Acter still more atrocious, as it affected not only “ What then is the fault with which this his personal but his clerical veracity. His in-worthy minister is charged ? He has usurped dignation naturally rose in proportion to his no dominion over conscience. He has exerted honesty, and with all the fortitude of injured no authority in support of doubtful and controhonesty, he dared his calumniator in the church, verted opinions. He has not dragged into light and at once exonerated himself from censure, a bashful and corrigible sinner. His censure and rescued his flock from deception and from was directed against a breach of morality, against danger. The man whom he accuses pretends an act which no man justifies. The man who not to be innocent: or at least only pretends ; appropriated this censure to himself, is evidentfor he declines a trial. The crime of which hely and notoriously guilty. His consciousness of is accused has frequent opportunities and strong bis own wickedness incited him to attack his temptations. It has already spread far, with faithful reprover with open insolence and print. much depravation of private morals, and much ed accusations. Such an attack made defence injury to public happiness. To warn the people, necessary; and we hope it will be at last detherefore, against it, was not wanton and offi- cided that the means of defence were just and cious, but necessary and pastoral.



LETTER ON DU HALDE'S HISTORY | easily to be explained, or defined; the latter has OF CHINA, 1738.

its foundation in good sense and reflection, and

evidently depends on the same principles with THERE are few nations in the world more talk- most human passions. ed of, or less known, than the Chinese. The An attentive reader will frequently feel each confused and imperfect account which travellers of these agreeable emotions in the perusal of Du bave given of their grandeur, their sciences, and Halde. He will find a calm, peaceful satisfactheir policy, have hitherto excited admiration, tion, when he reads the moral precepts and wise but have not been sufficient to satisfy even a instructions of the Chinese sages; he will find superficial curiosity. I therefore return you that virtue is in every place the same, and will my thanks for having undertaken, at so great look with new contempt on those wild reasoners, an expense, to convey to English readers the who affirm that morality is merely ideal, and most copious and accurate account, yet publish- that the distinctions between good and ill are ed, of that remote and celebrated people, whose wholly chimerical. antiquity, magnificence, power, wisdom, pecu- But he will enjoy all the pleasure that novelty liar customs, and excellent constitution, un- can afford, when he becomes acquainted with doubtedly deserve the attention of the public. the Chinese government and constitution; he

As the satisfaction found in reading descrip- will be amazed to find that there is a country tions of distant countries arises from a compari- where nobility and knowledge are the same, son which every reader naturally makes, be-wbere men advance in rank as they advance in tween the ideas which he receives from the re- learning, and promotion is the effect of virtuous lation, and those which were familiar to him industry, where no man thinks ignorance a before; or, in other words, between the coun- mark of greatness, or laziness the privilege of tries with which he is acquainted, and that high birth. which the author displays to his imagination ; His surprise will be still helgbtened by the so it varies according to the likeness or dissimi- relations he will there meet with of honest litude of the manners of the two nations. Any ministers, who, however incredible it may seem, custom or law unheard and unthought of before, have bee seen more than once in that monstrikes us with that surprise wbich is the effect archy, and have adventured to admonish the of novelty; but a practice conformable to our emperors of any deviation from the laws of own pleases us, because it flatters our self-love, their country, or any error in their conduct, by showing us that our opinions are approved that has endangered either their own spfety, or by the general concurrence of mankind. Of the happiness of their people. He will read of these two pleasures, the tirst is more violent, emperors, who, when they have been addressed the other more lasting; the first seems to par- in this manner, have neither stormed, vor take more of instinct than reason, and is not thrcatened, nor kicked their ministers, nor


thought it majestic to be obstinate in the wrong : | it. The marquis very gracefully acknowledged but have, with a greatness of mind worthy of a the civility of the duke's expressions, and deChinese monarch, brought their actions willing-clared himself satisfied with his grace's conduct; ly to the test of reason, law, and morality, and but thought it inconsistent with his honour to scorned to exert their power in defence of that accept the representation as a cession of the duke, which they could not support by argument. or on any other terms than as his own acknow

I must confess my wonder at these relations ledged right. The prince, being informed of the was very great, and had been much greater, had whole conversation, and having upon inquiry I not often entertained my imagination with an found all the precedents on the marquis's side, instance of the like conduct in a prince of thought it below his dignity to persist in an erEngland, on an occasion that happened not quite ror, and restoring the marquis to his right upon a century ago, and which I shall relate, that so bis own conditions, continued hiin in his favour, remarkable an example of spirit and firmness in believing that he might safely trust his affairs in a subject, and of conviction and compliance in a the hands of a man, who had so nice a sense of prince, may not be forgotten. And I hope that honour, and so much spirit to assert it. you will look upon this letter as intended to do honour to my country, and not to serve your interest by promoting your undertaking.

The prince, at the christening of his first son, had appointed a noble duke to stand as proxy

REVIEW OF THE ACCOUNT OF for the father of the princess, without regard to | THE CONDUCT OF THE DUTCHESS the claim of a marquis, (heir apparent to a higher

OF MARLBOROUGH. title,) to whom, as lord of the bed-chamber then in waiting, that honour properly belonged..

FROM THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, 1742. The marquis was wholly unacquainted with the affair, till he heard at dinner the duke's health The universal regard which is paid by mankind drunk by the name of the prince he was that to such accounts of public transactions as have evening to represent. This he took an oppor- been written by those who were engaged in tunity after dinner of inquiring the reason of, them, may be, with great probability, ascribed to and was informed by the prince's treasurer of his that ardent love of truth, which nature bas highness's intention. The marquis immediately kindled in the breast of man, and wbich remains declared, that he thought his right invaded, and even where every other laudable passion is exhis honour injured, which he could not bear tinguished. We cannot but read such narratives without requiring satisfaction from the usurper with uncommon curiosity, because we consider of his privileges ; nor would he longer serve a the writer as indubitably possessed of the ability prince who paid no regard to his lawful pre- to give us just representations, and do not always tensions. The treasurer could not deny that the reflect, that, very often, proportionate to the opmarquis’s claim was incontestable, and by his portunities of knowing the truth, are the temppermission acquainted the prince with his reso. tations to disguise it. lution. The prinoe thereupon sending for the Authors of this kind have at least an inconmarquis, demanded, with a resentful and impe- testable superiority over those whose passions rious air, how he could dispute his commands, are the same, and whose knowledge is less. It and by what authority he presumed to control is evident that those who write in their own him in the management of his own family, and defence, discover often more impartiality, and the christening of his own son. The marquis less contempt of evidence, than the advocates answered that he did not encroach upon the which faction or interest have raised in their prince's right, but only defended his own: that favour. he thought his honour concerned, and, as he was It is, however, to be remembered, that the a young man, would not enter the world with parent of all Memoirs, is the ambition of being the loss of his reputation. The prince, exasper- distinguished from the herd of mankind, and the ated to a very high degree, repeated his com- fear of either infamy or oblivion, passions which mands; but the marquis, with a spirit and firm-cannot but have some degree of influence, and ness not to be depressed or shaken, persisted in which may at least affect the writer's choice of bis determination to assert his claim, and con- facts, though they may not prevail upon him to cluded with declaring that he would do himself advance known falsehoods. He may aggravate The justice that was denied him, and that not or extenuate particular circumstances, though he de prince himself should trample on his charac- preserves the general transaction; as the general #r. He was then ordered to withdraw, and the likeness may be preserved in painting, though duke coming to him, assured him, that the ho- a blemish is hid, or a beauty improved. nour was offered him unasked; that when he Every man that is solicitous about the esteem accepted it, he was not informed of his lordship's of others, is in a great degree desirous of his claim, and that now he very willingly resigned own, and makes by cousequence his first apology for his conduct to himself; and when he has the disposition of King William, of whom it once deceived his own heart, which is for the may be collected from various instances that he greatest part too easy a task, he propagates the was arbitrary, insolent, gloomy, rapacious, and deceit in the world without reluctance or eon- brutal ; that he was at all times disposed to play sciousness of falsehood.

the tyrant; that he had neither in great things But to what purpose, it may be asked, are such nor in small the manners of a gentleman ; that refiections, except to produce a general incre- he was capable of gaining money by mean artidulity, and to make history of no use? The man fices; and that he only regarded his promise who knows not the truth cannot, and he who when it was his interest to keep it. knows it will not, tell it; what then remains, but There are doubtless great numbers who will to distrust every relation, and live in perpetual be offended with this delineation of the mind of negligence of past events; or what is still more the immortal William, but they wbose honesty disagreeable, in perpetual suspense?

or sense enables them to consider impartially That by such remarks some incredulity is the events of his reign, will not be enabled to indeed produced, cannot be denied, but distrust discover the reason of the frequent oppositions is a necessary qualification of a student in his which he encountered, and of the personal aftory. Distrust quickens his discernment of dif- fronts which he was sometimes forced to endure. ferent degrces of probability, animates his search They will observe that it is not always sufficient after evidence, and perhaps heightens his plea- to do right, and that it is often necessary to add sure at the discovery of truth; for truth, though gracefulness to virtue. They will recollect how not always obvious, is generally discoverable, nor vain it is to endeavour to gain men by great is it any where more likely to be found than in qualities, while our cursory behaviour is insolent private memoirs, which are generally published and offensive: and that those may be disgusted at a time when any gross falsehood may be de- by little things who can scarcely be pleased with tected by living witnesses, and which always great. contain a thousand incidents, of which the Charles the Second, by his affability and powriter could not have acquired a certain know- liteness, made himself the idol of the nation, ledge, and which he has no reason for disguising. which he betrayed and sold. William the Third

Such is the Account lately published by the was, for his insolence and brutality, hated by Dutchess of Marlborough, of her own Conduct, that people which he protected and enriched :by which those who are very little concerned had the best part of these two characters been about the character which it is principally in. , united in onc prince, the house of Bourbon had tended to preserve or to retrieve, may be enter- fallen before him. tained and instructed. By the perusal of this It is not without pain that the reader observes account, the inquirer into human nature may a shade encroaching upon the light with which obtain an intimate acquaintance with the cha- the memory of Queen Mary has been hitherto racters of those whose names have crowded the invested—the popular, the beneficent, the pious, Jatest histories, and discover the relation between the celestial Queen Mary, from whose presence their minds and their actions. The historian none ever withdrew without an addition to his may trace the progress of great transactions, bappiness. What can be charged upon this and discover the secret causes of important delight of human kind? Nothing less than that events. And, to mention one use more, the she wanted bowels, and was insolent with her politc writer may learn an unaffected dignity of power; that she was resentful, and pertinacions style, and an artful simplicity of narration. in her resentment; that she descended to mean

The method of confirming her relation, by acts of revenge, when heavier vengeance was inserting at length the letters that every trans- not in her power; that she was desirous of conaction occasioned, has not only set the greatest trolling where she had no authority, and backpart of the work above the danger of confutation, ward to forgive, even when she had no real in but has added to the entertainment of the reader, jury to complain of. who has now the satisfaction of forming to him- This is a character so different from all those self the characters of the actors, and judging that have been hitherto given of this cclebrated now nearly such as have hitherto been given of princess, that the reader stands in suspense, till them agree with those which they now give of he considers the inconsistencies in human conthemselves.

duct, remembers that no virtue is without its Even of those whose letters could not be made' weakness, and considers that Queen Mary' public, we have a more exact knowledge than character has hitherto had this great advantage, can be expected from general histories, because that it has only been compared with those of we see them in their private apartments in their kings. careless hours, and observe those actions in The greatest number of the letters inserted in vihich they indulged their own inclinations, this account were written by Queen Anne, or without any regard to censure or applause. which it may be truly observed, that they will

Thus it is that we are made acquainted with be equally useful for the confutation of those who have exalted or depressed her character. / when he shall be told that Mr. Blackwell has They are written with great purity and correct- neither digged in the ruins of any demolished ness, without any forced expressions, affected city, nor found out the way to the library of Fez; phrases, or unnatural sentiments, and show un- nor had a single book in his hands, that has not common clearness of understanding, tenderness been in the possession of every man that was inof affection, and rectitude of intention ; but dis- clined to read it, for years and ages; and that cover at the same time, a temper timorous, anx- his book relates to a people who, above all others, ious, and impatient of misfortune, a tendency to have furnished employment to the studious, and burst into complaints, helpless dependance on amusements to the idle; who have scarcely left the affection of others, and a weak desire of behind them a coin or a stone, which has not moving compassion. There is indeed nothing been examined and explained a thousand times, insolent or overbearing, but then there is nothing and whose dress, and food, and household stuff, great, or firm, or regal; nothing that enforces it has been the pride of learning to understand. obedience and respect, or which does not rather A man need not fear to incur the imputation invite opposition and petulance. She seems of vicious diffidence or affected humility, who born for friendship, not for government; and to should have forborne to promise many novelties, be unable to regulate the conduct of others, other when he perceived such multitudes of writers wise than by her own example.

possessed of the same materials, and intent upon That this character is just, appears from the the same purpose. Mr. Blackwell knows well occurrences in her reign, in which the nation was the opinion of Horace, concerning those that governed for many years by a party whose prin- open their undertakings with magnificent prociples she detested, but whose influence she knew mises ; and he knows likewise the dictates of not how to obviate, and to whose schemes she Common Sense and Common Honesty, Dames was subservient against her inclination. of greater authority than that of Horace, who

The charge of tyrannising over her, which was direct that no man should promise what he canmade by turns against each party, proves that, not perform. in the opinion of both, she was easily to be go- I do not mean to declare that this volume has verned; and though it may be supposed that nothing new, or that the labours of those who tho letters here published were selected with have gone before our author, have made his pernomne regard to respect and ceremony, it appears formance a useless addition to the burden of plainly enough from them that she was what she lite ature. New works may be constructed with has been represented, little more than the slave of old materials, the disposition of the parts may the Marlborough family.

show contrivance, the ornaments interspersed The inferior characters, as they are of less may discover elegance. importance, are less accurately delineated; the It is not always without good effect that men picture of Harley is at least partially drawn, all of proper qualifications write in succession on the the deformitics are heightened, and the beauties, same subject, even when the latter add nothing for beauties of mind he certainly bad, are en- to the information given by the former; for the tirely onnitted

same ideas may be delivered more intelligibly or more delightfully by one than by another, or with attractions that may lure minds of a differ

ent form. No writer pleases all, and every REVIEW OF MEMOIRS OF THE writer may please some. COURT OF AUGUSTUS.

But after all, to inherit is not to acquire; to

decorate is not to make; and the man who had BY THOMAS BLACKWELL, J. U. D. nothing to do but to read the ancient autbors

who mention the Roman affairs, and reduce them to common-places, ought not to boast himself as a great benefactor to the studious

world. The first effect which this book has upon the After a preface of boast, and a letter of flattery, reader, is that of disgusting him with the author's in which he seems to imitate the address of vanity. He endeavours to persuade the world, Horace in his vile patabis modicis Sabinum-he that here are some new treasures of literature opens his book with telling us, that the “ Rospread before bis eyes; that something is dis- man republic, after the horrible proscription, covered, which to this happy day had been con- was no more at bleeding Rome. The regal power cealed in darkness; that by his diligence time of her consuls, the authority of her senate, and has been robbed of some valuable monument the majesty of her people, were now trampled which he was on the point of devouring; and under foot; these (for those) divine laws and halthat names and facts doomed to oblivion are now lowed customs, that had been the essence of het restored to fame.

constitution-were set at nought, and her best Flow must the unlearned reader be surprised, | friends were lying exposed in their blood."



These were surely very dismal times to those obey their lawful governors, and attempt not to who suffered; but I know not why any one but make innovations for the sake of their favourite A school-boy in his declamation should whine schemes, they may differ for ever without any over the commonwealth of Rome, which grew just reproach from one another. But who can great only by the misery of the rest of mankind. bear the hardy champion who ventures nothing? The Romans, like others, as soon as they grew whu in full security undertakes the defence of rich grew corrupt, and, in their corruption, sold the assassination of Cæsar, and declares his rethe lives and freedoms of themselves, and of one solution to speak plain? Yet let not just sentianother.

ments be overlooked: he has justly observed, “ About this time Brutus had his patience that the greater part of mankind will be naput to the highest trial : he had been married to turally prejudiced against Brutus, for all feel Clodia ; but whether the family did not please the benefits of private friendship: but few can him, or whether he was dissatisfied with the discern the advantages of a well-constituted lady's behaviour during his absence, he soon en- government. tertained thoughts of a separation. This raised We know not whether some apology may not a good deal of talk, and the women of the Clodian be necessary for the distance (seven monthsj befamily juveighed bitterly against Brutus—but he tween the first account of this book, and its conmarried Portia, who was worthy of such a father tinuation. The truth is, that this work not beas M. Cato, and such a husband as M. Brutus. ing forced upon our attention by much public She had a soul capable of an exalted passion, applause or censure, was sometimes neglected, and found a proper object to raise and give it a and sometimes forgotten; nor would it, perhaps, sanction ; she did not only love but adored her have been now resumed, but that we might husband: his worth, his truth, bis every shining avoid to disappoint our readers by an abrupt deand heroic quality, made her gaze upon him like sertion of any subject. a god, while the endearing returns of esteem and It is not our design to criticise the facts of this tenderness she met with, brought her joy, her history, but the style; not the veracity, but the pride, her every wish to centre in her beloved address of the writer; for, an account of the anBrutus."

cient Romans, as it cannot nearly interest any When the reader has been awakened by this present reader, and must be drawn from writrapturous preparation, be hears the wbole story | ings that have been long known, can owe its of Portia in the same luxuriant style, till she value only to the language in which it is delibreathed out her last, a little before the bloody | vered, and the reflections with which it is acproscription, and “ Brutus complained beavily, companied. Dr. Blackwell, however, seems to of his friends at Rome, as not having paid due bave heated his imagination so as to be much attention to his Lady in the declining state of affected with every event, and to believe that ho her health.

can affect others. Enthusiasm is indeed suffiHe is a great lover of modern terms. His ciently contagious; but I never found any of senators and their wives are Gentlemen and his readers much enamoured of the glorious Ladies. In this review of Brutus's army, who Pumpcy, the patriot approved, or much incensed wris under the command of gallant men, not braver against the lawless Cæsar; wbom this author ficers than true patriots, he tells us, “ that Sex- probably stabs every day and night in his sleeptus the Questor was Paymaster, Secretary at ing or waking dreams. Iar, and Commissary General, and that the sac- He is come too late into the world with bis red discipline of the Roman required the closest fury for freedom, with his Brutus and Cassius. connection, like that of father and son, to sub- We have all on this side of the Tweed long since sist between the General of an army and his settled our opinions; his zeal for Roman Jiberty Questor. Cicero was General of the Cavalry, and declamations against the violators of the reand the next general officer was Flavius, Master publican constitution, only stand now in the of the Artillery, the elder Lentulus was Admiral, reader's way, who wishes to proceed in the narand the younger rode in the Band of Volunteers : rative without the interruption of epithets and under these the tribunes, with many others too exclamations. It is not easy to forbear laughter tedious to name. Lentulus, however, was but at a man so bold in fighting shadows, so busy in a subordinate officer; for we are informed af. a dispute two thousand years past, and so zealous terwards, that the Romans had made Sextus for the honour of a people, who wbile they were Pompeius Lord High Admiral in all the seas of poor robbed mankind, and as soon as they betheir dominions.

came rich, robbed one another. Of these robAmong other affectations of this writer is a beries our author seems to have no very quick furious and unnecessary zeal for liberty, or rather sense, except when they are committed by Cæfor one form of government as preferable to an-sar's party, for every act is sanctified by the other. This indeed migbt be suffered, because name of a patriot. political institution is a subject in which men If this author's skill in ancient literature were buve always differed, and if they continue to less generally acknowledged, one might sobie

« ElőzőTovább »