglect of this distinc-
tion has been fatal even to governments strong in
the power of the sword. The present time is in-
deed a time of peace and order. But it is at such
a time that fools are most thoughtless, and wise men
most thoughtful. That the discontents which have
agitated the country during the late and the present
reign, and which, though not always noisy, are
never wholly dormant, will again break forth with
aggravated symptoms, is almost as certain as that
the tides and seasons will follow their appointed
course. But in all movements of the human mind
which tend to great revolutions, there is a crisis at
which moderate concession may amend, conciliate,
and preserve. Happy will it be for England if, at
that crisis, her interests be confided to men for
whom history has not recorded the long series of
human crimes and follies in vain.


Mr. Burke, assuredly, possessed an understanding admirably fitted for the investigation of truth—an understanding stronger than that of any statesman, active or speculative; of the eighteenth centurystronger than everything, except his own fierce and ungovernable sensibility. Hence, he generally chose his side like a fanatic, and defended it like a philosopher. His conduct, in the most important events of his life, at the time of the impeachment of Hastings, for example, and at the time of the French Revolution, seems to have been prompted by those feelings and motives which Mr. Coleridge has so happily described :

“ Stormy pity and the cherished lure

Of pomp, and proud precipitance of soul.” Hindostan, with its vast cities, its gorgeous pagodas, its infinite swarms of dusky population, its long-descended dynasties, its stately etiquette, excited in a mind so capacious, so imaginative, and so susceptible, the most intense interest. The peculiarities of the costume, of the manners, and of the laws, the very mystery which hung over the language and origin of the people seized his imagination. To plead in Westminster Hall, in the name of the English people, at the bar of the English nobles, for great nations and kings separated from him by half the world, seemed to him the height of human glory. Again, it is not difficult to perceive, that his hostility to the French Revolution principally arose from the vexation which he felt, at having all his old political associations disturbed, at seeing the well-known boundary marks of states obliterated, and the names and distinctions with which the history of Europe had been filled for ages, swept away. He felt like an antiquarian whose shield had been scoured, or a connoisseur who found his Titian re. touched. But however he came by an opinion, he had no sooner got it than he did his best to make out a legitimate title to it. His reason, like a spirit in the service of an enchanter, though spell-bound, was still mighty. It did whatever work his passions and his imagination might impose. But it did that work, however arduous, with marvellous dexterity and vigor. His course was not determined by argument; but he could defend the wildest course by arguments more plausible, than those by which common men support opinions which they have adopted after the fullest deliberation. Reason has scarcely ever displayed, even in those well constitu ted minds of which she occupies the throne, so much power and energy as in the lowest offices of that imperial servitude.


His descriptions, great as was their intrinsic merit, derived their principal interest from the feeling which always mingled with them. He was himself the beginning, the middle, and the end of all his own poetry, the hero of every tale, the chief object in every landscape. Harold, Lara, Manfred, and a crowd of other characters, were universally consid.

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