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and predicts the rain of both In the destruction of that ministerial influence which, In his day, was nearly absolute iu the Lower House of Parliament.
The most amusing papers in these volume* are those which delineate female manners and society. The following sketch of French and KngHsh women Is discriminating and just, and we are glad that the balance is struck In favour of our fair countrywomen, though we should be happy to see the excellences of each amalgamated.
We give the following extract because we wish to please and instruct.
''Women are a subject upon which so much has been said and written by so many men of abilities, that it Is not easy to imagine a new light to show them In; or to place them In an attitude In which they have uot been already placed, lint, talking of a nation, If one did not say something about so considerable a part of it, the subject must appear mutilated and imperfect. As brevity is Uie soul of wit, I shall be brief; and I shall only touch on the principal points in which the women of France differ from those of other countries.
41 When a French lady comes Into a room, the first thing that strikes you Is, that she walks better, holds herself better, has her head and feet better dressed, her clothes better fancied and better put on, than any woman you have ever seen.
"When she talks, she is the art of pleasing personified. Her eyes, her lips, her words, her gestures, are all prepossessing. Her language Is the language of amiableness; her accents are the accents of grace; she embellishes a trifle; interests upon nothing; she softens a contradiction ; she takes off the insipidness of a compliment by turning It elegantly; and when she has a mind, she sharpens and polishes the point of an epigram better than all the women In the world.
"Her eyes sparkle with spirit; the most delightful sallies flash from her fancy; in telling a story, she is Inimitable; the motions of her body, and the accents of her tongue, are equally genteel and easy; an equable flow of sprlghtliness keeps her constantly good-humoured and cheerful; and the only objects of her life are to pleuseand be pleased.
** Her vivacity may sometimes approach to folly; but, perhups.it is not in her moments of folly that she is least interesting and agreeable.— English women have many points of superiority over the French; the French are superior to them In many others. I have mentioned some of those points in other places. Here I shall only say, there is a particular Idea, In which no woman in the world can compare with a French woman; it is in the power of intellectual irritation. She will draw wit out of a fool. She strikes with such address the chords of self-love, that she gives unexpected vigour and agility to fancy, and electrifies a body that appeared nonelectric.
*' I have mentioned here the women of England; and I have done wrong. I did not intend it when I began the letter. They came into my mind, as the only women in the world worthy of being compared with those of France. To settle the respective claims of the fair sex In these two Countries, requires an abler pen tuna mine. I
shall not dare to examine it even in n single point, nor presume to determine, whether, in the important article of beauty, form and colour are to be preferred to expression and grace; or whether grace and expression are to be considered at preferable to complexion and shape. I shall examine whether the piquant of France Is to be thought superior to the touchant of England; or whether deep sensibility deserves to be preferred to animation and wit. So important a subject requires a volume. I Bhall only venture to give a trait. If a goddess could be supposed to be formed, compounded of Juno and Minerva, that goddess would be the emblem of the women of this country. Venus, as she is, with all her amiableness and Imperfections, may stand, justly enough, for an emblem of French women. I have decided the question without intending it; for I have given the preference to the women of England.
"One point I had forgotten; and It Is » material one. It is not to be disputed on; for whit I am going to write Is the opinion and sentiment of the universe. The English women are the best wives under heaven—and shame be on the men who make them bad husbands.**
Whatever was Mirabeau's opinion of women, his conduct to them was that of a libertine—he was a brute. The writer of the short memoir prefixed to the work says of him—" Ardent as a lover, he was inconstant as he was ardeut: sensual—heartless—profligate." Something of this, we confess, peeps out In the following extract, with which we conclude our brief notice,—observing, at the same time, that this is the best translation of a French work which we have had the good fortune to meet with for many years. It Is written in a good English style.
"Take the greatest care of your wife's health —but weak people only attain a great age—a good woman is so precious a thing! Believe me, my friend, there are very few as good as yours, and to whom, with some degree of reason, the celebrated epigram could not be applied. If you have any regard for your eyes, I would advise you not to translate it to the first lady you meet.
"' Asplce quid pejus? tigris; quid tigride Daemon t Dtemone quid? muller: quid muliere i nihil.' ■*
The Trial of Charles I., and of some of the Repricides; with Biographies and Notes. (Family Library.)
Much has been said, and much more might be said, against the policy of presenting the inexperienced student with compendious relations, such as the present, of separate events in our history, concerning which n correct judgment cannot be formed without duly considering the circumstances which led to them, and the results which ensued from them ; but public favour has now given sodecided n sanction to these abridged narratives and brief historical sketches, In which reality Is Invested with that unity of interest which properly bdlongs to romance, that we must needs admit them as an Important part of our popular modern literature. A series of volumes such as that befoYe us, each devoted to the elucidation of some remarkable passage in our annals, would undoubtedly form mn attractive portion of Mr. Murray's cheap and elegant collection. The present is a, well-written compilation, and executed with a facility of style and manner likely to Interest those readers whose want of leisure or of application deters them from encountering the dry prolixities of authentic history, lint it is of the highest consequence that such accounts should be written, not merely with spirit, but with candour and Impartiality. If particular periods and events are to be selected for the instruction of the young and ignorant, they must not be treated of as they are in the Houses of Parliament, or in the pages of our fashionable reviews. Education must not employ party narratives for its textbooks ; and our fair atudentti, who lish for " general knowledge" as they skim the easy surface of the Family Library, with an occasional dive Into the darker profound of Dr. Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia, must not be taught to divide the host of the illustrious dead into " monsters" and "angels," like the heroes and savages of fashionable novelB.
The volume before us is written with calmness and moderation, although the production of a writer strongly biassed on one side of the question—a question which, after the lapse of 180 years, is rarely debated among Englishmen with perfect coolness; yet there is much contained In it which can hardly pass without animadversion from a Whig reader. We trust that we shall be excused, if, in performing the duty of criticism, we are forced, by the nature of our subject, to travel over a ground of controversy which has been debated already by the writers of six generations; for if the arguments and maxims of the Restoration arc repeated in the reign of William the Fourth, they cannot well be met by uny reasonings which have not suggested themselves long ago to the liberal examiner.
We will, however, abstain wholly from dincussing the merits of the great question between King and Parliament. We will not insist on the advantageous ground which is occupied by a writer who takes up the thread of his story precisely at the period where all our interest is transferred from the victor to the vanquished; by which means alt the causes of the suspicion and dislike with which the people of England regarded their sovereign are left out of view— the provocation is lost sight of, and the terrible retribution stands nakedly forth, claiming our Indignation against the exactors of it, and our sympathy with the sufferer. In a mere chronicle of facts, it is of some importance, as to the effect produced, at what link of the series the narrator begins his tale; much more so where, as in the present instance, he constantly interweaves with his relation moral reflections on the conduct of the actors. Rut let us consider the case simply from the point at which our author has made his commencement.
The boundary between political and moral crimes is one which no reasoning or declamation can overthrow; and when we are told of the enormous guilt of the Regicides, — of the "stings of conscience" under which they must have continually suffered,— it behoves us to consider In what this great action essentially differed from the many unscrupulous
deeds by which all parties in civil contentions are In the habit of securing their authority. It is in vain to suppose that men who bad been fighting for six years against the royal power could have retained that semi-religious reverence for the royal person which might characterize him, in their eyes, as sacred and inviolable, or could have looked upon his position as different from that of his adherents, who were in daily hostility against them. They acted as party men, and in self-defence: it was to them a struggle between man and man, and whichever was to get the upper baud could only do so by destroying the other. The King was conspiring against the leaders of the army: it was his object to overreach them. It had been bis pride, when In less imminent peril, to outwit those with whom he treated. When a king, or other hereditary dignity, measures his wit against that of plebeians, he commonly meets with a superior. The true apology for Cromwell and Ireton, as men, is not to be found in their distorted views of religion, or in their sense of the tyranny of the King previous to the rebellion, or in the ardency of their desires for a republic, in the possibility of which one of them, at least, never seriously believed: it arises simply from the transactions of Hampton Court, where the King paltered with the Scots on one hand, with the army on the other. Our author discredits (on very insufficient grounds) the stories of the intercepted letters, which are said to have revealed the intended treachery of Charles towards the persons of Cromwell and Ireton; but it Is clear enough, even to him, that the King's notion of policy cousisted in the abandonment of one or other of the parties with which he was treating. "It surely discovered," he says, " no perfidy in the vanquished and half-dethroned King to receive the overtures of both parties, and to be willing to close either with the Scots or the army, according as the oners of the one or the other were most advantageous." Secret conferences with the leaders of both, with high promises of gratifications to themselves and revenge on their enemies, formed, of course, an important and justifiable port of such negotiations. U ndoubtedly Charles, in carrying on this double treaty, did no more than most other potentates, in his anxious situation, would have done; but, by his share in these transactions, he forfeits all claim to the irreproachable character of the martyr. We pity his sufferings, and admire the sweet uses which he drew from adversity—the decent and pious firmness which shed such lustre on his latter days; but his death ceases to be regarded as on unprovoked atrocity. We see him mouut the scaffold as a defeated intriguer. Had he succeeded, the Independents must have been sacri* ficed to the Presbyterians and Royalists. By consigning their master to the block, they escaped the tender mercies of Mollis and Hamilton.
The situation of the King, from the moment when Cromwell and Ireton broke off the train of negotiation commenced at Hampton Court, was that of a man who has a drawn sword almost within his grasp: his enemies hold him at arm's length from it by the greatest exertion of their strength, for they know that its first serYlce would be to destroy them; sad when at length their force will no longer suffice to detain his arm, they do not scruple to anticipate his movements by taking his life.
There is also in this volume a short memoir of Ireton, which seems fairly drawn up,—more favourably, perhaps than we should ourselves have been Inclined to represent him. Although he was oot destitute of high and noble qualities, there Is nothing in his character to excite the interest which we feel in the career of his greater father-in-law. The peculiar secret of Cromwell's success lay, as Is beautifully explained by Mr. Godwin,* in the thorough sympathy which existed between him and his fellow-creatures; in his instinctive faculty, not of acting only, but of feeling what lie acted, and entering into all the variety of emotions excited among those with whom he lived, by the great events which were passing around them. Ireton held himself aloof from man, and from human passions. His ruling impulse seems to have been the desire of resisting authority and abasing greatness; not from base personal envy, but partly from a cynical temperament, partly from a fixed principle of enmity to such distinctions. His very clemency was suspicious. If be exerted himself to save the life of a commoner, it seems to have been principally with the view of rendering ■trouper by contrast the severity exercised towards a nobleman.f
Harrison, also, is fairly treated by our author} although we suspect that too great depth of character has been attributed, both by historians and novelists, to this gullaut officer— the Mur.it of our Napoleon—the "beau-saureur" of the Commonwealth army. -He was not naturally inclined to fanaticism by gloominess of mind, but lid into It, in compliance with the affectation of his time, by the same ardent and fantastic spirit which in the Klijg of Naples vented itself only in puerile extravagances. Like Murat, he was devotedly attached to his leader, yet frequently led to place himself in opposition to him by mere inconstancy of mind, and the attractions of some new imagination. The sons of the aubergiste of Cahors, and of the grazier of Newcastle, were equally addicted to show and vulgar ostentation. The Sovereign of Naples did not more rejoice in his purple boots and coroneted helmet than Harrison in his *' scarlet coat and clonk, laden with gold and silver lace," which he put on the morning after bestowing a brotherly exhortation, against worldly bravery, on a comrade, whose delinquencies had extended no farther than a "sad coloured coat, trimmed with gold buttons," as is minutely recorded by Mrs. Hutchinson, Alas I that the heroine of the Civil War should display, on this feminine subject, all accuracy of memory almost equalling that of the Duchess d'Abrantes herself. It was not, probably, until the latter end of his life, that Harrison became deeply infected with fanaticism, when he lent his countenance to the schemes of the Millennarians, and, in the Ian
• " History of the Commonwealth," vol. HI. Surely, if Mr. Godwin be a defective historian, he Is one of the greatest metaphysicians who ever engaged in historical composition.
t See the Trial of Sir John Owen, and the Lords taken In Colchester, according to Godwin, himself an admirer of Ireton'a character.
gnage of the profane, " went In for a fifth king when there were but four In the pack." Imprisonment and disappointment converted the wild demeanour of his earlier days into that fixed enthusiasm which imparted so much dignity and grace to his conduct when arraigned before his mean and insolent judges, and which accompanied him through the dreadful ordeal of a barbarous execution.
And this reflection leads us to the trials of the regicides, with a short—a very short—abstract of which the volume before us concludes. We sincerely wish that the author had omitted altogether this part of his labours. We cannot but look with very different eyes from him on a series of transactions which he dispatches with few comments, and those chiefly laudatory of the conduct of the Commissioners who presided at these trials. Surely some notice was called for, from a writer who labours so tealously to raise our indignation against the crimes of the regicides, of the treacherous device by which some of them were entrapped; of the ** deliberate breach of faith," t_to use the words of the impartial Hallam, whom our author quotes with praise where their sentiments are in accordance) through which two of them at least (Scroop and Carew) were conducted to the scaffold.
•' These niceties of the law," says our author, speaking of some legal subtleties in the Indictments, *' which may appear trifling to thoughtless persons, show the conscientious regard paid to established forms and principles by the judges of the land, when proceeding to judgment on the most heinous criminals against the father of their Sovereign. They place the proceeding in the most striking contrast with that shameful mockery of all rules and principles which had been resorted to for the destruction of Charles the First." To us they appear little better than a cruel affectation of lenity, where the destruction of the accused was predetermined. It must be remembered that these tender-hearted formalities were coupled with the most obdurate resolution not to hear a single word in argument or the only defence which the prisoners could offer. In fact, the best apology for the conduct of the judges is, that they were only meting out to the regicides the same measure which these had allowed their sovereign* 14 This gentleman," *,i\ s the apostate recorder Wild, checking some attempt of Harrison to address the court, " hath forgotten their own barbarousuess: they would not hoar their King." It being decided at once, and without argument, that the authority of the powers which, de facto, governed the realm in 1G-W, was no justification to those who acted under their commission, the calling of oral witnesses, as in the case of the King, was an unnecessary display. The signature of each individual to the warrant for Charles's execution, was testimony enough against him. What further evidence was offered seems to have been produced merely to gratify the foul appetite which then possessed the royalists for all manner of scandal against their enemies. These calumnies, uttered by the impure lips of apostates, and contradicted wherever contradiction was possible, reflect dishonour on the court which listened to them, not on the criminals against whom they were directed.
Jiy the way, this writer has, we perceive,
adopted the common tone of vituperation with respect to Hollis and the other Presbyterian judges on the commission, as sitting in judgment on their ancient allies. We confess, with Hallam, that we do not perceive the force of this imputation. By various acts of violence, on the part of the Independents, toward the Presbyterians, and by the constant oppression of twelve years, the bonds of alliance between the'two parties had been fairly severed. As well might It be contended that Clarendon was " estopped" from proceeding, as he did, most zealously in the prosecution of the regicides, by the votea which he had given, with Falkland and with Cromwell, in the early stages of the opposition to Charles, Hollis and his followers had not been less decided than the Royalists in opposing and condemning Charles's execution. All were members of various defeated parties, sitting in judgment on their former conquerors s and they conducted themselves with the moderation and dignity which might have been expected.
Here too—without note or observation from the nuthor, who has devoted whole pages to express his sense of the enormity of Charles's judgesappears that most foul exhibition of the wantonness of power, the trial of the independent minister Hugh Peters. Because the name of this poor half-witted enthusiast is seldom pronounced without a smile—because Burnet, In his loose way, calls him a vicious character, and Hallam an odious fanatic—because he did not possess that dignity or obstinacy of mind which command vulgar sympathy almost alike in the criminal and the innocent; therefore it may be deemed almost ridiculous to waste a thought on the iniquity of his sentence, and the wanton falsehood of his accusers. There is not the least shadow of justification for the cruelty which was wrought against him: it must have arisen from some ancient spite of the Presbyterians, or some wild freak of the Cavaliers, with the origin of which we are unacquainted. A few loose expressions of approbation of the act which was perpetrating—reported by malicious renegadesconstituted his crime. The vague accusations of cruelty and insult offered by him to his prince, and to other sufferers, are contradicted by the clearest evidence. When the King desired a conference with his pastor Juxon, it was through Peters that his wish was complied with. When Sir John Dcnham sought the presence of Charles, with thesuspiclous purpose of conveying u message from the Queen, it was through Peters that the application was made. Lady Worcester testified that "in all the sufferings of her husband, Mr. Peters was his great friend.'' He offered to produce on his trial a seal of Lord Goring, which he had received from that nobleman, as a reward for his services in saving his life. What is the justice of posthumous fame, when Genius has tears to shed over the sufferings of the profligate Harry Marten, and not a single apologist is found for the memory of poor Hugh Peters I
Legends of the Rhine. By the Author of "High-Ways and By-Ways." 3 vols.
Mr. G rattan It once again a welcome visitor to
our library. He brings with him rare legends from n land full of them—the rarest, the wildest, and the most exciting tbot the memory of age retains, or that printing lias preserved to astonish and delight posterity. A clever and laborious seeker into strange places Is the Author of "High-Ways and By-Ways," and from among the neglected rubbish of ages long gone, he has collected many a rich and valuable gem, that has well repaid him for the pain and trouble of a weary search. Each of the volumes contains some half-dozen legends—varied, curious, and Interesting, illustrative of the manners and customs of a " peculiar people," and descriptive of scenery the most beautiful and romantic in Europe. The lovers of the wild and wonderful will peruse them with a pleasure to be envied by mere matter-of-fact readers; but their true value lies beneath the bright surface. The Author has long resided amid the scenery he describes— again and again he has pored among the ruins of old castles—the very stones of which prate of doings that are so many marvels in these more sober and less lawless days. The fnets of the time are rich and rare as fictions, nnd the bare recital of them excites us as if we were at once transported to the very temple of romance. Mr. Grattan has well worked up his excellent m/ircricl; he has brought his own glowing fancy to bear upon lllerri; and the result is a work that cannot fail to gratify and amuse.
The Double Trial; or, the Consequences of an Irish Clearing. 3 vols.
There is much that is pleasant, and something that may be profitable, in these volumes, although they develope little that is new in character or peculiar in plot. They are, moreover, too full of the common-place mysteries of goneby novelists, and describe Ireland rather from the silly pictures of some aged dramatists than from actual and intimate acquaintance with the peculiarities of the people or the nature of the land.
Lives of Eminent Missionaries. Bv> John Came, Esq. (Select Library,'vol. vi. vol. i.)
Literature, so long unjust to the missionary enterprlie, is at last becoming ashamed of its prejudices. Tyerman and Betinct, Ellis and Stewart are now so universally read, that the enemies of Christianity, and its half-hearted friends, are dumb, or, If they speak, speak only to be disregarded. To evangelize the heathen ceases to be considered a visionary and Utopian scheme, and Christian missionaries are no longer traduced as men of low ambition, who, unable to distinguish themselves in their native country, seek a field for their Insane and fanatical undertaking in distant climes. They are now hailed as enlightened philanthropists, and every church and sect is eager to put In its claim as having contributed its share of moral energy to the benevolent design of chasing the horrid spectres of a desolating superstition from the dark places of the earth, which are full of the habitations of cruelty. It is clearly manifest that, by patient perseverance In well-doing, the moral waste may be reclaimed, and the Rose of Sharon made to flourish In every soil, and under the most inclement skies. If the results of missionary efforts have not realised all that sanguine spirits have anticipated, enough has been done to awaken the sympathies, even of the cold and calculating, who, comparing the insignificancy of the means with the magnitude of the purpose, had been induced almost to despair of Christianity and human nature. We may confidently ask what has been thesuceess of commercial speculations compared with the difficulties which the Christian missionary has encountered and subdued? and where is the nation that has abandoned either the one or the other because an empire has not been foundedin a day—or ships haretbeen wrecked, and lives sacrificed, and millions expended in vain i It has been proved In a thousand instances, that where the social principle has the power of developement, Christianity both assists aud matures the operation ; that It is, in fact, the best cement of society, the key-stone to the arch, the foundation to the superstructure. We doubt not there have been weak and inefficient missionaries, as well as indolent settlers, and unskilful navigators, and wild speculatists—but does this form an objection stronger in the one case than In the other f The question Is, what has been the general result of the missionary enterprise? Has it not at least brought the principles of Christianity to the severest test? has It not exhibited the human character under aspects the most powerfully impressive? has it not produced apostles In an Infidel age, and shown the triumphs of the gospel over the most formidable moral obstacles?—and Is this nothing? We cannot, however. In this brief notice, follow out the general argument. We would rather at once induce our readers to peruse this most interesting and affecting work of Mr. Carne. —The theme he has chosen is evidently one most congenial with his tastes and habits of feeling and thought; and the book Is just what we should have expected from the author of •• Tales from the West." It Is adapted to every class—to the imaginative and romantic—to the philosophical and the inquiring—to the admirers of nature and the lovers of religion. We would conclude by observing that the lives of the missionaries before us are not narratives of individuals taken from the sectarians, but ministers and agenta of episcopal churches, chiefly under the superintendence of the venerable Society for promoting Christian Knowledge.
Clarenswold, or Tales of the North.
We really are good-natured, and every new aspirant, especially if he be a young man of modesty and talents, Is sure of a kind welcome at our hands; If of the gentler sex, and the production be barely tolerable, our gallantry will not allow us to censure even when our judgment tells us It is our duty to condemn. But we confess this " Clarenswold " a good deal purzUs us; we cannot detect the gender of the writer—the work has neither nervous sense nor feminine grace; we never saw in man or woman such an entire want of knowledge of the human materiel, out of which tales and novels ore constructed} there
Sept.—XXXVI. NO. CXI4.
Is not In either of the tales even an approach to the formation of a character. Nearly all the Incidents are to be found in Scott's novels—most hcterogeneously huddled Into a mas* of absurdity which sets probability at defiance. The dialogues are vulgar and gross caricatures of the works so unceremoniously laid under contribution; and the descriptions—save us from the descriptions—but perhaps our readers would like a specimen.
M The red streaks of evening have faded In the distant weit; the owl hath awoke and shaken himself from the bonds of his sluggish slumber, the rural vale hath sunk deeper in the shade, and the mountain-tops, in stature magnified, scarce show their varied outlines in the murky sky; the tale of the wanderer or the recluse Is now listened to with redoubled avidity, around the cheerful fire and hospitable board j while, without, the silence 1st broken by the whispered accents of endearment, the solemn vow, or the melancholy replnings of some secretloving pair,—their solitude alone disturbed by the fitful flickering of the ominous bat, the shrill scream of the owlet grey, or, mayhap, the sportive pattering of some timid hare, as nhe gambols across the path. The dull morose now casts abroad his eyes, and meets congenial scenes;
"The man of guilt, too, wends his noiseless way, And cowards kill, whodare not face in day.
"The sage quits his study, and, with relaxed spirit, prolonged Ideas, and mind above the world, contemplates the wondrous canopy of heaven, and the bright Inhabitants thereof."
Who will be able to read Sir Walter after this! We take a final adieu of this Hetroclyte. It will be our own fault if" we meet again at Philippi."* What the creature will have to do there heaven knows. We are perfectly sure that it belongs not to the class of genius, either good or evil.
An Essay on the Causes which have produced Dissent from the Established Church in the Principality of Wales: to which the Royal Medal was awarded at an Kisteddvod of the London Cambrian Institution, held in May, 1831. The Second Edition; comprising a Statement of the Value of Church Revenues in North Wales.
This is a Chapter not to be found in the Laureate*! Book of the Church. We learn, as It regards Its Protestant hierarchy, that Wales Is nearly in the ttame situation as I rotund, but from the operation of very different causes. The Church of Ireland is an exotic, and it Is not wonderful that In an uncongenial soil it should not flourish. But in Wales it is Indigenous, and yet there aleo it withers and dies.
It seems that in Ireland the Church Is loft desolate by an Ignorant and besotted population devoted to another faith; but in Wales, we are told by the author, that dissent has advanced with knowledge, and not with Ignorance; and that there Is scarcely a vestige of popish super
* See Preface; we wish we bad read nothing else.